Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Littlest Pet Shop Dark Chocolate Macarons

This was a last minute request I couldn't refuse as it was for a little girl suffering from leukemia. Littlest Pet Shop macarons!

Filled with dark chocolate ganache because she loves chocolate 

I use the French method for all small quantity bakes now so as not to end up wasting batter as well as to make the batter with the least amount of time and effort. I used this recipe but replaced caster sugar with icing sugar, to create a slightly more stable batter. I split the underfolded batter before adding the various colouring and continue folding until the right consistency. As the amount of batter per colour is really small, I didn't use the lava consistency test to test if the batter is ready to be piped. Instead, I tap the bottom of the mixing bowl after creating peaks in the batter. If the peaks melt back in to the rest of the batter, it is ready to be piped.

You may refer to my macaron recipe books, Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic view of the various techniques needed to make the batter and create fancy shapes.

Just to share a couple of photos of the process...

Piped batter

Freshly baked shells! 

I used a combination of royal icing and edible marker to add in the details.
I filled the macarons with dark chocolate ganache that is still relatively firm in Singapore's hot weather.

Hope this small batch of cute macarons brings a smile to your face as it did to bless the recipient 🙂.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Friday, 16 August 2019

3D Lego Policeman Chiffon Cake

Who dreamt of being a Policeman when you grew up? 👮‍♂️

My humble take on creating a big 3D 12-inch tall Lego Policeman Chiffon Cake! =p

I took a while to conceptualize the cake as it was quite complicated in terms of the shapes and size. The core is made by combining a square chiffon cake with a lego chiffon cake.

Have a blessed weekend!

With lots of love,

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Piggy Macaron Carousel

It's the first time I get a request for pig themed macaron carousel and I took the liberty of making it a little different from my usual carousels.

Somebody is being cheeky and climbed onto the roof! You can almost hear the piggy snigger 😝! 

I used the Swiss method to make the macaron shells and you may refer to this post for the recipe.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the piggies 

Piping carousel frame pieces. I use Teflon sheet instead of parchment paper for larger pieces so that the base of the macaron shell can remain flat as parchment tends to wrinkle up under the piped batter for larger macarons. 

Nutella was requested as the filling but I added an outer ring of salted caramel filling for aesthetics. Dark brown filling wouldn't look as good against the blue carousel frame. The salted caramel filling is fairly firm as you don't want the piggies to slide down the pole. I will share the recipe here.

Recipe for salted caramel filling
70g Salted caramel chips
10g Cocoa butter
20g Vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp Sea salt
1/4 tsp Caramel flavouring (optional)

Steps :
1. Place salted caramel chips, cocoa butter and vegetable shortening in microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium-low power for 10 seconds and mix well. Repeat heating and mixing until everything is melted nd smooth. Do not overheat or the mixture will separate. Use some force to mash the salted caramel chips against side of bowl during mixing to help it melt more evenly and more quickly.

2. Add salt and caramel flavouring. Mix well.

3. Chill the mixture in freezer for 1 to 2 min. Stir and whip until texture is lightened. You can choose to let the mixture sit at room temperature until it firm's up to toothpaste consistency without whipping as well but I prefer the former.

4. Transfer filling to piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Filling the piggies with salted caramel and Nutella. I decorated the shells with edible marker and royal icing

Let this set overnight at cool room temperature in airtight condition. 

Fill the carousel frame macarons in a similar way. 

With love,
Phay Shing
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Thursday, 8 August 2019

Dessert Themed Raspberry Macarons (class with Redman!)

I am starting teaching at Redman in addition to teaching at ToTT! For my first class at Redman, I will be teaching how to make donut, ice-cream cone and cupcake macarons, filled with raspberry whipped ganache and homemade raspberry jam!

Although I started my macaron journey with Italian method, I have come to fall in love with the Swiss meringue method as it also produces a stable meringue, you can work with slightly smaller batches than Italian method, and it is also easier to manage. The ice-cream cone and cupcake designs are taken from my first macaron book, Creative Baking: Macarons.

Click on this link to register and view the details of what is covered in the class. The raspberry jam will be premade for you as it is time consuming but easy. I will provide the recipe for it.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep Strawberry Macarons

Besides the Peppa Pig and family macaron centerpiece that my friend requested, these Peppa and Suzy strawberry macarons also appeared at the party!

These were individually packed as door gifts 

I used the Swiss method to make these macarons and you can refer to this post for the recipe. Ever since I discovered that I could work with a little cocoa butter substituting white chocolate for my macaron filling, I have been tweaking my default recipes as I am always eager to make the filling less sweet whenever possible. So what I will share here is my strawberry white chocolate buttercream recipe that is stable in hot Singapore weather, less sweet AND packed with strawberry flavour.

Just to share some pictures of the process first.

Piped Suzy Sheep 

Piped Peppa Pig 

Freshly baked shells! 

I decorated the shells with royal icing and edible marker

Here is the revised recipe for strawberry white chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients :
Strawberry jam
250g strawberry pureed
30g sugar (or to taste)
Pinch of salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4tsp strawberry emulco (optional)

Strawberry white chocolate buttercream
100g white chocolate, finely chopped or use chips
20g unsalted butter
10g cocoa butter, very finely chopped or use shavings
1/8tsp salt
55g strawberry jam

Steps :
1. Prepare strawberry jam by placing all ingredients in a saucepan and cooking over low heat, stirring frequently until mixture is reduced to about half the original weight. Let it cool to room temperature before using or you can a prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate.

2. Prepare white chocolate buttercream. Place white chocolate, cocoa butter and butter in microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium-low power for 10 seconds and mix well. Repeat heating and stirring until mixture is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat. You may use double-boiling method if you prefer.

3. Add salt and mix well. Chill in freezer for 2 min and mix well with spatula. Repeat freezing for 1-2min and mixing/beating with spatula until mixture resembles buttercream and appears light and fluffy.

4. Add the jam a teaspoon at a time and fold in until combined.

When assembling macarons with high water content fillings like jam, always insulate the shells with a layer of buttercream or ganache to prevent the shells from turning soggy fast.

Coat top and bottom shells with buttercream. Pipe a ring of buttercream on bottom shell. Fill the center with jam before sandwiching the shells together. 

Store in refrigerator for 24h in airtight condition before serving. When you want to serve, let the airtight container sit at room temperature for 15 min before opening to consume. This is to prevent condensation from forming on the macaron shells when you open the container. You may store macarons filled with jam for up to a week in the fridge.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

4d Rabbit chiffon cake with flapping ears

My humble, crazy attempt at a moving 4d Rabbit chiffon cake with flapping ears! Lol 😅😂

For my daughter's 8th birthday!! 💕

It was a crazy experiment I only dared to try on my own daughter's cake. It is not very stable though, it broke after I play too many times with it =p. But still it was a very memorable and special cake and experiment!

I was so busy with her birthday and other responsibilities that I fell sick after that and also forgot to post last week. Sorry for the silence.

Thank God she is 8! May God continue to watch over her and she grow in love and grace!

With lots of love,

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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Peppa Pig and Family in Muddy Puddle Chocolate Macarons

When you think of Peppa Pig, what scene do you think of? For me, the scene where the whole family jumps into a muddy puddle, and then everyone falls on their backs laughing comes to mind. I did the mudde puddle bit, with a rainbow in the backdrop of course 😊.

Yes the mud splashes are deliberate! 

I used the Swiss method to make the macarons as there are many colours involved so I need a meringue that can stay stable for a longer time. Italian method works just as well too but I didn't feel like dealing with having to monitor the boiling syrup and state of egg whites beating at the same time, or having an extra saucepan to wash. You may refer to this recipe for Swiss method. I have changed to using a higher initial preheat temperature for this recipe. Do adjust your oven conditions to suit you better as each oven behaves differently.

You may refer to the video tutorials on the blog on how to pipe various features on macarons or my macaron books, Creative Baking: Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic presentation of the techniques of basic macarons and fancy shaped macarons.

Piping Peppa and family 

Piping the rainbow 

As this is a macaron structure, I used a fairly firm dark chocolate ganache to fill the pieces. I used this recipe as a reference but modified it slightly.

Firm dark chocolate ganache recipe
90g dark chocolate
12g unsalted butter
20g whipping cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Simply place all ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and melt it together. Let it sit at the counter top to firm up before using. You may choose to whip it a little after chilling it in the fridge until you are able to scoop the ganache with a spoon like ice cream if you prefer a lighter texfure.

Filling the shells

As the rainbow is a top heavy structure in the scene, I recommend using skewers to secure it to the large base macaron.

Thank God that it was really well received by my friend who requested for it! I also made some loose pieces of Peppa and Suzy macarons as giveaways for the party. You may refer to this post for it!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Saturday, 27 July 2019

Jigglypuff Chocolate Choux Pastry

My friend requested for some corgi and Jigglypuff choux pastries. I posted the corgi ones earlier on and you can see it in this post. Here are the chocolate pastry cream filled Jigglypuffs!

Unlike the corgi choux pastries which have minimal covering with white chocolate, these Jigglypuffs are coated entirely with white chocolate. This method of finishing isn't my favourite as it is messier to work with and tastes sweeter than craquelin coated pastry cases, but it is necessary for certain designs where it is difficult to use purely craquelin, such as white and pastel coloured characters. I baked the pastry case along with those for the corgis.

You may refer to this post for detailed recipe for choux pastry batter and craquelin.

Piped batter. I highly recommend the use of perforated mats for better shape retention of pastry cases. The porous mat helps to anchor the pastry as it puffs up in the oven. 

Placing cookie dough cutouts on top of piped batter. As a rule of thumb, the cutouts I use are about 5mm wider than the piped batter. 

Piped batter for the ears, arms and feet. 

I assembled the ears and arms by inserting into the main body. I glued on the feet using Royal icing

I coated the pastry case with white compound chocolate that is melted with a little vegetable shortening and coloured it pink with oil based food colouring. The eyes were made of white chocolate chips decorated with royal icing for the details. I piped on Jigglypuff's lock using the same pink coloured white chocolate. The mouth and ear details in black were added using royal icing coloured with charcoal powder.

Detailed recipe for the chocolate pastry cream with less sugar, made richer in flavour with dark chocolate added but lightened in texture with whipped cream can be found here in my corgi pastry post.

If you would like to know what other designs you can make with choux pastries, checkout my Deco Choux Pastries book!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday, 26 July 2019

Cony and Brown Chiffon Cakes

Left or right?💕 Line Friends Cony and Brown Chiffon Cakes!

Always love! Can u 'bear' to eat them?

I have a long history with Cony and Brown actually! Check out my earlier versions here and here. I also had some unposted versions still in my camera! I used Reduced egg white recipe for Cony. I added a carrot here for Cony and a heart for Brown! =)

Hope you like this cute and happy creation!

With lots of love,

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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Corgi Chocolate Choux Pastry

My friend requested for some corgi and Jigglypuff choux pastries that I can make at my convenience. Since I had a cancellation for an order, I decided to take time to make these. Presenting my corgis in the form of chocolate éclairs!

Woof! The Jigglypuff choux pastries are in a separate blog post 

You may use any favourite choux pastry recipe but I used the one in this blog post for the batter and craquelin. I use craquelin to control the shape of the expansion as well as provide an extra crunch.

Piped batter on perforated mat (highly recommended for better shape retention.) . I pipe a short éclair for corgi body using a 18mm diameter open star tip and a plain round 15mm tip for 2.5cm rounds for Jigglypuff body

Placing craquelin on top. As a rule of thumb, I made the craquelin about 5 mm wider than piped batter. 

I usually bake the pastry cases until really dry and crisp so that the recipient can have the option of whether to have them crisp or softer by varying the amount of time the filling sits inside the cases.

I bake the corgi ears and tail using batter too. Just transfer batter into piping bag with a small hole cut and pipe onto parchment paper lined baking trays. For small choux parts, I don't use perforated mat as it is not necessary.

Bake these for only 10 min or so. Do keep a close watch on them or they burn fast in the oven. 

After the baked cases have cooled completely, I insert or glue on the small parts with royal icing or melted chocolate.

Partially assembled Jigglypuff and corgi! 

The white part of the corgi is piped on using white chocolate melted with a little vegetable shortening. I used white chocolate chips for the legs.  The fine features in black, red and pink were done using royal icing.

I cut a hole at the base of the pastry case for ease of filling with chocolate pastry cream that is made richer with dark chocolate couverture added and made lighter in texture with whipped cream added.

Chocolate pastry cream with whipped cream added 
Ingredients :
20g cornflour
30g caster sugar
12g cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
200g + 15g milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp kahlua coffee liqueur (optional)
Pinch of salt
15g unsalted butter
60g dark chocolate couverture (or any dark chocolate ocolate you like, finely chopped)
85g cold whipping cream (I used a combination of dairy and non-dairy whipping cream. You can choose to use either. )

1. Sift together cocoa powder and cornflour into a heatproof heavy bowl. Add sugar and whisk together. Add egg yolks and 15g of milk and whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.

2. Heat 200g milk, vanilla, salt and coffee liqueur (if using) in a saucepan until the milk just starts to bubble at the edges.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and pour in a thin stream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Start off pouring very slowly before pouring faster. This is to temper the egg yolks.

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat while whisking all the time. Once mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk until mixture becomes smooth again. Return to heat and keep whisking as the pastry cream thickens until your preferred consistency. Keep in mind the pastry cream will be firmer upon cooling.

5. Remove from heat and add butter and dark chocolate couverture. Whisk until butter is melted and incorporated. Transfer custard to a bowl and press a piece of cling wrap on the surface of pastry cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for an hour or until cool. You may prepare this a day ahead of time.

6. Beat cold whipping cream using electric mixer until firm or stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat if using full dairy whipping cream) . Take the chilled pastry cream out from the fridge and stir to loosen it. Fold in the whipped cream into the pastry cream in a few batches.

If you would like to know what other designs you can make with choux pastries, checkout my Deco Choux Pastries book!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Dumbo in Teacup Carousel Chiffon Cake

In case you missed the Dumbo movie, here's my Dumbo in a Teacup Carousel cake! Can you guess how I patterned the rainbow hearts in the cup?

For those who followed my early work, you may find it familiar =). It's the same technique as my 6-flavour Rainbow Hearts Chiffon cake in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes book.. I used Rainbow hearts cut outs to get the perfect shape. You can watch the previous video to see how it is done. In this case, I used a 3D ball pan instead of a normal round chiffon pan. The Dumbo is shaped from a bowl cake. I stuck cake pops and ears from chiffon cake onto it using melted marshmallow.

Hope you like this cute creation! The patterning techniques and chiffon cake glue and other techniques are in my cookbooks (below). The Rainbow hearts chiffon cake is in the first book on the right.

With lots of love,

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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

'Ginger Cats on a Swing' Macarons on Mixed Fruit & Cream Cake (dairy-free)

My friend requested for a dairy-free bake for her 2-year-old twins' birthday. As usual, I ask what the recipients like and she told me they love swings, ginger cats, butterflies, the colours pink and red. She also requested for something less sweet. I took all that on board and came up with this 😊

The cats and swing are made of macarons. The butterflies are made of bean paste dough. I filled the macarons with dark chocolate and raspberry white chocolate. I also used a reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells, keeping in mind my friend's request. The cake is made up of four layers of chocolate chiffon sponge, and three layers of non-dairy whipping cream, strawberries and kiwi.

I didn't stick the cats onto the swing because I wanted it to be a doll house concept where the "dolls" can be played with. The macaron swing can actually swing too! It took me a while to figure out a mechanism that actually works but is simple enough to put together using whatever tools I have.

I used the reduced sugar Swiss meringue method recipe for the macaron shells. You may refer to this post for the recipe. I added some freeze dried raspberry powder to the shells to colour it and flavour it as well. Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the cats 

The cats were decorated using royal icing, edible marker and lustre dust. 

I filled the shells with dark chocolate and raspberry white chocolate. 

I experimented with using shaved cocoa butter to replace some of the white chocolate so that the filling is not so sweet but is stable in Singapore's hot weather. The filling has to be relativdly firm as the structure had to be stable.

Recipe for raspberry white chocolate filling
80g white chocolate
10g cocoa butter
20g vegetable shortening
1/4tsp salt
4 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder

1. Place all ingredients except raspberry powder in microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10 sec and mix well. Repeat until everything is melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

2. Gradually add raspberry powder and mix well.

3. Set aside at room temperature for 15-30 min to let it firm up to toothpaste consistency. Transfer into piping bag.

Recipe for dark chocolate filling
Ingredients :
40g dark chocolate
10g vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt

Same as above for raspberry white chocolate but skip step 2.

I had to use some ingenuity to figure out the mechanism for the swing such that the macarons won't break.

Looking sweet 

Happy cats on the swing 

You may refer to this post for bean paste dough that I used. I used it to make flowers previously but the dough can also be used to make other things like the butterflies here.

I baked the chocolate chiffon cake using this recipe but replaced milk with water for a non-dairy version. I used 2 egg whites worth of batter for each layer of 8" round cake. I used cookie cutters to cut out strawberry hearts and kiwi leaves.

Layering the cake with non-dairy cream and fruits.

I decided to go for simple but sweet looking cake so I just frosted the whole cake and used a small spatula to create patterns on the surface. This is nuch easier than my naked cakes revealing neat layers of fruit and cream because you don't have to be neat at all with this kind of rustic finishing 😊.

Looking sweet! 

Although the macaron swing was a challenge to me, I had fun creating it, along with a simple and refreshing cake!

With love,
Phay Shing

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