I remember the times when my Mother would occasionally take me to church after school, back when I was a little girl. Around Christmas season, there would be these stalls on the churchyard selling the lovely yellow bibingka and the purple puto bumbong, these Filipino pastries that were baked using traditional bamboo and ceramic cooking tools, and banana leaves. I used to think that this was the only right way for these Christmas staples to be made. They were the very measure of authenticity for bibingkas and puto bumbongs These days however, we’ve got a slew of commercialised bibingka stalls in the malls, plus instant box-mixes I’ve always been hesitant to try. It still feels weird to me to see these things in the mall because none of it feels right to me. I guess there are moments when I can be a bit old-fashioned.
I don’t believe I’ve ever had gingerbread before. Gingerbread cookies, sure, but actual gingerbread? This would be the first. Shocked? I’m not. This is precisely why I went into this whole food blogging business– the endless discoveries! Although I do admit, the fact that I haven’t ever eaten gingerbread has gotten me thinking about the kind of Christmas treats we had at home when I was a child. I don’t remember any significant ones so I guess we weren’t that big on the sweets department, or maybe I was too busy concerning myself with gifts to remember the food.
These days, I don’t get that many gifts under the tree anymore like I used to, but I think the worse struggle by far has been trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit. Back in the day, counting down to Christmas vacation has always been such a natural part of being a student. Everyone is always so excited about Christmas and the Secret Santas, and everyone is teasing each other about gifts. Now that I’m out of school and working, the days have begun to look a little more similar. There are times when the dates feel like just another set of numbers coinciding with deadlines and to-do’s, regardless of the month. In the past couple of years, when things get busy, I forget all about how near Christmas is until someone or something reminds me. Is that really part of growing up?
Continue reading for the recipe
The other day I was checking my Instagram feed and I saw a friend of mine post a lovely autumn picture of orange trees lining a long road somewhere in New York. I immediately felt a bit sad, maybe just a tad jealous, mostly because I feel like I’m stuck here and she’s enjoying herself ever so much over there, living her dreams in New York’s fashion world and what-not. Well the weather here has been sweltering and summer-like, the rays of the sun blanketing everything with a yellow reminiscent of a morning in the desert. It’s literally impossible to walk outside without squinting against the harsh sunlight and feeling it prickle against your skin. The woes of living the tropics!
These days I find myself wishing so constantly to escape somewhere. A place where I’ve left a piece of my heart perhaps? Alas, I have no choice at the moment but to daydream and find solace in my hobbies, like baking for instance. Admittedly, it’s getting harder to make myself feel better for longer stretches of time whenever I don’t keep myself occupied.
Continue reading for the recipe
People always look for the familiar, especially in the things that are foreign to them; but there will be times when the unfamiliar works its way into our lives and become something we grow to love. Such is my story with plum cakes. Or this particular one, in fact. I don’t believe I have ever eaten plums in any other way than au naturel, quartered into half-moons; or dried, in the form of prunes. When I saw this recipe for plum cakes, I was skeptical. Do plums really play well in a cake? They have such a unique flavour on their own already. I was a bit nervous if we would actually like the results.
Plums are one of my grandmother’s favourite fruits, so as a child, she would always share a few slices with me whenever she had some. I’m guessing this has played a large part in why plums are one of my favourite fruits now that I’m all grown up. As I tried to come to a decision whether or not I should make this cake, I thought, ‘If plums make up majority of the cake, then it would still technically taste like plums wouldn’t it?’ So I figured, if I didn’t like the cake, at least I could still eat the plums. But really, how bad can something named Dimply Plum Cake be?
Continue reading for the recipe
By appearance, it would seem that this bundt cake isn’t quite as Christmas-y as most holiday treats. There are no red or green splashes of colour nor intricate Christmas designs and shapes, but simply a rich, dark chocolate cake with an equally rich and dark glaze. The thing that adds a decidedly Christmas twist to this cake is the touch of peppermint extract I applied to the glaze. Small as that may be, I do think this is a good kick-off post for the series of holiday recipes I am excited to share!
I’ve been eyeing this recipe awhile mostly because of this photo. I just love how the glaze created this sort of shiny dark outer skin on the cake, hugging the surface of the cake like a blanket with a lovely sheen. The contrast of colours is stunning, and I could almost taste just how moist this cake is from the photo.
The reason for making this cake began with a Desperate Housewives episode. My mother saw Bree’s gorgeous Upside Down Cake and said, “Mmmm… I want some. Why haven’t you made this cake?”
I shrugged, and then I made it.
And it wasn’t easy, mind you. I followed a recipe that called for making a thick caramel syrup base and for some reason, my sugar and butter just wouldn’t mix together and turn into a liquid caramel. The butter and sugar kept separating, and in one instance, I managed to make caramel candy crystals, which was lovely if only that was what I had been trying to do in the first place. I couldn’t get the caramel right even though I watched the video and followed the instructions over and over. By my third try and failure, I wanted to cry as I threw another batch to join the sugar and butter already laying wasted at the bottom of the trash bin. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a classic! How can it be so difficult to make? Read more