[Cakes & Bakes] Vanilla Cupcakes with Honey Passionfruit Frosting

A relative back in Malaysia gave mum several dozens of homegrown passionfruit a week back and I inherited 10 of them.

I’m really lazy with my fruits (I often leave them untouched until they are no long able to be eaten), but I’m quite excited about creating some things with those passionfruit so I decide to freeze the pulp until I need them.

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And with a brush of coincidence, I came across a beautiful Vanilla Sponge Cake with Cream and Passionfruit recipe on Donna Hay magazine. If you’re keen in the recipe, it’s in the latest Fresh issue.

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I used the same recipe, but made 12 cupcakes instead and the Vanilla cupcake base were so amazing. Fluffy, fragrant and very… “eggy”.

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While I was about to start on the cream frosting, I realised that I was out of sour cream, so I decided to improvise on the frosting and took inspiration from my favourite food blogger for a Honey Frosting instead.

Just a note, I used only 2 cups of sugar instead of 3 because my food tasters have pretty low tolerance for sweetness. I’m glad I cut down the sugar because it would have been too sweet if I followed the recipe to a T.

With all these improvisation and deviation, the end product looked nothing like the beautiful sponge on the glossy page of the magazine, but I still liked them enough 🙂 The tangy passionfruit pulp cuts the sweetness of the honey frosting and the crunchy seeds helped to layer the texture.

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“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.” ― Nicholas Sparks, Dear John

[Cakes & Bakes] Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

My family members have been some of the best supporters for my bakes and I love making things they like, especially for special occasions.

Mum has always been a fan of chocolate banana cakes, especially the one from Secret Recipe. So I’ve long set my mind on baking a choco banana cake for her birthday 🙂

Searched through some recipes and finally decided to make a cupcake version instead as I really wanted to practice my piping.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a T (which is extremely simple) and the cupcakes turned out really moist and fragrant! Some things to share from the experience:

– Make sure the banana is ripe enough so that the aroma and taste are will not be overwhelmed by the chocolate

– I used Valhorna cocoa powder and the chocolate flavour is really rich and intense

– The cupcakes stay moist in the fridge and still tastes pretty good 3 days old

– If you’re lazy or have no time to prepare the frosting, it tastes pretty awesome as a chocolate banana muffin too!

– I sprinkled some chopped almonds on top of the frosting to create some contrast in terms of colour and the texture. The nutty flavour also helps to cut the richness of the cake and frosting

– Washing up after making chocolate-anything is such a back-breaking chore… But it’s worth it 🙂

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

[Moments] Nostalgia

It’s been a week since we returned from our 3.5 weeks long honeymoon.

We’ve been looking forward to it for such a long time, the anticipation made the trip felt ridiculously short when we looked back at it. It almost felt like a dream…

One of the most wonderful part of the trip was the amazing food we got to savour around London and Paris. A couple of Michelin-star restaurants in London, some ultra-popular food and dessert joints and the abundant artisanal hand-made pastries in Paris.

We concluded that we probably spoilt our palates during the trip. We’ll try to update the blog soon with some photos of our food adventure there 🙂

But for now, a simple homely post because I’m sick and stuck at home after a week of mere 4-hr a day sleep for the past week due to jet lag.

We bought a marble cake last night and eating it now reminded me of how my mum loves marble cakes. She used to buy them at least once a week and I’ll get to pack them to school/ work.

It’s odd how food, almost like photos, can pack so much memories and whisk you back to the past in a whim.

My sense of taste is grossly muted by the flu but the rich buttery taste still manages to cut through. I feel like a child again, waking up to breakfast served by mum. Extremely comforting when I’m stuck at home – sick.

I’ll probably try making a marble cake soon (when I’m well enough) and surprise my dearest woman on earth with that 🙂

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“There are a few moments in your life when you are truly and completely happy, and you remember to give thanks. Even as it happens you are nostalgic for the moment, you are tucking it away in your scrapbook.” –  David Benioff

[Cakes & Bakes] Banana Walnut Loaf

In case I’ve not confessed on the blog yet, I don’t cook all the lovely food you see on my Instagram – Wayne does.

So what do I do, besides eating and taking photos? I bake! Because I’m more of a sweet tooth compared to Wayne and I lurveeee a good after-meal treat 🙂 In case you’re interested, some snapshots of my very amateurish baking can be found on Instagram at #poppybake.

Recently, I’ve grown to like baking loaves. I first started with a Blackberry Lemon Yogurt Loaf and I was hooked by how easy it was to make, the heavenly aroma that flooded our kitchen when it was baking and how surprisingly nice it tastes! That, being the first time I make a loaf cake.

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So I decided to make one today for my family’s Fathers’ Day gathering at our house!

Found this recipe on Foodnetwork.com and it looks really quick and easy! I had less than 2 hours to spare so the prep time seemed perfect.

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The butter-sugar -vanilla-egg-banana mixture may seem a little runny when you’re first done with incorporating them, but after you fold in the flour mix and walnuts, the texture will turn into something that resembles more of a cake mix (as below). So don’t be taken aback when you first pop your mixing bowl out of the mixer!

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Alway remember the all important step of giving the loaf tin a good butter-up and it’ll make removing the loaf a whole lot easier 🙂 And don’t forget to rap the baking tin to remove the air bubbles!

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After my experience with the Blackberry Loaf, I’ve found that baking the loaf on the middle rack may brown the crust of the loaf a little too fast. Hence, I’ve decided to bake on the lowest rack instead, to allow enough time for the inside of the cake to cook thoroughly before the crust browns. And I’ll rotate the tin every 10 mins or so to let the heat even out.

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I love the cracks on the loaves because they are unique and gives them character – no 2 loaves look the same!

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I let it cool in the tin for an hour and on the rack for another hour before serving. You can even keep it in the fridge, cling-wrapped, and enjoy it for breakfast!

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My sister-in-law who adores banana cakes gave it a thumbs up! Except that she ate one of the “end” slices so she found the crust area a little too dry. I’m trying to find a way to solve that too and keep my cake more moist without loosing the flavor. Let me know if you have any tips!

I was intending to make a plain banana cake at first, but glad I threw in the walnuts because the contrast in the texture makes the cake a whole lot more interesting 🙂

Such an easy recipe, I’m sure you’ll be able to do it too! Go give it a shot! 😉

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