Tag Archives: Cake

Short Excursions, Part 2

5 Jul

The power of advertising today, especially on social media, has changed advertising from what or how it used to be. It was from a Facebook posting that I found the cafe that served lovely strawberry cakes.

So I convinced hubby that we should drive to Hulu Yam to try the cake, and this was the beginning of our short weekend excursion plans. A nice change from the usual weekend golf game and window shopping at shopping malls.

Two weekends ago, we drove to the Kebun Cafe. The drive was long because traffic was heavy. But when we arrived, it was a pleasant discovery. There was an organic vegetable and fruit farm next to the cafe, and yes, we bought some fruits and vegetables.

The cafe had a small crowd, but we managed to get a table. There were only drinks and cakes on the menu. Luckily, we had lunch already before we drove here! We ordered the strawberry cake and the black sesame cake, and both were heavenly. I’d say it was worth the drive. But as there wasn’t much else to see and do, we left after the short coffee break and sinful cakes.

Doing such short excursions during half a day on the weekend can be therapeutic, and we are convinced to continue with this activity. Away from the hustle and bustle of work and city living or even the monotony of our daily life, this activity discovery is pleasant for our well-being and mental rejuvenation. I look forward to our next excursion!

Double Celebration, Part 2

2 Jul

Mother Nature was good to us, for it didn’t rain on the big double celebration day. It was cloudy and did threaten to rain a little, but the hot weather held for us to have the outdoor barbecue as planned.

There was a constant stream of deliveries that morning. From my usual online shopping items to dessert cakes, more cakes and pastries, and the ultimate cake towards the evening, we were busy receiving all the deliveries. The fridge was almost bursting with all the delectable goodies, on top of all the barbecue food.

All sorts of mouth-watering yummies!
The funniest 4-inch tall birthday cake!
Our private garden birthday party
A colorful spread

It was a lovely garden dinner affair for the three of us. The birds left us alone, unlike our last barbecue for our Reunion Dinner. Even the mosquitoes did not disturb us. As our little one turned 20 that day, I guess we have to face the fact she is not so little anymore. Happy birthday M2, and many happy returns! Love you to the moon and back.

A Quiet Celebration, Part 2

30 Apr

I thought it would be a quiet celebration to mark my birthday this year, having to stay put and all. But I was wrong! Hubby treated me to an early birthday dinner; then there was that golf game and luncheon with all the golf buddies.

The best part was the unexpected delivery. The girls surprised me with a dairy-free cake, or rather six slices of different flavors. Delivered a day early, they planned with hubby without my knowledge. A lovely but unexpected surprise indeed that made the birthday all the more special despite the circumstances.

He Bakes, She Bakes

29 Mar

The past year during our various MCO (Movement Control Order) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, hubby learned to bake while I cooked. Initially, I baked using ingredients from ready cake-mix boxes, but baking did not interest me. So I stopped and, instead, focused on cooking to expand the menu for our meals.

But hubby enjoyed this activity and baked stuff from scratch. Admirable considering the kitchen was never his place to be, more in the garden. And we had a variety of baked goods. From scones, cakes, and all sorts of bread, I have never eaten so much of these things daily prior.

Hubby’s lovely herb bread…
…and perfectly shaped cranberry scones

Once in a blue moon, I itch to bake, and I only do one thing – apple pies. And mind you, I do just the filling; hubby prepares the dough. I don’t know why I find this fun. But my approach to this is more by feel than by measured steps. Nothing is ever accurate because I always read the instructions halfway, never pass what is needed. So the amount required is sometimes missed out!

And you can imagine what comes out when I bake! When hubby bakes, the result is predictable and almost to perfection. Occasionally, a slight burn on the scone surfaces or the bread did not rise. But we know what to expect. When I bake, well, you don’t know what to expect. Thank goodness, I don’t bake so often, if not at all!

My recent attempt was the perfect example. I was craving apple pies, but hubby was not too keen. So he suggested I use ready-made puff pastry skin. Knowing I will mess up the dough part of the pie, I agreed.

The apple pie recipe that I scribbled on a paper was missing from the kitchen counter! Oh dear, so I had to google it up again. When I found something similar to what I had in mind, I just read half of it and jumped right in. Very brave because I used only the ingredients that we have, skipping those that we don’t. The only thing I measured was the amount of sugar. The rest was just thrown in by looks and feel.

And I had to improvise because, with puff pastry, I was making puffs now instead of apple pies. Hubby was appalled at the situation because nothing was standardized! Besides the pie-looking puffs, there was also a real puff, a dim sum, a wrap, and a blob. It was spectacular!

My spectacular apple puffs of all shapes!

He could not understand why I can craft laboriously on DIY miniature houses and cafes with their minuscule detailed accessories, but not the apple pies, or in this case, apple puffs. Hmm, unexplainable.

Horrid as they look, they turned out good, I must say. The filling was just right in taste, while the puff pastry was perfectly flaky and buttery. Will I bake again? Well, there’s another pack of the puff pastry in the freezer, and I just might. Whether the taste will be the same or what they will look like remains, we will only know when that day comes.

A Packed Schedule

4 Jan

The year-end golf schedule was a crazy one. It was packed! I had games on the 26th, 27th, 29th, and 31st of December 2020. And as if that was not enough, I ushered the New Year in with games on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Only rain thwarted the game on January 3rd, and instead, we had a lazy day at home on that wet and chilly Sunday morning. It was too troublesome to go out, let alone move. The temperature was perfect for doing nothing. Hubby did bake, though – a sinful cake that was enjoyed thoroughly with a small scoop of coconut ice cream.

I had to go easy on the ice cream or else suffer cramps because of my Endometriosis problem

Initially, I was not supposed to play on January 2nd because I wanted a break, having lined up so many games already. I even declined an invitation to a game on December 30th. But an unexpected problem cropped up that day.

A friend had pulled out at the eleventh hour after inadvertently being exposed to a Covid-19 positive person. He had to self-isolate, and I replaced him.

Well, this year, the golf games may not be so packed as the holidays are over. And I do have to be in the office. So the weekly Thursday game is out, keeping only to Tuesday and the weekends for me.

Tag Team Baking

20 Apr

We found the right combination to bake during the MCO last week. Hubby did the dough and I did the filling. The tag team baking worked out well for our first combined attempt – apple tarts because I have the molds. For someone who doesn’t bake, I sure have a lot of baking equipment.

The ideas were from googling up recipes and watching YouTube to find the next easiest thing to bake with the best combination. And basically just to pass time instead of baking bread and cakes (from boxes) individually, this effort was a good variation.

First attempt at apple tarts

The first batch of only five tarts was accidental because there was some dough left from making something else. And since we had apples, why not bake apple tarts? It was experimental as something was right and something was off: the filling was good, the crust needed work.

We tried again two days later. As long as I don’t have to deal with letting the dough sit and rise, I was perfectly contented to make the apple filling. And I made more this second time, using three apples. The first time, just one apple! After all, it was an experiment.

It was fun decorating and after a good 45 minutes in the oven, our effort came out beautifully. The taste? Very good if I must say so. We make a good tag team at baking.

Happy star and Smiley tarts

Baking is The New Normal

14 Apr

After the ‘success’ of the accidental bread last week, hubby urged me to bake another loaf. So I did, just to kill time. And discovered what went wrong with the first loaf.

I got the units wrong! Silly me. The measurement was correct but the unit was wrong. The teeny weeny print on the measuring cup was ‘ML’ which I couldn’t see and I simply assumed it was gram. Signs of being a dinosaur… sigh.

Thinking I had it right, I measured 350ML of flour and not 350G as required by the recipe. No wonder the mixture was watery with the flour ratio way off to the milk. Don’t forget, this was my first attempt at baking a bread after so long. To even attempt something like this, common sense to what was required was not present. Luckily we were able to save the dough with the additional flour thrown in.

So having learnt the mistake, I was more careful with measuring for the second attempt. But patience’s not on my side. I find I don’t have the patience especially when it comes to allowing the dough to sit and rise. I couldn’t wait for the yeast to do its thing.

Unlike baking a cake (from a box that is) where I just throw everything together and pop it in the oven without wasting time, bread making needs more precision and patience.

The second attempt. Ugly but edible

The second attempt turned out a little less stellar than the first loaf but still edible. And since then, it’s hubby who has been baking every other day to pass time. It’s as if baking is the new normal as we continue adhering to the MCO as laid out by the government.

He’s baked several loaves already as well as a batch of bagels. We have so much bread to eat now.

Bread, bread and more bread plus bagels!

Days of My MCO Life, Part 2

13 Apr

The bread that I baked last week was an out-of-the-blue decision. I called it the accidental bread. I was set to bake a cake in the beginning, the instant cake-from-the-box easy peasy one of course. Then I decided why not bake bread too? Since we have all the time in the world.

Also I wanted to give the Kenwood Rapid Bake bread maker another chance but the bread maker tripped the electricity in the house again. This reaffirmed that it’s a machine problem and wasn’t a user problem the last time when I used the machine.

So Plan B had to be kicked in because we had an unbaked bread in hand.

Rather than wasting the dough because the trip occurred when the bread maker went into the baking mode, we managed to salvage it. With some modification – adding more flour to the unusual watery mixture (don’t ask me how it became like that), we let the dough sit for a bit.

Then into the conventional oven it went. The final outcome turned out pretty good despite its appearance! A pat on the shoulder for the both of us.

Tastes better than it looks

Do I look forward to baking my next loaf of bread in the oven? I’m not too sure, we shall see.

Besides these self-discoveries and time-consuming activities, I caught up with my reading, finishing several titles and I started watching a Netflix series, something I never did previously. It’s certainly interesting times with the days of my MCO life.

Maybe I Can Bake, Part 2

2 Mar

The baking bug seems to have gotten me. After the success of the carrot cake, I itched to bake again! And so I did. This time I picked up two boxes! A the Zesty Orange Cake Mix and a Banana Honey Muffin for various reasons.

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Green’s baking mixes make you look good in the kitchen!

The main reason being I had leftover milk and butter from the last baking episode. They are food that I don’t usually consume, so baking was the only option to use them up.

Reason number two: the brand’s website showed an orange cake with poppyseeds choice but our regular grocer did not have this, only the one sans poppyseeds. And because I love poppyseeds—I used to eat poppyseed bagels whenever I could when I was living in New York City dinosaur years ago—I went out of the way to buy a pack of poppyseeds to add to the orange mix. Clever, ain’t I?

Reason number three: I actually have a muffin tray. Yeah… I know, for someone who doesn’t bake, my baking gadgets seems to be quite comprehensive. Previously, the tray was used to make mini quiches for M2 to bring to school. But now with her being away in college, the tray has not been used.

Back to my baking novelty, this time I was super efficient and needless to say, the Orange Cake was simply delicious as it now comes with poppyseeds. Next week, muffins! With poppyseeds as well.

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I skipped the icing topping and the cake is just right with a slight crunch of the poppyseeds

I must attribute the baking success to the brand, Green’s Baking of Australia and not so much of my skills in the kitchen. It’s the mix that makes me look good and feel good. Forget the 16/8 diet for the time being until this baking novelty wears off.

Maybe I Can Bake

24 Feb

I gave up the idea of baking with my Kenwood Rapid Bake but not baking itself. So another box of cake mix I bought and another attempt.

This time, I opted for a carrot cake that comes with icing! An improvement because there’s another step involved instead of just adding eggs, milk and butter to the cake.

The cake itself was easy – this time, an egg with water and oil instead of milk and butter to add to the mix. And for someone who doesn’t bake a lot, if not at all, I have a fair bit of baking essentials, like the loaf pan that I found. So I didn’t have to use the round pan.

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Top: straight out from the oven; Bottom: drowned with icing

After 40 minutes in the conventional oven, my cake was done! Excited I literally drowned the cake with the icing that was mixed earlier, a separate fun task I must say. Maybe I’m not supposed to drown the cake like this? Hmm… but the overall taste was good, not too sweet and just right.

Maybe I can bake after all if I put my mind to it by using the correct equipment, that is the conventional oven and not a bread maker. Having said that, true baking skills come from doing it from scratch and not from a ready-mix box. What I have attempted the last three times was simply novelty and I’m far from being a pro at baking.

If I truly want to pursue baking to hone my kitchen skills, I should keep trying. But do I really want to? Hubby says we will gain weight from having to eat all the cakes, muffins and what nots. Given that we are still at the 16/8 diet, I think this baking novelty will be short-lived.