Monday, July 28, 2008

Ice Cream Muffin

I enjoy experiencing and playing with unusual ingredients like Mayonnaise and beer. And had pretty good results with those bakes. So when I saw this Ice Cream Muffin at Kitchen Capers, I promptly put on my apron!

I changed 2 things:

  • I do not like Green Tea, so I used coffee ice cream instead.
  • Instead of chocolate chips, I used the Valrhona Araguani (72% cocoa) nugget.

The recipe looks deceptively easy with few ingredients but the batter was very very dry, so I added additional 100ml of water. You can see that I didn't mix the water very well cos I didn't want to end up with hard muffin (science: excessive stirring will form gluten).

The muffin ain't exactly how I thought it should be... The taste and texture is more like the chinese Huat-Kwe :-( It could be due to the different ice cream that I use... maybe... but I certainly won't bake this again until I find out what's wrong :-(

250ml Green tea yogurt ice cream
200g Self raising flour
100g chocolate chips
3 tbsp sugar

1. Leave ice cream out on room temperature till it melts into liquid state.
2. Add sugar, flour and mix till well combined.
3. Add chocolate chips in and mix.
4. Pour into muffin cases or silicone muffin tray.(about 3/4 full)

5. Bake in preheated oven 180C for 15 to 20 mins.
(my oven took 20min... pix is the muffin baked for 15min... you can see some partion still a bit wet)

6. Remove to cool slightly.

Kooky Art

I signed up for the Cookie Decorating Class at Kooky Art last Saturday. I was hoping to learn some decorating technique but as you can see... it's more of a fun morning for Bevis!
Bevis slurps up all the overflowing icing! Yum!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Healthy Yoghurt Cupcake

I bought some strawberries with the intent to make the yummy strawberry jam featured in Sunday Times weeks ago. Unfortunately I have been hunting for Sure-Jell pectin, a substance to make the fruit gel, in almost every supermarket I have set foot in, but to no avail.

To save the fate of these berries being tossed out, I decided to make the Healthy Yoghurt Cupcake.

This is the same recipe that I baked last month. It uses yoghurt, egg white and very little butter hence the reduced calorie.

Strawberry: The chopped strawberry bled alot during baking... end up the cake was so soaked at the bottom. I also have to extend the baking time from the usual 25 min to 40min to dry up the bottom a little. What I would in future in to coat the berries with some plain flour - that should help to buffer against the liquid being released into the batter.

Frosting: I think I am I am starting to enjoy the fun of piping... if only it takes less effort to make the buttercream.

Now and...


Berry nice - I love the simple classic look!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Glutinous Rice

T0day is Racial Harmony Day. Bevis' school is holding a small celebration and kids are asked to bring traditional food to the share.

I decided to make the glutinous rice as this is what we have for our festive; birthdays, baby shower etc. I am not sure if this is common for all the dialect groups, but certainly a MUST for Hockchias :-)

The glutinous rice is usually served in a big plate... which means that the kids will need forks and plate. To make it more convenient for everyone to handle the rice, I decided to fill the rice into a small individual plastic bags.

See, no mess... so convenient! :-)

Mushroom: Seasoning the mushroom improves its taste. Once the mushroom is softened after soaking, squeeze out the water from the mushroom. Sprinkle some sugar on the underside (white portion) and rub it in. Leave for 10 min before dicing them.

Sausage: In my opinion, sausage, together with dried shrimp, are the key ingredients of the glutinous rice. Sausage's sweetness and saltiness of dried shrimp complement well to create the wonderful flavour!

Dried shrimps: To give it the extra oomph, I normally soaked the shrimps in some brandy after washing. It will taste like XO sauce :-).

BTW, you may need to microwave the shrimp first to dry it before frying. Otherwise the water in it will cos the oil to splatter.

Steam or Fried: There's 2 ways to cook this dish - steaming give you softer rice, and frying makes it less starchy. The choice is yours - depends on what you like.

Unlike baking, the measurements here can be taken as a guide. Feel free to add more or reduce to suit your tastebud!

Glutinous Rice

3 cups glutinous rice, rinsed and soaked overnight or at least 3 hours
1/2 cup dried shrimps, soaked
8 dried chinese mushroom, soaked and diced.
1 pair of chinese sausage, sliced (I left it out for this occasion cos the school is halal)
2~3 cups of water or stock

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce (I use vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 tbsp Sesame seed oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chinese wine
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt

spring onion
fried shallots

  1. Heat up veg oil in a wok. Stir fry dried shrimp until fragrant. Take out of the wok and set aside.

  2. Brown the chinese sausage. No need oil as the sausage itself already has fat. Take out of the wok and set aside.

  3. Sauteed the mushrooms in sesame seed oil. Add sugar, five spice powder, soya sauce and oyster sauce. Sauteed for few more minutes before adding 1 cup of water.

  4. When the water starts to steam, add rice to wok. Stir to ensure it does not get burnt. Add more water as required.

  5. Add sausage and dried shrimps. Continue to stir fry until the water has dried up.

  6. If you are steaming the rice, you can pour the rice into a steamer now. Steam for 30min.

  7. If you are stir-frying the rice, continue to add more water as required. Fry until the rice is fully cooked.

  8. Garnish and serve!

Friday, July 18, 2008

High Fibre Pumpkin Seed Bread

I am living up to my blog name - even my daily bread is baked in the cupcake mould! *GRIN*

I picked up this book "Baking Code" by Alex Goh just 2 days ago. The bread recipe are all based on sponge and dough (S&D) method. I read up on this method and learnt that :

  • the long proving time in S&D stabilises the dough, which in turn enables sufficient hydration of the dough. As a result, ability of dough to hold more moisture is enhanced.

  • Bread baked using this method is moist and soft. (therefore it's not suitable if you prefer chewy instead of soft bread).
  • Long proofing stretches the gluten network of sponge dough results in larger volume bread.


I only baked for 20min, saving the last 5 minutes for a final toast in office so that I can enjoy warm fresh flavour!

A) Sponge:
40g High protein flour, non-sifted
1/8 tsp instant yeast
24g water

To prepare sponge: mix instant yeast with 15g of water until well blended.
Add in the remaining ingredients, and knead to form a dough.
Let it proof for 30min. Wrap in cling film and keep in fridge overnight or up to 48hours.

Main dough:
135g High protein flour, non-sifted
65g Wholemeal flour, non-sifted
6g castor sugar
3g salt
3g instant yeast

80g overnight sponge dough
2 tsp honey
130g cold water

10g shortening

40g pumpkin seed

To prepare main dough:

  1. Mix ingredients (A) until well blended. Add in lingredients (B), knead to form dough.
  2. Add ingredients (C), knead to form smooth and elastic dough. Add ingredients (D), mix until well combined.
  3. Cover it with cling wrap and let it proof for 45 min in a warm place.
  4. Divide dough into 3 portions and mould it round. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Flatten the dough, roll it up, shape it into oblong shape and brush the dough with water. Coat it with pumpkin seed and place it in a greased pan. Allow it to proof for 50min. I kept it in the fridge after the 50min; saved it for early morning to have freshly baked breakfast.
  6. Bake at 200 degC for 20-25min.

Do toast the pumpkin seeds slightly before adding to the bread. Just taste the pumpkin seed before & after toasting, and you will see why the extra step.

Beware this wholemeal bread makes a very hearty meal. Next time, I will shape it into smaller loave so that I do not overstuff myself.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Classic Shortbread with Royal Icing

I am not very keen in cookie cos I find it takes alot of effort to shape! But the little one has been eyeing on the bear cookie cutter that we have. Today I finally ran out of excuse to refuse his request (to bake cookie). *Exasperated!*

So let's start...

I picked this recipe (by cos it is simple... only 4 ingredients, and the best thing - it's eggless!

Also, the sandy texture of shortbread appeals to me more than cookie. For coffee lover, you may add 1tsp of freeze-dried instant coffee (like Nescafe) granules into the dough. Flecks of coffee makes it a capuccino shortcake.

Waiting for the icing to dry up.


Classic Shortbread

1 cup (240g) unsalted butter, softened.

2/3 cup sugar (I use icing sugar to get a finer texture & reduce by 2 tbsp)

1/4 tsp salt

2.5 cup all purpose flour

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.

  2. Stir in flour to make a stiff dough.

  3. On a lightly floured surface, lightly knead to make a smooth dough. (note: do not overknead or the cookie will become very tough)
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15min. (this is to firm up the dough to make it more manageable)

  5. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2" thick. (I use a non-tappered chopstick on both sides of the dough to get uniform thickness.

  7. Cut out the cookie with cookie cutter. Place them about 2" apart on the baking sheet.

  8. Lower the oven to 325F/160C and bake for 20-25min. This cookie should not brown.

  9. Leave to cool completely on wire rack.


Royal Icing

1 cup (110g) icing sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder
30~50ml warm water

  1. Beat the sugar and meringue powder util combined.
  2. Add water and beat on high speed until very glossy and stiff peak (approx 5~7min.
  3. Add more water or sugar to get the right consistency (when you lift up the beater, the icing falling back into the bowl should remain on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.)
  4. The icing needs to be used immediately or stored in an airtight container as it hardens when exposed to air.

Meringue powder is dried egg white powder. Some bakers use fresh egg white that supposedly taste better but I damn afraid of salmonella! You can get meringue powder from most bake supplies shop. I got mine from B-I-Y.

Alternatively you can buy the ready-to-use cookie icing from B-I-Y (under Wilton brand). It comes in a ready-to-squeeze bottle. Expensive ($12+ per bottle) but it is real convenient - just twist the cap and you can pipe the cookie direct away. No piping bag, no tip, no mixing.

I like royal icing cos it dries up a to smooth and hard matte surface. To give this as a gift, you can write your message on the cookie with edible marker pen. You can see Bevis doodling on his cookie "board".

BTW, you can see he vast difference in professional frosting. *SHY SHY*

Monday, July 14, 2008

Life's a bowl of Cherries! (Black Forest CupCake)

Cherries - my favourite fruit - juicy, sweet and very firm. Great for eating fresh! There's only 2 cherry seasons for my fixation on fresh cherry. It's now the seasons for USA cherries... (year end's from Australia, thanks for the globalisation!)

If you have not fallen for cherries, there's 6 good reasons why it's time to load up:
  1. Prevent and fight cancer: They contain queritrin (which is a potent anticancer agent). They also contain ellagic acid, which experts believe is one of the most useful compounds for cancer prevention. Cherries are a rich source of healthy antioxidants helping to repair damaged cells in the body. Another compound found in cherries is perillyl alcohol (POH), which is very effective in reducing the occurrence of all types of cancer. Stopping the spread of cancerous cells by depriving them of the crucial proteins they require in order to grow.

  2. Fight Inflammation: Did you know that inflammation is a secret killer? Inflammation is the body's first defense against infection...but when it goes awry, it can lead to..
    Heart Attacks
    Colon Cancer
    ....and a host of other diseases.

  3. Pain relief: containing anthocyanin and bioflavonoids. What are they?
    Well they are compounds that produce a similar effect to that of aspirin or ibuprofen. These compounds can relieve or prevent head and body aches, and even ease the symptoms of arthritis and gout.

  4. Sleep Easy: Have trouble sleeping? Melatonin is a natural sleep aid. It is an antioxidant and will help to regulate your sleeping and waking patterns. It's found in the human body...but only in small quantities. Guess what...our little friends cherries have an abundance of melatonin in them. Cherries also help your circadian Rhythms; well it is basically your sleep patterns and timing within a 24hour day.

  5. Fight premature ageing: Cherries contains the compounds isoqueritrin and queritrin that work to eliminate the byproducts of oxidative stress and thereby slowing the ageing process.

  6. Lower levels of uric acid in the blood, which is one of the most common causes of gout pain. A study at the University of California Davis showed that consuming a serving of cherries daily significantly lowered the blood uric acid levels of women by as much as 15 percent, and while the participants in the study were given fresh cherries to eat, a serving of dried cherries or cherry juice can have just as significant an impact.
Still reading? Get out and grab some cherries before it disappears from the shelves.

Me? I have a carton of cherries... I have been packing them to snack at work, and last night, I made it into black forest cupcake. The recipe yields a rich and delightfully moist batter (like Lana Cake)... complemented nicely by the chopped cherries!

This recipe can be made manually cos there's very little whisking. Personally I find this better when served warm but colleagues who were served this cuppie the next day said it was good!

The fudge is convenient - no need to wait till the cupcake is cool before frosting. I slapped it on as soon as the cupcake was out of the oven. It melted initially, then firmed up when cooled. It held up the large cherry very well!


Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Yield: 12 cupcakes

110g mayonnaise
125ml buttermilk (I use milk powder+water+1.5 tbsp vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla essence
120g all-purpose plain flour
20g cocoa powder (2 tbsp)
1-1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
110g sugar ( I use 100g)

1) Preheat oven and line muffin tray.
2) Sift flour, cocoa and bicarbonate soda together.
3) Place the sugar and sifted flour mixture into a bowl.
4) In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, vanilla essence and buttermilk till smooth.
5) Add mayo mixture to the flour and mix till the batter is smooth.
6) Pour mixture into prepared pan (80% mark) and bake at 170 deg C for 20-25 minutes.

Note: Cake will shrink slightly when cool.

recipe source: Kitchen Capers.


1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder-sifted
3 tbsp icing sugar-sifted
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cold water

Mix cocoa, icing sugar, cornflour and butter nicely.

Add the cold water and mix well.

It should be a thick mixture. Spread on when the cupcake is hot.

Video on Frosting Technique

Little did I expect to find eductional video on youtube...

There are many other useful video (also many junk ones lah :-) Just like men in this world *GRIN*) that you can watch to pick up some baking technique. My 8-year-old niece is recently into baking and I thought this would be quite apt for her... the video is very straight forward and easy to follow:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My To-Do List

These have been on my mind for the longest time... Putting it up so that I can check my progress!

  1. Kenny Roger Cornmeal Muffin
  2. Bak Kwa Muffin - I've got Lim Chee Guan bak kwa for this. All ready!
  3. WholeMeal Bread - Wholemeal flour cannot keep for long... gotta to use it up soon. *DONE*
  4. Cheese Cake - still not decided if it's baked/non-baked/blueberry/Peach
  5. Peach Yoghurt
  6. Red Velvet Cupcake
  7. Coffee Ice Cream Cupcake *DONE*
  8. Peanut Cookie
  9. Pork Floss Cake
  10. Black Forest Cake *DONE*
  11. Black Glutinous Rice Wine
  12. Rum & Raisin Cinnamon Breakfast Sweet Roll - still searching for my bottle of Rum!
  13. Lemon Grass Pandan Ginger Tea - was served this at my usual spa and I guess this is the reason for me going back again and again!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vanilla Cupcake

A colleague on secondment has been stalking me to bake her some vanilla cuppies... Today I gladly obliged cos I just got Carol Durst's book: I know you were coming so I bake a cake. It says that simple cake like vanilla cake is the one of the most challenging bake as it is much more delicate than, say, choc cake.

Using the best quality butter and vanilla extract that you can is already first step to success :-)

I am using the Anchor butter as it has 80% fat. I always have blocks of them in my fridge for any baking spree.

This Western Family vanilla extract is so far the better vanilla I have come across locally. I used to use the Red Man vanilla essence (those small gladd bottle that you find at supermarket shelf), but a whiff will tell you "what you pay is what you get". Hahaha.


Ingredients for the cake:

3 cups cake flour
225g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar (original qty)
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degF (180C). Grease cake pans and coat the the pan with flour.
  2. Cream the butter, and incorporate sugar. Beat slowly for 2min until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and beat for 2 min more.
  4. Combine flour, cornstarch (if using), baking powder and salt in the mixing bowl. Add flour and milk alternatively: Flour -> milk -> Flour -> milk -> Flour, mix until the batter is smooth.
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake about 30-35min, until golden on top and springy to touch: a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Don’t overbake. Bake cupcakes about 20min.
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting it.

Yield: makes two 8~9" cake, 24 cupcake or 9x13 sheet cake
Source: I knew you were coming so I bake a Cake


To save time, I actually prepared this frosting on weekend and keep it in the fridge for my weekdays late night baking. Unfortunately I did not keep it properly... so the whole thing had to be chucked! Sorry Candy, no frosting for this cuppies!

Anyway, I just love the clean pale look of the vanilla cupcake. Toast to my another Happy Cup!

This vanilla buttercream is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners' sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

Ingredients for Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup (~220g) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (~120ml) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  2. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.

  3. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 (9-inch) layer cake


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Genius R Us

Bevis and I attended a workshop at Genius R Us... To me, this is a getaway rather than for learning; life is much easier when you have all the ingredients laid out for you. No washing, no cleaning up.... Sigh, if only every baking session at home is like that :-)

Back to this workshop, we made 5 items with melted chocolate:

  • strawberry with choc coating.

  • Marshmellow choc with colourful beads.

  • Moulded chocolate

  • cornflakes chocolate cup

  • almond chocolate cluster

There were supposedly another child in the workshop but he/she didn't turn up so we enjoyed the full attention from the 2 jie-jie! This is what we call value for money!

I was so laid back that I forgot to take some photo of the things that we made, save for this moulded chocolate.

As for Bevis, you can see him obviously enjoying himself... slurping up the chocolate every now and then!

Vidalia Onion Bread

I normally fall in love whole hearted with everything that comes out of my oven. Not this one.
In fact I am terribly disppointed with this bread - it smells so yeasty that I thought something at home has turned bad!

All my 30mins at the sink, tearing over the onions is down the tube! Sian lah!

And you know what... heehee, I blame the failure on the recipe... not me! I have great discipline to follow the trial and tested recipe to a T, you know :-)

If you like bawang like my dear J, and really die-die must bake with this recipe, pls reduce the amount of yeast to 2 teaspoon. 2 tablespoon, in my humble opinion, is a careless typo error on the creator's part! *GRIN*

To my consolation, J happily chomp them despite all! This is what I call unconditional emotional support!


1.5 cup warm water
2 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoon sugar
2.5 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
5-6 cup bread flour

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.5 pounds vidalia or other sweet white onion, diced (4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 egg, lightly beaten - for glazing

  1. Whisk the warm water and yeast together in a electric mixer and let stand for 2-3 minutes to dissolve the yeast.
  2. Stir in the sugar, salt, egg, oil, and 5 cups of flour. Mix to make a soft mass. Knead with dough hook on the lowest speed of the mixer for 8-10 minutes, gradually add more flour as required to form an elastic dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lighted floured surface and form it into a ball. Place it into the bowl and cover it with a cling wrap. Leave in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough double in size.
  4. While waiting for the dough to proof, prepare the filling - sauteed the onion + salt with vegetable oil until it soften.
  5. Remove the onion and stir in poppy seeds. Set aside.
  6. When the dough is proofed, gently punch it down and knead light. Flatten the dough and spread the onion filling over it. Use your finger to press it gently into the dough. Fold the dough into 2.
  7. Make slits on the dough if you wish (I cut one of the slit a bit too deeply, that the onion is exposed, and browned).
  8. Glaze the bread.
  9. Baked in a preheated 160C oven for about 20min or until it is slightly brown.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

No-Bake Cheesecake

I had a great sense of accomplishment when i baked made this cheesecake. There's probably the least carbon footprint you can get to as far as baking is concerned!

  1. I whipped everything manually. No electric mixer... though I did regret a little half way thru... tired lah!

  2. No need for oven...this is a big deal when it comes to my energy-guzzling monster!

  3. I recycled the plastic containers that I have, instead of buying new springform tin.

As it's name says, there's no baking so it depends on gelatine to set the cheese.

Gelatine comes in two forms, leaf and powder. They can be used interchangeably. I bought the leaf version cos the powder is of beef origin. Otherwise, the powder is a more convenient and more powerful variety.

A teaspoon of gelatine powder is equal to 2 leaves, and 3 leaves is about 1½ teaspoons of powder gelatine.

To prepare leaf gelatine: Soak three gelatine leaves in cold water for at least 10 minutes, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Next, warm 3 tablespoons of water or any flavoured liquid in a small saucepan, remove saucepan from the heat and stir in gelatine sheets to dissolve.

Never add gelatine to boiling liquid because it loses its jelly strength.

For powder gelatine: Soak 1½ teaspoons of powder gelatine in 3 tablespoons cold water until it becomes spongy, then dissolve in warm liquid as for leaf gelatine.

Finally, do note that of final points before I zoom off:

  • This cake must be served chilled and eaten within 2 days of making.

  • For a clean slice - dip the sharp knife into hot water before cutting. Clean the knife before each slice.


Biscuit Base (A)

150g digestive biscuits, finely crushed.

75g unsalted butter, melted

Cream Cheese (B)

170g sweetened fruit juice

5 gelatine leaf (or 10g powder)

250g whipping cream, very chilled

250g cream cheese, softened


  1. To prepare the biscuit, mix the 2 ingredients together. Press the biscuit mixture into a ring mould with the back of a spoon. Chill the biscuit base for at least 30min

  2. Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. See the pix on here - when you lift up the whisker and the shape stays there, it is done. Keep in the fridge.

  3. Dissolve the gelatine in the fruit juice. See above on how to prepare the gelatine.

  4. Whip the cream cheese on medium until it is smooth. Increase the speed to high, add juice and gelatine mixture. Beat until it is very smooth.

  5. Fold in the whipped cream very gently with a large spatula. Pour into the prepared mould and chill overnight till set.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Old Age

This post has nothing to do with baking and it's meant for those aged 50 and above. Two things that you can do now:
1- close your browser & missed the most important lessons in life
2- read on to laugh your head off, then when you're composed, think what you want in life.
No matter how young you are, it can only be good for you to ponder on these words because your age will always go up - only rain comes down - everything else goes up eg. fuel, ERP, food prices, etc. The list goes on.....
So do not be offended, age will catch up on you sooner than you think. It is our attitude towards life and how we handle it that counts! Cheers!!


Old Age, I decided, is a gift
I am now, probably for the first time in my life,
the person I have always wanted to be.

Oh, not my body!

I sometime despair over my body,

the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt.
And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror
(who looks like my mother!),

but I don't agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my amazing friends,
my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.
As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself.

I've become my own friend.

I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie,
or for not making my bed,
or for buyingthat silly cement gecko that I didn't need,
but looks so avante garde on my patio.
I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon;
before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read
or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's,
and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love .....
I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body,
and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to,
despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful.
But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten.
And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken.

How can your heart not break
when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers,
or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car?
But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion.
A heart never broken is pristine and sterile
and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough
to have my hair turning gray,
and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.
So many have never laughed,
and so many have died before their hair could turn silver

As you get older, it is easier to be positive.
You care less about what other people think.
I don't question myself anymore.
I've even earned the right to be wrong!

So, I like being old. It has set me free.
I like the person I have become.
I am not going to live forever,
but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been,
or worrying about what will be.
And I shall eat dessert every single day.
(If I feel like it)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cranberry Cupcake Again

I do not usually bake the same recipe twice save for some exceptional ones like vegan cos there are too many recipes out there to distract me! BUT this cranberry is indeed exceptional just for the creator (Gina) personally dropping by. :-)

Taking note of her comments, I baked this cranberry cuppies again.

1) no need to plump up cranberries separately.
2) no need to thin down yoghurt.
3) cupcake should brown in the normal conventional oven.

Funny thing is, the cupcake still didn't brown after 40min. To ensure I do not end up throwing away all the over-baked cupcake, I took all but one out of the oven after 25min. The one that had stayed on the oven was dried and hard, as expected. It goes to proof that the oven is a very individual thing!

Despite this little glitch, the cuppies is as yummy as it should be. Go try it out soon!

Oh btw, this is the first time I am frosting the cuppies properly. In the past, I would just apply the butter cream like spreading on the bread. Why? I always have this phobia that the butter cream will ooze out of the pipe tip like tap so I was kindda hesitant. Funny right. So this time round was like an adventure for me!

It is actually very simple. I used the Wilton 1M tip. Insert it into the piping bag (avail from any baking supplies like Phoon Huat). Tightly the piping bag by twisting the top of the bag. Apply some pressure and the butter cream will swirl very nicely!

You can go to Wilton's website to see the step by step instructions:

For me, I am sure I need lots and lots of practices before the cupcakes can look more appealing.


This is my fav buttercream recipe - it stays up well at room temperature. Perfect for our weather!

RECIPE for Butter cream

6 tbsp AP Flour
2 cups of Milk
2 cups of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Cook flour + milk in a saucepan until the mixture is thick and smooth. Leave it to cool to room temperature, about 30min.

2. Beat butter on medium high speed of an electric mixer for ~3min, until smooth and creamy.

3. Gradually add sugar, vanilla extract. Beat continuously for another 3min until fluffy.

4. Add the cooled milk mixture, and beat on medium high speed for 5min, until very smooth and whiter in colour.

5. Cool and refrigerate for 15min. Use immediately.

recipe source: More from Magnolia.

Magnolia Bakery

If you love cupcake, you must know Magnolia Bakery in New York. This is probably one of the most succesful cupcake cafe on earth - there's usually a line waiting to get in at late night, and the business is so good that they have to set a purchase limit for all cuctomer (i think its 12 pcs max).

I have never been there... I may one day... I hope. For now, I shall be contented watching, in awe, their superb frosting skills!