Chunky Apple Cake

Chunky Apple Cake

Hello Everyone! So I probably didn’t think this through when I was planning for my recipes for the month of March. As I’ve said many times before, yes we are definitely in the middle of summer right now here in the Philippines, and having a warm Apple Cake just doesn’t seem to fit with the temperatures that we’re currently experiencing this summer.

Not to worry though, when I caught on with the dishes that I’ve been cooking for this month, I went back and had to change some of my recipes for next month. I won’t reveal it to you guys yet so you’ll just have to wait for next Wednesday for it!

Chunky Apple Cake

Nonetheless, you can have this Chunky Apple Cake with some ice cream for a cooling element. I would’ve much preferred a simple vanilla ice cream but I had come cookies and cream flavoured ice cream sitting in the freezer that I could use to go with my cake.

I skipped the butterscotch sauce for this recipe as I still had some leftover apple pie filling sitting in the fridge from when I made my Apple Danish recipe. I used that instead to drizzle over the cakes. In addition, I also used the leftover crumb topping from that recipe to top my cake for another layer of texture.

Before we jump onto the recipe, do check out the original over on Taste of Home. Also, please read some very important comments below after the recipe before the end of tonight’s post!

Chunky Apple Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the chunky apple cake

  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 medium-sized (or 1 large) Red Delicious Apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the butterscotch sauce

  • 57g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

METHOD

  1. Chunky Apple Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease a 13in x 9in baking dish with a bit of butter and set aside.
  2. Combine the plain flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. The batter will be stiff. Stir in the apples until well combined. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking dish and (optional) top the batter with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and springs back when lightly touched. Once done, cool for 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Butterscotch Sauce: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted. Gradually add the cream and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  7. Serving: Once the cake has cooled down, cut them into slices and serve in individual serving plates. Top with the butterscotch sauce and ice cream flavour of your choice. Enjoy!

Chunky Apple Cake

Now, I’ll be honest, the cake turned out to be quite dry, and you can probably tell from the photographs. Here are several reasons on why your cakes turn out dry and crumbly:

  1. Using too much flour. When measuring dry ingredients, gently spoon the flour mixture into a measuring cup for dry ingredients and level off with a flat spatula.
  2. Adding too little shortening/liquid. Measure liquids in a liquid-measuring cup placed on a level surface. Read the liquid measurement at eye level.
  3. Improperly mixed or undermixed. Careful mixing to evenly distribute the ingredients throughout the cake batter will give it a uniform consistency. Be careful not to overmix once the flour is added as this can cause the cake to be tough.
  4. Overbeating or using too many egg whites. Egg whites act as a drying agent. Try using less egg whites if you want to avoid a dry cake.
  5. Too much or too little sugar. Too much sugar can cause a cake to crumble when cut, while too little sugar can make a cake tough. The best cake recipes have a good balance of ingredients.
  6. Pan too big for the amount of batter. Using a pan that is too big for the amount of batter you have can cause it to overbake and become dry. The pan should be filled from half to three-fourths full.
  7. Oven temperature too high. If the temperature is to high, your cake could turn out dry. Overbaking could also be a culprit so check your cake for doneness at the lower end of the baking range.

– from Taste of Home.

I’m most definitely guilty of numbers 3, 5 and 6. I probably undermixed my batter as I creamed the butter and sugar by hand instead of using an electrical mixer (because I still have not bought one)! I also most definitely used too little sugar. I halved the portion of sugar because 2 cups scared me a lot. My Mom’s a diabetic, and because of that we’ve grown up in a household where our intolerance to sugar is quite low due to the fact that we don’t have a lot of sweet things lying around the house. When I read 2 cups of sugar from the original recipe, I felt my non-existent (yet) diabetes rise up. In addition, I definitely used a cake pan too big for the amount of batter I had, and thus lead to overbaking since I did not adjust the time it needed to bake in the oven. Silly rookie mistakes.

Chunky Apple Cake

I did end up with some leftovers, and what my Mom did was steam the cakes the next day for our mid-afternoon snack. The cakes turned out soft and moist, kind of like the texture of a sponge cake.

Anyway, I’ve kept the recipe as is, without adjusting the quantities of sugar just so that I hope for anyone who does try out this recipe, that it won’t be a flop like mine. I’m still posting this recipe anyway for me to learn from it. But to be honest, even one cup of sugar that I used for this recipe was on the verge of being too sweet for me.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

Hello Everyone! I’ve got a special post for you this evening as today marks 4 years of Amcarmen’s Kitchen! Don’t worry, I’ll still post a Breakfast Smoothie Bowl up for you guys most probably towards the end of the week since I already had the post and pictures prepared for it.

Anyway, technically I started this blog on April 16th, but it wasn’t until 2 days after on the 18th that I posted my very first recipe! You can check it out here: Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach. Yes, you could say I was less talkative (wordy) for my first few posts, mainly because I had no clue on what else I could write about. When I started this blog out of pure procrastination way back in 2014 during my uni mid-semester break, I didn’t think I would be able to make it this far to be honest! I did slack behind a bit (a lot) towards the end of last year as it wasn’t easy juggling both a very demanding job, this blog, time for family and friends, and wanting some free time to myself as well. I have been doing a better job at keeping up so far, but it’s too early to tell to be honest, since I only just started getting back into this last month.

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

I want to say that I promise that I will try to do better this year, but even I know that that’s a promise that I won’t be able to keep, so bear with me my dear followers! I know it is not in any way an obligation for me to share with you guys every single week, but I feel a sense of accomplishment for when I do so, and I don’t ever want this blog to drift away. It’s the only passion that I have going on for me right now because of my busy work schedule, and I don’t want all the hard work I’ve put into this blog for the past now coming 4 years to just become all for nothing.

With that being said, tonight I will be sharing a recipe that I tackled last November actually… For my 26th birthday! I never got around to posting it, and since I literally just got back from Hong Kong last night and had to report straight to work this morning, I’ve had no time to bake a new cake to celebrate Amcarmen’s Kitchen turning 4. So here’s my Pear & Walnut Cake that I drew inspiration from Olivia over on Liv for Cake. The cake itself was moist, not too sweet and had a lovely texture from the soft pear chunks and crunchy toasted walnuts. The honey buttercream was light and fluffy, beautifully contrasted by the deep red pears sitting atop a white-frosted cake.

(Apologies for not having an ingredient shot like how I normally do for almost all my recipe posts, but the photo didn’t turn out so great so I just decided not to post it)

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the pear and walnut cake

  • 2 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (plus extra to top)
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely shredded
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the honey Swiss meringue buttercream

  • 4 large free range eggs, whites only
  • 360g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Optional: for the spiced red wine poached pears to top

METHOD

  1. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: Follow the recipe method provided in the link above.
  2. Pear and Walnut Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease and flour two 8-inch cake rounds and line with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the plain flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  4. Next, using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Reduce the speed and add the eggs in one at a time to allow to fully incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk altogether). Make sure to fully incorporate after each addition. Then, gently fold in the toasted walnuts and shredded pears, and divide the mixture evenly between the two pans.
  6. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of both cakes come out mostly clean. Place the cakes on wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes and then turn out onto the wire rack to cool further.
  7. Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk until combined.* Place the bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approximately 3 minutes), or until it registers 70C/160F on a candy thermometre.
  8. Place the bowl back on your stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until the meringue is stiff and has cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approximately 5 to 10 minutes).
  9. Switch to a paddle attachment and slowly add in the butter (cubed). Mix until smooth.** Add the honey and whip until smooth. Set aside.
  10. Assembly: Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of the buttercream and repeat with the remaining layer. Crumb coat the cake and place in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
  11. Continue to frost the top and sides of the cake in a rustic manner. If desired, add toasted walnuts along the bottom and top, and place the poached pears on top. Secure pears in place with toothpicks and drizzle with the poaching syrup.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

* Ensure that there are NO traces of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won’t stiffen.

** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

Hello Everyone! I know the last two posts have been a bit of a downer; let’s just say I’m starting to feel a little bit better and more of myself this week so I hope that I will be back to my chirpy self soon. That aside, tonight’s recipe is actually one that I made just almost 2 months ago for a very special occasion; my sister’s 23rd birthday last August 23rd! We celebrated her birthday with a yummy all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ dinner at Seoul Garden followed by a surprise visit from a family friend which at that time we had offered to look after their two little boys for a week since their helper had to go back to the Philippines and they couldn’t find anyone else under short notice. Overall it was a fun evening spent with lots of food, cake, and little, but great company!

Happy 23rd Birthday Angela!

The cake that I decided to make for my sister was inspired by a recipe that I found online when I was researching ways that I could incorporate some of the ingredients from my blood pressure friendly list that I compiled at the beginning of the year. This recipe, from that list, features kiwis, strawberries, bananas, and fat-free yoghurt, all of which help lower your blood pressure. This cake is simple and easy to put together, yet is still delicious and guilt-free for when you reach out for a second heap of serving or three (or four)… Or you know the whole cake *cheeky grin* Not that I have done this myself before, you know, have a whole cake for no one else but just me, myself, and I. Anyway, onward with the recipe shall we? But before that, just a quick mention that the original recipe can be found over on SkinnyMs.

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | FREEZING TIME 3 HOURS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the base

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely ground
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Honey graham crackers (enough to make about 1 cup of crumbs)

For the filling

  • 2 punnets (2 x 250g) fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 tub (500g) fat free all natural yoghurt
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey

For the topping

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced into thin circles
  • Sliced strawberries (about 2-3 from the punnet)
  • Extra honey graham cracker crumbs (optional)

PS: Please ignore the egg in the ingredient shot, I actually didn’t use it at all even though it was in the original recipe. I decided to go with a no-bake base and therefore omitted the egg from my recipe.

METHOD

  1. Prepare an 8.5-inch springform pan by lining the bases with baking paper and greasing the edges with a little bit of butter. Add all of the base ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Press half of the mixture over the base of the prepared pan and set aside in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes or until firm.
  2. In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mashed banana, yoghurt, honey, and lime juice, whisking well until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Arrange half of the strawberry slices on top of the cooled crust then pour over half of the yoghurt mixture on top of the strawberries in an even layer.
  4. Repeat by adding the remaining half of the base over the top of the yoghurt mixture, arranging the strawberries slices, and the pouring the remaining half of the yoghurt mixture.
  5. Top the cake with the kiwi slices and strawberries slices before placing in freezer for about 3 hours or until completely frozen.
  6. Serve and enjoy! Tip: to cut, hold a knife under hot water for 10 seconds, dry and cut the frozen cake wile the knife is still warm!

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Yoghurt Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Chilli Chocolate & Cinnamon Cake

Chilli Chocolate & Cinnamon Cake

Hello Everyone! Well… Today has been quite an eventful day! For my followers who do not know, today marks my quarter of a century years young! 25 years of achievements and failures has brought me to where I am today.

Round 1 of Birthday Celebrations

My colleagues surprised me with a cake earlier this afternoon – quite funny as the whole morning they kept telling me not to expect anything because they didn’t have a surprise for me, nor did they have cake. By afternoon, my Manager called me to their department, asking me to help her with a design that I had helped her with earlier in the afternoon. Being the gullible person that I am, I went up to her, and that’s when the rest started singing Happy Birthday and brought out the cake (mini tower of cream puffs). So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the office who greeted me today – and for the surprise!

Round 2 of Birthday Celebrations

Round 2 of celebrations began earlier tonight as well, with my Mom, Sister, and my Godmother. We had Japanese for dinner and of course, the restaurant staff sang Happy Birthday to me as they brought out the cake that I had baked for myself for my birthday – which is tonight’s recipe! Original recipe can be found over on Dish.

Dense, rich and moist with a little hint of chilli and cinnamon – everything a great chocolate cake should be, and even more delicious when served with candid pepitas. — Claire Aldous.

Chilli Chocolate & Cinnamon Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 200g Lindt Chilli Chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional if you’d like a little more kick to your chilli chocolate cake)

For the glaze:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100ml thickened cream

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3).
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave at 30-second intervals and stirring until the butter and chocolate has melted. Once melted, stir in the sugar and vanilla extract, setting aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Once cooled, gradually stir in the eggs and then fold in the flour, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Pour into a buttered cake tin and smoothen the top.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the centre of the cake is set but not too firm. Once done, transfer to a rack and leave to cool completely in the tin.
  5. While the cake is cooling down, get started on the glaze by melting the dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Once the chocolate has melted, slowly add in the cream, stirring gently. Remove from the heat.
  6. Transfer the cake to a dish and pour the glass over. Finish with a light dust of confectioners’ sugar and enjoy with family and friends!

Chilli Chocolate & Cinnamon Cake

Chilli Chocolate & Cinnamon Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan ‘Cheesecake’

Hello Everyone! Yes I am aware that it is indeed Tuesday and not a Wednesday – but today is a special day which indefinitely deserves a special post too! Today is the middle child’s 22nd Birthday, and since last year (which was the year I came back to Brunei) I’ve been baking cakes for the family. It was the better solution to, I guess, wanting a specific flavour for an affordable price. I cannot stress enough house much I hate store bought cakes – mainly because of their icing; too thick, too sweet, just… Ugh. I’m not much of a baker since I’m more into savoury foods, but I guess baking a cake 4 times a year (at minimum) isn’t too stressful and helps me practice.

Happy 22nd Birthday Angela!
Happy 22nd Birthday Angela! – early dinner at Balkony today after work. The cake not only looked amazing, but it tasted so good as well! I will definitely try out more no bake vegan ‘cheesecakes’ in the upcoming months – maybe for my Birthday in November!

Today’s recipe shall keep in theme with the theme for this month on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, which is, if you haven’t been following, Yes Ve Gan! A month of tribute to animal-free dishes that are sure to tickle your tummies from a different perspective. Before I had the idea of coming up with an animal-free theme for the blog, I wanted to bake a strawberry shortcake for my sister. I then only just changed my mind earlier last week to do a No Bake Strawberry & Coconut ‘Cheesecake’ for her after being inspired and reminded of the cake that Miao made back in March when we gathered for a dinner and catch up session with friends in Singapore. I think I mentioned in the beginning of the month in a post that it was a pretty darn delicious cake and it made me crave for more! So I thought to myself, why do I give a raw vegan cake a try since, like Miao at that time, I have never done one before! It’s super easy to make and you can substitute the strawberries out for your favourites berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or boysenberries.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

This ‘cheesecake’ is completely gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! The recipe makes for one 8″ sized cake, but of course you can always double the recipe to make a bigger one if you wish! Mind you, for those who have not read in an earlier post this month, I haven’t stopped eating animals, dairy, or eggs altogether. I still eat my meat, but not as often as I used to, and I still have my daily dose of cow’s milk in the mornings  to accompany my breakfast. I don’t see myself going completely vegan in the next couple of years – but who knows, that may change over time when I make that shift to loving all animals, and most importantly for a healthier lifestyle. For now, it is something that I want to look into and slowly add this way of eating into my daily diet.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake' Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | FREEZE TIME min. 4 HOURS* | SERVES 8-10

*preferably overnight to ensure that the cake is set.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 250g medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight* and drained
  • 1 punnet (25g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) strawberries
  • 2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, liquified
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest of 1 small lemon

For the topping

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Edible flowers (optional)

*if you are a bit pressed for time, or decided to make your cake today and hadn’t realised that you needed to soak your cashews overnight, then you can soak them in very hot water for about an hour instead of overnight.

METHOD

  1. Crust: Soak the pitted medjool dates in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and then drain. Put almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the dates and a pinch of salt, and pulse until a paste forms.
  2. Press mixture into an 8-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a pie tin or a regular cake pan covered with baking paper). Place the crusted pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
  3. Filling: Put all ingredients for the filling in a blender and blend on low until mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling into the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. Remove the cake from the pan and leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Top with fresh strawberries, shredded coconut, and edible flowers.

Tip: Run your knife under warm water (and dry off) before cutting, to make a cleaner cut. Let each piece thaw for a few more minutes before serving.

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

No Bake Strawberry & Coconut Vegan 'Cheesecake'

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes, I am aware that it is a Sunday and it’s not my regular posting day. It’s just that today is a very special day because today I would like to wish the Happiest of Birthdays to the woman I call my Mother. My greatest wish is to grow up and become just like you. Thank you for all of your strength, advice, and of course your impeccable cooking skills that has helped me become the person I am today. Love you ❤

Happy Birthday Mama G 2016
My Mom & I at Bondi Beach, Bondi, NSW last June 2015

For the Month of May, I thought about sharing recipes, both savoury & sweet, that include mangoes since they have been in season since last month – but I will get into this theme for Wednesday’s post. Since we’re praising mangoes, I decided to bake a Moist Mango Pound Cake for my Mom’s 56th Birthday today. It’s actually not as grand as the cakes I’ve made for past birthdays, and it’s only because I wanted something quick and simple, yet still very tasteful since I had work commitments earlier on the day. I woke up early this morning to have breakfast and then got cracking on baking the cake before I took my shower and headed out to the venue for work. So I guess it was safe to say that I had a very hectic and busy morning, a lazy afternoon, and a night at Capers Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.

Moist Mango Pound Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINS | SERVES 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (or use heavy cream if not available)
  • 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Flesh of 2-3 mangoes, puréed* (yielding about 3/4 cups)
  • Fresh mangoes, diced
  • Confectioners’ sugar

*Purée your mangoes by adding them to a blender with about a tablespoon of water to ease the blending process. Pulse until smooth.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 170C (325F or gas mark 3). Prepare a 7″ round pan (or square) by rubbing some butter and flour on the base and sides of the pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until it turns pale yellow in colour – it should be creamy and not gritty in texture (sugar fully dissolved).
  4. Add in one egg at a time, beating on low well after each addition. Then add in the coconut cream, vanilla extract, and mango purée. Continue beating on medium for a good 4 minutes or until the mixture is creamy and has good volume.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, about a third at a time, folding it in gently after each addition. Be careful as to not over mix your batter, use gentle strokes until the flour is just moistened.
  6. Transfer the batter to your prepares baking pan and bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes or until the cake is golden brown in colour and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Loosen the edges with a knife and transfer the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool down. Once cooled, top your cake with some fresh diced mango and some confectioners’ sugar. Serve and enjoy!

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

Moist Mango Pound Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Hello Everyone! If you’ve been following my blog from the very beginning, then you’ll know that today is a very special day indeed! My blog officially turns 2 years old today! My how time has flown by so quickly! I’m sure most of you know the story of how I came around to starting up my blog – but for those new comers out there, here is the story again:

I started up this food blog exactly two years ago during spring break, and instead of slaving away on the many assignments/projects I had at that time, I decided to spontaneously start up a blog, out of pure procrastination really. I wasn’t sure of how long I’d be able to keep up with this blog (because I have tried many times and failed), but I am happy that I am able to finally keep one up and running, even though I’m only posting once a week instead of 3 times a week like before I started working. on several occasions, I’d ask my Mom, “What would happen if I didn’t have a food blog?” And she would always reply the same way every time I asked her, “You’d be the most boring person ever.” Haha. Thanks. I definitely have her to thank for teaching me how to cook; well actually I’d like to say thanks to the fact that I got into a university away from home and family as it not only taught me how to be independent, it also showed me how bad I was at cooking for myself during my first year at uni.

Like last year, to celebrate my blog turning 2 today, I decided to bake a cake for this occasion. I actually did a test bake two weeks ago since this is the first time I was following this recipe – I didn’t want to fail miserably and have nothing to post for this special occasion. I’m glad I did that test bake because there was a major backfire *oops*. Well, it wasn’t such a huge backfire, but it was because it was a significant part of what binds the cake together so without it, the cake would’ve been pretty dry. I’m talking about the rose-scented cream here. The first try, I actually bought the wrong type of thickened cream – I bought the light thickened cream only because that’s what I saw on the shelf. So I whipped it for a good, I don’t know, probably a total of 15-20 minutes or so and it what not whipping at all. Then I realised it was because it was light cream which does have enough fat content to fully whip. So that was a fail, and by that time I was quite tired and frustrated over the cream that I decided to just leave it and try again the following week.

The second time around, I bought regular thickened cream and it whipped fine – too fine that I had over-whipped it and it became quite clumpy. You can actually rescue over-whipped cream by adding more cream, but at that time, I had poured the whole bottle of cream into the mixer. So what did I do? I had to ask my mom to drive me to the grocers again to buy more cream, and finally after the third attempt with this rose-scented cream, I managed to get it right! I didn’t want to waste the other batch of over-whipped cream and so I kept whipping it until it started to come together as homemade butter. After I had whipped it into butter, I had a taste of it and then realised that I had just made sweet rose-scented butter – which in my opinion was a bit ew since I’ve never tasted sweet butter with a hint of rose flavour in it. Haha! So yeah.

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Anyway, I took inspiration to bake this cake from one that I tried from Black Star Pastry when I was still living in Sydney. Since it’s debut into the world of pastries, it is known to be the most Instagrammed cake.  Also, the original recipes uses silvered pistachios, but I used pepitas instead. The only reason was that pistachios here for some reason are always brown, like not even green, and I didn’t want to put something brown to top of my beautiful cake so I went for green pepitas instead. Another thing, I couldn’t find rose petals anywhere here in Brunei. So, I decided to go through boxes of teas to read their labels, looking for any that had rose petals in them. I was lucky that one of the teas that I brought home from Sydney last year had rose petals in them!

Don’t forget to check out the recipe that I followed to make this cake over on Gourmet Traveller. You can get creative and make a cake in any shape you want. When I had this at Black Star Pastry, it was square in shape and probably no bigger than about 8cm x 8cm x 8cm in size (maybe). I made mine into round cakes (about 3 in total with this recipe) with a diameter of about 7.5cm.

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS* | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 3

*plus 1-2 hours of chilling time

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 seedless red grapes, sliced thinly
  • 250g seedless watermelon, about 0.5cm thick slices
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, halved
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup rosewater
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp pepitas
  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals

For the Almond Dacquoise

  • egg whites
  • 2/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

For the Rose-scented Cream

  • 100ml thickened cream
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp rosewater

METHOD

  1. For the almond dacquoise: Preheat oven to 200C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar. Whisk eggwhites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (3-4 minutes), then gradually add caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes). Gently fold through almond mixture, spread on a 30cm x 40cm oven tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool on tray, and then using a round cutter, cut the dacquoise into 6 circles.
  2. For the watermelon layer: Cut the watermelon into half a centimetre thick rounds using the same cutter used to cut the dacquoise. Arrange watermelon rounds in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with 20ml rosewater, then scatter with 2 tbsp sugar. Stand to macerate (30 minutes), then pat dry with absorbent paper.
  3. For the rose-scented cream: Whisk cream and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add rosewater and whisk until stiff peaks form (do not over-whisk!!!).
  4. Assembly: Staring with a watermelon slice as your base, spread about a tablespoon and a half of rose cream evenly over  it and then top with a layer of dacquoise. Scatter a pinch of almond meal and then top with more cream. Repeat, and then top of the last dacquoise layer with a bit of cream to hold the strawberry chunks, slices of grapes, and other toppings. Refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
  5. Serve and enjoy chilled!

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

Strawberry & Watermelon Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cassava Cake

Cassava Cake

Hello Everyone! Once again, apologies for another later than usual post. I just got home after doing some gift shopping for a friend’s wedding this Sunday, and a Secret Santa exchange gift on Monday. After my shopping spree, I had a nice and filling dinner with my Mom and sisters at Rack & Brew, a café cum boutique. I’ve always wanted to try out the food from this place since it opened late this year somewhere in September, and I finally got around to tonight.

For those of you who have been following my blog on a daily basis for the past week, you would’ve known that I made something called Pichi-Pichi on Sunday using grated cassava. Tonight, I’m going to share with you another cassava recipe in case you have any leftovers that you didn’t get around to using for your pichi-pichi. Some of the ingredients are similar (just that this requires less!), but what differentiates one from the other is the method of cooking. Pichi-Pichi is steamed, while tonight’s recipe for cassava cake is oven-baked. I do recommend that when you go out to buy cassava, buy a few kilos (up to 3 or 4 is sufficient), so that you can just peel and grate everything all in one go and cook it up in many different ways. Also, grated cassava freezes well for up to 3 months, just defrost before using.

Cassava cake is a classic Filipino dessert, or a hefty afternoon snack made from grated cassava and coconut milk. My Mom always makes hers with pure cassava (no added flour like the pre-made ones we find in the shops/restaurants where the ratio feels like 98% flour and 2% cassava), and fresh coconut milk squeezed from the flesh of a mature coconut. You may add more coconut milk on top of the cassava once it is baked about halfway through, or you can top with off with other favourites such as macapuno or a non-traditional topping such as custard. My Mom likes hers plain, and it tastes just as good.

Cassava Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS* | COOKING TIME 40-45 MINS | SERVES 8-10

*This assumes that you have grated cassava readily available (fresh or frozen).

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups grated cassava
  • 2 cups fresh coconut milk (from a can is fine as well)
  • 1 can (380g) condensed milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Grease 2 x 10″ square pans with a bit of butter. Set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix using a spatula until well combined.
  3. Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans and place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until the tops have browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool down a bit on a wire rack. Once they have cooled down slightly, cut them into medium-sized squares.
  5. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cassava Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

Hello Everyone! Today is a special day, and that special day is my birthday! For those who want to know, I am 24 years young today, and another year wider, I mean, wiser, but not another year taller unfortunately. It’s been 4 years since I last celebrated my birthday in Brunei with my family, and friends I grew up and went to high school with. It’s been that long because for the past 4 years I’ve spent my birthday’s in Australia, with my friends from uni. I didn’t really plan anything special, I just organised a dinner party at Villa Mauri last Friday night with some friends; exchanging conversations, laughter, and of course, no gathering is complete without some dirty talk! We’ve all not changed one bit 🙂 I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank those who came that night, and also thank everyone else who has greeted me so far. I am so blessed to have family and friends from all over sending love my way. I know, that sounded a bit cheesy.

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my high school friends at Villa Mauri (November 6th, 2015)

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my work friends at 
Patisserie (November 9th, 2015)

I baked this cake yesterday afternoon for my birthday dinner tonight with my mom and my sister. Seriously, I cannot stress out how much I hate frosting – it take so bloody long for me to get it perfect. Well, not so much perfect, but for me to get it to cover the cake. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or I should blame the climate, but the buttercream is runny to begin with, so I put it in the freezer to stiffen up a bit before I frost. Then when I start frosting, it quickly becomes runny again to the point that I have to keep placing the cake in and out of the freezer multiple times before I can get the frosting to somewhat cover the cake. But anyway, after much frustration on the eve of my birthday, I managed to get a decent looking cake up I guess (so over it right now – so over baking cakes altogether).

Actually, I think I know the reason (maybe not really) why my frosting was runny. I had a look at the ingredients photo that I took and saw that I had icing sugar in it. At first, I thought that that might’ve been the reason, but when I looked at the original recipe, there was no sign of icing sugar. So why did my frosting go wrong?! 😦 Not enough butter?

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my family at home (November 9th 2015)

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make a cake like this for a while; as in the whole salted caramel with caramel popcorn on top kind of cake. I was blown away when I came across it over on La Pêche Fraîche – so beautiful and well photographed. So don’t forget to check out the original recipe over on her blog; she has adapted the different components to making this cake from various recipes (all links have been acknowledged below). Plus, her’s looks much more beautiful, and somehow taller than my cake *cries*.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 50-55 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the yellow butter cake (adapted from Joy of Baking)

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 4 large free range egg yolks
  • 2 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the salted caramel (adapted from FoodSwoon)

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream (adapted from FoodSwoon)

  • 350g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half of a batch of salted caramel, cooled, the rest reserved for drizzling (see recipe below)

For the salted caramel popcorn (adapted from the Kitchn)

  • Popped popcorn from about 1 & 1/2 bags of popcorn
  • 130 grams unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Big pinch salt, plus a little for sprinkling

METHOD

  1. Yellow Butter Cake:
    • Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease 2 x 8.5-inch pans with a little bit of butter.
    • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the plain flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes altogether. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the egg yolks in and beat for a further 2 minutes. Add in the milk and vanilla, stirring gently to combine.
    • Add in the dry ingredients all at once, and stir gently until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
    • Set the cakes aside to cool down completely before frosting.
  2. Salted Caramel:
    • Heat the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt together over medium-low in a small saucepan . Whisk at the beginning until they dissolve. Once dissolved, leave the mixture to caramelise into an amber colour.
    • Once amber, remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter and cream. Be careful of any splattering that may occur. Whisk until completely smooth.
    • Set aside to cool down before using it.
  3. Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream:
    • Place the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on low until it reaches to about 115C/240F.
    • Meanwhile, as your sugar+water mixture is slowly heating up, place the egg whites in a large bowl and start to beat using a handheld electric mixer. Beat the eggs until soft peaks start to form. Then, slowly stream the water+sugar syrup into the egg whites with the mixer still going.
    • Beat the meringue until cooled to about body temperature, and then beat in the butter about 2 tablespoons (30g) at a time. Continue whipping the buttercream until it is silky before adding half of the caramel mixture in.
    • Set aside in the fridge until it is time to frost your cake.
  4. Salted Caramel Popcorn:
    • Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1/2) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
    • Place the popcorn in a big bowl and make sure not to include any unpinned kernels.
    • In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar, and salt until they begin to caramelise. Whisk well to combine, and then add in the baking soda. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss well to coat.
    • Scrape the popcorn  out onto the baking tray and lightly sprinkle with a touch of salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the caramel is completely dry and crunchy. Once done, set aside.
  5. Assembly:
    • Stack your cake on a cake stand and frost it with the buttercream. Drizzle the remaining caramel on the edges of the cake and then top the cake with a mountain of caramel popcorn!
    • Serve, share, and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

Happy Birthday Angela

Hello Everyone! Today won’t be a Review Sunday as I have a special post for you tonight! Today is my sister, Angela’s, 21st Birthday! I can’t believe that she is my not-so-little sister anymore! How time flies by so quickly. I’m glad that after 4 years of being away, I get to spend today with you! Hope you have the most wonderful of birthdays and hope you like my cake that I made for you! Lots of love, Ate Ally ❤

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

I have never made this cake before, and unlike the original recipe, she uses plain all-purpose flour while I used plain wholemeal flour. The reason? I didn’t have enough plain flour and I didn’t want to go out to the grocers to buy more, plus I still had a brand new pack of wholemeal flour and decided to give that a go! It still tasted great, but the cake was a bit crumbly when I cut into it, but maybe it was because I may have over measured the flour a bit (as Sally says not to in her recipe… Oops)! Check out the original recipe from one of my favourite bakers: Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 230g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups plain wholemeal flour, sifted
  • 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp wholemeal flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 3 medium-sized lemons

*Rather than purchasing a whole carton of buttermilk from the store and worrying about what to do with the leftovers before it starts to go bad in the fridge, making your own buttermilk is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Simply measure 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (alternatively you can use white vinegar) in a measuring cup and then fill the rest up with full cream milk until you reach 1 full cup. Stir it around, let sit for 5 minutes, and it will be ready to use!

For the zesty cream cheese frosting

  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice

To decorate

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Lemon slices and zest

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (about 350F or gas mark 4). With a little bit of butter, grease the bottom and sides of three 8.5-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Make the cake batter: Using a electric handheld or stand mixer beat the butter on high until creamy (takes about a minute), then add the granulated and brown sugars. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat on medium for a further 2 minutes until the mixture is well combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the wholemeal flour, baking powder, and salt, and toss together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed for about 5 seconds, and then add in the buttermilk, lemon juice, and zest. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined.
  4. Spoon half of the batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans. If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw as they will bleed into your cake batter. Toss the blueberries in about a tablespoon of flour as well – this way they won’t burst inside and turn your cake purple. Divide the blueberries equally between the three cake pans. Top with the remaining batter equally between the three.
  5. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took about 30 minutes, and I even left it in the oven for a further 5 minutes with the heat off. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Make the frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar and a few frozen blueberries.
  7. Assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with about 1/3 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and again spread with another third of the frosting. Top with the last layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh blueberries, lemon slices and zest, and a touch of confectioners’ sugar. Store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake Process

Lemon & Blueberry Layer Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com