i was privileged to attend a media preview of Fluff Bakery’s first store (which is supposed to officially open its doors on 19 Oct, but is now delayed due to some issues) to sample its bestselling cupcakes and get to know the owner and chief baker, Nursyazanna Syaira.
[photo by Pink Elephant Labs]
i’m not normally a cupcake person, but HOW COULD I RESIST when these were right under my nose, i ask you?! they were screaming “EAT ME”, you know, like in Alice in Wonderland, which was, of course, in line with the Mad Hatter Tea Party theme for the media preview event.
[photo by Pink Elephant Labs]
now, if you’re on instagram and/or are a cupcake junkie, you’d have heard of (and likely have joined) the ‘infamous’ queues that form outside Penny University and Parlour by Ashley Isham every time Fluff Bakery announces its exciting cupcake flavours. while Fluff’s repertoire of baked goods has since grown to include cakes and cookies, the cupcakes – light, fluffy, oozing with surprise fillings and topped with finger-lickin’ goodness – are the reasons it’s formed a massive following of seemingly insatiable ‘cupcake monsters’.
and here’s Syaira herself, SHE’S SO BRIGHT AND YOUNG omg i feel positively dull and decrepit next to her. she shared that she picked up baking from her mother, and she started out baking for friends and family as a hobby. six months before her wedding, she made the decision to quit a job she was unhappy doing, to pursue baking full-time – and she hasn’t looked back since. it’s always inspiring to hear of someone following their dreams, finding support and fulfillment, and ultimately, success, especially at such a young age. (i’m 35 and still trying to find my dream. one that doesn’t involve ryan gosling anyway.)
i mentioned on instagram that these cakes here – the dark chocolate orange cake and the chocolate nutella vertical cake – were the piece de resistance at the tea party table. vertical layers in a cake is a mind-boggling thing to me, much like the Stonehenge, both of which mysteries i’m happy to leave unraveled and simply appreciate. yes, please, don’t RUIN it for me by telling me how it’s made, ok…
guests at the tea party were also invited to create their own cupcakes, so everyone went all #fluffmad (check out the hashtag on instagram!) with the ready cored vanilla cuppies, squirting in and piping on a variety of fillings and toppings, and finishing them off with a flurry of sprinkles, edible glitter, and even pretzels. auni chose chocolate and LOTS of pink stuff on hers. are you even surprised?
we each got to bring back a boxful of cupcakes and cakes of our choice at the end of the event, to share (or to hoard). SO awesome. rest assured, i held on to my box like precious cargo all the way home (even while counting the calories that will go to my hips with each bite, and then not caring).
so let’s hope everything goes smoothly for the opening (the date is now pending, look out for their announcement on instagram @fluffbakery), so you can drop by 12 Jalan Pisang (just across Hajah Maimunah) for your Fluff fix (and maybe even say hi to the friendly owner herself)!
the opening hours will be 11am to 8pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 10am to 10.30pm on Fridays to Sundays – there, surely you won’t need to queue up anymore… right?! there’ll be no fixed menu but its bestsellers, like the red velvet and salted caramel cupcakes, will be available daily.
there are more than 80 flavours to try, so watch their instagram space for updates on what’s baking each week and PACE YOURSELF, PEOPLE!
i’m actually VERY curious to taste the chocolate milkshake and fries cupcake (say whuuuut), which i think was inspired by… mcdonald’s?! haha tsk, these crazy kids and their crazy ideas. whatever other crazy flavours will they think of next…?
yes, it would seem that i am PERPETUALLY STUFFING MY FACE.
but the truth is, i don’t have a very healthy relationship with food, unlike the husband.
whereas i always feel bad and guilty about eating (often imagining everything immediately making camp around my waist and never leaving), he revels, rejoices, relishes his food glorious food (his personal motto being “YOLO!”). he has no qualms about eating whatever he fancies (and more), while i tend to rein it in (and even admonish him for not doing the same – such is the party pooper that i am).
of course, there will be times when i’m absolutely starving (usually having skipped a meal/post-workout) and will ward off the kids from dipping their hands into my dish (and then feel bad and start forcing chunks of my food to them). then there will be times when i refuse to order anything myself and nibble off everybody else’s plates for the sake of sustenance. (and then there will be times when fries and cheese are involved and it’s HELLO MY DARLINGS HUSH NOW COME TO MAMA… i can’t decide if i should just embrace this darkest desire of mine or keep trying to suppress these moments of weakness.)
the husband and i can sometimes get into a huff when deciding where to eat when we’re out. the conversation typically goes like this:
H: where do you want to eat?
W: …. dunno. anything lah, you choose.
H: i can eat anything. you yang susah, nanti tak suka. you tell me lah.
W: i can’t think of anything.
H: if me, i will have nasi rawon, nasi briyani, nasi lemak… *rattles off list that makes my arteries clog and my pants’ button pop just hearing them all together in one breath*
W: aiyah i dunno lah!! you just eat wherever you want! i don’t care!! *huff*
then invariably, he’d have a magical flash of idea while driving and proceed to bring me to a place which i actually won’t object to.
because ultimately, that’s all i want, really – just the fact that someone knows my taste (and tastebuds) well enough and be the food telepath and Tummy Whisperer to the cranky dispassionate eater that is me.
there is NO END to this ‘+20% free’ nutella jar, i swear. it’s practically a bottomless pit of gooey goodness.
found this ridiculously easy recipe that required like, oh, all of THREE ingredients and barely half an hour, that left everyone post-dinner snack happy.
seriously. 3 ingredients!
ie: 1/2 cup nutella, 1 egg, and 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (i halved the portions because that is all the family can consume in one sitting). i also stuffed a mini marshmallow in the middle of each cup (because i had some). then slathered a layer of nutella on top (because i can!).
they may not look too impressive, but wth, they were gone in waaaay less time it took to make.
my lovely next-block neighbour and long-time friend made a beautiful rainbow cake for her first-born’s 7th birthday, and she inspired me to try out something called an ombré cake, which was totally alien to me until she showed me a gorgeous example from google. well, i was quite certain it’ll look nothing like the picture, knowing me and my fumbling, bumbling ways in the kitchen, but i was game anyway, especially since we decided to make it an afternoon playdate for ourselves (and the kids).
at first i thought making ombré cupcakes would be easier, so ok, let’s do purple… but we might have overdone it with the violet coloring and somehow, the gradient colours refused to show up in the cupcakes, looking more like marbling, plus the purple looked weird after baking, soooo we whipped up another batch, this time using a white batter recipe that eliminates the egg yolks which we theorised interfered with the colour, and decided to do a cake instead and bake the layers separately.
the result didn’t look much like the original picture (i didn’t even hope!), and we didn’t want to bother whipping up the cream to stick the layers together (though it’d look better), so out came my jar of strawberry jam from the fridge, and some leftover cream cheese frosting for some cinnamon rolls i made last week. and my dear friend had to shake her head at me when i picked out the colours from the bag of rainbow sprinkles, just because.
fun as this was, i doubt i’ll attempt this myself again, unless i cheat and just use a Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix (but sorry, my first-born, mummy’ll just buy you a stress-free cake on your 7th birthday, can?!).
as for what to do with the colourings i have left, hmm… pink and purple pizza, anyone? (i bet auni will approve.)
didn’t have any fancy ingredients at hand, so using the base blondie recipe from before, i dolloped spoonfuls of nutella on top and…. swirled.
well, seemed like a good idea then. :p
i’m quite sure i’m getting on with age because a lot of things have started to taste way too sweet for me now – and unfortunately, this includes the much-revered nutella. just licking it off a spoon makes me cringe ever-so-slightly rather than simply revel at the pure heaven-ness that i know it should be. i don’t even know why i’m bothering with these sweet baked treats, really, since i’d only have a slice or two before my taste receptors tell my brain to shut the sugar intake.
the kids’ breakfast of choice is, more often than not, eggs. scrambled, omellete, bulls-eye, hard-boiled – they sure like their eggs. i tell them they cannot eat eggs every day, but we always end up going through a carton within days. (what more with my recent ‘experiments’, they get used up even faster.)
anyway, the girl’s seen me make scrambled eggs enough times to remember the steps and was adamant about doing it herself. well, i don’t see why she shouldn’t…
another item i keep a lookout for at the supermarkets for a good price – butter! it irks me that unsalted butter costs more than salted butter. i never even knew there was a difference until i started buying them for a purpose other than spreading them on bread, that’s just how ignorant i’ve been all my life. as you may know better than me, most baking recipes call for unsalted butter, and for a kitchen amateur who’s minding her grocery money more these days, it especially irks me to have to scrimp and hoard and be prudent with my stash of unsalted butters.
now, let me tell you where the butter in our household usually goes to in the Pre-Domesticated-Hana Days (PDHD). see, in addition to all things cheese, the girl also has a penchant for all things butter. give her a slice of bread and a stick of butter, and she’ll slather it on thick and lick the butter knife clean. even at mcdonald’s, for example, you know that tab of butter they give out for hotcakes? she just laps it up as it is – forget the hotcakes – with nary a spot left in the plastic casing. and she is undiscerning of the different types of butter – it’s just butter to her. so there, she is the undisputed Dairy Queen of the house. in any case, it usually takes us a while to go through one pack of spread, PDHD. (because the rest of us prefer our breads unbuttered. or in my case, wholesomely nutella-ed.)
anyway, made some biscuits for tea in the afternoon, you know, for fun, using yes, an entire stick of cheaper salted butter (i wasn’t feeling generous at the supermarket), and it was sticky, greasy work (apparently salted butter has higher water content; thanks google). with the admittedly addictive smell of butter (and of course, vanilla) coming from the oven, the girl salivated and was the first in line to pop them in her mouth while they were still warm. (she licked her lips in remembrance of them while in bed earlier, saying they were yummy; can you tell she is my favourite? :p)
speaking of butter, saw this trailer while waiting for the movie to start yesterday. (“newsflash: it’s bad for you!” butter, that is. ha ha try convincing the girl to believe that.)
“It’s strange how we always want other people to feel what we feel. It must be a basic human drive. Misery loves company, right? Or when you see a movie that you love, don’t you want to drag all your favourite friends to see it as well? Because it’s only good the second time if it’s the first time for somebody else – as if their experience somehow resonates inside of you. The power of shared experiences. Maybe it’s a way to remind ourselves that on some level we’re all connected.”
omg this was such a brilliant read, i love this author (ever since i was blown away by the chilling Unwind)! i brought it for the ride into JB yesterday and finished it the same night, it’s that good. it’s about this boy, written from four points of views, who can’t help but absorb your scars, cuts, bruises, even your emotional pains, the moment he starts caring about you. is that necessarily a good thing for you, to be dulled of the senses that make you essentially human? funny, sad, disturbing, intense, tragic, beautifully written – and because i want others to feel what i feel, i’m sharing this with you fellow readers, and hope to enthuse over it with someone.
yes, the power of shared experiences.
as for the JB trip, do you know what i look for now at the supermarkets? their damn cheap flour! at less than RM1.50 for a 1kg packet of all-purpose flour, the sign says ‘limited to a maximum of 6 packets per person’. which is so wartime-rationing, it’s endearing. anyway, i’m just an amateur ‘baker’ prone to making recipe mistakes and not at all discerning of flour quality at this point, so cheap basic ingredients for my ongoing (sometimes failed) kitchen experiments suit my purpose, thank you very much. 1Malaysia!
can you believe, in all my 34 years of living, i’d never made jellies on my own? (oh what else is new, hana.) the first time i made them was over the weekend for arshad’s birthday, but they were so easy and delish, i bought more packets and made them for ourselves today. auni is crazy for this stuff, she can eat that entire box by herself, just continuously pops them into her mouth while singing “wibble wobble, wibble wobble, jelly in my tummy”.
my mum SWEARS by this brand: “kau JANGAN beli brand lain, aku dah try semua, tak bagus! semua lembik! yang ini aje sedap, kat NTUC aje ada!” well, with that kind of fervent endorsement, who am i to refute? she was so insistent that she proceeded to NTUC the very next day to buy me this specific brand of Konnyaku powder, in case i tried to be funny and purchase another brand just because i didn’t believe her.
so, she was right; as the packet truthfully touts, they are indeed very “kenyal kenyal” – firm but chewy – and importantly, fool-proof. although, as fool-proof as it is, this fool still made a mistake on that first try. because after happily thinking she’s followed the instructions to a tee, she smugly ladled out the boiled mixture into the mould and placed them in the fridge – only to discover that she’s left out the crucial satchet of malic acid in the packet that makes the jelly ‘kenyal kenyal’. after a few exasperated groans and hair-tearing, i dumped everything back in the pot and reboiled it. turned out still edible in the end, so yay for this fool.
and that was my VERY EXCITING story of Konnyaku jelly-making, THE END.
was lazily watching tv with the kids last night, some cooking show with a perfectly-groomed blonde lady coolly giving instructions while sauteeing and cooing away at how yummy her dish is turning out, and remarked enviously out loud, “how come i don’t look like that when i cook, so pretty…”
the boy replied, ever so nonchalantly, “it’s okay, as long as the food tastes nice, doesn’t matter.” if anything, he’s got his pragmatic attitude from his father.
i still haven’t had enough of that peanut butter smell coming from the oven and i had another half a pack of semi-sweet Hershey chocolate chips, so…. you know what happened. turned out these muffins didn’t taste as sweet as they ought to be (i blame the recipe!), so i think i should always keep stock of a tub of vanilla ice-cream for moments that require it as a complement, such as this.
speaking of kuihs, the husband’s been hankering for some homemade donuts, the simple sugary kinds, not the fancy j.co or Krispy Kreme kinds, you know? he remembers his late mum making them, with the donut cutter thingy, and recalls how yummy they were. (and all along i thought people rolled the donut dough and formed them into circles, you know, like pretzels. which is also another mystery pastry i wish to unravel some day, so that i don’t have to fork out so much dough, pardon the pun, for one piece of Aunty Anne’s pretzel ever again, hmph.)
anyway, i came across the donut cutter thingy in one of those shops that sells all kinds of kitchen knick-knacks, and am now a little apprehensive about actually making the donuts. i hear a lot of hot oil and frying is involved. *shudder*
so, err… anyone has a tried-and-tested donut recipe to share?
been missing a few things. like this ten-dollar salad lunch, the office crowd-watching, my favourite lunch buddy. whipped up a sweet treat for her in the morning, lovingly tied it with a ribbon, just to take her through the rest of the day, slogging away, hunched at the desk. well, that part i don’t miss… :)
used the bread pan for the first time. the magic is to see the dough rise twice its volume in an hour, then rise some more in the oven. not a fantastic attempt – the raisins weren’t evenly distributed, it wasn’t sweet enough, and was overall a little heavy but crumbly affair. but add a dollop of jam and all is fine with the world.
thanks to Candylicious, i had a bag of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups sitting in the fridge, screaming to be ripped opened and devoured by little sweet-toothed beasts.
so i thought i’d better make use of them, err, constructively. i didn’t want to do cookies because everyone had had enough of those. i didn’t want to do a brownie because it’s too much chocolate for me. then i saw a blondie, which looked like a cake but not really. it actually took me a few days before it hit me last night that a ‘blondie’ is actually a fair-coloured (i.e. blonde) brownie – duh! #blondemoment
found this simple recipe that didn’t take up much ingredients and time. ok go!
well whaddaya know, it turned out pretty yummy, if i say so myself ha haahaa. as always, i reduced the sugar, and besides the peanut butter cups were so sweet as it is. i also didn’t have the requisite 8×8 inch pan so made do with an 8xsomething-else dish and it didn’t turn out so thick, which was ok i guess. and the saltiness of the peanut butter blended in just nice with the melted chocolate.
but you know, i really don’t think you can go wrong with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in just about anything. :d