Cakes and Cookies, Desserts

Victoria Sponge Sandwich

To celebrate the nation’s 55th birthday, I decided to make this red and white cake. It’s meaningful actually. It’s symbolic of the historical ties we had with the UK and it was also the first cake I learnt to bake! I was only a Sec 1 13 year old girl then, and they made us do this for our Home Econs practical test. I still remember this so vividly. I was so scared of the gas oven back then, and made my partner turn it on most times. For the exam, I remember asking my mom for a dollar so I could get a purple orchid to decorate my piece. I put my purple orchid in a small vase on the tray. I never knew how much I got but I will never forget baking this cake for the exam. 😂

And now decades later, I’m baking this again. I don’t have my Sec 1 Home Econs book anymore so I scoured the net and settled on Mary Berry’s recipe. How very British. 😄

However, after this was done, I must say this recipe is really good! The cake was very moist and very soft! I couldn’t bake it as long as suggested because mine was done ten minutes earlier. But the result was perfection! Another trick I got was to buy one of those cake liners with handles! I reckon I’ll be baking now more because of these liners I got from Amazon. They were amazing and come in various sizes. You can get them here: Cake Liners

Look how they fit so perfectly! This is the best thing I ever thought of buying!
The batter is so easy peasy! Just cream butter with sugar and then the eggs and flour. Oh, I did tweak a bit by adding a teaspoon of vanilla. I wonder why vanilla was not in the recipe.
Bake baby bake!
Not bad for a novice baker!
After that, I inverted one cake and placed it on a plate. Then I added whipped cream first then the strawberry jam (because of the national flag). And then put the second cake on and dusted powder sugar all over.
That beautiful plate? I got it from a UK seller on Etsy. So pretty, don’t you think?
Check out that lava filling! Now, one would think I was overzealous and slathered too much. And maybe I did but believe it or not, when we started eating, we wanted more cream and jam! 😂 There’s never a thing as too much.

I really recommend Mary Berry’s Recipe. And to my country, Majulah Singapura! 🇸🇬

Bread and Batter, Cakes and Cookies

Matcha Mille Crepe

I’ve been wanting to make this for the longest time after watching it on YouTube by JOC – Just One Cookbook. I just love the easy way she presents recipes.

And so I did. A few problems though for the novice-ish cook.

1. I couldn’t flip the crepes. They would tend to tear so in the end I decided to cook just one side of it

2. I did the paper cross thing she did to life the entire cake. Excel that…once you lift and place it into the cling film bowl, I couldn’t seem to take out the paper underneath! It was a two person job lifting and manipulating the cake so the papers would come off

3. Our heat and humidity. By the time I finished assembling the cake, the cream has melted and they all kind of slipped off. And the more I tried to remove the paper underneath, the messier it got!

But all went well after I managed to put it in the fridge for two hours. After that, the shape held well and the cut was beautiful. And I could cover slight tears with the powdered matcha!

Here is the recipe I followed: Matcha Mille Crepe Recipe: JOC

Can you see that huge tear? That came about as I was trying to remove the Crepe from the pan . That’s the paper which I had difficulty removing afterwards!
This picture has a filter because I realise I didn’t take several good photos of the whole cake. Notice the lopsided shape? This happened because of our hot and humid weather which made the entire cake drop as I was trying to get it into shape in the cling film
But all’s well that ends well and I love this cake! Not sweet, just the way I like my desserts, actually.
Best eaten chilled! Yummy!
Cakes and Cookies, Desserts

Carrot Cake Muffins

So I was channel surfing and caught a small segment of a food show featuring Donna Hay and some very adorable kids. They were making a carrot cake. Totally inspired, I made some for this morning’s breakfast and to bring some over for teatime later at the parents.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find the exact recipe of hers which she featured on the show. Maybe because I’ve no idea what the title of the show was! But I did find her recipes for carrot cake and carrot cake muffin. And so I used it but added some things which she did on the show – like mixed spice and ground cinnamon!

The outcome was quite delicious. It’s moist, definitely moist, but also moorish? It’s thick. Ok by Asian standards perhaps this is huge! One piece of this muffin and I’m full! But it is delicious.

I also copied her maple syrup cream cheese frosting. In the show, she added ricotta but as you know ricotta is not easily available here and Super expensive so I added one tablespoon of clotted cream instead.

I even used Australian olive oil. It’s very simple to make. The only difficult part is grating those carrots. And the recipe called for 3! I used 2 and still it was too much. I used big fat Australian carrots here. Beautiful. We love the fresh produce from Australia (I’m getting some Australian eggs later! 🤭).
I followed her recipe strictly but it was way to thick. I knew it can’t be right so I added a splash of olive oil and a splash of whole milk to make it wetter.
I overfilled some of them. This batter calls for exactly 12 muffins.
Make sure you don’t frost all of them. Well, for us we don’t really like frosting so I only frosted three to try. The rest will be on the side for those who would like some frosting. Even my kids don’t like sweet things.
Sprinkled some Chia seeds on top. A delicious teatime treat!

For the recipe which I used as a base:

Recipe Carrot Cake

Cakes and Cookies, Desserts

Egg Tarts

I grew up eating egg tarts. Not the Portuguese or Macau egg tarts – those only became popular when I was an adult. The kind that kids loved then in the 80s and before were the soft sweet crusted Hong Kong style egg tarts that are always sold in our local bakeries.

Recently because of the lockdowns everywhere, my friends who are also all over the world now have been baking this piece of nostalgia. And even though I can easily get my egg tarts here, I decided to make my own and boy was I glad I tried making my own! Nothing beats freshly baked egg tarts straight out of the oven.

There are many recipes out there on the Internet. But this one that I eventually decided to follow is simple. The only downside to this is that it is a tad too sweet but luckily for me I didn’t allow the sugar to melt completely into the water so the sweetness was just right. What I liked about this recipe is that the dough is really flaky and buttery.

I made the entire dough using a mixer. The
recipe was extremely easy to follow.
I must say, I really like the sweet dough and would make it again for different kinds of dessert tarts next time. After making this dough, I wrapped it in cling film and rested it in the fridge for 20 minutes. And while it was resting, I made the filling.
The important step in making the custard filling is to make sure you run it through the sieve first so that it’ll be silky.
When the dough is chilled, take it out and divide into portions. I have 20 of these aluminium tart casings so I divided into 20 small balls. Fill each casing with the dough.
They don’t need to be baked before the filling. After this step then carefully pour the egg filling into the dough casings.
Before going into the oven.
And it is here at this stage that I would like to share that while the tarts were baking, I saw them balloon up and panicked. However, this apparently is meant to happen. I over-baked the tarts and that’s why the custard looked all wrinkly. So what you should do is after you notice the time of the tarts turning brown and cooked, switch off the oven BUT let it sit in the oven for another 10 minutes. While my tarts were indeed slightly overbaked, they still tasted good and were not dry at all. It affected only the look of the tarts.
See? Still soft and crumbly. They were good!
The egg tarts were devoured quickly, with only a pathetic two pieces left for Grandma the next day. 😁

You may get the recipe below :

Egg Tart Recipe

Cakes and Cookies, Desserts

Pineapple Tarts

Every Chinese New Year or Hari Raya (Eid ul Fitr) will never be complete without families making and eating these delicious buttery sweet and sour pineapple tarts. And being in a beautiful multi-racial country, I get to enjoy everyone’s festivities many times over. ☺️

Earlier in the year before COVID-19 interrupted our lives, I already received a bottle of pineapple tarts from the office management for Chinese New Year. Now, with the Circuit Breaker in place and Hari Raya round the corner, I decided to finally conquer my fears and make my mother’s pineapple tart recipe.

It’s a daunting task. You definitely need helpers at hand. However, you can halve the recipe or even quarter it and make a small batch. Here is the original recipe:

For the tart pastry:

1. 500g butter (use the best you have. I used French butter and I think that made all the difference)

2. 3 whole eggs (some people use 2 yolks and 1egg but that will result in a delicious but crumbly pastry. Delicious I know but difficult to handle)

3. 900g plain all-purpose flour

4. 1/4 tsp of yellow colouring. You can omit this.

For the pineapple filling: I cheated. I used a store bought ready made filling but added one pineapple of my own. To make your filling from scratch, you need to grate 2-3 fresh pineapples, and then cook it down on a Low flame till it becomes jelly like. Add sugar. You’ll know when it’s ready when all the liquid has evaporated and you can form balls from the pineapple.

And then the rest is easy. Laborious work but easy.

First step is to make the dough. Using a mixer is easiest but you can certainly make this using just a wooden spoon, and a lot of muscle power.

Prep your ingredients. The butter needs to be very soft so that you can cream it with the eggs.
Cream butter and eggs. Add flour slowly till you can form a soft dough.
Break the dough into four for easier handling and let it rest, covered, for at least two hours.

Once the dough is rested, it’ll be easy to roll. If you can’t roll it, just use your cleaned palms and pat down as much as you can’t and then, using a tart cookie mould, cut the shape.

This is my tart cutter. You can find other types. All you need is a cutter with an indentation hole in the centre for you to place your filling in.
Press hard and clean the edges. This cutter is not so good that’s why it’s hard to achieve a clean line. The more modern plastic ones will produce better results.
With your thumb, gently peel off the dough.
Fill a tray of the dough first.
These pineapple jelly balls are too big but they will make an easier task later. From that pan of jelly, take a small scoop to form into balls. Then eyeball how much you need to fill the dough casing.
Once the pineapple jelly is in the dough, you can choose to do a topper with some dough. Roll out some dough till very thin and cut into shapes. Diamonds, flowers, or you can just omit this step.
Put a ready filled tray in the oven at 170 Celsius for 10- 15min or until the bottom is done. Don’t over bake or you’ll end up with a hard filling and pastry.
The first tart here, you can see where the edges of the pastry was not neatly cut. But many turned out OK so I was pleased.
Persevere and carry on. 500g of butter will make about 180-200 of this size tarts. That’s a lot! So if you’re just making for yourself, half the recipe.
But I like to give away some to close family and friends so that everyone can enjoy this decadent treat! 😍