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

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe we’ve come to an end to Breakfast/Brunch Month, which also means that it’s almost the end of October! Once again, where did the days go? Time flies too quickly. Luckily for you guys, today will not be the last post for October for I have a recipe going up on the 31st for a Halloween Special. I won’t say much about it now but the only thing I will say about it is that it’s gonna get bloody!

So anyway, since today will be my last post for Breakfast/Brunch Month, I’m going to end it with a recipe that is sure to knock you socks off! I’ve not tried this recipe before earlier on this week, but I can assure you that for those of you who like a little bit of spice in your life, these muffins pack a good kick! I had actually planned to bake some Chorizo, Corn, and Chilli Streusel muffins two weeks ago to post for today, but we could not find any chorizo at all that week. So I told my mom that I’ll hold off making the muffins since they weren’t going up on the blog for another week or so during that time, but as the days drew closer and chorizo still could not be found – so maybe I will hold off this recipe for another time when chorizo is available.

Thus, I decided to change my recipe – Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli Muffins! I kind of like how it is sort of in theme with fall (for the Northern Hemisphere), and Halloween – the pumpkin aspect of today’s recipe that is. The original recipe for these muffins can be found over on Taste;I didn’t really do anything to alter the recipe, only that I added half of the pepitas into the muffin batter mixture. Other than that, I pretty much just followed this quick and easy recipe.

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 22-25 MINS | SERVES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coarse polenta
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Softened butter, to serve

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F or gas mark 5). Grease a 12 hole muffin pan with either cooking spray or with butter.
  2. Place the pumpkin chunks on a baking tray lined with foil and season with a bit of salt, pepper, and coat with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Once done, remove from the oven and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Using a fork, mash the pumpkin and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the self-raising flour, sugar, polenta, chilli flakes, coriander, and half of the pepitas in a bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined and then make a well in the centre.
  4. Add the milk, egg, vegetable oil, and pumpkin into the well and then mix until just combined. Your batter will be very thick which is exactly what you want! Season with a bit of salt and pepper, and the spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Top with the remaining pepitas.
  5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and stand in muffin pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
  6. Serve and enjoy warm or cold with softened butter!

Muffins taste best on the same day, though they may be stored covered tightly at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli

Breakfast Muffins: Pumpkin, Polenta, and Chilli

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com