Monday, 26 September 2016

Pororo & Friends Dark Chocolate Macarons (plus tips on packaging, part 2)

My friend requested for two sets of Pororo and friends macarons for her elder boy's birthday, of which one set is made as cake toppers. I will highlight how cake topper macarons and non-individually packed macarons are to be packed for a party in this post.

Pororo and friends!

I used the reduced-sugar macaron shell recipe and baked these along with Pokemon macarons.

You may refer to this post for a detailed write-up about the reduced sugar macaron shell recipe, my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic approach of presenting the basics to fancy shaped macarons, this post for video tutorials of macaron basics and this post for video tutorials of piping complex shaped objects.

Just a quick tip on how I manage a macaron bake with so many colours involved. I divide the mass according to estimated proportion of surface area that each colour covers, then use the formula:

Weight of meringue = 0.51 x weight of mass

If you are using my old non reduced sugar version that also appears in my macaron book, use this formula instead:

Weight of meringue = 0.55 x weight of mass

Just to share some pictures of the piping process...





To be honest, I didn't do research on all the names of the characters involved :p. I can only identify Pororo.

Freshly baked shells!

Checkout the awesome feet on the shells!

I decorated the macaron shells with a combination of royal icing and edible marker. Do not use edible marker on top of royal icing features as it will smudge when refrigerated.

Pororo and friends together with the Pokemon batch

I filled the shells with peppermint dark chocolate or dark chocolate ganache. You may refer to the Pokemon macaron post for the recipe.

I use lollipop sticks for the cake toppers. Pipe some ganache on the base shell, place the stick in the middle, pipe more ganache to cover the stick before putting the top shell on.



Most of my requests are for macarons that are displayed at the party or for home consumption. Here's how I pack...

I put each macaron on paper cupcake liners to help cushion the macarons and help to absorb moisture when refrigerated. Depending on the numbers ordered, I use transparent plastic boxes with 4 or 6 compartments as shown below. The boxes are bought from SKP or Phoon Huat.


Cake topper macarons are also placed in paper cupcake liners. If the toppers are giant macarons, I use paper towel cut or folded according to the size of the macaron. These are packed in a large box.


The boxes are placed in a jumbo ziplock bag with dessicant and paper towel. This is to ensure that the environment in which the macarons are stored in is airtight and condensation will not be as bad when refrigerated and taken out of the fridge repeatedly during transport.


I hope my sharing of practical tips on packing has been helpful!

My friend kindly sent some photos of the macaron cake toppers on a cake she baked herself :)

Can you tell who is missing? 

Caught by a little boy with the rest of the friends watching on *gasp*!

Mmm-mmm! The little man approves of the macaron!

She says that they are not too sweet :). A comment I often get for my macarons!


With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Video Tutorial for Passionfruit/Yuzu Lollipop Chiffon Cake Pops


Finally unveiling what I have been working on! My next video tutorial on Passionfruit Lollipop Chiffon Pops from my new cookbook Deco Chiffon Cakes, that's just been launched at all major bookstores in Singapore!

This lollipop chiffon pop is from Pg 94. I'm really not techie so it's really a pain for me to make the video =p, I'm really thankful I had my hubby's help. So hope you don't mind my humble video:


You can substitute passionfruit juice with any of the other fruit juice of your choice. I have tried with yuzu and orange juice and both works well. There is also a natural food coloring guide (how-to-make) from Pg 29. Many people also do not know there are actually some brands like Queen's or PME that sells natural coloring (in some colours). If using wilton gel, then a tiny toothpick prick dip is required only.

And here's my newest labour of love!


It features step-by-step guide to new 3D patterns, cute animals and pops, festive cakes, and an extended 6-page detailed troubleshooting guide and basic section. In addition, there are trending new flavours like Salted egg yolk lava chiffon cake! More information here.

I really really hope the ideas will bless many who read it!

With lots of love,
Susanne



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Thursday, 22 September 2016

6-Asian flavours (Earth Tones) Chiffon Cake


6 Asian flavours in one chiffon cake, naturally coloured by their flavours!

Matcha (light green), Coffee (brown), Soy (cream), Yam (light purple), Charcoal (grey) and Adzuki (light pink, it’s the only colour with some added natural colouring)! The cake is yummy for the Asian palate and there is a flavour for everyone!

Very excited that my latest labour of love, Deco Chiffon Cakes is finally available at all bookstores tomorrow (23 Sep 2016)! There’s a step-by-step pic tutorial for this 6-Asian flavours chiffon cake in the book (Pg 82)!



My first prototype of this cake was the 5-colour 'Inside Out' chiffon cake I made for my birthday using natural colorings my MIL got from Thailand. Very happy that my editor loved the cake too and even put it on the cover of the new cookbook (together with a cute Matcha turtle and flowers pompom chiffon cakes)! 

To thank everyone for their support since the beginning, I am also giving away 4 new Deco Chiffon Cakes cookbooks on my FB and Instagram! Contest ends 23 Sept 2359.

With lots of love,
Susanne


Deco Chiffon Cakes (Chiffon book 2) will be available at all bookstores (Popular, Kinokuniya, Times etc.) from Friday 23 Sept 2016. It features step-by-step guide to new 3D patterns, cute animals and pops, festive cakes, and an extended 6-page detailed troubleshooting guide and basic section. In addition, there are trending new flavours like Salted egg yolk lava chiffon cake! More sneak peeks here.

Thank you so much for your support once again!

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Pokemon Peppermint Dark Chocolate Macarons (plus tips on packaging, part 1)

This bake came about because I have excess batter from making Pororo and friends macarons. Keep a lookout for the Pororo macarons in my next post! Someone requested for a blog post on how I pack my macarons for sale. I shall split it into two blog posts due to the nature of how the requesters want it packed. Presenting my first attempt at some Pokemon character macarons!

Caterpie, Pikachu, Jigglypuff and Charmander!


You may refer to this post for a detailed write-up about the reduced sugar macaron shell recipe, my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic approach of presenting the basics to fancy shaped macarons, this post for video tutorials of macaron basics and this post for video tutorials of piping complex shaped objects.

Despite the complex shapes I thought why not try the reduced sugar recipe for these. I may stick to the reduced sugar version from now on and if I am brave enough, experiment with a higher percentage of sugar replacement.

Just to share some photos of the piping process....

Pikachu head

Jigglypuff

Full-body version of Pikachu

Charmander

Caterpie

Take a look at the freshly baked shells!


Awesome feet!

I used a combination of royal icing and edible marker to decorate the shells. Remember not to use edible marker on top of royal icing as it will smudge when the macarons are kept in the fridge.

All decorated along with the Pororo set!

Peppermint dark chocolate flavour was requested for some of the macarons from the Pororo batch so I used it for these. I used my regular dark chocolate ganache recipe but added Peppermint extract.

I use the good stuff!

Peppermint dark chocolate ganache
Ingredients:
180g dark chocolate, chopped
60g heavy cream
20g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 tsp Peppermint extract

Steps:
1. Place chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 20-30 seconds at medium power. Stir to mix well. Repeat until mixture is melted and smooth.

2. Place cream in a small saucepan and heat on low heat until it starts to bubble. Pour over melted chocolate and stir with spatula in one direction until smooth and well incorporated.

3. Add salt, vanilla and peppermint gradually and stir until well mixed.

4. Let the ganache sit at room temperature for half an hour to an hour or until consistency is toothpaste-like. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto shells.


5. Refrigerate the macarons for at least 24h in airtight container. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before consuming. Ganache filled macarons can withstand cool room temperature storage for 2-3 days so they are good as gifts. For longer term storage, you may freeze individually wrapped macarons for a month or refrigerate them for 5 days-2 weeks (Depending on how moist the fillings are. Wet fillings like lemon curd or jams can only last for about 5 days whereas firm ganaches like this one can last for 2 weeks).

Here comes the part about packing macarons...

Some of these Pokemon macarons are to be given away as gifts so they have to be individually packed. I use transparent cylindrical plastic containers (bought from Phoon Huat) for this purpose. I prefer to use rigid packaging instead of self-seal bags that I use for cookies as macarons are delicate and prone to being easily crushed. I always line my macarons with cupcake cases to absorb any moisture due to condensation from refrigeration and to help cushion any shock during transport. They also serve as good "handles" when you need to move the delicate macarons around without breaking or smudging them. Macarons with thin bits sticking out will tend to break more easily than roundish ones. Parts decorated with edible marker will smudge if you touch them.

Packing each macaron

Although the container lids are pretty tight (they won't fall out), they are not airtight. I could tape down all the lids but the tape is a pain to remove after that. Instead, I pack the containers into jumbo ziplock bag. I include a dessicant and a paper towel in the bag to absorb any moisture due to condensation. It's unfortunate that Singapore is hot and humid so condensation takes place quickly when we transport the macarons in and out of the fridge.

This whole assembly is refrigerated.

Keep a lookout for my next post on how to pack macarons for display at parties or as cake toppers.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Psyduck Chiffon Cake



Psyduck spotted! =p

Something simple and cute for my hubby's birthday this year, mainly because the kids like the cute silly-looking duck from Pokemon go! =)

The duck is from lemon chiffon cake (naturally colored) from 2 bowl cakes and 1 swissroll (for the arms). The base 'island' cake is pandan chiffon cake baked in a wilton ball cake pan.

I know my kids will enjoy cutting it up so much hehe =p Thank you for everything!

With lots of love,
Susanne

Good news! Deco Chiffon Cakes will be hitting the bookstores this Friday 23rd Sept! 


It features new 3D patterns, a 6-page extended troubleshooting guide, and trending flavours like salted egg lava chiffon cake! So excited! <3

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Wedding Brown Sugar Cookies

I mentioned earlier in my Teacher's Day cookie post that I have a huge batch of 400 brown sugar cookies to make for a wedding. Here are some of them :)


When you have 400 decorative cookies to make within a limited time frame, some careful thought has to go into planning the design. My cousin wanted the initials of the bride and groom with a cross in the middle to represent the centrality of Jesus Christ in their marriage. Her colour theme for the wedding is blue and therefore the ombre blue shades for the cookies.

You may refer to my Teacher's Day cookie post for a detailed write-up of the basic brown sugar cookie recipe and the royal icing recipe.

Just to share some photos...

Freshly baked cookies!

Testing the consistency of royal icing.

Consistency of icing for flooding the hearts should be such that any peaks disappear in 10 seconds. Consistency for the letters should be thicker at about 20 seconds or the little twirls will end up looking like blobs.

Outline the hearts with white icing, dry completely before flooding with blue.


Let the flooded cookies dry overnight before adding on the letters and dots.


If I had more time or less numbers to work with, I might have used a needle to scratch the letters on the surface of the flooded hearts before tracing with royal icing. But as it turns out, my freehand piping wasn't too bad after all :p.

Really thank God for helping me to complete this gargantuan task, and for my dad who helped me dot the border of about 30 cookies as I realised I had one day less to work on the cookies due to personal family commitments. It took me about two and a half weeks to work on these cookies along with family commitments and other bakes.

Here's me wishing the lovely couple a blessed marriage!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

BB-8 droid Chiffon Cake


I made this BB-8 cute robot from chiffon cake for dearest Joash and one of my closest mummy friends! Previous years I made the Lego and Transformers Chiffon Cakes. In fact the Lego chiffon was one of my first cakes when I started out so there's a lot of nostalgia and I had to try making BB-8 when he requested it. I realise I still haven't posted my Transformers cake! =p

The BB-8 shape is obtained by combining two bowl or ball pan cakes, and the top was from a 5-cm cake pop mold. It was quite a pain to cut and stick on all the details from sheet cakes as you can imagine, as there were no cutters for the patterns! =p Just imaging lots of small stripes and circles.

It was a labour of love and thankful cake for well-received! May you grow up to be a wonderful boy who loves God!

With lots of love,
Susanne



New cookbook Deco Chiffon Cakes, launching 23rd Sept in bookstores!
For those who preordered, do come collect your copy now! Those who opted for delivery, it's already on the way to your house =)


My video tutorial on making a cute character chiffon posted on TODAY's fb page with a shout-out for the new cookbook at the end. Read more here on Creative chiffon feature in TODAY. Thankful to God for everything.




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Monday, 12 September 2016

'Hedgehogs on Stump' Gula Melaka Chiffon Sponge and Pudding Cake

My dad loves my Pandan kaya gula melaka cake and requested it for his birthday. I had a brainwave of making a stump cake with cute animal deco on top so I came up with this :).


The hedgehogs are snowskin mooncakes with Pandan lotus paste filling. You may read about how to make them over here. They are really much easier to make than they look! I wanted the tree stump to look more realistic so I decided to change the chiffon sponge to gula melaka flavour instead of Pandan. Gula Melaka chiffon sponge still has Pandan and coconut milk as main ingredients that give the cake the fragrance, along with gula melaka but the Pandan flavour is downplayed while the gula melaka flavour is enhanced. It's my first attempt at making a vertical swiss roll with pudding as the filling so it was a challenge but I am so glad that the outcome looks really "stump-like" and it wasn't too difficult once I get the hang of it. My first stump cake was filled with swiss meringue buttercream and it was a easier to assemble. Nonetheless, I would highly recommend this cake as it is really fragrant, rich yet refreshing, fondant-free, cream-free and dairy-free as well!

Recipe for gula melaka chiffon sponge
Ingredients (makes two 10x12" sheet cakes for a 6-7" diameter stump cake):
Egg yolk batter
4 egg yolks
106g gula melaka, chopped
46g coconut oil (or vegetable oil but will be less fragrant)
80g coconut milk
4 Pandan leaves, cut into 3cm strips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
80g cake flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Meringue*
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
40g caster sugar

* Divide ingredients into two equal portions unless you are able to squeeze both trays into the oven at the same time. Each tray can accomodate a 2 egg yolk/3 egg white recipe.

Steps:
1. In a heavy based saucepan, combine coconut milk, gula melaka and Pandan leaves together. Heat over low heat until all the gula melaka has dissolved. Set aside to cool. Pass the mixture through a sieve and squeeze all the liquid from the Pandan leaves. Discard the leaves.

2. Line the trays with baking paper. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Preheat to 170°C.

3. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks until pale and thick. Add coconut oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut milk mixture and mix well. Add flavourings and mix well. Gradually sift in flour and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. Divide the batter into two equal portions if you are baking in two rounds.

4. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in the sugar once the egg whites are foamy.

5. Fold the meringue into egg yolk batter quickly but gently in three additions. Tap the tray to release air bubbles.

6. Bake for 11 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Immediately remove from baking tray, carefully peel off baking sheet and cool the cakes in rolled up position. Roll the cakes along the longitudinal direction.

Cooling freshly baked cakes!

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the pudding. Boil about several Pandan leaves in about 1L of water for about 10 minutes to make some Pandan water.

Recipe for gula melaka pudding
Ingredients:
A)
480g coconut milk (you may substitute partially or whole with evaporated milk if you wish)
250g Pandan water
125g gula melaka, chopped
2 tsp agar powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of coconut flavouring (optional)

B)
46g custard powder
250g Pandan water

Steps:
1. Mix ingredients in B) in a jug and set aside.

2. Place all ingredients in A) in a saucepan and bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring continuously.

3. Stir B) again and slowly pour into the saucepan while stirring continuously. Continue to stir until mixture boils.

4. Sieve the pudding into a large bowl. Place a cling wrap touching the surface of the pudding. Let it cool for about 30-45 minutes at room temperature.

5. Use a ladle to stir the pudding as it thickens and continues to cool until consistency is like slow-moving lava (sounds like macaron batter haha :p).

Assembly
1. Unroll the cooled cakes. Use a long serrated knife to cut each rectangle into 8cm wide strips. You may not use all the cake for the main body of the stump.

2. Use a spatula to spread some pudding onto a strip.


3. Roll the cake like a swiss roll. Don't worry if some pudding spills out at the sides. Place it on the cakeboard vertically as shown in the top left picture below. Repeat for subsequent pieces. You may wish to add some triangular pieces at the base to form tree roots.


4. Cover the sides with more pudding using a spatula. It doesn't have to be very neat as real tree trunks aren't ;).


5. Scoop out about 1/3 cup of pudding and add 1 tsp of sifted cocoa powder and mix well. Transfer into piping bag fitted with a 6-7mm diameter piping tip. Pipe a spiral on the top of the stump, following the spiral made by rolling the cake. Use a spatula to spread some pudding at the side to give the bark of the tree stump a darker shade. Again, it doesn't have to be very neat. Put the cake in the fridge for 35-40min.


6. Use a fork to scratch some markings at the side by dragging from bottom to top of the sides. Refrigerate at least for 24 hours in airtight container before serving. The sponge and pudding cake is best eaten about 3 days after assembly.

Gula Melaka stump cake!

I added on some Pandan green chiffon cake grass and some mushrooms made from snowskin.

Cake at birthday lunch!

Take a peek at the awesome insides with alternating sponge and pudding!

Everyone young and old, chiffon cake haters and chiffon cake lovers all loved this cake too! My brother and hubby who are not chiffon cake fans said both texture and taste are superb. Mum and dad didn't find it too sweet too even though I was a little apprehensive about the amount of sugar in the cake. I can't reduce the gula melaka by too much or the flavour will not be strong enough. My family loved it so much they said I should make this flavour of cake for grandma's birthday next month! So I highly recommend all gula melaka fans to try this out!

Blessed birthday to daddy!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing


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