A Season of Giving

Sour cream, pear & raspberry cake

Time really flies! It’s December already and this month only means one thing – Christmas is near! Christmas is no doubt my favourite festive season (and Chinese New Year of course) and I’m already counting down to the 25th! As school has ended for me a couple of days back, I decided to make something for some of my colleagues as a thank you + christmas gift. Nothing is more meaningful than a homemade present yes? hehe

As I was searching through what I wanted to make, I thought of making the ricotta pound cake I made a couple of weeks ago, and just add mixed berries into the batter to make it look a bit more festive. But I’ve ben hearing lots about the Bourke Street Bakery sour cream pear cake from the food blogger community who were lucky enough to try some that was made by Mich, The Bakeanista, at the blogger’s picnic recently. Miss D also made it recently and said that I should definitely give it a go cause it was really delicious! With so many raving reviews, I couldn’t not give it a try (: So glad I did though, cause it was so good! Super moist and Mich suggested adding fresh raspberries, which I did, and it made the cake look really pretty! So thank you! (:

Cut rounds out of the cake

And instead of slicing it up into the normal wedge, I decided to use a scone cutter to cut them into rounds instead before placing them into the plastic wrappers. Although I made a mess, it was all worth it, and might I add, fun! haha

Sour cream pound cake in a jar

And what did I do with the left over pieces and crumbs? What I love to do : put them into jars and layer them with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and added more fresh raspberries! A combination I could easily (and happily) have every night if my waistline permits me to. 😛 Oh well! hehe Thank you again Mich for sharing the recipe! All my colleagues enjoyed the cake very much! YAY!

BSB Sour Cream Pear & Raspberry Cake (Adapted from The Bakeanista)

250g unsalted butter

250g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

4 eggs, room temperature

200g sour cream

300g self-raising flour, sifted

1 3/4 pears (about 400g, tinned), sliced into quarters

18-20 fresh raspberries

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line baking paper at the base of a 28cm baking tin, and spray the sides with olive oil evenly.

2) In a mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix till well combined.

3) Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well incorporated before each addition.

4) Alternate the flour and sour cream and mix it on low speed till well combined. Use a spatula to scoop the batter into the tin, and spread it out until the top is smooth. Arrange the pear quarters evenly around the tin, and place the raspberries in the spaces between them.

5) Bake for 40 mins, then cover the baking tin with foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

All baked and being cooled on the rack

6) Remove from the oven and allow it to cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. If you intend to cut rounds out of the cake, do make sure the cake is completely cooled before doing so, or it would crumble! Sprinkle icing sugar on top before serving! Enjoy!

All wrapped up!

Remember to always cook and bake with love ! (:

Jelly Hearts

Ever since I started being more active in the blogging world, I’ve been really blessed with meeting new friends! Recently, I was invited to attend Peach-water’s birthday dinner but cause I was down with really bad hayfever, I told her that we’ll rearrange dinner and I would make her something special. (: I couldn’t think of anything better but some strawberry jelly hearts!

If you feel that these pretty cakes look familiar, I did make them ages ago and did a post on it. But I went back to look at it and the photos were so small! So here I am, re-doing the post and sharing the recipe again. It’s really interesting to see the difference a few years on! (:

I have to say, these are not difficult to make, just time consuming as you have to make sure each layer is set properly before starting on the next! The most important layer is the jelly layer, as you have to allow the jelly mixture to cool before pouring onto the cream cheese layer, to get a clear jelly layer! (: Patience, is the key when making this!

I used to only use vanilla essence when making the cream cheese filling, but I decided to use vanilla bean paste this time round. There is just something magical when you see the little black dots! And the flavour it gives the cream cheese is not comparable to just using the essence. If you do have vanilla beans, please give it a try!

These little rectangular cheesecakes with a heart in the middle make beautiful gifts for your loved ones and your friends. So the next time you are thinking of what to get for them, why not give these a try? Nothing can compared to things made with love!

Jelly Hearts 

Base : 

320g digestive biscuits

160g melted unsalted butter

Cheese Filling :

250g cream cheese

2 1/4 tsp gelatine powder

70g caster sugar

150ml hot water

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

8 medium sized strawberries

Jelly Topping : 

2 packets of strawberry flavoured jello (170g)

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups room temp water

Steps :

1) For the base : Place the biscuits in a ziplock bag, and crush them till they are fine, making sure there are no big chunks. Pour them into a large bowl, and mix in the melted butter.

2) Pour them into the base of a 9×9 square baking tray. Press onto the base and make sure it’s really compressed and make it as flat as you can. Prick the base with a fork and chill for at least 15 minutes.

3) For the cheese filling : Cut the strawberries into half. Using a small heart shape cutter, cut hearts out of the strawberry halves and place them on a plate lined with paper towel.

4) Place gelatine and sugar in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

5) In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste together and slowly add the gelatine syrup gradually until smooth. Pour it over  the base. Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes then place the strawberry hearts, partially submerged in the cheese filling. Place it back into the fridge and refrigerate for 2 hours.

6) For the jelly topping : Dissolve the jello in hot water and stir well. Add the room temperature water and allow it to cool completely before pouring over the cheese filling. (Use a ladle and slowly pour the mixture over the strawberries instead of the cheese to keep the jello clear!)

7) Chill it in the fridge for another 2 hours or overnight for the best results.

Enjoy! (: And Happy Hatchday once again my dearest friend!

*Note : When slicing, make sure you clean the knife after every cut. It might seem difficult to get them out without it being messy, but start with the corner and use a spetula to help you. Once you have the first piece out, the rest would be a breeze! 

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

A Sweet Affair

Remember my last visit at Mr Hive’s Kitchne & Bar? Yes. I went back for more. This time I brought my mr and his family for a very special occasion: My in-law’s 29th wedding anniversary! I was so glad I decided to bring them there cause we were pampered from the very moment we were shown to our tables!

As I did let Mr Hive know, when I was booking the table, that we were celebrating a wedding anniversary, we were given a glass of champagne each to start the dinner off! I knew instantly that it was going to be a spectacular night! I couldn’t stop smiling and my in-laws were definitely really happy! (:

Mr Hive’s Kitchen & Bar

Address : 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank Vic 

Phone : 03 9292 8300

Though the service was exemplary for the whole night, the highlight of the evening was definitely when we adjourned to the dessert bar to fix our sweet tooth! I don’t usually have second posts for food reviews, but our experience that night is definitely worthy of my double post! Please do not get me wrong, the food was delicious, but we pretty much had the same dishes as my first visit, so I thought I would just focus on the desserts. Besides, who doesn’t like desserts? hehe Miss D would be with me on this! haha

We were lucky to dine at Mr Hive’s on a week night, so it was quite quiet and there was an empty dessert bar waiting for us! Having never seen a pastry chef plate desserts before, it was a great first experience for the mr and his family as well!

The moment we sat down, we were greeted by the friendly pastry chef – Chef Mario! We looked through the menu and ordered instantly. Then he started plating desserts. It was like watching a cook show right infront of our eyes! Although it was my second time, I still enjoyed it. You could tell he took pride in every single dessert he was plating.

He started plating individual portions of the yoghurt mousse with rhubarb compote and szechuan ice cream. We thought it was for another table, as we didn’t order actually this. Little did we know, it was a complimentary dessert for us as a gift for my in-law’s wedding anniversary again! Are they amazing or what? Not one but two gifts! The flavours just complimented each other. There was the lightness of the mousse with the slight hint of spiciness from the ice cream and crunch of the white chocolate crumble. NOMS!

Then came the apple tart tatin which had another surprise for my in-laws. They not only wrote happy anniversary on the board, but   also came with candles! That really made all of us smile! The tart tatin was perfect. The apples were so well caramelised and the tart was crispy and buttery. It was made to order, so it was still piping hot when served! Together with brandy cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Match-made in heaven!

Chef Mario portioned it and even gave each of us a scoop of ice cream to go with our slice! It was so good, I could continue eating it the whole night! There’s just something about a dessert that had both cold and hot elements. Makes my taste buds tingle (:

Of course, I couldn’t not order the Mr Hive’s chocolate bar when I dine at Mr Hive’s. It’s rich and decadent and the base is crunchy! If you know me, you know I love desserts with different textures. This definitely tick all the boxes! hehe And you know what’s even better?

This.

Chef Mario took the plate before I could, and split it into 5 portions and re-platted them individually with a beautifully quenelled peanut ice cream! In fact, the one that was served with the whole chocolate bar melted slightly, and he threw that away and quenelled 5 more for us! That’s how much pride he takes in his desserts! We were so impressed! hehe

The last dessert we ordered was of course the ricotta cheesecake because my mr’s dad loves cheesecake! Plus it was one of the prettiest desserts I’ve ever seen!

Of course, Chef Mario presented the dessert and then took it and replated it into individual portions again! What’s more amazing is that there were only 4 pieces of cheesecake but he just added another cause there were 5 of us!

How pretty is the individual portions? Every single plate looked like that. How could you not be touched? I couldn’t stop saying “wow!” both verbally and in my head. haha

And just you think there can’t be more. He picks up 5 glass bottles and starts preparing the grand finale! He started squeezing some chocolate milk with milo powder and tops the glass bottles with a salted caramel truffle! Trust me. That’s like the best truffle you will ever have. You bite into it and there’s an explosion of salted caramel in your mouth. LOVE.

I absolutely adore the straws they give to slurp the delicious, thick chocolate milk. I really need to go get some from Wheel & Barrow! hehe (:

So I can definitely say it was a night we will definitely remember! And we left Mr Hive’s with happy bellies!

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my dearest in-laws! It was great to celebrate this special day with the whole family! (: Our compliments to the chef and staff of Mr Hive’s! Thank you so much for making this day even more special than it already is!

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