This post was meant to go up while I was away in Thailand but I just couldn’t for the life of me complete it before my holiday. So this is a little of a throwback post and I’ll be sure to blog all about our 10 day getaway to Bangkok and Ao Nang, Krabi before 2017 turns into 2018.
It’s been an incredibly tough few weeks with non-stop cake orders which mean non-stop baking. As you read this though, I should be in Thailand with Flo, his sister and her boyfriend holidaying. FINALLY! (Of course, you know now that I’ve since gone and returned.) I’ve been telling myself to push hard in the lead up to our trip where I’ll be able to totally relax and refresh myself so almost every day the last couple weeks I’ve been in the kitchen hour upon hour rushing out of the house only to pick up more ingredients or do deliveries or hand cakes over to customers for collection. It’s been so hectic that for the first time in more than a year, I’m on the cusp of falling sick but I’m loading up on Vitamin C and water so I’m praying it clears before it goes full-blown AND before I fly off tomorrow afternoon.
With more work, I obviously also managed to make a big boo-boo for one of my orders. A couple of blog posts ago, I shared about some of the stupid things I do in the kitchen. This time, I made sure I measured my recipe out right and everything went perfectly. I was so proud of myself when I popped my two big loaves of orange cake into the oven. Only upon taking them out and staring at them a minute wondering why they looked different did it hit me that I’d forgotten to add in the poppy seeds! I was ivid with myself and while I considered asking the cafe if they’d accept them for a lower price, I couldn’t go through with it and decided to start all over again. The two no-gos will now be for sale at the opening of another cafe so all is right in the world.
Anyway, because I was so upset with myself, I ended up whining to Flo about how I’d kick myself for real if I could. He came home with this gorgeous gerbera to cheer me up.
I didn’t really think I deserved it but it was a very sweet gesture and it filled me with warmth and love. #bestboyfriendever
We also managed to find some pockets of time last weekend to spend with Alex and Amanda. Last we met up was months ago. Scary how time flies even with friends who live close by. We found ourselves at Old Hen Kitchen along Owen Road for brunch.
They’re quite well known for their cold brews in their very Instagrammable bottles so yep, I actually went for their Smooth Black.
I’ve never had a cold brew before so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It wasn’t acidic and it wasn’t too bitter so it worked for me. That being said, I realise that when I drink a bit too much black coffee, it makes me feel a bit sick after so I bore the repercussions a few hours later when I started feeling nauseous. That says nothing about the coffee though! I’m just not a very coffee person.
We were laughing at how Amanda and Alex each went for the Breakfast Plate while Flo opted for the Avocado on Toast, and I, the Toasted Muesli Bowl, because of the healthier/less healthy couple divide where food choices are concerned.
Pretty bowl of muesli…
Encompassing Greek Yoghurt with House Muesli, Fresh Berries and Dried Cranberries.
Greek yoghurt is my staple morning breakfast but I usually go for plain, unsweetened. This was sweetened and along with the muesli and cranberries, ended up a bit too sweet for me halfway through. I really liked the house muesli though. It was more like granola to me with a bit of crunch and clumps. I should start making homemade granola…
So aside from cafe orders, I had an order for chocolate cake because chocolate never fails! It was simply designed for the 1st wedding anniversary of a childhood friend of mine. His dad ordered the cake for their small celebration that day and seeing him upon delivering the cake reminded me of just how many years have passed since I last saw them.
S is the same age I am, born just 4 days after me and we pretty much spent the first 6 years of our lives growing up together, living within the same estate, playing with the neighbourhood kids our age, taking swimming lessons together, going to the same kindergarten, until my family moved away to Hong Kong only to return at the age when boys and girls tend to be awkward around each other. It’s good to know that S is well and settled and all grown up now.
Another cake I made was this Bert and Ernie cake made with a light vanilla sponge, filled with mixed berries and vanilla buttercream, with some chocolate ganache for the outlines and their hair. I was a little worried about them turning out looking distorted but I think they look pretty darn good!
Last year, Chloe’s parents also ordered her birthday cakes from me. One was an owl, and the other, an elephant. This time they decided to stretch me further! Her father tagged me in some of her birthday photos and she looked so adorable. They spent the day at Universal Studios meeting the characters from Sesame Street and it looks like she’s a real big fan of Bert and Ernie. Very sweet! I was really heartened to see how happy she looked and it was truly an honour to have been asked to bake Chloe’s cake yet again.
With all the work going on, I didn’t think I’d be able to churn out any new recipes until… orders slow down I guess? But owing to the opening of Maple Cafe on Saturday, I had to prepare some items for the sale. Of course, I’ll be in Thailand by then but Mum and Dad, who return from Melbourne on Friday, graciously agreed to go on my behalf and sell my goodies. I decided that with Christmas round the corner, I’d go for a more Christmassy menu so selling on Sunday will be some Snickerdoodle Blondies, Peppermint Brownies, Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Caramel Drippy Glaze, and the ‘No-go’ ‘now-ok-to-go’ Orange Loaf Cakes.
Christmas is my favourite season even though it’s hardly cold here in Singapore, and we’ll never ever have a white Christmas, but I love the heat so no complaints about the weather even though snow is very pretty to look at. Cinnamon’s a flavour that I associate closely to Christmas with its warm, spiced scent. It smells of comfort as it wafts through the air and wraps you in a hug.
So without a doubt, I knew that Snickerdoodle Blondies had to be on my menu. I would have loved to have done something with rum, eggnog or mulled wine but it’s often the case in Singapore than some places refuse to sell alcoholic goods lest they offend anyone and I figured it’d be better to be inclusive especially at an open house which is how I landed upon the thought to bake Peppermint Brownies. With the crushed candy cane sprinkled on top, it definitely rings in the festive cheer!
Peppermint Brownies (Yields 1 9×9″ Square)
115g Dark Chocolate
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
120g Plain Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
- Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line a 9×9″ baking tin.
- In a bain marie, melt butter with dark chocolate.
- In a clean mixing bowl, whisk sugar with eggs and peppermint extract.
- Whisk in dark chocolate and butter mixture.
- Fold in flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 25-30min until just set.
- Allow to cool completely before topping with ganache.
75g Dark chocolate
- Melt dark chocolate over a bain marie.
- Warm cream in a small saucepan to about 70 deg C or just bubbling around the sides.
- Pour cream and with a spatula, gently stir into chocolate in 3 additions until you get a smooth, shiny mixture.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before spreading onto brownies.
I used about 2 big candy canes, crushed, to garnish the brownies before slicing them into 12 pieces.
A friend of mine said that peppermint’s not her thing because it reminds her too much of toothpaste. Funnily enough, that’s one of the main reasons why I love peppermint. Or spearmint rather. I love Spearmint flavoured Mentos. Is that weird?
I can’t believe that Christmas is a mere week away. Doesn’t feel like very long has passed since Christmas 2016. Things are probably going to get really busy in your kitchens if you’re in charge of Christmas dinner so these brownies are perfect as a quick go-to for a homemade, festive dessert. Serve it warm with a extra large scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream and it’ll be the perfect end to a perfect roast dinner! I’m excited already!!