When my sister suggested we set up a Dessert Table at our place when my relatives came over for the annual Chinese New Year house visiting, my immediate response was “sure!”. She gladly prepared two items (which later and wonderfully turned to three), and I prepared three. It was an easy task for me. I have held three open house cakes parties efore, and served up five different cakes each time. No matter how many it all boils down to planning, planning, and planning. But this time around, I surprised myself by finishing all three by 10am on the day itself. It probably wasn’t the best idea since I spent the greater part of the afternoon hovering around my cakes, picking at the crumbs – generally being all greedy.
However deciding on the three cakes was hard! I have many favourite recipes and many more on my bucket list. As usual, I flip-flopped between the lists many times until two days before when I forced myself to concretized so that I could churn out a grocery list and baking schedule. In the end, I decided on Roasted Blueberry No-Bake Cheesecake, Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cake from her newest “Cakes” book, and a Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake from “The Clandestine Cake Cake Club” cook book.
My Mum specifically requested for the Roasted Blueberry Cheesecake which turned out to be the first cake that was wiped clean from the cake stand. It never fails to surprise me how popular and well-received the cake is. Maybe so because I would never have believed my own recipe would be so successful. This time around I amped up the blueberries; three boxes instead of the usual one or two. This was achieve a fuller more decadent look. While the onslaught on blueberries was most inviting, it did not hold up well outside the fridge and “bled” into the cake. Although it did not deter my relatives, I reckon tidying and neatening up is the way forward.
The Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake was exactly as the title called it and blew me away again! This time I splurged on some very expensive, healthy dates, and it almost turned the cake into a human being. When warm the tenderness of the cake and the deep sweetness from the dates sang in my mouth. When cool, the dates deepened in flavoured, turned earthy, and continued to sing in everyone’s mouth. I served alongside Toffee sauce in a teapot set over a little burner so that it would always be warm. Again, a hugely popular decision. The toffee sauce was made using muscovado sugar – another indulgence but boy was it worth it! It was sweet but not cloying so. The sweetness was not as jarring compared to the use of brown sugar, and it was a milder and smoother form that continued to develop in the mouth.
Oh, and when the cake was fresh out of the oven, I did a toffee soak. I used a pastry brush to brush the toffee sauce over the top of the cake, and when the cake was slightly cooled I turned it over and did another soak. The way Serious Eats wrote about. This ensured a glossy moist sticky cake that shined bright like a diamond.
The date cake was tight; a textural success.
I baked Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cake in a bundt pan purely for a variation-in-appearance purposes. I poured a cream cheese glaze over and let it flowed down sensually. Finally, inspired by Sticky Fingers Bakery I topped roasted shredded carrots which I had reserved earlier from those going into the cake, and sprinkled pearl sugar over for a glamourous look.
My cousin declared this cake to be better than Cedele’s. I am not going to take much credit for this as Martha is always reliable. All I did was follow the recipe to the tee and success ensued. Moistness, texture, multiple flavours from the variety of spices in the recipe, and the earthiness of the carrots were all present. It was a no holds barred carrot cake recipe that was intended to astound and definitely achieved it.
The recipe resulted in mammoth amount of batter which I delightfully baked into mini muffins and were the most ideal snack poppers.