Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Yummy Chocolate Cake With Peanut Butter Frosting And Salted Caramel

I baked this cake on Sunday to bring over to my parents' house for tea and also to have a belated birthday celebration for my mummy. Her birthday was on 24 March but at that time she was on tour in the Balkans with my dad so we haven't had a proper celebration. They came back on Saturday so to go out on Sunday seems a bit tiring for them what with jetlag and all so we had a mini celebration at their house. What's a birthday without a cake, right? I know her favourite cakes are plain butter cake and orange cake (I will make these soon for sure) but I feel that birthdays need a special cake and a plain butter or orange cake just doesn't cut it. So my Yummly app comes to the rescue. Seriously guys you should install this app on your phone, it's so easy to find all kinds of recipes be it sweet or savoury, for lunch or for dinner and for those snacks in between!
Chocolate cake is my favourite and since I have all the required ingredients in the pantry, I saw this recipe aptly named Guaranteed Moist Chocolate Cake and that got me. The reviews were positive and that tempted me even more. After mixing the cake, I halved the batter and baked two square cakes because I want to sandwich them together. Baking a thinner cake also reduces the baking time and minimizes the risk of the cake not cooking thoroughly, crack or rise unevenly because my oven isn't the best oven in the world. I didn't use parchment paper and only greased the baking tin with butter and flour and thankfully the cake came out almost perfect, only the edges were a bit stuck (thank God for frosting to cover the imperfections!).
Initially I wanted to make chocolate frosting or chocolate ganache but then I thought let's make a peanut butter frosting instead. I searched for a peanut butter frosting recipe on Yummly and had to send my hubby to the shop to get me some icing sugar because I have run out. The recipe calls for a ton of icing sugar but I reduced the amount tremendously because I know the frosting will be too sweet and no one likes too-sweet icing. I got the texture that I needed and the frosting is spreadable, which is exactly what I wanted. I don't intend to pipe them anyway so I don't need stiff icing.
I set down to sandwich my cakes and frosted the whole cake with the frosting. As you can see in the background, there are a few pieces of cupcakes. These days when I bake a whole cake, I will also use some of the batter to make cupcakes. The reasons are because first, I want to check the texture and taste of the cake. Secondly, my kids sometimes will want to eat the cake but I can't be cutting the cake just yet. You know how kids are, they never take NO for an answer especially when it comes to sweet treats. So I can always give them a small cupcake to keep their mouths shut, pun intended. I asked Babycakes to help put chocolate chips on the cupcakes which she enjoyed doing while also popping several chocolate chips into her mouth while she's at it.
Looking that the cake was a bit too plain, I took out my salted caramel from the fridge and started to drizzle onto the cake. I seriously need to learn to control my hand and drizzle nicely because let's admit, the cake ended up messy! I wish I had just leave the cake plain hmmpph but too late.
We brought the cake over to my parents' house that evening, put a few candles on it and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY cake topper.
Then it's time to blow the candles and cut the cake! Babypie is eyeing on the cake here while stuffing his face with a piece of murtabak.
This is how the cake looks like after being cut. The cake is moist, soft and spongy. It reminds me of the sponge cakes we used to buy in the cake shops. The peanut butter frosting complements the cake very well too. My dad finished a slice of the cake while my mum and little brother had two slices! I can say that the cake is a winner. I am definitely saving this recipe as it is fool-proof.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Who Says You Can't Have Fun At The Petrol Station?

Last Saturday, 2 April 2016, Petronas Sri Hartamas held its Program Mesra Pelanggan or Customer Appreciation Day in conjunction with their 1st year anniversary. I frequent this particular Petronas station every other day or so because of its location which is near to Babycakes' school and to my office. I found out that they were having a colouring contest for kids aged 4-12 so I signed Babycakes up and told her about it and she got excited. Unfortunately, Hubby told us he had to attend an AGM in Puchong that morning. Initially I was hesitant to go because the thought of having to manage the two kids on my own in such event sounds a bit too overwhelming especially in this hot weather. However, I didn't want to disappoint Babycakes so the night before, I told her to pack her colouring pencils because the contestants will have to bring their own colouring tools. So come Saturday morning, honestly I  was lazy to get up but both kids were wide awake at 7ish so I dragged myself out of the bed, got the kids ready and off we went to Petronas.
 We reached Petronas before 9am. Babycakes was excited.

We went to the registration counter to register ourselves.
 They have a host of activities lined up for the day.
They informed us that Babycakes will be doing a sand art contest because she is 5 years old. They set up tents on both sides of the station.
Foods were provided but earlier we went in Kedai Mesra Petronas and bought a few packets of Milo for the kids. There was also a lucky draw that day so we submitted our receipt into the lucky draw jar.
Thankfully they served food because we didn't eat anything before we leave the house earlier. We had the nasi lemak, fried meehoon, kuih talam keladi and I had the teh tarik. They also served popiah goreng bersalut lada and kuih bahulu.
Not long after, they kick started the program by giving out some speech and doa recital. Then they called the kids for the colouring contest. The smaller kids get to do sand art while the bigger kids sat under the tent for the colouring contest. Parents were eager to help their kids but the staffs reminded that parents can only help peel off the sticker and not help with applying the sand. I had to sit with Babypie who was slowly getting irritated because he had to sit in the stroller while Babycakes is having all the fun. 
Babycakes showing off her masterpiece while Babypie looks over. I had to entertain Babypie and keep him cool because it was getting hot! 
That's Awang the clown. He gave out balloons to the kids. Babypie was a bit freaked out with him so Babycakes queued to take the balloons for him as well.
We got popsicles for free too! Who wouldn't want a nice sweet cold popsicle on a hot day, right?
They then had an impromptu popsicle-eating contest and I participated while my kids looked on. Mummy wants to have fun too, right? The contest took a few minutes and the kids sat down quietly enjoying their popsicles with one of the staffs who helped to look after them so all is good. I lost though. There was a guy who gobbled up the whole popsicle in one bite. I mean, are you an eskimo or what? I got brain freeze just biting the popsicle and my sensitive teeth weren't helping either.
There was also a Mummy Wrap game where mums are required to wrap their kid using toilet tissue to resemble a mummy. Another game held was called Dancing maniac. They called that a father and kid to join the contest but then they asked if I wanted to join. I was hesitant at first because Babypie would be left alone if I were to join the game with Babycakes. Then one of the Petronas staff (or was she the owner?) I'm not sure but she was friendly and persuaded me to join with Babycakes. She offered to help look after Babypie. ALhamdulillah Babypie was OK with the lady and he even sat on her lap. For the Dancing Maniac contest, there were 6 pairs of contestants. First we were given a piece of The Sun newspaper. It is a bit like musical chair but when the music stops, both contestants have to stand on the newspaper with both feet inside. After the first round, we had to fold the newspaper in half, and then another half. At one point, Babycakes stepped onto my feet. Those whose feet were outside the newspaper gets eliminated. In the end, the newspaper was folded so small that only one of my foot can stand on it so I decided to carry Babycakes while my other foot was up. Think a flamingo with one leg up! At this point, there were 4 pairs left and one by one were eliminated. I held on but eventually I lost my balance and my other foot touched the ground. However all was not lost as we were the last two pairs standing so we won second prize YAY!
 Just look at the hampers lining up. One of these had my name on it.
Awang the Clown did a great job at entertaining the kids with chicken dance which Babycakes joined, spelling bee contest for the bigger kids and Awang did a magic show which got the kids mesmerized. Babypie was getting tired and cranky but he wanted to sit with the big kids so he joined Babycakes. We had to wait for the program to finish because that was the most awaited part- the prize giving ceremony!
The kids were given a goodies bag each so we got two goodies bag.
Then they started calling out the winners' names for each game. They called my name for the second prize winner for the Dancing maniac game. Yes, I went to collect my hamper with my two kids tagging along. I feel like an octopus. I wish I was an octopus!
And when it comes to the sand art contest, Babycakes' name was called as the first prize winner!
She won two hampers! Well done, Babycakes!
It was totally worth it waking up early on a Saturday morning and holding on despite the heat. That's my kids! 
We did went into Kedai Mesra Petronas for a while for a few times to cool down because it was too hot outside. Honestly I just want to leave at that time but I was secretly hoping to win one of the lucky draw prizes (despite already winning earlier but hey, alang-alang menyeluk pekasam, biar sampai ke pangkal lengan OK) so we waited. Babypie was feeling hot and sweating, thus the romper in this picture. He was excited to see Ipin and dragged the hamper all over. So I did not win any lucky draw prize. I had to ask one of the staffs to help carry my hampers to the car because I had to carry Babypie and push the stroller. Again, why wasn't I still an octopus?

The contents of the goodies bags.
Babycakes was excited to watch the dvd. Of course she wants Mimi the Cat to be in the picture too.

They actually served lunch and invited everyone to eat but even though I was hungry, I had to pass because I was sweating, the kids are tired and cranky so we left at 1ish pm. At one point when the kids were cranky I feel like slapping myself for getting into this trouble when we can just stay at home but staying at home with both of them drives me up the wall equally so might as well let them have fun while we're at it, huh? Overall it was a fun event and my kids had fun. It was challenging to take both of them on my own to such an event where I have to keep an eye on both kids. It would be easier if Hubby was with us but hey, a mum's gotta do what a mum's gotta do! In the end, we went home happy and proud of our achievements! Babypie conked out in the car on the way home.

If you are interested to know more about Awang the Clown, check out this website for more details: http://www.badutmalaysia.blogspot.my/

Friday, April 01, 2016

5 Years Today

1 April 2016 marks my 5th year working in this law firm. This is the third firm I've worked with and alhamdulillah the longest so far. It has been a wonderful 5 years, but definitely not one without its ups and downs. What is life if it doesn't feel like a roller coaster ride, isn't it?
I still remember when I decided to leave my previous firm somewhere in October 2010. Truly, Allah is the best planner. I officially left the previous firm in December 2010, just in time for my wedding in January 2011. I was practically jobless when I got married. I didn't even send my resume anywhere, I didn't even send an application. Things just happen and then I eventually started looking for jobs in March 2011. Hubby and I then moved out of my parents' house and moved to our current place and then there happens to be a vacancy in this firm so I applied and went in for an interview and voila, I started work on 1 April 2011. I have learned a lot in this firm, I have seen a lot, I have done a lot but there is still a very long journey ahead of me. The law itself is so vast and there are so many things to read and learn everyday. Everyday is a challenge, everyday is a lesson. I am still learning, there are still numerous laws and areas that I am not familiar with.
So to mark this date, I am rewarding myself with a piece of cake. As if I need reasons to have a cake but since today is a special day, I feel having this cake is justified.
Whether I am going to move to another firm or to set up my own or to hang my robe indefinitely is yet to be known. I don't know what will happen in the future, I don't know where I will be in the future. Only He knows. All I can and will do is give my best and hope for the best. And of course, never stop praying to Him.
Wouldn't it be nice if I have five little candles on the cake?