Working from home is one of the best things, and also one of the worst. I love working from home mainly because I have the flexibility of time. I’m able to fill gaps of my time with doing other things, like household chores, blogging, meeting with friends, baking up new things like this Bundt Cake I’ll be gushing to you about shortly, talking to Grandma on the phone, having some ‘me’ time.
One of the worst things is cleaning up the kitchen as well as all my baking equipment and utensils unlike in the hotel where we’d have a steward who’d help wash all our used mixing bowls and spatulas etc. Another thing is that having no fixed working hours means that often, I find myself in the kitchen at all kinds of hours.
More recently, bake orders have been going up and the minute I clear my outstanding orders, another one comes in. It’s a good problem to have for sure but sometimes, cafes order with less notice than they’re supposed to and while I make sure they know that I might not be able to deliver in time, I still make it a point to get their bakes ready for the requested day.
Some periods, I have private orders on top of cafe orders on top of having to go into Pathlight to bake and I work myself up into a state of anxiety, constantly going over and over in my head what needs to be done and in what order. It gets to the point where I can go to bed and unable to fall into deep sleep, continue thinking about my work flow for the next day in a state of half-sleep.
So the other day, I was supposed to meet with Les for tea/coffee. I was contemplating cancelling although it was too last minute and wouldn’t have been very nice. Furthermore, I knew that I’d be able to complete my work before their deadlines. It was just me being a complete ‘kan chiong spider’ (Singlish for someone anxious and high-strung).
We met at VXX Co-operative. A beautiful little cafe at Foch Road which was in its last week or so of operations. It’s always sad to hear when another good cafe has to close down not because they’re serving up bad food or drinks, but because of high rents and overheads.
VXX had an old-world charm about it. Set in one of those old shophouses, it held on to some of history in its mosaic floor tiles, block coloured sofa, and wooded chairs. More modern features were their coffee bar and brunch-style grub.
While Les had some coffee with her late lunch consisting of a Pancake Stack, I went for their Kukicha – a rich, nutty, calming green tea that I thoroughly enjoyed. Les and I spent a good hour and a half catching up before I suddenly received a text from Flo that his plane from Germany had landed – 40min before the initial estimated time of arrival.
I really wanted to pick him up so Les and I made our quick hugs and kisses goodbye before I scooted off to meet Flo at the airport. I should really document all my #almostfail attempts at meeting him upon arrival. The first time was when I wanted to surprise him and somehow, couldn’t for the life of me spot him at the luggage belt. Next thing I knew, he’d texted me to say he was in the taxi queue and I had to run quickly to find him before he really hopped into one and came home without me. This time, I arrived AFTER he was out of the arrivals hall and he had to wait for me.
So the last week, I had a few private orders to fulfil. This chocolate cake went out and lots of good feedback flew back to me.
I guess it may be the case that I bake this chocolate cake on such a regular basis that it’s just a cake to me really. When I was told later that even the hotel manager (where this event was held) who managed to lay hands on a slice raved about it; that many went back for seconds; that lots of people asked where this cake was from, I was heartened and filled with humble pride at knowing how greatly appreciative people were of this cake.
There was another taller order (pun intended) for chocolate cake for an 18th Birthday. This girl wanted a two-tiered cake with a ‘Vampire Diaries’ theme for her boyfriend. She requested a snake as well and the initial idea of having a Gucci logo on the top tier was shed in favour of bats.
I decided to texturise the top tier a little just for something different, and hand cut each fondant bat since I didn’t have a bat cookie cutter. At first, I was going to go with White Chocolate Ganache coloured red to create the drippy ‘blood’, but since I’d made a nice recipe of Cranberry Curd (stay tuned for that recipe in my next post!), I added a little more red colouring to intensify its colour and it made a beautiful shade of blood with the most perfect drip consistency.
It’s always nerve-wrecking for me when I bake cakes for milestone birthdays especially since I know that a lot of their friends and family will be there to critique the cake. So it made my morning when the girl who ordered this cake texted me to tell me that her boyfriend loved it and that she will be spreading word of my bakes to her friends.
And now, apologies for keeping you waiting. I do tend to go off tangent and talk a lot more than I intend to. Next time, just know that my recipes are always towards the end of my posts although I hope that my verbal diarrhoea is entertaining enough to keep you interested to read through!
This Mango Ginger Bundt Cake was brought to church and my church aunties and uncles have a little naughty streak so the Rum Syrup that soaked through this cake was much loved. I decided to make some Lime Glaze to go on top for the extra kick of zest but that’s totally optional. The lime glaze was a straightforward mix of lime zest, lime juice and icing sugar. If it’s a bit too thick, thin it with a tiny bit of milk at a time until you reach your preferred consistency.
Mango Ginger Bundt with Rum Syrup (Makes 1 Bundt)
15g Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
10g Ginger Powder
300g Mango Puree
100g Crystallised Ginger
- Preheat oven to 180deg C. Brush bundt tin with some melted butter and coat lightly with flour.
- Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs in one at a time.
- Add mango puree.
- Incorporate flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger powder into the butter mixture until just combined.
- Fold in crystallised ginger and pour batter into prepared tin.
- Bake for 35-40min until a skewer inserted comes out dry.
- While cake is baking, heat sugar in water until dissolved. Allow to cool 5-10min before adding in rum. Once cake is baked, remove from oven and pour syrup around the cake to soak into. Leave cake to cool for 15min before removing from tin.
After making this cake, I’d recommend leaving some mango chunks in the puree so that there’ll be pieces of mangoes to bite into as well. The crystallised ginger offers some chew and heat that I find is always welcomed by the older folk especially. The sweetness of the mangoes, the warmth of the ginger, the gentle citrus lift and the punch of rum created a medley of flavours that screams of the Asian tropics with an injection of the Caribbean.
This evening is a wet, stormy one with lightning lighting up the skies and thunder playing bass. It’s the kind of evening where you want to snuggle underneath a blanket and dig into a nice, warm piece of cake – THIS cake to be exact. Alas! All crumbs are gone so it’s up to all of you to make some so that I can live vicariously through you… Until I free up some time to bake this Boozy Mango Ginger Bundt once again!