Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Of May day and happy days!

May is a month full of celebrations, kicking off with Labour's Day, which most look forward to with glee. And then there are some cool ones like No Socks Day (8th), Lost Socks Memorial Day (9th, how appropriate!) & Eat What You Want Day (11th); a couple of meaningful ones like Florence Nightingale's birthday (12th) & Wear Purple for Peace Day (16th) and some that are just plain silly like Lumpy Rug Day (3rd) & Dance Like A Chicken Day (14th, come on now...I know you're visualising the dance...hands like the beak, arms like the wings, flap flap, wiggle wiggle!).

And of course, there's the utmost important of all, Mother's Day. This year, on top of the customary makan-makan (we had buffet dim sum), we celebrated with a splash of fun at the water park and sweating it out after that at the safari.

The night before, I baked a mother's day cum birthday cake for mommy dearest. Mom was really surprised and was grinning from ear to ear :)

My niece couldn't take her eyes of the candle. She loves the frosting too!

The cupcake tower was inspired from Betty Crocker's website. The base cake was supposed to be bigger so that all 12 cupcakes can be stacked on it but unfortunately I didn't have a big enough baking tin. My sister however, found a nice square plate that fitted the assemble nicely.

It was my 1st time making frosting too! Truth to be told, it was already late and I thought that I could keep things simple by sprinkling some icing sugar on the cuppies but celebration cakes without frosting? That just didn't feel right.

Alas, I made a mistake of using caster sugar instead of icing sugar. Duh! Yes, yes, this rushing tenderfoot acknowledges the lack of common sense there. Anyway, the taste was alright albeit the grainy texture. Better results next time!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nutella, ella...ella eh eh Cupcakes!

Chanced upon this recipe by the fabulous Donna Hay (who, by the way has been described as 'a cross of Nigella Lawson and Martha Stewart from Australia'), gave it a go and the result was fantastic. Here's what it looked like the 1st time around, version 1;

Although it tasted great, the cupcakes turned out a little bit heavy probably because I didn't beat the batter enough to make it fluffier.

After 2 weeks, I decided to give it another go. Here's version 1.1. It seems that in my case, 2nd time's the charm!

cupcakes by the dozen

My family simply loved it and the older generation had no complains as well. My granny and mom for instance don't fancy sweet frostings but they chowed down quite a few of these. I take it as a good sign.

You'll love this cupcake because it has Nutella in it, buttery and not too sweet, easy peasy to make, and oh did I mention it has Nutella in it?

So here's the recipe (makes a dozen), happy baking y'all!

  • 140 grams butter, softened to room temperature
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 200 grams sifted all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream together butter and sugar until light about 2 minutes. Add in eggs (one at a time) until fully incorporated. Don't worry if the batter doesn't look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains. Fill each muffin liner with batter about 3/4 full. Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella (or else it will sink after baking and you've got a gaping hole in your cuppy). Bake for 20 minutes.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mango Pudding HK Style

Was in HK a couple of months ago and finally managed to get a taste of the infamous mango pudding. Tasted yummy but my only complain was that the portion was too small. Perhaps it was for the best, as we ordered quite a few other desserts as well. There's this other type of yummy mango pudding served with silky smooth tau foo fa.

Check out the presentation....dried ice...

Anyway while we were chowing down the desserts, I promised my sis that I'll find the recipe and make it for her once we get back.

Here's how my pudding looks like (sheesh that sounds wrong huh...;)

Bought this adorable Hello Kitty mould at Ladies Street HK.

The difference between the HK pudding and mine;
  • HK pudding is silkier where as mine is mousse like.
  • HK pudding comes with a dash of cream (i think it's condensed /evaporated milk, as you can see in the 1st picture) where as mine is served err..milkless.
Having said that, I do think that my version of the mango pudding is rather delicious as well, thank you very much :)

It's really simple to make and the ingredients can be found at any local supermarket. The best thing is, you can get mangoes all year round here! Go on and try it for yourself, no regrets I promise. Maybe the next time, I'll tweak the recipe a bit, replace the mangoes with oranges or durian even!

Here's the recipe, courtesy of baking mum:
100gm mango puree
100-150gm mango cubes
100ml whipping cream (you can also blend the 100gm of mango with whipping cream to get the puree)
20gm gelatin
80gm sugar
300ml water
250gm of mango ice-cream (Vanilla ice cream is fine as well)

1. Mix water, sugar and gelatin in a pot. Boil over slow fire until sugar and gelatin dissolves.
2. Leave the mixture to cool. When cool, add mango puree, mango cubes, whipped cream and ice-cream. (tips: melt ice cream at room temperature and stir well before adding to avoid mixture from getting curdled)
3. Stir mixture well. Pour into moulds and leave in fridge to set. (tips: it might be a little difficult to remove the pudding from the mould, no worries, use a toothpick!).