Sunday, 30 March 2014

Triple Chocolate Caramel Brownies

I've noticed that these days Michelle over at Brown Eyed Baker is going extreme. Like her buckeye brownies, chocolate chip cookie dough brownies, peanut butter cup overload cake and salted caramel chocolate chip cookie bars. Om nom nom! (Haha, I read a lot of food blogs!)

I keep wondering WHERE she gets those amazing recipes! I bet she invents them. Every single one I bake turns out perfect! But how?!?!?!

You know Honor and I take baked goods to school for drama practices and stuff. Today there was a cricket match between Pakistan and Bangladesh. Honor is absolutely OBSESSED with cricket matches, but I didn't watch it because it was obvious that we would win (Pakistan has never lost from Bangladesh and weren't going to anytime soon). She asked me to bake something today. Stuck up princess!

Knowing her friends, I knew her best friend (you know who you are!) loved caramel, toffee, marshmallows and chocolate, so I came up with these amazing triple chocolate caramel brownies!

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted butter
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup caramel sauce
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup pecans, nuts, or toffee bits

Preheat your oven to 350°C, 180°F. Line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease it. Set aside.

Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and butter in a large bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Don't worry if it looks gritty, it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and mix, 40 strokes.

Pour half your batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, both white and dark and marshmallows, toffee/ nuts and drizzle with the caramel sauce. Top with the remaining batter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the pan, let cool completely before cutting.


Caramel Sauce

Searching for a good caramel sauce recipe for three years, my search ended today when I came across this amazing caramel sauce recipe made with evaporated milk!

Ingredients - makes 2/3 cup
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup evaporated milk

Combine the first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and boil until desired thickness is achieved. Turn off the heat and add the milk and vanilla extract. Let cool completely.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Recipe Contest Update!

Hey guys! This recipe contest is going well. I have three recipes so far and four more are definetely coming. If you would like to participate, submit your recipe by the 15th of April at

RECAP- Here are the details.

- I need it by the 15th of April, 2014.
- You are up with competition already!
- The winner will recive a copy of my cookbook - Frosting Swirls and Chocolate Curls - with their recipe in it.
- Your recipe must be cited with the source if not at least a bit original.
- Your recipe must be tried and true.

Good luck!

Perfect Brownies + Honor Update!

Hey guys! (BTW, there's an Honor Update at the bottom of the page.)
So first, yesterday I hosted the Infant's Music Concert 2014 at school with Zeeshan (long story). Apart from the fact that he looked like a girl and hogging all the space in front of the microphone box, it went really good. When I was done, loads of teachers came to me and said that I was loud and clear, my accent was perfect and that I would host many more concerts. Yaay!

I think told you guys (or did I?) that my dad has gone to Dubai for a buisness trip. Well, he came back on Wednesday. I needed to make something for him, obviously. It took me HOURS to figure out what to make for him. I had a few clues, like that he hated chocolate but loved brownies and vanilla was his favorite. So my mom told me to make brownies.

The things Dad brought for me from Dubai! Plus some shoes :)
Once, when I was eight, I made some AMAZING brownies for my sister. Never again did I make brownies like those!
But yesterday, I came past these foolproof brownies!

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large cold eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or chocolate chips or toffee bits or... (optional)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (16o C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. (This helps when removing the baked brownies from the pan, once cooled).

Add enough water to a medium saucepan so that it is 1 to 2 inches deep. Heat water until barely simmering. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa powder and the salt in a medium heat-safe bowl. Rest bowl over simmering water (if the bottom of the bowl touches the water, remove a little water).
Stir mixture occasionally until the butter has melted and mixture is quite warm. Don’t worry if it looks gritty, it will become smooth once you add the eggs and flour.
Remove the bowl from heat and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes until it is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla and beat in the eggs, one at a time. When it looks thick, shiny, and well blended, stir in the flour and mix well. Stir in the nuts or chocolate chips or add-ins if using. Pour into your pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out almost clean (you want it to be a little moist with batter).

Cool completely (or just eat warm) and remove from pan. Cut into 16 squares.

                                            *                         *                            *

Oh, and Honor wants to give an Honor Update now. So, here she is!

Hey guys! Honor here now. I just got back from Saturday practice and it was sooo...!

1. What the microphone?
Fairy: (Very quiet without mic) Once there was a princess... hello? (Taps mic) Testing, testing? Hello? Miss, this mic isn't working!
Honor (backstage): Princess Hellotestingtestinghellothismicisntworking? That's a short name!
Andres: But that's my name!

2. Ahwhawhawha?!
Nick: Fi fie fo fum! I eat your hair!
Beauty: WHAT?!

Beauty: ...and we can get married!
Honor: I think it's pronounced married or you're trying to say 'android'.
Nick: Phooey! To lo goo shoo fly pie!

3. iBug U!
(Last practice)
While Nick is exiting, Fairy adds a sprinkling of red carpet threads to his hair!
Nick: (not noticing it) Hello, family!
Cindy: Is your head bleeding?
Nick: But I'm still smart!
Tim: Not that, genius. (Takes the threads off) She means this!

Nick: !جس نے یہ کیا اس کا سر قلم ہو گا (Whoever did this will be beheaded!)
Honor: .مطلب تیرا (Yours.)
Nick: Be quiet!

(This practice)
Honor: (To Fairy) I hate Andres! He's so annoying!
Fairy: I'll take care of him for you.
Honor: What the-
Fairy: When the teacher isn't looking... NOW! (Throws a bit of cookie crumbs on Andres, which his his back)

Andres turns around and sees us playing Vortex, not throwing cookies.
Honor: Good one!
Fairy: How 'bout some more?
Honor: Oh yeah.
I crumble up some cookie and give it to her.
Honor: Go!

Andres is sitting on a bench with Tim. Fairy gets up and goes behind the bench pretending to be looking at some art projects, and while she's leaving, she throws them at him. I have to bite my lip so hard it made my eyes water to keep from laughing! When she comes back, we laugh so much our sides hurt!

That's all, folks!
Honor :)
Whoa whoa whoa, don't forget me!
Zoya :)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Tri-Flavor Mug Cake

Hmm... I'm overdoing it. I'm overdoing on carbonated water, mug cakes, and, most importantly, Zelda. Too much Zelda.
I have about four Zelda DS games, over 30 Link and Zelda backgrounds for my desktop, my tablet's wallpaper is Zelda, and whenever I play Super Smash Flash 2, you guessed it, I play as Zelda (YOU NEED TO TRY SUPER SMASH FLASH, IT IS THE BEST GAME ON EARTH).

I even incorporate Zelda into baking! Triforce cupcakes are my specialty. Shield marshmallows? On me. Triforce caramels? I'm on it. Hero's Bow cookies? You betcha. I'm even making a triforce sheild cake for my birthday!

These days, I never have enough time to go super intricate on Link, Zelda, and the Triforce. I need Zelda, and quick.
This afternoon, while hanging with Anusha, it went kinda like this.

Anusha- "Blah blah blah chocolate blah blah blah Zeeshan blah blah blah triple blah! Can you belive it?"
Zoya- (Not really paying attention) "Mmm-hmm."

She starts talking again, but I let my mind wander...
Huh, I thought. Triple. Tri. Tri... force. Triforce! Link... Zelda... Triforce, tri- flavor! Chocolate...

I yell, "I know what I'm gonna do today!
She's soooooo busy talking, she doesn't know what I said. "What?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing, nothing.."
"Here we go..."

Anyway, once I got home, I thought, tri-flavor!

4 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp peanut butter (heaped like mental)
1 tsp instant unsweetened espresso powder dissolved in 1/2 tsp boiling water
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips

Throw everything in a huge blue or yellow mug. Stir well. Microwave on high for about a minute until cooked.
Mix together 1 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, and 1 tsp boiling water. Top with three small yellow fondant, chocolate or marzipan triangles Zelda triforce style. And you're done!

Zoya ❦

Monday, 24 March 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hey guys! My cake research report tells me that the red velvet craze is quivering again. Wait, wait, wait! If you've had bad experiences with red velvet, don't just scroll down now! Trust me, this is good.

I myself have had too many bad velvet experiences to count. A few years ago, when the craze started, I had a red velvet cupcake. Don't ask me how it was - bitter, dry. I promised myself that I would never have red velvet again.
Alas, last September I went through every type of cake and tried every one, too. My red velvet? Moist. Sweet. Chocolate. My favorite.

So, every Sunday night, before afterschool practice (did I mention I'm Honor?), I bake, create somethin' awesome for my crew. Last week I did chocolate chip cookies, and this week I'm going for red velvet cupcakes. Don't forget my cream cheese frosting!

2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp red food coloring
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup cream cheese
1 cup softened butter
3 cups icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350°C, 180°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. 
Sift together the baking powder, baking soda, flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside. 

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each one.

Stir the milk, food coloring, and vanilla in a small bowl.
Alternate the flour mixture and milk mixture into the butter mixture, going flour, milk, flour, milk, and ending with flour. Be careful not to overmix!

Fill your cupcake tins with batter, about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out

To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and whitish. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time,  and beat in the milk to reach the desired consistency. Frost the cupcakes as desired. Decorate and nom nom time!

Honor ♥
P.S. I'll deliver an Honor Update, the tenth one, tomorrow :)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Devil's Food Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Hey guys, and Happy Pakistan Day! To celebrate this day, I started to make a cake.

I planned for it to be green velvet, and was really confident about how it would turn out. So...
That was a big flop. I don't know how, but somehow I managed to turn it into this awesome devil's food chocolate cake that tastes exactly like cake mix. How did I do that?

And, somehow, this cake was ultimately for my aunt. Her dog, Dobby, gave birth to four adorable dogs just yesterday! They are soooo cute! I posted some pictures of them on Google+.


For the cake,
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (DO NOT SKIP THIS)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup softened butter
3 eggs
For the frosting.
1 cup softened butter (NOT MELTED)
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp of milk, if needed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees C or 180 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside, too.
In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla, and, you know, set this aside!
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for two minutes after each egg. 
Alternate the flour mixture and milk mixture in five; flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. Working quickly, pour in your pans and chuck em' into the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

For the frosting, beat the butter for 5 minutes. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and milk if needed to reach the desired consistency.

If you want to stack your cakes like I did above, place a layer of cake on a cake spinner or cake surface. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top, and then top with the other layer. Frost the entire cake thinly, but it dosen't have to be perfect because this is just a crumb coat. Freeze it for 30-45 minutes. 
Take it out of the freezer and apply your final layer of frosting. Add a border like above and decorate as desired. Serve. Important: you MUST eat minimum five slices. This cake is addicting.

Zoya ❦

Wake-Up Call Coffee Crunch Pancakes

Hey guys! First... I got a 92% average for this semester, lower than the 94% I got in the first. Aw, man! BUT half my results were wrong. So ha-ha. I should get a 95% or 96%! Well, long story. And my lowest was an 81 in handwriting. I didn't get and 70s, as always. YAAY!

Now, pancake flippin' time. I bet most of you love coffee, like me. (Though I am 11, but hey, I'm 5 foot 4 and still getting taller. And I only have it once a week.) You must have it for headaches, nausea, or just for the heck of it, or you can't live without it. You MUST have it in the morning to wake you up, or you might have tea. Just SOME form of caffeine. (How do I know this? Ahem, I have sisters 7 and 11 years older than me, and a mom who LOVES tea.)

Just like my mocha cupcakes, these pancakes may look innocent and tempting, but wait till you get that rich, intense coffee blast right there, on the spot. Have these with coffee to add an extra energy boost!

Any favorite pancake recipe (I recommend this or this.)
1 tbsp instant coffee granules mixed with 2 tsp boiling water
2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped graham crackers
Peanut butter and strawberries, to garnish

Prepare pancake batter. Add the cocoa (if using) and coffee mixture.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Sprinkle on about 1 tbsp of graham cracker on each pancake while uncooked. Brown on both sides and stack with layers of peanut butter and strawberries. Serve up!

Zoya ❦

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Hey guys! So, as I have mentioned before, I have been cooking since I was two. I had to stop for about six or seven months at the age of six because we were traveling back and forth. After that, when we finally landed in Pakistan, I started again immediately.

 Red velvet cake, cheesecakes, and cake pops were popular then, so I mastered them first and then moved on to the first savory stuff I had ever done. Breads were an easy task- yeast, flour, water and sugar -versus the flaky, crumbly biscuit. I was an amateur at that time and wanted something easy.

I looked through every YouTube channel, every food blog... and after some research, I came up with my own simple, six ingredient (or five, if you have self raising flour; use it and eliminate the baking powder) biscuit with NO buttermilk. I hate buttermilk, even if you use it in baking. Yuck.

Note that this is NOT A BRITISH TEA BISCUIT. This is an American dinner biscuit with herbs. Don't confuse yourself! (Or me, for that matter.)

2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 cup grated butter
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder (don't freak out, now.)
1 3/4 tsp dried herbs (I use basil and parsley)

Preheat your oven to 350°F, 180°C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, grease it, or use a silpat.
In a food processor, combine the butterm herbs, and flour and process to form crumbs.

With the machine running, pour in the milk in a thin stream slowly. After adding all the milk, turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Add more flour if needed. Bring the dough together,  roll out 2/3 of an inch thick and fold it on itself.

Using biscuit cutters (any size is ok) cut out your biscuits. Place on your cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until no longer doughy from the center. Serve immediately.


Monday, 17 March 2014

The Ninth Honor Update

Hey guys! after that long... long... long break, Honor is here to deliver this week's Honor Update!
This week's practice was crazy insane drive-up-the-wall... oh god.
Soooooo.... Andres (Faraaz) was absent, Janie (Amna) and Beauty (Mahnoor) were going mental.
We had our practice on a stage in the school gym.

Honor: (freezes in isolated tortured way)
Fairy: (shakes finger) You must (stophaha it hahaHonor *snort*)
Beauty: Oh yes I did!
I mean, what was she trying to say? Really?!

So Joann is talking to Janie. Here's what I heard:
"Table and food... plate..."

Nick: You're not Beauty.
Beauty: I am possibly be!
Honor: What?!
Nick: La la la la la... FEH!
Beauty: (groans)

No one ever lets the royal family in :(
Honor: (Knocks on fake door, which is the wall) Helloooo? Anyone alive?
Janie: Come in!
Nick: Uh... WELCOME! Uh... found... sister... oh yeah... no... nah!
Honor: WHAT THE HECK?!?!?

Huh, that's not what I asked for...
Fairy: ... how about a handsome prince?
Andres (Tutor): Iz powerfull-y!
Honor: Not again...
Fairy: Hmm... that's one ugly prince!

Cheering yourself on is great!
Andres (Tutor): Oh yeah, oh yeah, I'm awesome, I'm awesome...
Andres: I'm-as-rich-as..-as...-god-knows-what....
Honor: I hate you...

Twisted tongue.. or tongue twister?
Honor: Have you seen any sign of my sister?
Nick: No, POO-rincess. I mean, princess!
Honor: Zeeshan, take him away. (Walks away while they have a fight)
Nick: (to Beauty): You hungry? Hungry fo Hungary? Fo fo fo? You ARE hungry!
Nick: Spoiled see I are brat you! I mean, I'm a spoiled brat. NO! I mean, you are a spoiled brat!
(But everyone rolls over laughing.)
Beauty: (Chews on scarf) Good compromise!

So Beauty casually sits at the side of the stage like she's in a trance.
Janie: (Drags her to Nick) Come on, SISTER.
(Beauty screams)
Honor: Hey! That was my line!

Confusion; Grammar.
Nick: The boithmark!
Beauty: Ugly, huh? Wait... no! It's a BIRTHMARK, genius.
Nick: That's exactly what I said...

Missing pieces...
Tutor: Fairy! Hey! Anusha-or-whatever-your-name-is! You're on!
Nick: (Whispering cha-cha style) Fairy, Fairy, Fai-ry! Fairy, Fairy, Fai-ry!

Honor: (Flutters offstage, mocking Fairy)
Teacher: Umm.. Zoya, you still have a line...
Honor: Oh yeah...
Fairy: Obviously.

Honor: Looks like we're gonna have a double wedding!
Mahnoor: Yay, more makeups!
Honor: Uff...

Tutor: Honor Beauty on the floor!
Nick: I won five PISSES of gold!
Jill and Honor: Not again...

"Cool story. Needs more 'uh... uh...'"
Tim: Uh, yeah, uh... BEAUTY, DON'T GOOO!
Fairy: Uh... dirt! She.. uh... attacked every piece of dirt!
Nick: Beauty, uh... you restaurant!

Childish acts...
Beauty: I want to give you a big hug! (Comes forward to hug Fairy, who backs away while Tutor gives Beauty bunny ears)
Everyone goes ROTFL.
Beauty: Who do you think I am, a servant?
Honor: What else are you?

Afterwards, I start chasing Mahnoor around the gym and Joann almost gets trampled trying to stop us. Busted!

Honor: (Obviously yelling) HAVE YOU SEEN ANY SIGN OF MY SISTER?!?!?!?
Teacher: I didn't hear you. Say that again?
Honor: Really?
Teacher: I'm serious!

Don't overdo it!
Beauty: I didn't say that!
Teacher: What are you doing?
Beauty: I'm being expressive, miss.
Honor: What the... BEAUTY? Expressive? You've gotta be kidding me.
Beauty: What's wrong with that?
Honor: Quite a bit, actually...

That's all for this week! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Shamrock Sugar Cookies

Hey guys!
So, tomorrow is shamrock day. St. Patrick's Day. I've been surfing the Internet for recipes, and I found shamrock cupcakes, green-hatted cake pops, shamrock shakes and what not.
I prefer cookies. Sweet. Sugary. Vanilla-y. And, in this case, shamrock-y!

A basic sugar cookie, shamrock-shaped and dressed up with green cookie icing. If you'd like, the edges of the frosting can be sprinkled with green colored sugar.

For the cookies,
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups flour
4 eggs
5 cups flour (oh yeah, for 5 dozen cookies!)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
For the cookie icing, you can either use store bought green, or...
Whip together a pound of icing sugar and 2 egg whites. That's it.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in the vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt to form a sticky dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to overnight.

After refrigerating, dust a work surface with flour and roll out your dough using a rolling pin. Cut out clover/ shamrock shapes using a cookie cutter or paper template. Place on well greased cookie sheets and bake at 350°F (180°C) until the bottoms are browned lightly. Let cool completely before frosting. Add sprinkles, if you'd like.


Indian/ Pakistani Jalebi

Hey guys! Since I live in Pakistan, I had to get used to the food here.

Gol gappas, samosas, pakoras, halwa puri, gulab jamun, chaat...
They used to be either too sweet or too spicy for my taste, but now that it's been five years since I've been here, I'm used to it. What a typical American, whom had never been introduced to Pakistani food, would think of as super spicy is not spicy enough for my family.
The sweets are really sweet too. Sweeter than the sugar they're made of.

Recently, I have started to make store-bought stuff at hme, too, so today I decided to try to make some jalebis. Or is it jalebi? Or jalebies? Whatever.
Oh. and SOMEONE has been really mean (name rhymes with Adhoosha), she dosn't exist anymore, that's it.

For the batter
1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp yellow/ orange food coloring or 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp yogurt 
Oil for frying
For the sugar syrup (sheera)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp rose water (kewra)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
A pinch of saffron strands

To prepare the batter, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Cover and leave to sit for 5-8 minutes for the yeast to activate.
Once foamy and huge, add the food coloring or turmeric and mix well. Cover again and let sit for 25-30 minutes. When you come back, it'll be enormous, so make sure your bowl is big enough.
Now add the vegetable oil and yogurt and whisk until smooth. If the batter is too runny, it's ok, but if too thick add a bit of water. Pour into a squeeze bottle or ziploc bag.

For the sugar syrup (sheera, as it's called in Pakistan), boil everything on a high heat until if you put a drop on your finger, rub it a bit, and pull it apart there is a string of syrup, you can turn off the heat.

To fry, heat the oil in a wok or karhai (if you pour a drop in, it should bubble and sizzle like mad). 
Shaping a jalebi is very difficult and requires patience and practice. Begin pouring slowly and make an outline circle, working your way to the center to make a jalebi as above. Fry until brownish, and submerge in the sheera immediately. Let soak for 2-3 minutes, fish out and serve. You might need to make double the sheera for convenience. 

Zoya ❦

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Hey guys! I'm so glad I have something to post now.

Second, yesterday I went to Anusha's house. Me, Armeen (Anusha's sister) and Anusha connected our DS's and played Mario-Kart. I won about fifty thousand times, and Anusha won once. Ha ha! And then she started being a bad sport.
We were going to make a mug cake, but the microwave was micro, there was no flour and they didn't have unsweetened cocoa powder, only sweetened. Man.

So after I went home, I collapsed and woke up at eleven. Then my uncle came to visit. I had made some vanilla cupcakes the day before, so I made some strawberry buttercream to top them.
This is really easy; it takes about five to ten minutes and only three ingredients!

18-20 strawberries, frozen or fresh, but frozen is better
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup softened (not melted) butter

Put the strawberries in a saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute or until slightly softened. Drain.

Now you have two options, either pureé in a blender or food processor until smooth, or smash using a wooden spatula (recommended). Either way, strain.

Whip the butter until white and creamy. Add the powdered sugar in four additions. Don't worry if it's not coming together, too dry, or crumbly. Add the strained strawberry pureé. If needed, add milk, a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Oh. Yeah. Bugs.

Hey guys! You know how everyone is scared of something-or-other? Me, snakes. Anusha... BUGS! Mis-fortune! I recently overcame my fear of cockroaches...

SO, as I mentioned before, we have our final exams going on. After computing/ anthology, me and Anusha went to the gate. so, while we're walking, we pass through a swarm of harmless insects.

I just waltz through them, singing my favorite song, but Anusha was screaming and running, so when I looked at her, she was literally covered with a layer of them.

For a second, I thought I was too and yelled, but when I looked at my clothes, I was completely bug-free. They were only going to yellow. See, I had a blue sweater on, so there were none on me. Lucky me.

They were very tiny with huge wings and I didn't see what was to be afraid of them. She was screaming and running around the sports field and I had to calm her down. And brush her off.

So we sat in a corner and started writing in our diaries when we hear other girls scream.
One of my other friends, Alizeh, was drowning in a million bugs! Me and another friend Noor Aqsa had to brush all of em' off her, and as SOON as we finished with her, three other yells.

Guess who... Anusha, Mahnoor, and Khadija. ARRGH!

I let Mahnoor and Khadija do each other, so I did Anusha. Again. There were about eight on her back, but one wouldn't come off. After an eternity of scarf-hitting and pinching, turns out it was a black pen mark. Sheesh!

Anusha was driven mental. "I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE bugs! WHY is our school color yellow?"

And of course, I gave an answer. "Would you be happy if it were brown so a woodpecker could make a nice little snack out of you?"

You should have seen her face!
So that was what we did for two hours straight. Fun, huh?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Chocolate Mug Cake

Hey guys! First, listen, I won't be able to say much because I need to leave the house in 15 minutes for my science exam. FINAL. So I decided to post before I run.

Hey, did you guys hear about the Zelda game series? I saw this review of Majora's Mask and apparently LINK IS SUPPOSED TO ACCEPT HIS DEATH?!?!?! NOOO!! Then the Zelda series will be over! And I'm still on Spirit Tracks...

Speaking of which, you know those times when you're doing work, eg. studying, you need a break? Sometimes you just need a break. A break, a break, a break.  And some food. So try this chocolate mug cake recipe. It literally takes three minutes to throw together!

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp chocolate chips
1/8 tsp baking powder
Icing sugar or chocolate frosting

Just whisk together everything except the frosting/ icing sugar and throw it into the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Top with the frosting or icing sugar, and DEVOUR!


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Hey guys! So, my finals for the second term are HE-ERE! Happy birthday to me :). Not like I care, though. I've ALWAYS been amazing at exams. Without studying.

My friends all tell me that if there is a weekly, they take off 20 minutes to study, 35 minutes for periodics/ althrough exams and 2-4 hours for finals. Yeesh. I do nothing forr weeklys, maybe 5 minutes sometimes or none for periodics/ althrough exams, and 30-60 minutes for finals. Because I always want my final grades to be THE best.

I had my Urdu and English composition exams today. Maybe 88-92 for English (92 is the highest you can get in composition) and 80s for Urdu. Cuz I suck at Urdu composition. Really badly.
But I have Urdu vocab, grammar and comprehension tomorrow. It's easy enough and I get 90s and 100s.

So since I have no worries after the exam at 12:30, I'm free. which means baking.
There was this problem with our kitchen sink, so I couldn't bake-bake. But I could microwave-bake. So I made a chocolate-peanut butter mug cake. I inserted headphones. And shared one with my mom. And this took five minutes!

♫ Louder, louder than the lion, cuz I am the champion, and you're gonna hear me PU-U-U-U-U-U-NCH Tutor...♫

Soooo gooey... soooo peanut butter-y!

Mmmmm... more chocolate chips!
Ya see that gooey melted chocolate in there? You know you want it!

For the cake,
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons chocolate chips

For the mousse topping,
1 tablespoon softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons whipped cream or cool whip
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Combine the butter and the peanut butter in the mug and mix well.
Add the vanilla, egg, and sugar until well combined. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder and add to the mug. Stir in the chocolate chips. If too thick, pour in a splash a milk. Put in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until desired doneness is reached (all microwaves are different so you might have to experiment a little. I only do it for about 1 minute 15 seconds). Top with peanut butter mousse and hot fudge.
For the mousse,
Mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream. Sift in the powdered sugar (I just used a fork) and fold that in too, trying not to over stir.

Zoya ❦
OR maybe I'm
Honor ❦
Who knows?

Aww.... Sofie!

Hey guys!
Ever since we found Sofie, she's been purring like a motor, sleeping like a sloth, and eating us like that three-headed dog from Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. Yeesh.
Don't know who Sofie is? Unaware of her cuteness? Find out more about her here.
Anyway, we found out three things about her.

1.   She has ADHD. Strange, huh?

I figured that out when she wouldn't stop attacking my feet and face every night. She would grab my feet, flip over a few times, do a cartwheel and start to run.

2.   She loves to bother Charlie (the other male Siamese cat).

If Charlie would be sleeping on the sofa, Sofie would sneak up on him and paw him on the ear and hide. Hah. She would repeat about fifty times until he figured out. Then it was payback time.

3.   Kreacher (the other female tortoiseshell cat) hates her.

Sofie would sleep on my lap, and would jerk awake every time she saw Kreacher and start growling-
m-grrrrRRRRR grrrrrROWrrr...
 -because, you know, female cats are territorial.
Heck, it just happened a few seconds ago!
Once, I was on my way upstairs to finish my art project when I heard a cat fight (really, a physical fight between Sofie and Kreacher) in the kitchen and ran to see what had happened.
Kreacher was on the counter, on top of Sofie, holding her down, biting and scratching her.
Poor Sofie!

Sofie also had pink eye, which can be deadly to cats (look at the above picture closely, there is water coming out of her right eye). It took us four months to get rid of it. Sheesh!

She also went into heat for.. drumroll.. two days!

Whoops, there's Kreacher. Gotta go defend Sofie and study for my final tomorrow!
Zoya ❦

Sunday, 2 March 2014


Pakistan vs India.

Explanation- 10 score left to win, 5 balls, 2 outs in one over, but...

- Pakistan won the toss and chose to ball.
- India...
   ▪ 50 overs
   ▪ 245 points
   ▪ 8 outs given
- Pakistan...
   ▪ 4 catches
   ▪ 4 wickets
   ▪ 8 outs taken from India total
   ▪ 3 outs not given by umpire, 2 LBW's and 1 back catch
   ▪ 9 outs taken
   ▪ 249 points! AFRIDI! AFRIDI!

Jadeja gets his fifty, but Junaid pulled things back as India finished on 245. Have they done enough?

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting

Hey guys! The weekend was... ok, I guess.
Anusha came over to my house yesterday, we played Just Dance, and made some cupcakes. They were fine. I gave her the recipe, but she lost it. Great job. 
After she left, I got really sick, made some brownies, and baked up some mocha cupcakes to get me going.

These cupcakes can be a good alternative to your morning coffee, too. 

Makes 40 minis or 12 regular size
Total time: 1 hour

For the mocha cupcakes
1 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup each of white and brown sugar
1 egg
For the frosting
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp espresso granules

To make the cupcakes,

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, 180 degrees C.
Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
Combine the coffee and milk. Set aside.

Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside, too.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

Add the dry ingredients and coffee mixture.
Pour into the prepared cupcake tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

To make the frosting,
Combine the vanilla and espresso granules.
Beat the butter until whitish and fluffy.
Add the vanilla-espresso mixture.
Whip in the powdered sugar.

Frost as desired. Eat five. Serve!


Something Exciting...

Hey guys! My pathway for Masterchef and being a chef is opening up, thanks to my awesome aunt. She has her own chocolate shop- Chocolat Uzma Sharif.

So she posted a link for this blog on Facebook! Check it out here,

Chocolat Uzma Sharif- Facebook

Awesome, right?
Also, check out the stats.

Pakistan- 1011
USA-  553
Malaysia- 150
Germany- 31
Serbia- 23
Australia- 5
Ukraine- 4
Canada- 2
China- 2
Poland- 2
India- 1
Indonesia- 2
France- 2
Austria- 1

Thanks, you guys!

Carrot Double Layer Cake

Hey guys! Zoya here. I don't know what's going on, I just keep getting sick. Honor offered to take over, but she is worse than me. Poor thing.

Anyway,  you know how parents like light flavours like vanilla over chocolate and fruit/nut over vanilla? Mine do.
My mom's birthday was last week, and she had asked me (like everyone always does) to make her a birthday cake.

"No frosting, no icing sugar, no fancy fillings and NO whipped cream," she said, "just a simple two layer cake with lemon curd for filling." Tough order. Tougher than the Monopoly cake I made for my cousin's birthday.

So I went to work. I scanned an entire list of cake flavours, as she didn't say which, to find some combos. Every flavor - from vanilla and chocolate truffle to apple-cinnamon and strawberry.

Ultimately, I ended up with, after eight hours of baking, this delicious carrot cake.

4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, 180 degrees C.
Grease two round cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture.
Pour your batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Frost with any cream cheese frosting. I didn't, though.