Chicken Mandi with Rice

I was very close to not getting my share of desserts from FF53 yesterday. A lot of party-goers asked me about the Chicken Mandi recipe and I couldn’t give them the complete recipe. I promised that I will be sharing the recipe soon. And that soon is today. 😉

Chicken Mandi is a recipe originated from Yemen (I asked my BFF, Google). It is some sort of a one-pot meal and similar to Biryani.


To enlighten you more, here’s what my BFF said:

“The main thing which differentiates mandi is that the meat is cooked in the tandoor (taboon in Hadhrami), which is a special kind of oven. The tandoor is usually a hole dug in the ground and covered inside by clay. To cook mandi, dry wood is placed in the tandoor and burned to generate a lot of heat turning into charcoal. Then the meat is suspended inside the tandoor without touching the charcoal. After that, the whole tandoor is closed without letting any of the smoke out.”

These days, this can be done inside the usual oven: the chicken is placed over a rack; under that, the rice is cooked in a stainless cooking pot or any oven-proof pot. Is it confusing? Okay, you will understand later as I will provide you the video of the source recipe. 🙂


Cooking this Mandi is a little challenging for me as I am not sure if my cooking pot can be used inside the oven and this is my first time to cook this kind of meal. Another thing is that I never made my own spice. For Mandi’ sake, I did my first ever spice mix. Hawaij is a traditional Yemeni spice from various ground spice mixtures. It is usually made from cumin, black pepper, turmeric and cardamom. But because I am scaredy cat, I did not include cumin in the spice I made.

Now, for the recipe:

Chicken Mandi with Rice

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • a pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1 kg chicken, split into halves
  • 1 tsp. hawaij spice mix (recipe below)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 cups of basmati rice
  • water for rice (according to the instructions for your rice)
  • 3 tsp salt (you may need less if you use less rice)
  • 3 green chilis
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 1/2 tbsp cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp oil (for the rice)
  • a piece of natural coal
  • bay leaves


  1. In a small bowl or container, place saffron threads together with 1-2 tbsp of warm water. Let sit until the color of the water turns deep orange. Cover and let sit while the chicken is marinating.
  2. Pat dry the chicken. In a bowl, mix hawaij spice, turmeric and melted butter. Rub chicken generously with this mixture. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge overnight.
  3. In a large/wide cooking pot (dutch oven or stainless steel) with medium heat, add oil and saute onions.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the rice, cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf, chilis, salt and water.
  6. Place a wire rack over the pot of rice and place the chicken on top of the wire rack. Make sure that the size (in diameter) of the pot is larger than the chicken on top of the wire rack so the juice of the chicken doesn’t come outside the pot. (Is this clear? haha)
  7. Bake/cook for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 F. Continue baking/cooking for 1 hour or until juices in the thigh part run clear or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165 F.
  8. Remove from the oven let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting.
  9. While waiting, stir the rice and add the saffron mixture.
  10. Cut up the chicken into pieces (if desired) and place it inside the pot of rice.
  11. To create a smoky flavor, place a small bowl with butter in the middle of the chicken and rice.
  12. Heat your coal and place it in the bowl with butter. Close the lid and leave it for 15 minutes.

For the hawaij spice mix: 

  • 6 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp green cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 3 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder


  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, add all the ingredients except turmeric and toast until fragrant.
  2. Transfer to a grinder and finely grind. Mix the turmeric powder.
  3. Keep in an airtight container.

Recipe from Sheba Yemeni Food. Check the video tutorial here.

One of my 2015 resolutions is to explore more foods from other cultures. And I am proud to say that this dish will be on my list whenever there’s a celebration that’s going to happen.

Chicken Mandi can be served with blended fresh tomatoes with chili and yogurt. Also, this can be served with caramelized onions.


And I must say that caramelized onions is my new love. If I could marry it, I really would. ❤ (See here How to Caramelize Onions)

I hope you like the recipe. Enjoy! 😉


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Fiesta Friday #53 (First FF Anniversary Part II)

*Jhuls is at the entrance of FF53 event.*

 I heard people whispering ‘What she’s doing there?

 *Jhuls thought ‘Gosh! It’s good that Selma and Nancy haven’t arrived yet. I still have time to stand here at the entrance. They will never know that I am already taking my share before Angie starts the party. Hmm, this is not my share yet. Not officially. (Insert evil smile here)*

Chef Juliana came over (I think this girl is always watching me when there are desserts on the table) and she asked me what am I doing? I said ‘Uh, I am waiting for Selma and Nancy.’ She left and I am sure she’s not satisfied with my answer. Michelle came with her Chocolate Chip Cookie Ultimate Layer Cake and I asked her for a slice. I just couldn’t let her enter without asking for that cake. Dang! When Chef Juliana turned her head, she saw me with my mouth still full from Michelle’s cake and picking some sweets from the other party goers who enter the place. I should get Sarah to testify that it’s not what people think it is. Ugh! I know she’s too busy with the caloribombing stuff. Uh-oh! Am I in trouble?? :/ Somebody save me!!! Prudy? I am your sweet pea, yes? Save me??

Before I get into further trouble, let me just bring you my gifts for FF53.

Share your best main dishes and desserts. Join us and click the bagde below to link up. (Click here for the guidelines.)

Main dish: check! Dessert: oh yes! Celebratory foods: why not bring celebratory main dish and dessert? Because FF is special, I am bringing a dessert and a main dish. 😉

Brazo de Mercedes

This dessert (which is very popular in the Philippines) is mainly made with eggs and condensed milk – egg whites for the meringue and yolks for the custard. Brazo de Mercedes appeared first on The Not So Creative Cook in a roll form, which is the first, first version. One genius made the cupcake version and for me, they are incredibly brilliant – no mess and easier to handle as they are already served individually.

thenotsocreativecook-BrazodeMercedesCupcakeI have mentioned before that this is one of my favorite cakes and on the second rank. 😉 I don’t make this dessert unless friends tell me so. Don’t think that I am so sweet; I let them pay me for the eggs. 😛 Ha! Do you think I’ll give away my eggs like that? No way. Not even in your dreams. Hahaha! If I make this, that will be occasionally. That makes this dessert a celebratory food. See, I love you and I love FF, so I sacrificed my eggs for you, my dear friends. 😀

thenotsocreativecook-BrazodeMercedesCupcake3So, enjoy… Oooppps! See, they are already pulling out their share from the table. It’s time for you to get yours. 😉

Wait! Wait! Wait!

I am not done yet. I also have main dish for you. Yep! You heard that right. 😉

Chicken Mandi

If I am not mistaken, Mandi originated from Yemen. It is something like a one-pot meal and is similar to Biryani. Lamb or Chicken can be used as the meat.

thenotsocreativecook-ChickenMandi2This has been on my list for not too long, but still, knowing how lazy I am, I waited for the right time to make this – let’s say a special occasion. When I found out about FF53, I told myself that I need to bring something special – something that I don’t usually make that often. Again, as I said, brainstorming alone is kinda difficult. A friend and I were talking about dishes to bring at FF53. I suggested this, this and this… but when she said Chicken Mandi, I thought ‘Wow! Yes! Yes! Chicken Mandi it is!’

Chicken Mandi with Caramelized Onion

And knowing that I am afraid of using spices, I just had to make one for this Chicken Mandi. And I am proud to say that this is a winner!

thenotsocreativecook-ChickenMandi3Guys, you just have to wait for the recipe… again! I know! I know! I owe you three recipes now. Those three will come very soon. I promise. 😀 (Recipes of the two are already posted: click here to get the Brazo de Mercedes Cupcakes recipes and here for Chicken Mandi with Rice.)

Meanwhile, enjoy these treats of mine, hoping that you will forgive me for stealing your sweets while you are busy trying out other foods. 😀

Happy FF53 and I am very much delighted to be partying with all of you.

More parties to come! Cheers!!


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{Guest Post @ BB&B} Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies (Mallow Cookies)

Who loves Monday? Raise your forks!

Hello? Is anybody here? Ugh! I guess I have to convince you to love Mondays.


How about I tell you that Prudy @ Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs is having this Just Another Cookie Monday series? Now, you will change you mind about Mondays… just like I did. 😀 Prudy just made my day brighter when I knew about that. Who doesn’t love cookies? 😛

Prudy is an amazing person. I could not really enumerate all the reasons why she is an amazing person. I don’t think it can be counted by my fingers. But to give you a little introduction for those who doesn’t know her – Prudy is a very generous person. She has a good heart. She is always there to lift your spirit and always believes in you. If you need sunshine on your day, Prudy will give some to you. 😉

On to my guest post –


(Click here to get the recipe. I have not provided Prudy all the messy shots (in-the-making shots) due to the reason that I don’t want her blog/post to be messy. 😛 )

I feel so honored to be a guest at Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs. And I feel more than happy that she loved what I had for her. ❤ (Prudy, I am so happy about our chat yesterday. Let’s chat again?) 😀


Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies or Mallows are my favorites since I knew how to eat. 😀 I remember how my Mom kept those Mallows boxes as they were always devoured very fast. But I guess I wanted to be a detective when I was a child as I always find out those boxes. And the next thing my Mom finds out is an empty box of Mallows. 😛 Well, one box contains only six, so you’d not expect me to leave something behind. 😀

Making these babies was a challenge for me. If you know me well, you know that I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again for hours. But I promised myself that 2015 will be full of challenging bakes for me. So when Prudy invited me before the end of 2014, I just had to look for something where I could start that challenge.

As I have said in my guest post, I had encounters few problems:

(1) I had thin and thick biscuits:


(2) My meringue did not reach the stiff peak stage. I know when your meringue reaches the stiff peak stage, but let’s say I was too eager to see those little kisses on top of the biscuits. My friend was helping and she was the one beating the egg whites when I told her to stop, giving me an “are you sure?” look. I confidently said Yes. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm did not let that happen. Do you know that feeling when you are imagining how your cookies would look like and at the end, you messed it up? See how my meringue looked like. 😐



I should have listened to her. 😦 The meringue could have given that beautiful kisses look.

(3) The melting of the chocolate – butter and chocolate alone did not work for me. I mean, I did something like that before, but I don’t know what happened. I suspect I overcooked the chocolate. What do you think? I had to add warm cream to thin it. At the end, it worked.




After all those encounters, still, these Mallows are perfect. Nobody… and I say NOBODY could ever resist these babies. 😀


I hope you enjoy this post and don’t forget to head over to Prudy’s place for more amazing recipes. Believe me, this girl is worth keeping. So what are you waiting for? 😀

See you next time.


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I am sharing these babies at

Tasty Tuesdays

Sweet and Savoury Sundays


Bake of the Week


Again, I am inviting everyone to join Fiesta Friday First Anniversary. It’s a block party, so everyone can join. New bloggers, will you join us? Pretty please? 😀

Click the image below to know more about it.

(For those who are not aware) FYI, FF52 has passed and FF53 is on it’s way this Friday (January 30th). You can still join the biggest and amazing virtual party. 😉

And now, for the new set of bloggers today:

Kristin Kooks

“Now that I’m older and my tastes have matured, cooking has become a refuge, an escape from a busy day at work and most importantly for me, a way to share my love for good food with my friends and family.”

Kristin has been influenced by her Nana. She used to join her grandmother in the kitchen and watching her as she confidently cooks. For me, memories with our grandmothers are one of the most wonderful memories we have. Kristin shares so many amazing recipes and one of them is this Quinoa Crust Frittata.

Tasty Recipe & Other Stuff

“Hi my name is Siobhan and am a mild-mannered scientist by day and a food enthusiast by night. My idea for this blog was (with the assistance of my fantastic boyfriend, Fabian) to share some recipes of my own creation, other recipes that I have personally found to work out well and all going well, some posts on the great local food we have in Ireland.”

Meet Siobhan who has been blogging for long and it’s a bad thing that I haven’t found her earlier as she has awesome recipes just like the Chocolate Eclairs With Diplomatic Cream. I love chocolate éclairs. ❤

Rosy Bakes

“I started this website for two reasons: One, as a portfolio of sorts. If you are making any kind of art, it’s important to document it so it’s easy to access and look back on- and I fully believe baking is an art. Two, I want my passion to help others.”

That’s Amanda Rose. And I must say that she bakes so many pretty  things. Hmm, just look at these Strawberries and Cream Pretty Patties.

I Sing in the Kitchen 

“Music obsessed cooking freak whipping up fab food one song at time.”

Hmm, there’s nothing more enjoyable that cooking + singing in the kitchen. Tricia has been running her blog since 2011 and I thought I have been following her since the day I got my blog. I just found that I haven’t. But now, I am. Her blog is so awesome to pass – and this Chicken Meatball Sub Casserole is one of the things you shouldn’t forget to check out when you visit her blog.

Monday Bake Off

What’s another reason to love Monday than to have a Monday Bake-Off??

“And I thought ‘What better way to perk my Mondays up than to bake’. Monday is a difficult day for everyone and that’s why I wanted to be a blessing to my friends and family by sharing a little piece of heaven with them.”

Meet Isabel. She has a love affair with sugar. So expect sugary things from her blog. Oh, I love sugar. And who would not love this Strawberry Tiramisu?

And I would like to mention this new blogger (The Truth Doesn’t Lie) who contacted me – could we support her as this blogger is so very new blogging. What I know is this blogger loves to share photos or about everyday life. Maybe you could give some advice or encouragement? 😉

As always, thank you for your support.

Have a fabulous day!


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Mini Tortilla Crust Pizza


Preparing for First Fiesta Friday Anniversary is like preparing something for someone special. You get too excited what to make and you get busy buying all the stuffs you need.


Before Angie’s invite, I have already made something special for FF #52 – something for a special person. I just have to write my story and wait for FF #52 to post it. You see, I was too excited. 😀

Then, there’s Angie’s invite. Oooppss! I think I was way too excited to prepare too early. 😛 Being at work during the weekdays, it’s kinda difficult for me to make something because of the light issues. The answer to that is to declare Friday a day-off. 😀 The moment I saw Angie’s invite, all I did the whole day is to think what to prepare. Since I planned doing it on a Friday (meaning, same day as FF #52), I should think of something easy and foolproof. Brainstorming alone is a bit difficult, too. Good thing is I have a friend who’s ready to listen to my blogging stories and answer any questions I have related to what food to post, blah, blah, blah. I told her my ideas and there she was, approving one of them.

And I must say that she approved the cutest one –

Ladies and gents, party goers… enjoy these cutie pies.


As you see, I already started sampling. 😛

Join us at Fiesta Friday #52 hosted by Angie @ The Novice Gardener, co-hosted by Hilda @ Along the Grapevine and Chef Juliana @ Foodie on Board. Click the link below to join. 😉


No recipes for you today as I want you to enjoy and focus on these delicious bites. 😉 I will post the recipe soon just in case you are interested.

And while picking all the other small small bites and holding your drinks, I am leaving this little one who wants to party as well. 😀

I hope you all enjoy today!



name2 Find me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. And now, I am on Google +. I am still crawling my way down to using it. So please bear with me. 😀


Again, I am inviting everyone to join Fiesta Friday First Anniversary. It’s a block party, so everyone can join. New bloggers, will you join us? Pretty please? 😀

Click the image below to know more about it.

And now, for the new set of bloggers today:

Happily Ever Haas

“I’m a newlywed with a ridiculous passion for cooking, baking and, sometimes, sitting on my kitchen floor wondering where all of the flour came from.”

Haha! Do we all have that kind of thing about flour? 😀 Trisha can’t decide which dessert is her most favorite. Who can, anyway? 😛 Also, she has an endless love with cilantro. (Hmm, you need to tell me more about Cilantro Trisha. 😉 )

On her blog, you can find so many mouth-watering recipes. The photos alone can make you drool. 😛 There are so many desserts and it’s very hard for me to choose from. Right now, I want to enjoy this Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili.


“My dream is to one day cook my own food in a small cafe or restaurant. In the meantime I write here about our life and more importantly what we eat.”

Aww… ❤ For me, Dee is starting to create a restaurant food at her kitchen in West Cork. She has awesome recipes – not only sweets, but savory as well. And savory means Chargrilled Sambal Chicken in Flatbread with Slaw. Hmm, can you smell that? Yum! I’ll have two flat breads, please, Dee? 😀

What to Have for Dinner 

“This blog is mainly aimed at busy people, who struggle to find time in their lives for cooking and end up all too often getting a take away or a ready meal. I like simple, quick food which is low in effort and high in flavour.”

I love the sound of that. Nowadays, who wouldn’t want quick and easy recipes? Not only Harriet shares quick and easy recipes, but also time-consuming or complex ones. As of this moment, I will go for this Smoked Paprika Baked Eggs.

Munchie’s Mind – I don’t know what lines to pick my Michelle’s ‘About’ page. But here’s one thing:

“What’s in Munchie’s Mind? Well, FOOD, of course! Lots and lots of food! It’s an obsession. Mostly the sugary kind, but I’m trying to find room for some healthy food as well.”

She’s so cute and funny. Just take a lot at this photo. Hmm, that describes what’s in Michelle’s mind or let’s say Munchie’s Mind. You’ll see the story behind that when you visit her blog.

And while digging what’s inside Munchie’s Mind, I found this delicious Beef Stew.

Before I proceed to my fifth blogger, I just want to share you this email:

I started my food blog in November and just wanted to drop you a line and say hi 🙂 I’m looking to connect with more food bloggers and people who share the same passion and love for cooking as I do. Congrats on such a great blog and all the hard work you’re doing to help promote fellow food bloggers. I really admire you for that, you have a great heart!

This email really made my day. For me, I don’t receive much email like that, especially from a new blogger – so I am so touched. Yes, my fifth blogger is from the sender of the above message. ❤

Savor Mania

“Recipes inspired by the four corners of the globe & cooked in the kitchen of a third-culture kid.”

Sharon is a very complicated person. Well, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but it’s not that kind of complicated. 😀 What I mean is she came from everywhere – four corners of the globe as she says. The grandparents are from different countries. She is living in Geneva, but born and raised in Taiwan, noting that her grandparents are neither from those two places. Sounds puzzling? I will let her explain it to you. 😛

Going to her recipes (and let me mention her amazing photos as well), I would really love if I could enjoy this Balsamic Chicken Breast.

I hope you visit these blogs and add them to your new friends. 😉 If you have new bloggers that you wanted me to include in the list, drop me an email and tell me why you love them.  You can also bring yourself. 😉

Have a fab week.


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An Invite to the First Fiesta Friday Anniversary

Hey, people!!!! Fiesta Friday First Anniversary is coming…

Have you seen Angie’s invite yet? Well, this is a block party – everyone is invited! Spread the news!!! The more party goers, the merrier. 😀

See you there?? Pretty please?? 😀

xx Jhuls

The Novice Gardener

first fiesta friday anniversary invitation

Just one more week and Fiesta Friday will celebrate its First Anniversary! Are you as excited as I am? Of course you are!

We’ve been brainstorming, my co-hosts and I, on how to properly celebrate this milestone. After many great ideas were thrown in, we’ve decided that our First Fiesta Friday Anniversary needs to be celebrated in a big way, by having a non-stop party that will span 2 weeks.

Let me explain. We’re throwing the biggest block party ever. A Fiesta Friday Block Party. A Fiesta Friday on steroids. Ain’t no party like it ‘coz a Fiesta Friday Block Party don’t stop! Not for 2 weeks! That means Fiesta Friday #52 and Fiesta Friday #53 will BOTH be the designated 1st Anniversary Fiesta Friday parties.

And since it’s a block party, everybody who is a friend of a friend of a friend is welcome. That means all of you…

View original post 361 more words

Thai Pineapple Chicken

First, I want to thank Selma, Sue and Angie for featuring my last FF’s Aunt Juju’s Chocoloate Syrup Brownies. And thanks for appreciating my letter to Angie. 😀 To my surprise, Angie also told me about co-hosting today with Aunt Juju. Wow!

So today, I am very much excited to be co-hosting FF #51 with Aunt Juju @ Cooking with Aunt Juju.

Have fun with us! Link up by clicking the image below. (Click here for the guidelines.)

I don’t think Aunt Juju (others call her Judi, but I love calling her Aunt Juju) needs an introduction, but here’s a quick one – she blogs so many amazing recipes and she’s always there to encourage you. If you don’t know Aunt Juju, then you are missing so much from blogging world; it’s not yet too late to hop on her blog. 😀

Maybe some of you expect me to bring sweets today, but sorry to burst your bubble – I am not. 😛  Instead, I am bringing a main dish – Thai Pineapple Chicken. Hmm, still sweet. Really can’t get enough of the something sweet, eh? 😀

I was craving for a chicken dish with pineapple. Years back, I had this recipe but I’ve lost it. I came to my BFF, Google, for help and it suggested so many amazing recipes. I didn’t know which one to follow.


Pineapple Chicken is one of the famous recipes in the Philippines, but I was surprised to find out that there’s a Thai version as well. If I am not mistaken Pineapple Chicken is cooked using coconut milk or evaporated milk or chicken stock as the base.

So, what to follow now? Being in the mood for adventure, I used the three – three bases for one dish. Sounds amazing!! And to be more fun, I added some Thai Roasted Chili Paste. 😀




  • 500 g chicken, cut into pieces
  • Pineapple juice, canned (enough for the marinade and save little for later)
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp roasted chili paste
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, sliced
  • ¾ cup pineapple tidbits
  • ½ carrots, diced – or whatever slice you desire (optional)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Cooking oil


  1. Cut the chicken into pieces and marinate with pineapple syrup (just enough to cover the chicken) – at least 1 hour to overnight
  2. Heat oil in a cooking pot. Add garlic and onion. Cook until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Add chili paste and mix to coat with the chicken.
  5. When the water from the chicken evaporates, add chicken broth and cook for about ten minutes.
  6. (If using carrots, add them in this step.) Add bell pepper and pineapple tidbits.
  7. Add evaporated milk and coconut milk. (You can add pineapple syrup little by little if you desire.) Wait to boil.
  8. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish with parsley, if desired.


  • Optional, you can add pineapple syrup together with the evaporated milk and coconut milk. The measurement is up to you – it can go from 2 tbsp to how much you desire – it depends on how sweet you like the dish. 
  • You can double or adjust. Your preference, really. This is just a guide. 🙂


The result using the three bases together – rich, creamy and super delicious Thai Pineapple Chicken. I’d never mind having this over and over again. 😀

I hope you all enjoy this dish and enjoy the party, people! Happy FF #51!

Next FF marks the Fiesta Friday First Anniversary and like you, I am way too excited. 😀 😀 😀

Again, thanks to Angie for another opportunity to co-host FF. ❤


Find me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

And now, I am on Google +. I am still crawling my way down to using it. So please bear with me. 😀

Tricky Tuesday #18: Cake/Baking Tips & Tricks

Hello, fellow foodies and friends!

Sorry for not bring to post (under this series) for the last two weeks (?) because you know what happens when life gets in the way.

Anyway, I am back with some tips for bakers out there. 😉

While taking a rest from work, I stumbled upon some amazing tricks in baking and below are my favorites:


  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of meringue powder to your mix to help it rise a bit higher and make it a bit lighter in texture.
  • Add 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin to the batter, helps prevent the surface from splitting or cracking.
  • First add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the butter and sugar called for before mixing the rest of the ingredients. Helps make the cake lighter.
  • Take your time creaming the butter, beat/cream for at least 5 minutes to get lots of air into the butter. Add the sugar and beat/cream really well again.
  • Separate eggs first–beat yolks till golden and creamy then add to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat the egg whites until light and frothy before folding them into the butter mixture.


  • Chocolate: Before adding the bicarb required, mix it with a teaspoon of vinegar.


  • Measure all ingredients to exact amounts first, then sift.

Prepping Tins:

Sample Homemade Magic Pan Grease: You can buy Magic Grease or make your own. This is used as a substitute to greasing then dusting with flour when directed to do so. Keep unused portion in an airtight container and refrigerate to use next time.

First Version: Mix 1 cup shortening (like Crisco), 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup vegetable oil and apply evenly with a pastry brush.

Second: 2 cups of Crisco and 1 cup of flour

More greasing tips:

  • Apply with a paper cupcake holder, a paper towel, a piece of wax paper, the butter wrapper paper or a plastic baggy. You could also use a pastry brush.
  • Try dusting the tins with a bit of the dry cake mix or cocoa (for chocolate) instead of flour.

Getting It Level:

  • Once you’ve poured the batter in, wobble the pan sideways a bit so the batter reaches up along each side (with the middle being slightly lower). As it bakes the middle and edges will meet and rise more evenly.


  • Preheat the oven first before starting, make sure the rack is in the center (unless directed differently) and keep tin in the center of the rack. If you’re baking more than one at a time, keep them at least 2″ away from the walls of the oven and from each other.

Problems with Sticking To Tin:

  • Place a thick, clean towel in the kitchen sink and pour a kettle of boiling hot water over the towel to heat it (don’t plug the sink to retain the water, allow it to drain out). Set the pan on the hot towel and leave it for a minute or two, the cake should turn out easily.
  • Turn pan over on a sheet of wax paper or a cooling rack. Place a clean, thin cotton towel on top and using a hot steam iron, heat the bottom for a few minutes. The tin should lift off cleanly.
  • Cool cakes completely in the pans before trying to remove them. Don’t cool on the stove where there’s heat, they’re best cooled on a rack placed on the counter. Gently insert a knife between the outside of the cake and the inside of the tin. Run it along the edges to loosen things up before turning over.

Angel Food:

  • When done, take it directly from the oven and place it upside down on the neck of a bottle. This will help prevent the cake from falling as it cools. After 30 minutes, you can turn it over then remove from pan once cooled.

Frosting & Icing:

  • Don’t attempt to ice it until it’s completely cool. Dust the surface lightly with a pastry brush first, helps reduce crumbs in the icing.
  • First ice with a thin layer, then refrigerate (covered). After an hour you can do a complete frosting job. This helps keep the crumbs at bay and your outer frosting layer should be crumb free.
  • Have a bag of chocolate chips on hand? Just sit the whole bag in a bowl of very hot water, and mush the bag up every couple of minutes until all the chocolate has melted and there are no lumps. Snip the corner of the bag and squeeze out the melted chocolate directly onto the surface.
  • To help prevent a flaking or cracking, add a pinch of bicarb when mixing the frosting.
  • If icing is a bit too thin or runny, lightly dust the surface with flour then spread the icing. This will help hold it in place.
  • For single layers, turn upside down before icing so that the top is perfectly flat and even. When icing two rounds or squares, place a layer of frosting on one round, then place the other round upside down on top for a perfectly flat surface.

Keep Cut Slices Fresh:

Once you start slicing, the exposed or cut sides can dry out quickly. Here’s a way to keep things fresh:

  • Wrap the leftover cake with a few slices of apple or cubes of sugar or a slice of fresh bread set inside the pan (or in the open space of the plate). Make sure to store it in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap.

So what are your favorites? Leave them on the comments below. It’s fun to know if we share the same favorite(s). 😀

Click here for more and some possible reasons why a cake fails.  


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