Friday, December 5, 2014

Bow ties are cool!

My Big and Baby pig are big fans of Dr Who. And they both think bow ties are cool! ^^

Hence my first attempt at fondant.. and a Dr Who bow tie cake for Baby pig's 13th birthday party. Ok, I can hear you. Don't laugh too hard, and cut me some slack. ^^

I just want to say that the shiny, glossy, sticky, wet look in the picture above, is really all due to the fondant sweating.. because of temperature change from cold to hot, humid (even with the air-con switched on! maybe not cold enough???). And remember, covering a COLD cake with room-temp fondant is also a NO-NO! Fondants are really temperamental! No sudden temperature change, please.. or you'll have sweating, sticky fondants! I learned this the hard way. Youtube didn't quite have this information, and the post on handling fondants in humid weather doesn't sink in till you experience it for yourself! ^^||

this is the fondant cake I was trying to copy.. and if mine didn't sweat, it would have been.. close, haha ^^

You know, I was feeling pretty upbeat when I had the white shirt collar, bow tie, jacket lapels fondant cut out. I had assembled them on a piece of parchment paper and they looked so perfect ^^.. exactly how I wanted them to be.. nice, dry and neat (!!!). However, the minute I covered the cold cake (red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting) with fondant (white shirt and dark grey jacket), it started to sweat and turned wet and sticky! Holy moly, yikes! ^^|| ^^|| ^^||

Of course, I've read that the fondant sweating will dry out eventually if you leave it at room temperature. But I could't do that! My cream cheese frosting could melt! What a Catch 22 situation, right? ^^||

Well, I'm trying not to be too harsh on myself. It's a pretty decent 1st attempt for someone who has never touched/used fondants.. and depended on youtube videos, some how-to fondant posts and one write up on handling fondants in humid weather by faitmaisonblog (too bad she didn't mention about fondant on cold cakes ^^||). Maybe I shouldn't be such a cheapo and maybe attend some classes.. nawwwwwhhh, I'm not doing this again for a long, long, long time!

Despite how it looks, the kids loved the fondant (eeeks!) and the red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. No pics of the cake I'm afraid, but I'm definitely going to make this red velvet recipe again.. it uses butter ~ my kind of cake ^^

Anyways, take away the shine and gloss, it's pretty ok. ^^ More importantly, Baby pig was very happy with his surprise cake! And I got 2 big hugs from him! And that's all that really matters! ^^ ^^ ^^

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Steamed fruit cake.. a revisit ^^

The last time I made this, I swore never again will I use the steaming method!

Over time (2 years!), my burn scar is a few shades paler, and my memory faint. But you know what, deep down, there's always that niggling thought of wanting to slay this dragon! ^^

So when I saw a post in azlitamasammanis on steamed fruit cake baked in small aluminium foil tins for a much shorter time, I knew my time has come! I immediately macerated my mixed fruits, and set about thinking where to place my tiny electric steamer in my tiny apartment/kitchen without setting the house on fire.. and more importantly, where I won't get burnt!

And over the weekend, I made the cakes using azlitamasammanis' recipe, and a recipe shared by mel@melskitchenpantry (from faeez@bittersweetspicy). I now have 12 loaves in the fridge now ^^ waiting to be shared with all my favorite people. ^^ ^^ ^^

Steamed fruit cake (recipe shared by azlita@azlitamasammanis)
340g sugar
50g hot water
250g salted butter
500g mixed fruit
350g flour, sifted
2 tsp baking soda, sifted
1 tsp cream of tartar, sifted
1 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp treacle (I didn't use)

1. Make caramel by placing sugar into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. As sugar melts from the sides, fold it to the center. DO NOT STIR. When sugar is completely melted and turned dark golden brown (not burnt!), add in hot water slowly. Be careful as it mixture may sputter.

2. Add in butter and let it melt completely. Fold in mixed fruit, and bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

3. Sift flour, baking soda and cream of tartar, and nutmeg or cinnamon (if using) together in a clean bowl. Fold into cooled caramel mixture till well combined.

4. Beat eggs with a whisk or electric beater till foamy, and add into cake mixture.

5. Mix in vanilla extract and treacle till well blended.

6. Pour into 3 aluminium tins (7.5x3.5 inch loaf tin), cover with a layer of aluminium foil and steam for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave the cakes in the steamer for another 15 minutes before removing.

7. Cake is best eaten after 1 day's rest. Bon apetit!

This is a pretty straightforward recipe. However, this recipe makes a lot. I split the batter over 3 tins, and it was almost full.. ok, so I added a bit more mixed fruits (600g) than suggested (oops! ^^||). So that might have made a difference. The top didn't turn out as pretty as I wished, as the cake touched the cover and absorbed moisture. Looks aside, I'm sure it's delish. I can't wait to taste it! ^^

Anyways, I'm happy to make the recipe shared by mel. I upped the mixed fruits to 500++g and called it a day. This recipe also uses less sugar and flour, just the way I like it. And if you do not have a steamer, and/or prefer to use the oven, do not despair! I've shared how one can also perfectly bake a "steamed fruit cake" in this post. Works just as well! ^^

I, dragon slayer. ^^

Updated: I've cut and tasted the cakes from the 2 different recipes and made comparisons.

Azlita's recipe: Looks and cuts beautifully. It's lusciously dark and moist. The crumbs looks tight and the texture gorgeous.. however, the chew has a wee bit of boing-boing, and feels more coarse than faeez's cake. Taste is good. Fragrance nice and unusual. Cake is nicely moist.. though it "looks" more moist (than it is) compared to the other cake.

Faeez's recipe: Doesn't cut as neatly as the cake tends to crumble. Cake is lighter in color, like golden amber. The texture is also less tight and looks crumbly when compared to azlita's. Taste is good. Fragrance is nice. I feel this cake is a whisker more moist than azlita's, despite it's crumbly look. 

Conclusion: Looking back, I think faeez's recipe did better when it was baked "bain-marie" in the oven. The texture turned out just like azlita's steamed one. Both cakes are winners in my opinion. I can't decide which I like better. Visually I like azlita's. But faeez's cake is very good too. Now you know. Your call now ^^

Comments: My SIL thinks azlita's cake looks a little kuih-like, and prefers faeez's crumbly cake, which she says is more cake-like. She also likes the color of faeez's cake better. SIL's choice: Faeez's.

My nephew, Baby pig, mentioned that azlita's cake has a unique fragrance, but he finds the rum flavor (mixed fruits used are all macerated in rum in the same bowl) not as evident compared to faeez's cake. I could tell he enjoyed both the cakes ^^. His choice: Faeez's cake.. by a few whiskers! ^^  

Fatty hubby's choice: Faeez's cake. His one comment.. "it's rich".

Monday, November 24, 2014

A snowy treat ^^

It's snowing already where my Big pig is. I miss him.

This cake is inspired by him, and his little brother, Baby pig. Baby has just been crowned the overall winner for this year's poetry slam, woot-woot! This is my interpretation of the snow-capped mountains in Missoula, Montana, in one of his winning poems. ^^

Snowy pillowy cheese cake (inspired by vivianpangkitchendapurcomelkusecubitgaramnor67)
1 pillowy soft cake
Cream cheese frosting (use your favorite recipe)
125g cheddar cheese, grated or shredded (white chocolate is a good idea too ^^)

1. If using a whole cake, halve the cake into 2 layers. Spread cream cheese frosting over one layer of cake. Top with the other slice of cake. Again spread cream cheese frosting all over to cover the cake.

2. Sprinkle/cover the cake all over with grated/shredded cheddar cheese.

As you can see, the cake looks nowhere like it was covered in snow, haha! This is the result of taking too many short-cuts.. and using ready-grated cheese. Don't be like me. :p

Now, had you not cheated, and had your cheese or white chocolate grated, you would have a beautiful "snow" covered cake like below ^^ Makes a wonderful festive gift for family and friends!

Well, this is as snowy as it is going to get in the tropics. ^^

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lime cotton cheesecake

I really don't know if I should call this ogura cake or cotton cheesecake.

If you look at the ingredients, it's the ratios of eggs, fat, liquid and flour of the ogura cakes I've been using lately. Now compare against a cotton cheesecake recipe, you'll probably see similar ratios too, maybe with a mix-in of corn starch, and a wee bit more fat!

It tastes the same. Not kidding. Same texture too.

Lime cotton cheesecake (recipe adapted from bisouatoi and kimmycookingpleasures)
250g cream cheese
120ml milk
45g butter
6 egg yolks
zest of 1 small lime
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rum
65g cake flour, sifted
6 egg whites
120g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Place a baking tray filled with water in the lowest rack and set the oven  to 180C,

2. Put cream cheese, milk and butter in a oven-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk mixture till melted and smooth, and remove from heat. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Add egg yolks, lime zest and juice, and rum. Mix till combined.

4. Fold in the sifted cake flour.

5. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till foamy. Add in cream of tartar. Then mix in the sugar bit by bit. Continue beating the egg whites till thick and glossy, and stiff peaks form, around 4 minutes.

5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the cake mixture till well mixed. Then gently fold the rest in till combined.

6. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round or 9-inch square baking tin with grease paper. No need to grease the sides. Pour cake mixture into baking tin and give it a good tap against the counter to remove air bubbles.

7. Turn down oven to 150C, place baking tin on the 2nd lowest rack and bake for about 1 hour 15 mins (75mins), till the top is nicely browned and the skewer comes out clean.

8. Remove cake tin from oven and give it a tap against the counter. Invert cake and leave to cool. Once cooled, release cake by gently pulling the cake from the sides with your hands, or with the help of a knife. It should be removed quite easily.

As you can see, I finally decided on cotton cheesecake. The use of butter skewed it in its favor. I just hope nobody comes after me for messing up their recipes. I have put link-backs if that helps. ^^

Anyway, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ^^

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Carrot fruit cake with lime cream cheese frosting

Next to the built-in oven that came with the apartment, my Kenwood electric mixer is the other item that gave me the most joy during my early baking days. ^^

It paved the way for an "upgraded" baking adventure and contributed greatly to my much needed post-Mum therapy in the following years. Well, time flies, and it's been 9 years since big brother and SIL (Chubby pig's papa and mama) bought it for me when they saw me working on a cheesecake mixture for 45 minutes, with a hand held electric mixer/beater. Hey, amateur mah.. 45 minutes is about right, since there's no mention how long one is supposed to beat the cream cheese! Don't laugh. ^^|||||

I first made this carrot fruit cake way back in 2006, and I remember clearly how much big brother enjoyed it and how he said "it's good enough to sell!"! ^^ Yes. That made me very happy. I think it's the first time, and probably one of those rare times ^^|| (haha!) I ever get to hear that! ^^

This cake is for him.

Carrot fruit cake (recipe from Umah Thevi, printed in the Women's Weekly, April 2006
250g butter
250g caster sugar (I reduced a little to 200g)
6 medium-sized eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
250g self-raising flour
150g mixed fruits
3 medium-sized carrots, grated (squeeze the juice out a little if possible)
50g hazelnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180C. 

2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.

3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Stir in the vanilla.

4. Fold in the flour in 2-3 batches. And mix in the mixed fruits and grated carrot till well combined.

5. Pour batter into a greased 8-inch baking tin, and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or till the skewer comes out clean.

Lime cream cheese frosting (use your own favorite recipe)
250g cream cheese, softened
120-160ml whipping cream
60-80g icing sugar, sifted
some grated lime zest

1. Beat softened cream cheese for about 10 minutes till light and fluffy. Fold in icing sugar and lime zest.

2. In another bowl, beat whipping cream till light and fluffy, or stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat.

3. Mix cream cheese with whipped cream gently. Chill in the fridge before frosting.
This isn't the usual carrot cake recipe. So don't expect a carrot cake. The carrots are barely there, just a hint here and there, amongst the fruit mix. But I like it just the way it is. ^^ 

Well, I've made it exactly as per the recipe before and it's great! So you should try this too. It really is the perfect cake to share with family and friends, no need for any frosting if you ask me. Of course, you can always give it your own twist.. like I did, but I'm just too lazy to note it down. Just think rum.. lots of rum.. ^^ ^^ ^^

I like how this cake turned out as a birthday cake with the frosting and all.. a little old fashioned, but it's oh-so delish. Just the way I like it. ^^ 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

S'mores pie

I blew RM85 on a blowtorch. Crazy? Definitely.

Why would I possibly need a blowtorch? Why, to make s'mores pie, you see. Not just any s'mores pie, but one that is toasted just right with a blowtorch. Crazy? Definitely.

A week back, we had dinner at A Pie Thing, and well, Baby pig fell for their s'mores pie. Of course, I had to open my mouth and say I could do it too, oops! So you know why. By the way, the savory pies, smore's and the apple crumble pie at A Pie Thing, are really good. Their "very popular" Elvis, sadly, didn't work for me. Well, 1 "so-so" out of 6 pies we had, ain't bad at all. You might want to check the place out if you're around Damansara Utama in the evenings. ^^  

S'mores pie (inspired by what we had at A Pie Thing)
1 baked shortcrust pastry, use your favorite recipe
Chocolate ganache, use your favorite recipe
Mini marshmallows

1. Fill baked shortcrust shell with chocolate ganache till almost full.

2. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

3. Place mini marshmallows over chilled chocolate filling. Toast marshmallows with blowtorch or broil in the oven till it's well charred, or caramelizes. Serve immediately.

3 lines of instructions? That's it? Yup. It's really that simple a pie. More so if you have leftovers ie. chocolate ganache, and shortcrust pastry in the freezer! Half the work all done.

1st attempt, too shy with the blowtorch ~ not charred enough ^^||

Just so you know, kids love this stuff! Ok, adults too ^^. I made this today upon Baby's request for his sleepover party. I need to say this, don't be put off by the charred bits.. they are the best part! In fact, my 1st attempt using the blowtorch, I was too light handed in charring the marshmallows, which didn't feel as toasty melty enough. I made sure they were charred properly in my next attempt, and the caramelized crunchy bits are incredible! This pie is simply aawesome because of the charred caramelized bits, melty soft marshmallow, ooey goey luscious to-die-for chocolate, and of course, the flaky buttery crust!

And to make the blowtorch investment count, Baby says I just need to make more s'mores pie. Duh. ^^

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happiness is...

An unexpected gift from a dear friend. Thanks, friend ^^ I love it!

A bit of this, and a bit of that bread and butter pudding - made to satisfy a late night sweet craving ^^!
~ serves 2-3 
bread, preferably stale bread
some softened butter
1 egg
milk, enough to cover bread
sugar, to taste 
a handful of raisins
a pinch of cinnamon powder, or two

1. Butter bread slices.

2. In a bowl, beat egg, milk and sugar together,

3. Place bread into a greased baking mould, and slice/tear bread into smaller pieces to fit. Scatter raisins all over.

4. Pour egg/milk mixture and make sure the liquid covers the bread. Spread cinnamon powder evenly over the bread mixture, and leave bread to soak for 15 minutes. Don't bother soaking if you don't have the time.

5. Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for 25 minutes, or till the crust is nicely golden brown. Serve warm ^^

A tea towel personally chosen and paid for by my dearest 12-year old Chubby pig ~ you had me at "aunts are special".. aaawwwwww ^^ and a little something from chubby momma and papa ~ a vintage kettle in grey-tones olive green and mocha, my kinda colors

A long awaited (2 years!) recognition from the almost-thirteen Baby pig ^^ dated wrongly, to keep up with tradition 

And sweet, sweet roses and gerberas from Baby pig and his momma ^^ that brightened my day! 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world ^^

I didn't plan on decadence or indulgence.. or world peace.. but it happened.

It all started with leftovers. One lone egg. A tub of sour cream. Plus it's close to that time of the year, and I'm again researching cakes for a special someone's birthday. And I saw this recipe.. using sour cream, no butter (?!)! 

Seriously, I just wanted to make chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake (recipe by amanda rettke, found in
40g cocoa powder (I forgot to half the recipe and used 80g instead ^^||)
105g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
150g caster sugar (I used 115g)
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup or 120ml sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coffee
1/2 cup or 100g milk chocolate, finely chopped

1. Sift cocoa powder, cake flour and baking soda in a bowl. Add sugar and salt. Mix till well blended.

2. Mix in egg, sour cream, vanilla and coffee. Mix till well combined and fold in chopped chocolates.

3. Pour into a greased 8" square tin.

4. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C for 30 minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

I usually never taste the batter, but I did this time. Oh my, it was so very, very chocolatey and not sweet at all.. and that's when I realized I may have forgotten to halve the quantity of cocoa powder! Uh-oh..

So..... I set out to sweeten the cake.. with what else? More leftovers, of course! ^^

Let's see, a banana on the counter, salted caramel and "vintage" peanut butter in the fridge. And that's how DECADENCE HAPPENED.

Salted caramel
use your favorite, or see here and here

Peanut butter buttercream frosting
some peanut butter (100g)
some butter (50g)
some icing sugar (40g)
some cream (add to the consistency you like ^^)

Sometimes I feel really clever when I'm able to make use of leftovers, la-la-la days like this! Big pig once gave me a pack of pretty serviettes (which he "lugged" all the way from the US ^^), that he thinks totally says me.. "I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I can save the world"! 

Yes, that's him saying I'm somewhat delusional, haha! ^^ Hey, if I wasn't a little looney, we'd just be having chocolate cake! Instead, we're feasting on a lusciously indulgent chocolate cake laced with salted caramel, peanut butter buttercream frosting and bananas! 

And in case you missed it.. chocolate cake with salted caramel, peanut butter buttercream frosting and bananas could just be the answer to world peace ^^

Monday, October 13, 2014

Apricot yogurt ogura cake

glad i caught the sun before the skies opened up ^^

I've always been a laggard when it comes to what's in in the baking blogsphere.

Well, for someone who's just figured out chiffon cake not too long ago, and since it's well past ogura cake's popularity, I guess I'm on schedule ^^

Apricot yogurt ogura cake (adapted from kimmy-cookingpleasure)
5 egg yolks
20g caster sugar (I added as I used plain yogurt and my apricot jam wasn't very sweet)
1 whole egg (I omitted)
45g neutral tasting veg oil
80-100g yogurt
1 tbsp apricot jam (best to use 40g at least!) 
65g cake flour, sifted
5 egg whites
60g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar/cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven at 180C. And put a baking tray filled with water on the lowest rack.

2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and apricot jam till well combined. Add veg oil and yogurt till well mixed.

3. Fold in sifted flour.

4. In another bowl, beat egg whites till foamy and add cream of tartar. Then mix in sugar bit by bit. Continue beating the egg whites till meringue is stiff, about 4-5 minutes.

5. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter till well combined. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter.

6. Line the bottom of an 8" square tin with baking paper (there's no need to line or grease the sides ^^). Pour batter into the prepared tin. Give the tin a good tap against the counter to remove air bubbles.

7. Turn oven down to 150C and place baking tin in the 2nd lowest rack and bake for 1 hour, or till top is nicely golden brown and cake looks like it's shrinking on the sides.

8. Remove from oven and give it a tap on the counter. Invert cake and leave to cool. When's cool, remove the cake by pulling the sides with hands or insert a knife to cut through.

This is a super duper easy bake. You can have your cake and eat it, in under 1.5 hours! ^^ It's just like making chiffon cake, but you bake it in a normal round or square tin.. using the steam-bake/bain-marie method.

I love tall cakes but I made the mistake of using a 9" square tin after seeing some pictures of how ill-fitting and how the cakes were "exploding" in an 8" tin. Mistake! My cake didn't rise that kind of high, and remained well behaved throughout the baking period. I guess I must've used the right oven temperature. So I'm advocating the recipe be baked in an 8" square tin. ^^

And no harm done in omitting 1 whole egg (as per original recipe) either. The cake turned out well despite the missing egg.. it's still wonderfully soft and light and fluffy!

This is a really nice treat to have for tea. ^^

** updated on 19/10/14: baked same cake again to get rid of yogurt.. this time added 40g apricot jam to 100g yogurt.. tasted even better! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A cake made with gula melaka and coconut milk.. and butter ^^

I have been craving cakes for about a week plus or so.

Baby pig is not helping as he told me he doesn't want any homey (@ unfrosted, un-fancy ^^||) cakes! Aaaaaarrrggghhhhhhh... oh, how I miss my dumpster, Big!

So what led to this happy ending? A pack of opened, barely used coconut milk, of course! Woo-hoo! I was attempting to cook indian asam curry fish head for the 1st time last night, and the taste wasn't quite right till I added some coconut milk (as advised, but didn't quite want to heed as I don't like coconut milk in my dishes).. so I had a 3/4 pack full of coconut milk which I didn't quite know what to do with.

And then I remembered mel@melspantrykitchen's palm sugar chiffon cake. And I found palm sugar@gula melaka in the fridge.. And the rest, as they say, is history! ^^

Gula melaka and coconut milk butter cake
~ fills an 8" baking tin
250g salted butter
180g gula melaka, grated or chopped
4 egg yolks
1-2 tbsps rum
150ml coconut milk
250g cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
4 egg whites
40g sugar

1. Cream butter and gula melaka till light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Don't worry about the gula melaka bits.

2. Add egg yolks one at a time till well combined. Mix in rum.

3. Fold in sifted flours and alternate with coconut milk.

4. In another bowl, whisk egg whites till fluffy, and add in sugar bit by bit. Beat egg whites till it forms stiff peaks.

5. Fold in 1/3 egg egg whites into cake batter and mix well. Fold in the rest of the egg whites gently till well combined.

6. Pour into a greased 8" square baking tin (or any mould you like) and bake in a preheated oven of 170C for about 40-45 minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

Whoa!!! This is one of the bestest, softest, moistest, perfect textured cake I have ever made! And it tastes amazing even fresh out of the oven! Even the picky, I-don't-want-cake Baby pig thinks it is wonderful! And went, mmmmmm... mmmmmmmm... mmmmmmmmm ^^

This OMG fragrant, nicely sweet cake is perfect eaten on its own. It goes very well with coffee and tea too, but I reckon the pairing would be even better if the cake was a touch sweeter.. since I don't put sugar in my coffee ^^.

Well, I'm really happy with how the cake turned out. This cake is so very enticing due to the gula melaka fragrance, and it's luscious as well, because of the addition of coconut milk making the texture soft-silken and moist. And I know I made the right choice using SALTED butter (my favorite salted butter, of course, Golden Churn ^^), 'cos the cake turned out really well-rounded.

I'm really happy.. oops, I said that already, haven't I? ^^ ^^ ^^

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Hedgehog Factory

Woo-hoo! The Hedgehog Factory is fully operational!

We participated in our 1st event, the home schoolers' sports day on friday! I'm so proud of Baby pig @ the littlest hedgehog @ CEO of The Hedgehog Factory!

We had a good outing. It was an eye-opener, and we gained valuable experience. Though we had a slow start, the outcome was beyond our wildest dreams. I do hope Baby remembers this season! And the learning that came with it! I, for one, will treasure all the time we spent working over the event! ^^

I have also come to realize my Baby is growing up, no longer the baby in my mind ^^. Despite never baking on his own before (only assisting sometimes), he could actually make the popcorn, brownies and choc chip cookies almost all by himself, minimum help from us. Guess, turning 13 this november does mean something. I'm not too sure if I want him growing up this fast!

Well, the loot from the bake-sale has gone into The Hedgehog Factory's coffers for Baby's college fund and his europe road trip with his kor-kor, Big. I really do hope they manage to make the trip together in 4 years time. ^^

A little side-track.. because I'm really shy and all ^^, I don't ever share/brag how very proud I am of all my piggies to my friends (I mustn't get started 'cos I wouldn't know where to stop! haha!). I can only do this here, where I'm incognito and can share some of my deepest and silliest thoughts. So here goes, Baby was placed 1st among 20 edison ttdi students in this year's poetry slam! Woo-hoo! He sure had big shoes to fill (Big was tops too a few years back!), and he worked so hard for it. And boy, was he in a class of his own! Way to go, baby! Kor-kor, Big, may be the poet, but you're the man! ^^

Well, it's been a wonderful kick-start to baby pig's entrepreneur voyage. I'm really, really happy ^^ ^^ ^^

Friday, September 19, 2014

Perfectly cracked gingernut cookies

perfectly cracked cookies! ^^ ^^ ^^

Woo-hoo, I'm back!

Not that I went anywhere ^^ just that my wifi went bonkers, and it's so inconvenient to post anything. Of course, the I'm-so-lazy bit comes into play too, haha.

I'm not a cookie person. But if there's one cookie/biscuit that gets me, it'd probably be gingernut cookies. And I don't even like ginger! Once in a blue, blue moon, I'd suddenly have this crazy urge to have some gingernut cookies. I'd buy a pack, take a bite and meh, that's it. I'd not want anymore. It's really weird.. and I really can't explain the craving. I really don't like it all that much!

So when that blue moon came, there was no way I was going to waste money on a pack of biscuits that I was only going to have a bite. So I googled, and found a most wonderful, wonderful recipe! ^^

Gingernut cookies (recipe from poiresauchocolat)
~ makes 16 cookies
105g flour
1 scant tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1.5 tsps ground ginger
40g brown sugar
50g unsalted butter, cold, diced
1 tbsp + 2 tsp golden syrup

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Sift flours and ground ginger together. Add in the brown sugar till combined.

3. Mix the diced butter into the dry ingredients till it resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Fold the golden syrup into the mixture, by using a knife. And form the mixture into a dough with your hands.

5. Divide the dough into 16 balls and squish them to flatten them a little, and place them on a lined baking tray.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or till cookies turn golden brown and cracked.

I really enjoyed these gingernut cookies shared by poiresauchocolat, so do check out her link! Well, I've already made them twice, and even doubled the recipe, so you can tell how much I love them. They are so crisp and crunchy, gingery good! And they taste exactly like in my blue moon cravings! And a hundred times better than the store-bought "branded" cookies. Absolutely perfect over a cup of coffee, tea or dipped in milk! ^^

And I'm finally cured from the one-bite love-hate relationship with gingernut cookies! ^^

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Petit caramel chocolate surprise ^^

What do you do with leftovers? And boy do I have LOTS of leftover everything from the last bake-out for Big's farewell party!!! 

Well, lucky for me, pook@dailydelicious posted her peanut butter chocolate cups.. and I knew what I could make with my leftover shortcrust dough, toasted almond slices, chocolate ganache filling and caramel filling! Petit caramel chocolate surprise cups, of course! ^^

And the "surprise" could be anything you want to put inside the filling, between the caramel and the chocolate topping.. could be some peanut butter jam, strawberry pieces, toasted nuts, anything that tickles your fancy. ^^ or you could just fill the tart shells with just chocolate and caramel.. but you should know, it does tastes really nicer if there's another layer of flavour in between ^^    

Petit caramel chocolate surprise cups (recipe inspired by daily delicious)

Leftover shortcrust pastry dough
Leftover caramel filling
Leftover chocolate filling
Peanut butter jam, strawberry pieces, or anything you like ^^
Leftover toasted almond slices

1. Put pastry dough into mini tart moulds. Bake at 180C for 15-18 minutes.

2. Place some caramel filling (do not overfill!) into tart shells, and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and place your "surprise" filling, and top with chocolate ganache, and toasted almond slices, if you have/like.

4. Chill for a bit before serving. ^^  

a choc+caramel cup.. the other, can you guess the "surprise" filling? ^^

I love how these petits turned out! Quite quite delicious! mmmmmmm.. ^^

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bon voyage, big!

My Big pig has left.

It's exactly 2 weeks today that he left for college far away in the States. I cried buckets when he left. And I cried every day for almost a week, before my tears finally dried up. I'm good now. And I'm happy he's all settled in nicely and liking the college he picked. And he's making new friends. What exciting times for him! ^^

Anyways, before he left, we had a big farewell party for him. I can tell you, Big pig was a HAPPY boy! Great company, beautiful home/venue by the lake (generously hosted by his aunt Chet) and lots of yummylicious food! What more can a boy ask for, rite! And I think we outdid ourselves with the food! But I'm sure kicking myself for forgetting to charge my camera battery and not taking pics of the mains and desserts.

As always, I volunteered to do the desserts. I made red velvet cuppies, hokkaido chiffon cuppies, apple crumble, peach crumble, banoffee slabs and key lime squares. Big made brownies ^^. I also made mini caramelized onions bacon quiches, mini caramelized onions chicken quiches and of course, macarons, for appetizers, at Big and Baby's request. ^^

my 1st successful macs!

Yup, you heard right. Macarons. The dreaded macarons. Which I've not had any success and had given up on 2 years ago, after 3-4 failed attempts! That one! Aaaaaaaargh! But what to do, my piggies want it.. so I gave it another shot. And finally.. success, at last! But macarons are still "iffy" for me.. sometimes I get them right, but not always! Anyways, I'm soooooo DONE with macarons! No more! Not for a long, long time! ^^  

leftover not-so-nice-looking macs ^^

To my dearest Big, I'm the one who's blessed to have had you to love, and to have you love me back too. So, till you come back in 9 months time.. blinkers on, and kick ass in college! Love you sooooooo sooooooo much! ^^ 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Banana chocolate chip petit cakes

My Chubby piggy loves the combination of banana and chocolate chip. I think it's a winning combo amongst kids.. probably because of the choc chips! ^^

When it comes to banana cakes, I love using Agnes Chang's recipe.. of course, with a few tweaks here and there ^^. Her recipes are easy to follow and pretty fail-proof for amateur bakers like me, and they're yummy too.

Banana cake (adapted from Agnes Chang's I Can Bake book)
~ makes an 8-inch cake, or 14 cupcakes and a small loaf cake
227g unsalted butter
170g sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of mashed bananas
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
240g cake or plain flour, sifted
1 scant tsp baking powder, sifted
1 scant tsp baking soda, sifted
150g chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 170C.

2. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on an electric mixer.

3. Add eggs one at a time till well mixed, on low speed.

4. Fold in mashed bananas.

5. Sift flours together and mix into the cake batter alternating with milk in 2 or 3 batches. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Pour into lined cupcake tins or greased cake tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes for cupcakes, and about 50 minutes for a whole cake.

When I first started baking cakes, there's always a 50-50 chance they turned out dense and kuih-like ^^||. That's when I tried all methods, and re-discovered the egg separation method (a method favored by my aunt who fanned my taste for such cakes).. and also the use of self-raising flour.

Recipes using flour, baking powder and baking soda, stumped and eluded me. So I resorted to replacing them with self-raising flour. Of course by now, after many misses and trials, I know what I did wrong.. AND now, I SIFT my FLOUR/S TOGETHER for at least 3 times!!! Yup, so simple, right??! Also so simple for lazy people like me to miss and skip, haha!

This is the outcome of the direct, easy method of mixing in eggs. Texture is as beautiful, soft and moist as the eggs separation method. A minor, almost unnoticeable difference is that this cake has a slightly sandy-crumbs look. And though both are soft, the egg separation method gives a slightly spongey, wee QQ@boing-boing effect. Seriously, most people can't tell the difference.. not even my piggies who have been fed cakes using eggs separation method. Only the nit-picky.. like me, haha! ^^

Well, it has been good babysitting Chubby. We managed to cook instant noodles, fried rice and french toast together. I'm so proud of my Chubby, he made french toast for his parents after learning it. I think he's a natural ^^

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Abso-licious apple pie!

My piggies' all time favorite treat ~ revisited! ^^

Can't believe it's been 2 years since I last made apple pie! Well, that's 'cos big and baby pig's mom makes the best apple pie.. so I steer clear of this bake. But since chubby pig is visiting and he doesn't get apple pie very much, I decided to make some for him. ^^

I've always wanted to make a latticed top crust, but I've never gotten it right ^^ll.. this time I used a ruler to make the strips after getting the idea from a baking show on tv. And success at last! Er, I know it's not exatly pretty and it's far from perfect, but at least, I'm half way there!  ^^

I used the same easy peasy apple pie recipe from martha stewart and smitten kitchen for the crust and used fuji apples for the filling because of its crunch. I don't care for green apples as I prefer a naturally sweetish pie which we usually eat as it is, sans vanilla ice cream most times! ^^

Well, there's nothing like having freshly baked, warm apple pie! Chubby was in seventh-heaven! He loves the flaky buttery crust and the gorgeous simple filling! ^^ "This is the best apple pie I've had!".. so chubby said. Er, well, he's not had that many to compare with, of course, haha! ^^

Now if the ultimate apple pie connoisseurs (big and baby), say it is.. then you'd better believe it! They have after all, been fed only the best apple pies! And they love this apple pie!

Poor fatty hubby.. there was none left for him. And boy, was he miffed. Sorry fatty, I'll make sure to make more next time! ^^

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Orange chiffon cake ~ I love!

Oranges are so fragrant and sweet lately, they make exceptionally good cakes!

And that's why I made orange chiffon cake twice last week, despite the heat! They taste so refreshing and light.. absolutely perfect for the scorching conditions we have been experiencing lately.

This is my to-go recipe for all my chiffon bakes, a recipe shared by sonia@nasilemaklover. I have been using her fail-proof recipe as base, and I've had success every time. I hope whoever reads this, will give her recipe a shot, especially those who have trouble with chiffon cakes, like I used to. ^^

Along the way, I've learned a few things:

1. Beating egg whites till stiff means beating on medium speed (electric handheld mixer speed 3) for 4-5 minutes, no less than that, nor any longer.

2. Using grapeseed oil (a more neutral oil) gives a better fragrance and produces a lighter cake than using corn oil.

3. You CAN unmould chiffon cakes using your hands instead of cutting or sawing (^^||!) your cake out! Check out this link. You CAN have a beautifully unmoulded cake! ^^

4. Use cake flour. And sift them at least twice!

5. If baking cake using a single baking tin, cake can be baked in a preheated oven of 170C  (WITHOUT fan -forced) for 40-45 minutes. Set or use fan -forced oven only when baking using multiple baking tins.

6. There's no need to grease the tins! EVER!!! ^^

Sonia has mentioned "unmoulding chiffon cake using bare hands" method before in her posts, and I've been looking out for it ever since (I may have even missed it without realizing ^^||!!!). And of course, lazy me, just kept on waiting and waiting... Last week, after cutting and sawing a big chunk off and making a mess out of one of my bakes, it finally occurred to me I could just easily google the method up (duh??!!!)..oops, haha! ^^

Orange chiffon cake (recipe adapted from nasilemaklover)
5 egg yolks
20g sugar
zest of 1 orange
90g orange juice (not enough? just top up with water ^^)
70g grapeseed oil (this is a lighter and more neutral tasting oil compared to corn oil)
125g cake / low protein flour, SIFTED
5 egg whites
90g sugar
1 tsp lemon juice / 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar till light (from yellow to pale yellow).

2. Add in orange juice and zest, and mix well.

3. Add oil and mix till combined.

4. Fold in sifted flour till well mixed.

5. In another bowl, beat egg whites and lemon juice/cream of tartar till foamy. Add sugar bit by bit, and continue beating the egg whites till STIFFABOUT 4-5 MINUTES on an electric hand mixer at speed 3!!!

6. Take 1/3 of the meringue and add to the cake mixture. Mix well by using a SPATULA. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue into the cake mixture. It's ok if there's still some swirls or small bubbles of meringue left in the cake mixture.

7. Pour mixture into a clean (NON-greased!!) 20-cm chiffon tin. Tap the cake tin on the counter once to remove air trapped in the batter.

8. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C for 40-45 minutes. If baking in mutiple baking tins, use FAN-FORCED oven at 160C for 40-45 minutes

9. Remove from oven and turn the cake tin upside down and leave to cool completely. Unmould cake by running a sharp knife against the sides, or by bare-hands method ^^.

For an easy, light and refreshing cake to counter the heat, look no further! An orange chiffon cake fits the bill perfectly! ^^

* updated on 11th july 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fabulicious easy raspberry & blueberry muffins@cupcakes ^^

These are no muffins ^^!

They maybe called muffins by the originator of this recipe, but they're really mini cakes or cupcakes! Hence they taste absolutely, perfectly fabulicious, as a fluffy, moist cake should! And better! ^^

I always steer clear from muffins because of previous experiences with store bought ones ~ dry, dry, drier and dense! Maybe it's been sitting on the counter for too long, but most likely because of the low fat content, the use of veg oil and no-butter that puts me off.

This recipe uses butter ^^. The ratio of butter to flour and sugar is just like that of a butter cake.. and it uses the creaming method.. so I know these are no muffins! ^^

Raspberry & blueberry muffins (recipe shared by mel@melspantrykitchen, from jessie-cookingmoments)
~ makes 10 muffins
150g unsalted butter, softened
120g sugar (100g is good enough for me) 
2 eggs
60g cream (I replaced with milk)
zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
140g of cake flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
a pinch of salt
40g almond meal
2 tbsp milk
65g raspberries 
65g blueberries (extras won't hurt ^^)

1. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

2. Add in eggs one at a time till well mixed. Add the cream (if using) and lemon zest.

3. Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and almond meal till well combined.

4. Add milk (+ the 60g milk here, if using) till well mixed, and add in the berries.

5. Bake in preheated oven of 160C for 30 minutes. 

This is the 2nd time I'm making this recipe. The 1st time I just used blueberries and made half the recipe.. and fatty hubby and I finished the 5 muffins in a blink! This time round, I'm not holding back. Since I had some over-ripe raspberries, I added them too. Both bakes were fabuliciously delicious! The texture was perfectly soft and oh-so moist and super-loaded with berries! However, I'm swaying a little to the ones with just blueberries in it ^^

And don't be put off by how pale my muffins look. They should be nicely golden brown, but mine turned out pale both times.They are however, yummylicious every time! Thanks, mel! This is a super-duper good bake! We can't stop eating it! Maybe it will last till breakfast since I made the full recipe ^^

Mini cakes disguised as muffins! We love! ^^ ^^ ^^

Monday, June 23, 2014

World's best cake ^^

Seriously? Can you hear "make me, make me, make me..!"? ^^ That's what I immediately wanted to do!

But after "rationally" thinking it over.. er, the sugar content was kind of a wake up call (!), I decided this cake needed the right occasion and person to justify making it! And it's my sweet lovin' chubby pig who gets to be my guinea pig this time round, hehe! He turns 12 today! ^^

World's best cake (recipe by sweet paul)
~ serves 8
10 1/2 tbsp (150g) butter, softened
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (I reduced to 3/4 recipe ^^)
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
5 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup whole milk (greedy me used  1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (a little more won't hurt)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/ tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F / 180C. Line an 8x12-inch baking tin with parchment paper. Since I did not have a baking tin of that size, I made do with a 7x10 inch tin and a medium loaf tin.. maybe using a 9x13 tin would be better?

2. Beat butter and 2/3 (or 1/2) cup sugar till light and creamy, about 3 minutes.

3. Add sifted flour and baking powder, and mix well on low speed.

4. Mix in the egg yolks and milk.

5. Place the batter into the baking tin/s.

6. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites (if using pasteurised egg whites, do add some lemon juice or cream of tartar!) and the remaining sugar (3/4 cup) to soft peaks. Spread on top of cake batter and sprinkle almond slices over.

7. Bake for 30 minutes. When the meringue is golden brown and puffed, remove from oven and leave to cool.

8. When the cake is cool, prepare to whip the cream with the scraped vanilla seeds (discard pod). Beat to soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

9. To assemble the cake, cut the cake into half crosswise with a serrated knife. Place one half of the cake on a serving tray and cover with whipped cream. Place the other half, meringue side up, on top of it.

10. Leave to cool in the fridge/chiller for at least 1 hour before serving.

Yeah, yeah.. the cake should be in 2 layers, I know ^^|| But for chubby, I decided that a layer is good enough. I'm quite afraid a 2 layer cake won't withstand the drive to chubby's. I'm only sending it later in the evening when I can bear to go out. I do hope he likes it! ^^

And no, I haven't had any yet.. the weather's so unbelievably hot! hot! hot!, I want my cakes properly chilled and cold!!! ^^||||| I will give my verdict and update once I've had some.. just look out for it right at the end of this post! ^^

Happy birthday, chubby! xoxo world's best kuku ^^ ^^ ^^

Updated 24th June 2014:
Ho ho! This is a delicious cake! World's best? Definitely one of the best ^^ it's like having really good yellow cake with light fluffy frosting ~ the combination of cake, fluffy meringue, light whipped cream and toasted almond slices is totally perfect in the mouth! Yums! ^^

The only gripe I have with this cake is the meringue ~ i dislike the eggy taste/smell.. however, it's totally unnoticeable when you eat it with the cake, whipped cream and toasted almonds! I should have persisted with my pasteurized egg whites that wouldn't whip! I now know it's not impossible to do it, just have to add some lemon juice or cream of tartar, and continue beating madly, haha!

Well, this cake befits its title. Certainly one of the best tasting ^^ Perfect eaten chilled on a hot day!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Chocolate cupcake with nutella swiss meringue buttercream ^^

This is a little surprise for my piggies. Mainly to celebrate Big pig finishing his AP exams.

My Big will be off to college in August.. and I'm still coming to terms with him leaving the coop so soon. He is, after all, my first love.. pure and unconditional.. and at first sight too. I'm a little sad.. a little.. Someone just told me not to cry when he leaves.. I will try my best. I have a pretty loose crying duct.

Moist chocolate cake (adapted from Agnes Chang, let's eat)
~ makes 12 cupcakes & a 6-inch round cake
220g sugar (it's perfect for me at 180g ^^) 
250ml milk
1 tsp instant coffee
250g unsalted butter
3 eggs
135g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
some nutella, optional

1. Place sugar, milk and instant coffee in a saucepan and heat till sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir till melted. Leave to cool.

2. Fold in eggs one at a time into the cooled milk mixture. Or use egg separation method for bouncy light cakes!

3. Sift flours and cocoa powder together and mix into the egg mixture.

4. Pour into cupcake liners and bake at 170C for 25 minutes. Or a greased cake tin for 40-45 minutes, or till skewer comes out clean.

5. When the cupcakes are cool, fill cake with nutella (place in piping bag with nozzle) by pushing the piping nozzle into the centre of the cake and pipe in filling.. this is optional ^^ Spread leftover nutella jam on cake if you like ^^

Nutella swiss meringue buttercream (adapted from the cakemerchant)
~ frosts 12 cupcakes
3 egg whites
75g sugar
227g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup nutella

1. Put egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl over a pan/pot of simmering water (without bottom of bowl touching the water). Whisk egg whites and sugar till sugar melts (rub mixture between fingers, if mixture is no longer grainy (smooth) to the touch, it's ready ^^). Remove from heat.

2. Whisk egg whites mixture till white, fluffy and glossy for about 10 minutes.

3. Add diced butter bit by bit into the mixture. If mixture curdles, just continue whisking till it all comes together again. It always does, just be patient ^^.

4. Add vanilla extract and nutella till well combined. Place in the fridge if buttercream is too soft, and beat for a bit if it's too stiff straight out from chilling.

These cupcakes are inspired by rima@bisouatoi ~ I saw her gorgeous chocolate cupcakes with nutella swiss meringue buttercream and a piece of ferrero rocher chocolate on facebook ~ and I knew these would be perfect for piggies! Never mind that all my piggies are not that big on chocolate desserts.. they are sure to fall for the ferrero rocher trick! Haha!

I haven't made anything fancy or frosting for some time.. I hope piggies will like this treat ^^

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Longan milk jelly ~ perfect wobble, smooth yet firm ^^

Yay! Finally! After almost 2 months of water rationing, it feels GREAT to get our lives back to normal again! ^^

It has been so hard to bake or cook during the past 2 months, with only a ONE-day window of opportunity of water supply, in between 3 days of no-water. Lucky (or unluckily, depending on how you see it) for us, our apartment tank water lasted almost 2 days. So we had no water only for a day. Of course, I've heard of some apartments' tank water lasting throughout the water-blackout, oh, lucky them! If only our apartment residents were more prudent and conscientious, it would have lasted longer I suppose!

You have no idea how much I wished everyone did all their chores, cooking and laundry on that ONE-day, and saved water for only the ALL-IMPORTANT bathing and toilet use for the rest of the "no-water" days. That would have made things so much better! If only everyone thought the same.. am I too extreme? Nawhhhhh... ^^

Longan milk jelly (adapted from mybaking)
~ makes a lot! ^^
3 tsp agar-agar powder
130-140g sugar
2 litres of water (1 can of longan syrup and top up with water)
10 pandan leaves (optional ~ I didn't ^^)
1 can of evaporated milk (400g)
1-2 cans of longan

1. Bring agar-agar powder, sugar and longan syrup+water to a boil.

2. Once boiled, add evaporated milk and again bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool for about 8-10 minutes.

3. Strain/sieve mixture before use. Place a piece of longan into each mould and fill with mixture.

4. Chill thoroughly or at least 3-4 hours before serving. Serve immediately.

If you're looking for the perfect wobble, smoothest soft yet firm-enough jelly pudding ever, look no further!!! Mybaking has really nailed the perfect recipe! ^^ Though I'm not too certain about the high amount of sugar in her recipe ^^|| I reduced to more than half because of the addition of longan syrup, and it was more than sweet for us. Even without the longan syrup, I think halving the sugars (from 300g to 150g) is not a problem, unless you have a super-sweet tooth! ^^

Happy days ahead! ^^ ^^ ^^ ~~~~~~

I'm submitting this post to Little Thumbs up (May 2014: Milk) organised by Bake For Happy Kids, and My Little Favourite DIY, hosted by Tze of Awayofmind Bakery House 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lusciously indulgent dark chocolate banoffee slab


It's been a while since I managed to bake or cook, with the crazy hot and dry spell we have here.. not to mention the ongoing water rationing that's driving me insane! ^^|| But the few splashes of rain (and thunderstorm) a few days back, has surely brought out the better side of me ^^ and I thought we could all do with some cheering up.

You know, it's been a terrible, terrible horrible, horrible March for me. I wonder if it's even possible to have so many bad, bad things happening every weekend since the beginning of this month??!! I've lost 2 friends (1 to depression and the other to illness), 239 people on a plane (I don't know anyone on it, but I feel down anyways ~ it's an aging thing, I think), and I've to deal with a crazy heartbreaking news too close to my heart.. It's been one long, never-ending bad dream.

I'm writing this not to gain sympathy, nor make anyone reading this sad or burdened, but it's so that I can look back one day, and say, "hey, this wasn't so bad.. this has passed, and I'm ok.. we're ok".

On a more positive note, I lost some weight. And I received an-all clear on a recent medical check-up. So that's good news. And of course I duly rewarded myself with a super-indulgent dessert.. dark chocolate banoffee slab! ^^

Dark chocolate banoffee slab (recipe by Dean Brettschneider, from his book, Pie)

Pastry ~ use your own personal favorite.. I used the below ^^

French pastry dough (by paule caillat)*
120g unsalted butter
4 tbsp water
scant 1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
200g / 1 1/3 cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 210C.

2. In a medium oven-proof bowl (Pyrex), combine butter, oil, water, sugar and salt.. and place bowl in the oven for 15 - 20minutes, till butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.

3. When done, remove from oven (be careful of hot bowl and sputtering mixture!). Immediately dump flour in and stir quickly till it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Transfer dough to a 9-inch tart mould with a removable bottom, and spread it out with a spatula/spoon. No rolling needed, yay! ^^

5. When dough is cool enough, press to fit tart mould. Prick dough all over with a fork and bake tart at 200C for 15 minutes or till golden brown. Leave to cool before filling.

100g butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthways

1. Place butter, golden syrup and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan and cook over low-medium fire. Keep stirring until thick and golden brown. Remove from heat.

2. Pour over the tart crust, leaving about 7.5mm space from the top of the crust. There should be quite a bit of caramel leftover! Drizzle over ice-cream or drop them into banana cupccakes like I did ^^

3. Bake in a preheated oven of 180C for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly.

4. Place bananas over the caramel fudge.

225g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
50g butter
25-40g sliced almonds, toasted

1. Melt dark chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan/pot of simmering water, not letting the bowl touch the water. Once chocolate has melted, stir till smooth and remove from heat.

2. Pour chocolate and spread it out evenly over the bananas. Top with toasted almonds.

3. Chill thoroughly before cutting. Serve with whipped cream if you wish. Bon apetit! ^^

As usual, I couldn't wait to have anything chilled properly. And the caramel filling and chocolate was oozing out oh-so-lusciously.. I couldn't help licking my fingers ^^ This is seriously one of the most heavenly indulgences I've ever made!!! ^^ despite them looking sadly non-enticing nor exciting.. that's really all my fault, my bakes never made heads turn!

But let me assure you, this indulgent sweet definitely has marked a place in dessert-heaven! At least in ours, haha. Fatty hubby and piggies LOVE it ^^ Definitely one of my top 5, if not top 3 desserts! ^^