Monday, January 14, 2013

Penny University

I do not know how or when but I happen to follow this fabulous female Malay baker who goes by the name "Fluffbakery", on her Instagram.

However, she operated from her home in faraway Choa Chu Kang, then. So ordering from her seemed like an equally faraway chance. Such a pity, for her Nutella Red Velvet cupcakes and her Mango Tarts looks really delish!

Then, towards late last year, she started sending her cakes to a cafe at the very-much-nearer-to-where-I-am East Coast Road. I start to get pretty excited. Too bad it's not too convenient by bus, for me.

So I start bugging/pestering my colleague, the 'driver'. And on one rainy afternoon after lunch, he relented. Yeay!


Located in the same row as the popular Italian restaurant, Al Forno.


Eugh! My colleague just HAD TO walk past when I snap this. Grr...

That recycled timber tree, the pair of antique wire/cable armchairs and that coffee table… Very quirky and tells you that there's more to expect, inside.

And oh, seeing that this area is flanked by housing area, some space is provided for bicycle parking; for those who cycled here.


Cakes display

Such a quiant display area!

Available that day were Apple, Cherry & Grasshopper Mint Pies. In the biscuit tin was Cranberry 'Rock Cakes' (which I assume, were similar to scones?). And the tiers behind it was the Eggnog Salted Caramel cupcakes and Salted Caramel Mascarpone cake (sold out by the time I took  this pic!).

The interior

The inside was cosy, with warm lightings. Large wooden tables with odd pieces of chairs, interspaced with wooden benches. One side of the cafe is flanked by large built-in bookshelves and pieces of whimsical/vintage objects are scattered here and there.

Even at the counter, there's this antique cashier machine. I was curious to see how it operates, only to realise that it's just a 'dummy', for they key in the orders into a computer right behind it… Conned! Haha.

The whole feel of it seems very… English. Like those laid-back pub/waterhole where weary men drop by to, after a hard day's work.


Nice and subtle latte art. My colleague Sri had the Mocha Latte (the heart-shaped art) while I had the regular latte.

There are two (separate) coffee grinders at the bar and you can choose the type of blend you'd prefer for you cuppa. The time I was there, the 2 blends were "Raven" (toasted almonds, sweet cane, dark chocolate) from Oriole Coffee Roasters and the "el' Primero" (tropical fruits, nutty, bright) from Nylon. You can check out their FB page for updates on the available blends for that day.

Both of us took the "Raven". Maybe, they had us at 'dark chocolate'. The size options are either 5oz. or 7oz. (me thinks).

And no worries. Other beverages, aside from coffee are available too.

Long black

My male colleague had his regular order. Long black, "el' Primero" blend. he remarked that the coffee wasn't as robust as he expected. Too 'tame'. Well, to each his own.

Oh, you gotta scoop your own sugar from the bowl located at the condiment section in front of the counter. Quite a hassle if the drinks are served to you and you gotta head over there to scoop the sugar into your cuppa. Not sure if sugar is provided at every table, though…

And sky-juice plain water is self-service, from the same section. Poured into this really vintage 'Arcopal'-like brown-tinted glasses. My grandma had the whole set back when I am still a wee lass!

Check out that vintage weighing-scale!

Our cakes

One cupcake, 1 slice of cake and a wedge of pie. To be shared amongst us 4.

The cakes were served on these stainless steel oval plates. Reminiscent of the ones used at traditional Indian eateries. How whimsical!

'Fluffbakery' and Penny University usually update the type of cakes available daily, on their respective pages.

Salted caramel mascarpone cake

Looks decadent doesn't it?

Wonder what sponge that is. High chance it is vanilla? Coated with mascarpone icing (yums!) and topped with a thick sludge of salted caramel sauce (double yums!).

These 3 flavours and textures totally complement one another and meet in a nice burst of flavours in our mouth. But then again, I'm impartial to anything 'salted-caramel'. And cheese. Heh.

Eggnog salted caramel cupcake

You can read the definition of 'eggnog' HERE. Again, I'm not sure of the cupcake flavour. Looks like vanilla, topped with eggnog cream and lashings of salted caramel sauce. You can see the specks of cinnamon (and maybe nutmeg??) powder that defines what eggnog really is.

The flavours were definitely there but the cupcake was a tad dry. Noticable, especially after we just had the nicely moist sponge cake above.

Grasshopper Mint Pie

The pies in this cafe are sourced from Windowsill Pies.

"…It has a yummy chocolate flourless cake base topped with a crazy fresh mint cream. Crowning it are shards of dark chocolate and clusters of salty chocolate cookies…"

Maybe my taste buds were affected by all that salted caramel but something doesn't taste quite right with this pie. Others remarked it was a tad minty but I thought the mint flavour was too subtle. Hmm…

I gotta' agree with the whole combo though. Mint and dark chocolate? Wow. And those salty chocolate cookie bits on top… Totally in love with this! If only I can get over that niggling feeling…


These are what I had on another occasion…

We planned to chill at the cafe itself but my colleague can't get a proper parking spot and the cafe was full. So we packed our choice of cakes instead.

Apple pie, Nutella Red Velvet & Boston Cream Pie cupcakes

Woohoo! We finally got our hands on the Nutella Red Velvet cupcake! After so long of drooling and envying others who posted pictures of their purchase…

And I can see why it's so popular! The cupcake here is moist, unlike my previous experience. Maybe it's due to the blob of nutella nestling inside. And yes, it's such an awesome idea to pair nutella and red velvet cake. The only downer was the icing, which seem a tad sweet for me. Otherwise all is mighty fine with this popular cupcake.

Since we brought the confectioneries back and have them only during teatime, we manage to heat up the apple pie prior to eating. Oh, it was delicious!! The crispy crust, the stewed Granny Smith apples that come quartered instead of the usual cubes or thin slices, the cinnamon… Such harmony! If only we got some vanilla ice-cream then, it would have been perfect!

Boston Cream Pie cupcake

As described by the baker herself:

"…A light fluffy chocolate cupcake with a smooth creamy custard centre topped with a decadent chocolate ganache frosting…"

My personal opinion? Reminds me of my favourite Dunkin' Donut flavour. It is like the cupcake version of the famous 'Boston Kreme'… So, so very yummy!

The chocolate cupcake was moist (again, it must be that there's filling inside), the custard complement the cake nicely and the chocolate frosting… soo delish!


Many have given this newly-opened cafe the thumbs up. And I can see why. So glad to see that we have such an 'institution' nearby!

Will definitely drop by again. Those cakes and pies… they're calling my name…!

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