Strawberry Swirl Vanilla Ice Cream

This is the second sorbet/ice cream recipe I’ve posted for the summer holidays, but it is by far the best one. So here is the recipe for a vanilla bean ice cream with a strawberry swirl, and let me tell you – it will be the best ice cream you will ever have. No joke. Like seriously. Ice cream3999.jpgI literally cannot describe how good it is and for once I’m actually lost for words. It’s creamy, fresh, perfectly sweet and mind-blowingly delicious. The combination of that strawberry compote mixed with the vanilla ice cream is a match made in heaven. ice-cream38Since I am lactose intolerant, I need to take Lactese before I eat it yet I still can only have a little bit. But that mouthful I have, is like an explosion of flavours and the texture is perfection. My parents even said that is the best ice cream I have ever made and the best ice cream they have ever had. Ice cream7.jpgAnd trust me, we have been to A LOT of ice cream shops. From the American Baskin-Robbins, to the Swedish Movenpick, to the Haagen Daz ice cream shop in Paris, to gelato in Italy; so it’s fair to say that we’re pretty experienced ice cream connoisseurs. Ice cream8.jpgBut my main inspiration for this ice cream is actually from the Strawberry Fields Farm up at the Sunshine Coast. When my brother and I were little, my family used to take us there to pick strawberries but, more importantly, have the delicious ice cream afterwards. Ice cream23.jpgNo, we didn’t go all the way to the Sunshine coast to get strawberries specifically for this ice cream but we did go to the local markets. The strawberries were really cheap, like $10 for 3 big punnets. So I wanted to try recreate the ice cream we had at that strawberry farm. Ice cream31.jpgMy parents gave me their verdict as did my brother and said that it tasted better than their ice cream which is pretty huge. The photographs were a bit of struggle however. When you mix Brisbane heat with something cold – it’s just a mess. Ice cream28.jpgI actually took these photos over two days and so the lighting/background colour is a bit different in each shot. In these cone photograph, the ice cream is practically melting. I’m very sorry but then again, I can’t control the weather.Ice cream29.jpgI also apologise for not using my own ice cream recipe. I actually used David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream.  I highly recommend purchasing his book – The Perfect Scoop. And if you saw The Perfect Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe, I also used David’s recipe. So thank you David/Mr Lebovitz (even though you’re not going to see this).


Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream adapted from David Lebovitz.

  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Strawberry compote (recipe below)
  1. Place the insert of your ice cream machine in the freezer a day before churning.
  2. To make ice cream, heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place a 2-quart (2L) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and cold water to create an ice bath. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk to a simmer then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour (this is called tempering so your eggs don’t scramble!). Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
  5. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula (this is called nappant). It should be 170°F or 75°C on an instant-read thermometer.
  6. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and the discard vanilla bean. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
  7. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Remove half of the ice cream from your machine and transfer it into a loaf pan. Place approximately 6 heaped tablespoons of strawberry compote (can vary depending on personal preference) over the ice cream. Then create a swirl/ripple by running a knife through it.Repeat with the remaining half of ice cream.Once complete, place a few more generous tablespoons of compote on top but do not swirl it (this will create a nice effect when you scoop it).
  9. Freeze for about 6 hours to go completely firm and retain a nice scoop. Can keep for up to a week in the freezer – but trust me it won’t last long.
Strawberry Compote:
  • 500g strawberries, hulled and chopped in half
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest (about half a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir occasionally. Once the strawberries a soft, mash them with the back of a fork or a potato masher (you can mash them until the mixture is completely smooth but I like to leave mine a bit chunky). Cook the mixture for a total of 7-10 minutes or when the berries have released their juices and compote has slightly thickened.
  2. Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate until completely cooled.



Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla American Buttercream

I think I have finally found a good vanilla cake recipe. But people look for different things in a cake. Some like it moist and dense, some like it light and fluffy. So this recipe is the latter option since it is more of a sponge cake rather than a butter cake but still provides the structural properties for layering. vanilla-cake-41I have always preferred lighter cakes over denser cakes and I am sure most people do. If you saw the Raspberry Naked Cake Recipe, I used a butter cake recipe which is a  lot denser in comparison to this one. Vanilla cake 14.jpgI wanted this recipe to be as simple as possible. I didn’t want you to experience the tedious process of separating eggs or cooking them over a double boiler or doing this method called a liasion. So basically, for this cake, you simply beat the eggs and sugar until they are pale in colour – that’s what makes it so light and fluffy. It’s also very important that you use real vanilla bean. But how does this differ from a butter cake? Vanilla cake 39.jpgIn a butter cake, there is a really high fat content (hence the name). You will find that it uses the traditional creaming method – which is where you beat the butter and sugar, add the eggs, alternate between flour and milk etc. Whereas the butter in this cake is significantly lower. Vanilla cake 30.jpgSo please trust me on this one. I’ve tried butter cakes, various sponge cases and other methods for many years until I finally found this one. It’s everything you could ever need. But please ignore my cake decorating. I really screwed it up for some reason and was supposed to look sort of artistic. However, with a cake this good, the flavour and texture make up for it. Vanilla cake 48.jpgI would also like to say thank you for everyone who visits this blog. Even if it’s just one view or a simple comment/like on Instagram, it really means the world to me. I’m getting more views lately which is pretty cool because people have been pinning my stuff on Pinterest. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to do that but I was meant to work on the interface/design of Beyond Our Sky; as in make it easier to pin photos and all that technical magic. Vanilla cake 27.jpgI also wish you happiness in your life because I know it can get a little hard sometimes when the world seems to be against you. I always use to tell my close friend that everyone is destined to do something amazing one day.But now that I realise it, that day may never come if you don’t work for it. Vanilla cake 36.jpgSo I would like to finish this post with a metaphor from Casey Neistat  (watch video here). For those who don’t know him, he is a famous YouTuber who decided to stop daily vlogging. He basically talked about feeling like Tarzan and his career/life was like navigating from one side of the jungle to the other.  And the only way he can get to where he wants to be, is by flying from vine to vine. Each vine represents grabbing onto a another opportunity. So, in general, Casey thinks that when you accomplish success or reach 5 million subscribers like he did –  it makes you feel very comfortable and in order to move on/evolve, he needs to completely let go on one vine and grab onto the next.

So with that being said, thank you for reading and please enjoy the recipe.

Vanilla Bean Cake with Vanilla American Buttercream

Makes one 6 inch (or 15cm) vanilla cake. 

Vanilla Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 140mL (1/2 cup + 1 tbls) milk
  • 70g butter (5 tablespoons) butter, cubed
  • 240g ( 1 2/3 cups) plain or all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 170C/350F. Grease and line four 15cm (6 inch) tins with butter and baking paper.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds until pale in colour and tripled in volume; about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine butter and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter has completely melted. Do not let it boil.
  4. On low speed, gradually pour the milk and butter mixture into the eggs. Whisk until just combined.
  5. Sift together the flour and baking  powder in a separate bowl. Then sift again into the cake batter. Fold gently until there are no streaks of flour (the batter may look a bit lumpy but that’s fine – just make sure you do not over mix).
  6. Divide the batter evenly between four pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Let the cakes cool in the tin for 20 minutes then transfer and invert them onto a wire cooling rack. Set aside to cool completely.
Vanilla American Buttercream
  • 250g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 500g (4 cups) icing/powdered sugar
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  1. Beat butter on high speed until pale and lighter in colour; about 5 minutes.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar, a little at a time, beating well in between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  3. Add the vanilla bean seeds and just enough milk to loosen the frosting slightly.
  4. Beat on high for a further 3 minutes.
  • Pink food colouring (optional)
  • Silver cachous
  • Spinkles
  • Edible flowers
  1. Place first layer of cake on cake stand or platter. Spread a generous amount of frosting (about 1/4 cup) on top of the layer. Repeat with remaining cake layers.
  2. Crumb coat the cake by spreading a thin amount of frosting around the sides and top. Refrigerate the cake for 10 – 20 minutes until firm.
  3. With an off set spatula, spread a thick layer of frosting around the cake until evenly covered.
  4. Colour the remaining frosting pink (or desired shade) and randomly place dollops of frosting  around the cake. Using a cake/bench scraper, run it around the cake to create smooth layer.
  5. Using an offset spatula, create streaks around it to get a painted effect.
  6. Transfer reamaning pink frosting into a piping bag with star tip. Pipe swirls around the top edge of the cake.
  7. Decorate with silver cachous, sprinkles and flowers.

Gingerbread Recipe

It’s crazy how quickly the time flies by. One minute you’re in the middle of August and the next minute you’re counting down the days till Christmas. So since homemade gifts are always the best, why not make someone some gingerbread? ginger-bread6I have to admit that Christmas isn’t really a big thing in our family. We don’t really set up a tree or have any traditions besides going to a Christmas lunch at my grandmother’s house. My brother and I used to love decorating the tree when we were young, then we would wake our parents up early to open the presents. Ginger bread7.jpgBut, for some unknown reason, we stopped doing that 3 years ago. It doesn’t really bother me because, in a way, it makes you become more appreciative of the things you already have. Like I’m always thankful that I have been given the pleasure to live this life. gingerbread.jpgWe witness so many beautiful moments that are combined and meshed together to form what we call life. Sometimes I find myself smiling or looking back at some of the experiences I have gone through and I literally think, wasn’t that amazing.Ginger bread24.jpgOf course there are some not-so-beautiful moments and things I regret or wish I could have done better/in a different way. But maybe that’s the beauty in it, what you learn after the experience and how it changes you.Ginger bread12.jpgI like to have no regrets. I like to believe there isn’t necessarily a wrong or right choice. Because everything you do happens for a reason. People leave and come into your life for a reason and, whether you realise it or not, they all impact who you are. Ginger bread27.jpgSo thank you to everyone out there if you’re reading this. Truly, a big thank you. If there was a way I could package these cookies and somehow deliver them to you, I would. The only thing I can suggest is that you make them and try it out yourself. Maybe make someone’s day by giving them some cookies.


Gingerbread Recipe

  • 120g (4oz/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup powdered/icing sugar
  1. Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add molasses, vanilla and egg then mix until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the flour, baking soda and all the spices to form a soft dough. Divide dough in half and shape each portion into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Roll each portion of dough in between two pieces of parchment/baking paper until 3mm or 1/8 inch thick (if the dough has gotten too soft, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using a star/circle/gingerbread men cookie cutter, cut shapes from the dough and transfer onto a lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly browned and firm around the edges (will vary depending on size). Allow to sit on the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make royal icing, combine egg white and powdered sugar. Starting on low, whisk until combined then gradually increase to high and beat for 3-5 minutes to form stiff beaks. Transfer into a piping bag with a small round tip, and pipe onto cookies in desire design.
  5. Allow icing to set then serve and enjoy!