4 Saving Tips for Cake Decorating Fanatics

Thanks to Kate Sorenson and her team of savings experts, this informative article was possible. As a busy and hardworking mother in addition to a couponing guru, Kate understands the costs that come with cake decorating.

When tightening one’s belt, one of the first luxuries to go by the wayside is fancy foods, especially deserts. Even before that, it’s common to ditch the frills that make your deserts look aesthetically pleasing. So, for the cake-decorating hobbyists out there, here are some ways to save while still continuing your craft.

Buy Tools for Cheap

Professional kitchen-grade tools, such as decorating tips and pastry knives, do not need to cost an arm and a leg. There are plenty of places to get these items for very cheap, even a fraction of the cost of buying them in stores.

In addition to that, you can save by avoiding buying tools that you might be able to “make” by repurposing other implements. For instance, if you are very handy with spatulas, and you don’t own a frosting spreader, just use your spatula instead. It may feel a bit clumsy, but it won’t take much practice.

If you still need to save more, try a different DIY approach.

Make your own Tools when possible

The easiest tool to make is a frosting applicator. All you need is a Ziploc bag to hold the frosting, and then a decorative tip. These can be bought for less than a dollar, but if you have an empty aerosol whipped cream can, the tip can be removed and used for your frosting bag.

Whether you buy or make your own tools, it’s important to not waste them.

Recycle your Tools

Professional kitchens always make a point to waste nothing, and this includes tools that seem disposable. Even if you make your frosting applicator out of a Ziploc bag, don’t throw it out when it gets dirty. Wash it out as you would any other dish, and dry it for further use.

You can also repurpose tools that aren’t even meant for baking. If you buy a large pizza in the near future, save the little white plastic tripod that supports the box top. Just as this piece protects the pizza from being crushed by the box, it can also be used when storing a cake by protecting the cake from the plastic wrap.

If you already have all of your tools purchased and in your possession, then you’re probably looking for other ways to save when baking and decorating cakes.

Use Recipes with Few, Cheap Ingredients

Completely homemade cakes are often quite expensive and rack up a large tab in ingredients. However, semi-homemade cakes taste just as brilliant and cut your ingredients to a minimum.

As long as you use butter and not olive oil, these cakes will still taste homemade because the cake mix is only being used as “flavored flour.”

Cake decorating doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. All you need to do is get creative, and reuse things when possible. The result you’ll get is a cake that is delicious, pretty, and also unique!

Additional Source:
“Cake Decorating For Less”, Catalog

Butter Cake Revisited

This post is sponsored by LIV Butter.
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Liv dairy products include a range of farm-fresh velvety Australian butter available in blocks and portion tubs. SQ and many other airlines are also serving LIV butter in their in-flight meals. LIV Butter is available in Salted & Unsalted blocks of 250g each. It is Halal certified. You can find this at leading local supermarkets.

I baked my favourite butter cake using this LIV Salted Butter. The butter cake turned out to be crumbly and buttery. Even though I used their salted butter, the saltiness wasn't as prominent as some other salted butters. It's better to consume the butter cake two days after baking, so that you can feel the "oiliness" of the fragrant butter as you bite into it! This butter softens quite easily. Therefore, you can just take it out of the fridge just just before your baking preparation. Try a LIV butter today!
Recipe for Butter Cake
(Makes 10 roses, and two mini rectangular loaves)

225g LIV Salted butter, softened
140g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
225g Self-raising flour
5 tbsp Whole milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Fold in the flour, milk and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Scoop the batter into the rose moulds.
  4. Bake the cake at 160C (fan oven) for 22 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
  6. Decorate the roses with chocolate ganache.

Homemade Pork Jerky, 肉干

My baked food for last week didn't turn out well. I was very busy at work and was stressed over the tight deadlines. I thought I could distress by doing some baking. Unfortunately, my bakes didn't turn out well.

I made a Black Sesame Butter Cake earlier in the week and it turned out to be hard and almost tasteless. I made an Olive Ciabatta and the dough was too wet and dense. It was still edible though. The only more presentable bake was the Pork Jerky, or known as Bak Kwa in Singapore.

When I saw Sonia's post earlier this year, I was very tempted to try it myself. However, as I don't know what kind of meat is good for making this Pork Jerky, I didn't attempt this. Fortunately over the weekend, I saw that "Porkee" lean pork was on sales at our local supermarket, I thought of trying out the recipe. If it didn't turn out well, at least the cost of making it wasn't so huge.
As it turned out, the meat was quite soft despite the fact that it was a little too thick. The overall taste was nice, as commented by my children. However, I found it lacking of some "char siew sauce" taste though the kind of caramelized taste was there. Actually, it wasn't too difficult to make. It was rather pleasing to see the end result. I'm re-posting the recipe for my personal reference.
meat_porkjerky2 Recipe for Homemade Pork Jerky (肉干), adapted from Nasi Lemak Lover.

500g Lean meat (from Porkee), chopped and cut until almost like minced
100g sugar

1 tbsp Light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (omitted because I ran out of it)
1/2 tbsp Fish sauce
1 tbsp Mushroom sauce (or oyster sauce)
1/2 tbsp Dark caramel sauce 
1/8 tsp Chinese five spices powder 
A dash of Pepper
1/2 tsp Rock salt
2 tbsp Honey


1. Put all ingredients together in a big bowl and mix well. Blend and stir the mixture in one direction until the meat becomes gooey. Important to mix them till gooey, otherwise the meat might break out. Cover and store in the fridge for several hours.
2.Spread the marinated pork thinly onto a paper-lined baking tray using your fingers.
3. Bake at pre-heated oven at 160C for 15-20mins. Remove from oven. Increase the oven temperature to 240C. At this moment, there will be a mixture of the meat and its juices on the baking tray. Leave them as it was.
4. Wait till slightly cooled, cut into your desired size and shape using a pizza cutter, and placed them back on the same baking tray.
5. Grill (top heat only) at 240C for 10mins, remove from the oven, flip over to the other side, and continue grilling for 7-9mins or until golden brown with slight burnt.
6. Once done, let it cool and enjoy! meat_porkjerky3 meat_porkjerky4

A visit to Chek Jawa

Chek what? "Chek Jawa is a 100-hectare wetlands located on the south-eastern tip of Pulau Ubin, an island off the north-eastern coast of the main island of Singapore." - Wikipedia.
End of June, my department's Welfare Officer organised a visit to Chek Jawa. I was very happy I was able to join the excursion even though I was very busy at work. It was an almost one day excursion out to Chek Jawa. We gathered at Changi Ferry Terminal to take a ferry across to Pulau Ubin. I understand the tour had to be booked very early in advance as it was very popular. What made it even more popular was that the day which we visited was the last day of the tour for the year as they closed for renovation of the platoon. Visiting the Chek Jawa wetlands had to be very early as it depends very much on the tide.

We were amazed by how much sea creatures we can find right in our "door-step". After this excursion, I will be planning to bring my family to visit Chek Jawa when it opens again in 2013. You can still go to Pulau Ubin for trekking and hiking or cycling. But I'll give it a pass... For me, the main attraction in Pulau Ubin is Chek Jawa Wetlands.

Bumboat ride to Pulau Ubin
Arrived at the jetty.
Wild boars roaming. Estimated to have 2000 wild boars roaming in Pulau Ubin.
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Mangrove plants
Fiddler Crab - Crab with one big pincer.
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View from the platform. Low tide, you can see very far.
Need to climb down the platoon to view the sea creatures. This was the platoon that will be undergoing major renovations for the next six months. The lady on the left, in white, was our NPark guide for the day. The whole wetland tour took us 90mins.
Hermit crab.
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Sea cucumbers - different species for the next three pictures.
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Anemone - expands in water, contracts without water to retain its moisture.
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Horseshoe crab
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View from the Jawa Tower

Mix Fruit Chiffon Cake

After I have successfully baked a beautiful blueberries chiffon cake earlier in the week, I was tempted to bake another chiffon cake again. This time, I tried a mixed fruits chiffon using frozen fruits which my sister had given me previously. It was actually a fruit salad which she made and we couldn't finish. So I immediately stored them in the freezer. It was until now that I managed to use it. After taking the mixed fruits out from the freezer, it produced a lot of liquid. I mixed them into the cake. Thankfully, the chiffon turned out well.
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Recipe for Mix Fruit Chiffon Cake, modified from "Chiffon cake is done".


Egg Yolk batter
6 Egg yolks
40g Caster sugar
60g Vegetable oil 
100g Milk (Fruit juice + milk to make up to 100g liquid. Else just add 100g milk
120g Mixed fruits (A mix of frozen berries)
1 tsp Vanilla extract 

180g Self raising flour, sifted 

Egg White foam 
6 Egg whites
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar 

100g Caster sugar 


1. Egg yolk batter: Whisk egg yolks and sugar until sugar has dissolved and yolk turns lighter. 
2. Add in vegetable oil and stir till incorporated. 
3. Add in the mixed fruits, milk & fruit juice and vanilla extract. Mix well. 
4. Fold in sifted flour until a thick batter is formed. 
5. Egg white foam: Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until mixture forms soft peak. 
6. Gradually add in sugar, beating at high speed until frothy and stiff peaks form. 
7. Gently fold beaten egg white foam into egg yolk batter until blended. 
8. Placed some mixed fruits on the bottom of the tube pan.
9. Pour the batter into an 8" tube pan. 
10. Bake in preheated oven at 160C for 45mins. 
11. Remove from oven, invert cake onto a wire rack until completely cooled.
12. Refrigerate the chiffon cakes if unconsumed within the same day to keep the fruits fresh.