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?

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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.

65°C White Loaf

I have always wondered how Asian bakeries create the characteristic soft and fluffy yet chewy and springy bread loaves that are so addictively delicious! So when I found this recipe, I couldn’t wait to get started to make my own fresh loaf- perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea!

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The reason behind naming the loaf “65°C” is because it uses the “tangzhong” method where a roux made of  1 part bread flour to 5 parts water cooked to 65°C is added into the dough. This roux helps to the dough to absorb more moisture to produce softer, fluffier and higher-risen bread.

It is recommended by the recipe that you use a bread machine to knead the dough, as it is a very wet mixture. If you decide, like me, to knead the dough with your hands- be warned that it will be extremely sticky and wet! I actually thought that my batch would fail (and that my arms would fall off) as it was nearly impossible to knead. Thankfully after proofing, the dough came out right again.

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Read more: http://en.christinesrecipes.com/2010/03/japanese-style-bacon-and-cheese-bread.html#ixzz2rONZ1wYo