Sunday, November 30, 2008

My first Daring Bakers' Challenge - Caramel Cake

My first Daring Bakers Challenge! I've read about them, gone through the members' blogroll and were amazed at the skills and creativity its members. I was excited to be part of the team and November will be my first challenge and what a challenge!

This month hosts are Doleres (from Culinary Curiosity), Alex (from Blondie and Brownie), Jenny(from Foray into Food) and Natalie (from Gluten-a-Go-Go) and the challenge is caramel cake with caramelised butter frosting. This recipe is from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater and this is her signature cake. Shuna's notes for this cake starts like this 'This is one of those cakes that is truly about baking. It may sound strange because aren't all cakes about baking? What I mean is that getting this cake to bake is about balancing fat with acid and protein JUST RIGHT........'.

I was worried. I doubted whether I could get it right especially when the recipe was not given in weights but in terms of cups and tablespoons... Furthermore, this will be my very first attempt with caramel.

The recipe indicated that it is for a high 9 inch cake and I had read in the forum that its very sweet, so I halved the recipe and baked in a 7 inch round. Here is the result of my attempt.

My cake ended up very flat! I decided against decorating it like a usual round cake, so I used a cutter to cut a small flower shape, layered it and fill with the caramelised butter frosting. Piped little stars on top and drizzled with caramel syrup. Made a couple of these.

The taste? Too sweet for me and family. The caramelised butter frosting is very sweet, but is very delicious. Never tried frosting made with browned butter before, its really very nice.

The recipe can be found at

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Classic - Blueberry muffins

I am embarassed to admit that I have never bought/baked with fresh blueberries before. I hardly even see them as I normally frequent NTUC Fairprice for my groceries, especially children's milk and diapers. I was surprised to see them at a neighbourhood NTUC Fairprice, so I bought the last little punnet.

I scoured the internet for blueberry related recipes and boy, there were many! Too many to decide what to choose. I finally decided to do the classic blueberry muffin, with recipe from the book '500 cupcakes and muffins' by Fregal Connolly. Had had this book for ages already, but have not tried a single recipe in there. *guilty*

Here's how my blueberry muffins turned out.

I love how the blueberries burst under the high heat and colour the mufins.

They were delicious! This recipe uses quite a lot of milk and I love that milky taste. It is also soft and moist. I ate two when it was fresh out of the oven (well, I am a big eater now... trained during confinement, now must try to suppress appetite). My children each had one.

Ingredients (makes a dozen)
125g caster sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
265g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 lightly beaten eggs
225ml milk
115g unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essense
225g fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 200 degree celcius
2. In medium bowl, stir sugar, lemon zest, flour and baking powder with a spoon
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla with an electric whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
4. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the blueberries are just combined. Do NOT over-mix
5. Spoon the batter into muffin cases
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes

It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poor Nathalie

Poor Nathalie.. caught the flu bug. Must had come from the sister or brother who were down with flu and fever two weeks ago.

The PD had to insert a little tube through her tiny nostril to suck out the phelgm. She cried till her eyes were puffy and red but the relief was only shortlived. By the time we left the doctor's office, I could hear the phelgm already.

She had difficulty sleeping as she struggle to breath when laid flat. I could hear the thick mucus when she breaths. Had to put pillows under her bed to prop her up, but that means she keep sliding downwards and I had to check on her every half hour (if I can wake up) to adjust her.

She is drinking less too. Too much milk and she might vomit.

Now she had started to cough too.

Yet, as she struggled with the flu bug, she continued to reward me with her beautiful smile. A smile that reminded me that she is God's creation and I should entrust her into God's hands to make her well again.

Please pray for her speedy recovery.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet Blanc

When I first saw this on dailydelicious' blog site, I knew I had to make it. It looked so lovely and delicious. Bread + cream cheese filling, dusted with icing sugar and topped with a strawberry. Never made such a lovely looking bread before.

For recipe and method, please visit dailydelicious blog.

This is the bread, pre-decoration. It looks like a lovely flower.

I had some really sweet and lovely strawberries, but alas, they were too big.. even the smallest look big.

Decorate with sliced strawberries instead.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Caramel Banana Coconut Tart

When I saw this tart on a blogger site - Mitong, I knew I had to try it. It looked so lovely and it combined two of my favourite things - banana and coconut, yum!

So I finally got to try it last week.. while my creation did not turn out half as lovely, but it tasted great nonetheless. Understand from Mitong that the recipe originated from a japanese cookbook, she had it translated to Chinese and here's my attempt to translate it to English.

Tart Ingredients (8 Inch)
Unsalted butter 100g
Icing sugar 65g
Whole egg 35g
Almond powder 35g
Plain flour 165g

Tart Fillings
Whole egg 90g
Sugar 40g (from original 80g)
Cream 80ml
Coconut powder 65g
Lemon juice 10ml
Rum 1tbsp (optional)

Caramalised Banana
Banana 5 pieces
Butter 10g
Sugar 2 tbsp
Rum 1 tsps


1. Take butter from fridge, let it soften
2. Sift icing sugar, almond powder and flour seperately
3. Beat the eggs
4. Whisk butter and icing sugar till pale
5. Add egg in 3 steps
6. Add flour and almond powder
7. Mix till dough come together, wrap in shrink wrap. Keep in fridge for 1 hour.
8. Roll out dough, place on tart tin. Trim the sides.
9. Use a fork to poke holes on the tart pastry, then place tart into fridge for 15 min.
10. Place aluminium foil or baking paper onto tart, add weights on top
11. Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, remove paper with weights, bake another 8-10 minutes till slightly brown.

Tart filling and Caramelised banana
1. Mix all ingredients for tart filling together. Put in fridge.
2. Cut banana into 2.5 cm pieces
3. Melt butter in saucepan
4. Use slow fire till the butter browns, put in white sugar and cook till sugar melts
5. Put in banana and rum
6. Stir gently till banana is coated with caramel
7. Dish out

1. Pour tart filling into tart mould
2. Arrange caramelised banana into filling
3. Bake at 180 degree for 25 minutes

I had no idea what coconut powder was, so I substituted with coconut cream. One tip given by Mitong was, not to knead the tart dough as gluten will develop and the tart will not be crispy.

My son loved the filling and the bananas while my daughter loved the crusts. So between them, they gobbled up two pieces.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nathalie is one month old!

How time flies! Our little bundle of joy is already one month old! She's very responsive for her age, even the PD mentioned that. She'll look at us and smile when we talk to her. She's such a joy and blessing to our family.

We celebrated Nathalie's one month milestone on 1 November. And what's a celebration without a home made cake from mummy? Here's my creation for my bundle of joy... and one of my favourite cakes thus far...

This cake was inspired by the many 'clothes-line' themed cakes that I saw in CakeCentral. I love the simplicity of the cake and its soft colours. Initially, I was tempted to pipe lots of 'grass' and have fondant flowers all over. Am so glad that I didn't as that would have made the cake too 'busy'.

Here's a closer look at the basket of baby clothing and blanket. Weaved the basket with long stripes of fondant.

Here's little Nathalie saying 'Hi!'.