Friday, August 31, 2012

American Candy Stand Cupcake Cafe

I am a sucker for pretty, dainty looking items and once I found out about this place, I had to drag my sister here for some sweet treats. Surely enough, the entire store layout had a girly vibe to it and felt like a dream home for me:)

A pretty display of eye candy. Can I please sample all of them??

Probably one of the few places that provides ketchup/ tomato sauce and mayonnaise free of charge for customers. Did I mention how much I like the wallpaper?:)

Trays after trays of sweets everywhere!

I like how the chandelier gives this place a somewhat classy feel and probably balances out the extreme girly-ness of the place.

Too pretty to eat!:)

From memory, my first whoopie pie was a real mind opener for me and made me obsessed with this little cakey-cookie duo.  It is decently sized (not too big if you are watching those calories like me) but sufficient to keep you satisfied. Sadly, I did not try them that night because I wasn't feeling too well:(

As if cupcakes do not inject enough femininity to the display, these macarons are just the perfect addition to further tempt customers!

Red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting~

The cupcake is neither dry nor too heavy and the cream cheese complements it well. I'll definitely have to attempt baking red velvets in the future (and hopefully get good results too!)

Hot dog with chips~ I was a tiny bit disappointed with the chips because I had expected handmade chips but instead, got packet chips. But then again, it would be challenging trying to prevent the entire shop (and cakes!) from smelling like a fast food joint.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Easy as cake

Cakes are probably the most underestimated item to bake in my books. I used to bake a few cakes when I was much younger and since then, have rarely attempted to bake a proper cake. Simple cakes are inexpensive to make and one could easily get a good slice of cake for $6. Because of this, I am drawn to baking more challenging items which includes elaborate processes that goes into the making.

The last time I baked a proper birthday cake for someone was middle of last year but even so, the cake didn't have the aesthetic features that I was looking for. It did not have a flat top surface and the ganache was miserably dripping on its sides. The fruit pieces that I have utilized for decoration appeared clumsily placed. But even so, nobody complained about it (but I was secretly embarrassed in myself!)

And now, the time has come to face my fears and re-attempt another cake (talk about dejavu as the previous cake was also a chocolate one!). I didn't want to ruin my colleague's birthday by rocking up with a half decent cake and so, I researched on some good cake recipes and ideas from the internet.

So here's my first attempt, made last week, as an experiment. Did not turn out good.

I used my round cake tin and lined it with baking paper but sadly, the baking paper's lines gave it a fugly appearance and the oven temperature was obviously wrong.

So this is the vanilla section of the cake.

Chocolate ganache making. The easy bit, if I must add.

This is what happens if you do not ganache your cake asap. It hardens and becomes brittle-.-

So I proceed to layer my cake, trying to be as delicate as I can.

Doesn't look too bad once it's sliced up, right? This gave me a bit of motivation.

And so, the actual cake making begins. I have decided to make strawberry mousse and layer it between the cake pieces. Sounds good, right?

Strawberry mousse recipe:
300g fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
100g water
160g caster sugar
4 teaspoon powdered gelatin
400g whipping/ whipped cream

Place all the ingredients (except the whipping cream) and allow to simmer over gentle heat until the gelatin has dissolved. Allow to cool before putting it into a food processor.

Meanwhile, start whipping your cream until it's light and fluffy.

Oven at work!

Cut the cake into 2 section (I made 2 square cakes) and layer with a generous amount of strawberry mousse. Do not let the mousse sit for too long as it will thicken and be difficult to manage!

Chocolate cake recipe obtained from David Lebovitz

Ganache it and smooth out those rough edges.

Add a sprinkle of your choice/ whatever topping you like (strawberries dipped in chocolate sounds sexy!)

Tadaa~~ my colleague gave me a good tip prior to baking this baby. Best to undercook the cake, rather than overcook it, to prevent it from drying out:)

So here's my reward after working so hard in the kitchen! Instant noodles with chopped garlic, chillies and cabbage topped with a fried egg:)

Lesson to self: never underestimate a simple cake again and I look forward to creating more cakes in the near future:9

Yanni's Yiros

Snacking has always been one of my weaknesses and when I am not in the mood for something sweet, I opt for savoury and often find myself in a yiros shop. One of my top favourites would be the Blue and White Cafe in North Adelaide but since moving out from college, it is abit far to travel to, especially on a cold, winter night:(

Luckily, I was able to find alternative yiros shops to satisfy my cravings:) This shop is a favourite amongst the local community and with ample of seating space (in addition to a truckload of magazines to pour yourself into), it is my ideal hangout spot for lazy days!

Lamb yiros with the works~ lettuce, tomatoes, sauce, juicy lamb pieces, wrapped in homemade bread. Deliciousss:)

Chips~ right amount of salt and crunchiness. I'm a happy girl:))

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dessert Story

Meet the newest kids on the block! From what I have gathered about all the buzz with this place, I knew I had to drop by! Embarrassingly enough, there is a similar concept going around in Malaysia for a few years but I was never bothered then!

The good thing about this place is that it is open most of the time and on certain days, it is opened up until 1am! However, this place can get crowded so be patient if you are in a hungry mode like yours truly;)

This is their signature dish. I don't know what's it called but there are pictures in the menu to help you find it;)

Sweet potato and tapioca cubes, pearls, herb jelly and crushed ice. I obviously have no idea how to describe this dish but it is quite textural and the tuber cubes are simply delicious. Probably not the best dish to have for winter but I'll make an exception this time:D

Tofu with peanuts~ not as sweet as the ones in Malaysia but would be good if sugar-y goodies is not your cup of tea:)
I told you the menu had pictures in it. Isn't it customer-friendly, especially for someone who likes visual guidances like me?:)

Another signature this but this time, its with pearls, chocolate mousse jelly, mango jelly, herb jelly and  crushed ice. Not much chewing involved here but I do like the mango jelly here. It's deliciously refreshing!

The decor's really red (in my opinion). Reminds me of Chinese New Year venues:p

Tofu with sesame soup~

Red bean soup with lychee jelly and ice cream~

Penguin-ed shaved ice with peanut toppings~ If you do try this out, you'll be as shocked and amazed as I was. The shaved ice doesn't feel like it was shaved but rather, made into fine thread like fibers which melts from the warmth of your mouth. This is my absolute favourite flavours amongst all the shaved ice variations.

The shaved ice magically comes from a penguin machine, of which, I have never seen before but I plan on investing in one in the future. Please do let me know where can I purchase this little fella:)

Peanut soup~ something warm to fill you up:) Not overly sweet nor grainy and had the right amount of peanut kick.

Shaved ice topped with mango jellies, pearls and mango syrup~ a truly textural dish. The pearls do pop in your mouth (like fish roe) and the mango syrup is just yummy. It may be sweet for some people though..

Shaved green tea ice topped with red bean chunks and red bean syrup~ a healthier option as it isn't as sweet as the others but still tasty at the same time.

Desserts, fast food style:)

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