Since last week, I've had this craving to eat chocolate tarts. I prepared the dough, left it in the fridge. Then the next day, I baked the tart crusts. Then I kept it in the air-tight container. Then, came Tuesday...Wednesday...Thursday. And I haven't gotten the chance to add my chocolate! Finally on Friday, since it was a public holiday, I finally decided to add my chocolate.

Initially, I wanted a dark chocolate tart. And thought of adding some Bailey's Creme Caramel. However, it ended up I used the leftover Strawberry ganache from my chocolate workshop on Tuesday. It turned out to be really nice. My sister liked it very much, and bought some home too!

My parents and sister came over to my place for dinner on Friday. I prepared some simple fare - baked pasta and oriental salad. The recipe for the oriental salad was given to me by Amy, who was our instructor for our Wedding Cake Decoration in BITC. She has given us quite a number of recipes for salads and dips. She's really very good.

To backtrack a bit, I baked pita breads last week. It was a bit too thick. My sister requested for it for her hummus. I've not heard of, or taken hummus until she made it. It was supposed to be taken with pita bread. It was really healthy and good! It wouldn't be my last try too!

Blueberry Chiffon

Lately, there seemed to be abundant blueberries on sales in the supermarket. I bought a few packets of blueberries. Seeing that they had not been touched in the fridge, and turning soft, I decided to bake blueberry chiffons. Once a while, I still preferred to reuse the "tried & tested" recipes. I just realised the last time I baked a blueberry chiffon was at least half a year ago! I used this same recipe again.

I used a 9" tube pan and found that the chiffon was actually quite nice on top, at least it didn't crack. Then I realised that all these time, I've been pouring too much batter on my tube pan, that prevented it from rising too much and causing it to crack, and have a layer of moist batter on top!

These were some lessons I learnt again from this baking.
1) The previous recipe used 2 egg yolks + 1 tbsp milk. This recipe, I used 6 egg yolks without increasing the quantiy of the milk. Thus, the egg yolk batter was very very dry. It made folding very challenging.

2) I didn't smash the blueberries. I threw them in as it is. This also made the egg yolk batter drier. By smashing the blueberries, it will at least have some liquid to make the egg yolk batter more foldable.

Fortunately, the overall chiffon still looked alright and presentable. Even though foolproof recipe can be used again and again, the experience might not necessarily be the same all the time. Don't you just agree?

Rose Decoration for Valentine

With Valentine’s Day on Chinese New Year, what best to give to your loved ones, then to self bake a cake and decorated it with roses?

Learn to make roses using different types of sugar paste for your cake decoration. Transform your homemade cake, into an impressive cake with your modelling roses! The best part is, no complicated tools are used!

Book now to secure your seats!

Course Details:
Course fee: $65 per person
Date: 10 January 2010, Sunday
Duration: 3 hours, 1300-1600hrs
Venue: Trainer's residence @ Hougang Street 11
Class size: 4-6 persons

Course Programme:
Fully hands-on learning the following:
1. Fondant Roses
2. Royal Icing Rose
3. Modelling Chocolate Roses
Includes demonstration of:
1. Daisy using Royal Icing
2. Fondant flowers using flower cutters

What you'll acquire:
1. Your knowledge of making edible model roses.
2. Your roses, including all the spares that you are left with from the fondant or modelling chocolate paste.
3. Pipping nozzle and piping nail that you used in the workshop.
4. Simple recipes.

Rose tea will be served during the workshop.

Registration and Payment:
Register with Jane @ thepalatable(at)gmail(dot)com by 4 January 2010. Payment is made via internet transfers to POSB Savings account 017261398. Confirmation will be given once payment is received.

For further enquiries, please contact Jane at 9824-4954.

Chocolate Baking Workshop

My baking friends and I had been discussing to have another chocolate baking workshop from one of our ex-instructors. Let's call her LA to retain her privacy. It was agreed that we shall have two chocolate cakes for this workshop-Praline Chocolate Cake and Strawberry Chocolate Cake.

I managed to gather a total of four people for this workshop. Zai, my baking friend, Sharon, who replace my baking buddy Doris, Rachel, my friend and of course, myself. The workshop was conducted at LA's house. I like small group workshops as I found it more personalised. The place was very conducive, and spacious.

This is LA's oven. I like it so much! It's so huge!

LA was slightly too fast for us as we tried to catch up on what she taught. She demonstrated to us the various steps of preparing the ganache, praline, paste, glaze and the sponge cake.

The Amarena Cherries used for our Strawberry Cake.

There were so many steps to making the Praline Chocolate Cake and the Strawberry Chocolate Cake. I think I'll probably make it for special ocassions only. The work involved are just tedious and tremendous! However, the taste was really good.

We got to try the chocolate sponge on its own. The taste was just “OMMPH”! The additional of ground hazelnut really made a difference to the chocolate sponge. I'm sure my baking buddy Doris would have love it! Unfortunately, I'm unable to share the recipe here.

Even though this wasn't a hands-on session, we had fun going through the series of the preparation, and getting to sample the sponge cake and the praline. Despite lots of preparation work, and had to be done over a few days, I'm sure I will try out the recipe real soon!

These are our take-aways!


The fad is in? Lately, I noticed that Rum Balls seems to be rather popular? Because there were a couple of failed bakes? Heehee... Most of the (home) bakers knew that they won't throw away any (cooked) failed bakes because we can turned them into Rum Balls. Or perhaps, there are some who loved Rum Balls so much, they probably baked a cake just to make Rum Balls? Yes? No? The recent bakers who made Rum Balls are Eat and Be Happy and Baking on Cloud 9.

There are many ways to create rum balls. One of the recipes is given by Baking on Cloud 9. For my department's bbq on Friday, I did some Rum Bars. I decided balls were too much work, so I made bars.

This was what went into my Chocolate Rum Bars:
- cake sponge: vanilla & chocolate;
- unsuccessful chocolate macarons;
- baked tart crusts
- 2 tbsp Rum
- chocolate ganache
Mix them all together using a mixer, till soft and blinded together.

Then I spread them out on a 10"x10" square pan, about 1" tall. Pour melted semi-sweet chocolate on it, and sprinkled with desiccated coconuts. Put them into the fridge to harden. The following day, I cut sliced them up into bars before my event. So there you go, presenting my Chocolate Rum Bars. I must admit, my "lazy" way somehow tasted really good. All my colleagues just raved about it!

My domestic helper cooked some truly good fried bee hoon!

Bees-Z Garden

Last month, two of my colleagues and I had to do some course assignments jointly. As another colleague, LJ, is better in English, we "arrowed" her to do the consolidation for us. She obliged despite her busy schedule. In the end, the two reports (part 1 & part 2) were very beautifully crafted and presented, all thanks to her! I meant, we did our parts too, but she had to put in more effort to ensure that the parts gelled well.

In order to show my appreciation, I've decided to bake a cake, and had it decorated in fondant for her. Well, it was a long over-due token of appreciation. But then, it's better to be late than never!

This "Bees-Z Garden" consists of three bees- LJ, SC (another colleague) and myself. I used the marble pound cake as the base cake, crumb coat it with buttercream and covered them with rolled fondant. I made it into a garden of bees because it reflected that we are as diligent as bees! Heehee... We had to do our report outside our working time, during weekends or weeknights. "Beauty Bee" represents LJ, who has eye shadow on her eyes. Heehee... The four flowers actually represented that she is most diligent.

"Bonny Bee" is SC. She is working on a three-flowers branch. As for moi, "I" was just moving towards a two-flowers branch. Slow & steady is what I represent myself! "LOL" I hope LJ likes this theme and the cake.

Too Early?

I've thinking for a long time to bake-Hot Cross buns! Finally, I tried my hands on them today. My hubby and I have been fans since we started having them when we were in Melbourne a decade ago. He likes buns with sweet taste in the morning. Since I'm not working today, I tried to bake the Hot Cross buns. Too early for Easter? Or late for Easter? Doesn't matter, as long as we like it, anytime is Hot Cross Buns' day!

By the way, the recipe was extracted from Alex Goh's "World of Bread". The next one I'm going to try will be from one of my favourite blog- Eat and Be Happy's Hot Cross Buns"! Yummy!

[Updated on 18 Nov '09]
Since my dear friend Adeline asked for the recipe, here is the recipe, just for you Adel!
Recipe for Hot Cross Buns, extracted from Alex Goh's book.

250g Bread flour
35g Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Milk powder
1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
2 tsp Instant yeast
1 Egg
100ml Cold water
25g Butter
70g Raisins
30g Mixed peels

Topping Paste
50g Plain flour
1 tbsp Oil
60ml Water

1. Mix (A) till well blended. Add (B) and mix to form a dough.
2. Add (C) and mix to form a smooth, elastic dough.
3. Add (D) and mix till well blended.
4. Let it proved for 45mins.
5. Divide the dough into two and mould into balls.
6. Divide the dough balls into 50g pieces and mould them into balls. Put them in a greased tray.
7. Let them proved for a further 45mins, or till they double in size.
8. Prepare topping paste: Mix the plain flour with the oil, then add water and mix to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
9. Brush with egg wash and pipe a cross on top with topping paste.
10. Bake in the middle of the oven at 190C for 12mins. Serve.

Adel, you freeze one for me! ;)

Cakes on the list

There are always time for baking cakes. Any kind of cakes are good enough to bake, as long as you want to. There are always recipes that you fall back on, and new ones which you put them in your "To Bake" list. For me, I have more of the latter than the former. Sometimes, I just want to try new recipes. Other times, I just want to "play safe". Whatever it is, both will derived satisfaction equally.

Last weekend, I didn't manage to do any baking as I attended a full three days workshop. I only managed to catch up on some bakings yesterday. I baked marble pound cakes and Oreo Cupcakes. The Oreo cupcakes were extracted from Yochana's Blog with modification. I'm glad it turned out good. I wrapped them up and let my son bring them to school to give away to his teachers and friends. This is the last week of school. They'll get their well-deserved holidays soon. Boy I'm so happy too!

Recipe for Mini Oreo Cupcakes (modified)
(Makes approx. 60 cupcakes, base about 1")

230g Salted butter
150g Fine sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
235g Self-raising flour (sieved)
100g Oreo Biscuits - crushed lightly
30g Chocolate Chips (Optional)

(1) Using a k-beater, beat butter and sugar till fluffy.
(2) Add in the eggs one by one. Mix well before adding the next one.
(3) Mix in vanilla extract.
(4) Add in the flour in 2-3 batches. Mix till combined. Continue beating until smooth, but thick.
(5) Stir in the crushed oreo biscuits and spoon into paper cups.
(6) Topped with one chocolate chip each.
(7) Bake at 180C for 14mins. or until cooked.
(8) Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

So Fortunate!

I'm a very fortunate person! Why? Because I met up with my baking coursemates on Tuesday and was presented with three different cakes! Aren't I a very lucky lady? Usually, I'm the one who baked for others...now it's my turn to receive from my friends who can baked so much better than me! Heehee... These were my Cake Decor, Wedding Cake, California Style Baking and Continental Bread workshop coursemates.

We still keep in touch, and finally managed to arrange a date (on Tuesday) to meet up. There were five of us, including our instructor, Amy. She was the one who faithfully made salad, food for us when we were attending her workshops. She faithfully fed us again. This time, with her homemade- Rich Chocolate Cherry Cake, which she gave each of us a piece.

My dear coursemate partner, specially made a Black Forest Cake after several attempts of coaxing her to bake cakes for me.

Finally, another tai-tai coursemate, who is super patient, gave each of us a box of assorted kueh lapis and a pack of Indonesia Vanilla beans. We are really fans of her kueh lapis cakes. They are real good!

It felt so good to be able to catch up with friends who shared the same passion-baking. I guess when we meet up and chit chat, it's like a CoP-Communities of Practice!

The Perfect Pound Workshop by PALATABLE

Traditionally pound cake refers to a type of cake made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. However, the quantity of the ingredients are often changed to suit the sweetness that is desired. Hence, any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar can also be called a pound cake.

Now you can learn how to make that perfect pound cake that goes well with a cup of coffee or that Earl Grey Tea.

Course Details:
Course fee: $75 per person
Date: 20 December 2009, Sunday
Duration: 2½ hours, 1300-1530hrs
Venue: Trainer’s residence @ Hougang Street 11
Class size: 4-6 persons

Course Programme:
Hands-on baking a pound cake.

What you’ll acquire:
1. Your hands-on knowledge of preparing the ingredients, creaming and baking.
2. Two pound cakes to bring home.
3. Recipes and bonus recipes.

Light refreshment will be served during the workshop.

Registration and Payment:
Register with Jane at thepalatable(a)gmail(dot)com by 14 December 2009. Payment is made via internet transfers to POSB Savings account 017261398. Confirmation will be given once payment is received.

For further enquiries, please contact Jane @ 9824-4954.

Fulfilling Saturdays

Saturdays have always been fulfilling for me. If I don't have appointments or other engagements, I like to spend the morning till noon baking, or finding some recipes to bake. Since I had an order for Strawberry Shortcake, I was up early frosting the cake. I like strawberry shortcakes, they are light and soft. The lightness and mild sweetness of chantilly cream blends rather well with the (sometimes) sour strawberries.

It took me about two hours to get the cake frosted. I still have lots of time on hand. Without hesitating, I took out the bread book by Alex Goh and decided on the easiest recipe - Scones. However, I think it wasn't so well done, I had it too flat? Maybe because I wanted to have more quantity, thus, I compromise with the thickness?

Having baked that scones, I proceeded with baking double chocolate cookies. Heehee... I wanted to give some free samples to the lady who ordered my strawberry shortcake. And so, I did just that!

That was a fulfilling Saturday - a cake, scone & cookies!

Chocolate Mousse

I invited my colleagues over to my place for dinner last night. So my domestic helper prepared a sumptuous dinner for us, including three cup chicken, fried bittergourd eggs, mixed vegetables, lotus root soup and oriental salad prepared by me. They enjoyed the dinner very much. I also prepared chocolate mousse for them, they loved it very much and complimented that it tasted just like those in restaurants! :) I was really happy. Before I could even try a cup, my three children finished the other three cups! No more chance.

Recipe for Chocolate Mousse, extracted from Daily Delicious.

120g Ghiradeli Milk Chocolate
40g Ghiradeli 72% Dark Chocolate
40g Sugar
145g Eggs
170g Whipping Cream
2 tsp Dark rum
A dash of salt

1. Put the chocolates in a heatproof bowl. Half fill a saucepan with water and bring to boil. Remove from heat and place the bowl over the pan. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Add rum and stir to mix thoroughly.
2. Using electric beaters, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is thick, pale and increased in volume.
3. Add the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, and use the electric beaters to mix thoroughly.
4. Beat the whipped cream till slightly thicken.
5. Gently fold in the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture.
6. Spoon into five dessert glasses and refrigerate till firm, at least 4 hours.
7. Serve with whipped cream and some toasted almond nibs.

Baked a pound cake for another friend again! Hahaha...how boring can I get?!?!

2nd Food Bloggers/Bakers' Potluck Party

*Due to low response, the party has been CANCELLED!*

Missed our first food bloggers' party? Here's your chance to know the many wonderful bakers cum bloggers in Singapore!

Due to popular demand, and an excuse to taste wonderful homemade/homebake food (without paying), here's our 2nd Food Bloggers/Bakers Potluck Party!

when? 27 nov 2009, friday (hari raya haji holiday)

what time? 12noon - 2pm

where? kitchen capers (kc) @ kallang bahru

* Register with your name, contact number, what you'll be baking/cooking/bringing and your blog url (if any) to Jane at aloyallyanders(a)gmail(dot)com.
* An email will be sent once your registration is confirmed.
* Bring food for sharing. Food can be homemade (preferred) or storebought or ready-made

* Anyone who bakes or cooks; or
* Food Blogger; or
* Blogger.

* Savour the most delectable homecook/homebake foods.
* Networking amongst all food bloggers, bakers, and bloggers.
* Meet the who's who in real person.

Since it's a month away from Christmas, you may bake some X'mas goodies to give away to your blogger friends. Not mandatory, no obligation, just some simple gesture if you would like to.

Special thanks to Gina again for hosting us!

Disclaimer: This party is held in Singapore only.

Buttermilk Pancakes

It was another Sunday at home with my children. For about a month now, we didn't go to my parents' in-law house for lunch. The kids were home, and we had to prepare lunch. Last minute I didn't want my dosmetic helper to cook "proper" lunch. So I decided to make pancakes instead. I remembered I saw some pancake recipe in some blog. But being last minute, I couldn't find one with buttermilk recipe. In the end, I got one from Joy of Baking instead.

Hmm...why insist on buttermilk? That was because I had a tub of Paul's plain yogurt in the fridge and I wanted to use it up quickly. I read from The Sunday Times quite a while back that food consultant Chris Tan said that buttermilk can be substituted with half plain unsweeten yogurt and half milk. So I tried it out. The pancake turned out to be soft and moist. I spread it with my homemade chocolate banana jam and cut bananas. It was so tasty, and most importantly, I felt rather healthy!

I also baked Rei's Chocolate Pound Cake the day before so as to serve my participants for the Roses Decoration workshop.

Recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes, extracted from Joy of Baking.
(Makes about 5 4-inch pancakes)

140g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder
¼ tsp Baking soda
¼ tsp Salt
28g Fine sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
240ml Buttermilk (120ml Plain yogurt + 120ml Whole milk, mixed well)
40g Unsalted butter, melted

Extra butter

1.In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
2.In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter.
3.Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, all at once, and whisk until just combined.
4.The batter should have some small lumps. Do not over mix the batter or the pancakes will be tough.
5.Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter to the heated pan.
6.Scoop about 3 tablespoon of pancake batter onto the pan, and spread it lightly.
7.When the bottoms of the pancakes are brown and bubbles start to appear on the top surfaces of the pancakes turn over. Cook until lightly browned.
8.Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter between batches.
9.Serve immediately with maple syrup, cut fruits (especially banana) or your favorite jam. Or simply squeeze Hershey's chocolate syrup and enjoy!