Sunday, January 29, 2012

First ever attempt at making Pineapple Tarts

In order to make it seem more "Chinese New Year"-sy, I decided to make pineapple tarts.

Too bad I didn't have the pineapple tart mould (the one that makes each tart shaped like a flower)- I remember helping grandma making these ones for CNY; helping her make CNY bikkies was one of my strongest CNY memories from childhood.

Anyway the ones I made were pretty ugly- hardly any consistency. Taste-wise, pretty good for a first attempt though!

Made the filling from scratch- fresh pineapple (hurray for food processor), sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Took forever to reduce and caramelise (forever meaning 2.5hrs)

I combined two recipes; I wanted to make one recipe's filling but not the pastry as it had too many ingredients I'd have to go out and buy (eg. Cream cheese, shortening, ghee etc etc etc). The pastry I ended up making had a filling recipe using tinned pineapples, which I wasn't keen on.

Overall turned out okay, but I'd love to get the pineapple flower mould next time!


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas cupcakes

Not feeling particularly inspired to try anything new this Christmas, I decided on the simplest Christmas-themed cupcakes - red velvet cupcakes baked in Christmas cupcake cases, topped with cream cheese frosting sprinkled with green sugar. To me, Christmas colours ARE undisputedly green and red-

 Simple Christmas cupcakes

I had the Husband take a dozen to work to share with his work colleagues. The rest, I packed 2 cupcakes each into cupcake boxes and tied it with a Christmas ribbon and gave them to a neighbour and my work colleagues. Looked lovely in a box, but I didn't take a picture!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

T-bone Steak Cake!

It has been a long while since anyone's blogged about their baking ventures!

Well, the Husband turned the big 3-0 recently and to celebrate, we hosted a "T"-themed party (for Husband "Tim") - guests were requested to dress as something starting with the letter "T". The prizes for best-dressed also started with the letter "t"- Toblerone, Twix, Tim Tams, tissue paper, toilet paper, towels. I had planned on making the birthday cake - a few months ago a colleague and I had seen in a women's magazine a recipe for a burger cake and we thought it was cute. She ended making a steak cake for her partner's birthday, and when the time came for the "T" party, she suggested I make a "T-bone steak cake" which I thought was brilliant on so many levels!

The Husband loves nothing more than a rare piece of steak, and the cake would adhere to the "T"-theme. My work colleague got her inspiration from other blogs, and emailed me a link to I'm Hungry Too 's steak cake. My decision to make the cake red-velvet with cream cheese frosting 'mashed potato' was solely from this blog, so thanks to her brilliance! Many thanks to other random pictures and blogs on the internet (Hurray for the internet!) that featured various T-Bone steak cakes.

So I started by making a round red-velvet cake using the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery. Then after it cooled a little on the rack, I started to cut the cake into shape. If you asked me, it looks like South America, with the southernmost point cut off.

South America Red Velvet cake - who ate Patagonia??

I then used store-bought icing and added brown and black to it. This took the LONGEST time. I never knew just HOW MUCH colouring is needed to get the desired brown! Each time I got the desired shade of brown for the 'bone', then the 'fat', I'd peel off a portion and set aside. Then added MORE brown and black and kept on kneading. When I FINALLY got the colour of the 'meat' that I wanted, I wrapped the cake with the rolled icing, and started to make the indentation for the t-bone...

Bone: I spent a lot of time trying to get the bone to look real - made sure the top part of the 'bone' had the hollow bit where the marrow goes, then finally, dotted brown-black gel colouring on the bone and smudged it in.

Fat: I wasn't TOO pleased with how this looked, but it did the job. I rolled some icing flat, then used a chopstick to 'straighten' the strap of 'fat' then wrapped it around.

Grill marks: This wasn't too difficult - I used a chopstick to make indentations into the 'steak' and then simply coloured it in by using a big metal pin covered with black gel colouring (I've just discovered it's called a flower nail, which came with my Wilton's cake decorating set).

The three accompanying veggies were no-brainers - peas and carrots are probably the easiest veggies made with coloured icing; and the mashed potato as mentioned before was the cream cheese frosting (some brown gel colouring added, although I don't know if it made much difference) that usually went atop red-velvet cakes. A friend who is Buttercup Bakeshoppe helped out by stamping 'Happy Birthday' with edible ink on a 'slab of butter' .

Ta Dahhh!!!!!

When I finally finished at 3:30am I couldn't help but wake the birthday boy to admire the finished product! It was to be another 18 hours before the steak was finally cut and the rare-ness revealed.

Steak best-served rare

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (aka the Husband) was thrilled! Happy Birthday, darling!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Too easy!

Here's an Aussie phrase I've learnt - "Too easy"!

"Can you pass me the salt?" "Too easy!"
"Can you get me the documents by 5pm?" "Too easy!"

Well - here's something that is really "too easy", so easy I don't know why I've never thought of making it for a dessert - instead I'd buy the frozen ones!

Apple Crumble!
All you need is flour, sugar and butter for the crumble, and Granny Smith apples, demerara sugar, cinnamon stick and ginger powder for the apples, and voila! Apple crumble!

Too easy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Eggless Cupcakes

I have been on the roll, since I bought my new mixer (more on that in another post). Made some eggless cupcakes with pink lemon frosting for a little 3yo girl who has an egg-allergy. I used buttermilk instead of almond milk + apple cider vinegar. I personally didn't fancy them a whole lot (except for the lemon frosting - yumm!), but people have commented that they were very moist and the cupcakes disappeared like hot cakes (when I brought the rest in to work the next day).

Eggless buttermilk cupcakes with pink lemon frosting

The little birthday girl's mum and aunt spent hours making her a Hello Kitty cake (with whom she is current obsessed); however she was not able to eat any of it. The picture below is of the amazing effort mum and aunt put in, surrounded by my eggless cupcakes:

Happy 3rd birthday, little Amelia!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Red Velvet cupcakes

And so, I finally had the opportunity to try and make my first ever batch of red velvet cupcakes. A tiniest bit undercooked, but overall all was well. I was very keen to try these ones from the Hummingbird Bakery book, despite the wee fact that I actually never favour them. It was really a case of doing it for the sake of doing it!

A work colleague is leaving the organisation and so I thought I'd make cupcakes for the pot-luck farewell lunch tomorrow. I doubled the recipe so Husband could take some to work as well (I always say it is so that his colleagues will remind him what an awesome wife I am while he is at work! :P) Even though it was easily 1am by then (it's 1.42am now), I had so much fun writing stuff on his cupcakes for his workmates I couldn't stop. Thought it'd be amusing to have whimsical words on the cupcakes, seeing that everyone at work must be ridiculously stressed now (Husband had come home from work at 11pm)