Friday, December 31, 2010

Bonjour 2011

As we say good bye to 2010

We dreamt of something better this year or even grander

Something that should be sweet and pleasing to the eyes

And simple in its own way .....

I need to do this entry. Simply needed to. I need to say this -thank you for following my journey all this while. This blog is going to be 3 years old in May 2011. There are good and bad moments but I have stayed on, simply because I loved writing, cupcakes, cakes and baking. I am humbled by the experience of baking, dissapointments and frustrations of not having good cakes, unreliable recipes. This blog has helped me in many ways. I could get some stress out of my system. I could take good pictures with the sole intention to post it in my blog. I could even smile after writing posts in my blog. Thank you once again, dear friends and readers. Have a good year ahead.
Bonjour 2011. Welcome aboard. May all your wishes come true, may cupcakes rule your heart, may I have the strength and energy to continue blogging about cupcakes and baking, may I discover wonderful recipes to share with all my friends. Happy days and moments to come. Bonjour 2011 from cupcakes-dreams......

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Classic Butter Cupcakes

I have always liked classic butter cakes. Those melt-in-the mouth sensations when we bite a tiny bit of butter cakes could only be in our imaginations. Pure heaven... One thing for sure, I have always have these fond memories of my late maternal grandmother who would never failed to whip up a good home-baked marble cake. That is why I have always on the search for a good recipe of marble cake, just like my grandmother used to bake. I have never get hold of my grandmother's original recipe, my mother was never interested in home baking- (yes, surprisingly- if you may ask -I might get this baking bug passed from my late grandmother ), have been asking around my relatives- but my cousin kept forgetting to give me the original's. So, my search began and what a delight to have discovered a good reliable recipe. The one that came close to my grandmother's. As usual, I have adapted the original pound cake recipe by Susannah Blake to classic butter cupcakes. Here goes the recipe, as asked by my fellow friends ;
200g butter (unsalted)
280g caster sugar
6 eggs
270g plain flour
2 tsp of baking powder
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of salt
* Variations for cocoa batter (if you want to do marble or just plain chocolate cupcakes)
## 3-4 tbs of cocoa powder
1) Preheat the oven t0 180C (350F).
2) Prepare your cupcake cases in the muffin pan
3) Beat together butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
4) Beat in eggs one by one.
5) Sift flour and baking powder. Fold in the the sifted flour into the mixture.
6) Stir in the milk and vanilla.
7) Spoon the batter into cupcake cases. (until 3/4 full)
6) Bake them for about 30 minutes ( they can be less - check if they are ready, by inserting a skewer in the centre. If the skewer comes out clean - the cakes are ready)
## To do marbling, just put aside half of the butter batter, sift the cocoa powder, add the cocoa powder into the batter. Spoon the butter batter, followed by the cocoa mixture, and lastly put another spoon of the butter batter.
Happy baking, everyone!

Violet Cupcakes

1) Classic butter cupcakes iced with violet and pinkish buttercream

2) Violet cupcakes

3) The cupcakes as decorated by the kids

I have promised my 9 year-old niece many times- that is to do a baking project, cupcakes project actually. However, I never kept my promise. But today, I give in-knowing that promises shouldn't be broken especially to children. I have baked butter cupcakes to be frosted with buttercream icing. At first, I have wanted to do baby pink buttercream, but I have mistakenly put a drop of blue icing colour just to be adventurous. Apparently, I have got violet buttercream with a tint of pink. I have piped different styles of icing- as in Pict 1 and 2 ( for adults' point of view) and Pict 3 (for kids' point of view). You could see the difference as children are never afraid to explore their own creativity. My son and niece are ever ready to sprinkle as much things on top of their cupcakes, while I- being me- is so afraid to venture on. I kept my frosting simple as I have always liked simplicity in life.
What do I learn today? I have learnt that children are fun as they are not afraid to try new things in life, they like a little bit of adventures, where else -we, adults are so boring as we do things as simple as we could. We are just afraid to try new things, and that is why being children are more fun... ;) That is why we- adults would always envy the carefree days of our children. Deep in our hearts, we know that we are missing those days, we keep reminiscing our own childhood moments.
As I sent my back niece this evening, I could not help but noticing this - my niece went back happily, holding tight the green food container containing various designs of cupcakes. I did not know what made her really happy. The cupcakes or the experience of designing her own cupcakes. She was happy, and so did I.....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Saying Good Bye Is Difficult

Seeing small crabs making "signs" in the sand

A stolk (Bangau in Malay)leaving the beach
(it's such a long time I haven't encounter a stolk in the West of Malaysia)
Morning in Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu

The horizon is wide here....

Tanjung Aru is such a beautiful beach, unspoilt.......

Swallows nesting in the 2nd lobby of
Shagri-La Tanjung Aru
(Who would have guessed, right?)
The MUIS building (Majlis Ugama Islam Sabah)

This brings back memory- the cinema is housed in an "antique" building. Narnia is showing here..

Kota Kinabalu- 6.30 p.m. (Maghrib is early here)

I need to say good bye. Saying good bye is actually difficult to say, especially when you haven't got the time to explore a town and see its own characters. Things that are not commercial. Things that do not matter for jet-setting tourists. I have always liked to explore places for their own specialities, simplicities and cultures. Kota Kinabalu, has opened my eyes. It has made me think of the need to conserve things and buildings of yesteryears. Kota Kinabalu is actually what Malacca was in the 80's before its commercialisation. Before the massive traffic jam in the city. Kota Kinabalu does not really have traffic jams, it still has roundabouts, it still has fishermen throwing nets in the river near the city. I hope it stays like that, with its alluring beauty, friendly people and unspoilt sceneries. It is a beautiful town (a city- actually, according to the status). In fact, famous cities in the world are known for their cultures and preservations. Kota Kinabalu could still woo tourists with its plus points- the beauty of its simple life and slow-paced movements and not forgetting unspoilt sceneries. Thus, saying good bye to a beautiful place is somehow a difficult thing to do. Good bye, Kota Kinabalu. I might be coming again....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Going East

What a beautiful world-sunset in Tanjung Aru,
Kota Kinabalu

Dinner at Nelayan Seafood Restaurant

Having coconuts at the Philippines Market

Green Connection, Kota Kinabalu
Yes, this is Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Oogling these jewellery Trinkets and pearl bracelets
- Philippines Market, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
1 Borneo- the biggest shopping mall in Borneo (hence, the name...)

Breakfast- Having omelette in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Taking the flight after a hiatus of 10 years

I went east, more or less to the East of Malaysia. This was my first time, being in Sabah, Land Below the Wind. Overwhelmed yes, sheepishly embarrassed yes... Simply because I have never been to Borneo through out my whole life. Yes, I've been to Singapore, the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and even Switzerland. But I have never been to Borneo. I've spent my student's days traveling to Europe and after that, spent years working in a remote area in Johor. After that, I've got married and settled down in Shah Alam, Selangor. Frankly speaking, it's been 10 years since I took the aeroplane. I kept planning for foreign vacations, but never been able to do that. Now, I am going east, so I need to think as a tourist, act as one ;). Those pictures speak for themselves. Kota Kinabalu is definitely a beautiful place, this place reminds me of my hometown back then in the 80's. The scenery is wonderful and the people are very friendly and helpful (never mind that transportation is a tad too expensive- I've spent RM55 on the taxi fare just to go the Philippines Market, Kota Kinabalu from my hotel in One Borneo and from the Philippines Market back to my hotel). Kota Kinabalu, has charmed me in a very simple way- life is slow and serene and there are many friendly people in this east side of Malaysia. Yes, look to the east- we need to learn something. Wealth and materials are not the most possible happiness in life.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Jalan Tukang Besi, Melaka
The Blacksmith's Road, Melaka

This is -Venice of the East

Home- is where the heart stays on...

Recently, I went back to my hometown. It was only a 4-day break, but a well-deserved one. Armed with a camera, I went for an exploration around town. Getting to know my hometown or simply reliving all the moments. I have spent my childhood and teenage days in the former sleepy hollow town of Melaka, now I am coming back to a vibrant and charming historical city of Melaka. Ooo.. I miss my hometown. Been away for many years, but I am still longing for this maiden city. They say, home is where you reside- but I beg to differ. This is my home, where I know my humble beginnings, where I know the best cendol in town, not the one served in a fancy restaurant- but this is where I know the nooks and crooks of narrow streets lined with old merchants' shops. This is where you get to know your pasts, where you imagine that when you grow up you would like to migrate to the other big city, however-eventually you keep dreaming of your own home- your own sleepy hollow town. Not the city that endears to the bus load of tourists but the one which is charming in its own way laced with historical moments. Only the old buildings became the witness of whatever had happened in the pasts. This is my home- and I am glad, that I have gone back... My home...

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Break In The City

A white-theme lifestyle cafe
Location: The Curve, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Lunch in a Malay restaurant @The Curve

Seeing this fountain- makes me feel so happy. It is so tranquil...
Location : Mid-Valley Gardens, Kuala Lumpur.

Everybody needs a break, somehow rather. So, I'm taking a break. Shall I say, retail therapy or better still the simple term of window shopping. That means thrawling around shopping malls but buy nothing. Nothing at all, just to have some ideas and inspirations. Just to soak the simple pleasures of having the opportunities in life, and mingle around. When the stress level is too high, even baking cupcakes seemed to be a chore. I know when I had had enough of things around me when I could not even have a wink, when I seem to be having difficulties of remembering things of the past or I do not even bother to do house chores. There and then, I am taking the signs- soak in the pleasures in life, you would never know how good these pleasures are. So, when ever you feel that pressure, do take a break at times- in between. You will never know what you have really missed all this while .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Blog No More

The recipe for these cupcakes was featured in my former blog- Coconut Pandan cupcakes

Black Bottom recipe was also featured in my former blog

This morning, I have the urgency to check on something. Someone has messed up with my blog account where I have painstakingly archiving my cupcakes' recipes collection. The account has been with me for two solid years, way before blogspot was even famous. My account has been considered as a " spammer". I cannot even retrieve all my recipes- yes, all lost - thanks to so some handful people who has invaded my blog with spammers, and regretfully, I have not thrash them all due to my laziness to check my e-mail account. Now, I have lost my collection of cupcakes' recipes. All lost.... What else can I do. So, from now onwards I will only concentrate on this blogspot account. Then, I will do another blog specially for cupcakes, cakes and other recipes account. This time I will be more adventurous. Well, I will not be that very sad now. Nothing could be done.. So, dear friends and readers - do not attempt to go to The account is now considered as a spammer. Good bye my cup-a-cake account, I will miss you terribly... Bon Voyage

Monday, December 6, 2010

Birthday Cakes For A Happy Kid

Chocolate and Mango Cake - The Cake was cut into half and frosted with chunks of mango and whipped cream.

The happy kid with cousins and auntie

Celebrating birthday in kindy

Cake No.3 - Chocolate Mango Cake

Cake No.2- French Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Cake No 1- Chocolate Heaven Frosted With Chocolate Ganache

My kid turned 5 recently and I have decided to do a mammoth project. Baking 3 birthday cakes altogether. Cake No. 1 was for his kindy class. Cake no.2 was for day care and Cake No. 3 was for home celebration with lovely aunties, sporting uncles and cute cousins. Since I am catering for kids, I have to resort doing only chocolate cakes with 3 different recipes. The challenging part was decorations and how to attract kids.
Well, Cake No. 1 was simply sold out. The kids loved it very much. Cake No. 2 was a pleasant surprise, as the daycare teacher brought back the remaining cake. Cake No.3 was actually my favourite. Ainsley Harriot's chocolate and mango cake. No, it was not his original recipe. I have lost it since in the year 2001 or 2002, mum threw the magazine cutting that I have painstakingly saved back in West Sussex and brought back to Malaysia. However, I have managed to recreate the recipe, maybe not the exact taste, but who would have complained right.
For those who do not have any idea who Ainsley Harriot is, he is actually another of my favourite celebrated chef from Britain. Ainsley Harriot is a very famous chef in his home country because he has this 'happy' face, warm demeanor and not forgetting good, not- going -to- fail recipes. He may not be as famous as Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson in this part of this world-i.e Southeast Asia, but he has this ability to create feel good dessert recipes, cakes that you actually like to eat in your own free time with a cup of hot black coffee.
Well, back to my client, he was indeed a happy kid, who wouldn't right- if you have three birthday parties in a row. Birthday cakes make a happy kid, indeed. Happy 5th birthday, dear son.....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Take A Break

Childhood days are always the best

Dreaming of the highlands

I want to smell the flowers

It's been such a hectic week or should I say a hectic year for me. I am dreaming for a holiday. A long-due vacation, where I can sleep and do nothing, where I can start my daydreaming moments, where I can stop thinking about the vacuum cleaner and washing machine. Yes, everyone needs a break. Life is too short to start thinking about trivial matters. Sometimes it's always about the others.. but what about me and me. It's going to be another one month to go before we say good bye to 2010. Where have I been for the past one year, what have I done, have I really spend myself with my own self. Well, the truth is -the year 2010 is not really a smooth year for me. There had to be bumpy moments, not-so good times, loss in the family. I am tired. I need a break. There would always be things expected on me, people rely on me, people asking for help, people thought you are all right and they forgot that sometimes you do have frustrations too. People forgot that you are a just a normal human being, a person with feelings and emotions, that you need to slow down. Well, I am taking a small step now, saying "NO" if I can't do some tasks, people need to be fair to me too, I am no longer a "YES" person whom you can just running around asking for help. I am not bothered if there are skeletons in my closet. I am not bothered of thoughts of other people if I am not able to help them. I am not bothered too if there are people in the pasts who put labels on me and think they are angels and high above compared to me. I am not going to label people as to me only God is perfect. No human being is bound not to make mistakes. I am contented with my life now. I treasure every moment, to be able to breathe, to be able to have happy moments. As for me, I am going away for a holiday next week- I need a break, everyone needs a break. Life is short, so be nice to everybody- because when you are no longer here, people would only talk good things about you. I would like to remember life as it is.....precious moments, happy times spent with loved ones. That should be life ......

No Butter Muffins

Blueberry muffins- I have used fresh ones instead of frozen blueberries

Chocolate muffins- with chocolate chips

My chocolate muffins are plumping up

Believe me- there is no butter in these muffins

When I first read this recipe, I thought that it was a typo-error. This muffin recipe called for no butter at all. It only used milk, sugar, vanilla and so on. I read the recipe twice and it didn't mention butter. Well, call it something that is out of the box, so my experiment begin. The blueberry muffin did not rise well enough because I didn't cream the eggs and sugar with my mixer. Then, I 've realised my mistake. I should have creamed the eggs and sugar first, before adding the flour. Next, I did the chocolate muffins. I have creamed the eggs and sugar well enough. Better than the first blueberry muffin batch. After that, my chocolate muffins did rise well enough. The muffins really plumped up. And who would have guessed there is definitely no butter in these muffins. Well, perhaps we must never be afraid to try out out of the box recipes, recipes which are not that conventional right.... Verdict- sold-out muffins at the work place.


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