Tag Archives: Family

A Birthday Wrapped up in a Pseudo Red Velvet Cake :)

It was Sammy’s birthday (few weeks ago!)!! She turned a quarter of a century old and it was definitely time to celebrate!

We started off the celebrations in the weekend with her special request of a red velvet birthday cake. All well and good – if only I knew what went into a red velvet cake! Colouring? Dye? Few vegetables mixed together? So here I am a novice, armed with Dr.Google searching for the easist red-velvet cake recipe that I could find.

BUT who knew that a red cake can be so complicated? From research, many bloggers argue about what is and what isn’t a red velvet cake and different people put different things to make the cake red – most people (including the recipe found in Nigella Lawson’s cookbook) use red colouring to make the cake red, which technically would be the easier option, but was told, not the tastiest option.

Which way to go was confirmed when Miss Sammy said that she wanted a red velvet cake au naturale (I know, how picky right?!?!). So I throw away that thought of red dye in my sponge and start the research for red velvet cake from scratch, pressing all the ‘x’s on my tabs for those that had red dyes in their recipe.

From the recipes and some blog posts that we have found, it looks like it depends on the acidity of the cake that produces that red colour. Too little acidity, and the cake will turn to ‘purple satin’ or dark brown (almost chocolatey like) – so the key to create and maintain that red colour is…use the reddest natural vegetable/fruit you can find, and maintain the acidity in the cake. YUP! sounds easy enough…RIGHT?

Because I had no experience baking a red velvet cake, I used the recipe from Sophistimum (thank you! It was an awesome recipe! And yours looked MUCH better!) pretty much word for word, except for the natural cocoa which I didn’t have, but I have read that it is crucial that you use natural instead of dutch-processed cocoa because that maintains the acidity in the cake. Hence the result of my rich, dark PURPLE cake. I have to find this natural cocoa! But the result was so GOOD, so moist and so rich, and for those who don’t like beetroot, you can hardly taste it in the cake. I would definitely try this again, and this time with natural cocoa (because I found where I can buy it – Koko Black!). Next time, it will be called High Class Red Velvet Cake…

Natural Red Velvet Cake - No Colouring

Red Velvet Cake (Adapted from Sophistimum)

2 large beetroots (enough for 1 1/2 cups puree)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
230g unsalted butter, softened
250g of cream cheese, softened slightly
2 cups castor sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons natural (not dark or dutch processed) cocoa powder


  1. Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees celcius. Cut up the beetroot into large chunks and then place them on a roasting tray and pour in a cup of water. Then, roast the beetroot for about an hour until cooked through and soft, then take it out to let it cool.
  2. Meanwhile, line the bases and sides of 3 cake pans with baking paper and set aside.
  3. When the beetroot has cooled down, blend and puree the beetroot along with the lemon juice and vinegar in your handy food processor until you have a lovely puree of beetroot (yummm – some members in my family will beg to differ!)
  4. Preheat your oven again to 180 degrees celcius. In your mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, and then add in the sugar until the batter is well combined.
  5. Add the eggs in one at a time into the batter, just incorporating the egg into the batter before adding another one in. Then mix in the vanilla essence.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder). Then add the dry ingredients in the beetroot batter and fold until well combined.
  7. Then, divide the cake batter equally into the 3 prepared pans. We used measuring cups to help us divide them up equally, but you don’t have to be so OCD like us!
  8. Then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through (you’d know when you put in a toothpick or skewer through the middle of the cake and it comes out clean). Then invert them onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 packets cream cheese, at room temperature
230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using a whisk attachment, combine all of the above into the bowl of your mixer and mix until fluffy, smooth and enough to be spreadable.


Decorations were simple for Sammy’s cake – all I did was buy boxed marzipan (from one of the shelves off Coles) and red dye. Then I infused the marzipan with the red dye until the desired colour (remember to use gloves when doing this, or you get blood on your hands!! sorry, bad joke). And then I rolled it out and used flower cutters to cut out the outer layer and a nozzle tip to make the round, circular middle. Then decorate it around the cake as desired! My inspiration came from…believe it or not Bakery Story (iphone game!).


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BFTP: Our Typical Christmas Family Feast

I call this the Blast from the Past Series – these series will welcome you into our world before we started venturing into the world of blogging. These can be our past attempts, our journeys of food delights back home in Malaysia or travels overseas done pre-2011.

For this series, let me bring you back to Christmas 2010 (I know, it’s not that much of a blast – but the time machine lacks some steam at this point 😛 PUN totally intended!).

Let me tell you a little of our Christmas tradition, we always meet on Christmas Eve together as an extended family (I know, not on Christmas day? – Shock horror!) and each family we will bring a dish to share, most of the time we have Chinese food as a get together rather than the traditional Christmas ham etc. We did try buying a turkey once, but it got too expensive…plus it was a bit dry, which was probably why I don’t even eat much turkey now.

We usually try and make our way home on Christmas and New Year, and last year we did along with all our goodies.

Biscuits Snacks Chinese-New-Year-Goodies

I always look forward to going home firstly to see dad, mum, becks, my cousins, aunts and uncles, but secondly, to eat all the food! I usually have a list of things that I want to eat once we touch down (MAMAK! HOKKIEN MEE!) and of course my parent’s delicious homecook food. It’s always the meals that are cooked from the heart that tastes the best.

So this year, all the family came together again. We had a huge debate about what food we will have for Christmas. Some of us wanted to deviate from the usual and not have Chinese but instead have a western meal. But SOME members of the family threaten to boycott our dinner if they didn’t have roast pork!! The nerve!! So we caved, and last year, we had roast pork (as demanded).

Mum wanted to cook prawns but we couldn’t find good, large prawns anywhere, so she came up with Plan B and made Asparagus wrapped in bacon. All she did was wrap the bacon around the asparagus and then it was drizzled with olive oil. It turned out rather good! Considering that was not her original plan!

Asparagus with Bacon

Then there was steamed chicken and fish…

Chinese-dinner fried-fish steam-chicken


Baby-Buk-Choy Stir-Fry

…and the pride of the table…the ROAST PORK…! Yummm….! I guess it was worth missing out on the Western Christmas meal!

Roast-Pork crispy-skin-pork

This was what we ate that night, I have to tip my hats to all the chefs – I reckon I am so privileged to have such wonderful cooks in our family. Every dish was yummy and like all our Christmas meals we were FULLY satisfied…aahh…to taste that roast pork again…

Chinese Christmas

Wow, that brought me on a bit of a salivating journey back home…just looking at the pictures tickled my senses! I can’t wait for the next Christmas! What will it be? Western or Eastern? I reckon we will always lose out to that roast pork.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Ok, back to reality now….It is April Fool’s day for a reason!


Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Blast from the Past, Malaysian


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