Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Robocar Poli Roy Chiffon Cake


Does this cake make you smile? =) Roboar Poli's Firetruck Roy made in chiffon cake.

I am not a fan of making vehicles as they are really hard to make with chiffon and require more cutting and assembly than normal. Also the many details are really fine and not easy to do neatly. It was also a challenge making the shapes that make up the Fire truck. But it was for a close friend, and not likely to repeat it very soon =p. Thank God it was well-received and made the birthday boy really happy!

As per my normal style, I tried to use natural coloring as much as I could, using charcoal for black and PME red for the red colour. I used a ball pan to create the top compartment, and joined it to chiffon cake baked in 2 square chiffon pans.

Recipes used are similar to my Mickey mouse chiffon cake.

Hope this brings a smile to your face! Hope everyone is coping well with school holidays too. For me, it has been really busy.

With love,
Susanne

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Rainbow Unicorn Lychee Macarons and Brown Sugar Cookies

My friend requested for rainbow unicorn themed bakes: macarons, brown sugar cookies and choux pastry!


The Choux pastry version can be seen in an older post over here. I made them for her daughter's birthday and she loved them so much she wanted me to make them again for her birthday!

What I want to share with you is the filling recipe for the macarons and a little tip about filling macarons with fillings that have high liquid content like pieces of fresh or canned fruit, jams and curds without turning the macaron shells soggy too fast. But before that, here are a few photos of works in progress items...

Decorating brown sugar cookie with royal icing. You may find the recipe for cookie and royal icing over here.

Piped macaron batter. I used a French method recipe over here due to the small quantity requested.

Decorated macaron shells using black edible marker and peach coloured lustre dust


Please feel free to upsize the filling recipe below. Fans of lychee will love it!

Lychee whipped ganache with diced lychee (fills 6 macarons)
Ingredients:
40g white chocolate, chopped or use chips
10g whipping cream
10g unsalted butter
10g vegetable shortening (may replace with butter)
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp freeze-dried lychee powder*
Canned lychees, woody part removed, diced and pat dry with paper towels

*If you are unable to get freeze-dried lychee, gradually fold in 20g finely chopped lychee or lychee puree into the whipped ganache.

Steps:
1. Place white chocolate, whipping cream, butter and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10 seconds. Mix thoroughly. Repeat heating and mixing until fully melted. Be careful not to overheat.

2. Add salt and mix well. Chill in freezer for 2 minutes. Whip or stir with spatula until smooth again. Repeat freezing and whipping as necessary until you get a light, smooth and fluffy buttercream-like mixture.

3. Add freeze-dried lychee powder a teaspoon at a time and mix well. If you are using puree, gently fold in a teaspoon at a time. Do note that freeze-dried powder version will produce a more intense flavour than using puree. Transfer into piping bag fitted with an open star tip.

Canned lychees have high water content so make sure you pat dry with paper towels before using as filling. Even then, I recommend adding a barrier between the chopped pieces of fruit and macaron shell. Effective barriers include high fat content fillings such as buttercreams and ganache.

To do this, pipe a small dollop of whipped ganache (or buttercream) in the middle of the macaron shell. Use a teaspoon or small spatula to smear it, coating the surface of the macaron shell. Pipe a ring of whipped ganache along the outline of the shell.

Remember to apply a smear of ganache on the upper shell too!

Fill the middle of the ring with pieces of fruit (or jam or curd).


A closer look at the juicy filling!

Refrigerate overnight to a few days before consuming. Always let the macarons rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before consuming  when taken out of the fridge.

I hope you find this helpful!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 11 March 2019

Kirby Durian Choux Pastry

The end of preparing for Deco Choux Pastries photoshoot is finally in sight! Just one more week of prep work to do! In the midst of preparing, I have bits and pieces of extra (less than perfect) choux pastry cases so I couldn't help but put some of these pieces together, spare a bit more white chocolate for coating the pastries, and then fill them with Mao Shan Wang durian whipped cream since I need to take photo of that for the book too!

Kirby durian Choux pastry!

Hubby is a fan of Kirby and durian so I thought of taking a bit of time to make this. The little Kirby figurine at the bottom of the picture belongs to him.

The arms and feet of Kirby are bits of choux pastry covered in melted chocolate too! Thank God I had extra red coloured chocolate at the end of the day so I just used it for coating Kirby's footwear.

In the middle of assembling


To be honest I also had an ulterior motive of making this to feed hubby and elder kid (who happens to love durian too) as soon as I bought the durian, pureed and filled the pastries with it. I didn't want to store durian at home for too long 😆. I love the taste but can't eat too much as I get heaty easily from it. Younger kid can't stand the taste and smell of it so it gives me a reason to try and clear it out of the house as soon as possible.

I won't be sharing the recipe for the pastry, white chocolate coating and durian filling as they are all in the upcoming book. But you may refer to my previous blog post for video tutorials on some basic techniques involved, and this blog post with full recipes included.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Little Twin Stars on a Star Chiffon Cake


Little Twin Stars! Who grew up with it? <3

It's been so many years since I revisited Little Twin Stars! Still such a joy to make, and still so much work haha! Unlike my previous two versions which involved piping of their hair and faces, I decided to try a different technique of using sheet cake to make their hair, like my Powerpuff girls. It's really a lot more work than the piping technique, though it looks nicer.

I also had the chance to try out my new Wilton aluminium stars pan. I used the chiffon recipe from here, also using the natural coloring and with steam baking. Texture is ogura-like, soft and cottony. All of cookbooks have at least one chiffon cake using a wide metal pan, to show that chiffon cakes can be baked like ogura and sponge cakes. The texture you get is slightly different, less airy, and more cottony with steam baking. The most popular has been the Airplane chiffon cake. You do not need to grease the pan, else the chiffon cake will have difficulty rising. You may like to grease just the bottom of the pan (at the middle only) if you are afraid you may have difficulty hand unmoulding it. If you have baked your chiffon cake just right (not underbaked, or overbaked), it should be a breeze to unmould it without greasing your metal tin. If you underbake the cake, the middle of the cake may tear when you try to unmould it as the cake is thick. If you overbake it, the brown skin layer tears the cake when you try to hand unmould it too. Always check with a bamboo skewer at the middle to make sure it is totally dry before you stop baking the cake.


I also had two versions of the cake, one with Chiffon Cake Rainbows, and one without. Recipe for chiffon cake rainbows has been shared in the first book Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes.


Hope this sweet creation brings a smile to your faces!

With lots of love,
Susanne



Book covers:


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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Video Tutorials for Choux Pastry Basics

Wondering how to make cream puffs or Éclairs? I have made some video tutorials to show you how!



I am still in the midst of preparing for the photoshoot of Deco Choux Pastries with Marshall Cavendish but I thought I better take some time to get some video tutorials in order. There will be a total of three video tutorials in the book, two of which are featured in this blog post.

I am sharing the method of making the Choux pastry batter and how to pipe basic round choux buns or profiteroles in this first video:


This second video tutorial is for piping Éclairs:


I must admit that it takes some practice to get the piping of Éclairs down pat but the good news is, you can always scrape off the batter from the baking tray and start over if your piping is all wonky 😆.

I strongly recommend using an open star tip for Éclairs although you can use either round or open star tips for Choux buns because the parallel line markings made by the teeth of the star tip will help with more even expansion of the pastry case in the oven.

I used parchment paper for illustration purposes but if you have a perforated mat, do use it instead as it helps to retain the shape of the piped batter much better, especially for Eclairs.

I hope the videos and tips are helpful! As you can see, you don't need sophisticated equipment to make choux pastry. Does this motivate you to give it a try 😉 ? You can fill the baked cases with all sorts of sweet and savoury filling to enjoy!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 4 March 2019

Birthday Pooh Ufufy Chiffon Cake


Good night, sweet dreams! <3

As you can tell by now, I am a big fan of Winnie the Pooh and piglet! This is a big version of my previous Pooh Ufufy Chiffon Cake. The hat was baked from a paper cone =).

It is also naturally colored using the range from Magic colours.

Giving you a big hugs! xoxo

With love,
Susanne




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Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Pandan Kaya Gula Melaka Flower Pot Cupcakes II

My friend loves my Pandan kaya Gula Melaka sponge and pudding cake as it's flavourful, fragrant, refreshing and not too sweet. She wanted the flower pot design I made three years ago for her birthday but in her preferred colours. It's great to revisit old designs again!


Revisiting old designs means that improvements or more convenient changes can be made as I gain more experience. So in this post I will share two tips that are helpful for this kind of bake.

I more or less stuck with the old recipe for the pandan kaya cake portion except that I replaced custard powder with cornflour for the pudding as it is usually available at all times in home kitchens. Use 1 tsp of vanilla extract instead of 1/4 tsp as custard powder is usually vanilla flavoured and replacing it with cornflour means a slight loss in that vanilla fragrance.

You may use the recipe from this post for making the ultra thin sheet cakes for making the flowers. Thinner sponge cakes make more realistic looking flower petals although there is a limit to how thin you can bake the sponge. How do you get it even thinner then? There is a simple trick you can do post-baking. I used to slice sheet cakes thinner petal by petal when the sponge turns out a little too thick for my liking. This works but it's slow and laborious. You can hasten the process by sandwiching the thin chiffon layer cake between two fresh sheets of parchment paper and then use a rolling pin to roll it flat. Don't be shy to use force to flatten the cake. I did the same trick for the pandan cake leaves.

I use the five-petaled flower cutters to cut out the small flowers.


I tried using small pill-shaped white sprinkles as the flower centers but realise that after storage, the moisture from the sponge cake and marshmellow glue will dissolve it, turning it translucent. So it's better to stick with my original whipped white chocolate ganache (heavy cream:white chocolate = 1:2) as the flower centers. You may also bake white chiffon cake and cut little circles out to stick in the middle but it will be super tedious as the flowers are small and numerous 😆.

Looking sweet and dainty!

All packed and ready to go!

I hope this post has been helpful! As usual, the cupcakes were very well received! Even my friend's mum who doesn't like cakes in general loved this and couldn't help having more!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 25 February 2019

Snow White Princess Chiffon Cake


Can you guess which Disney princess is this? 💕 My daughter requested for this Disney princess for her birthday.

It is made entirely from chiffon cake, and naturally colored using the natural range from Magic colours. I got this from Bake King. I am very thankful the design and idea for the Snow white panned out, as I didn't have a model to follow. 

The little Snow White also looks a little like my daughter hehe.. I kind of modelled after her =p.

The skirt is baked in a bundt pain, similar to my Pineapple tart cake from Deco Chiffon Cakes. I have also shared a Mandarin orange chiffon bundt recipe here before. Very thankful it was very well-received in terms of taste/texture too! The cake was gone in no time! =) I combined the bundt cake with 2 bowl cakes for the body and head, and chiffon cake pops for the other body parts.

Happy blessed 5th birthday my little princess!! May the joy of the Lord be her strength!!

With lots of love,
Susanne


Here's the book cover of Deco Chiffon Cakes mentioned above, it's my 2nd book in the Deco Chiffon Cake series.

And lastly the fun part! Fireworks on her cake! =)


It was really really really tall! =))


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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Happy Cat Macaron Carousel III

I prefer making personalized birthday bakes that are meaningful and special to the birthday boy or girl. I also prefer not to repeat designs. That's how this macaron carousel came about even though it's my third time making a happy cat macaron carousel. It's for a little boy who loves cats, candy and fish 😊

The carousel is filled with vanilla white chocolate buttercream and strawberry dark chocolate ganache

You may take a look at my first two happy cat macaron carousels over here and here.

I used the same reduced-sugar Swiss method recipe as the piggy macarons I made for Chinese New Year. So I won't be typing out the detailed recipe here. Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the cats

Piping the carousel roof. Using Teflon sheets instead of parchment paper helps to prevent creases on the underside of large macaron shells but it's optional.

I decorated the cats using royal icing, edible marker and lustre dust

Checkout the awesome feet!

I had some extra macaron shells so I broke it to check the insides. Nice and fluffy!

I will share the recipe for filling over here. Due to the hot Singapore weather, I make firmer fillings for macaron carousels so that it's structurally stable even when displayed for a few hours at room temperature.

Vanilla white chocolate buttercream
70g white chocolate
20g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Strawberry dark chocolate buttercream
60g dark chocolate chips
20g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
20g strawberry jam
1/2 tsp strawberry emulco/ paste

Steps:
1. Place butter and white/dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 20 seconds. Mix well. Heat at 10 seconds at medium power and stir again. Repeat as necessary until mixture is fully melted.

2. Set aside at cool room temperature 23-27℃ for an hour or until firm. Alternatively you may refrigerate for 10min or until firm.

3. Use a spatula and whip the chocolate mixture until light and fluffy. You may have to freeze/chill the dark chocolate mixture for a longer time before whipping it again.

4. Add salt, vanilla bean paste and strawberry paste (for dark chocolate buttercream), and mix well.

5. Gradually fold in the jam for the dark chocolate buttercream.

Vanilla white chocolate buttercream and dark chocolate buttercream with a dollop of strawberry jam about to be folded in 


I filled the macarons with a ring of vanilla white chocolate buttercream and the center with strawberry dark chocolate buttercream

I filled the cats the same way too!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

'One Piece Chopper' Straw Hat Chiffon Cake


Happy 元宵节! <3

Who can identify this character from One Piece?

I grew up loving One Piece and its adorable characters.

Made from chiffon sponge cake, making this brought back lots of memories!

This isn't my first Chopper cake, check out a previous smaller version here. That's how much I like it! <3 This one has a lot more details as I was feeling just a little more confident making this the 2nd time. I put the Chopper on the classic Straw Hat from the show.

And also not my first time making a Hat Chiffon Cake. I made a Willy Wonka Blueberry Hat chiffon cake for Penguin books almost at the start of my baking journey =).

Hope you like this happy creation!

Happy Chinese Valentine's day too! =D

With lots of love,
Susanne



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Thursday, 14 February 2019

Valentine's Bear Chiffon Cake


Giving you a BEARY BIG HEART with lots of love! Here's my Bear chiffon cake, Valentine's version. This bear is made similar to my previous Pusheen snowman! Wishing everyone a Blessed Valentine's Day with your loved ones tomorrow! <3

With lots of love,
Susanne =) xoxo




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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

'Winnie the Pooh' in Heart Shaped Choux Pastries

I have begun taking step by step photos for my Deco Choux Pastries book! It's only been three days but I am exhausted 😅. I have planned 5 weeks of work and on the 6th week, it's when the photoshoot with the Marshall Cavendish team will happen. Although I didn't plan to blog about this, I thought I might as well. Just in time for Valentine's Day!

Winnie the Pooh peeking out from heart shaped choux pastry!

I was taking step by step photos for these heart shapes and thought I might as well have a little fun and fill one of the cases since I baked extras. I was in a rush so I just used instant pudding to make Pooh and filled the rest of the case with nutella.

Did you know that you can easily make fancy shaped pastries? They don't need to be round all the time although round is great!


Making heart shaped choux pastries is fairly easy and I will show you how in the upcoming recipe book! I will be slowing down with blog posts for real until a little while after the photoshoot. Unless I suddenly have the bandwidth and my hands itch to make something 😆.

Happy Valentine's Day!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 11 February 2019

Hello Kitty & Pooh Valentine's Day Macaron Teacups

I get all excited about coming up with original and cute overloaded creations. This is one of them! It's for a boyfriend who wanted to surprise his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. I am sure you can tell she's a Hello Kitty and Winnie the Pooh fan!

The whole teacup setup is made of macarons, with the exception of the stick for the heart balloon

I made this concurrently with my "Heart in a Teacup" macarons so you may refer to that post for more details on making the macaron teacup. I used reduced-sugar Swiss method for the teacups.

I made Hello Kitty, Pooh and the teeny hearts on a separate day along with a few other unicorn heads and some random characters. And because the quantity is so small, I chose to use the French method for these. You may refer to this post for a cornflour-stabilized French method recipe that I used for this bake.

Piping the tiny shells! I mainly used Wilton #3 and #5 piping tips for these

Decorating the shells with fine black edible marker was a challenge too! Thank God I made extra shells!

I filled the tiny macarons with dark chocolate ganache


Special gifts for your loved ones need not happen on special days like Valentine's Day. Do something special for your loved ones on random days. That's more special 😉.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 7 February 2019

'Piggy Family' Homemade Honey Marshmallows


The Piggy family having a relaxing and warm reunion =). Don't they look happy?

This is the last of my Piggy bakes (technically not a bake, because no baking is required =p).

I tried this because my kids love marshmallows. And these marshmallows are so soft and compressible! And less sweet unlike those bought from shops! They are also made from honey so that it is healthy and vanilla flavored =).

Hope you like this creation! The recipe is shared below. I made some adaptations, especially with the addition of egg white which helps to stabilize the marshmallows.


Piggy Homemade Honey Marshmallows

Group 1
30g Cold water
7g Gelatin

Group 2
30g Cold water
100g Honey (please use light colored)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Salt
Red gel food color (I used natural red coloring from PME)

Group 3
1 Egg white

1. For Group 1: mix gelatin and cold water together in a mixing bowl and set aside to bloom. 

2. For Group 2: mix Group 2 ingredients (cold water, honey, vanilla extract and salt) un a pot and heat till 115°C (please use a candy thermometer). 

3. Slowly pour the hot mixture from Group 2 into Group 1 mixture, use stand mixer or hand mixer to mix quickly, then quickly add in the egg white from Group 3 (must add while this is still hot). 

4. Beat on high till white and fluffy. Test when the mixture is ready by using the spatula to drip the batter to form number 8, if the shape stays, you can start adding gel food color. Mix well with the spatula.

5. Transfer the marshmallow mixture into a piping bag. Use a larger piping tip to pipe the body and a smaller tip (size 0 or 1) to pipe the features. 

6. Sift corn onto a baking tray and pipe out the design quickly.

7. Allow to set in the fridge for at least 6 hrs. Once set, sift more corn flour over to remove the stickiness.

8. Draw on the facial features. I was lazy so I used a food marker. You can also use melted chocolate or a thin brush dipped in charcoal paste.


Hope you had a wonderful time of reunion with your families too! Happy CNY!

With lots of love,
Susanne


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Wednesday, 6 February 2019

'Heart in a Teacup' Lavender Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Macarons

When my friend saw the macaron teaset I made last year, she quickly booked me for Valentine's Day order, four months in advance! She already had a cute and visually simple design in mind and I was ready to go with it 😊

Presenting my "heart in a teacup" Valentine's Day bake!


I used the regular Swiss method recipe for the hearts and the reduced-sugar version for the teacups. I had extra red batter left from making display pieces for my boy and girl CNY macaron class so I decided to bake the red hearts in advance and froze the shells.

Dainty red hearts! The little "tail" at the bottom piece is to help the macaron sit nicely in the filling inside the teacup.

You may refer to this post for more details on how to make the macaron teacups. Here are some photos of the process...

I added 1.5tsp of freeze-dried raspberry powder into the almond paste.

Note the dull colour. Natural sources of food colouring are usually dull.

After adding some pink gel colouring. I added a little too much pink so I added a little white gel during the macaronage stage.

I love the final soft dusty rose pink colour!

The teacups are made of a few components that need to be piped out.

The saucer

The handles

Teacup body

Piping the cup base when a sticky membrane has formed on the base shell.

Freshly baked macaron shells!

I decorated the teacup with royal icing made using lemon juice instead of water to make it less sweet. I filled the handles with white chocolate. I couldn't help taking a photo of this whimsical setup!

I filled the hearts with whipped dark chocolate ganache


Both flavours of fillings are relatively firm so they are suitable for filling macarons that are to be given away as gifts in tropical Singapore, such as these teacups. If you are living in a colder climate, you may adjust the filling recipe to reduce the chocolate to cream ratio for a softer filling.

Store filled macarons in airtight condition in the fridge for at least 24h before serving. Leave the teacups out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before opening the container to serve.

If you need more comprehensive and detailed information about the basics and various techniques of macaron making, you may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons or Creative Baking: Macaron Basics books.


With love,
Phay Shing

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