Perfecting a classic- Honey Creme Brulee

I haven’t yet met someone that doesn’t like creme brulee with it’s thin, crunchy, glass-like caramel sugar layer topping a silky smooth custard- it really is the perfect dessert that can be served warm (winter comfort food!) or cold in the summer with fresh berries. So how to improve on an already perfect dish?

SONY DSC

The special ingredient is…HONEY!

Honey adds a light floral sweetness to the custard that is pure deliciousness! You wouldn’t get the same depth of flavour from the traditional recipe using white sugar.

To make this dessert, simply substitute in honey for the sugar in your favourite creme brulee recipe.

Needless to say that the container was scraped clean by my friends after our morning tea- it’s plate-lickin’ good!

Baby Jungle Cake for a Lil’ Cookie

What can be more fitting for a baby boy’s first birthday than a cake topped with baby jungle animals? Aren’t they just the cutest?

SONY DSC

This was actually my first time decorating a cake using gumpaste and I must say, it took me back to my childhood playdoh days! As requested by the sweet mummah, the cake is to be:

  1. a moist chocolate cake covered with ganache (not fondant),
  2. has on it the name of the birthday boy and the number 1
  3. jungle-themed
  4. coloured blue

With help from some youtube videos, I made a baby elephant, lion and panda for cake toppers! To continue with the jungle theme, the sides of the cake are lined with little trees and mini mushrooms are dotted around the animals on top.

Although by no means perfect, it was a lot of fun to make and I am so delighted to take part in making Ethan’s first birthday a special one! Happy Birthday lil’ cookie!

SONY DSC

The Apple Cake to Convert Apple- Haters

I have a question for all my fellow (wannabe) chefs/ home cooks/ food experimenters out there, have you ever asked yourself what is it about cooking that brings you so much joy? For me, I have never had one clear answer, until now, until I baked this Apple Cake for my friends a few days ago…

SONY DSC

What is so special about this Apple Cake, you ask? It looks to be just a simple teacake with fresh apple slices, flavoured with vanilla and a little cinnamon! Actually what this cake has achieved is to convert a apple-hating friend of mine to realize how tasty they can be!

What is it about cooking that brings me so much joy? It is the ability to introduce others to new or perceived-to-be unpleasant ingredients in a way that is delicious and to hopefully convert them from haters to lovers! The reaction of surprise and delight from my friend upon tasting this cake was priceless and certainly a moment I will remember for years to come.

SONY DSC

Ingredients

(Note: I have doubled the recipe to fit my ring cake mold and an extra sliced apple for the up-side-down cake effect as shown in my photo)

  • oil and flour for prepping the pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh apple puree
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 apple , peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • Apricot jam, for glazing

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Oil and flour a 9-inch round cake pan and line with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla extract. Stir in sliced apple.
  3. Stir flour mixture into apple mixture until just blended. Turn into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert on the wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Melt some apricot jam in the microwave and glaze the top of the cake with the melted jam with a spoon or pastry brush.

A Cool Summer Treat- Melon, Mint & Passionfruit!

It is a real treat during those long, hot summer days feasting on juicy wedges of melon straight from the fridge- how cool and refreshing!

You really couldn’t go wrong with the flavours of watermelon, rockmelon, passionfruit and mint– sweet and zingy! Ripe cubes of rockmelon marinated in passionfruit pulp sit in a sweet watermelon puree flavoured with fresh mint- so easy and delicious! Try it out for your summer party!

SONY DSCIngredients

  • 1/2 fresh watermelon, de-seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 fresh rockmelon, de-seeded and cut into small cubes
  • Pulp from 4-5 passionfuit
  • Some fresh mint leaves, finely shredded

Method

  1. In a blender, puree the fresh chunks of watermelon. Mix in the shredded mint leaves and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Mix the passionfruit pulp with the rockmelon cubes. Place in the refrigerator.
  3. To serve, divide watermelon puree and rockmelon cubes into serving bowls. Top with some extra passionfruit pulp and mint leaves (optional).

The Emergency Panna Cotta Birthday Cake

It was my mother’s birthday last week and I fully intended to surprise her with a grand two-layered strawberry and blueberry cheesecake with a dark Oreo cookie crust. It would be tinged pink and purple with the puree of fresh strawberries and blueberries, and decorated with a gorgeous mound of ripe cherries, strawberries and juicy blueberries. On the eve of the birthday it was all going according to plan- the cake was all done and fully decorated- when disaster struck! The whole cake toppled over and fell splat on to the floor when I tried to unmould it from the tin…

What to do? The supermarket was already closed so getting more ingredients to make another was out of the question. I looked frantically in my pantry trying to come up with an idea for a second cake… and finally came up with this Strawberry, Pandan and Green Tea Panna Cotta Cake. It has a vanilla cookie base with a layer of green tea panna cotta studded with fresh blueberries, then a layer of strawberry panna cotta and finally topped with some raspberry jelly.SONY DSC

Decorated with some fresh berries and flowers picked from the garden, it doesn’t look too bad for a last-ditched effort!

Birthday disaster averted, hooray!SONY DSC

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things.

our-growing-edge-badge

Jeweled Raspberry Cheesecake Tart

SONY DSC

Doesn’t pomegranate seeds look like little beads of shiny red jewels? I cannot believe that I have neglected this beautiful fruit all along- it fits perfectly into what I look for in cake decorations: it has a vibrant colour, is easy to use and a pleasure to eat!

The sweet yet tangy burst of flavour from each pomegranate seed compliments the silky cheesecake filling flavoured with fresh lemon, raspberry puree and a dash of vanilla. This is all encased in a crunchy biscuit base with a hint of warm ginger!

You really cannot go wrong with this cool fruity dessert- be sure to make enough for seconds!

SONY DSC

 

Ingredients:

Approx. 250g Gingernut biscuits
Approx. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
200g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g thick Greek yoghurt or Mascarpone cheese

200ml sweetened condensed milk
30 ml fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Approx. 4 tablespoons thick raspberry puree, plus extra to decorate
icing sugar (optional)
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Directions:

1. Place the Gingernut biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the biscuit crumbs into a medium bowl and stir in the melted butter until the mixture is well combined.

2. Press the biscuit mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a tart tin. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and Mascarpone cheese or Greek yoghurt until smooth and then stream in the sweetened condensed milk. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, raspberry puree and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Taste mixture and sweeten with icing sugar if required. Pour the filling into the chilled biscuit crust. If decorating, pour on top some of the extra raspberry puree and create swirls using a knife or skewer. Cover the tart with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm.

4. When ready to serve, take the tart from the fridge and remove from the tin. Top the tart with the pomegranate seeds then slice and serve.

Vitamin-charged Kumara Cake with a Sesame Crunch!

On a grey, rainy day what I crave is a slice of warm, moist loaf cake fresh out of the oven with a hot cup of tea, all curled up with a novel (or a cookbook) on my plushy sofa!

SONY DSC

The mashed kumara (sweet potato) keeps this cake wonderfully soft and moist, whilst the top is crunchy and nutty thanks to a toasty sesame-seeded crust! You will feel great knowing that both kumara and sesame seeds are natural Superfoods packed with nutrients (such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1,vitamin B2, manganese, copper, potassium, niacin, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, and dietary fiber) to nourish your body!

Now, I think it’s time for a second slice…

SONY DSC

Sunny Sweet Potato Swiss Roll

You might not believe me, but vegetables and desserts can work together- especially in this Swiss roll featuring a creamy filling of sweet potato!

SONY DSC

As a matter of fact, sweet potato has long been a popular dessert flavour in Asian countries- cakes and breads containing sweet potato can readily be found in Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese bakeries.

This bright and sunny Sweet Potato Swiss roll wouldn’t weigh you down and you’ll feel good knowing that sweet potato is rich in dietary fiber and vitamin A, as well a moderate source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium!

A feather-light vanilla sponge cake filled with smooth sweet potato puree sweetened with a little raw honey– who can resist this simple combination of deliciousness? I dare you to stop at one bite!SONY DSC

A Farewell with a Peach and Mango Mousse Cake

For a great send-off morning-tea of a wonderful friend and her exciting travels abroad, I have made this light and fruity Peach and Mango Mousse Cake- ideal for the hot, sunny weather of late! Round, rosy peaches are in season now and their delicious aroma and sweet, juicy flesh make this cake a stand out.

SONY DSC

The star of the cake must be the peach and mango mousse, where softly whipped cream is stirred through with fresh peach puree and mango jelly. Between two layers of moist, fluffy vanilla sponge cake is a filling of mousse with finely diced ripe peach pieces. The cake is then topped with a translucent layer of mango jelly and decorated with a flower of peach slices and rosebud strawberry.

SONY DSC

Judging by the fact that nearly everyone went for seconds and the whole cake was gone in a matter of seconds… this cake is definitely a keeper!

A Blueberry Lamington Train for a Blue Baby Shower

Keeping in  tune with the blue colour theme of a baby shower for a gorgeous mum-to-be of a beautiful baby boy, I have made a twist on the usual chocolate covered lamingtons into blueberry flavoured ones, transformed into a toy train. Such an adorable centerpiece!

SONY DSC

These lamingtons have a light and fluffy vanilla sponge cake interior that are encased in blueberry jelly and rolled in fine desiccated coconut.

The train engine is made using three lamington squares with a chimney made of raspberry licorice and wheels of dark chocolate buttons.   Each lamington train cart is filled with colourful chocolate drops and wheels made of white chocolate buttons, all connected together using raspberry licorice.

SONY DSC

The best part about this cake- the look of surprise and delight on people’s faces!