Category Archives: Recipes – Cakes

Rainbow star-shaped birthday cake

It’s impossible to avoid making a rainbow cake. It’s everywhere and at all the kids birthday parties we’ve been to. That itself could be the reason not to make one but I thought well, it is on my pinterest board and my food bucket list so decided to go ahead. I found the perfect recipe – Nigella’s one – and since the Guardian posted a pdf of it I’m assuming it’s ok to repost it. It lists buttermilk as one of the ingredients which I think leans towards a rather moist cake, which we prefer.

The twist to it is that the shape of the cake is a star! No I don’t have multiples of star pans so yes I baked the layers individually. I also doubled the recipe and made slight alterations to the original recipe.

The oohs and ahhs from the little ones as I lifted the slice out to reveal the coloured layers was one of the highlights of my day!

Cake Ingredients

500g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp salt
400ml buttermilk (or 75g yogurt mixed with 125ml semi-skinned milk)
2 tsp almond extract
250g softened butter
400g caster sugar
7 large free-range eggs
ready-to-roll icing to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Spray the cake tin with cake release.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt together.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little of the flour with the last one.
Gradually add the rest of the flour with the buttermilk, one after the other, until thoroughly mixed. Add almond extract.
Divide into 6 bowls, adding a gel colouring into each. Pour one coloured mixture into the tin and bake for about 10 minutes or until the sides pull away from the tin. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Buttercream icing
500g butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
3-4 tbsp milk

Beat the butter till it is soft and add the icing sugar in. Pour in the milk tablespoon by  tablespoon, until the mixture achieves a spreading consistency.
Spread onto the cooled cakes layer by layer, and then onto the top and sides. Try to keep these layers thin and smooth.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on a clean and flat surface. Knead and roll out the fondant icing till it is quite thin and using a rolling pin to help, pick up the large piece of fondant and lay over the cake. Smooth all over.
Decorate as you wish =)
Here I gave some edible ink marker pens to my daughter and tasked her to decorate her own birthday cake. She was delighted!

Three-eyed alien cake and cake pops from space (toy story aliens)

We recently celebrated J’s fourth birthday. Unlike last year when we had the Thomas tank engine cake, this year the theme isn’t very strong. I was going for the whole Toy Story / super heroes theme with a party at Museum of Technology and Transport. I was wondering what cakes I could do when I stumbled upon an alien cake. J loves the three-eyed aliens, they are her favourite characters! I went to my local kitchen shop and bounced my ideas off a sales lady there.

The criteria:
– Relatively quick
– Easy to transport
– Resemblance
– A point of difference
– Challenging elements such as new techniques

The cake was simple – I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe and baked it in a Wilton’s oval tin.
I did this the night before I needed to ice it.


I made up a simple buttercream icing, and covered the cake first thing in the morning. The cake was not crumbly which made the icing job much easier.
Next was the fondant.

I had watched enough Masterchef episodes to know how it should work. Luckily too they showed how hard the contestants had to knead it before it was ready – I would have doubted and threw the rock hard fondant away. After about 15 minutes of kneading…

I rolled the green fondant out, large enough to cover my cake.

Lifting it up with a rolling pin, I rolled it over the cake and then smoothed out the sides.

I actually did a ‘wahoo!!’ jump at this point as I never thought it would be so easy.

I rolled some white fondant into three oval shaped balls for the eyes and marked the pupils with a black edible marker.

I mixed a smidgen of tyler powder ( you can also use gum tex, but it’s not really necessary for this project) into some green fondant to make the ears ( the paste makes the fondant harder), and also shaped a long piece for the candles.

I rolled a log shaped piece of green fondant and pushed a cake pop stick inside to make it firm. I stuck a ball shaped piece to the end and this became the alien’s antennae. I stuck it to the head.

Timestamp: From starting the icing to finishing the cake, it was 1.5 hours.

Next were the cake pops. Note that I start the cake pops the night before they are finished because I don’t often have a whole day in the kitchen all by myself. You can start the same day but I would recommended baking the night before to save on waiting time.

Using the same chocolate cake recipe ( or you could easily use the boxed cake mixes), I baked a cake the night before and let it cool.
Once it’s cool, breakup the cake in a large container. I tear the cake up into six pieces first, then crumble each piece till there are no more big pieces. Mix half a tub of chocolate icing into the crumbled cake, and start bringing the mixture together. Just use a large spoon to do this. Some people suggests doing this by hand, with gloves. I’ve tried it and don’t like it because I ended up with so much icing stuck on my gloves instead of the cake.

Using a small cookie scoop ( these are smaller than your ice cream scoops), shape the mixture into small balls of cake. Roll them into oval shapes. Place then in a sheet and let it firm up in the fridge for an hour.

For the green chocolate coating, you will need the following:
– Spooky green chocolate melts (the colour matches the Toy Story aliens better than the normal green chocolate melts)
– Cake pops sticks 6″ long
– Edible eyes (I bought these to save time, but you can make them with drops of white royal icing)
– Green chocolate coated sunflower seeds
– Sour apple- flavoured strips, cut into little pieces
– Ceramic chocolate melting cup

Place the green chocolate melts into the ceramic cup, fill to about half way.
Melt in microwave in DEFROST mode ( this is very important, hence the shouty capitals, if you don’t want burnt chocolate) for 15 seconds at a time, till it melts.

Dip the end of the pop stick into the green chocolate, then stick this end into the bottom of the oval cake ball. Careful not to poke the cake ball too much or too little. If the cake balls fall apart, leave them in the fridge for longer. The little bit of chocolate will help to hold the cake ball on the stick.
Holding the end of the stick, dip the cake ball into the melted chocolate to completely cover it. Don’t move it around too much or you will get cake crumbles into the chocolate.
Ever so gently swirl the dipped cake ball over the melted chocolate cup, to let the excess dribble off.
Now I needed an extra pair of hands to help and J came to the rescue.

She quickly placed three googling eyes, while I placed the ears and antennae onto the cake balls.
Voila! All done.

I placed them on a round cake dummy for drying and display. I used the edible marker pan to draw a mouth for each alien.

We had more cake balls left so we shaped them into spheres and dipped them in yellow chocolate melts, with a liberal splashing of sprinkles. These formed our planets.

What should I do with the left over green chocolate melts?
I poured them into a silicone mould with alien shapes (authentic Toy Story alien ice cube tray, gift from grandma in Hong Kong, and was quite expensive and we weren’t quite sure we will get too much use out of it at the time, but now so totally worth it!!) and made lots of green alien candies.

Sorry I don’t have a picture of the candies by themselves, and only have one of them with the Oreos macarons.
We bagged these up for the kiddos to take away. I think most of them went straight for it though.


We also made some chocolate marshmallow sticks – the idea came from chocolate spoons or sticks for making a hot chocolate drink, but like the candies, they were consumed straight away as is.

I hope I’ve inspired you to make some cake pops or fondant cakes – just let your imagination take you to a different place! Hope to see some links to your works out there, do share 😉

No Bake Mango Cheesecake

A good friend shared this recipe with me a while ago, and while hesitant to try it at first, for fear of making syrup from scratch, I have since found tinned mango purees from Indian grocery stores and made this now-favourite cheesecake more times than my fingers could count. Thank you Vivian!


15 pieces Nice Biscuits

80gm butter, melted

1 box jelly powder

1.5 tsp gelatine

1 cup (237ml) hot water

250ml cream cheese

¼ cup sugar

250ml cream

Fruit, diced

Optional topping:

1 box jelly powder

1.5 tsp gelatine

1 cup hot water

1 cup fruit syrup (optional)


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking and chilling time: 4 hours


1. Smash the biscuits in a zip bag to smithereens, till it resembles a fine crumb. Mix with the melted butter.smash biscuits up

biscuits mixed with melted butter

2. Line the base of a round spring form cake pan with baking paper. Lightly butter the sides of the pan and line with a strip of baking paper as well.

lined pan*note that the base of the pan has been flipped upside down – see masterclass tip at the bottom of post

3. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan with the back of a large spoon.

biscuits pressed into pan

4. Bake for 10 minutes at 150°C, set aside to cool.

5. While the crumb base is baking and cooling, mix the jelly powder, gelatine and hot water in one bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.

mango jelly mix and chopped up fruit

6. Beat together the cream cheese and sugar in another bowl until the mixture softens.

beating cream cheese

7. Pour the slightly cooled jelly mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese and sugar and stir until it is well mixed.

8. Beat the cream in another bowl, until it becomes stiff.

9. Fold the cream into the jelly and cream cheese mixture, and add in the diced fruit.

10. Pour into the baking pan, flatten the top and refrigerate until firm.

Topping (Optional)

1. Mix together the topping ingredients and stir until it has cooled.

2. Pour onto the chilled Cheese cake and refrigerate until firm.

Home Made Syrup (Optional):

1 cup fruit

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

Cook the ingredients until it has thickened and volume reduced to about a cup. Mash the fruit while it is cooking. You can get canned mango puree from an Indian grocery store, or you can use fruit nectar from supermarkets.

Master Class tips:

  • Turn the base upside down and place a square piece of baking paper on top, before clicking the base back onto the pan. This way you will get a smooth edge.
  • Choose matching flavours for the jelly powder, diced fruit and fruit syrup for this cheesecake. My favourite is mango as shown in the picture.
  • For a truly ‘no bake’ dessert, you can just keep the crumb base in the fridge to firm up instead of baking it, but you will need more butter for it to bind better.Mango cheesecake squares

Chocolate chestnut mini cupcakes

J: mummy can I have a cupcake please?
Me: ok (grabs one from the box and gives her one, and walks out of the kitchen)
A few minutes later, J came to find me,
J: mummy I’ve finished my 2 cupcakes !!! They were delicious!
Me: I only gave you one, how did you get another?
J: I tippy-toed onto the bench, grabbed the box and chose one!

Now I can’t leave things on the kitchen bench!!

Recipes are written to be followed, right? Well sometimes not I guess. Especially when you can’t find an easy and quick recipe that allows you to use up your chestnut puree!! Even in this day and age where you have search engines that do all the work for you in 0.01 of a second?? So I say recipes are developed and improved upon to allow us to face whatever life throws at us (leftover chestnut purée that is).
So here you have a recipe that I personally designed. You have 3 options (having choices are good):
A) chocolate chestnut cupcake with no flour component. In which case don’t add the last ingredient. This gives a gooey decadent dessert-like cake.
B) chocolate chestnut cupcake with plain flour. This is what I made in the photos, for I wanted something less rich for J.
C) chocolate chestnut gluten-free cupcake, using almond meal instead of plain flour. Well that’s if you needed to make cupcakes, but discovered at the last minute that you have ran out of flour because you have been making macarons for far too long and had forgotten the need for flour. You however have almond meal well stocked in the pantry, so go ahead and use it!


110g dark chocolate melts
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
200g chestnut purée
75g dark chocolate bites (those that hold their shapes during cooking, and you can omit this if you think there is enough chocolate already!! J insisted she wanted these, so in they go)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g flour (or almond meal if you want these to be gluten-free cupcakes)


Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Stir to make sure all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the egg whites until it forms a soft peak.

Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until it is pale and creamy.

Add the cooled melted chocolate, mix to combine.

Add the chestnut puree, mix slightly just to combine (having little lumps of chestnuts inside is like discovering little treasures – oh how I wish I had glaced chestnuts!!!)

Mix in the dark chocolate bites and baking powder.

Mix in the flour or almond meal.

Last but not least, fold in the egg whites.

In the mean time, J has been lining the tray with mini cupcake cases.

Drop them into mini cupcake cases. You will have enough to make 30.

Bake at 175 degrees Celcius for 13 minutes.

Rest for 1 minute in the pan, and then remove to cool on a wire rack.

No icing needed, but if you really wanted, you could do a simple 1:1 chocolate ganache (i.e. 1 part chocolate to 1 part cream – eg 50g chocolate melted with 50ml hot cream, like for my macarons)

and rating…don’t really need to say much =)

(ps. sorry about the holes in the cupcakes – this was a rather hurried job and I didn’t sift my flour and baking powder…and also probably over mixed it a bit! Did not affect the yummyness though, so all good.)