Wednesday, September 28, 2011

White and Purple Cake Pops

This post is going to be super fast...I know I always say this but this time I mean it. Okay here goes...

A lot of people don't know what cake pops are. So when I decided to make them for a cultural club's first meeting people were like what the fudge is a cake pop?

For those of us who live and breath Tim Horton's without which our existence would be pointless, it's comparable to a timbit on a stick coated in chocolate. But instead of a donut, its cake.

It was my first time making these and I overestimated how easy it would be. The basic procedure is:
- Bake a cake
- Wait for the cake to cool and then crumble it up so its a bowl of crumbs
- Mix in icing
- Form the crumbs into little balls
- Pop balls into freezer for about 20 min
- Remove and insert a lollipop stick
- Dip in chocolate and let harden

My procedure went like this:
- Bake a cake
My Set Up
- Wait for cake to cool and crumble it up at which point half of it is on the kitchen counter
- Mix in icing and panic on whether theres enough or if more should be added
- Form crumbs into cake balls while watching How To Train Your Dragon
- Put balls in fridge because fridge and freezer are the same
- Frantically try to melt chocolate into a good consistency and give up after an hour
- Dip the first cake ball and stick it on styrofoam to dry only for it to slide all the way down the stick in 3 minutes
- More panicking
- After the 3rd ball realize its because the fridge is not the freezer
- Put remaining balls in the freezer and kick yourself in the head
- Wait 15 minutes and then run to the freezer and back 30 times to dip each cake ball while keeping others in freezer
Why does the purple look pink? 
I'm not even going to talk about the troubles I had adding designs and decorations. It was ugly. A couple of front line cake balls were lost. A deadly battle to the finish ensued.

Detailed normal instructions and recipes can be found on Bakerella's website and a video tutorial is here.

They're pretty, cute, and less calories than a whole cupcake...I think....unless of course you eat 10...which you probably will because they are awesome...or so I've been told.

All in all it was a good trial and error process. Next time I know what to do and what definitely NOT to do.

And sorry about missing MM...I'm just stressed and busy.

And this was another long post....DAMIT

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MM: French Toast the Tamil Way

It's still Monday!!! I may be late but better late than never!

This post will be very short. And I don't think this counts as a dessert technically but who cares really?

You don't right?...kay good.

Being a university student and living on a very humble budget, I can't really afford to waste food. But we're all guilty of forgetting something at the back of the fridge or back of the cupboard or under you bed...wait thats not normal?...never mind, moving along.

So picture this; you open your fridge or bread basket to find an almost complete loaf of bread that is past its expiration date, not mouldy or gross, but not soft enough that you would eat it.

Do you:
a) throw that sucker out, you're not risking a deadly bread virus
b) put it back in the fridge so that you won't have to actually throw it out and hope that your roommate will
c) eat it! OSAP ain't paying you enough to live the luxury life
d) fashion a new recipe out of it!!

If you chose d), welcome to the club.

My grandmother used to make this recipe all the time and I didn't think until recently that it's a good way to be resourceful.


An egg

I didn't include any measurements because both my grandmother and mother eyeball it and I guess I do too. The recipe is quite forgiving.


- Make sure the bread is in slices
- Whip the egg slightly
- Mix in about 3/4 cup of milk for 3/4 of a loaf of bread. Use less if you have less bread and more if you have more bread
- Add sugar, just enough to sweeten the milk. If your worried about tasting it with the raw egg in, mix the sugar and milk first and taste. Once its sweet enough, add to the egg and mix it up.
- Heat up a saucepan on the stove. Keep the heat between low and medium.
- Spread a dollop of butter or margarine on the saucepan.
- Soak a slice of bread in the milk concoction. Make sure to coat both sides and lay it in the saucepan.
- Wait a few minutes and flip. It should be golden brown. If it sticks and looks burnt, your heat is too high
- Repeat for rest of the slices

I don't know what the name of this recipe is. It is quite similar to french toast although my roommate says it absolutely is not like french toast. I usually just call this sweet bread. Whatever its called, it tastes pretty good and gets rid of a loaf quick.

Hope you try it out :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pink Butterflies and Polka Dots

I love pink. Anyone who knows me knows I love pink. I like other colours too but if I had a choice, I would go for pink.

A friend of mine turned 21 recently and I made a cake for a little gathering we had. In my culture, 21 is considered your 'key' birthday. Before you all get excited thinking you get the keys to a house or a car, its really just the key to your adulthood...or virginity...or something like that.

So usually people make cakes in the shape of keys, but it's kind of cliche and so I made her a butterfly polka dot cake :)

This friend of mine, is an amazing person. Funny, energetic, smart, and gorgeous. But she doesn't like chocolate cake. Well, she says she doesn't like chocolate icing on the chocolate cake, but chocolate cake with vanilla icing is like having steak with a side of couscous...its just plain wrong :)

I am deathly afraid of making vanilla or white cake. I don't know why...oh wait yes I do...because they turn out horrible! With chocolate cake, its always moist and rich but the vanilla flavour just isn't rich enough for me to mask things like dryness, or a tough texture (not that a cake should be dry or tough but just in case).

But a birthday without cake it just wrong and so I plowed forward and used this vanilla cake recipe and this buttercream recipe. In short, the cake tasted good but I found it a little on the dry crumbly side. I would have liked it to be more moist. The buttercream was amazing! Sweet, light, and fluffy. I wouldn't recommend it for piping though. I also added a layer of strawberry jam between the two layers of cake because the thought of vanilla cake with vanilla icing seemed bland. It turned out pretty good.

I used fondant to cover the cake and made circle designs and a butterfly out of cookie cutters. I also got a chance to use lustre dust on the butterfly...pretty sparkles.

The biggest problem I had with this cake is that since I refrigerated the cake and didn't give it enough time to thaw before I covered it in fondant, I had a lot of air bubbles and 'droopy' fondant. It looked bloated and puffed from the bottom, kind of how I look after I've had one too many cupcakes. Hopefully no one minded though :)

And I saved this for last because I wanted to leave a lasting impression. Whenever you start a new project, whether that be baking or DIY projects or writing a book, it never ends up being just your is the love, work, and support of all those around you. Making this cake, I realized how much of that went into this cake. From my incredibly talented roomie who took these AMAZING pictures which make my cake look 50 times better than it actually is and keeps me grounded so that I don't obsess over the details, to my dedicated and determined new roomie who even in her hectic schedule still manages to get me the perfect ribbon in the perfect shade of brown. From my patient yet sarcastic sister who spends hours walking the aisles of Michaels with me, to my friend who sits at the table and watches me roll, knead, and cut fondant while supplying very...ahem...calming and rich music :P. My super patient boyfriend who is always encouraging me to keep going and listens to all my whack ideas even at 1 in the morning and finally, all the people who are actually brave enough to eat what I make and don't squint their face in disgust. A huge thank you to all of you! I can't and won't ever be able to do all I want to without you. I love you guys :)

MM is fast approaching, and I have a few more projects lined up.

I have 3 birthdays coming up in one week! Each person is different and unique and I'm so excited to make these cakes for them!!!

I'm also going to be making some cake pops for a school event. AHH SO MUCH BAKING!

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Best Iced Coffee Ever

It's currently very late in the night. And yet I feel as energetic as a certain pink bunny playing drums. The secret to my vaults of stored energy? Every student's best friend and worst enemy; coffee.

However, I have this weird quirk in which I don't like hot drinks. I prefer cold, even in the dead of winter.  If I do happen to have a hot drink, I usually wait until it cools considerably. This is a weird because both my parents like to chug down their tea while its scalding hot and I'm exact opposite.

Anyway, I am currently addicted to iced coffee. The fact that McDonald's included iced coffee in their $1 drinks special for the summer didn't help one bit. $1.13 gets me a large and that sucker would be good all afternoon.

Now that the dollar drink specials are coming to an end, my frugal (read cheap) self decided to explore other avenues in which I could get my usual hit.

I came across a recipe on The Pioneer Woman which seemed pretty simple and had a lot of good reviews.  I did alter the proportions a bit though because I didn't have a pound of coffee.

I also didn't have all the tools for the job so I improvised.

I used:

227 g of ground coffee. I don't remember the brand but just go with a nice rich roast.
16 cups of cold water
a very big pot (or 2 big pots)
a strainer
cheesecloth or paper towels


Dump the coffee into the cold water. I had two large pots so I filled each pot with 8 cups of water and divided the ground coffee into 2 batches.

Let the coffee soak for at least 8 hours. I soaked for about 14 hours because I wasn't getting up at 5 am to strain it.

Using the strainer and cheesecloth or paper towel, strain the coffee mixture to get rid of the grounds. You can just not use cheesecloth or PT but then you would be drinking AND eating coffee...which is gross.

I had to use a tiny little strainer with paper towels and it was not fun. Not one bit. Get a large strainer. Have a lot of paper towels handy.

Refrigerate the coffee concentrate for a few hours. Make sure you also have ice cubes.

To make coffee, pour some into a glass, add cream or milk (I used half and half) and add sugar.

And that's it. It tastes amazing. It's flexible because you can add fancy stuff like flavour shots and also tweak the sweetness to your liking, unlike the store bought stuff. And you also know what goes in it, and how it was made which is always a bonus. It's a long process and it was time consuming for me because of the tiny strainer but it made a big batch that will last me many weeks....although living in a house with 4 other girls might make reduce that a lot.

Give it a try! It's cheap, easy, and super yummy. And no I don't have pictures because I was too busy gulping it down. But The Pioneer Woman has better pictures than I ever will, so get over there and check out her site...she has tonnes of cool recipes, cool tips and other .... cool stuff.

But make sure to come back here too!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I am the most indecisive person ever. I spend hours at stores looking through literally every product. I try on a million things in the morning before finding an outfit. I organize and reorganize everything in my room. I think you get the picture. Where did that lead me?

I decided my blog's appearance wasn't really a reflection of me. It was too bland. I tweaked and fiddled around with some of the settings...and the title...and description....and purpose. Since I wasn't really describing my learning process in detail, it seemed silly to call it a 'diary' so I got rid of that aspect. My fav colour (at least one of them) is pink so I added a pink cupcake. I hope to make my own (and take proper pics) of my own pink day. And some minor changes to font and colour etc were also made. Clearly I don't have enough school work to do.

So in case those of you who come by here (if there actually are any of you out there) think that you're on the wrong're not. I just really love change. I'm moving furniture around as we speak. Don't judge.

In other news!!! I made homemade iced coffee! It was OMGWTFAWESOMESAUCE. Yes that's a real expression. I brought it into existence after I inhaled a large cup of aforementioned iced coffee. I will post the recipe, the process of me making it, and a link to the genius who created this recipe in a future post.

Kay. Time for sleep and cupcake filled dreams :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

MM: Moon Cakes

I recently saw an article in the Toronto Star on moon cakes. I've heard of moon cakes before and always imagined them to be round pale but slightly brown sponge cakes. I didn't really know much and so I decided to do a MM post on them. I'm disappointed with myself because I wanted to actually make some, but c'est la vie and I didn't so lets move on.

But they look yummy!!
The article starts off by stating that the 'Chinese make the worst desserts ever'. Pretty brave statement but then the author is Chinese so I guess he can get away with it. From my very professional experience of Chinese food which consists of Mandarin, Asian Gourmet, and Manchu Wok meals, I don't think I have ever tried any authentic Chinese desserts. I've had a bit of green tea ice cream but I don't think that really counts.

Moon cakes are salted egg yolks which are surrounded by a pastry like exterior made from bean paste or seed paste. They are compressed and often are circular or square. Newer forms of moon cakes have different fillings and they are usually baked.

Moon cakes seem to be a widely known Chinese dessert, mainly because they are part of a Autumn celebration or Moon Festival and given as gifts. The article in the Star takes the opinion that moon cakes don't taste good. They have become more of a commercialized product and given for tradition rather than taste. People rarely make homemade moon cakes now since there are so many varieties available in fancy gift packaging at the grocery store.

Yolky center
This makes me a bit sad. Food is part of traditions and celebrations for a reason. It should be made with love and care at home and gifted with a smile of pride and a tinge of humbleness. You can only bask in the joy on someones face when they eat something you've made with your hands and not something you bought with your money (although you probably bought the ingredients...well that just killed the poetic flow of the sentence -_-)

Anyway, I found a recipe online and it seems pretty complicated to make but with fairly simple ingredients. I cannot attest to how authentic or tasty they are since I have never had a moon cake in my life nor have I tried aforementioned recipe. I will someday...its on my bucket soon as I get around to writing down the bucket list...that's on the list too. I also have no idea why the egg yolks on this site are reddish/orange. Maybe its a different kind of egg? They cook to a beautiful colour though!

There are literally tonnes of recipes online for many variations of moon cakes. The above recipe link was the simplest and most basic I found. If you find an even simpler one, I'd love to see it. I figure its easier to start off with simple stupid and work my way up from there.

Hopefully I can actually MAKE something for next weeks MM post...pshhh who am I kidding :)
In other news, I'm making a cake for a friends birthday this week...yayyy..always looking for excuses to bake. Look forward to pics later in the week :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

My second birthday cake!

First of all, please accept my MOST deepest and sincere apologies for missing MM this week. I had something planned but unfortunately, with moving, and my sister's surprise birthday party and everything in between, life got hectic. REGARDLESS, no excuse is good enough as this was my second week *runs into corner and hides*

BUT...hopefully this post will bring me back in the good books. I've been planning and scheming and organizing my sister's party for the past few weeks and have been ITCHING to blog about it. It's finally over and I can blog to my heart's content!!

The first birthday cake I ever made was for a very good friend of mine. It was a 2 tiered square cake. I'll do a more detailed post on it later. It was good for a first attempt and I had a TONNE of help from my roommate but I still couldn't see past its flaws. The Transformers cake I made for my sister was my second ever and took a tonne of planning and research. I made a cupcake tower...yes..the well as all the cupcakes and the cake at the top. I also had to do all this into the very late hours of the night as it was a surprise.

I used my very favourite chocolate cake recipe for the 8 inch cake. I had to buy the fondant and the buttercream for the crumb coat because I was pressed for time and had no energy. I used chocolate buttercream to fill the cake after I torted it and also used it to cover the cake. I made sure the cake was even and flat and straight. I watched videos on YouTube like this and this to figure out a technique.

I then covered the cake in yellow fondant. I coloured all the fondant 24 hrs before hand. That was definitely the most fun part about this cake....okay I'm lying. It was a pain. Especially getting the black to be black. I sweat up a storm and my shoulders ached the next day.

Once I got the cake covered, the rest was easy. I printed out a picture of the Transformers logo thingy...which in case you haven't caught on is the theme of the cake( I wondered many times in this process whether I had a sister or a brother. Trying to make a transformers cake look girly is VERY hard) and used a knife to free hand cut the different parts out of grey fondant. I guess it would have looked neater if I traced around the printout and cut it into sections but at 2 in the am, I wasn't thinking straight.

I mixed some silver lustre dust with peppermint extract and brushed it onto the cutouts. I painted some areas more dense than others to get a metally, worn out effect. Not sure if it worked :S. I then positioned it onto the cake and cut black strips of fondant to add to the sides. TA DAAA...the cake was ready to 'roll out'...get it? like the Autobots rolling out....okay I'll stop.

So that was it. I'll do another post on the cupcakes and the cupcake tower all made from scratch. I am so proud of this cake and the look on my sisters face when she saw it was totally worth it!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Update! in case anyone didn't know....mixing colour into fondant is a PAIN!!! But more on that later...

I figured I should do a post to update my whereabouts. My next post will be quite exciting!!!

My sister's 18th birthday is coming up so obviously cupcakes are in order...possibly.

I'm moving on Sunday so I will have a kitchen with COMPLETE FREEDOM!

MM is coming up and I've got something exciting planned.

Usually in my free time I sit around and read baking blogs and seek inspiration for cakes and cupcakes. Lately though, I've been obsessed with beauty/make up and nail polish. I think I have way too many hobbies, but more than hobbies I feel like they're becoming collections! The more nail polish I buy, the more I want to hoard. Which is obviously not healthy!

Maybe, once I start school in a few days, these obsessions will die down...but hopefully not for baking!!

Keep checking back for more useful posts!!