Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake

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Happy birthday to my dear mum! Actually, her birthday was last Friday, but thanks to our weekend of festivities, I wasn’t able to upload a picture or recipe of her cake. So here it is. Thanks mum for everything, including being the person to always make an effort to try and eat everything I make. That’s love right there. 

It’s been a super long time since I have decorated a cake for an occasion. I think the last cake I ever made was the Pikachu Cake that I made for my brother’s birthday, and that was all the way in January. It feels good to be able to spend hours decorating a cake. And there are plenty of reasons to celebrate with a cake like this: the start of spring, September being an awesome month so far (I WENT AND SAW BOYCE AVENUE LIVE AT ENMORE THEATRE! Any other BA fans out there?), the beautiful sunshine and a whole lot of other things that if I listed them all, I’d be here all day.

Of course, celebrations only get better when there’s chocolate cake involved. One of the exciting things I love about cake is that you always want to find out what the inside looks like. Yeah sure, the frosting might be chocolate, but the inside might actually be vanilla. And vice versa. I wanted that sort of reaction from my cake. So I created a silky, sweet caramel frosting to completely cover a dark, solid chocolate cake. I guess my chocolate drizzle gives away the chocolate component. Nevertheless, here’s my Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake. 

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Magnum Pleasure Pop-up Store, Westfield Sydney

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Calling all ice-cream lovers! The beloved Magnum Pop-up Store has found its place back in Westfield Sydney again, following its popularity from its first launch just last year. I was so upset when I missed out last year, and after spending a day in the CBD, I finally got the chance to get my hands on a self-designed Magnum ice-cream. And it’s not even summer yet (not that you need to wait for summer to eat ice-cream). 

Normally I don’t start my blog posts with the final product, but I’m changing things up a bit with this post because it’s not going to be like my regular reviews (I actually think I’ll be writing more about the experience and the indulgence. Hence the first person narrative). 

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Not too long ago, fellow food blogger Maggie posted her experience on the Melbourne Magnum Pop-up Store and I was salivating at her awesome and delicious ice-cream pictures and I actually thought that I had missed out on the Sydney store. Then a few pictures popped up all over the Internet and I realised that the Sydney pop-up store was still around. So when the posters were around Westfield Sydney advertising how the pop-up store would only be around for a limited time, I knew I had to visit it before it was too late.  

The hype circulating this sweet indulgence basically comes from the experience that customers are involved in when it comes to visiting the store. Magnum offers six steps in designing and indulging in your very own ice-cream, and although the price is twice as much as what you would spend if you had just bought an ordinary Magnum, it’s all about the experience and the sharing that makes it all exciting and worth it. 

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Ensaymada

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Hello spring! Winter has officially ended and now comes the season of floral patterns and pastel looks. When it comes to the fashion and retail world, spring is usually one of my favourite seasons to dress up in because it’s the time for chiffon, light pinks and creams. Anyway, on the topic of spring, you’d think that after two or so weeks of non-stop raining and the sun finally out, I would enjoy the lovely spring weather. Except no. I unfortunately got sick again because of the weather and now I’m sitting at home drinking a whole lot of water to stop me from going into a coughing fit. 

So moving on… For this post, I wanted to go back to my Filipino roots and make a common Filipino treat. Some weekends, my family and I have Pandesal and Ensaymada for breakfast, and so I was inspired to try and make my own version of the sugary brioche-like buns that we Filipinos have. Just like brioche, they’re fluffy and golden yellow, buttery and sweet all at once. Read on for the recipe and a little background information on just what makes these sweet bread rolls a delicious treat.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

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So the other week my friends and I were lounging around eating pizza and junk food and out of the grocery bag, my friends pull out this fluffy, green pandan chiffon cake. It was this rectangular loaf of vibrant green and spongey goodness that was incredibly soft when you took a bite out of a piece of the cake. Having not had a chiffon cake for so long, eating this pandan cake reminded me that it was time for me to get my sponge cake making skills back on the blog and in the kitchen. 

I absolutely adore chiffon cakes. To me, they’re the only type of sponge cake that I actually appreciate and would happily eat without icing, without ice cream or without any additional toppings. To me, chiffon cakes are best eaten and best made when they use very simple flavours because the real feature apart from its flavour is its fluffy and soft interior. Thus, with that in mind, I decided to try and replicate my favourite sponge cake with this Lemon Chiffon Cake, which adds a good lemon punch to this delicate cake. 

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Paper Plane Cafe, Parramatta

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Away from Parramatta’s main food hotspot sits a quaint little boutique cafe on the small, quieter Horwood Place. It’s decor follows the trends circulating cafe establishments over the year, with iced tea served in mason jars, hues of blue and green and dishes served on wooden boards. Paper Plane Cafe is a new addition to Parramatta’s Cafe scene, having opened up in early 2014. 

Despite having been opened for a few months, the cafe appears to have a promising future ahead of them. The premises has both indoor and outdoor seating, with both areas well decorated with trendy, corner-street cafe decor. Black chalkboards with coloured chalk writing sprawled across and raw wood seem to be the main features of Paper Plane. 

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The raw wood continues inside the cafe with floor boards spread across the establishment and a tall wooden shelf stretching upwards from behind the counter. More chalkboards are pressed up against the back wall, offering a list of breakfast specials to all day breakfast items to their lunch dishes. One particular chalkboard features a ‘tip tally’, which is a fun tipping concept Paper Plane developed. 

Upon entering the cafe, the cool, grey wall is decorated with a white picket fence and a black bench propped with a stack of books and the daily newspaper. Yet vintage and trendy doesn’t stop there with Paper Plane. A steel-framed bicycle sits in front of the counter with lovely pot plants attached around it. 

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Paper Plane offers Numero Uno coffee, poured into adorable bright blue coffee cups. Whichever cup you’re in the mood for - cappuccino, flat white or latte - rest assured you’ll be served with a delicious smooth coffee that produces a strong, roasted aroma. This Picasso coffee blend supplied by Numero Uno, along with the generous cafe style dishes, landed Paper Plane in this year’s Sydney Morning Herald Good Cafe Guide. 

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