Army-themed Checkerboard Cake!

Helluuu ^^

I’ve been wanting to share this for the past 2 weeks but waited for the posting date with the rest of the Daring Bakers!

Here’s the blog-checking line: For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

So I decided to bake an army-themed checkerboard cake for my brother who POP-ed on 13th July! Super proud moment for my family to see him progress through those 9 weeks and now he’s on his way up, super mega proud!!!

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Green and brown checkers to match the camo pixels on the uniform!! Close enough right!!

hahaha okay and also tried to do the pixelation thing on the top of the cake, but I think it looks a bit like Earth if the oceans were green LOL.

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I’ve got quite a few photos of the process this time cause my mum was very enthusiastically snapping away~ 

assembly2

Crumbs, crumbs everywhere!!

I used the method and recipe from Sprinkle Bakes, hers was for a rainbow coloured one so I modified the colours to make it army-coloured! I also added grated lemon zest to the cake batter to make it more lemony, as well as changed the dimensions and layers of the cake. Her cake consisted of 6 layers that were 6-inches wide but I don’t have 6-inch cake pans. And I don’t think I could have handled making 6 layers of 9-inch cakes, I think I would have drowned circles :’D

assembly3

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Nice shot by mum! assembly5Commemorating the last of the cake assembly – adding the final circle!!
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And here’s what it looks like when it’s cut!

I was really pleased with it :’D And I’m so glad that the taste wasn’t compromised as well, cause the recipe from Sprinkle Bakes was really good!! Frosting was the most awesome one I’ve made so far ahh hahaha

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The only thing is, I should have trimmed off the bottom of the cake layer; there are oddly placed light brown mini-‘layers’ below the green ones.

But I really had a therapeutic weekend making this cake, and learning so much from this. Too bad school is starting soon and time is no longer in abundance to be enjoyed at will 😥

To the brother: congratulations on making it through your Basic Military Training :’) the next 9 months will be tough but we’ll be behind you all the way!! I know you can do it!!!

P/S: Sorry stow and jianying, y’all only got to eat one square because stow, your reputation for pangsehing is too great hahaha!

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Carrot Cake for Dad’s Birthday

Long time no update! The last week was a super intense week food-wise, my first time preparing food for about 40 for my 21st party ^^ will write about that in the next post, this post is about the carrot cake I made a couple of weeks ago for my dad’s birthday!

carrot cake 1

You’re getting old, dad!!

carrot cake ingredients

pre carrot cake

Hope you had a happy birthday and you’d probably never see this but I hope you know that our family loves you

carrot cake frosting
carrot cake slice

It was hard deciding what cake to make cause dad doesn’t like sweet stuff, but carrot is a savoury item right?

Cake evaluation: Substituted canola oil for melted butter because I didn’t have time to go out to buy it but that affected the texture I think, less ‘fluffy’ than it ought to be. I also try to use less sugar in my recipes but for this, use even less next time cause the carrots and the raisins made it so sweet! Cream cheese frosting was pretty good tho 🙂

 

TWD Rewind: Mocha Brownie Cake, the brother’s welcome to teenagehood!

HELLO! I’m currently in the midst exams for the craziest/most sian sem so this is actually a scheduled post, for the rewind week for Tuesdays with Dorie!

This was baked one week after the rest of the TWD bakers made it because I didn’t have time to make a cake that week and another one the next week for my bro’s birthday! 
A Mocha Brownie cake was what everyone was supposed to make together – and I had an amazing time baking and learning from this!! 
From making the thick brownie-like batter to making the ganache, I really learnt loads 🙂
Trying to make flour look interesting but failing.

I’ve no pictures of the baking process because it was entirely unphotogenic in the lighting at 10pm (for the cake) and also I’m still surviving on using my iPhone to take all my photos (/update: I got a camera for my 21st from my lovely friends in sch :’) !!!! Can’t wait to start using it!! Thank you guys :’))

Too. Many Filters.
Although, I do think this is my most successful decorating attempt yet! I drew inspiration from designs I’ve seen – pinterest has been pretty useful for that!

I also had some fun making the buntings (cutest word of the day: buntings, buntings. buntings!!) although I should have used twine that was less stiff so it’ll hang down more naturally. Pastel colours are gender-neutral right?

I brought some leftover cake to school and it really makes me so very happy (actually ecstatic) to have people enjoy my food and gush about it  ♥ . ♥ Very touched by the support !!
And to my young brother – Happy 13th Birthday ^^ Can’t believe you’re a teenager now and also taller than me!! As I’ve said on facebook, even though our family doesn’t express love through big shows of affection, hope to tell you that we do. ♥♥ Welcome to teenagehood, I’ll always be here for you. (hahaha I can only say this while typing – I don’t think I’ve ever told my bros ‘I love you’ !! Asian families..)
That’s all for now! After this post, it’ll be the summer holidays for 3 months of non-stop fun and laughter (and internships..)!! Actually I think I’d really just want to spend a couple of days in bed first 😡
Can’t wait to bake (and cook) a lot in the coming hols ^^

February ’14 Bakes: Mini White Chocolate Cheesecakes and Vday Homemade Pretzels

Wow, I’ve had no time to update at all in February, been so bogged down by school and life. Despite that, still managed to drop everything to bake twice and here are the photos!

I had my biggest baking adventure in the beginning of February, and also my first baking ‘job’! Kelly asked me to bake my mini white chocolate cheesecakes for her 21st birthday party and I was very excited about it :> My first commissioned baking!!

Preparing the biscuit bases!

All stacked up!

I really wanted to make them look more professional – first job after all! -still celebrating- *\o/*
Here’s me drying the raspberries and blueberries after washing them, with a fan directed at them and all hehe. And it was also my first time piping chocolate! Getting the temperature of the chocolate right was a little tricky – too hot and it’ll be too liquid and impossible to pipe. Too cold and it’d have hardened into a unyielding lump. The 2s turned out fine but I had a little more trouble with the 1s as I had to reheat the chocolate after being done with the 2s, and that’s when the temperature calibration went a little haywire! Thank goodness it all turned out fine in the end 🙂

 In total I made about 58, and decided to freehand the letters K-E-L-L-Y for my dear birthday girl 🙂 The many compliments about the cheesecakes made me a very happy girl; really love it when I see people enjoying the food I make !

Happy birthday again, Kelly! ❤

The second time this month I baked was for Valentine’s day with Dino ^^
Pretzels are naturally heart-shaped and in love ~


Portioning the dough. I don’t have a bread mat so I stuck clingwrap all over the dining table (#student-budget baking)

Shaping the pretzels! Tried to make them as heart-shaped as possible ❤ This is after shaping, before dunking them in boiling baking soda water bath, which gives them their distinct pretzel taste!

I took note to submerge each side for only 15 seconds instead of 30s, after Dino and my first attempt at making homemade pretzels. So this time it wasn’t too overpowering \o/

The end product  ^^ They turned out fatter than intended but, who’s to fault a heart bursting with love? #cheesy #toomuch. Actually for normal eating purposes, should make them slightly skinnier so they’re not too doughy in the centre. Improvement to note for the future: Roll the dough out skinnier, and dunk them into the bath soon after so the dough doesn’t rise anymore!

Forming a giant heart. If you noticed some of them have slightly diseased uneven skin, it’s cause I tried putting some coarse salt on them before baking. Looks slightly strange but tastes pretty good! Next time, I should probably sprinkle the salt after they’ve been baked instead of before they go into the oven.

Happy Valentine’s day to my Dino! :> 
Featuring half eaten pretzel, cause I just had to try some. This is why cooks get fat!
Hope everyone had a very good February and let us March on~

January ’14 Bakes – Pretzels, Pineapple Tarts and Kueh Lapis!

Hello!

Week 3 of school just ended and it has been mad busy – I’ve hardly had time to keep up with work and sleep, let alone bake! Didn’t manage to participate in this month’s Tuesdays With Dorie challenges, which was a pity because everyone’s Vanilla Chiffon Rolls look so good, yum! To take a look at the creations of all the talented bakers, head over to Tuesdays With Dorie.

The slivers of time I’ve stolen to bake though, have seen more failures than successes, but I’m so blessed still to be learning so much each time.

These are the pretzels I baked with Dino, for our picnic!
I think we added too much baking soda though, and we used a quick recipe which didn’t call for a rise. The pretzels turned out very chewy and a tad too tough!

Lesson learnt:  Don’t try and save time, and compromise on quality instead! Good things come to those who wait (flavour and texture really does develop when the dough is rising). This seems like a lesson that can be applied to all the areas of our life as well.

We also made some very delish sandwiches but we had no time to take photos because we really had to chase the sun ~ In the end it was a night picnic but miraculously the sky stayed a haunting purple the entire night :>

I also decided to take up some baking classes at a community centre! Unfortunately it’s only a demo class meaning we usually watch; if we were graded for class part for this class, this would definitely be an A+ for me though ! Feel a little silly asking so many questions sometimes when I’m surrounded by mostly housewives and retirees, but they all seem to find this little uni girl quite fascinating hehe.

During the latest class, we got a recipe for pineapple tarts since Chinese New Year was just around the corner and we even got to get our hands all sticky and oily during class by helping to roll them! Alas, disaster struck, and accident-prone me managed to trip and drop the small box of tarts each of us got to bring home -just- as I stepped on the bus, strewing pineapple explosions all over the front entrance 😥 Sorry bus uncle, he looked really annoyed then. Thank goodness some kind souls came forward to offer me tissues and helped me pick the bigger pieces off the floor as I was really paralysed in shock and embarrassment :((

 Hence, on my free Friday, Lin, Benz and I decided to embark on a quest to make more pineapple tarts! (185 to be exact – it filled up about 9 containers!!)

Did some research online from Dino’s assessment of my teacher’s recipe (had a measly 5 pieces after the accident) and modified the recipe slightly. Here are some pictures from that very ambitious day – so glad everything turned out super well!

Wasn’t as ambitious as to make our own pineapple jam though, this pineapple jam from the brand Bake King. Maybe I shall try making my own next year, but the store-bought ones have already set a high benchmark!

Fresh from the oven – it made the house smell sooooo amazing, the aroma of the butter was just intoxicating :’>

Cooling on the racks – Lin’s OCDness meant they must be in straight lines before I could take a photo. I must admit that does make the photo look so much better!

 
 We had some leftover tart crust dough, so we had a lot of fun shaping them cutely, and they’re even more fun to eat!! Pop one of those squares into your mouth for a burst of buttery goodness!

Also managed to extend my local baked good repertoire during one of the classes with Kueh Lapis!
It does take patience to add each layer on one by one, and I can’t wait to try it at home.

Truly homemade when you can see the uneven layers (#tryingtocoveruptheinconsistencies hehe)

It’s CNY Day 2 today, hope everyone’s been having a very Happy Chinese New Year! It’s my favourite festival of all, the time to celebrate familial love and warmth. Looking forward to seeing my cousins again later. And of course, the festivities are so centered around awesome food!! CNY’s truly a time where you forget what it’s like to feel hungry because everyone around you is plying you with food all the time; better get down to exercising real soon~ Have a good feasting week ahead, ^^