Sunday, 6 January 2008

A Fresh Start

Since this is my first post for the year, here's wishing you a berry fruitful year ahead!


As anticipated, it has been a very busy week for me as it was the beginning of the school year. I spent the first day of school running up and down just to make sure my younger boy was able to settle down in his new school. I was relieved that he was able to buy his own food at the canteen (which was my greatest worry!) on the very first day, and I will not forget the moment when he beamed broadly at me as he proudly showed me a packet drink which he bought from the vending machine. Yes, he thoroughly enjoyed the full autonomy during the first 3 days of school. With very useful tips from his brother, he knew which stall to get the 'best' fishballs, and on which day, there will be fried chicken wings available!! We enjoyed listening to his encounters in school over dinner. We were totally amused when he recounted how he volunteered to go up the stage to answer some questions from the principal on the second day. Judging from the stories he told us, I am certain that he has already adjusted to the new environment.


The new school year holds a very significant meaning to me. It's the day when I sent off my kids to the nursery, the kindergarten and now to the primary school. It is also the day when I first met my husband more than two decades ago...and we had also chosen the start of the school year to tie the knot. For the past decade (it sounds sooo long!), we hardly celebrate the occasion...for some years, we were so busy that we totally forget about it. As in the past, we didn't get a chance to celebrate this special day this year, as my husband was away...anyway, I baked a cake just so that we can have it for breakfast ;)


I managed to get a very fresh punnet of strawberries from the neighbouring fruit stall the other day. Naturally I opted to make a simple sponge cake, filled with strawberries and non-dairy whipping cream.


If you are a regular visitor, you would have known that I am not equipped with the skills to decorate a cake with decent looking piped rosettes. To avoid any embarrassment, I just decorate the cake with strawberry slices.


The only thing I am satisfied with the decorated cake is that I have managed to frost the sides quite evenly this time round :)


I used the same sponge cake recipe as the Santa Claus cake. The sponge layer is as soft and moist as my first attempt, other than the slightly tangy strawberries, the cake was really yummy!


46 comments:

vb said...

Wah! So many "firsts"!!!! Definately calls for a celebration!!

Aimei said...

Hi Happy Homebaker!

Happy Anniversary to you and your hubby!

Your sponge cake is as soft and moist as your precious one. Hope I will have a chance to try this soon, as there isn't any occasion lately to bake this cake as I still have many on my to-do-list! And lots of ingredients to clear up to prevent wastage LOL. But I will definitely keep this in view should I want to bake a sponge layer cake. :)

zorra said...

Wow, it looks so awesome!
Now I can't wait until the strawberry season starts as well here in Spain. ;-)

sweet-tooth said...

Absolutely pretty!

amandalwh said...

Hi HHB,

Love the look of yr cake! simple yet neat and elegant. (^^,) White and red really goes well! *drool* I would wanna try this sponge cake recipe of yours soon. Gt a few close friends b.day coming up, and i will definitely use yr recipe. Happy Anni to you and yr hubby! =)

Precious Moments said...

Happy Anniversary.

I never had success baking sponge cake. :( so can only drool on your beautiful strawberry one. care to teach me hands on?

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Homebaker

Can you please enlighten me - where do you get your non-dairy fresh cream, any particular brand? - Phoon Huat?

I'm extremely impressed with all your baked goods -beautiful work of art and from your heart, I believe! :)

Appreciate your response,
Amazed

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Homebaker,

may I know what is non-dairy cream and where can I purchase it? Is there actually any difference between non-dairy cream and whipping cream?

Regards.

Happy Homebaker said...

thanks vb!!

Aimei, thank you! I know what you mean, my to-do-list gets longer and longer each day, there are just so many things to try!

Zorra, thanks! Over here we can get strawberries all year round :)

Sweet-tooth, thanks!

Hi Amandalwh, thanks for your compliments :D Do give this recipe a go...it's really very good...take care not to overbake it, but do note that the recipe is only meant for an 18cm cake.

Hi Edith, you are so humble! Your cakes and bakes are lovely, not forgetting your talents in cupcake making!!

Hi Amazed/Anonymous, I got the non-dairy fresh cream from Phoon Huat, the brand is "Red Man'. There is another brand that is available at cold storage..Pour & Whip or Aveoset. Somehow, I prefer 'Red Man' from Phoon Huat.

There are 2 types of whipping cream...dairy and non-dairy. I like to use non-dairy cream to frost a layer cake as I dont like the strong creamy taste from a dairy-cream. For non-dairy cream, it is already sweetened, so you will only need to whip it (u dont need to add sugar, which is required for a dairy cream). Hope this helps!

zhengning said...

Pretty Cake there! I love the colour of the strawberry!

Bridget said...

Oh my goodness! That cake is gorgeous...it look so yummy! I'm so glad to have found your blog! :)

cocoa said...

Another beautiful cake.. how do you make the icing looks so smooth?

maybe strawberry said...

oh wow!!! what a beautiful cake for such wonderful memories for the first day of the school year

Opaline said...

Happy new to you and your family. =)

Your cakes always look pretty to me.

Baking Fiend said...

Happy anniversary!

It's an exciting new yr for u!

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks Zhengning, there is still lots of round for improvement :)

Bridget, thanks for visiting :) Your cookies are so pretty!!!

Cocoa, hmmm, actually it is not very smooth, there were still some marks left by the palette knife ;)

Maybe Strawberry, thanks for the nice comments.

Opaline, happy new year to you too!

Hi Ida, yes it was and very tiring too!

sherlyn said...

Dear HHB,

You have done very well in cake decorating by using fresh fruits and others instead of piping more cream. Healthy mah.

My kids also in different session this year, so suppose to have more free time, but can only really settle down after CNY I guess (with house cleaning to be done).

My to do list is also getting endless but my kids are not taking well to new bakes, so got to KIV some of them for a long time i think.

btw, I am hoping I can ask you what cheese u used for your bake rice here. I don't remember outside bake rice has such tough crust. I use mozz cheese.

Thanks and wish you and family a very fruitful year ahead too.

p/s : Sorry for the long post.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sherlyn, thanks for your kind words :) I find that when my kids are in different session, I have got less free time as I used to have the whole morning to myself ;p
I used mozzarella cheese too! I did notice that if I were to overbake it, the crust will be quite tough. Sometimes if I run out of mozzarella, I will just use the normal chedder cheese slices...the crust will be softer, but the 'cheese pull' effect will not be there.

sherlyn said...

I hv 2 hours on my own when my girl naps in the afternoon while my boy is in school. I never had any free time to myself before this. But 2 hours, not too much can be done, if i m to prepare dinner.

ok so I guess i hv overbaked, but am trying to get the golden brown effect. Maybe I shd try cheddar cheese, since i dun mind not having the pulling effect, infact, i dun see the pulling effect on my bake rice with mozz cheese.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hi, your website is very insightful to me. Was inspired. Was just wondering, what do you mean when you say you used a non-dairy cream? Is it egg whites? Thanks! Keep up the good posting and good food.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks!
I am refering to non-dairy whipping cream. There are two types of whipping cream, dairy and non-dairy. For the frosting of this cake, I used the non-dairy whipping cream. I got it from Phoon Huat, a baking supply store here. You just need to pour and whip to stiff. Hope this helps :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, your website is very inspiring for me... Just wanna ask, i had try your sponge cake.. the new chinese version, however, my sponge cake came out very hard.. not sure wat went wrong.. you have any idea.. is it over mixing of the flour?? Hope you can help me out..thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, as you didn't provide more details on how you went about making the sponge cake, I am not too sure what went wrong. Did the cake rise? If not, it could be due to the beating of the eggs...you have to beat till the batter double/triple the volume, becomes thick, and is able to form a ribbon like trail when u lift up the paddle. Did u get to this stage? The over mixing of the flour will probably give u a flat cake but I am not sure the texture will be hard? The other factor could be the oven temperature...are you able to bake the cake till golden brown by the recommended time...it could also be due to over baking.

Anonymous said...

Hi HHB,

Would like to know where u get your strawberry from, they always look so red and good. Plus so equal in size. Those from supermarket simply have all kinds of funny shapes in one punnet. thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, I get strawberries from supermarkets too. I try to choose similar sized ones to decorate the cake surface, and use those that have got odd shapes as fillings.

Anonymous said...

does half and ha;f work well like the non-dairy whipping cream?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, I think half and half is different from non-dairy whipping cream. I am not sure whether you are able to whip half and half? You may try dairy whipping cream if you cannot get the non-dairy ones. Hope this helps :)

#Maii~*~ said...

Hiie.. wow ii seen qutie afew of uur post. erm.. do u ever tiink of teaching ppl how tuu do them[cakes] like home teaching.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Maii, no, I am not qualified to teach...I have never attended any baking courses, not even workshops or demo classes ;)

starlight_150 said...

wahh your strawberries look so red and perfect. Is that what strawberries are all like in singapore? In Britain you can never get them like that

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Starlight, not all the strawberries are like that...but I chose the nicer onces for decorating the cake ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi HHB,

I bought from PH the whipping cream, one and only one under Redman, but they dont mention diary or non - diary. How you recongize that ?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, yes it is not stated, but from the ingredients and the purpose/use of this cream, it is non-dairy.

Anonymous said...

Hi HHB,

how long can we keep the whipped cream in freezer. I read on the red-man whipping cream pack that we can store the whipped product in the freezer but wasn't sure for how long. 1 Ltr was too much for me to consume at 1 go.. so was keeping it for further use for my next baking. Thanks.

Iceberries

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Iceberries, I usually store the whipping cream in clean glass bottles (1 cup/250ml each) and keep them in the freezer. I will use them up within a month or two. If I have any leftover for more than 3 months, I will usually discard them and get fresh ones. I tend to play safe than to have upset stomach especially when I have young kids at home.

Anonymous said...

How abt the whipped cream. Can it be stored for abt 1-2 mths. I kept it in a tupperware container.

I used this red-man whipping cream & it tasted really nice with a slight sweetness. I even make use of this with coco powder to make my chocolate cream puffs.. it was simply yummy.

Iceberries

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Iceberries, for whipped cream I guess you can only keep it for 2to 3 days in the fridge. I don't think you can freeze it.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Instead of using whipping cream to frost the cake, can I use egg white meringue frosting? Do you have any idea if meringue frosting will hold the shape of the cake?

Thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I am sorry I have not tried frosting a cake with egg white meringue. Not sure about your weather, but in our local warm weather here, it may not hold up well. Maybe you can try the Italian meringue buttercream, it can hold up better. You may refer to this site for the details: http://www.baking911.com/decorating/cakes_buttercream.htm

NEL, the batter baker said...

gorgeous gorgeous cake! The sponge layer looks really nice and moist. Gonna give your recipe a try :)

Denise..Xu said...

Hi HHB! :D
Denise here, was wondering, you have so many different types of making sponge cakes, which is the preferred recipe?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Denise, I like the one using 3 eggs for 18cm pan, ie the one I used to make the Santa Claus cake.

Anonymous said...

hi HHB. do you have this recipe suitable to make into 9 inch pan? thank you so much!

Chloe

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Chloe, sorry I do not have any recipe that is suitable for 9 inch pan.

Littlegastronomy said...

Hello Happy Homebaker,
I've just 'bumped' into your blog lately and I drool at your bakes! You not only bake well, you also have a great eye for photography, design and concept!

I'm a bit lost here.. can you tell me where can I find your recipe for the frosting of this strawberry cake? I'd love to try it when I can..

Thanks so much for your guidance! And do keep up the great bakes! :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Littlegastronomy, I used non-dairy whipping cream from Phoon Huat, it is already sweetened, so just need to whip it with an electric mixer. I use about 250ml - 375ml of cream which is enough to frost the cake.