Fly African Cake

I attended Aunty Lucy's baking class last Sunday for the very first time. Truly amazed at her petite and slim figure. Not only is she friendly and chatty, she is charismatic and displays selfless true passion and patience in baking. A very enjoyable session which should be a regular 'outing' or should I say, learning and tasting in the midst of it all. Fulfilling and satisfying.

This is one of the many cake receipes in Aunty Lucy's blogsite which I have been wanting to do. My 2nd attempt. And yes, the end product today is definately more presentable than the 1st round which was not loaded in my earlier blog.

However, there are still some dense portions in the cake. Perhaps I had over stirred the eggs, or maybe I had not done the whisking at high level according to the steps. Manual hand whisking is not easy, and my tired arms were not able attain the high whisk to make it fluffy and double in shorter time, nor the exact to 'perfection' stage.

A slight twist with added peppermint essence to the chocolate layer and yes, I do like the look of the cake.

Almost there, more practise.


Cinnamon Buns

The lovely cinnamon buns by Baking Mom and My Kitchen Snippets were itching me to maketh my own hand made bread today. While baking the chocolate mint cupcakes, and being so extra "hardworking" today, I was also preparing the homebaked buns as well.

I remember that my last bread making was a couple of months back and there is a pack of bread flour due to expire in Jan 2009, that was THE calling. My original plan was to roll mini hotdogs and ham with cheese etc, you know all the fancy work and stuff. But after baking the cupcakes, I had to keep this buns simple. Well, its all manual strength, no machine to help along.

It pleases me much to see the dough rise (proof) nicely after the first kneading. And again after a second kneading after setting it aside to rest.

And this is the end product after 3 hours of patient waiting.

Simple home made bread to delight.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

My 1st attempt at making chocolate mint cupcakes with the receipe from Aunty Lucy's blogpage. This receipe has been with me for the longest time and yet it is only today that I finally decided to try the baking. To answer that, well, its because, I have been very distracted to try other bakes too. Curious distractions indeed.

And instead of using the plain chocolate chips, I sprinkled in the colored chocolate chips and that kinda brightened up the dark chocolatety look. With my generous portion of the peppermint essence into the making, you can imagine the strong pepperminty aroma that lingered in the kitchen due to the dampness of the air from the rain pour this afternoon.

The cupcake was not the smooth dome shape which I had initially hoped for probably due to the high oven temperature. However, the cupcakes were soft in texture with crisp umbrella shape.

Interesting aftertaste from the strong peppermint but gotta reduce the essence abit more coz Mom's not keen into the 'power' scent.


Broccoli dish

I read the blog of Little Corner of Mine and My Kitchen Snippets about some blog challenge on broccoli dish up. Both of these Asian ladies are based in the USA currently.

Personally, I enjoy the crunch of broccoli and fully aware of the calcium derived from consuming this lovely green. A bonus to our well being. In fact all dark, bright colored fresh vegetables and / or fruits are good for our body.

Hence, I whipped up my simple home cooked broccoli stirred up with sliced garlic, sliced carrots, prawns, egg white and dash of oyster sauce. Colours plays a vital part in my cooking and Mom knows it best and the fridge will always be loaded with colors galore; tomatoes, spring onions, red onions, red chillies etc...

This was one of the dish for tonight's dinner.

Homemade char siew

How important is it to get the right piece of meat? Very, i would say.

Rather than using the pork belly which was recommended in LeeLee's receipe, i purchased another part of the meat, which was fat free but the meat was dry when cooked or did i overcook? Nevertheless, it was edible and the gravy would have been better with reduced amount of water to attain a richer and heavier gravy.

Nothing fancy, but perhaps I would try to learn the roast char siew to get the 'chow tar' fragrance with some fat in the meat, which would have added the flavour to the dish. And i shall begin to 'search' again for the better and simpler version to master then.


Light Fruit Cake

Christmas decorations are up in most shopping centres and most retails shops are out full fledged to capture the hearts of as many in the spirit of giving and sharing,bringing some cheers during this festive season.

Though this may not be the best time of the year amid so many uncertainties, however, external factors as such not within our control, lets eat and be merry and take each day as it comes. (ie. wilful escapade from the reality of financial gloom = recession).

Well, that been said, I have had been buying fruit cakes, and I mean really rich fruit cakes from St Michael's, have eaten during the buffet spread every Christmas etc, and most of you will agree that it is richly sweet and moist. And so, having seen how Aunty Lucy has done a wonderful twist to the given word of LIGHT Fruit Cake, it was simply a must to try the baking.

A non alcoholic person as I am, unknown to many though it may seem, the 6 tbps of the smell of the rum got me "high" (floaty). Unimaginable, but the whiff and then the inhale can "hit" my senses weak. So do not even begin to suggest to make me drink liquor.

Thanks to Aunty Lucy, I baked my very first Light Fruit Cake. And my staff members gave it a thumbs up even from one who told me that it was good enough for her to take an extra slice though she usually does not take fruit cake at all. Ok lah, she give me some 'face' lor. hahaha...

Jolly good start. More bakes to come coz I am on leave next 2 weeks. Yes, officially applied my leave finally.



Custard Crisp biscuit

I've got this receipe in my to do list for the longest time. And every time, I would end up with something else in the bake, and its usually a cake.

However, today, I decided that its time to give my family members a 'deserving' break from my cakes. Or should I say, I was in no mood to bake a cake.

Instead, I worked my hands on baking this custard crisp biscuit.

The easy to follow steps to preparing the dough was a breeze. And if you love anything custardy, you would love the strong aroma of the baking custard, especially when it was almost ready to be out from the oven, ready for its show case, ready for thy bite.

As for the simple lines across the biscuit, it was formed from the use of just an ordinary fork 'impression'. Decent looking right?

Yupz, got thumbs up for this receipe.


Receipe extract :
Plain flour 180g
Custard powder 150g
Baking powder 1/2 tsp
Butter 180g
Icing sugar 120g
Castor sugar 1 tbsp
Egg 1

Steps :
a. sift dry ingredients. set aside
b. cream butter & sugar until light and fluffy. beat egg in.
c. stir in dry ingredients. mix well.
d. with floured hands, shape dough into balls per tsp of dough
e. place on cookie tray, dip fork in flour, press down centre of each ball
f. bake for 15 mins @ 175 degrees celsius.


Pearl Barley Drink

The heat today is overbearing, even though it was windy. And after mopping the floor, (yes, housework to help out Mom once in a blue moon when I am not working), I was perspiring and out of breathe, yearning for a cooling drink.

Theres always something in the cupboard for me to uncover and there it is, a unopened can of pearl barley awaiting the 'grand opening'. Straight after a cool shower, I washed the barley seeds about four times till the water turns clear. Thereafter, I left the barley to soak in pot with hot water for about half an hour before I placed it on the stove to boil and simmer till the barley was softened. Added rock sugar to taste and after just half an hour, viola, a nice bowl of simple, homemade barley drink.

I much prefer to take the barley drink minus the barley itself. Some would compared it with taking chicken rice without the chicken. Its uncomparable I would declare. But Mom would have thought otherwise, you can imagine her outburst if she had seen me 'secretly' thrown away the barley after a bowl of the drink only.

No baking today coz hands too tired from the mopping.


Sour cream blueberry cake

Just last night, when I was browsing my blogpage, someone asked me the receipe for this cake and I directed her to the originator, Zu's quickneasy blogsite where I learnt this bake from.

That stirred my intent to bake this cake as well. With some sour cream balance in the fridge, I walked to the nearby NTUC to grab a punnet of blueberries. It is pricey at $5.95. How I envy those staying in countries where the berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries) being locally farmed are fresher, cheaper and in abundance. Wonder if I could cope with the 4 seasons. Winter chill....hmmm.... However, nothing beats the security and tropical island peace in our little red dot though. No place like home. Arh, woman.

The cake is moist and soft, like cheesecake, melting in the mouth. Nice.

Green Tea Winter Blossom Pastry

1st day of my leave and I am feeling restless. I had not made any travel plans as this was a last minute leave approval. And boy, my annual leave was hardly touched for this year. Madness is the term to describe my workaholic being.

Then again, nothing beats doing what I enjoy most, Baking.

With 500g of the green tea paste in the fridge, I decided on doing a green tea winter blossom pastry.
Yes, mid autumn is just over, but I must say that this version is timeless cos its lovely shape which just wins thy sight. No one ruled that you can bake only during special occassions.

Yumz, the crispiness of the pastry with every bite. Yes, 3 are more well baked than the rest which are 'fair with tint of brown' from the egg yolk glazing comparatively. The contrast is obvious.

Mom behaves like a kid sometimes, peering and checking to see if the pastry is ready for her to savour. She is my biggest fan so far, I must admit. Mom loves this pastry. So do I.

Its simple and easy to master, trust me. If clumsy me can do it, anyone can too.


Fruit Pastry

Initially I had planned to go out shopping with my siblings today, a public holiday, {Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslims }, and this year, it coincides with Children's Day too, {oh, Happy Children's Day to all kiddos out there!!}, i decided against the idea of shopping with them in Vivo City. I can imagine the crowd and the waiting time for car park slot as well. I do not enjoy been cooped in a non moving state

The first thought that came to mind was how to make the lovely 2 punnets of strawberries which I got from NTUC into a lovely cake.

1st thought was to make a strawberry marshmellow chilled cake. The ingredients were not readily available at the nearby NTUC. It was recently renovated and the stocks arrangement are not in full array.

Next immediate thought was the fruit pastry cake which was baked awhile back. Yes, I even bought kiwis to go along too.

Love this receipe very much. Simple and delightful.

Try it too and you will agree.

Cheers !

Lychee cake

I managed to steal time off to indulge in my passion last week.
And rather than baking lychee muffins, I made a round lychee cake instead. Tadah, this is my lychee cake. Can you see the bite size lychees on the surface and within the slice. The steps to this bake is easy and yes, you can find it in Jestina's blogpage, that was where I borrowed the receipe from.
Baking does help to make me forget the 'worldly' affairs and mindless 'work' . Nice way to destress and fill the thoughts with nothing but just to make a decent bake to please the palates.
Cool right ?


Coconut Chiffon Cake

This chiffon cake baking was totally unplanned unlike the spiral moonies. It like the spur of the moment kind of calling. Well, indirectly, my Mom's nagging. Perhaps, perhaps. Yes, its the storage space 'affair' again. I have 2 packets of coconut powder sitting in the kitchen cabinet. Oh, fret not, the expiry date is in 2009.

It wasnt a 'tall order' to make this cake but rather than using coconut milk as the original receipe from Jo's, I used Meiji fresh milk instead. In addition, I threw in a handful of washed and air dried black sesame seeds into the final mix before it was placed into the oven to bake.

To date, I have yet to get any of my friends or colleagues to get poppy seeds for me from JB and KL. Cant blame them coz they are not into baking and none seems to know what the item is. One even asked if it is 'drug', you know, the literal translation of poppy. Haiz. Innocent folk she is.

Though Aunty Yochana did 'warn' in her blog that using convection oven will 'brown' the chiffon cake faster as it is practically near the heating element, a fact I totally acknowledge. However, I am 'stuck' with the convection oven till I create space in the kitchen. Yes, you can see the browned' and even darkened sides and top of my chiffon cake.

Then again, the inner part of my chiffon cake is soft, light and bouncy. It rose nicely and the whiff of the coconut powder during the bake was 'beautiful' to inhale.

Lovely. I think I have 'nailed' the art of making chiffon cake. Yes !

Thousand Layer Spiral Moonies

I have been wanting to attempt the making of the Thousand Layer Spiral Moonies since I 'laid eyes' on them in Aunty Yochana's blogsite. Baking is a breeze with Aunty, and she is always encouraging passion 'learning' bakers like myself to try the bakes ourselves too.

In fact, I had been planning and contemplating between baking the spiral or the walnut moonies since Wednesday afternoon I practically 'enticed' a colleague of mine to join me in the 'craze' of moonies making. We went to KCT together during lunch time.

She seemed 'lured' into the food world. The variety of spices, moulds, foodstuff, flours etc. It was a rush to shop and dash within 30 mins as we had only the remaining 30 mins to 'devour' our lunch before work resumes. Receipe from Aunty Yochana's white snow skin was also introduced to her and she seems pretty confident to try making it over this weekend. We shall see the end products tomorrow. That was her promise.

Back to me, yes. The paste is the durian lotus paste from KCT. And boy, I was glad I got this paste earlier cos when we went on Wednesday, there were remaining stock. It was pure delight to do the practical swiss roll thingy. The process of rolling and seeing the layers forming and the learning progresses.

Well, proudly, my Mom praised the look of these moonies. And rather than deep frying them like the usual way, mine were all baked. Thats why the look is fairly white with a tinge of brown. But, i love the spiral look in most of them.

Aint they cute ?


Sponge Sandwich Cake

I have been coughing for the past 3 days and this is my 2nd day of medical leave. Restless as I am, during the 'break' of the coughs, I grabbed time to attempt baking sponge cake.

However, I do not think I have not acquired the skill to have the sponginess that I longed for. You can see from the pictures that there are unevenness in the bake and the texture is not soft. In fact, it seems dry.

Well, as the saying goes, just like the chiffon cake, it takes skill, time and patience to nail the lightness to perfecting the technique for these delicate bakes.

Meanwhile, the St Dalfour mixed berries jam is spread to sandwich the two layers. Not a bad attempt, theres room for improvement.


Red Wine Berry Paste Snow Skin Moonies

After reading the Lifestyle page today about the making of snow skin moonies, I decided to practice the making of the snow skin moonies again today.
I want to master the 'soft' texture. The recent batch of the snow skin moonies had turned hard after the 3th day even though it was kept in the air tight container in the fridge. There was condensation of water drops in the container as well. Hmmm... Perhaps I had overkneaded. Perhaps I had not added enough ice water. Perhaps, I had not 'rested' the dough before I started the moulding. So many possibilities.

I had my mind set on using the red wine berry paste. And I must agree that the aroma of the red wine seems 'stronger' than last year's. Even my sister commented that she could smell the whiff of the liquor 'looming' in the kitchen air. Especially today when the air is cool and moist with the glooming grey skies.

And this time round, I was more generous with the fresh milk portion and hence reduced the ice water in the proportionate amount. The texture of this batch is much softer than my recent 1st batch. Mom commented that the skin texture was much softer too.

Yes, I like the pinky look. So pretty.


Strawberry Marshmellow

I wanted to 'challenge' myself today in making two items, one bake and one chill concurrently. It was a crazy idea cos with no one to help me to juggle the timing, I 'almost' had a burnt marshmellow chilled cake. That would have been disasterous.

The last round I had nice jello as topping with generous portion of strawberries. However, this round, you would notice that the strawberries are nicely 'spaced' out as Mom is not into biting too many fruits for this chilled item. Taking her feedback and adjusting the jello, this is a mildly sweet cake with 'limited' strawberries and it is a simpler looking chilled cake compared to the last one which I made sometime back.

All in all, though tired from all the stirring, mixing and juggling between the oven and the fridge. It was fun. I am sure you will agree too if you share my passion too.

Winter Plum Blossom Flower Flaky Mooncakes (with Wholemeal Flour)

Alright, allow me to explain the 'different' look of my Winter Plum Blossom Flower Flaky Mooncakes. Other than no egg wash to glaze the top of the moonies, and the 'naked' look without the black sesame seeds toppings to 'decorate' , it was a decent turnout.

Initially, I had wanted to try making the Walnut Moonies. However, I liked the look of this receipe which has captivated me much after numerous viewing into Jestina's blogsite, Florence's and even Aunty Lucy's as well. Not only was it more interesting, it was pretty too.

Imagine my blurr-ness today. In the midst of the preparation, I realised that I had ran out of plain flour. And it was raining heavily this afternoon. No way was I going get drenched either. Rummaging through the containers, I could only find Wholemeal Flour, the closest to 'salvage' and hence the 'revamped' look.

Using the white lotus paste which I got from KCT, I made my 1st batch of Wholemeal Winter Plum Blossom Flower. The pastry feels coarse during the rolling but the taste is more 'crisp' while it was still warm from baking.

Not bad for a 1st timer I must say. Oh, I would strongly recommend the white lotus paste from KCT as it is not too sweet, and just the right fragrance, for my taste buds at least.


Crumbly Blueberries Cake (again)

Alright, I admit, I am crazy 'over' blueberries purchases. And its NTUC's fault. hahaha.

Mom was 'nagging' about clearing her fridge, so I had to 'whip up' something to clear the blueberries and the crunchy macadamia nuts. Sometimes I wish the government relax the HDB rulings and allow singles like myself to own a NEW flat instead of RESALE flat. Arh yes, a spacious kitchen and bedroom. Dream dream.

Heres my evergreen Crumbly Blueberries receipe adapted from the ST. Fresh from the convection oven bake today again. And oh, using HL strawberry milk instead of the usual HL plain white milk does set a unique whiff of sweetness in the air during the bake. hmmmm.... Due to the rain while I was baking this afternoon, the dense fragrance settles heavily in the kitchen of bakes. I aint complaining at all. Neither would you, right fellow bakers?

In fact, this bake was done before I did the moonies. So you can imagine the invisible "no entry" sign barring the rest of my family from accessing the kitchen while I kept myself busy from mid noon till about tea break.

What a busy afternoon indeed.

Green Tea Snow Skin Moonies

Mooncake festival is about a month away. Advertisements from the various restaurants and hotels are 'flooding' the newspapers and channelling through the credit cards statements enclosures too.

My first trial of moonies making was this time last year too. I was browsing the internet and found Florence's webpage, then Aunty Lucy's, then Jo's etc etc. The rest is history. Gosh, how time flies. Its been a year since the baking and cooking addiction of mine started.

And this year, I aint gonna miss out the fun. I bought the fried glutinuous rice flour and the plastic mould from KCT two weeks' ago. And with the green tea paste from Phoon Huat, heres my first batch of green tea snow skin moonies for this year, 2008.

I love the design of this 8 pattern mould which I got for a mere $3 from KCT. Its versatile as jelly mould too. Using the receipe from Aunty Lucy, the total 'production' yielded more than 20 mini moonies.

In case anyone of you is wondering, the red mooncake box was for the moonies which we purchased from one of the 5 star hotels.

Plain and simple white is the look. But hye, it look presentable. Dont you agree ?


Green Tea Chiffon Cake

May I present my well deserved applaud bake for today. Yes ! Finally! I have 'nailed' the making of chiffon cake. The green tea powder which was bought from Phoon Huat was going to expire in another 20 days time. No wastage, a reminder from Mom as always. And with all the lovely chiffons baked by Aunty Lucy, Florence, Aimei, Elyn etc, I felt it was timely for me to try baking chiffon cake again. Just do it spirit ! (Nike !)

This green tea chiffon cake receipe is borrowed from Florence's blogsite, Do what I like. I did not add the rum as the receipe called for. Otherwhich, instead of using the handwhisk to blend the egg yolk batter to the well whisked egg white, I used a big yellow and white spatula which I got for $2 at Daiso months back.

And viola, just look at the pictures! Rise, rise it did and the evenness and the spongeness and the light texture of each bite just maketh me smile. My sister stands witness to my patience and gentleness with every gentle stroke when blending the yolks and whites. And the aroma of the bake was simply lovely. More natural aeromatherapeutic than you could imagine. Most bakers will agree to that.

Theres something to look forward to every weekend, and to me, every Sunday is passion destress day, my baking day. Yumz.


Honey 'yoghurt' cake

Just had to try new receipes with a twist. So, yesterday, I tried the baking of this Honey Yoghurt Cake. The original name of this cake is Honey Sour Cream Cake. However, I replaced sour cream with plain yoghurt. And instead of chopped mixed nuts, I used sliced almond pieces. This being a receipe extracted from a foreign baker, i.e. you can imagine how much the amount of sugar and honey I had to reduce from the receipe. As the saying goes, never follow blindly. /span>

However, I must admit that the process of the making was tedious. As I do not own a cake mixer, everything had to be done manually. The creaming of the sugar and the oil, followed with the adding of the eggs yolks to cream till white. Next will be the blending of the yoghurt and the flour, and then the whisking of the egg whites till stiff. And to complete it all, the batter is to be blended nicely with the egg whites till well combined. At the end of the making process, my arms were aching. Wish someone can buy me a Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday. Or a Kenwood mixer will be good too. Hahah, dream on.

During the baking process, it did not seem that the cake was rising well. Instead of the normal 50 mins, I had to bake it for an hour as it was too moist and not fully cooked. It was Mom who asked me to stop the bake coz the exterior of the cake was getting abit too dark, and for fear it will end up 'chow ta'.

Looks can be deceiving. Just look at how soft and light the texture of my 1st attempt at this receipe. Ya, I did 'nail' the receipe well and good except, perhaps, I should have reduced the sugar and honey even more as Mom thought it was sweeter than my usual bakes.


Marbled "nutty" cake

Skipped the baking last week as I was really 'drained' out, yups, from the work'affairs'.

So today, without hesitation, I sprang into my weekly bake action again. I was drooling over anything chocolatety. My sister bought two lovely slices of chocolate cakes from Cendele, which was shared between the 3 of us. However, that was not enough to satisfy my palate. The craving was insatiable.

Yes, off I went to the nearest NTUC and bought a 200ml of Meiji fresh milk, a packet of natural healthy mixed nuts. Viola, this is my Marbled "nutty" cake. Mom simply adores crunch in the bake. I also added dashes of mixed spice into the cake setting off a whiff of natural 'spicey' fragrance.

Nothing is more pleasurable than to indulge in homebaked delight. Trust me, I enjoy the bake and of course, the taste of my cake with my own hands.


Chocolate Cream cheese cake

I had been eyeing the lovely chocolate cream cheese cake receipe from Aunty Peony's blogsite, seen also in Florence's blogsite as well as from others from the Imperial Kitchen and decided that I shall give the receipe a try today.

Probably I had 'wrongly' estimated the ingredients and being in the 'rush' of time, I made a quick dash effort of mix, cream and blend. So, instead of the lovely layered chocolate cream cheese cake, mine turned out to be the original 'blend' of chocolate cream cheese cake with chocolate chips.

The cake was rising beautifully in the oven and the aroma filled the whole house. However, my 'rush' time had me taking out the cake before it was fully baked. Though Mom and my other sister was at home and probably they could have 'eyed' the oven and 'assist'. Then again, I was concerned if they were capable of handling the oven and pans as such. Yes, whenever I bake, I rule the whole kitchen so I never roped in their help in any way.

Luckily, the cake though shrunk at the sides and 'collapsed' in the centre, was still edibly moist and soft. Even Mom who was not a chocolate cake fan had a slice and was agreeable with the bake's softness.

Well, a non professional, no training, but an avid learner can be more original than anyone can imagine. Dont you agree ?


Blueberry Crumble Cake

Yes, yes, blueberries again. Hye, in case you are unaware, blueberries contain anti oxidants which are good for our bodies. Oh, here i go again, making justification for my craving.

Last Sunday, I decided to bake one of my favourite receipe,Blueberry crumble cake with chopped macadamia nuts. The macadamia nuts were bought from Sun Lik about 2 months back and the pack has been 'sitting' in the fridge. Just look at the pictures, just look at that!

This receipe was from the ST's weekly Mind & Body. Simply enjoy the crunchiness and freshness of the macadamia nuts with every spoonful bite. Mom enjoyed it too as she favours cakes with the extra 'umph' i.e. the crunch factor. In fact, Mom and I love walnuts and macadamia nuts. Thats why we are so similar in many ways. I wont dwell into that too deeply though.

Thoroughly enjoyed the baking process. Lovely way to a perfect precious Sunday.