Giant Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

I feel as though recess week gives us the illusion of time. We begin it believing that we will be productive and that we are going to get our shit together, but before you know it Sunday will come and nothing will have changed much. Although I seriously hope that the latter doesn't happen... 

Recess week has been off to a great start! Recess week only really began for me when I finished and submitted my LARC assignment, after which I baked a birthday cake for my uncle and went for F1 at night! Caught Maroon 5 live (that was all we really went for) and they were really good. I was so happy that they played so many of my favourite songs of theirs, and I thought it was very apt that we got there just in time for Sunday Morning, which is the first song that Melrose played in our jamming sessions. Went for drinks and supper with Melrose after; it felt incredibly liberating to have a night out after six weeks of school. 

Baked this giant cookie the next day for Clarence's birthday cake! I was initially thinking of baking him a cake cake, but after talking to Josh about it we came up with the idea of this giant ice cream cookie cake, as Clarence loves the ice cream and cookie co sandwiches available at Wildfire! This was hella fun to make and assemble. We used three whole tubs of ben & jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream (which was a really good choice) and buzzfeed's method of cutting the tub. 

The ice cream got crazy and started melting all over at one point, and we tried to smush it together with those two knives you see and spread them around as best (and gently) as we could. The base cookie held up damn well (much better than I had expected it to), but I think it was Justin's board that really helped hehe. The board's even kinda aesthetic! The top cookie broke when we tried to transfer it over, unfortunately, so we had to make do by simply piecing it together. 

The candle you see above is one of those trick candles, the kind that are somehow able to relight after being blown out. It was hilarious watching Clarence blow it out again and again, and somehow he didn't even suspect that it was a trick candle (which might have been the best part). Happy 21st, Clarence :-) 

For this giant cookie, I used my cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookie recipe (you can find it here!), omitted the cornflakes, used all brown sugar and shortened the baking time. The recipe makes one giant cookie, by the way! To ensure that the cookie would remain soft, I (somewhat) underbaked it - I recommend a baking time of 13 minutes (the cookie that broke took 12 minutes).  The short baking time is also attributed to the way I baked it, which was by spreading the cookie dough into a large circle on the baking sheet before baking it. Larger surface area + the dough was spread out rather thinly.

Anyway, Clarence really enjoyed the cake, which was lovely to see! One of the best feelings in the world is when people appreciate and enjoy the things you make. Thanks for doing this with me, Josh, and for doing all the hard ice cream spreading work hehe. 

Cookie Butter Cheesecake

What a week it has been, and I have so much to write about. Starting is always the hardest part. Well, rag is over, and as with every performance there is an inevitable sense of emptiness that follows in the days after. It's bittersweet, really. But I couldn't ask for any better way to end this 8 month holiday. 

I kinda can't believe just how quickly 8 months flew by. SJII days feel like a lifetime ago, although it hasn't actually been that long. In these 8 months, I've held two cafe jobs - and I am glad that I had the experience working in f&b. I feel as though working in the service industry is something that everyone should go through at least once when they're young. It really exposes you to different types of people and you do pick up some people skills along the way. I think I've become more outgoing since working in the cafes - at the very least, I'm a lot more open to talking to strangers. 

I've also interned in a law firm, an internship I initially undertook to "experience boring CBD life" but eventually opened me up to the possibility of actually doing law and led to me being where I am today. I've travelled, both to new places and revisited some old ones with some of my favourite people. I've written for a website (which I need to get around to updating soon), explored, embarked on a little film project, baked, and ate a lot. And to cap it off, I ended my holiday doing the one thing I swore that I would never do - rag. But that's a story for another post. 

Looking back, it feels as though I haven't done or achieved much with the time I had. But I do feel that I've learnt quite a bit, and I've also grown in certain ways - which is something, I guess. We will always feel like we could have done more, anyway. I've also come to realise that everything is part of a journey, and the passing of time doesn't necessarily have to close doors. School begins tomorrow, and it's the real deal - I'm starting the day with a torts lecture, to be followed by an SLIC class. In a way, I'm thankful for rag as it's gotten me used to going to school on a regular basis, so going to school tomorrow doesn't feel like such a jump from my lazy holiday life. School hours are about the same as rag's anyway, just that what I'll be doing will be vastly different. I am equal parts terrified and excited.

This past National Day weekend has been so busy and exciting; spent with both new and old friends. I'm really glad that my sjii cru got to meet up during this weekend before us girls start uni and the guys continue with their NS stuff! It was so much fun catching up and watching the parade with them, laughing at the most retarded things and eating pizza and playing lots of bridge. It's hard to get all of us to meet up together, so it was nice that we almost had full attendance. Although we're all in different stages of life, I'm thankful that we're still close and when we meet, it really feels like nothing has changed at all and it just takes me right back. 

So I promised one of my friends that I would bake him a birthday cake a month ago (his birthday was almost a month ago), and as he was coming, I decided to bake a cookie butter cheesecake with an oreo base! My sisters who tried the cake said that it probably would have gone better with a digestive base, so feel free to substitute the oreos with digestive biscuits! I would have used lotus/biscoff cookies but somehow the pack I bought a few weeks ago went missing. Probably disappeared into someone's stomach. 

I didn't have sour cream on hand at home, so I substituted whipping cream in for it. One has to make do with what one has! It added the same amount of creaminess to the cheesecake, so the texture was just nice but the cake lacked the tang that sour cream tends to provide. I should have probably added a bit of lemon juice to make up for it, and to balance the sweetness of the cookie butter. A few tweaks here and there could really make all the difference. But it was still a creamy dream, especially with the addition of the luscious cookie butter. 

Cookie Butter Cheesecake

Ingredients: 
✿ 18 oreos, crushed in a blender/food processor
✿ 45g butter, melted 
✿ 400g cream cheese, softened
✿ 60g granulated sugar
✿ 100ml whipping cream (1/2 cup) 
✿ 1 tsp vanilla extract 
✿ 2 eggs
✿ 120g cookie butter, heated in a microwave on medium heat for 30s 
Steps: 
Preheat your oven to 162 degrees celsius. Liberally grease the cake pan all around with butter. (note: I used an 8" cake pan for this as I had left my springform pan at my friend's.)
For the crust: Mix the crushed oreos and melted butter together, and pat it down onto the base of the cake pan. Bake for about 7 minutes. 
For the cake: Start by creaming the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Add your whipping cream and vanilla extract, and continue until well-blended. Add the eggs one at a time, adding each additional egg after the previous one has been blended in. Pour the mixture into the cake pan, atop the oreos. Dollop the cookie butter onto the cake and using a chopstick, swirl to make some nice patterns hehe. 
Bake in your preheated oven for 55 minutes, preferably in a water bath to reduce the likelihood of your cheesecake cracking. Let it cool in the oven for a few minutes before taking it out to cool even more! Best served the next day, after chilling in the fridge overnight. 

To everyone starting school today, have a great first day x 
 

 

2. Peanut Butter Nutella Loaf Cake

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset HAPPY WORLD NUTELLA DAY! 

Ah, one of my favourite days of the year. World Nutella Day falls on the fifth of February, and is truly a cause for celebration. Started up by Sara from Miss Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, World Nutella Day brings Nutella lovers worldwide together. Nutella is a symbol of my childhood. I grew up with Nutella, heck, you can practically say I grew up on Nutella. I remember watching Kids Central when I was five and the Nutella commercials would play, and I would most probably ask for a slice of Nutella toast after that. Simple Nutella toasts were my breakfasts for years, and as I grew up they morphed into Nutella Banana Toasts, Peanut Butter and Nutella, Nutella cakes...

You get the idea. I love Nutella.

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Nutella is incredibly versatile. For proof, just head over to the World Nutella Day website where you can stalk the array of recipes at your disposal... And for the record, they all involve Nutella. Nutella is powerful. Who knew that a simple Chocolate Hazelnut spread could have so much influence? Nutella bonds people. If you, dear reader, are a fellow Nutella lover, I can tell that we are going to be great friends. Thank you, Pietro Ferrero and son, for your contribution to the world. Thank you for Nutella.

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So, in honour of World Nutella Day 2015, the second instalment of Loafs of Love is a cake involving a healthy dose of Nutella! You see, Peanut Butter and Nutella is one of my favourite combinations, and I love to have either of them with sliced bananas on toast. So I thought, why not make this into a loaf cake?

Unfortunately, my first bake yesterday didn't quite turn out, for (I believe) I took the cake out too early, which resulted in a mooncake-like texture and taste. It wasn't the best. Also, I suspect it was a poor combination of too many things going on at once that led to disappointment. What a pity, for it was a beautiful cake.

So I tried again this morning, albeit with a different recipe. Yesterday, I was debating between which recipe to use and I went with the one that included bananas as none of my banana recipes have gone wrong so far but hey, I guess there's a first time for everything. This cake has no bananas, not because I was afraid to use them but because I conveniently ran out of them at home, which was just as well.

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What I like about this recipe is the inclusion of a .75 cup of buttermilk. It gives the cake a tangy flavour to it, and a nice tender crumb, thanks to its reaction with the leavening agents that produce carbon dioxide, aerating the cake.  Think (good) red velvet cake - the texture and moisture of a red velvet is partially attributed to the addition of buttermilk! I've learnt to keep an extra pack of buttermilk on hand, just because it's simply so versatile and beautifully enhances the flavours of a simple cake.

Also, instead of the usual butter, I used olive oil in the cake. Yes, olive oil. The original recipe called for coconut oil, but I didn't have coconut oil on hand and I was a little doubtful about the coconut. Personally, I'm not too big a fan of the taste of coconut anyway, although the recipe assured me that the taste of coconut would be completely masked in the cake. I used extra virgin olive oil, for it has the lightest flavour and it's even healthy! This also allowed the primary flavours of the cake to come forward and shine. The use of oil over butter also contributes to the moistness of the cake, something I greatly treasure in my baked goods.

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Anyway, back to the Nutella. It being World Nutella Day, it was important not to skimp on the amount of Nutella involve, hence I just dolloped tablespoons of Nutella on the cake. There's even a layer of Nutella inside the cake! This cake is best served with a glass of milk, and with that I highly, highly recommend that you have this cake with a glass of fresh milk on the side.

In fact, I insist that you do. For this cake is just ten times better with it. The milk elevates it to a whole new level, for it somewhat offsets the heaviness of the peanut butter. This is especially important if you're using crunchy peanut butter, because I suspect it was the use of crunchy peanut butter that contributed to the density of this cake. In fact, please try to use creamy peanut butter, if you can. It would probably make life a lot simpler. But have the milk either way. Please.

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Peanut Butter Nutella Loaf Cake Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 0.75 cup buttermilk
  • 35g light brown sugar
  • 25g white sugar
  • 85g peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, but i recommend creamy)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 0.25 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, etc...)
  • 188g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of salt (optional!)
  • lots of Nutella

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and grease your loaf pan.
  2. Whisk the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. (if you need me to spell it out for you: egg, buttermilk, brown & white sugar, peanut butter, vanilla extract and oil)
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the large bowl and stir. Do not overmix!! The consistency will be reminiscent of your peanut butter. According to Averie, that's okay.
  4. Pour about half to two-thirds of your batter in the pan, and using a tablespoon, dollop Nutella atop that first layer. Eyeball it. When you think you've dolloped enough, spread it around so that it roughly covers the first layer of cake batter. Then, pour the remaining cake batter over the Nutella layer. With the tablespoon, dollop about three large spoonfuls of Nutella atop that. Using a chopstick (although I've heard that a toothpick would work fine as well), make swirls of Nutella.
  5. Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes! Be careful when using the toothpick test here, for it came out clean for me at 30 minutes for my cake yesterday (which used roughly the same ingredients and method) even though the cake was not properly baked through yet.
  6. Cool in your pan for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling off.
  7. Serve with a glass of milk. Please do, or you might be missing out on some of the best things in life.

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