So Xena and I have been baking up a storm. It's hard to decide who is really more into it because I go to sleep thinking about what to bake the next day and she wakes up from her afternoon nap with an urgent, "Mama, let's go baaakeeee!!!" She has even got a name for the oven! Avni. (Well, it's supposed to be Oven-y, but it really does sound like the desi name Avni.)
A big thank you to all you bewdas for being so generous in sharing your tried and tested recipes. We tried some of them with superb results. Some of you have even taken the time to email me recipes and tips for newbie bakers, and a big thank you for that! I'm going to try all of it.
So I thought I'll share what we have been up to the last few weeks - Xena, Avni and me.
After our first venture - the very simple vanilla cake, I was still not confident to dive into really adventurous stuff, so we did some variations of the same recipe just to do it over and over again and see if it still worked.
We tried a duo-tone cake using food colouring. All good! Viv polished them off in one evening. He was working on his laptop with the box next to him, and no one realised when it became empty!
Next, we tried a blueberry cake and err... cakelets. Well, I don't know if they're called cakelets, but I had some moulds I wanted to use, so there.
Xena shows off the blueberry cake.
She even made what she called the 'blueberry cake flower'.
Then we made blueberry muffins using the recipe shared by blog reader Anphy, and it was a big hit. Thank you, Anphy!
Xena is waiting and waiting and waiting for the muffins to rise.
The proud baker displays the goodies.
Then we tried to make cupcakes, using the same old cake recipe.
Of course, I was nowhere near learning to ice the cupcakes, so we just used sprinkles. Xena gobbled up two of them!
We were totally not sick of the sweet stuff yet, but just to mix things up, I tried making some savoury things. With mixed results.
The kurkure bhindi didn't turn out to be that kurkure after all. I need to find a better recipe.
The lasagna tasted good, but the sheets were slightly undercooked. I need to practise a little more.
The baked vegetables were a super hit. I marinated random vegetables (pumpkin, onions, zucchini, red peppers, baby potatoes, capsicum, etc.) in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, tabasco sauce, salt, garlic powder and pepper for an hour, and just baked them. They were so yum I can't wait to make them again.
I had some cocoa powder in the fridge that I wanted to use up but I'm not a big fan of chocolate cake or chocolate muffins. So I googled for 'best brownie recipe' and landed on this one.
I had another mould that I wanted to try out, so I divided the brownie batter into portions.
Xena called these 'brownie buttons'.
We quickly devoured about 5 between the two of us. The rest were gobbled up by Viv as soon as he came back from work. I made another batch later for some guests, and used them as toppings on parfait, with an M&M perched on each. Darn, I forgot to take a photo!
Though the button brownies were more fun, the actual brownie-shaped brownies were good too. We had quite a few of those with ice-cream. Talk about a sudden surge in the household caloric intake!
"Mama, look! I made a flower!" She cried out.
My very good friend Soumya, who has been a great source of encouragement and tips, took me to Phoon Huat (also known as bakers' paradise) where I bought a lot of stuff, including tools for icing! Yes, I felt like I was ready to ice.
I came across this buttercream frosting recipe and decided to try my hand at icing some cupcakes for my friend Maya's birthday brunch.
I used the same old vanilla cake recipe because I loved how soft and springy the cupcakes turned out. I find most cupcakes too rich and overwhelming after the first few bites, but this recipe keeps things light and nice.
I used this recipe to make marshmallow fondant and cut out the letters in her name to put on the cupcakes.
I'd bought a cupcake box, so I put the cupcakes in it and started icing. Xena was really excited to see the pink flowers.
This was taken during the birthday celebration. With the letters and the candles, the cupcakes really did look quite nice. And everyone liked the taste too.
I feel so encouraged to carry on. :)