Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Middle Eastern Orange Cake.

I just came back from my holiday/educational/spiritual trip to Jerusalem, Mecca and Madinah where i performed my Umrah (minor pilgrimage), and i really had a wonderful time at these sacred places!

Jerusalem is a beautiful holy city with magnificient views that will take your breath away. Places of worships - Churches, Mosques, Synagogues - are built near to each other in the city.. So why can't we just live together in harmony without any disputes already??!! And I especially love the cold weather..! A good place to escape from the hot and humid weather here in Singapore.

And i feel truly blessed to be given the opportunity to go through a round of spiritual journey in the two holy cities of Mecca and Madinah. The weather was hot (50 degrees!) and i fell sick a number of times, but nevertheless it was such a great religious and spiritual experience and i would love to step my foot there again. If God wills. Insyaallah. =)

I will post some photos of the trip at the end of this post.

I declare that i've fallen in love with the middle east!! <3

Now let's talk about the subject that we love so much.

Yep. Sweet food. Cake! 

I miss my oven while i was away. No kidding.

This Middle Eastern Orange Cake is very easy to make and totally gluten-free, as it is made of almond flour instead of the normal flour. The only downside? You have to boil the oranges for two hours. I boiled the oranges for only an hour and it's still fine.

You can conclude from here that i have the patience of a saint. Not.

The cake may look totally burnt on the outside after being baked in the oven for an hour, , but fret not!! Once you pierce a fork into the cake, you'll find how delicate and moist the crumb is. And it's all thanks to the almond flour! And the citrusy taste is not too overwhelming. Just perfect. This cake is really nice to eat, and most will enjoy it!

Rating: 7/10

(Adapted from Not Quite Nigella, who adapted it from Claudia Roden)

2 large oranges, washed (Or 3 medium ones)
6 eggs, beaten
250 g. ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
250 g. sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Icing sugar to dust if desired


Boil whole, unpeeled oranges, barely covered with water, in a covered saucepan for 2 hours (you can do this step a day or so ahead of time and keep the boiled oranges, once cooled, in the fridge). Discard water, allow to cool, then cut open, remove the pips (seeds and the whites) and chop roughly or pull apart into smaller pieces with fingers.

Preheat oven to 190ºC/170ºc fan forced and line the base and sides of a 24cm springform tin with baking paper.

Blend oranges and remaining ingredients thoroughly in a food processor. Pour batter into prepared tin. Bake for 1 hour. If cake is still very wet, cook a little longer. Cool in tin before gently removing. Dust with icing sugar and zest and prepare to swoon…


Now let me entertain you with the photos of the trip:

Luxury houses along the hills at Jerusalem.

One of the Churches in Jerusalem.

The exterior of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The magnificent Dome of Rock!

The Dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Wailing Wall.

I love the serenity of Jerusalem!

The street at Jerusalem.

We visited the Dead Sea too. A very beautiful sea!!

Wish i could float on the dead sea!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes!! So.. red. So.. devilish. So.. traffic-stoppingly gorgeous..!

My first attempt at making these little red devils for my 1st wedding anniversary last year was quite a failure. I thought there was something horribly wrong with the recipe, but in the end it turned out that i'd measured the ingredients wrongly! I wasn't very familiar with measuring ingredients using measuring cups, therefore I made a terrible mistake of packing the flour tightly into the measuring cup. As a result, my cupcakes were dry, hard and almost tasteless...!

And that is why, ladies and gentlemen, proper measuring of ingredients is critical to baking. You DON'T want your cupcakes to end up having a texture of a tennis ball. If you have no idea on how to measure ingredients using measuring cups, you can always go to a cooking conversion website to convert the cups measurement to whichever unit measurements that you are familiar with (eg. in kilograms, ounce or pounds). Here is my go to website: http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking/

So I'd finally get around to give this recipe a second try (after i've perfected my measuring skills, of course), and the result was so so so much better! The cupcakes were tender and oh-so-moist with a hint of chocolatey and unique velvety taste to it. And the creamy, tangy and sweet cream cheese frosting gave the cupcakes a satisfyingly rich finish. I totally love this. And so do others who have tasted the cupcakes =)

Rating: 8/10

(Adapted from Joy The Baker, Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

Makes one dozen cupcakes, double recipe to make 2 9-inch layer cakes

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2  Tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar


Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Turn mixer to high and add  the egg.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste.  Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined.  You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk.  Add half of the flour and mix until combined.  Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour.  Beat on high until smooth.

Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar.  Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

Spoon batter into a paper lined cupcake baking pan and bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place them of a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.


Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
(Adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

double recipe to frost a 2 layer 9-inch cake

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, cold (I used room temperature)
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and butter together in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-slow speed until it comes together and is well mixed.

Add the cream cheese all at once and beat on medium to medium-high until incorporated.

Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Do not over-beat as the frosting can quickly become runny.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hot Pink Zebra Print Cake.

Zebra print is all the hype nowadays, especially on cakes, and i knew that i had to make one for my sister's birthday! I just LOOOVVVEEE the combination of Zebra print and hot pink! Totally chic!

I'm not sure whether my 9 year old sister loved it as much as i do. She had a slightly puzzled expression on her face when i presented the cake to her. She might as well be thinking that i'd gone nuts.

Can't blame her on that one though. If i were a 9 year old girl and had somebody made for me a zebra cake for my birthday, i would... give a wail of a lifetime.

 Because as a 9 year old, i would want a princess cake. Or a Barbie cake. Or any cake that had got nothing to do with the content of a zoo.

But! I'm really happy with my work. =)

I know that i need to work on the zebra print. I spent almost 2.5 hours on it!

Have i ever mention that i work at a speed of a freakin snail?


My brother commented that my cake looked like leeches were crawling all over it.

Have i ever mention that my brother can be such a leech sometimes?


But seriously.


My sister finally got over her shock of seeing zebra prints all over her cake and agreed to proceed with the cake cutting session. :D

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wedding Cake Project 2: Orange and Ivory Fondant Cupcakes.

These are chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, covered with orange and ivory fondant at the top.

A friend of mine ordered these cupcakes as a wedding gift (gubahan hantaran) for her groom. I spent almost the whole day yesterday making these, and my back still hasn't recovered from the strain of sitting up straight for long hours while trying my best to decorate the cupcakes as prettily as possible. And.. i don't know why the heck it took me so long to decorate 16 cupcakes only?? Gosh, i work at a speed of a freakin' snail.

To be honest, i'm not satisfied with the design of the cupcakes. I wish i could do better than this. You can tell from the picture that i ran out of ideas for the design and hastily rubbed silver glitters all over the fondant to make them look less dull. Fail.

When i delivered these cupcakes to my friend, i was so darn nervous to show her my work, afraid that she might suddenly turn into a huge bridezilla and start throwing the cupcakes to my face, or eat me alive or something. But thank god that she's so easily pleased! The second i opened the lid of the box, she started jumping up and down, hugging me, complimenting how pretty the cupcakes were and contemplating to keep these cupcakes to herself and scoff them down on her bed when midnight strikes. But she discarded the idea in the end. Seems like her love for the groom is bigger than her love for cupcakes.

Gasp! Rejecting cupcakes over a man??? Is she even human???

Just kidding folks.

But seriously.


So all is well in the end. I'm really happy to see that my customer is happy with my work. But i know that i have to keep on practicing on the design.

By the way, I used Pioneer Woman's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever recipe for the chocolate cupcakes and All-recipes creamy chocolate frosting for the chocolate buttercream frosting. And oh my, these cupcakes were totally divine!!! =)))

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Banana Bundt Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.

My grandaunt would chase me around the house with a huge wooden spoon if she ever finds out that i put cream cheese frosting on an old-fashioned banana cake. We Malays do not normally eat banana cake with frosting on it, as it tastes good on its own. So it's only fair that my grandaunt may think i've totally gone bonkers if she ever finds out. =D

My favourite banana cake has always been my grandaunt's, as hers is light and fluffy and has intense banana flavour. The light and fluffiness of her cake is achieved by beating egg whites until peaks are formed. And to tell you the truth, i haven't been good at beating egg whites. The last time i tried to make meringues, i failed miserably. White eggy bubbly mess all over the mixing bowl. *Shudders*

(I'll be back, Mr Egg-Whites. Be very afraid.)

So i skipped grandaunt's recipe and searched for a good banana cake recipe (which doesn't involve any egg-whites beating) online, and came across 'Best Ever Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting'. Sounds promising enough. I'd always wondered whether banana cake and cream cheese tasted good together. And i'm glad that they do!

This banana cake lives up to its name. Not exactly The Best of The Best of all Banana Cake. But at least one of the best that i've ever tasted (of course, my grandaunt's banana cake is still at the top of my list). Everyone at home loved it! It's light, super moist, moderately sweet with intense banana flavour, and the mild tanginess and sweetness of the cream cheese frosting complemented the flavour of the cake. But the cake tasted good without the cream cheese frosting too.

Rating: 8/10

(Adapted from Food.com)

1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
2 teaspoons lemon juice 
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups sugar (I cut it down to 1 3/4)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups icing sugar

Chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 275°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. (I used a 10" bundt pan)

In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.

Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.

Stir in banana mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (For 10" bundt pan, it will cook for 1 hr 30 mins)

Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist.

For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if desired.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Back after MIA! And a Strawberry Cake.

Heyya peeps!!

Yikes, I know i've been MIA for soooo looooonggggg. Tsk tsk.


For the past few months it was quite impossible for me to get back to baking, especially when the house looked like it was turned upside down. We hired the painters to paint the whole house, but before that we had to move all the furnitures, clean every corners of the house, get rid of all the junks in every wardrobe, cupboard and drawers and... more.

Exhausting, but it's worth it. Because i have a PINK bedroom now!

I've yet to search for a chic hot pink bedsheet and curtains.

I'm 25. I'm married. I act like a 7 year-old. God, help me.

I have a long list of baking recipes to try. And that's the problem if you haven't been baking for quite a long time. The list gets longer, and your patience gets shorter.

Initially i wanted to start off with Strawberry Cream Cake (suddenly craving for a strawberry dessert), but i stumbled upon this Strawberry Cake recipe from Martha Stewart's website instead and was so delighted to read all the rave reviews for the recipe. And it's so darn easy to make too, which is a good thing when you're feeling darn lazy and unadventurous at the moment.

And I'm so glad that i decided to try this recipe in the end because the cake turned out to taste simply good. Basically it's just a butter cake with strawberries on top (yes, pretty obvious), with their sweet and sour juices seeped into the sponge, adding a fruity kick to it. And it's really light too, not too sweet, not too "bleargh". Anyone who's not a fan of strawberries won't have a problem eating this cake. Totally a great snack for tea-time.

And the best part? Yes, the scent of baked strawberries that filled the air. Sigh~.

Note: The top wasn't very brown because i baked the cake on the lower shelf of the oven. Afraid that it might overbaked!

Rating: 8/10 

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.