Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My colleague G is such a huge peanut butter lover! She can eat peanut butter related stuff everyday and not get sick of it. G's birthday is coming soon and I had wanted to make her a peanut butter pie/tart initially but my handmixer died on me few days back. The next best thing I could do is peanut butter cups. No, not the normal bite-sized one. A BIG one. And my mini pie-pan is perfect for this! with the scalloped edge, and although it's a mini pan, it's considered big for peanut butter cup I guess? 

This recipe can be considered almost a healthier version with less sugar. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips and also only two tablespoon icing sugar. I find the sweetness is just right - I have an extremely sweet tooth but I'm trying to cut down on all these sugary intakes. If you find it not sweet enough, you may add more icing sugar to the peanut butter mixture or you can choose to use milk chocolate chips. Just a reminder, the more sugar you add the more "doughy" the peanut butter mixture will get.

Here's the recipe! :)

XL Peanut Butter Cup

Preparing time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins + 30 mins chilling time'
Yield: 1 (4")

300 g       Semi-sweet Baking Chocolate chips
60   g       Peanut Butter (creamy or chunky is fine)
14   g       Unsalted Butter
2     tbsp  Icing/Confectioner's sugar
*note: you may add a pinch of salt to peanut butter mixture if your peanut butter is not the salty kind. 

  1. Melt the chocolate using double-boiling method.

    • Put chocolate in a heat-safe bowl 
    • Fill a saucepan with water ~1 inch high and boil the water
    • Once water is boiling, off the heat and place the bowl with chocolate above the simmering water (bowl should be bigger than saucepan so that it can rest on top of saucepan and not touching the water inside the pan).
    • Use a spatula to stir the chocolate until all melted and chocolate is glossy.
  2. Pour 1/2 of the melted chocolate into the prepared pan and chill it in the refrigerator for 10 mins.
  3. Put peanut butter, unsalted butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix it using a handmixer until well-combined and smooth ( ~2-3 mins).
  4. Take the chocolate out from the fridge, carefully scoop the peanut butter mixture into the pan.  Try to shape the peanut butter mixture into a smaller disc than the pan (leave about 1 cm gap. see illustration).
  5. Put it back into the fridge for another 10 mins.
  6. Pour the remaining chocolate into the pan, starting from the "drain" at the side (see illustration). and then cover the rest of the peanut butter.
    *If chocolate mixture has hardened, you can reheat it back using method in step 1.
  7. Chill it for another 10 mins and it's ready to be served :)


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Having heard so much good reviews about the cendol in Malacca, I decided to search for the best cendol in Malacca. Cendol is a popular dessert in Indonesia & Malaysia. Singapore has them too, but I haven't found any place that serve good cendol here. Cendol actually refers to the green jelly that is found in the dessert. Apart from that jelly, cendol is made up of palm sugar (gula melaka), coconut milk, red bean and shaved ice.

One of the recommended cendol stall in Malacca is the one opposite the Big Clock (it is actually not THAT big), thus the name Cendol Jam Besar/ Big Clock Cendol. The big clock is part of the Stadhuys (also known as "Red House" or "Rumah Merah"). So I made my first cendol stop there and was greatly disappointed.  I didn't take any picture of the cendol because it simply look unappetizing. There was little shaved ice and it look too watery - as though the cendol has been left on the table for too long and all the ice melted into the bowl. The taste? Too diluted, exactly like how it looked like. We ordered the original and the durian one. The durian paste smells good, but tasted mediocre. Price wise, Cendol Jam Besar is the lowest out of all.

*photo credit: Feast 

Cendol Jam Besar
Jalan Laksamana, opposite Stadhuys
Price: RM 1.70 (Original) / RM 3 (Durian)
Verdict: 2/5

Next stop was at Jonker 86. I was headed for Jonker 88 actually, but unfortunately they do not open on Tuesdays (as informed by a kind neighboring vendor). So I went to try Jonker 86 QQ Ice. I loved how the cendol look. A bowl of shaved ice topped with thick coconut milk and gula melaka. The taste is a far cry from the one I had at Cendol Jam Besar. The gula melaka is fragrant with a hint of honey.  You can request for more gula melaka if you like to have more. The cendol (green jelly) was soft and fresh. Overall, I really like this cendol but I'd prefer it if they do not add in honey in the gula melaka mixture. I like to taste gula melaka as it is because a good gula melaka should be fragrant enough on its own :) 

Jonker 86 QQ Ice
86 Jln Hang Jebat, inside Jonker Walk
(closed on Wed & Thur)
Price: RM 3 (Original) / RM 4 (Durian)
Verdict: 4/5

I went back to Jonker 88 on Wednesday morning - I simply refuse to give up until I get to try this highly raved cendol in Malacca. :D Gula melaka from Jonker 88 is the best out of all 4 cendol stalls I visited. A pity the cendol (green jelly) was a little frozen, reducing the mouthfeel. The serving of cendol and red bean in the dessert was relatively small too.

Jonker 88
88 Jln Hang Jebat, inside Jonker Walk
(closed on Tues)
Price: RM 3 (Original) 
Verdict: 3.75/5

The last stall I tried was Bibik House, located towards the end of Jonker Walk. It was evening when I found this shop and most of the shops along Jonker Walk were closed (most shops closed at around 5 pm on weekdays). I decided to give it a try since I was on a mission to find the best cendol in Malacca :D

A bowl of cendol cost RM 5 at Bibik House. The most expensive among all - because the serving is also bigger than the rest. Cendol (green jelly) was served in a separate small bowl. The owner told me to mix well the ice with coconut milk and gula melaka first, then add in the cendol. The gula melaka was ok only, but cendol (green jelly) was fresh, not frozen kind. 
Given the price, I guess I would rather have 2 bowls of cendol at Jonker 86 ;)

Bibik House
129 Jln Hang Jebat, inside Jonker Walk
Price: RM 5 (Original), RM 6 (Durian)
Verdict: 3/5

Having tried the cendol in Malacca, I still find that the best cendol I've ever tasted is the one from Tanjung Pinang (Indonesia). 


Apart from cendol, I went to look for the famous Hainanese Chicken Riceball too. I saw many restaurants/ coffee shops selling chicken rice balls, but I decided on the one that is located right at the entrance of  Jonker Walk - Chung Wah Coffee Shop. This coffee shop only sells one type of food - Hainanese Chicken Riceball. 

For those who have not tried this before, do not expect the riceballs to be warm (like the usual chicken rice). The riceballs are left at normal room temperature for serving. I usually do not like food that are not warm or hot, but I love this chicken riceballs. The rice is fragrant, moist and slightly springy; chicken has a tinge of sesame oil flavor and it is juicy; The chilli is the bomb. Thinking about this chicken rice set makes me hungry right now.

The entrance of Jonker Walk. Chung Wah Coffee Shop is on the right hand side.

Chung Wah Coffee Shop

One set usually comes with 5 rice balls, you can add more riceballs at 20 cents each (if I remembered correctly)

Geography Cafe. Seems like a nice place to chill out.

Inside Malacca House

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The little nephew came to Singapore to celebrate his birthday this year and for his pre-birthday celebration, we went to Adventure Cove Waterpark & S.E.A Aquarium. Going to the waterpark meant one thing: getting  tanned - there goes my effort of trying to avoid the hot sun. (I'm visibly a lot tanner now >.<)

But I did enjoy floating around the Adventure River for rounds cos the nephew said he's scared of those spiral rides so all we did for 3 or 4 hours was floating around and took a few kiddy slides. Such a pity cos I was actually looking forward to those spiral rides! I think one the best attraction in Adventure Cove is actually the Rainbow Reef, where you get to snorkel with 20,000 fish - Albeit the reef is man-made.

Floating along the Adventure River does bring back memories. When I was younger, my cousin brought me to Fantasy Island (also a waterpark in Sentosa back in late 90s and has since closed down). Now, I'm bringing her son to the waterpark. Wow! How time flies.

So the visit to the aquarium and waterpark gave me an idea of what cake to make for Keo  : a Sea-themed cake. I had initially wanted to make a confetti cake with rocket fondant but thought that sea themed would suit him more. The cake is ombré blue, coated with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB) and topped with fondant figurine of whales.

I had a little trouble transporting the cake to Sentosa cos the cake was slightly taller than 3" and the box that Phoon Huat has can't hold anything taller than 3". But I decided to still put it in the box without closing it and disaster happened at the restaurant that we went to - They smudged the sides of the cake. To make things worse, someone accidentally flattened my whales. My heart literally sank. The fondant was still soft cos I only made it the night before. T_T We make do with the cake anyway, but I just felt bad that the cake for Keo didn't turn out how it was supposed to be.


taken right after decorating it. regretted not taking a pic in the morning before we left the house :(

the whales before they got flattened.

I did a test bake few days ago just to make sure the recipe is OK before I bake it for Keo. I made a mistake of splitting the batter into 3 when it was supposedly divided into 2, but it turned out well. I paired the cake with a buttercream recipe which I found on Sprinkle Bakes. I did a comparison of a few recipes and found that this recipe uses the least amount of sugar, but it still came out overly - even for someone who has extremely sweet tooth like me. After rounds and rounds of searching, I finally found that SMB has reviews like "less sweet than American Buttercream".

The cake that I made for the test bake. Trying out Violet Rose swirls on the cake.

Violet Ombré on the inside.

Anyway, the thought of making SMB did scare me a little initially. I was afraid that the meringue would not "puff up" nicely. I thought, "What if there are traces of oil in my bowl, on my beater, etc?", "What if I overheated the egg white & sugar?". But I still gave it a try. And hey! It was a breeze! The meringue turned out perfect if I may say so! Also, if after mixing in the butter, the mixture looks like it turned bad, DO NOT WORRY! Just beat it on low speed for a while, VOILA! it will come back to normal :D

I made a slight adjustment to the amount of ingredients as I wanted to make a 3-layer cake (6"). The original recipe yields 2 x 9" cake. Grandmother stories aside, here are the recipe for the cake & SMB :)

Blue Ombré Cake
(basic White Velvet Cake recipe adapted from Real Baking with Rose)

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins (my oven could only fit 2 pans at the same time therefore  
my cooking time doubled, otherwise it's 20 mins)
Yield: 3 x 6" cakes


  • 128 g        Butter (softened)
  • 101 g        Egg White (about 3 eggs)
  • 182 g        Milk 
  • 1 1/2 tsp   Vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
  • 225 g        Cake Flour
  • 225 g        Caster Sugar (I used only 200 g)
  • 1 tbsp       Baking Powder
  • a pinch of Salt
  • Gel coloring (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 170 C.
  2. Using a medium bowl, lightly combine egg white, 1/4 of milk (~45g) & vanilla.
  3. In a separate big bowl, combine the dry ingredients (cake flour, sugar, baking powder & salt) and mix on low speed just to blend them (30 secs). Add in butter and the remaining 3/4 milk (~137), til all dry ingredients are moistened. 
  4. Increase to high speed (Use medium speed if using stand mixer. I'm using hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. 
  5. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
  6. Pour the batter into another bowl while measuring the weight. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions in smaller bowls.
  7. Add in coloring at this step and mix well. (I left one bowl without any coloring, 2nd bowl with 2 drops of blue coloring, 3rd bowl with 3-4 drops of coloring).
  8. Pour the batter into the pans (starting with the lightest color).
  9. Bake for 18-20 mins or until no uncooked batter comes out when inserted with a tester. Cake should spring back when pressed lightly in the center. Try not to overbake the cake cos it would turn out dry.
  10. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 mins before removing them.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from Sweetapolita (refer to the site for step-by-step instruction with pictures)

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Yield: enough for a 6" 3-layer-cake

  •  4              Large, fresh egg whites
  • 200 g         Sugar (I used 160 g)
  • 272 g         Unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
  • 1/2 tbsp    Pure vanilla extract 
  • a pinch of Salt

  1. Wipe the bowl of the mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  2. Whisk the mixture on high speed until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (may take up to 10 mins or so). Don't add in butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  3. Switch the speed to low, add in butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. It should reach a silky smooth texture, if it curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
  4. Add vanilla and salt, continue to beat on low speed until well combined.
  5. Add additional flavours, purees, as desired.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Today I woke up with one of those terrible headache, coupled with body ache. Guess it's the effect of the late nights mugging for the past 1 week, irregular meals & the lack of movement (yes, I've been spending 3/4 of my days sitting down, few hours of sleep, and probably a total of less 1 hr walking around the house finding food!). Thinking that I had caught a minor cold, I got up and thought of making Baesuk since I bought some Bosc pear yesterday.

Baesuk is a Korean steamed pear which can be served dessert and it acts as a remedy for cold. This recipe is definitely a keeper! A dessert with health benefits, what more can I ask for? I did a little googling about Baesuk and found that there's actually another version to it. In this other version, the pear is cooked in  ginger tea. Might try this other version next time!

adapted from Maangchi

Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 1


  • 1               Bosc Pear
  • 1     tbs     Honey
  • 1/2  tsp     Ginger, grated
  • 1/4  tsp     Cinnamon powder
  • 2     tsp     Pine nuts
  • 1               Jujube (optional), pit removed


  1. Rinse the pear in cold water and pat dry with a towel.
  2. Make a lid by cutting 1 inch off the top.

  3. Scoop out the core and the seeds with a small spoon.
  4. Fill it up with honey, ginger, cinnamon powder, pine nuts and jujubes

  5. Cover it back with the lid and put it in a heat-resistant bowl.
  6. Steam the pear for 30 mins over medium high heat.
  7. Ready to be served :) (you can chill it in the fridge before serving if you are having it as a dessert. if you want to have it as a remedy for cold, it's best to serve it hot)

Thursday, 18 April 2013

I've decided to start a blog on my baking adventures, just to have a compilation of recipes I've tried. So for the first post, I will share the recent recipe that I've tried from Allrecipes.com : The Best Lemon Tart. I love all thing lemony - from lemon tea to lemon tart. 

I was supposed to attend a baking class earlier in the day, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, the class has to be postponed later that week. And I thought, "hey that's not gonna stop me from baking something today!". So I started browsing my pins on pinterest for recipes, finding inspiration on what to bake.. and then I remembered my mum just bought me a set of mini pie pans! That narrowed down my search! Walking to and fro the kitchen to ensure I have enough flour, eggs, etc.. and I found some lemons chilling in the fridge..and that's it! Lemon Tart it shall be!

This recipe is by far the easiest and yummiest lemon tart I've ever made! I made a little changes to the recipe though.. The original recipe required the lemon curd to be baked with the crust for the 2nd time, I chose not to bake the curd but to cook it using double boiling method instead. The only difference is that when you double boil it, the curd will look shiny and it taste less chewy. If you bake the curd with the crust, the curd will be a bit chewy and of course the end product is less shiny. :)

The Best Lemon Tart
adapted from Allrecipes.com

Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Yield: 4 x 4" tarts or 1 x 9" tart


A. Crust:
     170 g butter (room temperature)
     100 g sugar
     3 ml vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste) 
     1 g salt
     220 g all purpose flour

B. Filling:
     300 g sugar (gonna try reducing it to 250 g the next time I bake this again, 'cos 300 is a little on the sweet side)
     3 large eggs
     6 g lemon zest
    120 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used around 3 lemons)
    60 g all purpose flour
    3 g confectioners sugar (optional - for dusting)

  1. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt in the mixing bowl. Mix ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined. 
  2. Add in flour to the mixture in 4 separate addition, making sure flour is well combined in the mixture before adding more flour. Mix until mixture form a smooth dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 4. Press dough into the pans (4 inch pan) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
  5. Bake crust until light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Whisk sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour in a bowl until smooth. Cook the mixture over a pot of boiling water til it thickens. Pour lemon filling into crust. 
  7. Dust the lemon tart with confectioners sugar and it's ready to be served.

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