Posts Tagged ‘carrot cake’

Craftsmen Specialty Coffee Siglap Revisited

Since my first visit to Craftsmen Specialty Coffee at Siglap, I’ve been back a couple of times especially at night after dinner at one of my favourite cze char outlets nearby. It’s a nice cafe to go to because it is more spacious than most other cafes, and I can usually find a seat to huddle in with my parents. The older folks don’t really like having to wait you know.

If you’re an Eastie and like Craftsmen Specialty Coffee, you might be glad to know they have opened another branch at Eastwood near Tanah Merah. I’ll blog more about that in the next post, but first, some pictures I took of our visit last week during the 1st day of Chinese New Year.

Craftsmen Specialty Coffee Siglap (4)

Craftsmen Specialty Coffee Siglap (6)

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Pies and Coffee

Recently the Partner wanted to have his cake and eat it, so we drove down Tanjong Katong Road to try our luck. There are quite a number of eateries along Tanjong Katong Road, but they’re mostly full-fledged eateries or for some inexplicable reason, ice-cream shops. Now if you’re hankering after ice-cream, you have to come to Tanjong Katong Road because there are at least 3 ice-cream cafes to choose from in that short stretch!

I used to think that the East was lacking in coffee hangout places, but I’m glad to report back that the situation is slowly changing. It’s still not as good as what I would like it to be (think Duxton Hill, Tiong Bahru etc), but the East is slowly heating up! The amazing thing about Tanjong Katong Road is that every time I drive past, I spy yet another new eatery! I’m hoping for the day when Tanjong Katong Road becomes the Holland V or Duxton Hill of the East!

Pies and Coffee - Hot Chocolate $5 (2)

This time round, I was in luck, cuz I spied TWO new cafes sited near to each other. We checked out Pies and Coffee since the other one seemed to have run out of cakes. If Pies and Coffee sounds familiar, that’s because they have another outlet in Rochester Mall, opened in 2011. I haven’t been to the Rochester Mall outlet, but from the pictures, it seems the Tanjong Katong outlet is much smaller, fitting about 6 tables indoors, and 4 al-fresco.

I have heard that their pies are pretty good. Wouldn’t it be funny if they weren’t? Anyway, we were there for desserts and coffee so this is what we had.

Pies and Coffee - Chocolate Almond Tart $8.95  (1)

Chocolate Almond Tart $8.95

Luscious chocolate cake or chocolate almond tart? In the end I went for the Chocolate Almond Tart as I wanted to compare it with my favourite chocolate tart from 40Hands in Tiong Bahru.

I have to say, the 40Hands chocolate tart still is the best chocolate tart I have ever tasted. It’s way smaller, only about the size of your palm. but the chocolate is much thicker and firmer, resulting in a much richer taste and texture in the mouth. The tart case enveloping the chocolate is also more buttery. So even though it’s small and costs $9, it’s worth every penny.

The Chocolate Almond Tart from Pies and Coffee is very good too. In terms of texture, the chocolate is slightly softer but the added almonds makes up for it. Have you tried the Chocolate Mendiant from Tiong Bahru Bakery? The texture is similar, but the Mendiant is slightly richer and sweeter. In terms of size, this tart wins hands down as 3 people were able to share it without quarrelling. In totality, because the Chocolate Almond Tart is bigger, you still feel like you’ve had a rich and sinful treat.

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Cake Baking at Baking Industry Training Centre

Being an ardent fan of the cafe culture, I am often smitten by the pretty and delicious cakes and pastries on display at the various cafes in Singapore. When I see those mouth watering creations, not only do I want to eat them, I want to replicate them myself! Watching Nigella, Hugh Fearnley and Anna Olsen churning out sweet treat after sweet treat on the Food Network makes my heart pound with envy. Their cakes look so decadent yet my creations look fit for the dustbin.

They say baking is like Chemistry lessons. Follow the recipe accurately and you won’t go wrong. The problem is, the recipes often aren’t very clear. I mean like what the hell is cream until light and fluffy? How should I know exactly how light and exactly how fluffy? Would that be 5 minutes of creaming, or is it 8? One issue I used to have is that my cakes invariably turn out rather dense. Was it because I reduced the sugar and the butter, which resulted in the flour ratio being higher? Or was it due to the under-creaming? Or was it due to the curdled mess that I get every time I add eggs to the batter? No idea.

Push came to shove, I finally signed up for baking lessons this year. Which is the best place to learn baking in Singapore? After scouring the net for reputable baking classes to attend, I discovered the names of a few big players

  1. At Sunrice GlobalChef Academy
  2. Creative Culinaire
  3. Baking Industry Training Centre

There are others but they mostly focus on short courses. These 3 baking schools above provide in-depth basic to advanced levels of baking knowledge, ranging from cake making, to bread making to pastry making. And each of these 3 schools have their advantages and disadvantages.

At Sunrice is good because it is tied up with WDA and you can get up to 90% subsidy if you take the diploma classes. Of course, you must want to do a full fledged diploma in order to enjoy that huge discount.

Creative Culinaire is expensive, but I hear lessons are mostly taught by the owner of the school Judy Koh. I have also taken one of her baking workshops and I found her to be very good and detailed. She holds several diplomas, one of which is from the Culinary Institute of America.

Baking Industry Training Centre or BITC is the cheapest of the lot so guess what? I signed up with BITC. Okay another huge reason was because I wanted to get started ASAP, ride on the momentum you know, and they had something starting in January 2012, so I hopped on board.

BITC also has its pros and cons. As I mentioned, without a subsidy, BITC is the cheapest. However, BITC is also very “no-frills”, to the extent whereby you have to bring your own spoons, spatulas and knives. You will have those handy because you will be required to pay for a toolbox costing $150. BITC also happens to be a place where lots of people come here to learn how to become a baker. So classes are catered to teaching students how to operate in commercial kitchens and not the home kitchen. The pace is also pretty slow so as to cater to all skill levels. If you want a job as a baker, a BITC cert will allow you to do so.

Have you ever heard of sponge gel and emulsifiers? These are ingredients that will be used at BITC. These ingredients go into the cheap cakes you buy from the cheap bakeries as putting those ingredients into the cake actually makes the cake soft, fluffy and idiot proof to make. If you’re concerned about putting margarine or palm oil in your cake as compared to pure butter, it will be a shock to the system when you see yourself using them anyway because you obviously can’t just sit there and twiddle your thumbs. Oh and lastly, you can only bring home half of whatever you make.

Despite all my misgivings about BITC, I think I still had fun learning all about cake baking. I have never made so many cakes in my life in such a short span of time. And the best part is, everyone loves my cakes! Sure there are areas to improve on, but it has been such a vast improvement from what I used to churn out that I’m already very satisfied with the results. Hey my grandmother asks for my cakes everyday. That’s proof of the pudding isn’t it?

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (7)

Where else can you find a 365days2play brownie?

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (12)

These are the cakes we made for our mid term exams. Mine is the second column from the left, with the exception of the chiffon cake. I baked the chiffon on the right, but I unmoulded someone else’s cake by mistake. Darn, and the unmoulding was quite good if I say so myself. Look at the wreck on the right!

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (10)

My masterpieces…

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (18)

Pandan Chiffon on the left. Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting and marzipan carrots.

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (19)

Tiger skin. I have never heard of tiger skin before until the class, and whaddya know, I saw it at the shops a few days later.

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (8)

Gugelhoph. The best tasting cake I’ve made to date. Love the nutty flavours!

Baking Industry Training Centre Cake Baking Class (17)

There you go, the infamous sponge gel. Just the sight of that neon orange colour puts me off. Plus it’s so sticky and oily! Urgh! I don’t know who on earth invented this, but the bakers love it as it makes their job easy. You can buy sponge gel from Phoon Huat. Why you’d want to, I don’t know.

Baking Industry Training Centre Pte Ltd (BITC)
201 Keppel Road, Level 11 Annexe Block
Singapore 099419

Telephone:+65 6276 6337

Fax:+65 6276 6608

Operation Hours

Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm

Saturday 8:30am – 12:30pm

Closed on Sunday and Public Holidays

Taste Paradise at ION Orchard

I normally spend about $75 for 4 people when I dine at my favourite dim sum restaurants. It helps that my favourite dim sum restaurants some how seem to have perennial promotions going on. However, the other day when I dined with my good friend YJ, I also spent $75 for 2 people. It’s a wonder how we managed to even finish the food. And tip to self, never let a guy do the ordering or all the items will most likely be fried.

Taste Paradise - Crispy Skin Pork Belly

One of my favourite all time dishes, the crispy skin pork belly. Can’t find anyone out there who dislikes this. I love how the mustard is presented.

Taste Paradise - Crispy Spring Roll with Smoked Duck Meat

Crispy spring roll with smoked duck meat – Smoked duck meat in spring roll is quite a unique dish but it was a little difficult to detect and appreciate the duck since there was very little of it.

Taste Paradise - Deep Fried Prawn in Beancurd Skin Roll

Deep fried prawn in beancurd skin. Quite nice but too oily. The skin is way to fried. I prefer the types found in Royal China where the skins still remain very thin and flat.

Taste Paradise - Deep Fried Prawn with Mango Roll

Deep fried prawn with mango roll. Also nice but too much cream in the mango roll which made this really way too sinful and hard to appreciate the mango and prawn flavours.

Taste Paradise - Har Gow

Stick to the steamed items. They are much better. The prawn dumplings were succulent, juicy and large!

Taste Paradise - Steamed Rice Roll with Scallop

Prawn rice roll

Taste Paradise - Special Fried Carrot Cake

Carrot cake fried in special sauce. Ok seriously, I didn’t really detect any special sauce and I think my neighbourhood chai tow kuay stall does a better version.

Taste Paradise - Mini Egg Tart Egg tarts

Taste Paradise - Vegetable Water

Vegetable water. Stick to tea.

Taste Paradise (2) Taste ParadiseTaste Paradise - Dim Sum Menu

This visit to Taste Paradise was rather disappointing for me. I blame it on the fact that we didn’t order the right things. My first visit to Taste Paradise was so much better.

 

Taste Paradise

No.2 Orchard Turn
#04-07 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6509 9660  
Fax: 6509 9661

http://paradisegroup.com.sg/taste/

Carrot Cake

Just felt this urge to post something but I didn’t want to have to do a full length feature for now. Here’s some pictures of carrot cake consumed some time ago. Actually it’s not that fantastic and I’m sure there must be loads of places serving better carrot cake. But this stall is near my place, and for convenience’s sake, it’s quite okay. Do you know of any good carrot cake out there? I would love to try them out. Carrot cake aka Chai Tao Kuay is one of my favourite sinful local foods! But first, I need to amass some makan kakis to go try these stuff out. By the way, I happen to like the black one more than the white one.

Carrot Cake (2)

Carrot Cake (3)

Carrot Cake

PS: Carrot cake in Singapore refers to fried radish cake! Check out wikipedia if you want to know more!

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