Game of Thrones Inspired Fondant Cake: Assembly.

Okay, this will be a massively wordy post since I didn't get the chance to take many pictures during the making of the cake. If you follow my Instagram (@pickypigatuni), you will probably have seen this. 

Source: @pickypigatuni 

Source: @pickypigatuni 

So this was my attempt at making yet another Game of Thrones inspired cake. Yes I have made others before. See below.

That was a prototype I made for a previous Baking Society event. Hence the strange/choppy arrangement of plaits. In any case, I ended up with a whole lot of fondant from said event, and decided I would get one of my friends to come round and make yet another Game of Thrones cake with me to celebrate the end of lectures and the new season premiere of Game of Thrones.

The throne on the prototype cake is a lot more detailed than the one we made for the cake, but it did take 9+ hours to assemble that alone compared with the 6+ it took for us to bake all of the cake tiers, decorate the cake, making the throne AND somehow cooking dinner because much as we'd like to, we can't live on sugar. 

This is where a disclaimer may be appropriate, I think. Daisy, the friend I dragged into this sugary, baking madness is the one who made most of the cake (and dinner). My participation consists of finding the recipe(s) + design, some parts in modelling the fondant, and mostly clean up duties. :D 

It experience not being active in the baking process. But just being involved in the assembly is massively fun as well. So without further ado, here is how we assembled our Game of Thrones inspired fondant cake. 

Here's another photo for good measure

Here's another photo for good measure

As you can see, the cake has two separate tiers. the top bit is actually a vegan lemon cake I found on Pinterest, from a miss Sofia Von Porat. For the base tier I adapted Buttered Side Up's Lemon Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. An incredible amount of lemon zest went into these cakes, but both of them lacked a strong lemony zing. But it was probably my fault because I didn't have any lemon extract on hand. Either way, I compensated for this by brushing both cakes with a Lemon-Brandy syrup to help keep them moist and add more lemony flavour. It didn't work very well, sadly, I would 100% recommend more lemon zest than what both of these recipes called for.

For the throne, I followed The Icing Artist's Youtube tutorial here. I also draw inspiration from this Pinterest photo.

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Sadly, I couldn't find the tutorial for this cake, so I attempted to recreate the dragon scales pattern you see above. It didn't turn out very well in comparison with the original. I basically stacked square-ish bits of fondant on top of each other, which appears to be what they did, it didn't turned out the way is should. Maybe the squares need to be thinner. 

Anyway, when that's over and done with I sprayed the bottom tier with some shimmer spray and left the top tier its original matte grey colour. I also made a braid out of the white fondant I had left, covered it with some shimmer spray and attached it around the second tier to hide the horrible fondant job I did on that one. But you can probably still tell from the cracks that by that point the fondant was pretty dried out and not ideal for covering cakes. :/

So yeah, that was an account of how two amateur home bakers went about their Sunday. We had a lot of fun making this. Fondant is definitely not my favourite thing to work with. It is superficially pretty (if you do it right) but absolutely gross to eat (sugar bits with corn syrup, yum). The taste always comes first, for me, closely followed by look. But I have matured a lot from my younger days, (19 is basically the menopause of teenager-dom), I realise now that baking is not just about finding you perfect and disapprove of everyone else's. It more of understanding people's taste and combining their ideals with my own. In this case I was happy to finally have an opportunity to make a vegan-friendly cake, play around with fondant (and failing :D ), and in turn introduced people to Swiss Buttercream Frosting (aka one buttercream recipe to rule them all) and my own way of making a layer cake. (Because apparently it's not a thing to bake a whole cake and cut out the layers?)

I don't know what about you but I felt like this was a day well spent. :) Many thanks to the amazing bakers and fondant artists that helped make this cake happen. And since I don't actually watch or read Game of Thrones, I hope you guys enjoyed the new season premiere and don't you dare comment spoilers on this post because I have so much to catch up on. 

As always, questions/advice are welcomed. Happy baking! :)


Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies Recipe

Peanut butter and banana is hands down my all-time favourite food pairing. And now I discovered how to make it in cookies form. Soft and fluffy, this is banana bread and peanut butter cookie's love child. 

'banana bread and peanut butter cookie's love child'

'banana bread and peanut butter cookie's love child'

Hi all! As you know I'm Sam, your (incredibly lazy) Picky Pig's co-blogger. Though I do feel that calling myself a 'blogger' is stretching it, since this is actually my first post, ever. *woop woop* So I finally got my finances together enough to purchase a tripod, and this post is to celebrate that. :D 

Cookies is actually not my forte. As in, I can't remember the last time I made cookies. Unless you count the floppy gluten-free shortbread that I attempted last week, which was a massive failure. 

Why am I writing a food blog again?

Why am I writing a food blog again?

So yeah, definitely not my forte.

I am, however, lucky enough to have baking friends who kept me well-supplied with weekly bags of chocolate chip cookies. Foodie friends are awesome like that. But, since it's spring break, my cookie supplier left for home and I had to take matters into my own hand. So here we are. 

This is a recipe from Gimme Some Oven, aka one of my favourite food blogs ever. If you don't know Ali, check her out here. She's awesome. A lot of my recipes are adaptations of hers. You can find the original recipe here. Here's what I did. 

The dry ingredients.

The dry ingredients.

Measure out the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. I didn't bother mixing it since I'm sifting it in the wet ingredients later anyways. But if you can't be bothered to sift them, give them a mix. 

Cream the butter and sugar together

Cream the butter and sugar together

Confession time. Here was an example of sloppy baking. I only had 90g of butter that has been softened so I used spreadable butter because I couldn't wait to take another butter block out of the fridge. This is a potential problem because the difference in fat content can affect the spreadability of your cookies. If you want an example of spreadability going really wrong, refer to my shortbread disaster above. So guys, make sure you have your ingredients ready before you start baking.

Add in the egg. Then the mashed banana and the peanut butter.

Give it a good mix.

Give it a good mix.

Sift in the flour mixture and gently fold into the PB-Banana mixture. This step is optional. I have eaten cookies where the flour was just dumped in and they taste fine. But, if you really want that fluffy, cake-y texture in your cookies, sift the flour, and handle the dough gently from this point on.

Cookie dough.

Cookie dough.

Finito! Consume with a spoon, or your hand. Go crazy. 

Mmmm yeah, that was good. :)

Mmmm yeah, that was good. :)

Haha okay, just kidding. Roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 min in the freezer. Then bake according to recipe. 

Cooling on the rack.

Cooling on the rack.

Now you can eat. :D

Now you can eat. :D

And that's it. You're done. Your kitchen smells awesome. Pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy. :)

I made too much. Now I'm contemplating where I can take these cookies. Peanut butter cookie sandwich? Cookie pie crust? Blend them into a milkshake? Hmm ideas ideas..


Heat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, egg, banana, and vanilla, and continue mixing on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Measure out a rounded tablespoon-full of dough, roll it into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Use a fork to press down the top of the ball and make a criss-cross pattern. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill dough balls for 15 minutes in the freezer.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week.






Meat-lover's Dream: The Cannibal, NY

In retrospect, this is probably one of the best meals I've had all summer, second only to the unforgettable sushi lunch at Morimoto during #NYCRestaurantWeek.  We headed to this spot to celebrate the last day of my (stupendously awesome) summer internship @ Chicory , a young and fun food+tech startup that focuses on making online recipes shoppable. As I was on a strictly no-carb diet to gain back the slim body I never had, my marketing manager suggested going for a fancy lunch at this meat-loving restaurant on 29th St. (Thank you, Hillary. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!)


The Cannibal, as its name suggests, focused mainly on transferring different protein into mouth-watering dishes that we cannot wait to dive headfirst into. There is an insane price gap between the least and most expensive dishes, with the dry-aged rib eye costing more than 100 bucks per serving. I don't know how good this rib-eye can be, but there's not a cat in hell's chance of me trading it for 20 delicious popsicles at Popbar. 



I opted for what seemed-like-it-had-the-least-amount-of-carbs on the menu: Pig head & Maitake Terrine with Pickled Celery ($11). & my co-intern flipped out when she thought I was ordering the General Tso' Pig Head that sets us back a good $85 :) As good as it may sound, my past experience with General Tso' Chicken at Chinese takeouts left a mental scar that was to be felt for life. I swear my Chinese friend would kill me if I ever call sauteed broccoli or General Tso' Chicken authentic Chinese food...


Pig Head Terrine with Maitake and Pickled Celery ($11)


The terrine itself was pretty decent, with chunks of pork fat and pig head creating a nice, soft, and bouncy texture. The sweet and sour pickled celery really helps cut through the fattiness of the pork, ensuring a mouthful of different flavor explosions. I wish there'd been some ground pepper though, since that would have made this dish perfect.

The Cannibal, without a doubt, knows how to make good pates and terrines. Hillary loved her Chicken Liver Paté, and Joey's Pate Grand Mere with Blueberry Mustarda was soooo good I wish I could eat carbs (yes, blueberries have sugar, hence carbs *sob sob*).

Chicken Liver Pate with Spring Onion and Black Pepper Jam ($11)
accompanied by three slices of toasted bread

Pate Grand Mere with Blueberry Mustarda ($11)


I know Pate is traditionally made from ground meat, fat, and cattle's organs, but what the hell is Pate Grand Mere? There was not a wikipedia entry for the origin of this dish, but some basic google translation gave me "Grandma's Pate" as a consolation prize. More reading will have to be done when I finally get my hands on a good Pate making book. As long as it's not in French...

Taste-wise, the Pate Grand Mere had not a single flaw to it. Unlike the pig head terrine where I felt I would have appreciated a touch of pepper, this dish is perfect to the T. Despite my initial reservation for the sweet + fat combination, the fattiness of the Pate works splendidly well with the slightly sweet and sticky blueberry paste. Google didn't give me any results for "mustarda", but "mostarda" could have been what the restaurant were really thinking of. It's basically a compote, where candied fruits are mixed with a mustard-flavored syrup (probably giving it the name "mostarda"?).

Steak Tartare with Bearnaise and Crumpet ($16)
Didn't get a chance to taste this but it sure looks amazing. Bearnaise is a fancier variation of Hollandaise sauce, where white wine vinegar is used in place of lemon juice.


Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Slow Cooked Egg  & Country Ham XO ($8)
This dish is simply to-die-for

Cannibal Dogs ($15) = "Tiger Style" Hot Dogs with Spicy Tripe Chili, Scallion, Crispy Fried Shallots and Chinese Mustard (whatever that means lol)
The restaurant was also offered us a free House Jerky and Pork Rind platter since Amanda and Gary's Grilled Cheese was taking *forever*

Grilled Cheese with Bacon, Cheddar and Gruyere ($12)


I couldn't snap a decent photo of this Grilled Cheese since Amanda was too busy attacking it and the Half-hearted Vegetarian Gary diligently picking out the bacon from his = _ = " ( no offense, Gary!) They both swore it was the best Grilled Cheese they've ever had, so I guess it was on par with our other amazing dishes.
All in all, I and the gang left Cannibal with the best meat-lover dream (ok, exp for Gary lol)

The Cannibal
113 E 29th St
Midtown East, Flatiron


Mini Cheesecake Recipe

Once upon a (luckily long gone) time, I actually hated cheesecake. My experience with this delectable treat in VIetnam was filled with little more than disappointment, from the dense and hard bakes cheesecake to the excessively gelatinous no-bake ones sitting in the local bakery’s front display. Not until I came to America did the world of cheesecake truly unfolded, and I’ve become a die-hard cheesecake fan ever since.

I came up with this cheesecake recipe through a fortunate accident, a.k.a my absent-mindedness in forgetting to buy sour cream. I simply substitute sour cream with heavy whipping cream, and found a smooth and creamy texture that was (of course) more palatable. I also added some lemon juice for extra sourness, and found it to be much more adjust-able than sour cream.

You can also make a batch of coffee cheesecake by adding 2 tbsp of instant coffee powder and cut back on the lime juice.

For the caramel sauce, I recommend using The Pioneer Woman's Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe.

print recipe
The Best Mini Cheesecake Recipe

    For the crust
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • For the filling
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • a pinch of salt
1. Let your (beloved Philadelphia) cream cheese sit til it’s room temperature. Meanwhile, whip heavy cream to just a little under stiff peak, cover with cling film and let chill in the fridge.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Pour melted butter into graham cracker crumb. Add vanilla extract, sugar and mix well with a rubber spatula. Crust mixture should feel damp but not too wet.

3. Prepare cupcake liners. Divide the wet crumb mixture into individual molds and press well to create a flat and even crust.

4. Preheat oven to 350F, make sure rack is positioned so that cupcake pan is in the middle of the oven. I tend to use both upper and lower heat for baking.

5. With a hand / stand mixer (trust me, your arms will thank you), beat cream cheese with sugar on high speed until soft and fluffy, gradually add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add salt, lime juice (adjust to your liking) and vanilla extract. Mix well.

6. With a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream until just combine.

7. Divide the filling into lined cupcake molds. ( Tip: use an ice-cream scooper ). Bake in preheated oven (350F) for 18-20 minutes, cool for 15 minutes in the oven with door slightly ajar.

8. Once the cheesecake has cooled, make the caramel sauce and drizzle on top, garnish with a good sprinkle of salt.

Ippudo Ramen NYC Review

On my wild food chase in NYC this winter, we headed to Ippudo ramen. I and a few friends intially set out for Chuko ramen in Brooklyn, only to find it tragically closed for Christmas break. Instead of giving up and hitting a random bakery along the way for a quick breakfast (which is totally what we did), I looked to Yelp for another ramen place ’cause this girl is in her ramen fix. Thanks to the power of the internet (and a pain au chocolat), yours truly found her way to another famous noodle bar in New York: Ippudo.

I should have expected nothing less on holidays as the restaurant was holy PACKED ! We were super lucky to get a table in just 10 minutes, thanks to the big head count (I swore the couple waiting in line gave us very mean looks). I guess it’s better to travel in big groups then?

The wall was decorated with all kinds of ramen bowl. Isn’t that great?
I was tempted to count all of them during the wait lol

Finally got our seats ! The menu wasn’t as big as I expected.
Prices are reasonable for ramen I think, that is, before you include all those taxes and tips *rolls eyes* What can I say? I've never come across "cheap" ramen in the States...

My friend opted for the Tonkotsu ramen, which is basically ramen in a pork bone based soup.
You may have noticed that it’s missing the famous soft-centered egg. Yes, she was trying to keep the cost low.

I, on the other hand, went for the tempting Karaka men ( spicy tonkotsu noodles ) with soft-boiled shoyu EGG (brilliant choice, I say). The marginal utility derived from having an extra egg in my ramen outweighs the marginal cost, thus my decision to order that shoyu tamago is beautifully backed by science (yes, Econ is a science). Feel free to follow my lead, ramen fans!

For an addition 3$ you can get a rice bowl and side salads. The rice is average, but it’s a good option if you have kids around who wouldn't stop begging for add-on items. 

I tasted all the noodles we ordered, but my favorite has to be this Wasabi Ramen. The taste is pungent yet delicate, and I actually appreciate the tempura bits a lot more than I thought ! They also seem to have a different kind of noodle for this soup, one that's a bit more wavy and chewier in texture. 

This is my first time having ramen in the States and third time having ramen anywhere. Ippudo surely deserves its spot in front league of ramen in New York. The ramen was chewy and delicate, while the broth is packed with flavor. Perhaps the only thing I dislike about Ippudo is the line outside its door, which again confirms that this is one of best ramen place in town.


Ippudo Ramen

  • 65 4th Ave
    New York, NY 10003