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Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

The warmer months are upon us here in Melbourne, and with that, lots and lots of strawberries. My daughter put cream on the shopping list (“I thought of making ice cream.”) so I started having visions of Strawberry Shortcake. Wouldn’t you?

I absolutely love the internet because of the accessibility of information. Recipes galore, just by typing in keywords! And, unlike a conventional cookbook, these recipes have ratings and reviews. It’s great!

After looking at several recipes, I found a couple which looked great and easy to follow. Simplicity of instructions ranks high on my priority list when looking at recipes.

The following recipe is inspired by:

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Paw Paw Coconut Cake

When I say Paw Paw, I’m talking about the fatter, yellow-flesh cousin of the thinner, red-flesh papaya.

The fruit on the left is commonly known as paw paw here in Australia (note the spelling difference), but as papaw in the US.  (Yet, the website where the picture is from calls it pawpaw in the title. Go figure!)

Funnily enough, there is a pawpaw in the US that is a different fruit altogether.

The recipe below is for papaya or papaw, NOT the US pawpaw.

Got my inspiration from the recipes posted here and here.

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No Cake For You!

A few days ago, I came across an article about a Christian couple in Oregon who run a bakery. A lesbian couple ordered a wedding cake from them and the couple refused, because it violated their beliefs. As a result of this refusal, the lesbian couple decided to sue.

You can read more about it here.

Melissa posted a message that said they were vowing to stand firm in their faith. It read, in part:

“To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I, I want to say thank you. I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands. … Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and all powerful. I know He has a plan.”

The Grammar Nazi in me feels it necessary to point out that it is incorrect to say “To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I…” It needs to be, “To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and me….”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

The article points out various instances where businesses were compelled to serve customers whose lifestyles are in violation of the business owners’ religious, ie Christian, beliefs.

Aaron Klein, the bakery owner, said that he and his wife will not back down from their Christian beliefs.

“There’s nothing wrong with what we believe,” he says. “It’s a biblical point of view. It’s my faith. It’s my religion.”

Okay, let’s talk about that.

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Easy-Peasy Chocolate Cake

I was in a baking mood, and what I wanted to bake was Chocolate Cake.

Problem: Not enough butter. (I know, I know, how could that happen?)

So I did a search for chocolate cake using vegetable oil instead and came across this gem of a recipe: Chocolate Oil Cake. Firstly, do not let the name put you off. It is a cake using oil instead of butter. One of the commenters suggested a name change. Let’s hope the author will take note.



  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsps. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients. Mix by hand until smooth.
  4. Pour into 9×13 inch pan and bake at175C for 40 minutes or until baked through.
    World's Easiest Chocolate Cake (and very yummy, to boot)

    World’s Easiest Chocolate Cake (and very yummy, to boot)

    This cake was enough to provide dessert for our family of six over four nights. Not a bad deal, eh?

Pandan Layer Cake

Pandan Layer Cake

Pandan Layer Cake

This is my second attempt at Pandan Layer Cake. I relied mostly on the recipe I found at this blog. (Although the recipe says a ‘cake ring’, it is clearly a square cake tin that was used! Maybe there is a definition of ‘cake ring’ that I am not aware of.)


A. Cake

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. pandan paste mixed with 150 ml of water – Divide into two parts: 100ml and 50ml
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder, sift with flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda, sift with flour


  1. Beat eggs with castor sugar until creamy.
  2. Pour in 100ml of the pandan juice and cooking oil and mix until well-combined.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix until well-combined.

B. Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp. castor sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar


  1. Place all (B) ingredients in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks.
  2.  Immediately stir in roughly 1/3 of the meringue into the flour batter. With a flexible rubber or silicon spatula, fold in the meringue gently and mix well. Once a roughly homogenous mixture is achieved, add the rest of the meringue and repeat the gentle, light-handed folding process till the cake batter is well combined. Scoop from the bottom of the bowl to ensure no meringue or flour batter is left unmixed. Do not beat or overwork the batter as this will knock out the air you’ve put into the meringue.
  3. Pour batter into a 20-cm (8-in) square cake tin. Bake in moderate oven 180C for 40-45 minutes. While baking, the cake will rise considerably in the middle.
  4. When done, remove cake from oven to cool. The cake will shrink and flatten a bit. This is okay.
  5. When cool, remove from cake tin and slice cake into three layers. If necessary, trim the edges in preparation for the next part (may not be necessary).

C. Pandan Filling

  • 6 tbsp Hoen Kwee Powder
  • 50ml pandan juice (from Part A)
  • 10 drops of green food colouring
  • 700g thick coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 3 tsp agar-agar powder
  • 1 tsp pandan essence


  1. Dissolve Hoen Kwee flour into the pandan juice. Add green food colouring. Make sure the flour is fully dissolved and not lumpy. It will be thick and ‘sticky’.
  2. Add coconut milk, castor sugar, agar-agar powder and pandan essence into a pot. Heat with a low fire.
  3. When milk is just about to boil, turn off the fire. Pour in the Hoen Kwee flour/pandan juice solution. Stir well.
  4. Allow the pandan kaya filling to cool down slightly and thicken. Stir (with a whisk) while cooling.
  5. Place a layer of cake in a 20-cm (8-in) cake tin (I just re-use the one I baked the cake in earlier). Spread some filling on top and sides of the cake. Top with the second layer of cake. Repeat until you have 3 layers of cake and two layers of filling. Chill in fridge to set.
  6. Remove cake from cake tin.  Run a knife around the sides of the cake tin and turn it over onto a cake rack or plate. Then, turn the plate over onto another plate so the cake is right-side up again.
  7. Sprinkle/lightly press desiccated coconut on top and around sides of cake.
Inside view of Pandan Layer Cake.

Inside view of Pandan Layer Cake.



Orange Chiffon Cake

Got my inspiration from this blogpost. I added 1 tsp. of orange zest to the recipe.


Wet Ingredients

  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar


  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar


  1. Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together into another large bowl.
  3. Pour wet ingredients mixture into the dry ingredients.  Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  5. In small batches, gently fold meringue into the batter.
  6. Pour batter into a 25-cm (10-in) tube pan. Bake in 160C oven for one hour.
  7. When cake is done, take cake out of the oven and invert immediately, slotting the tube part over a narrow neck-like structure.  A bottle or a funnel works well.
  8. Let cake cool for at least one hour.
  9. When completely cooled, run a knife around the side and centre tube of the pan. Remove cake to a serving plate.
Orange Chiffon Cake

Orange Chiffon Cake

Four cakes in three weeks.  I’ve run out of flour and sugar!

Banana Chiffon Cake

I must be in a baking mood.  Three chiffon cakes in two weeks is not like me at all.

This time I attempted banana chiffon cake.

Banana Chiffon Cake  (Just ignore those patches)

Banana Chiffon Cake
(Just ignore those patches on top)

Could have been lighter (Yes, I realise that 'light' and 'banana cake' don't go together!)

Could have been lighter
(Yes, I realise that ‘light’ and ‘banana cake’ don’t go together!)


  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbps. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


1. In a large bowl, combine plain flour, sugar, baking powder and salt

2. In another bowl, combine mashed banana, vegetable oil, water, egg yolks and vanilla extract.

3. Make well in first bowl, pour contents of second bowl into the first. Beat until smooth.

4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks. Fold gently into the batter.

5. Pour into an ungreased 25-cm (10-inch) chiffon cake tin and bake at 160C for 70 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and turn upside down immediately, resting on some kind of support. (I used a large funnel.) Leave to cool. This can take over an hour.

7. Remove cake from pan and enjoy.


Chocolate Chiffon Cake

This is my second chiffon cake in ten days.  My first one, Pandan Chiffon Cake, was a good first attempt if I do say so myself.

Today, I decided to try my hand at Chocolate Chiffon Cake.


  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 egg whites
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

I followed the recipe found here, except I used eight egg whites and seven egg yolks (instead of the seven of each given in the recipe).

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Verdict:  Very nice, light and moist.  Not super sweet, which is fine by me.  You could always put icing on it to make it sweeter.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Pandan Chiffon Cake is one of my favourite cakes. Light, airy, fragrant and oh, so delicious!

Up to now, whenever I had a hankering for Pandan Chiffon Cake, I had to go to the Asian Grocery Store to buy one.

Well, no more.

After watching various YouTube videos and reading several online recipes, I decided to try my hand at making my own.

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Coffee Walnut Cake


  • 250g butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp. coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ milk


  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and beat until evenly mixed.
  3. Stir in coffee and coconut milk.
  4. Alternatively stir in the self-raising flour and the milk, one-third at a time until well-mixed.
  5. Add in walnuts and stir.
  6. Pour into well-greased cake tin and bake in moderate oven for 30-40 minutes.
Coffee Walnut Cake

Coffee Walnut Cake

Coffee Walnut Cake Slice

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