July 30, 2013

Minnie Mouse Cake

When you encounter obstacles, don't turn your back on them. Face them, confront them, and you will see them dissolving in front of your eyes. ~Roopleen, Words to inspire the winner in YOU

I made another fondant character cake. This time, I did Minnie Mouse Cake, this is for my friend's daughter birthday. Yay! The flavor of the cake is Ube with Macapuno Filling because this is her daughter's favorite. Honestly, I faced many challenges while making the cake... but I learned a LOT from it! It's not easy but truly, challenges makes life more interesting and meaningful. I just want to share with you the story behind my Minnie Mouse Cake. Here it is...
It was my first time to make Ube cake so I let google do the searching for the best ube cake recipe, but I couldn't find one because most of the recipes were chiffon and they say that chiffon cannot hold the weight of the fondant. Thankfully after a long search, I've found one. I did my first batch but unfortunately the cake turned into greenish-purplish color (Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the cake - without fondant). Even though the taste was superior, I decided to make another cake because I didn't like the color. 

I added violet food gel on the second batch. But my heart shrunk when I saw the cake's color... it became darker and still has green parts! Whew! I've beating my brain at that moment trying to figure out the source of the problem. Then I read an article that baking soda may react to colors. So I decided to substitute baking powder instead of baking soda for the third batch. While baking, something odd happened. My cake didn't rise! Oh my, I did some research again and rechecked the recipe and procedure. I'm very sure I followed all the steps correctly. Then suddenly my eyes turned to the direction of the powdered sugar. BINGO! I found the culprit. Sadly, my third batch went all to the trash. 

It's already past midnight and I'm running out of ingredients. There's no room for mistakes again, I told to myself. I pray first before making the fourth batch, I needed guidance and strength. I moved out the powdered sugar in the counter and carefully followed the steps then bake the cake. After 45 minutes of patiently waiting the cake turned out better than what I'm expecting. It has rich purple color - no green parts... and not dry! Yehey! Thanks God I made it! 

Now you may think that this is the beginning of happy ending, ah~ah! I have some issues with fondant on the next day. It's humid at that time that's why my fondant became moist. Maybe it has something to do also with my buttercream frosting. It's very hard to work with moist fondant. You have to be careful not to touch anything because you might put finger prints on it, icky! NOT COOL! 

Another problem is I forgot to put the name of the celebrant, oh my! my blood pressure rose up to the roof! I have to remove some 2D minnie mouse heads on the side and patched the celebrant's name. Well, you really need a little creativity and lots of patience on this kind of work. When I finished designing the cake, I couldn't hold my tears from falling... seriously! I'm soooo happy to see the result of my hardwork. I thought I couldn't do it. But thanks God I made it!

Lessons I've learned:
1. Find a recipe that you're comfortable with. BUT if in case you have to make a cake that's new to you. Be sure to test the recipe beforehand so you'll know if there are problems with the cake. You have more time to experiment and do adjustments.
2. Don't buy exact ingredients. Make sure you have more than what you need.
3. Ask for assistance. The minnie mouse topper was created by my husband - Thank you Larry!
4. Be resourceful, creative, and most of all be patient!
5. Keep your working space organize and put LABELS on your storage jar.
6. Practice! Practice! Practice! No wonder, practice makes perfect.
7. If everything goes wrong and all your hopes are gone. Just stop... pause... and pray. Promise, prayer works wonders!

Happy day always,


July 19, 2013

Ginataang Monggo / Tutong (Sweet Mung Bean Porridge)

What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child. ~Lin Yutang

My all-time-favorite breakfast, merienda, and dessert - Ginataang Monggo! This is how I cooked my "tutong" (as what my nanay called it). I used the regular monggo beans (green ones), toast it until brown but not burnt. Some uses red monggo beans (brown ones) but I personally like the green monggo because you can crack it easily and you'll see if the beans are well toasted. I also used my ever reliable bottle to crack the toasted monggo. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor. Don't worry dear, you will never taste the salt. You may also reserve half cup of coconut cream for the toppings.

Make some ginataang monggo today and rediscover your childhood. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!
2 cups mung beans / monggo
1 cup glutinous rice / sticky rice / malagkit
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups coconut cream (first extraction) 
6 cups combination of coconut milk and water*
a pinch of salt

*the amount of coconut milk/water depends on the type of glutinous rice. Add or reduce water if necessary.

1. In a skillet, toast the monggo beans until brown in color. Put in a bowl and let it cool.

2. Gently crack it using bottle or mortar and pestle or rolling pin. De-hull the beans. 

3. Put the malagkit in a pot and wash it. Add the toasted monggo, coconut milk + water, and salt. Bring it to a boil. Then simmer over low-medium heat for 30-35 minutes or until the monggo and malagkit are cooked. Stir frequently. Add sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes.

NOTE: The longer it cooks, the more water the malagkit will absorbed. Add water if needed. Personally, I want my malagkit to be soft as much as possible.

4. Put the coconut cream. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat.

5. Serve hot or cold. Share and enjoy!

1. You may drizzle extra coconut cream for the toppings.
2. I personally like to eat it cold. Try chilling it overnight and you'll see the big difference in taste.
3. You may also use oatmeal instead of malagkit. But be sure to cook first the toasted monggo before adding the oatmeal. Also, adjust the amount of sugar and coconut cream/milk/water.

Happy day always,


July 7, 2013

Minion Cake

Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy! ~C. Joybell C.

My first ever character cake. Minion Cake!

Forgot to put hairs on my minions. Even though they didn't have hairs, my fans (hubby and son) told me that they were still cute and chubby. LOL! I'm still thinking at that moment how to put "greetings" on that space. I didn't have letter cutters so I need to write it. My hands were shaking, I'm really nervous, don't want my cake to be ruined because of my lousy writing. 

I really need lots of practice or better yet invest for alphabet cookie cutters. What do you think?

My minions are flat, aren't they? LOL! Just noticed it, after I'm finished making them. Well, they still look cute, aren't they? (Love your own) LOL!

A close-up of my minions. I baked my favorite chocolate cake recipe and used homemade marshmallow fondant. It tastes better than store bought fondant.

Fondant-cake-making is really a tedious job but if you put your heart into it, nothing is impossible. You'd surprise yourself what you can accomplish, just give yourself a chance. I'm really proud of myself and overjoyed that I finally made it! I am my own greatest critic and I'm happy that it exceeded my expectation. 

To God be the glory! 

Happy baking,


July 6, 2013

Buko Pandan (Young coconut with Pandan Jelly)

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

Buko Pandan is a Filipino classic. This contains buko (young coconut) shreds and pandan gulaman and mixed with sweetened cream. Some used bottled pandan extract or pandan flavored jelly but for me, nothing beats homemade fresh pandan extract. Yes, it's time consuming, but I'll guarantee you, it's really... really... worth it! So fresh, fragrant, and green!

2-3 pieces buko or young coconut, shredded
1 cup all purpose cream
1 small can condensed milk
pandan jelly/gulaman*, cubed

*Pandan Jelly/Gulaman:
2 cups pandan water (click this link for the step by step procedure of pandan water)
2 cups coconut water or plain water (or combination)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 sachet Mr. Gulaman, unflavored/white or green, dissolved in 1 cup water (gulaman-water mixture)


Pandan Jelly/Gulaman:

1. Put the pandan water, coconut water and/or plain water in a pot. Add sugar. Let it boil. Add the "gulaman-water" mixture in the pot. Stir until the gulaman dissolved completely. Turn off the heat. Put in a container. Let it cool and cut into cubes.

Buko Pandan:
1. Mix together the shredded buko, pandan jelly/gulaman, cream, and condensed milk.
2. Chill for a couple of hours.
3. Serve. Share and enjoy!

1. If you're using other jelly brand, check the package instructions and adjust the amount of water/coconut water you'll be using for your jelly/gulaman.
2. If fresh pandan/screwpine is not available, just use bottled pandan flavoring/extract, about 5 drops.
2. You may add tapioca pearls or sago, nata de coco, and/or kaong to your salad.
3. If you want to make buko salad, just add fruit cocktail. Add more cream and condensed milk.
4. You may also freeze this but keep in mind that the jelly or gulaman may change its texture. Personally, I like it frozen. 

Serving: 4-5 person
Happy day always,

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