Strawberry Roses

I love making strawberry roses because they’re incredibly beautiful, edible (sugar flowers taste terrible) and really easy to make. This is a step by step picture tutorial for all those on instagram, who expressed their interest in making them. Give it a go and when you get the hang of it, try making a strawberry rose bouquet.

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Coffee & Olive Oil Cake (With Chia Seeds)

It’s about time I made something a little healthier than my usual bakes and this recipe is dedicated to all my health conscious family and friends. Not only does it not have any butter and sugar, it also has tons of nutritious chia seeds. You can now eat (more) cake with less guilt!

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For these little babies, I’ve replaced butter and sugar with olive oil and honey/ agave which made it a little complicated when I was figuring out and formulating the recipe. HERE’S WHY Click on the link and head over to the conversions page if you’re interested in substituting honey for sugar in your bakes. Basically, I had to throw my usual creaming (butter+sugar) method out the window, reduce the amount of liquids, add baking soda and lower the oven temperature, so don’t be confused when you see that I’ve set the oven temperature at 160°C.

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Even though it’s a healthier cake, I wanted it to taste like a regular cake, which I could use as a cupcake base or layered cake in future. So I focused a lot on the flavour, hence the long list of ingredients: lemon, Kahlua, coffee, vanilla, cocoa powder and cinnamon. And since I’ve already made so many substitutions, you could take it a step further and add soy milk instead of the low fat milk and Kahlua that I’ve used. Chia seeds are optional too if you’re not a fan of it.

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After the cakes cooled, I brushed the mini bundts with a thin lemon glaze (lemon juice+icing sugar) and topped them off with some Paul A Young cocoa nibs I brought back from London. The cake goes well with a nice cup of coffee for breakfast and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
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Earl Grey, Lemon & Lavender Cake

A friend needed help with an earl grey flavoured cake so I made a test cake to see how it’ll turn out. Well it was supposed to be a test cake but somehow I ended up making a stacked 9 inch cake, which involved tripling the recipe (now that’s a lot of cake batter and frosting).

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My buttercream frosting of choice is usually the swiss meringue buttercream. It’s simple and I don’t have to use a candy thermometer in the process. But the problem with earl grey tea flavoured frosting is that the swiss meringue method won’t cut it if you want to be able to actually taste the earl grey tea. So I had to use the italian meringue method, which involves boiling the sugar in strongly brewed tea. The italian meringue buttercream can be a tricky thing to master but after a few tries, you’ll probably be able to get the hang of it.

Earl grey and lemon.

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Baileys & Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Cupcakes sparked my love for baking when I made my very first batch for a friend’s birthday, and I’m at my most relaxed state when I’m baking cupcakes because I’ve made them so many times in massive quantities for the baking society that I know the recipes by heart. But ever since the last society event, I’ve stopped making them and have focused on whole cakes and tarts so it’s nice to get back to cupcakes.

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The star of this recipe is  Guido Gobino’s gianduja (chocolate hazelnut) spread I got during my trip to Turin, Italy. The spread contains more than 35% hazelnuts while Nutella typically has only 13%. Besides the richer hazelnut flavour, the gianduja spread is thicker, smoother and more velvety, which makes the swiss meringue buttercream exceptionally delicious. I couldn’t stop myself from “taste testing” a few spoonfuls. But if you can’t get your hands on the gianduja spread (Venchi stocks their own spread), you could always use Nutella instead.

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Blueberry Muffins

Breakfast is usually a meal that I don’t wake up in time for. My University lifestyle is such that I go straight for lunch, skipping breakfast completely. But now that I’m about to graduate (and with the arrival of my visiting family), my body clock has slowly readjusted back to the normal breakfast-lunch-dinner cycle.

My mom goes absolutely crazy for british berries, and that might be an understatement. She stocks my fridge with all sorts of berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries… you name it and I’ll have it) every day so I took some for the breakfast muffins. These muffins are incredibly moist and tender crumbed and they never fail to brighten up my mornings.

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I made a second batch and left the batter to rest overnight in the fridge. It makes it a lot easier to just pop the batter into the oven in the morning and get freshly baked muffins for breakfast half an hour later. The following photos are of muffins that were made from overnight batter. They’re as good as those that were made from fresh batter but with a deeper and richer flavour.

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Strawberry & Balsamic Vinegar Brownies

A few weeks back, my family came to visit me in London for the summer and I took them to Borough Market for Bread Ahead’s doughnuts. While we were there, we came across a stall selling assorted chocolate truffles and my mom bought a box of strawberry balsamic flavoured ones. It was love at first taste and I set about recreating this wonderful combination of sweet and tangy to satisfy my cravings and also to use up the massive amounts of flour and sugar in the cupboard since I’ll be moving out to my new place soon.

I used my favourite chewey brownie recipe here, but I ran out of dark chocolate so I substituted some of it for Guido Gobino’s Giandujottino chocolates we bought from Turin (my mom was horrified and said it was a waste of expensive chocolate).

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