On this one day, Valentine’s Day, everyone is allowed to indulge their sweet tooth to the utmost.
My way of doing so this year, is by baking one of my favorite cakes, a pound cake, and decorating it pink ^_^ Here’s my recipe, enjoy:
My Pretty Valentine’s Cake
Valentine’s Day Pound Cake
Ingredients: – 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
– 1/2 cup Sugar
– 2 Eggs (beaten)
– 2 cups Self Rising Flour
– 1/8 teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 cup Milk
– 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1.) Preheat oven to 350°F/ 180°C. Grease and flour a round 6 inch cake pan and set aside.
2.) In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until white (about 3-5 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla, beat until well incorporated.
3.) Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl (flour and salt). Fold the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, until your batter is of a drop consistency.
4.) Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until skewer or clean knife inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.
5.) Remove pan from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes, remove cake from pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Cool completely and then* frost the cake. Enjoy!
P/S: You can also use margarine instead of un-salted butter; if you do, don’t use salt. * Use the link to make frosting for the cake and add the color of your choice for your frosting. Use liquid pink food color, at least 1/2 teaspoon.
‘Tis the season for love and everyone is busy planning for Valentine’s day, whether it is for that special someone in your life, or just a special friend or family member.
Most of us may be wondering what kind of gift to get our loved ones for that special day. Gift buying can be confusing at times, so I’ve put together a few ideas that are both helpful and budget-friendly to guide you in your gift-buying endeavor.So whether it’s this weekend or on the actual Valentine’s day, use these ideas to help you have a no-stress Valentine’s gift giving day ^_^
GIFT IDEAS FOR HER
1. Beauty Gift Bag
This is an especially good idea if you want that special lady to know how thoughtful you are. Some supermarkets are offering gift bags for beauty products for ladies. You can choose from a variety of products for her.
Eco-friendly beauty gift bag
It would be even better if you have an idea what that special lady’s favorite scent is e.g. vanilla, apple or citrus. Then choose the products with that in mind. If you’re a creative person, you can go the extra mile by assembling a gift bag yourself. You only need to purchase an empty gift bag and tissue paper or crepe paper,then purchase some beauty products you would like to gift, for example; a body wash with a matching lotion and a scented candle. Then assemble the gifts into the bag and voila! you have a custom-made beauty gift bag.
2. Spa Gift Voucher
Ladies love spas, they love to be pampered and taken care of. Another perfect gift to give that special lady in your life is a spa gift voucher. It gives her a chance to take a day off and relax, all thanks to you ^_^! If you know of a great spa near her, visit and ask them if they give gift vouchers, they’ll be sure to assist you.
3. Pastry Gift Baskets
If that special lady has a “sweet tooth” like some of us do, you can treat her to a gift basket of her favorite pastry or pastries. Many bakeries, especially here in Nairobi, offer gift hampers/baskets with select baked products for special occasions, get her one and she’ll definitely appreciate it. You can try out an Amari Chiffon Cake as a gift as well.
We’ve all heard the saying, “A diamond is a girl’s best friend.” There’s truth to that.You may not be able to get that special lady a diamond (and if you can, please do ^_^), but these days there are many other options for jewelry types. If you know her preference, you can buy her a set of a necklace and earrings, or bracelet and earrings as a gift. Varieties include; gold, silver, beads and crystals. Make sure you have it wrapped in a presentable box for her and she will truly appreciate it.
Beaded bracelet and earring set
5. Flowers, Chocolates and Dinner
If you want to keep it simple and classic, treat that special lady to dinner and present her with flowers and chocolates. Most ladies love flowers and chocolates; who can resist a wonderful candlelit dinner? It’s sure to please her.
Romantic dinner for two
GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM
For that special man in your life who has great taste in accessories, a good quality watch would be a great present. Make sure you get a watch that suits his style and makes a statement about his personality. He will appreciate it and keep it close to him, (literally, on his wrist).
If you can, get Rolex, or get an idea of a style to get.
7. Beer Mug Set
If your special man loves hanging with the guys on some weekends, hosting a barbeque while enjoying some beer, this is a great gift for him. Get him a nice set of beer mugs he can use and they’ll always have a special meaning for him.
8. DVD Gift Set
If your special man loves watching movies, this is a great gift for him. Get a collection of DVDs from his favorite genre, e.g. Action, Sports, Wrestling or Documentaries and wrap them up for him. He will appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into his gift.
Sports DVD Gift set
9. Apparel Accessories
If that special man in your life is stylish and loves his accessories, gift him with some that will make sure he always thinks of you. Cuff links, a nice tie and a leather wallet are great gifts to get him to show your appreciation of him. Make sure the cuff links and the tie match and the wallet is genuine leather.
Green silk tie
10. Swiss Army Knife
For that special man in your life who is a handy-man in the house and has lots of tools. Get him a Swiss Army Knife, he will appreciate this multifunctional tool.
GIFT IDEAS FOR BOTH HIM OR HER
11. Box of Chocoloates
A gentleman who has good taste can enjoy a box of chocolates as well as any woman can. It is a classic and simple gift that will always be appreciated.
Box of chocolates
12. Fruit Baskets
An all-around healthy gift that anyone will appreciate.
If that special someone enjoys a good glass of wine, gift him or her with a quality wine for Valentine’s day.
14. Quality Stemware
For that special someone who enjoys a good glass of wine and has a fully stocked bar ^_^! You can add them some stem ware to compliment the wine.
15. Gift Vouchers
This is a simple and safe gift that anyone will always appreciate. It is hassle-free and guaranteed to always be appreciated. Just choose a favorite supermarket, specialty store, barber shop, salon or even a butchery of that special someone’s choice and get him or her a gift voucher.
Whatever your plans are for this Valentine’s Day are, enjoy yourself and make sure you let all your loved ones know how special they are too you ^_^
How are you planning on enjoying this Valentine’s Day?
Baking is a scientific art that may confuse some people, especially amateur bakers.
Baking at home or hobby baking is different from professional baking, however there are a few tricks professional bakers rely on that can be applied to home baking. Here are some of the professional tips you can depend on that will enhance your home baking experience.
1. Oven Preparation
To get great results from your home baking, make sure you always preheat your oven at least 8 – 10 minutes before you put in the product you are baking. Baking at the center of the oven also makes sure of even circulation of heat which makes sure your product is baked evenly.
2. Life Expectancy of Baking PowderThe freshness of your leavening agent determines the end result of your baked goods. When you buy your baking powder, make sure you mark the date you open it with a permanent marker on the container or carton. Baking powder starts to lose its effectiveness about 6 months from when opened, therefore, marking it will ensure that you keep track of its “freshness”. Be sure to keep your baking powder and other dry spices away from any heat in the kitchen, it will make them lose their potency faster.
3. Recipe Preparation
When baking, make sure you first read the entire recipe before starting so as to understand every step of what you’ll be doing. Make sure you take out all ingredients as well as the equipment to be used ahead of time. Being prepared will make the baking process easier and more fun.
Prepare your equipment ahead of time
4. Personal Touch When decorating an iced cake, frost the cake then simply add a ribbon or a bow to give it a personal as well as a professional touch.
You can also sprinkle icing sugar on a cake to give it a simple yet professional look.
Icing sugar sprinkled on a cake
Another good idea for a chocolate cake, is to take a doily
Example of a patterned doily
and lay it on the cake. Then sprinkle icing sugar on it and remove the doily. This gives the cake an antique look on top of the cake. You can also use any other pattern and sprinkle icing sugar.
When your baked goodies are ready and you take it out of the oven, don’t cool them in the pan they were baked in. Give them 3 – 5 minutes for the pan to cool and remove them from the pan onto a cooling rack. If you cool in the baking pan, cakes and breads may become soggy and get stuck.
Whatever you’re doing, whether it be baking or decorating, have fun ^_^
For all those who have tasted Coconut Cake, nothing beats that delicious coconut frosting covered by coconut shavings, yum! Sometimes though, I want the Coconut Cake without all that sugar, so I decided to make a Coconut Loaf Cake without frosting. I used a fresh coconut that my sis had bought and it turned out to be quite delicious. It still hit the spot! Here’s the recipe:
–– 1/3 cup Sugar
- - 1/3 cup Un-salted Butter or Margarine (*if using butter; add pinch of salt)
– – 1 Egg
–– 1/8 cup Fresh Coconut shavings
–– 1/4 cup home-made Coconut milk (*Recipe below)
–– 1 cup Self-Rising Flour
–– ½ teaspoon Baking powder
1.Preheat oven to 350 °F or 180°C. Grease and flour a small loaf pan and set aside.
Grease & flour your loaf pan
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl(add salt into the dry ingredients if using butter). In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter or margarine for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until well blended, then add the fresh coconut shavings.
Creamed coconut mixture
3. AFold in the flour and coconut milk alternately to the batter; until it becomes a nice drop consistency. Pour batter into the loaf pan.
4.Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
5.Remove cake from oven and let stand for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
Delicious and so moist ^_^
Enjoy your cake!
*Home-made Coconut Milk:
–½ cup Fresh Coconut shavings
–¾ cup Milk
1.Pour milk into a pan and the coconut shavings into the milk. Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and sieve the milk into a liquid measuring cup. Set the shavings aside.
2.Let the milk cool completely and then use accordingly.
P/S: If you don’t have a coconut, you can use store-bought coconut milk or coconut powder to make the milk.
*You can double or triple this recipe if you would like a bigger cake.
Share this recipe in your network with anyone who you know loves to bake ^_^
For all those who bake at home, we all get recipes from various sources; websites, cook books and even family & friends. Sometimes the terminology used in the recipes while mixing can be a bit confusing. I’ve put together 5 mixing terms used in cake recipes so that if you encounter them next time, or for the first time ^_^, you can understand what they mean exactly.
Baking = Love
1.) Creaming Method
This is when butter or margarine is beaten with an electric mixer or a whisk, with sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This method can take 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer or if by hand, can take 5 – 8 minutes. The creamed mixture should be white or almost white in color; it should also have a creamy consistency. This method incorporates air into the ingredients; hence the almost white color and creamy texture. This method is used mostly for Butter Cakes.
2.) Folding Method
This is simply the process of pouring flour or any other dry ingredient, into a creamed or melted mixture, a little at a time, while stirring slowly and gently – moving towards one direction. Generally a wooden spoon or a spatula is used to stir in the dry ingredients.
3.) Melting Method
This is ideal for honey, molasses or syrup cakes or cake recipes that may also contain chocolate in their ingredients. Place the butter or margarine in a saucepan over low heat. When the fat has melted, remove the sauce pan from the heat and add the honey, molasses, etc. Mix well until blended. Let it cool and then mix in other liquid and sugar. Carefully fold in other dry ingredients. This method is also used when melting butter and chocolate to make cakes such as Chocolate Fudge or Chocolate Brownies.
This method is also used if you’re melting cooking/block chocolate for baking. However, the chocolate is melted using a double boiler or, if you don’t have one, two cooking pans.
Boil water in a large pan, then lower the heat and place another pan above the first – make sure the top pan/bowl doesn’t touch the hot water in the bottom pan. Put the cooking chocolate into the second pan and slowly stir the chocolate with a spatula or wooden spoon until melted, remove from heat and use accordingly.
4.) Whisking method
This is when you whisk egg whites (or whole eggs) until they are fluffy and form soft peaks. You then incorporate sugar, any other ingredients and then fold in dry ingredients to make a foam batter. This is mainly used in Sponge cake-making.
5.) One Step/ All-in-One Method
Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add sugar and all other ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. The mixture will have a thick consistency and be light and glossy. It can be poured or spooned into tin. This method is used for Quick breads such as Banana breads or muffins.
We all love cookies and once in a while, it is alright to indulge your sweet tooth. ^_^ A great classic cookie to indulge in, one that is a personal favorite, is the Oatmeal Cookie. I like it mostly because it is also quite a healthy cookie, especially if you make some substitutes on the ingredients.
– 2 cups Self-Rising Flour
– 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
– 3/4 cup Un-salted Butter or Margarine (*if using butter; add a 1/8 tspn salt)
– 1 cup Sugar
– 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
– 2 Eggs
– 1 cup Quick Oats
– 1/2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a cookie sheet and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, Cream margarine and sugar with a mixer. Mix in vanilla.
Add eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in oats and rosemary.
Fold dry ingredients into margarine mixture until a good cookie dough is formed.
Form the dough into balls, approximately 2 Tablespoons. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and with a lightly floured spoon, spread the cookie dough balls to flatten a little. To make a pattern, use a lightly floured fork to mark the cookies with tines, vertically and horizontally.
Bake until cookies turn golden, 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack. Let sit for at least 3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a tray to cool completely.
Cookies on a baking sheet
For a healthier Oatmeal Cookie Recipe
– Instead of Self-rising flour, use whole wheat flour. A good Kenyan brand is EXE Atta Wheat Flour. Make sure you add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the flour and cinnamon mixture during preparation.
– Honey can be substituted in place of sugar as well – use 3/4 cup honey in the butter/margarine mixture.
Honey as a substitute for sugar
Oatmeal – Cookies!!
Enjoy your Oatmeal Cookies ^_^!!
Want to learn how to bake cookies with us? Join our Cookie Making class and you won’t regret it. Check our classes page for more details and you can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
On more that one occasion I have baked for my family two or more banana breads and found that as popular and delicious as they might be, some of them are left over.
Since fruit breads can be perishable if not stored well, I have come up with important tips on storing some of the popular quick breads, they will help you with any left overs from your home baking or bakery purchases to be consumed the next day or a few days later. I’m sure they’ll be very helpful ^_^
FRUIT BREADS/ MUFFINS AND CORN BREADS
If the quick bread is home-made let it cool completely before storage. Wrap tightly in alluminium foil or cling wrap and store in a cool dry place for at least two days. If available, you can also use a plastic air-tight resealable container. If you have a refrigerator, store the wrapped quick bread for at least three days. For longer storage, place the wrapped bread in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag or container and freeze up to three months. For consumption, remove and if the quick bread is hard, don’t worry; warm in a microwave for a few minutes, it will be moist.
Quick bread in a resealable plastic container
COOKIES AND BISCUITS
If home-baked, let them cool completely and then wrap them with cling wrap. Place the cookies in an air-tight plastic container or resealable plastic bag and store in a cool dry place for up to four days. Make sure you store soft cookies and crisp cookies in separate containers. If stored together, moisture from the soft cookies will soften the crisp cookies and they will lose their crunch. For longer storage, freeze the cookies in the container or resealable plastic bag for up to three months. For consumption, thaw wrapped cookies at room temperature before frosting and serve. If crisp cookies get soft during storage, crisp them up by heating in 300 degrees Farenheit or 149 degrees Celsius oven for five minutes.
Resealable bags that can be used for storage
Cookies stored in an air tight container
For a one-layer frosted cake, store in a lightly covered plastic container or cake box. For a multi-layer cake, store under a large inverted bowl. Insert a spoon handle under the edge of the cover to prevent an air tight seal for the frosted cakes to avoid retaining moisture because of the frosting getting soggy.
Tightly wrap the cake in cling wrap and store in a cool dry area for at least two days. If available, you can use a cake plastic container for storage as well. If you store the wrapped cake in a refrigerator, it can last up to 4 to 5 days. For longer storage, you can put the wrapped cake in an air-tight container or plastic resealable bag and store in the freezer, it can last up to four months.
If you and your family love pancakes in the morning for breakfast, but you are a busy person and don’t have enough time in the morning to make them. You can make a large batch in the weekend and freeze them to use all week.
When you finish cooking the pancakes, let them cool completely. Freeze individually on a long plate or a rectangular baking sheet in the freezer. When they’re frozen, place them together in an air tight resealable plastic bag or container. Freezing them individually stops them from sticking together. For consumption, reheat with a microwave oven or a toaster oven if you have one, it helps restore the crunchiness at the edges.
Enjoy your pancakes any time!
Whatever they may be, enjoy your breads at your own convenience. Do you often store your quick breads or any other baked goods for future use? How do you store them? please share your other ideas ^_^
Baking is a good hobby or business to start, and to some it is quite simple, for others it may be a bit more challenging. I’ve decided to come up with a short list of five important tips that will be helpful to anyone who is baking or has recently decided to venture into home baking.
1. STICK TO THE RECIPE
Baking is an exact science, unlike cooking, reducing or increasing measurements randomly can spell disaster in your end product. 2. QUALITY MATTERS
The quality of ingredients matter. Buy the best you can afford. If it is unsalted butter, buy it from a reputable company like Brookside Ltd. If it is wheat flour, my favorite is EXE flour by Unga limited, they make quality baking flours. Your cakes and other baked goodies will always taste exceptional when made with quality ingredients.
3. ACCURACY IS IMPORTANT
When measuring dry goods like flour; spoon ingredients into the measuring cup, then with a straight-edged object like a knife, sweep away the excess. This method will save you from a ruined recipe due to less or more ingredients.
4. GET A THERMOMETER
Oven temperature dials are unpredictable and can often be wrong. If you are a passionate baker who is concerned about accuracy, invest in a thermometer that accurately measures oven temperature. 5. NO PEEKING!
Avoid opening the oven door while baking. Peeking allows heat to escape and a cake that is baking may not have formed yet, disturbing it may leading to sinking in the middle. Let the cake set for at least 20 to 30 minutes before opening the oven door once you put it into the oven.
peeking not allowed ^_^
Any other tips you might have that you use while baking at home? Please share below and let us know ^_^
If you want to learn how to bake – check out our available short courses, click here.