Monday, January 16, 2017


Firstly, a very, very belated "Happy 2017!" to all of you. I would have done this post sooner but life has just been crazy busy and stressful since before Christmas.  My grandson Lachlan had been quite sick and had to stay overnight twice in hospital last December due to bronchiolitis. I'm sure you understand how emotionally distressing it is to see a child suffering. He is better now but it seems the cold virus just doesn't want to let go of him ever - he has the sniffles almost all of the time!

I know I owe you all an update on the Bakeoff challenge.  The final results came out last January 11. Unfortunately, although my cake made it to the top 10 (thanks to your votes!), it did not end up in the top 3. 😞 That means I didn't get a share in the $10,000 prize. I didn't tell you this before - if I had won a part of the prize money, I would have used some of it to go to the US for my niece's wedding in October.  I had the chance to meet her American fiance during our grand family reunion in the Philippines last September.  He was so overwhelmed with all the love he received from the family and in true awe of his experience.  It would have been wonderful to be a part of their wedding. Oh well, if it wasn't meant to be then that's that! There will be other opportunities in the future. Thank you once again for the support you gave me!  I really, really appreciated it! 💗

Anyway, because of the stressful time pre-Christmas, I had to turn down a ton of cake requests. At the same time, I also wanted to concentrate on making Christmas day special for my own family and I knew I wouldn't be able to do that if I was too preoccupied with other people's cakes!

The first thing I baked were springerle cookies.

I shared about these cookies and my fascination about the amazing cookie moulds sometime ago.  I haven't made them in a long while and was very happy that I was able to use my Nativity mould again! I packaged the cookies individually and gave them away to guests at my brother's Christmas lunch. They have a battalion of family friends!

Another treat I made were french macarons. I used the recipe I shared here before and once again. it did not dissappoint.  I managed to successfully make nearly 200 shells in red and green!

The plan was to build a macaron tower.  I baked, filled and froze my macarons a couple of days before the 25th but assembled the tower only on Christmas morning.

I know my macaron tower is not perfect but I was still very pleased with it 😃. Christmas day here was super hot and my white chocolate ganache filling softened quite easily.  I was scared all my macarons would slide off even before we got to my brother's house.  Thankfully, it held up until all the macarons were gone!

And of course, there was cake too! How can there not be? Every year, I try to create something different. This time around, I made a Christmas wreath cake!

I started with a 12" round red velvet cake.  I cut off a 6" hole in the center to turn it into a wreath shape and then used the excess cake to make around 3 dozen cake pops.  I used some of the cake pops as baubles for the wreath. The cake turned out really, really pretty. No one dared to cut into it until the last minute! Next Christmas, I'm thinking I would take it up a notch and make a tree. That would be awesome, right?

All in all, it was a good Christmas season despite all the stress and worry.  Difficult as it may, I try to see everything as opportunities to pray and to trust more in the Lord, to hope and to love.  Isn't that what Christmas should be all about? Although life doesn't seem good all the time, all the time, God is good.

I wish you all a great 2017! Till next time.


  1. Happy New Year, Corinne! We have small baby at home, so I can somehow relate to how you feel about your grandson.
    On an unrelated note, I would like to let you know that I turned your prune-walnut cake into an all-ube cake. LOL. It had the creaminess of butter, but at the same time it was as light as a chiffon. I couldn't believe it! Next time, I'm going to increase the grated ube, though, because I feel like it could accommodate more than the amount I used. Will update you on the other experiment ideas I have about recipe.

  2. Hi Corinne!

    Very belated happy holidays! As like you, I too have been very occupied the past few months. My family and I were too lazy to prepare for the holidays for various reasons, so we ended up taking a cruise to the Panama Canal and spent Christmas and New Year's on a ship. It was the most stress-free holiday I've ever had.

    Belated congratulations on the grandson! There's nothing quite like a grandmother's and grandchild's relationship. It's one of the most special. That's besides the fact that grandma's rock!

    Regarding cakes, I've made a few discoveries.
    1. For the Buko Pandan Cake, I replaced the coconut milk from a can (gata) with coconut milk from a carton, like almond or soy milk that people enjoy with cereal. It gave the cake a more pronounced coconut flavor without impeding on the pandan.
    2. For the Hazelnut Cake, I replaced 2 tablespoons of the flavorless oil with 2 tablespoons of hazelnut oil and it heightened the hazelnut flavor. You commented before that it could use more hazelnut flavor and this seemed to do it without increasing the hazelnut extract.
    3. I made a Strawberries Shortcake and replaced the vanilla chiffon with chocolate chiffon. People liked it very much. I kept everything else the same, but decorated the top with chocolate covered strawberries.

    It's great to hear that you and your family are doing well. And as usual, excellent job with all the baking and cake decorating!

    All the best!

    1. Nice to hear about your family holiday! Being on a cruise must have been a wonderful experience :)

      Thanks heaps for all the tips. I have paired chocolate chiffon with strawberry whipped cream too and yes, it's a great combo!