Baking @ The Little Cookhouse

When Cindy asked me if I wanted to meet up to have a baking session for the kids before the the beginning of yet another school term, I agreed. Nothing too surprising about my response because I think it’s fun for the kids to bake and especially so if I don’t have to deal with the mess.

I was a tad worried about the boy though. At home, I’ve observed him to be none too excited about helping out in the kitchen. Each time I invite him to do so, he would reject and prefers to do his reading or engages in pretend play with his animal figurines. Baking? Cooking? Nah….

Is it a boy thing? Surely not? But I left it at that. In any case, if he doesn’t show interest at the Little Cookhouse, I’ll entertain him. The sister would love that session.

Little Cookhouse is located at Alexandra Central Mall and is a humble baking studio for kids. It has a Montessori based bake and cook enrichment programme which aims to teach values and life skills to children between 3 to 12 years old.

I had a short chat with Jean & Yock Song, the instructors, before the session began and they shared that they believed all kids could handle the baking on their own with minimal help from the adults. The kids will be guided for sure but parents can rest assure that they won’t need to help much. I was cynical when it comes to Dan but let’s just try and see.

Teacher Jean (an ex-primary school teacher) gathered the kids to the table and introduced them to the country of Japan using the show-and-tell method. The kids would be making sushi cakes hence the topic on Japan. Jean shared with us that for other workshops, she would use stories or other materials as well to introduce what they will be baking or cooking.

I was excited to see my kids in action. I know that the girl could manage on her own since she has been baking with me and I make it a point not to help her at all. The boy surprised me with his engagement level. He appeared to be all ready for the action and carried out the steps as instructed. At times, he received help from the adults but most of the time, he could manage on his own which was very SURPRISING for me! My heart was jumping for joy as I witnessed him in action. No tantrums, no giving up. Just mere tiredness after each step of whisking, sieving and mixing but that’s about it. 🤣🤣

While the batter was being baked in the oven, the children were ushered to the table again for the second part of the lesson in which they were taught to fold origami papers to make themselves a crown, all decorated by them. It was certainly an age-appropriate task for the younger ones.

When the batter got baked, hungry stomachs rumbled. The next part proved to be both challenging and much satisfying for the kids. They had to cut the cakes into sushi-like shapes with the cutters (duh) but for Dan, it did involve a little more effort and precision. 😅

Picking something to munch while labouring is absolutely valid! I captured the boy’s expressions and knew that he enjoyed his ‘work’.

I’m super proud of this young lady who did almost everything by herself. She must have felt pleased with herself too.

This boy? Give him a round of an applause please! He stayed on task throughout without whining. 🤣🤣

So it’s definitely true: boys can bake too!!! Yay!

Little CookHouse provides a variety of baking classes (donut pops, cupcakes, tartlets, cookies, etc) and it cost $49 per child/ class (free for the accompanying adults). Now you can enjoy a 5% off for first time participants with the promo code ‘myfirsttrial’. This promo code is valid till 30 Sept 2019.

We had a wonderful and cosy time at the Little CookHouse that afternoon. Thank you Teacher Jean and Yock Song for teaching the class!

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Yuzu Raspberry Madeleines

Apart from cookies, muffins and cupcakes, I consider madeleines to be one of the easier sweet treats to bake. The ingredients can be commonly found in the supermarket and if you bake often, they form the basic ones that you should have in your pantry. Madeleines happen to be Faith’s favourite treats and she asked for them the other day. My response?

“You have to work for it.” By that, I mean she had to help out in the baking process. 😉


You know I like Yuzu and I thought of pairing Yuzu flavour with raspberries. Faith doesn’t like to eat the fruit but I can certainly hide them in the madeleines, yes? And our little helpers could definitely crack eggs, sift flour, pour the batter into the baking tray and inserting the raspberries into the batter in each mould. Let them help!

Ingredients:
3 eggs
110g raw sugar
50ml organic soy milk
175g all purpose flour/organic unbleached flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder
200g melted butter
1/2 tbsp Yuzu tea syrup

(yields 20 madeleines)

1. Preheat the oven to 230C. If you are using a metal madeleine tray, lightly butter and flour the tray.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and whisk in the sugar and milk until well combined. Whisk in the sifted flour and baking powder until the batter is smooth, but don’t over-work the mixture as this will develop gluten in the flour and toughen the madeleines. Add in the yuzu  tea syrup and whisk in the melted butter.

3. Fill each scallop-shaped mould of the tray to half or at most 2/3 full. Insert a raspberry into each individual mould.

4. Bake for 8 minutes in the oven or until golden brown. You may want to turn the tray 180 degrees halfway through the baking.

The madeleines are good eaten on the day itself though they are good eaten the next day too.

Ke-ki delight with Chef Yamashita @Bosch

[Event invite]

You know I love baking. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to share baked goods with loved ones and it always brings a smile to my face when the aroma of those delicious products fill the kitchen. What is more delightful is the chance to meet a renowned chef and to brush shoulders with him.

Last Saturday, I was privileged to be invited to attend the launch of famed pâtissier Chef Yamashita’s third recipe book – “Tanoshii Ke–Ki” – at Bosch Experience Centre and learn how to bake a Yuzu Chiffon Cake from the great baking master himself.

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Chef Yamashita is such an affable chef and also a funny one. He put all of us at ease as he spoke in Japanese the steps to making the Yuzu Chiffon Cake. Of course, we were able to understand his instructions as he had a translator working alongside him.

A few pointers to note as he showed us the steps:

:: Sift the flour once or twice to aerate it.
:: When preparing the egg yolk batter, you need to add the olive oil really gradually, just like how you make home-made mayonnaise. Do not rush this step to prevent splitting.
:: When the batter is ready, pour it a portion at a time, using a bench scraper if you have. This is to prevent air bubbles to be introduced.

Don’t know what I’m talking about since you don’t have the recipe? No worries! Chef Yamashita has kindly agreed to share it with you!

In Bosch Experience Centre where this event was held, we could see for ourselves how machines can help to make life easier for us. Say, the MaxxiMUM kitchen machine, for example, it could beat the egg whites on all sides of the bowl and its SensorControl could automatically detect the ideal stiffness of the egg whites. Cool eh? And the oven? It’s even smarter with all the different kinds of settings that are available including steaming! You can take a trip down to experience all these cool kitchen gadgets when you are free.

I tell you, the Yuzu Chiffon is simply tantalising. Soft and not overly sweet and more importantly, you could really taste the yuzu. You have to try baking it!

 We were also treated to his lovely Sakura roll cake and Castella cake, a popular Japanese honey spongecake which was originally introduced by the Portuguese merchants to Nagasaki area in the 16th century.

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Flipping through Chef Yamashita’s third book, I realised they are easy to bake Japanese-inspired French confections. They range from his signature sponge, chiffon and mousse cakes to egg-free treats so that everyone can recreate these easy-to-follow cake recipes in their own homes. I’m really excited and tempted to bake all of them!

For a start, why don’t you try your hands on this Yuzu Chiffon Cake?

Ingredients:
120g pastry flour
3g baking powder

Egg yolk batter
4 egg yolks
40g castor sugar
45g olive oil
30g milk
85g honey yuzu tea syrup

Meringue
5 egg whites
50g castor sugar

Chantilly cream (optional)
400g whipping cream
20g castor sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Prepare a 17-cm chiffon cake tin.
  2. Sift together pastry flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Prepare egg yolk batter. In a large bowl ,beat egg yolks and sugar until mixture is thick and creamy. Add olive oil gradually while mixing util mixture is smooth. Add milk and mix well. Add honey yuzu tea and mix again. Set aside.
  4. Prepare meringue. Using an electric mixer and a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk egg whites gently until foamy. Gradually add sugar and whisk util firm peaks form.
  5. Spoon one-third of meringue egg yolk batter and mix gently with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add remaining meringue and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into chiffon cake tin. Tap tin gently on counter top to release any air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean. remove from oven and invert mould on a wire rack. Let cake cool completely before unmoulding.
  8. Tap sides of mould to release cake.
  9. Prepare Chantilly cream. Using an electric mixer, whisk whipping cream and sugar at high speed util medium soft peaks form.
  10. Decorate cake with Chantilly carea,, fresh fruit, chocolate balls, dollops of honey yuzu tea syrup and biscuits crumbs if desired.
  11. Refriegerate for 30 minutes before serving. Consume within a day.

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Chef Yamashita Masataka trained at the Tsuji Culinary Institute, a well-known and respected culinary institute in Osaka, Japan. He gained experience working at various patisseries around Japan for a decade before starting his own patisserie in Nara, which quickly became one of the top patisseries there. Eight years later, yearning for new challenges and a change of scenery, che Yamashita moved to Singapore where he took charge of the kitchen at Patisserie Glace, turning it into a haven for delightful cakes and pastries. Chef Yamashita soon saw an opportunity to revive his patisserie from Japan and re-established Flor Patisserie at Duxton Hill, Sigapore. Today, chef Yamashita runs his own highly successful Japanese artisan patisserie at Tanjong Pagar Plaza, aptly named Chef Yamashita.  He is also appointed as brand ambassador for Bosch Home Appliances.

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Opening party for Sew Into It

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of baking some sweet treats for the opening party of Sew Into It, a one stop sewing workshops and fabric store in Singapore. If you can recall, I sewed my first dress for Faith under the guidance of Amy, my friend whom I have met in Boston and one of the two partners who started this enterprise.

Initially, I wasn’t keen to bake since I wasn’t sure if I could cope with two kids now. But I couldn’t find any other baker friends who could bake for them and in the end, I decided that I should just try. Part of me wanted to play a part too in their opening party. 😉

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Karen, the other partner, requested for 50 cupcakes and a vanilla sponge cake with the party logo on it. Without the kids, I would have been able to bake and manage all these in a day. Now, it took a few days, including the buttons that were made from fondant. Thankfully, the sweet treats were completed by the stipulated timing.

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Welcome to the party!

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This is Amy who taught me how to sew the dress. When she shared with me her vision for Sew Into it, I was happy for her. She has wanted to use her skills to reach out to the less privileged which is really typical of her.

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Blessing others through Sew Into It.

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Sew Into It has courses for the young ones. So if you are thinking of getting your kids to acquire some skills in sewing, you might want to check out their website for relevant workshops?

Erm, Faith was just posing here. She is a bit young for sewing.

All the best for your venture, Amy and Karen!

[Foodie Friday] Buckwheat cookies

It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing and I wanted to test if the oven is still in working condition. So I thought why not bake some cookies using the ingredients I had at home. Looking through the recipes I have on the blog, I decided to go for buckwheat cookies and got the little one to join me. It’s a fuss-free recipe which I needed at that moment!

20151113_155957All ready to help out!

While the little ones were napping, I got the following ingredients ready:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
110g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk, beaten

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1. Heat the oven to 325F/ 165C. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk to mix (easy for the girl to do). Using a standmixer, beat the butter in a bowl until fluffy and add the egg yolk. Beat in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.

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2. Form tbsp of dough into balls and place 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Use a fork to press the dough into 3/8-inch-thick rounds. This is the part which I got the little one to help again and she’s elated.

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3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden around the edges. Cool on a rack.

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Isn’t it easy?

The past week

The past week has been a busy one. It’s the one-week school holiday and that means F was home all the time. I guess if I wasn’t pregnant, we would be going places and having loads of fun. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Thankfully, the dear husband took a few days off to look after the toddler while I busied myself with baking and decorating cakes. That week, I took on 3 cake orders that were due on the same day and till now, I have no clue why I did that in the first place. ;p

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This is a cake that is requested by my ex-boss for her 82YO mom. What a privilege to bake for her. I admit I wasn’t that ecstatic about making sugar flowers because I feel that isn’t my forte. I much prefer to make figurines of cartoon characters but I guess I should challenge myself so that I could improve. I did have fun!

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Nowadays, I update more on my Dayre account since it’s faster and is a good platform for my family to know what goes on in our lives. These sugar flowers and figurines had to be made in advance and they could take a long time to make.

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I normally bake the sponge cakes at least a day in advance and would frost them before the delivery day as I want the flavours to blend.

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That Saturday was an awesome day for covering the cake with fondant in a non air-conditioned place. It was hazy no doubt but it wasn’t humid and that is perfect! This cake took me a whole morning to cover and decorate (at a steady pace) and I was pleased at how it turned out. It looks exactly like the sketch I made for this customer.

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This Peppa cake theme was requested by a friend for his younger daughter. I have not done Peppa pig before but certainly do not mind working on it. He showed me the pictures whose figurines I had to recreate and it was fun. This cake was simple to decorate. Within an hour!

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This is for his elder daughter and an Angry Bird theme was requested.

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This is always the point when I feel absolutely relieved. The cakes were boxed up and ready to be collected/ delivered.

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The two adorable sisters. It’s such a privilege to bake for them!

That day when the cakes were due was our 6th wedding anniversary. We didn’t plan for anything fanciful (how could he since I had cake orders. Oops!) but we had a good dinner as a family.

I’m thankful to da man who puts the family before himself and that one of his aims in life is to make me happy (in his own words). Being able to pursue this little dream (baking and cake decorating) is a gift. At certain junctures, the course of your life meanders and you wonder what’s next. There have been a lot of changes in my life since I’ve become a mom but it has been really exciting. Not knowing what’s next can be unsettling yet I’ve come to realize that the good Lord knows what is good for me.

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Thank you for always rendering your help when I need it. You obviously are tired from work and yet there is no complaint when I ask you to take over to play with the little one or to help out with the household chores. I’m blessed. I’m soooo thankful to the Lord for you!

And with these cakes, I have to say’ Goodbye’ to baking for sale for a while as we prepare to welcome our second child. Thank you for all your support, dear friends. You have brightened my life with your orders and I hope to bake again for you!

Happy Teachers’ Day

Today is a school holiday in our country in appreciation of all our teachers who work tirelessly for the children. Teaching is a tough yet fulfilling job and though I’m no longer an educator now, I consider myself a teacher still to my own child. Hopefully, in years to come, I could still go back to teaching (I love it).

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It’s my first year doing something for the teachers of Faith since it’s her first year of schooling. They are nothing fanciful, just something that I enjoy doing like baking. I had wanted Faith to chip in but I guess she could do so the following year. This time round, perhaps just let the Mama do the work?

Happy Teachers’ Day. We really appreciate all the hard work that you put in.

Thank you!

Baking with a toddler | Blueberry muffins

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Young children are fickle-minded when it comes to food. Sometimes, they might like a certain food to bits and then all of a sudden, they declare that they hate it. Faith used to be able to gobble up a bowl of blueberries all by herself and then one fine day, she rejected them. It’s frustrating, to say the least. And I so wanted her to appreciate this fruit again.

So, to get her to consume them again, I have to hide the blueberries. Since we were running out of food for breakfast, I thought I might as well bake a batch of blueberry muffins.

The recipe is taken from Hummingbird Bakery whose Red Velvet Cake I like. However, I replaced the sugar with raw sugar and cut down the amount to 1 cup. The end result is that the muffins aren’t too sweet but that’s fine by me. ,

I also find that the toddler is more willing to eat what she has helped to bake and when she consumed the muffin this morning, she was happy and exclaimed that it was delicious. Effort paid off!

This batch yields about 18 muffins and they are obviously too much for our small family. Well, we can always freeze the rest for future consumption. The next time I bake these muffins, I might add a tablespoon of lemon zest just to enhance the taste. 😉

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2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
70g unsalted butter, melted
2 cups of blueberries

Yields about 18 muffins if you are using a standard-sized cupcake tin

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed.
  3. Put the buttermilk, egg and vanilla into a bowl and mix to combine. Slowly pour the flour mixture and beat until just IMG_3231incorporated.
  4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until the butter has just been incorporated, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until the dough is even and smooth.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries with a wooden spoon until even dispersed.
  6. Spoon the batter into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the muffins cool slightly in the pan before turning out into a wire rack to cool.

A busy June hols

The month of June was a busy one for me and I’m sure it was, for many parents. It’s the one-month school holiday after all and we had to make sure that our children were potentially engaged with activities lest they got bored at home and caused more headache for us. The hubs, knowing that it would be more challenging to handle the little one daily, offered to take leave twice a week so that he could relieve me during those days. With him around, I was definitely willing to be more adventurous and go on outings together as a family.

Here’s a post to record the many things that happened in June!

jurongbirdpark@ Jurong Bird Park with her playmate

gardensbythebayLearning about nursery rhymes @ Gardens by the Bay

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Outdoor activities! We love it! Farm visits, Jurong Bird Park, Gardens by the Bay, Tanjong Pargar Railway Station, Jacob Ballas, East Coast Park, SEA Games Carnival at the Sport Hub, Hortpark were some of the places we visited. With the hubs around, he could do the wild things with Faith while I rested. It was fun going on trips but it could get tiring too. It came to a point when I asked the little one what she wanted to do the following day and she replied, “I don’t want to go out. I want to stay home.” So much for planning activities for her eh?

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Perhaps, the more exhausting thing is not about going out but having to answer Faith’s endless questions. She became really chatty all of a sudden and asked so many questions that she tested my patience. I couldn’t answer her with ‘ok’, ‘hmm’, or a ‘yes’ but I have to continue the conversation with her. Goodness! It is a good problem, no doubt, I really needed a break from her!

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F gifted with Chinese books and enjoying pool time!

I’m thankful too that friends asked me out for meetup during this period. It was good catching up with good old friends over meals and naturally we would talk about our children and their progress in school. For one group, Faith was the youngest among the group of children and when friends shared about the challenges they faced, the issue of the Chinese language would always be brought up. It got me a bit uptight and I wonder if I should really step up my effort in getting Faith to be more conversant in Mandarin. Oh, that’s really stressful!

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Apart from the many activities, pregnancy itself was uneventful. Friends started asking if we need baby clothes and stuff of which we would need since we have given some essential items away (didn’t really expect to have a second one initially). Thankful for these kind souls as we wouldn’t want to spend too much on these items. I went for my Pilates classes as usual and since my back was starting to ache, prenatal massage is a good temporary relief. We have just settled for confinement nanny services through the previous agency that we engaged and hopefully we could get back the same lady.

I wish I could tell you that I love spending 24/7 with Faith but I don’t. I realised I needed time to myself, to do the things that I love like baking and cooking or just taking the time off to chill with a good read. I got a little, just a little downcast having her around all the time and felt a little lost. It sounds weird, I know but I don’t know how to explain this kind of feeling. During that moment, I was encouraged by what I read from ‘Desperate: Hope for the mom who needs to breathe‘…

The God who gave you your gifts and talents is the same God who gave you souls to bring up, train, invest in, and disciple….Scripture is filled with admonitions for a mama to make her home her focus and bring up her children. A mama’s primary domain is her home. This doesn’t mean you don’t have another purpose that God wants you to fulfill while you’re breathing on this earth, but your first and main purpose is to deeply invest in the souls He’s given you, and you will struggle immensely if you do not have resolve regarding your role as a mother.

This para spoke to me and gave me strength to move on. Somehow, I was able to focus on my family and at the same time, started to pick myself up to do the things that I like and one of the most awesome stuff was to be able to learn how to make the rice dumplings from two experienced mothers. God must have known that I’m struggling and sent these angels to liven me up! Simple joy!

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So I started to busy myself in the kitchen again and baked a Japanese Cheesecake for the cell group and got Faith to work on Lavender Madeleines with me. She loves baking and I love to impart such skills to her!

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All in all, I guess June turned out well. It was definitely busy but I must say we did enjoy ourselves. How was your June holidays?
All ready for July?

The Totoro wedding cake

I’m currently in a state of contentment.

Over these few years, I’ve learnt to accept and enjoy my role as a SAHM. Perhaps, it’s because I have only one kid and things are manageable. However, I believe I can attribute such contentment and joy to a few main factors and one of them is my interest in baking and cake decorating.

Being stuck at home can be depressing and I quickly realised that I am not one who can survive such a lifestyle. I love to learn, communicate with others and impart knowledge to others. Picking up from where I have left off, I decided to continue to hone my skills in baking and ventured into cake decorating by going for relevant courses. Gradually, friends asked me if I could bake for them and after much consideration, I decided to give it a try. I was honoured yet fearful because we all know that taste is subjective; I’m not sure if I could do a good job.

Anyway, I went ahead and baked more cakes. I love the process of learning through baking various kinds of sponge cakes and it’s really therapeutic as I work on the figurines. It’s a form of art and I find myself enjoying it.

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In the course of learning, I was privileged enough to get myself a freelance teaching job at a cake decorating school. It’s a dream come through. Flexible working hours works well for SAHMs and it’s definitely a bonus that you can share your passion with others too. At last, I could have a decent adult conversation! Do you realise that your vocabulary deteriorates when you only talk to a child most of the time? I do!

As much as I love making cakes, I am mindful that my interest does not take precedence over my main responsibility – my family. I am first of all, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, I am wife to my wonderful husband and then a mother to my child(ren). While God has given me gifts and abilities to bless others, I must make sure that I don’t fill my schedule such that I sacrifice the first three priorities.

I have thus learnt NOT to accept every other cake order that comes my way, especially in my current capacity. It’s painful, to be honest, to pass potential orders to my baker friends when I know I can do the job. However, at the end of the day, I have to let go so that I can fulfill my other responsibilities.

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to work on a rustic wedding cake and it was really pure joy working with the bride. She envisioned a cake with lots of fresh berries and a couple of cake toppers. So I just baked the classic Victoria Sponge Cake and sandwiched with cream, {lingoberry} jam and berries. 

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This is a simplified version of how the Victoria Sponge Cake is made via etsy.

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A few days before, the figurines, a Totoro wedding couple were made. They have to closely resemble the pictures that the bride had given me. I used fondant + tylose powder which is my best friend when it comes to sugar modelling.

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A day before the actual day, the three stacks of cakes were baked and frosted. I do believe that the flavours need time to blend and thus making the cake a day before is best. They were all packed and placed in the chiller since fresh fruits are used and I wouldn’t want to risk anything, ya know?

In most cases, I don’t do delivery but since this cake involved three tiers and I had to add in more fruits on site, it makes sense that I deliver the cake. The whole troop went with me because honestly, I couldn’t manage it all by myself now. #pregnancywoes

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Pardon me as the following pictures would have me in it since I got the hubs to snap me in action. Thankfully, the ride was smooth and by right, there shouldn’t be any accident to the cakes since they are heavy! For the bottom and second tier, I inserted dowels or those big, fat straws so that the cake would not sink when I place another layer on top of it. Royal icing is your best helper as you need to ‘glue’ the layers of cakes in place.

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I’m always very nervous when it comes to stacking of the layers of cakes. Because there is simply no back up plan and to add to the stress, you have eyes on you as you work. So there cannot be any mistakes! Delicate hands, please!

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Placing more fresh fruits by the sides and adding real flowers that are supplied by the bride. I should have added more actually!

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To have the snowy effect, I sprinkled dusting powder (not icing sugar) all over lavishly. This powder stays in its normal form and will not be ‘soaked’ by the moisture of the cake.

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There you go. I had fun with this cake and with all the $$ I got from baking the cakes, I could at least contribute a wee bit to the family. Granted that it’s a far cry from what I used to get when I was working, it does help in paying off some expenses. And… it does feel good to have some earning power. ;p

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Baking madness!

The past week or so, I have been really busy with making cakes, all thanks to friends who support me in my hobby! It is tiring, no doubt. The washing part is most dreaded and that includes the cleaning of the countertop and the floor since I don’t want ants to occupy my kitchen. Nope, they cannot even enter!

The cakes baked thus far:

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This is a simple 7 inch vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream and peach between the layers. The mummy has requested that the design fit the theme of a magic show and thus I came up with this design.

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Christmas came early! A friend browsed my pinterest account, saw this cake and asked me to do it for her. It’s a cranberry infused sponge cake with cranberry sauce in between. I took a long time to source for the cranberries and finally found frozen ones at Marketplace at I12. My friend requested for a 1/2kg cake but you know, I don’t work by weight but by size. So, the cake came up to be about 1.5kg. Hah!

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Frozen cake #1. A hit among my friends when I posted it on FB. The design is simple but the figurines make it look awesome. My friend wants it really simple and she didn’t want blue-coloured layers because she felt the colour look weird on a cake. Agree too so I just did a simple cake for her daughter.

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Rainbow cake. Still a hit and this is for the last day of school party for a preschooler. Her class is called Rainbow 5 and it’s absolutely apt to bake such a cake for her! Naked cake can look really pretty! Love the colourful sprinkles too!

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A last-minute order from a friend. This is for her daughter who turns 22! I used to teach her when she was in primary school and now she’s a young adult! I feel so old! Rainbow cake inside and Nat was surprised as she cut the cake, she told me.

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The wheels on the bus go round and round…. this is an order from the hubs’ friend. Her son wanted the bus on the cake along with some animal figurines. A rainbow cake was requested and I found that when I bake about 200g of the batter in the 6″ pan, the cake came out even and I didn’t need to slice the top of the cake. Will go with this method the next time a rainbow cake is requested. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s ok. It’s just for my reference. ;p

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Frozen cake #2. This is a tad more complicated than #1 in the sense that my friend wanted a blue side and a white top that acts as snow. I prefer this design.

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60 Hello Kitty Chocolate cupcakes. I was more stressed and tired over them than all other cakes. It’s definitely more tedious to come up with these toppers and could get really mundane. But the labour was worth it when the girl received them with joy. I make kids happy. I love my job.

😉

Drummer boy cake

Today must be a dry day. The fondant I put on the cake didn’t perspire much.

I worked on a drummer boy theme cake for a 3YO boy. His father is a drummer and I think the little one aspires to be one too. So the dad asked me if I could make a rainbow cake for his birthday in the theme of a drum, leaving the design to me.

I went for a figurine. Because I want to practise.

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As usual, the figurines were made a few days in advance since I need to dry them. A day before the collection of the cake, I baked three layers of the cake and today, I baked the rest. So I used my usual sponge cake recipe. the recipe yields about 1130g and I divided the portion into three colours = 376g per layer. I think this is a bit too much for an 8″ cake because if I put on 6 layers, it will be more than 4 inch tall! Today, I put on 5 layers only because I was multi-tasking and forgot about that one layer. But all’s good. I thought it looks better. It’s proportionate.

*Note to self. To divide into 4 layers for an 8″ cake and 3 layers for a 10″ cake.

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I used IMBC and a little of the conventional frosting (the one with icing sugar) and surprisingly, the fondant works well with it. I’m happy!

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I’m beginning to enjoy making figurines!

This is the full version of what has happened today.

Yuzu sponge cake

I fell in love with Yuzu after trying the Yuzu drink sold in the supermarket. I like that it is aromatic and refreshing without being overly citrus. And I thought I should infuse it into my cakes! I did just that for refreshment during the recent playdate that we had.

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I did some changes to a vanilla sponge cake recipe by using more cake flour instead of using all of plain flour. I also reduced the amount of sugar since my friends prefer less sweet stuff. Instead of vanilla extract, I used Yuzu concentrate which I purchased from Kitchen Capers.

So here goes:

Yuzu sponge cake

2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup castor sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp Yuzu concentrate
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line baking tin with baking paper. I baked a 6″ cake for this one and the height goes up to 4 inches. Very tall cake!

1. Sift the flour and baking powder.

2. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 mins and gradually add the castor sugar. Beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

4. Add the Yuzu concentrate and beat until combined.

5. With mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour, beat until combined. Add half of the milk and beat. Repeat and then add the remaining flour and beat until combined.

6. Spoon mixture into baking tin. If you are doing rainbow or ombre cake, you would have to use your scale to divide out the batter equally and then add your desired food colouring. Bake for about 20-30 minutes (depending on the portion you bake) or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Italian Meringue Buttercream
150g fine sugar
60g water
4 egg whites
220g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch bits
1 tbsp Yuzu concentrate
Pinch of cream of tartar

1. Pour the sugar into the water in a saucepan and let boil to 120C. Do not stir the sugar when boiling. Go on to step 2.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until it reaches the sift peak stage (foamy stage).

3. When the temperature of the sugar syrup shows 115C, whisk the egg whites on high until stiff peak. When the sugar syrup reaches 12oC, turn down the speed of the mixer to speed 1 and then pour the syrup into the meringue (beaten egg whites0 by the side. Do it carefully in a steady stream. Once all the syrup is in, turn the mixer on high and whisk the egg whites until the sides of the mixer bowl no longer feels hot. This will take quite some time.

4. Once the meringue has cooled, turn the speed down to medium and add in the pieces of unsalted butter, one at a time. It will look like it has curdled but fear not, keep whisking and in the end, it should look like this.

5. Lastly, add in the Yuzu concentrate.

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Once you have the buttercream, the next step is to frost the cake. Enjoy the process!

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Verdict: So my friends ate slices of it and one of them commented it’s still a tad sweet. The husband likes it and I think it’s just right too. Try it yourself and see if you like it less sweet by reducing the sugar to about 3/4 cup. If you really want a soft cake, you can just use cake flour. Experiment with the recipe. This is the fun thing about baking.

😉

Playdate and a banana muffin recipe

We just completed our second (homeschooling) session! Oh what fun! The three mothers were tasked to conduct the various segments and I must say I learnt quite a fair bit from my fellow mummies!

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We learnt about the colour blue the previous session and this time round, it was red. After the welcome song, C got the kids to learn about RED by showing them items with that colour. It was a quick segment since we realised that our young kids get bored and couldn’t sit still for long.

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Next, Sab read a story entitled ‘Are you my Mummy’ and got the children’s attention. The illustration was colourful and the kids got to feel the furry material too. I guess our kids have been educated on animals and the older ones could call out the names of some animals. Faith? She was just distracted by the many toys in the house.

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We did some craftwork as a follow up to the reading. Using toilet paper roll and some scraps of paper, we made a duck! I thought it is quite a good idea since we could teach the kiddos the different parts of the body as we pieced them together.

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Right after that, the kids played with homemade dough as free play. This was the first time that Faith interacted with dough and she didn’t dare to touch it, let alone do some cut outs with it. I think I have to expose her to more materials from now on! *think sensory play*

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 I am in charge of refreshment this week and I made a bento (kind of) with cranberry buns, banana muffins and fruits. I seriously love how the Japanese present their food and want to do the same. So, you can expect more bentos from me too!

I like this session a lot because it is also a time for the mummies to rest and catch up with one another. As expected, the boy could finish whatever was presented to him while the girls had some slight problem. But no worries!

I love the idea of placing the food items on the tray because this teaches the kids personal space. This time round, Faith couldn’t finish her food. How rare!

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After the makan session, it’s Quiet Time. We wanted to instill this in the kids so that they will know how to be quiet before the Lord as they grow up. For now, it’s really just for them to get down and rest while we pray for them. You may think it is easy but the kids were trying to get up every now and then! 5 minutes….just for 5 minutes!

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The last session is on Practical Life which was somewhat the same as the previous session. The kids got to scoop cotton balls from one container to the other, match caps with the respective bottles and to match shapes using theMelissa N Doug puzzles. With a goodbye song, the children bade farewell to one another and so our 2-hour session ended! So fast!

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Banana Muffin Recipe
(Makes about 10 – 12 medium size muffins)

Ingredients:

4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
250 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
80 g caster sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten with fork
60 g milk
60 g butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1 or 2 banana, sliced into 1/2cm chunks

1. Sieve flour, baking powder and cinnamon ground together. Set aside.

2. In a big bowl. Stir and mix butter, milk, eggs and vanilla together. Add in sugar and salt. Mix till well combined and add in the mashed bananas. Mix well.

3. Fold in the sieve flour at one time and mix slowly till well combined. Remember not to over stir the batter.

4. Scoop the batter into the paper cup, add the sliced banana chunks and cover it with some batter. Fill about 8/10 of the batter, leave some space for the muffin to raise when we bake them. I have some caramel and walnuts left from previous bakes and added the caramel in between the batter and sprinkle some chopped toasted walnuts on top.

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5. Bake at preheated oven at 175c for 20mins or till it’s cooked, when the toothpick inserted at the center of the cakes came out clean. Every oven is different so you have to trial and test!

* Note to self: The next time I bake these, I will try brown sugar and see the difference it makes.

 

Foodie Friday | Passionfruit curd meringue tartlets

I’m a little late for FF because a host of things happened yesterday that prevented me from blogging. But it’s not too late, I guess. 😉

It’s been a while since I last made tartlets and my hands are itching again. This time round, I intend to make passionfruit curd meringue tartlets. I’m using the puree as opposed to the real fruit since I don’t see any of those fruits in the supermarket. Have fun making this. I had, especially when I’m using the blow torch. Heh…

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The Pate Sucree tart shells can be made in advance when you have extra egg yolks left after baking. It’s easy to make and you should always keep some in the freezer!

*Pate Sucree Tart Shell
( 1/2 portion can made eight 31/2″ shells and twelve 1 1/2″ shells)
Adapted from Miette Cookbook

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
226g cold unsalted butter, cubed (1 whole SCS block)
2 large egg yolks
4 to 8 tbsp heavy cream

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1. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of the cream. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. If the dough does not come together into large chunks, slowly add the remaining cream, a little bit at a time, until it does. I took about 5 tbsp. Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you need. I used the pressing in method to press the dough into the tart pans. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to firm up for 30 minutes.

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4. Preheat oven to 180C.

5. Fully pre-bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Every oven is different. For me, I tend to put to bake for a tad longer, sometimes up to 20 minutes. I will always look at the colour to determine if the tarts are baked to my liking.

Passionfruit curd

1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
about ¾ cup passionfruit puree
112g unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (off-heat), whisk the sugar and the eggs together until blended. Whisk in the corn syrup and passionfruit puree and then drop in the chunks of butter.

2. Put the saucepan over medium heat and start whisking, taking care to work the whisk into the edges of the pan. If your whisk is too big to clean the edges of the pan, switch to a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Keep heating and whisking the mixture without stop. After about 6 to 8 minutes, you’ll notice the curd starting to thicken- it won’t be very thick, but the change is easily perceptible. When the curd is thickened, and most important, you see a bubble or two burble to the surface and then pop immediately, remove the pan from the heat.

3. Scrape the curd into a heatproof bowl or a canning jar or two. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal, and let the curd cool to room temperature (it will thicken slightly as it cools). Chill before serving. The curd will keep up to three weeks, refrigerated.

Swiss Meringue
(Portion is sufficient for this amount of tartlets)

100g egg white (3 large eggs)
135g sugar

1. Lightly whisk egg whites in a mixing bowl, place over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).

2. Add in sugar in 3 batches, whisk sugar and egg whites till sugar is fully dissolved (rub some with your fingers, if it feels grainy, it hasn’t dissolved yet). I took about 4 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Transfer the mixture into another bowl and using the standmixer and the balloon whisk, I whisk for about 5mins till peaks are stiff, thick and glossy.

Happy baking!

‘Watermelon’ raisin bread

This week, the hubs and I finally decided that enough is enough and sleep-training has to be administered to little Faith. For months, we did not have quality sleep because Faith woke up a few times in the night and needed us to soothe her back to sleep. Initially, we thought we had it easy since she could sleep through the night when she was about 3 months old but that changed when she experienced teething.

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So, our sleep-training started on Monday. It proved easier for me when the hubs took over. I was simply too soft-hearted and felt terrible having to hear her cry so badly. It’s heart-wrenching. Yesterday, the crying was bad and to distract myself by surfing the Internet for baking recipes. It was then that I stumbled upon the video on Watermelon lookalike raisin bread and logged it into my mind that I would bake the following day. Faith loves bread and I thought this should turn out all right as compared to my previous failed panda bread attempt.

I didn’t really follow how it was done in the video. I guess in bread making, there are some fundamentals that we will all adhere to but there are certainly different ways to doing it. Here’s mine (I’m using the Tang Zhong/ water roux since I want a very light version for my bread. You can also use the standard bread dough for this):

Recipe for the water dough “water roux”:
Cook 250g water with 50g bread flour at medium low heat. Keep stirring until it becomes thickened and there’re no lumps left. If you’ve a candy thermometer, measure it until the temperature turn to 65C then turn off the heat. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a cling wrap to avoid skin forming. The amount of water dough here would be more than what a recipe requires. You could store it in the fridge for about 2 days.
Recipe for the bread (approximately 550g for the dough):
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90g plain flour
12g milk powder
30g caster sugar
6g salt
6g yeast
60g beaten eggs
65g room temperature water
75g water roux (cooled & at room temperature)
(B) 45g unsalted butter
(C) 3/4 cup raisins
(D) Red and green food colouring (I used Wilton’s) or use Matcha powder for green
1. Put ingredients (A) and knead using the dough hook until it becomes dough-like and then add in the unsalted butter (B). Continue kneading for about 15 minutes at medium speed until the dough becomes elastic and does not stick to the side of the mixing bowl. You should hear the ‘flap, flap’ sound. 🙂
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2. Divide the  dough into 3 portions in this proportions – 150g (neutral colour), 150g (green) and the remaining for red. Add in the food colours and knead till it has reached the desired colours. Add in the raisins for the red dough and mix till they are evenly incorporated. Let them proof for 40 minutes in clean bowls covered with cling wrap.
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3. Punch down the dough to release the air. Let rest for about 10 minutes.
4. For the red dough, roll it into a log the length of your baking tin. Flatten the neutral-coloured dough and make sure it is big enough to wrap the red dough. You can use a rolling pin to do so. For me, I just use my palm and flatten like the roti prata man. Do the same for the green dough and wrap. Do make sure you seal the seams well, if not, they will open when they go into the oven. The following are the steps.
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5. Place the completed dough in the baking tin (9″ x 5″) [mine is slightly smaller] and proof for 40 minutes. 15 minutes before it is due for baking, switch on the oven to a temperature of 180C.
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6. Egg wash the top of the dough for 15 – 20 minutes. The loaf of bread is done when you hear a hollow sound as you tap the top of the bread. Unmould the loaf and let cool completely on a cooling rack before you cut it into slices.
Note: I would use more matcha powder the next time for green. I suspect it will make a nice combination with raisins. 😉 There’s so much room for improvement. Try it and let me know how it turns out!
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Linking up with

Tarts & more tarts

:: Apple tartlets ::Asparagus, Bak Kwa & gruyere tartlets

Nowadays, there will always be a ready supply of pate sucree dough in my refrigerator because depending on my schedule, I will bake some sorta tartlets for tea, breakfast, whatever.

Mom just came back from her overseas trip and I thought I should bake apple tartlets for her as she is a real fan of it and therefore a good person to turn to if you want honest feedback. I would love to make these for her but knowing that it is difficult to make puff pastry in this kind of heat, I aborted the idea. Knowing her palate, she prefers less sweet stuff and that would mean adjusting the amount of sugar in most recipes.

The first recipe that I wanted to test is from Caramelised Apple Tartlets from Meringue. It’s as simple as coating the apples in caramel syrup and topping each tartlet with french meringue after the tartlets are baked for 20 minutes. Thereafter, the tartlets are popped back into the oven for another 15 minutes so that the meringue is baked till light brown.

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Since I didn’t have enough apples that day, the portion of the fruit in each tartlet was insufficient to satisfy my mom. Reduce the sugar a bit more, she said and it would be good. For me, I didn’t like how the meringue turned out and decided that I should try another recipe, this time being one from Beyond the Plate because I was mesmerised by the photos. Heh.

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I was pleasantly pleased with this one, having reduced the portion of sugar from 100g to 60g and mom and Ken gave positive feedback. Since I still had a good amount of egg and whipping cream mixture left, I went on to bake the savoury asparagus, Bak Kwa (compliments of mom) and gruyere tartlets. I had my fill and was totally stoked. Oh, the many different tartlets one can bake.

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Which will be next on the list, I wonder?

Apple Tartlets filling (adapted from Beyond the Plate)
To make four 4-inch tartlets
2 medium apples, halved, cored and thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
60 grams granulated sugar plus a pinch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon corn starch
3 large eggs
200ml heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C and grease the pan to be used.

Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch and vanilla sugar or vanilla extract in a bowl, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the whipping cream and whisk until the mixture is a pale yellow. Set aside.

Layer the apple slices in a fashion that suits your fancy until it reaches the top of the mold. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and the cinnamon over the apples, then pour the egg/whipping cream mixture into the pan.

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Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. The tart is ready when its surface has caramelized and turns a golden brown. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. The tart is best eaten on the day it’s made.

For the asparagus, Bak Kwa and gruyere tartlets, all you need are stalks of asparagus, depending on how many tartlets you have and then the amount of Bak Kwa you want to put in each tartlet before topping the shell with gruyere cheese. Lastly pour the eggs and whipping cream mixture near to the brim of each tartlet before baking in the oven. I’ll do up a proper recipe the next time.

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Caramelised apple filling (adapted from Meringue)
For four 4-inch tarlets
1/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
4 – 5 apples, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tsp flour

Meringue
2 large egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/3 cup caster sugar

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar and stir until it is cimpletely melted and turns into a bubbly, thick caramel brown syrup. Don’t burn it. Add the apples and stir occasionally to coat the apples with the caramel syrup. Cook for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Preheat oven to 200C.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and flour and sprinkle a thin layer over the bottom of each of the tartlet shell (this will keep them crisp). Fill the shells with caramelised apples, dividing them even between the 4 tartlet shells. Bake for 20 minutes. About 10 minutes before they are finished baking, begain making meringue. Remove from over after 20 minutes, leaving heat on, but lowering temperature to 190C.

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In the bowl of an electric standmixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and increase speed to medium-high, beating until soft peaks form. Add sugar, about a tbsp at a time, and continue beating on high until meringue has stiff, glossy peaks.

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Top the meringue in moulds all the way around the outer edge of each tartlet where the filling meets the crust. This is to form a seal at the edge so that the meringue doesn’t pull away from the crust when baking. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes on a ware rack before serving.

This week in pics

Monday, there was fellowship lunch with the ladies from BSF. I was truly encouraged by their heartfelt sharing about their lives and how God is working in their situations. Praise be to the Lord!

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Tuesday, da man took leave and spent the day with moi and child! Thank God for that! I love it when I have help and even more when we could spend time as a family. So, we decided to check out Gymboree but decided against it as the location is far from ours. Visited Kki at last and had my fill of their oh-so-lovely cakes!

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Wednesday, went to purchase ingredients before the baking class on Friday. The more I bake, the more things I learn. And there is yet so much stuff out here that I do not know! Feeling overwhelmed! Here was lunch, unagi rice burger served in such a manner. Bad idea ‘cos it got messy!

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Thursday, I finally got to meet my mom’s cousin who is a homebaker for more than 30 years. I felt a tad intimidated by her, this baking giant. She was making mooncakes and served us some. Though she has baked for so long, testing and revising recipes over the years, she still wants to learn and asked me to to go for baking classes with her if there are good ones available. Woohoo!

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Friday, I conducted a baking lesson for 20 people. It turned out…messy! Okay, I’m not used to teaching so many people and to complete 3 recipes in 3 hours is a challenge. On my own, it is definitely achievable but for those who are new to baking, it could be a challenge. So the lesson dragged on and I felt bad for the participants. Lesson learnt: Must insist on the number of recipes that I think is achievable for them. It was tiring but highly rewarding, in my opinion, because I love doing such things. When you see the happy faces, your exhaustion vanishes. But now, I need a break. :p Oh! And with this, I have completed one of the to-do list in my 30 stuff!

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The end of it all and more to come!

Cake pops and babyface cupcakes

It really stemmed from boredom (doesn’t equate to being free), boredom from the mundane of my daily routine that I thought of baking cupcakes for my small group that comes over every Saturday evening for Bible Study and Fellowship. After the cupcake base was baked, I took a step further to hone my fondant skills and thus these babyface cupcakes were born.

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These are the equipment that you need.

These are the equipment that you need.

With the remaining cupcake base, I decided to make cake pops for the kids in my small group. Why didn’t I think of that?

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First line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Then place milk or white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally just until melted. Crumble the cake into the melted chocolate, and stir until well mixed. The proportion of milk chocolate to cake crumble is 1:2.

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Then roll the mixture into balls, each about as large as a golf ball or smaller, depending on the size you desire. Insert a lollipop stick into each ball and place on the lined baking sheet (I use a plate) and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. I leave it in the fridge overnight until I’m ready to make the chocolate coating.

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To make the chocolate coating, place {milk} chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally just until melted. Remove from the heat and if you want to add colours, now is a good time.

Remove the cake pops from the fridge and dip each one into the chocolate coating and insert into a styrofoam board/cup so that you can have a perfectly round shape. Before the coating sets on the cake pops, I roll them in sprinkles (whatever you have). I had wanted to decorate using royal icing but in the end, laziness took over. ;P

Cheesecake overdose

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I’ve had enough of cheesecake for now.

You see, a few weeks ago, a friend has asked me to bake a strawberry cheesecake to celebrate her hubs’ birthday. I agreed readily since I have baked it before. However, this time round, because I would be paid for baking that cake, I jolly well do a good job and make sure that the cheesecake delights rather than disappoint.

There are a few specifics. My friend wanted a 6-inch cake and with big juicy strawberries. The cake must be rich as well since her hubs are all into indulgence of the calories.

Therein lies the problem. Many recipes that I come across are designed for 9-inch cakes with few for 6-inch. So, I would have to come up with one for this custom-made cheesecake. Another problem that I have is I don’t own a 6-inch springform pan (I have 7-inch and 9-inch) so I would have to improvise (couldn’t get a 6-inch one in time).

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Basically, I took 3 days to come up with one recipe that I could be pleased with. This cake has to be at least 2 inches tall and filled with the cheesy flavour. So you could imagine how much stuff is packed in. In one of the recipes that I tested, I put in cut strawberries (sprinkled with flour) into the main batter but because they are moist, they don’t give the effect that I want. Then I thought of swirls but discarded the idea eventually as my artwork isn’t that stellar.

After two failed (according to my standard) attempts and a stomach filled with cheesecake slices, I managed to bake the ideal ones for my friend. Hopefully the hubs will like it.

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This is the adapted miette‘s version. It’s rather light which is good for the weight-watchers. However, a rich cheesecake is called for so this won’t do.

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It’s best to bake cheesecake in a springform pan. Since I couldn’t get hold of a 6-inch one in time, I used a cake pan with a removable base. The result is uneven sides as depicted in the first picture. ;( But otherwise, I didn’t encounter cracks for this cheesecake.

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As I delivered the cakes (she ordered two) to my friend each of more than 1kg, I could at last heave a sign of relief. No more cheesecakes for now! But I shouldn’t really get a 6-inch springform pan with the money collected from the cakes. To more baking adventures!

Cheesecake topped with strawberries
Yields a six-inch cake

190g digestive biscuits
50g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar

2 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup sour cream/ heavy cream (I did a combination)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

PREHEAT oven to 180°C (middle rack). Mix digestive biscuit crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press firmly onto bottom and up the side of pan; set aside.

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BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream/heavy cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour into crust.

BAKE 1 hour 10 min or until center is almost set. Turn oven off. Open oven door slightly. Let cheesecake set in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight (better). Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; remove rim. Top cheesecake with strawberries just before serving. Pour a little heated strawberry jam over the fruits.

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Jam-packed July

I assume the role of a SAHM (full-fledged) this month. You would have thought that I would busy myself with Faith. Yes, that’s for sure but I took the opportunity to continue where I have left off in my love for baking by going for some intensive cake decorating course. 4 mornings a week, I rushed off to my parents’, dropped Faith with them and dashed off for lessons. I treasured those mornings because they gave me time to myself and the chance to mingle with like-minded people.

20130728-215231.jpgThe last lesson saw me decorating a cake for Faith. For days, I had been making flowers and figurine with gumpaste, covering the cake with fondant and praying that things would go well on Saturday since we were to assemble everything on that day. I did make a boo boo and had to cover the cake again on that day but thankfully all went well. But Yours truly is as clumsy as ever and the figurine did not survive on its way back home – it got crushed by my bag.

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Dear Faith,
The world may not be perfect and life is filled with its ups and downs. But it can be a colourful one if you trust in the Creator. May you bloom where you are placed, and may you be a blessing to others. I thank God for you.

While my full time job is to bring up Faith, I am also pursuing my other dream – baking. I am thankful to have the privilege to produce sweet treats for friends (and being paid for it!), with my first assignment being cupcakes and a chocolate cake.

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So, there you have it, my rather jam-packed July. If I have been missing in action on this space, you can be assured that I am testing recipes or baking for some folks. 😉