Lemon Sunshine Cake

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes I am fully aware that it’s Thursday today, which means I’m a day late from my normal upload schedule of every Wednesday night (Philippine time). There’s a reason for this, because:

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS SIX TODAY!

For my new followers and friends who don’t know the story behind my blog, before I got it up and running, I already had an interest in cooking. I was already sharing photos of my kitchen adventures on Facebook throughout my first year in university up until my third year. Throughout these years, I kept getting comments and messages from family and friends, encouraging me to start up a blog and share my recipes online.

Finally, after many years of encouragement and pure procrastination, I started what was formerly known as Kitchen Headquarters back in April 16 of 2014. It happened when I was 2 months into my last year of university and in the middle of my mid-semester Easter break; not wanting to tackle the many assignments I had on my to-do list before resuming classes.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

To celebrate today’s occasion, I’ve baked a Lemon Sunshine Cake. It strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet with homemade lemon curd, a moist lemon cake, and a rich, creamy vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s delicious and sure to brighten your day!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe that I drew my inspiration from over at The Simple Sweet Life by Claire.

Lemon Sunshine Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS & 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 35 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the lemon curd

  • 60g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the lemon cake

  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tsp baking powder

For the vanilla buttercream frosting

  • 500g unsalted butter (cold), cubed
  • 10 free-range egg whites*
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 10 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)

* Don’t throw away the egg yolks! You can keep them in the fridge for up to two days while you decide what you can make with them. I made an easy Leche Flan (Crème Caramel) recipe. If you’re feeling a little bit creative and inspired, try turning them into Crispy Fried Leche Flan instead!

METHOD

  1. Lemon Curd: Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and zest, and egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  2. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. It should almost have the consistency of a pudding. Once the lemon curd has thickened, carefully remove the bowl from the pot of boiling water and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Slowly incorporate the cubed butter into the slightly cooled curd mixture. Cover and then allow for the curd to cool completely in the refrigerator before use.
  4. Lemon Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  5. Add the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, whip them together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter into four 8” parchment paper-lined and greased cake pans. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes come out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
  8. Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking until the sugar becomes clear.
  9. While the syrup cooks, whip the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.
  10. With the mixed running on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites and whip until the mixture has cooled down to room temperature.
  11. Turn the mixer speed down to low and slowly incorporate the butter and vanilla extract. Continue beating until the frosting is thick and smooth.
  12. Assembly: If necessary, level your cakes before layering for assembly. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread a layer of frosting on top.
  13. Using an offset spatula, carve out an indent in the frosting and fill with the lemon curd. Repeat with the second and third layer and then top with the fourth. Coat the outside with a thin crumb coat and allow for the cake to set in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes to set.
  14. Optional: Equally divide the remaining frosting into three batches. Tint each batch a different shade of yellow.
  15. Cover the cake with the frosting and use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smoothen the frosting and remove any excess. Feel free to get creative in how you’re going to use the colours to decorate and present your cake.I topped the cake with the remaining lemon curd and added a few slices of baked/dehydrated lemon slices for that finishing touch.
  16. Place in the refrigerator to chill before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Here are some helpful tips to note when making this Lemon Sunshine Cake:

  1. Make the lemon curd in advance: You can make the lemon curd a week and store it in the refrigerator if you’re looking to save some time when you come around to making this cake.
  2. Crumb coating: Spreading a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake, and then refrigerating it will lock in any crumbs and keep them from reaching the surface of your frosted cake.
  3. The trick for smooth frosting: You’ll need a rotating cake stand and a bench scraper. Place the small end of the bench scraper on the cake stand, long end against the frosting and turn the table. Once excess frosting is removed, heat the scraper in hot water, wipe and drag around the outside of the cake.
  4. Chill your cake: Cool cake is easier to cut and handle, so chilling your cake for a short while before use will make this process easier.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Before I end tonight’s post, I want to thank everyone for all the love and support. Of course all the hard work that goes into Amcarmen’s Kitchen wouldn’t have been possible without my #1 supporter, my Mom. I asked my Mom to teach me how to cook after trying to survive off regular takeaway meals from the nearest shop or my attempts at home-cooked food of very poor quality during my first year away from home.

I have my Mom to thank for the days she had to put up with my very little knowledge in the kitchen, and my inability to choose the best produce when she would bring me along to her trips to the market. Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching over me.

Lastly, I want to thank a very special someone in my life. Since the day we first started talking to each other, you’ve always been very proud and supportive by sharing my recipes each week. And for that, thank you for encouraging and motivating me to continue doing what I love to do!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone! Valentine’s Day is just 2 days away and if you don’t have any creative ideas up your sleeve to surprise your significant other just yet, then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! These beauties really are the perfect way to show your special someone how much you care about them for Valentine’s Day – or for any occasion as a matter of fact! Love, care, and affection should not only be celebrated and shown on one specific day.

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Everyone loves cinnamon rolls, but the regular-shaped ones don’t quite shout ‘creative’ or a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. So why not make them into lovely red velvet heart-shaped rolls? I’m sure your sweetheart will feel even sweeter biting into these fluffy rolls stuffed with fresh red cherries that are topped with a rich vanilla cheese frosting. Simple. Quick. Oh-so tasty!

Before we dive right into tonight’s recipe, here are the two recipes from where I drew my inspiration from for these ‘Love Rolls’: Le Creme de la Crumb by Tiffany and Rasa Malaysia by Bee.

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

PREP TIME 45 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | MAKES 10 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2-3 tsp red food colouring
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp active quick rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 70g unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Fresh red cherries

For the frosting

  • 115g cream cheese, softened
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-6 tbsp soy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Dough: Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and then remove from the heat. If the milk and butter mixture is too hot, allow it to cool down to lukewarm temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 & 1/4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the milk mixture, egg, and red food colouring. Mix to combine well.
  3. Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, knead while slowly adding the remaining cup of flour until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Alternatively, you may also knead by hand. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Filling: Once rested, roll out the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the softened butter on top. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, and then sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough.
  5. Cut the dough into 10 strips and make each strip into a heart shape. Transfer the cinnamon rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place a cherry into the centre of each cinnamon roll and cover with a damp towel and to allow them to rise, about 25 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to completely cool down.
  7. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Mix well and then add in the powdered sugar a quarter cup at a time until thick. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  8. Spread the frosting over cooled cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! So my allergies have been acting up all day and usually dust triggers my constant sneezing, but I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary today to inhale a load of dust for this to happen. While I’m left clueless, I’m also left with a slight headache, fatigue, and quite possibly (but hopefully not) might end up with the flu when I wake up tomorrow morning, followed by a chain of bugs – a fever, a sore throat, and a terrible cough. On the other hand, sometimes I wake up feeling 120% better as if nothing happened. So I HOPE for the latter.

To be completely honest with everyone – I’ve never had a smoothie bowl until I started this series of mine. I’ve seen it all over social media back when it was the new ‘foodie’ trend and it always looked aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but I was a bit skeptic on the idea of using a spoon to eat my smoothie rather than using a conventional straw to drink it. I tried to wrap my head around the idea to imagine as if I was having a bowl of thick soup, but the thought of having cold soup soon consumed my mind and I didn’t like that thought. I just thought that it was weird for some reason, until I decided to try one out for my breakfast series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and feel completely in love with them.

They are super EASY to make, as you may have seen in my previous posts, the take about a minimum of 5 minutes to put together. It allows you to get creative with your favourite toppings and this not only adds colour to your mornings or makes it look pretty, but it also adds texture to your smoothie. Furthermore, it’s a great way to slowly use up those chia seeds and pepitas lying on your pantry shelf just waiting to go out of date because you don’t know where else you can use them!

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

  • Bananas – loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6
  • Blackberriesrich in vitamin A, B, C, E, K, as well as antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and minerals such as sodium, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid
  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Goji Berries – excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients that help boost the immune system and protect the body from high levels of inflammation
  • Pumpkin Seeds – contains magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc

METHOD

  1. Blend the frozen blackberries, yoghurt, milk, banana, honey, and chia seeds until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with sliced bananas, blackberries, chia seeds, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Banana & Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

If you have yet to try out a smoothie bowl, then you should definitely try out this recipe for a Banana and Blackberry Smoothie Bowl. The great thing about this bowl was that I had everything on hand and didn’t need to buy extra ingredients for this bowl – except for the blackberries of course. We always have a bunch of bananas lying around in the kitchen, and well, we’ve had the chia seeds, pepitas, and goji berries lying around for a bit now.

Don’t forget that you are not limited to the choice of toppings mentioned above. Use whatever you have lying around so that you don’t have to go and spend extra money on the things that you don’t have. I’ve basically been doing the same thing since I started my Smoothie Bowl series at the beginning of the month!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl

Hello Everyone! First of all I would like to wish all my friends and followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen a very belated New Years as this is the very first post that I am writing since 2018 started. Yes, I am aware that I have been MIA for the past few months, and I do apologise for that. I’ve just had a lot to juggle for the past month – mainly work life took over, mixed with a bucketload of emotional rollercoaster rides, and procrastination that led me to neglect Amcarmen’s Kitchen. But I’ve finally gotten back into my cooking and I’ve never been happier to do what I love doing best, and that is making a mess in the kitchen to come up with amazing eats!

The theme for this year revolves around what I foresee my future boutique café menu to carry – which is Breakfast… ALL DAY – Breakfast for Breakfast, Breakfast for Lunch, and of course the best part, Breakfast for Dinner. I was inspired by a restaurant called Wild Honey if I’m not mistaken, that I went to in Singapore a few years back, where they served an All Day Breakfast menu. My friend and I went there for dinner and I cannot express how much I enjoyed a Smoked Salmon Eggs Benny for dinner. I mean, it wasn’t the first time I had breakfast for dinner; in fact, I’ve had my fair share of them at home during my uni days where I had nothing in the fridge but breakfast ingredients which always usually resulted in a plate of buttered toast, sautéed spinach, sunny side up eggs, fried bacon, and on the rare occasion, that is if there were any leftovers in the fridge from the previous day(s), some sweet potato mash. Yes, this is taking me back to a specific night (possibly 6 years ago OH MY), that I spent at home all alone, going through a Big Bang Theory marathon, and having my breakfast for dinner. Those were the days.

So yes, the theme for Amcarmen’s Kitchen this year will be all about Breakfast or Brunch eats as both are my favourite parts of the day and I honestly think that they should be eaten all day everyday! For the month of March and April, I’ll be tackling some healthy smoothie bowls for a quick-and-easy go-to breakfast or afternoon snack packed with nutrients that will keep you energized all day long. They have the taste and texture of a smoothie, but with health-boosting, super-satisfying toppings such as granola, flaxseed, chia seeds, fresh berries, coconut, or even a little bit of dark chocolate to turn them into a heartier meal. Aside from being delicious, whipping up a smoothie bowl is a great opportunity to get creative. The possibilities are endless!

Tonight, I will be sharing with you a ‘Strawberries & Cream’ inspired Smoothie Bowl. Double the ingredients if you wish to make a smoothie bowl for two.

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

For the smoothie mixture

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Toppings

  • Blueberriescontains vitamin C & K, fibre, manganese, and other antioxidants
  • Chia Seeds – contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants, iron, and calcium
  • Cornflakes – contains vitamins, folate, minerals, dietary fibre, proteins, and also carbohydrates
  • Fresh Strawberries – contains vitamin C, folate, potassium, manganese, dietary fibre, magnesium, antioxidants, and polyphenols
  • Honey-roasted Almonds – contains healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E
  • Pumpkin Seeds – contains magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc

METHOD

  1. Blend the strawberries, yoghurt, milk, honey, and chia seeds together until smoothie.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and top with the cornflakes, fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey.

If you don’t have all these toppings on hand, then don’t fret! Just use what you have on hand. Like I said before, whipping up a smoothie bowl is an opportunity to get creative and top them with your favourite fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains!

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl

Pro-tip: If you want to make a pretty design, add the heaviest topping ingredients last (don’t be like me and add them first haha).

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

… on a bed of Pistachio Crumble with a Quenelle of Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream drizzled with a Red Wine & Orange Reduction *drools*

Hello Everyone! I’m really bad at this, and I sincerely apologise. I know I said that I would get back on track with Amcarmen’s Kitchen until the end of the year but once again I have fallen slack and behind for God knows how many weeks now. The truth is that I have been super busy towards the end of last month and into early November with a hectic and stressful event that definitely took a toll on my high blood pressure for sure. Though the past 2 weeks have been quiet, I spent most of it recovering and relaxing from that hell of an event.  I worked at least 15 hours a day from 8am until almost midnight on most nights. I’m just glad that it’s all over… For now.

But anyway, the recipe that I will be sharing tonight is one that I actually made waaaaaay back somewhere in June when I was left home alone (my mom and my sister flew out to Singapore to visit my other sister), during a long weekend too, and I had no plans of stepping out of the house unless I had to *cheeky grin*. So why didn’t I upload the recipe for this back then? Simple – it didn’t comply with the theme I had set out to accomplish for this year on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. So then why now? It’s still 2017. Stop asking so many questions! Haha! I amuse myself sometimes. Well, this is actually part of a special recipe that I will be posting (hopefully) next week, which will also most likely be the last recipe for the year unfortunately. I’m going to use the rest of my time before the year ends to plan and prepare recipes for the upcoming year. I already have a theme in mind to tackle for the whole year and I’m already excited for it!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Moving on, sorry that introduction went on way longer that I thought it would (as always though right?). If I can recall, I decided that I wanted to practice my dessert-making skills, you know to a MasterChef quality level worthy of a place in the competition ONE DAY. I have to say that I’m quite impressed with how this dessert played out in my head, to paper, and to the actual deal. The pears were soft on the outside, but still had a nice bite and a bit of crunch to it on the inside; beautifully spiced and contrasted well to the mild sweetness of the vanilla bean ice cream. And everyone loves pistachios, or at least I hope they do so throw that onto the plate for another added texture to the overall dessert dish.

You may want to get a head start on the ice cream so that it’ll have time to set in the freezer. You can either make it the day before, or early in the morning so that it’s ready for dessert time after a hearty dinner.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears Ingredients

PREP TIME 4 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 25-35 MINS | SERVES 6

*Includes the minimum freeze time for the no churn vanilla bean ice cream; see below for the freeze time range

INGREDIENTS

For the spiced red wine poached pears

  • 6 large pears, peeled and keeping the stems intact**
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 10 cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

For the no churn vanilla bean ice cream

  • 2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 can (300g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

For the pistachio crumble

  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

**Make sure that you use fairly large pears for this recipe. I found that using smaller pears overcook easily as they need a while to absorb that beautiful red wine colour as well as the flavours.

METHOD

  1. No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Using a mixer, beat the thickened cream on medium speed until heavy peaks start to form. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat further. Be careful as to not over whip the mixture. Add the vanilla beans into the mixture along with the pure vanilla extract and gently stir it into the ice cream mixture. Place the ice cream mixture into a container and freeze for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: Add all the ingredients for the poached pears into a large pot or any that’s a suitable size. Cut out a piece of parchment paper and place it directly on the pears so they remain submerged in the liquid, or alternatively you could also use a small plate.
  3. Bring the wine mixture to boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cook until the pears are soft on the outside are still a little crisp in the middle instead of soft all the way through (about 25 minutes); cooking time will however depend on the size of the pears. For softer pears, cook for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Once the pears are cooked through, use a slotted spoon remove the pears and set aside to cool. Keep cooking the liquid until it reduces to a syrup. Then, strain the wine reduction and discard the spices and zest. If you find the sauce too sweet, add some lemon juice to it to cut through some of that sweetness.
  5. Pistachio Crumble: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Process the pistachios in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the flour, sugar, and salt; processing further just until combined. Add the unsalted butter, and continue processing until the mixture is thoroughly combined and forms pea-size crumbs.
  6. Spread the pistachio crumble mixture on the prepared baking tray. Press gently with damp hands, flattening the crumble to about 1/2 inch thick and bake in the preheated oven until the crumble starts to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and, using a flat spatula to lightly crumble the mixture. Return to oven, and bake until the crumble is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes further. Once done, transfer to a wire rack, and set aside to cool on the baking tray completely, about 20 minutes, before roughly crumbling.
  8. Assemble your dessert by spreading the crumble onto the middle of each individual serving plates. Place one pear on top of the crumble and drizzle with the orange and wine reduction syrup. Quenelle the vanilla bean ice cream and place atop the crumble on the side of the pear.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

BON APPÉTIT

Ps: speaking of desserts – this is completely unrelated by the way, but I just thought I’d share this because it’s hilarious! A week ago or so, my friend asked a question on our whatsapp group chat and the question was: if you were a dessert, what would you be? Without hesitation, my other friend quickly replied “cactus” and to her hasty realisation, she retracted and said “oh I thought you meant desert” and everyone went spiralling down into a pit of undignified laughters – well I couldn’t stop laughing out loud and looking like an insane freak in front of my colleagues at work during that time. God bless her.

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Hello Everyone! Hopefully tonight’s recipe will be able to get your brains going to have a guess on what the theme for December on Amcarmen’s Kitchen is. Like I said in the previous post, it may be obvious to some after this, or maybe you’ll have to wait until next week to make the connections. My best friend Jialing actually planted the idea in my head, and when I came up with the final theme, even she was excited to know that I’d be doing this for December. I’ll give you guys a slight clue – it definitely is Christmas-related.

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Anyway, I’m going to keep tonight’s post short and only because I don’t have a long-winded back story to tell about who I came across these energy bites in the past and here I am having a go at my own version – because that isn’t the case here. I merely just browsed the World Wide Web in search for recipes that I could try out specifically for this month’s theme. I came across this recipe on Pinterest a while back, and I thought I’d give this one a go seeing as it is simple (that’s right, only 5 ingredients!) to make and deliciously energising indeed! Just a heads up, they may be a bit too sweet for some who are intolerant to anything sweet because of the dates, but nonetheless, they are pretty darn good! Check out the original recipe by Danae over on Recipe Runner.

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME  | MAKES 12 BALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened if you want them to be paleo)
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates (about 6-7 dates), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (or almond meal)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Using a high-speed blender or a food processor, pulse the almonds and cashews and almonds until they are finely ground, but be careful as to not turn them into nut butter.
  2. Add in all the remaining ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend/pulse until everything starts to come together. When needed, scrape down the sides of the blender or food processor several times, and then add up to 2 tablespoons of water to the blended mixture. You may need to remove the mixture from the blender or food processor and place it into a bowl, mashing it together with your hands or a spatula.
  3. Form the mixture into approximately 12 balls at about a tablespoon each.
  4. Store the energy bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy as a snack when you feel that afternoon slump starting to kick in!

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

Cranberry Vanilla Energy Bites

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Hello Everyone! I’ve got another french toast recipe with a twist for you again today, but this time there will be no added milo to it. Instead we’re gonna crust our classic french toast with some cornflakes to give it that extra added crunch to an already soggy bread. I came across this idea a couple of months ago back in July when Symmetry Breakfast went viral. They posted a photo of some cornflake-crusted french toast and when I planned for Breakfast/Brunch Month for October, I knew I had to tackle a recipe for that!

I absolutely love their work! If you have been following my Instagram during that month, you would’ve seen that Jialing and I (and Edison) hopped on the #symmetrybreakfast bandwagon for the last remaining week that I was in Sydney. Actually, I might just share the photographs here since I don’t know if I will be posting them on the blog anytime other than now I guess (click on the individual images to view a larger version of them):

Homemade Charred Eggplant & Baby Octopus Shakshuka with Lebanese Bread; Blueberry & Passionfruit Cider French Crêpes with a Honeyed Citrus Creamcheese Filling topped with a Mixed Berry Compte; Orange Sunrise Cocktail Pea and Ham Soup with Stone-baked Pane di Casa and Strawberry & Lime Cider
Potato Hash Crusted Breakfast Quiche with Caramelised Onion, Chorizo, Spinach, and Sunnyside Up Egg with Mixed Leaf Salad and Garlic Butter Bread Beer, Bacon, and Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”) with Pane di Casa; Russian Earl Grey Tea Fancy Filipino Hotsilog Brekky with Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Brekky Mocktails

L-R: Homemade Charred Eggplant & Baby Octopus Shakshuka with Lebanese Bread; Blueberry & Passionfruit Cider | French Crêpes with a Honeyed Citrus Creamcheese Filling topped with a Mixed Berry Compte; Orange Sunrise Cocktail | Pea and Ham Soup with Stone-baked Pane di Casa and Strawberry & Lime Cider Potato Hash Crusted Breakfast Quiche with Caramelised Onion, Chorizo, Spinach, and Sunnyside Up Egg with Mixed Leaf Salad and Garlic Butter Bread Beer, Bacon, and Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”) with Pane di Casa; Russian Earl Grey Tea Fancy Filipino Hotsilog Brekky with Sweet Potato Hash Browns and Brekky Mocktails

I know, they’re not quite as symmetrical as the guys from Symmetry Breakfast (we tried to be creative with our symmetry/asymmetry lines), but it still gained a lot of views, likes (especially from Symmetry Breakfast), and new followers! Anyway, yes I realise that I have gone on a bit of a tangent, but I’m pretty sure you enjoyed those photographs (for those who have not seen them that is). So let’s get down to business shall we and get a move on to today’s recipe:

Cornflake-crusted French Toast Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-12 MINS | SERVES 2-4*

*Depending if you want one or two slices of french toast per person; recipe is for 4 slices of bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of cornflakes, crushed
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Optional:

  • Green Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Honey
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla yoghurt

METHOD

  1. Whisk the eggs together with the milk, sugar, spices, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  2. Dip both sides of a bread slice to soak up the wet mixture; do not soak it for too long. The dip the soaked sliced bread into the cornflake crumbs and coat.
  3. Place the bread slice into the frying pan and cook until done, 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oils. Repeat for the remaining bread slices.
  5. Top with your favourite toppings, and/or serve with your choice of fruits for a fresh salad on the side. Enjoy!

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

Cornflake-crusted French Toast

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Milo French Toast

Milo French Toast

Hello Everyone! Anyway, so it’s week 4 of Breakfast/Brunch month and this week I will be sharing with you my now-favourite french toast recipes. I say ‘now-favourite’ because this is the very first time I’ve attempted these recipes. I’ve had and made french toast before, but the recipes I’ll be sharing with you this week are beyond than that of the classic french toast – they got a certain twist to them that will make you fall in love with french toast all over again.

Today’s recipe is one that I came across on Facebook as I was scrolling through my newsfeed. BuzzFeed Australia posted a video recipe for Milo French Toast. If you love milo and fancy some french toast to go with that, then this recipe was made for you, only that, you get to combine milo together with your french toast – how cool is that? You can top them off simply with some butter and syrup, or you can make it a bit more interesting by topping them off with some of your favourite fruits – I topped mine with some strawberries, crushed pistachios, honey, and a bit of powdered sugar.

I remember growing up, even up until now, my mom would make a classic french toast for breakfast at least once a week. When I came across this recipe and talked to her about it, we decided to try it out. It was a great success in my opinion and I loved it, so did my Mom and sister Angela. Original video recipe can be found on BuzzFeed Australia‘s Facebook page.

Milo French Toast Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-12 MINS | SERVES 2-4*

*Depending if you want one or two slices of french toast per person; recipe is for 4 slices of bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup milo
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional:

  • 1 punnet (250g) strawberries, hulled then halved
  • Handful of pistachios, shelled and lightly crushed
  • Honey
  • Powered sugar

METHOD

  1. Heat a bit of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium.
  2. Combine the milo, milk, egg, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  3. Dip both sides of a bread slice to soak up the wet mixture; do not soak it for too long.
  4. Place the soaked bread slice into the frying pan and cook until done, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Once done, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oils. Repeat for the remaining bread slices.
  6. Serve up this Aussie twist on a French favourite with some honey and butter if you like, or with some fresh fruits and crushed nuts and enjoy!

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BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special post for you as today is my not so little sister’s 19th birthday! Today is also the first time in 4 years that I have been home to celebrate with her and the rest of the family. If you have been following my blog since September last year, you would know that I started getting into baking cakes. I never really liked baking cakes to be honest, only because I find it very time consuming and my level of patience does have a limit. Since I started baking cakes, my Mom and sisters now prefer a homemade birthday cake instead of an expensive and cliché store-bought cake. So on Sunday, with the help of the birthday girl, we baked her birthday cake together. We baked it on Sunday even though her birthday is today. Why? Well only because tomorrow we’ll be off for a 1-month vacay to the Philippines, and if we had baked it today, leftovers would be sitting in the fridge until April.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Today’s cake recipe has been slightly adapted from, and can be found on Joanne Eats Well With Others. As you have already read from the title, it is a 3-layer pistachio cake with honey vanilla buttercream. I decided to add the strawberries and crushed pistachios on top to bring some life and colour to the presentation of the cake. I substituted some ingredients, such as instead of using cream of tartare, I used lemon juice instead. I barely use cream of tartare in my baking and buying a jar of it didn’t seem very economical as I know it’ll just sit in the pantry waiting for its expiry date. Also, instead of cake flour, also because I barely use it, I used plain flour combined with cornstarch instead. The easiest way to do this substitution is to put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with plain flour and level the top. In addition, I lessened the amount of sugar and butter in this recipe and it still turned out fine for me! I am not a huge fan of overly sweet desserts, and also I had to take into consideration my Mom who is a diabetic.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Before I move on to the recipe, I HIGHLY recommend that you buy shelled pistachios. We went to four different grocery stores and could not find any and so we decided to buy the shelled ones. It took forever to shell just over a cup of pistachios – thank goodness I had my Mom and my sisters to do the tedious job while I worked on the batter. Also, have a food processor handy, but if you’re like me and don’t own one, then all you need is a motor and pestle to bash it all up as well as grinding it. It takes time but it gets the job done. I think that’s why towards the end of this cake I was starting to lose a little bit of my patience because everything took longer to do! But hurray for a gas oven! I cannot stress how much I hated using the oven at the Doncaster Lodge. Everything took at least double or triple the normal time to cook!

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake
  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, plus extra for decorating
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large free range egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 5 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
For the buttercream
  • 300g unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C or gas mark 3. Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter.
  2. For the Cake Batter: Using a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely chopped. Remove half of the pistachios and transfer to a small bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they are an almost powder-like consistency.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together both the roughly chopped and fine pistachios with the plain flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  4. Cream the butter using an electrical mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy for about another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add in the egg, mixing until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour+pistachio mix to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  6. In a medium, clean bowl whisk together the egg whites with the lemon juice until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let them completely cool.
  9. For the Buttercream: Meanwhile, as the cakes are cooling down, whisk together the flour and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Then, add in the milk and cream, and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer the hot milk mixture to a large bowl and mix on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy for a further few minutes. Then add in the vanilla and honey, and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it in the freezer for a while and then mix again.
  11. Assembly: Place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

Hello Everyone! Back with another recipe for you! I know right? It’s a weekday and she’s actually uploading a post? If you read yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had a baking session with my good friend/lover Jialing. What happened was that she was feeling bait down that she couldn’t do the internship that she really wanted due to requirement issues with our University – and so she contacted me and basically wanted to bake a chocolate lava cake to drown her sorrows in. So, we decided to do that! I suggested that we make a red velvet lava cake – drooled instantly as I made that suggestion. So Sunday we met up at the grocers and bought our ingredients for it. While shopping, Jialing decided that she wanted to make a dark chocolate lava cake, and bought ingredients for those too. Lava cake bake-off!

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

This was my first time trying out this recipe and I don’t particularly like making lava cakes because I always end under either undercooking it, or overcooking it until it’s rock solid and dry. Jialing’s dark chocolate lava cakes were slightly overdone and not very molten, while mine on the other hand were slightly undercooked – the sides were perfect, but the tops (as in when you invert them) weren’t cooked at all, even when they were in the oven for the maximum amount of time they should be in. Nonetheless taste and texture were spot on – and in my opinion made the presentation of the dish more dynamic! Please check out the original recipe on The Dinner Pages. I SO wanted to make the cream cheese ice cream, but I didn’t have an ice cream maker so I mean, store bought Cadbury vanilla ice cream did wonders as well anyway!

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-18 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white chocolate buttons
  • 85g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 tsp red food colouring
  • pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and butter until smooth, at intervals of 20-30 seconds to prevent the mixture from burning (approximately 2 minutes altogether). Grease the moulds with the extra butter.
  2. Add in the cocoa powder and sugar to the white chocolate and butter mixture. Stir until well combined.
  3. Beat the eggs in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add in the chocolate mixture in small amounts, stirring together to allow the eggs to warm slowly (temper) and avoid scrambling. Add in the remaining chocolate batter in small amounts as well and stir until fully combined.
  4. Stir in the red food colouring, flour, and pinch of salt until well combined. Then divide the batter amongst the 4 well greased moulds (should go up to about 3/4 of the way).
  5. Bake for 15 minutes (or as I found that my cakes didn’t quite cook at the top, add an extra 2 minutes, maybe).
  6. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges right away. Invert each mould onto an individual serving plate and let sit for 2 minutes, then carefully lift up the mould. Top with vanilla ice cream to serve.

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

I mean, look at that gloss on the lava! So much loves!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com