Sunday, 16 December 2018

Ondeh Ondeh Logcake Choo Choo Train

How do you like our Favorite Yummy Ondeh Ondeh Cake transformed into a cute Christmas Logcake Choo Choo Train with wheels? =)

I was inspired to transform the boring Logcake into a Choo choo train! And being a fan of Ondeh Ondeh cakes, I was inclined to transform the flavour into a Logcake version too =p.

I designed this recipe specially for LG's Logcake Class last month. It's a special recipe that you can whip up in less than an hour using the freezer and convenient new products like the gula melaka syrup (took a picture in the recipe below). The flavour and also cute train idea was a hit at the class! If you try out the idea, do tag me! =)

I have also made a Recipe Video on making the Ondeh Ondeh Logcake Choo Choo Train using LG's Neochef. The Youtube video below is an extended and more detailed version of the short video I posted on Instagram and FB. It was quite a lot of work to make the video =p. Hope that you will find it very useful! 

Full recipe below:

Ondeh Ondeh Logcake Choo Choo Train by Susanne Ng
Pandan Chiffon Rollcake (10-inch by 10-inch) 
3 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
41g vegetable oil
39g water
¾ tsp pandan paste
¾ tsp vanilla extract
60g cake flour, sifted

4 egg whites
45g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2. Egg yolk batter: beat egg yolks with castor sugar before stirring in oil, water, pandan paste and vanilla extract.

3. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in caster sugar gradually.

4. Gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in 3 additions.

5. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking pan. Give the pan a few taps to remove bubbles. Bake at 170°C for 22-24 min, or until skewer comes out clean.

6. Pour the leftover batter into 2 mini and 2 medium cupcake liners. Bake these at 170°C for 20-22 min.

7. Prepare the whipped cream and filling while the cakes are cooling.

Whipped Cream (for 2 5-inch logcakes)
120g heavy cream
80g whip topping
10g icing sugar

Combine the heavy cream, whip topping and icing sugar and whip with an electric mixer till stiff peaks (less than a minute). Place in the refrigerator until you need to use the cream.

8. Prepare the Gula Melaka-Dessicated Coconut filling. 

This is great! But you can also melt your own using Gula Melaka!

Gula Melaka-Dessicated Coconut filling (for 2 5-inch logcakes)
104g Gula Melaka syrup
10g boiled water
Pinch of salt
120g dessicated coconut

In a bowl, gently mix the dessicated coconut with Gula Melaka syrup, water and pinch of salt till well-mixed.

9. After the sheet cake is cool, unroll the cake and remove the baking paper on top. Spread on the whipped cream, followed by the gula melaka coconut filling, leaving around 1.5 cm from the sides. Roll the cake up with the filling.

10. Allow to the roll cake to chill (freezer around 10 min) for the cream to set. Slice the roll cake into two to make 2 Choo choo trains!

Yummy and soft rolls!

11. Decorate and assemble the logcake trains.

80g-100g dessicated coconut
Christmas logcake décor

(a) Lightly coat the roll cake with leftover whipped cream. Roll the cake over dessicated coconut (or steamed grated coconut).

(b) Unmould the cupcakes by peeling off the cupcake liners. Similarly, lightly coat the cakes with whipped cream (except the base) and roll them in dessicated coconut. Use more cream to adhere the base of the cupcakes onto the base log to form the train chimney and driver seat.

(c) Add wheels using Oreo cookies and some cream. Alternatively, you can use chocolate sheet cakes! In my first version, I used sheet cakes actually.

(d) Insert and add in other Christmas logcake décor.

Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance!

With lots of love,

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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Christmas Tree Matcha Choux Pastry

Christmas is just around the corner. Instead of baking the usual Christmas bakes, why not try this one :) Here's a sweet and simple Christmas tree made up of a stack of Choux au Craquelin (fancy name for cream puffs covered with cookie dough)

Even the star is made entirely out of choux pastry!

You may refer to this post for the recipe as it will work just as well although I used another one. I am not free the share the exact details on the blog as this design will appear in my Deco Choux pastries book in our Creative Baking series. Do note that baking time will be different for different sizes of pastry cases. Here's a tip, pipe and bake different sizes of pastry cases on different baking trays so that you don't end up with overbaked or underbaked cases.

I hope that in the midst of Christmas season busyness, you find some peace :)

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 10 December 2018

Cute Piggy Yuzu Cream Puff Class

Want to welcome the Year of the Pig with a cute and yummy bake? Join me for this cute piggy choux pastry class in January 2019!

I make it a point to use Choux pastry to make the added features as far as possible, instead of fondant or chocolate. Choux pastries are not as technically challenging as macarons or chiffon cakes so if you want to make a cute and yummy but easy bake, this class is for you!

I chose yuzu flavour as the filling to let its citrusy goodness compliment the smooth and rich pastry cream.

Please click on this link for more details and to register for this class.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 9 December 2018

Flying Noodles Chiffon Cake

I has always had been my dream to make the Flying Noodle Cake! After a series of food-themed chiffon cakes (Kueh to Sushi to Nasi lemak), I finally had the courage to try out a Flying Chopsticks Noodle chiffon cake! Thanks to my friend for having the faith in me!

This is my anyhow-hantum chiffon cake version! Really thank God for providing <3. It is definitely easier to make noodles from cream or fondant. The noodles were cut from chiffon sheet cakes, which risk breaking, so the bendability has to be just right. For this, I used my Cottony Cake recipe which is closer to ogura cake that can do “yoga”.

I also used the same cottony cake recipe to make the spring onions and corn roll cakes. Basically I make a thin swissroll from the cake (like spring onions), then slice into small pieces. The hole wasn’t so obvious, so I further used a yakult straw to widen the hole in the centre for the spring onions. The other ingredients like fishcake and ham, involved piping and baking chiffon batter as thin sheets in cupcake liners, similar to my Lollipop chiffon cake pops in Deco Chiffon Cakes (below). Lastly the bowl itself consisted of a bowl chiffon cake baked in a ball cake pan, using charcoal powder. The sushi slices were also cut from bamboo charcoal chiffon cake.

Thankful cake was very well-received!

With lots of love,

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Thursday, 6 December 2018

'Bees on a Beehive' Choux Pastry

I am taking this week to work really hard on my Deco Choux Pastry book, writing, test baking and re-writing where necessary. I am really excited about the creations because they are so whimsical and cute! Even those with simple design like heart shape. So those of you who are following me because of my macaron creations, I hope you don't mind that I will be filling my blog posts and social media platforms with more choux pastry creations because I feel they are so very under-represented in baking circles with limited designs.

I am sharing one that really made me smile 😊

Little bees on a beehive. All made from Choux au Craquelin!

Look at what you can do with traditional Paris Brest when you use your imagination! I had lots of fun with this entry. The bees have different styles of faces because I was trying out various designs to see which one works best so what you see here won't be exactly what is going into the book.

Lil' bees! Pardon the blur image because I was taking photos in a rush.

I am not free to share the recipe in the book but you may refer to some of my older posts that uses cookie dough on top of the pastry case like this post and this post. Just omit the matcha powder and add food colouring for the Craquelin part if you want to make the bees. I can't reveal in detail how to create the bee pattern too but I am sure you can figure it out easily!

Stay tuned for more cuteness! I will still have awesome macaron projects coming up in January and February so you won't miss much!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 3 December 2018

'Bears with a message' Lavender Earl Grey Macarons

This is the last major macaron project for the year as I finally got into full swing of writing Deco Choux Pastries and I still have a couple of family bakes and baking classes before the year ends. My friend requested for some farewell macaron gifts for her colleagues as she is leaving the company she has been working at. But I also took the chance to sneak a few macarons for hubby's birthday 😊.

I wanted to make something sweet to the heart but not too sweet on the taste buds. Filled these with peppermint dark chocolate ganache

The bears are holding up the signboard with a different message for my friend's farewell and I filled them with a fairly firm lavender Earl Grey white chocolate ganache.

I was raving about the Swiss meringue method recipe that Audrey Goh shared in my previous macaron post and wanted to try it again. I still didn't try out keeping the egg white portion as one for these bears, but still split into one portion for the Swiss meringue and another for making a paste with almond and icing sugar mix. I promise I will try this recipe again without splitting the egg white portion in my next macaron project in January. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe for the macaron shells as it is a repeat of what I did here.

What I will share here are some pictures of the process, some tips on piping this shape. And the recipe for filling that is fragrant, tasty, not too sweet and firm enough for Singapore's warm climate to be packed as gifts to be given away.

Here's a picture of the piped shells. Look how smooth the surfaces are!

Someone asked how do I pipe such a shape without it going out of shape when we rap the tray to release trapped air bubbles. Having the right batter consistency is important. It should be smooth but not too runny. I also piped the parts in stages so that the head, ears and body don't fuse together and become one formless blob. Sorry I didn't take step by step pictures or make a video tutorial as I was rushing to finish making many shells. Here's the sequence of piping and drying that I hope you will find helpful:

1. Pipe bear head with a Wilton #7 or #8 tip. Note that the head is not round but has fuller cheeks. I pipe a horizontal line for the lower half of the face, followed by a shorter line for the forehead. Rap the tray after piping the head.

2. Use a Wilton #5 or #6 tip for the ears. Pipe little round blobs for the ears. Set the first tray aside and work on the second tray for the heads as this will give it about 10-15 min to dry and form a thin, sticky membrane. Note that this drying time varies based on humidity. I find that the recipe I used for these dry pretty fast and because I work with multiple trays, there is no idle time. I dry the shells in an air-conditioned room with about 45% relative humidity.

3. Use a Wilton #7 or #8 tip to pipe the body. Rap the tray. Be slightly more gentle rapping the tray this time as you don't want to damage the piped heads. Leave it to dry for  about 5-10 min and you can work on the third tray for the heads or the body for the second tray.

4. Use a Wilton #5 or #6 tip to pipe a rectangle or heart shape on the body. Use a toothpick to nudge the batter carefully to get the shape right but be careful not to damage the piped batter for the body. Leave it to dry for 15 min or until a thin membrane forms.

5. Use a Wilton #5 or #6 tip to pipe the arms and feet. Dry the shells until dry to touch and bake.

For the bottom shells, just follow the piping sequence mentioned but leave out the signboard and arms

Freshly baked shells! I made more than 40 of these.

I decorated the shells with a mixture of media. Black and white royal icing for the nose, black edible marker for the eyes and mouth, peach lustre dust for the cheeks, grey paint for the insides of the ears and yellow royal icing for the words. The grey paint was made from gel food colouring diluted in vodka. The font size for the words are really small so it was super tedious to get the words on as I used a combination of piping and painting.

All decorated!

I adapted the filling recipe from this post but omitted the cream cheese as these were meant to be gifts given away and needed to be able to withstand storage out of fridge for perhaps a day or two. I didn't want to risk food poisoning.

Recipe for Lavender Earl Grey ganache
Ingredients (fills about 30-35 5cm macarons):
Tea infusion
50g whipping cream
30g vegetable shortening
95g unsalted butter
3 tbs dried lavender flowers

Tea flavoured ganache
120g white chocolate
130g tea infusion mixture
2.5 tsp Earl grey tea powder*
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

*If not available, use teabags or loose leaves instead and infuse together with dried lavender flowers.

1. Make the tea infusion. Heat cream, butter and shortening until melted and bubbles just appear. Steep dried flowers for 15min. Strain. Portion out 130g.

2. Dissolve sifted tea powder and salt in tea infusion mixture. Add vanilla extract and white chocolate. Melt everything together over double boiler or in microwave oven. Be careful not to overheat.

3. Chill the mixture in fridge or freezer until slightly firm. Whip until creamy using electric mixer or by hand. I usually speed up the process by alternating between freezing for two minutes and whipping the mixture by hand until I get a buttercream consistency.

Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto shells.

Oops! I ran out of filling so I filled the centers of ten of them with dark chocolate ganache which I had on hand.

All packed and ready to go!

I hope this has been an informative post despite the lack of pictures and a video tutorial.

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 29 November 2018

Pusheen Christmas Wreath Chiffon Cake

Isn't this the cutest Christmas wreath ever? =))

I have been making Christmas wreath chiffon cakes every year! The Pandan bundt wreath is now in Deco Chiffon Cakes (my 2nd book). Last year I made a Rainbow bundt Christmas wreath. This year, it's a Pusheen Christmas wreath! This creation is inspired by Pusheen's Christmas wreath plush =). Love at first sight for me!

Really sorry for the break in posting too, been SUPER busy with my 3 kids now that it is school holidays. I don't have time to bake or write =p. Those with young kids will understand! I only have odd hours like this to write (its almost 11pm now!). Oh well, there are great joys in spending time with them too =). I never regretted becoming a stay-home-mum. <3  I hope all of you are having a great time with your kids too! 

I have written up the recipe below. If you need picture references for the Pandan donut wreath, you can refer to the Pandan bundt wreath cake in Deco Chiffon Cakes. The concept is rather similar =). Also you can refer to the Video tutorial for Pusheen Chiffon Cake Pops here to visualize how I assembled the Pusheen.

Here goes!

Pandan Donut Wreath
2 egg yolks
13g castor sugar
27g coconut oil
26g pandan juice
¼ tsp pandan paste
¼ tsp vanilla extract
40g cake flour, sifted
Pinch of salt 

3 egg whites
30g castor sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 140°.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter:

a. Whisk egg yolk with sugar using hand whisk.

b. Add in oil, pandan juice, pandan paste and vanilla extract and mix well at each step.

c. Whisk in sifted cake flour and salt and mix till no lumps are found.

3. Prepare meringue:

a. In a grease-free, dry metal bowl, using electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy.

b. Add in castor sugar for meringue gradually and whisk at high speed till firm peaks form.

4. Portion out ¼ of meringue for pink batter. Gently fold in meringue into respective egg yolk batter 1/3 at a time.

5. Fill the silicone donut mold till 80% full.

6. Bake at 140°C for 40-45 min, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

7. Allow the cake to cool completely on wire rack before unmolding by hand.

The Pusheen chiffon pop is baked in a Jumbo XXL egg shell. *You can refer to video tutorial for Pegasus Pusheen Egg Chiffon Cake pops. This is similar in idea.

The colourful balls are from silicone cake pop-molds. The hat is from baking pink batter in a paper cone. 

Pusheen and Cute Balls
2 egg yolks
13g castor sugar
27g coconut oil
30g fresh milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
40g cake flour, sifted
2 pinches of charcoal powder (add to colour)
Food colouring: pink, blue and yellow
Pinch of salt

3 egg whites
30g castor sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 140°. Prepare egg shell of a Jumbo Egg (XXL) for baking by making a hole at the long side, draining the insides and peeling off the membrane (see another Video tutorial).

2. Prepare egg yolk batter:

a. Whisk egg yolk with sugar using hand whisk.

b. Add in oil, milk and vanilla extract and mix well at each step.

c. Whisk in sifted cake flour and salt and mix till no lumps are found.

3. Spoon out 2 tsp into 2 bowls and add respective blue and yellow colouring for the ball cake pops (just a dip will do). Divide the rest of the batter into two. To one portion, add pink food coloring. To the other portion, add 2 pinches of charcoal powder (to get grey shade).

4. Prepare meringue:

a. In a grease-free, dry metal bowl, using electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy.

b. Add in castor sugar for meringue gradually and whisk at high speed till firm peaks form.

5. Portion out 4 tbsp meringue for each of the blue and yellow batter, 14 tbsp batter for the pink and grey batter respectively. Gently fold in meringue into respective egg yolk batter at a time.

6. Fill the Jumbo egg till 60% full and bake for 35 min, or until skewer comes out clean. Bake the pink, blue and yellow in 2 cavities of 3-cm silicone donut mold for 18 min. Bake the leftover pink batter in a paper cone till 1-cm thick (for 15 min), 2 cavities of 5-cm silicone cake pop mold (for cutting out ribbon) (20 min), and lastly as sheet cake in a cupcake liner (for 18 min).

*individual oven conditions may vary so do please check with skewer inserted into centre of cakes to see if it comes out totally dry.

7. Allow the cakes to cool completely on wire rack before unmolding by hand.

8. Unmould the Jumbo egg cake pop by cracking the egg shell into small pieces using the back of a teaspoon.

9. Assemble the Pusheen using melted marshmallow similar to Pegasus Pusheen Chiffon Cake pops.

10. Assemble the colourful cake pops onto the wreath cake using marshmallow cream. Cut the 5-cm cake pops into a shell shape, and cut out ribbons from the sheet cake and stick on likewise.

Hope you like this cute creation! Do you like pink or white?? =)

With lots of love,

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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Pastel Animal Train Macarons (new awesome Swiss method recipe)

I often get requests for unicorn macaron carousels. The next popular design and theme would have to be animal train macarons. I have made these quite a few times and didn't post some of them on the blog because it's more or less a repeat. But this is the first time I am making it in girly pastels and using a new Swiss method recipe that many have been trying in the macaron Facebook group that I am in. It produces smooth and shiny surfaces and supposedly dries quite fast after piping the batter. I got really curious and decided to try. Many thanks to Audrey Goh for sharing her experience and recipe, and a few other ladies for sharing their experience with using this recipe 😘. I have learnt much and am enjoying the learning journey that never ends!

Although I have made macarons using Swiss method quite a few times last year, I have never seen a recipe that recommends splitting the egg white portion for Swiss method. This is the usual practice for Italian meringue method that I usually use for large batches. I love having the egg whites split into two batches because there will be an almond paste (otherwise known as mass in the Italian method) which I can add colouring to Before the meringue is added in. This allows for colour adjustment to be made before meringue is added in, reducing the risk of overfolding should you need to adjust the shade of the colour along the way. I was really excited to try out this new method! Presenting my girly version of animal train macarons!

Sweet pastel animal train macarons filled with peppermint dark chocolate ganache! Pardon the poor photography as lighting nowadays is really poor. It's been raining everyday!

I made the mini animal heads using my recent modified French method recipe as I needed only a small amount of batter that needs to be split into many colours. You may refer to this post for the recipe. Just to share photos of the process...

Piping the macaron batter

Baked shells. See how tiny they are!

I can easily fit many of them on my hand! The facial features are added on using edible marker.

The original recipe that Audrey shared had the egg white portion in ml. I converted into grams for your convenience. If you need to scale up the recipe, I suggest that you use the conversion ratio of 1ml egg white = 1.03g egg white. Aged egg whites are recommended although not absolutely necessary. I made the animal train locomotive and carriages concurrently with a unicorn carousel frame. Here's a picture of the carousel I made. Lighting that day was much better so I could take a better photo than the train macarons. See how smooth the surfaces are!

Recipe for Swiss method macaron shells
Ingredients (makes about 30 macarons):
Almond paste
85g almond flour
85g icing sugar (choose one with cornstarch added)
30ml (31g) egg whites

Swiss meringue
85g caster sugar
45ml (46g) egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (not in original recipe. You may add for better meringue stability.)

1. Prepare baking tray with template and parent paper. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. The train template can be found in my Creative Baking: Macarons book.

2. Make almond paste. Sift together almond and icing sugar. Add egg whites and mix well to form a thick paste. You may split this into various batches for colouring. Use gel food colouring.

3. Prepare Swiss meringue*. Place egg whites, cream of tartar (if using) and caster sugar into a heatproof bowl. Briefly whisk all ingredients together. Place the bowl over a simmering (not boiling) pot of water. Make sure the water does not touch base of bowl. Whisk the egg whites and sugar until temperature reaches 45-50℃. All the sugar should dissolve and mixture should look white, opaque and smooth. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Make sure the temperature doesn't rise too fast or the sugar may not have time to dissolve completely. Once temperature is reached, immediately remove from heat and use an electric mixer to beat until firm peaks form. This takes about several minutes. Use medium speed to beat.

Smooth, glossy Swiss meringue with firm peaks.

* Hannah, from the same macaron group, finds that keeping the egg whites as a single batch (75ml) and using all of it to make the Swiss meringue eliminates the problem of lopsided shells that she experienced when she uses this split egg white method. If you experience lopsided shells, you can try this method to see if it helps. Basically you make the macaron shells like regular French method where dry ingredients are added into the meringue during macaronage, instead of a thick almond paste.

4. If you have split your almond paste into more than one batch for various colours, portion the meringue accordongly. Use the ratio of weight of meringue = 0.58 x weight of almond paste for each colour. Stick the corners of the parchment paper down with some meringue or macaron batter.

5. Fold meringue into almond paste in three additions. Make sure that the mixture is homogeneous before adding more meringue. Use the fold and press motion to incorporate the meringue. You may refer to this post for a video tutorial on how to fold the batter. Fold until batter is able to flow into continuous ribbon from the spatula. Transfer batter into piping bag and pipe the shells.

Piped batter

6. Rap the tray hard several times to release trapped air bubbles. Pop any stubborn air bubbles with toothpick. There shouldn't be many with this method. Dry the piped shells in air-con room or under a fan until a thin membrane forms. This shouldn't take too long but it depends on humidity. It took about half an hour to an hour for me in air-conditioned room.

7. Bake in preheated oven at 140℃ for 10 minutes followed by 110℃ for another 15-20 minutes until feet doesn't appear wet. Cool completely before removing parchment paper away from the shells. Note that baking time and temperature varies from oven to oven so use what is suitable for you.

See how full and fluffy the insides are!

I filled the shells with peppermint dark chocolate ganache. I used my regular dark chocolate ganache recipe but added 1 tsp of peppermint extract.

Filling the shells

I am documenting this recipe for reference as many people may want to refer to it from the macaron group too. Do give this a try. I love the smoothness of the batter and the ease with which it pipes. It is naturally more stable than French method as the egg whites are partially cooked but less scary than Italian method as you don't have to deal with boiling syrup. I will most likely give it a try again but without splitting the egg whites to see if it makes any difference for me but probably not so soon as I am still in the midst of writing my next recipe book on Deco Choux Pastries.

For those of you who are interested, the train tracks and grass patch are made from royal icing piped onto a cakeboard. The number "3" is a brown sugar cookie covered in royal icing and rainbow sprinkles.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday, 23 November 2018

Optimus Prime and Bumblebee Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Macarons

Some macaron characters are easy subjects, such as Hello Kitty and the Tsum Tsum version of Winnie the Pooh. This is an example of what are NOT easy subjects. Presenting two of the Transformers cast -- Optimus Prime and Bumblebee!

My friend requested for these as farewell gifts that mark the end of a school year. I thought it would be pretty all right to make just the heads of the characters. But it was when I started making them that I realised how super tedious the whole process is! As a general rule, the more the shape of a subject deviates from the circle shape, the more tedious it would be to pipe.

I used the Italian method to make these macarons.You may use your favourite macaron recipe or any recipe in our blog. You may refer to my macaron books Creative Baking: Macarons and Creative Baking: Macaron Basics for a more systematic review of the basics and piping techniques, as well as the macaron shell recipe I used here.

Just to share some pictures of the process...

Piping Optimus Prime

Piping Bumblebee

Freshly baked shells

Adding on the details post-baking was even more tedious than piping the batter. I needed two days to work on decorating 30 macarons. Either that or I am getting old and need to take more eye breaks 😆.

Other than techniques of baking macaron shells, I get queries about how I manage to draw by freehand all the minute details on the macaron shells. I would say having learnt the Chinese language from young is an advantage. We learn how to write by learning the brush strokes (笔画) of each word. Usually by the 5th or 6th piece, I have the "brush strokes" of each character figured out. I can proceed at a quicker pace as I memorised the "brush strokes" to draw. It becomes a calligraphy exercise after a while!

I decorate these Transformer pieces first by using a fairly fine black edible marker to draw the outline or "brush strokes" of the character. Next, I fill in the highlights or coloured portions by painting using a very fine soft brush with edible paint. I make the paint by dissolving gel food colouring in a little vodka.

You can see the process of decorating from this tray of Optimus Prime 

All done! It always helps to have your reference picture next to the macaron shell you are working on

Tray of Bumblebee shells

As the shells had to spend some time out in the open for decoration, I oven dried each tray worth of decorated shells at 80℃ for 20 min, and ensure that there is at least three days of maturation allowed post-assembly with filling as the shells will become drier with this additional drying step.

My friend requested for macarons filled with dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel some time back. She really loved the taste so she requested for it again this time round.

Filling the shells with an outer ring of dark chocolate ganache and generous dollop of salted caramel in the middle.

I packed each pair into little gift bags.

Thank God that these were really well received in terms of looks and taste!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 19 November 2018

Powerpuff Girls 20th Anniversary Chiffon Cake

Super honoured and thankful to be commissioned by Cartoon Network to make a Powerpuff Girls Cake for their 20th Anniversary!! Love those girls who save the world! Really thank God the cake was well-received by Cartoon Network! You can see their Instagram and FB posts here.

You can imagine how surprised I was and very thankful. The chiffon cake was lots of hard work though, taking over a week to design and make, including 1 remake. Really really thank God it worked out! Hope you like this labour of love too! <3

I have shared recipe for Tri-colour Rainbow Chiffon Cake before here. This is a big 10-inch chiffon cake, so the recipe is multiplied by 3. Baking conditions for 10-inch: 15 min at 160°C, 10 min at 150°C and then at 140°C for 1 hr.

The Powerpuff girls were the difficult part of the creation because of all the details. Briefly, the face was made by piping chiffon cake batter in glass bowls, so the features were baked into them (protocol follow Hello kitty chiffon cupcakes). The body was made from baking a mini striped chiffon cake in a cupcake liner. Other details are cut from sheet cakes (eg the hair) and shaped and also cut from cake pops. These were glued on using melted marshmallows. For step-by-step pics of these techniques, you can refer to Deco Chiffon Cake Basics cookbook (book cover below). I think in all I had like 12 bowls of different colours and shades of chiffon cake batter! 

Here is the shot right after I sliced into the cake =). Very stressful to slice always hehe.

Cut slices!

Just to mention here, the cut slices inside the rainbow chiffon cake are not straight, this is due to the expansion effect within the tube pan and it's normal! =) I had many people ask me that they cannot get straight lines inside the rainbow chiffon cake. Actually It's perfectly normal! =)

Hope you like this labour of love too!

With lots of love,

Book covers:

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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Yuzu and Coconut Gula Melaka Chiffon Bunnies

My friend requested for several chiffon cake bunnies for her boss' birthday. She sent photos of his adorable pet bunnies for my reference so that I can come up with a chiffon version. Here it is! I unintentionally produced the bunny version of We Bare Bears 😆!

I made a total of 10 bunnies but only six are on display here. The brown ones are coconut Gula melaka flavoured. The white and panda patterned ones are yuzu flavoured.

Although I contemplated baking the bunny bodies in eggshells, I decided to use silicone moulds instead because I prefer the cakes to be a little larger. I bought the Silikomart half oval mould. You may use eggshells to bake these if you don't want to buy the mould. Make a hole at the side and not the pointy end of the egg if you are using eggshells for these. Make sure you wash the egg shell thoroughly after removing the membrane inside the eggshell and dry it before use.

I used the recipe from here for the yuzu flavoured cakes. I will type out the recipe I used for the coconut Gula Melaka bunnies here as I didn't use cooked dough method like I did for my past few coconut Gula Melaka cakes and increased the amount of coconut palm sugar used for a stronger Gula Melaka flavour. I used the powdered form of Gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) for making chiffon cakes but you may also finely chop from a block if you are unable to find the powdered or granulated version.

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 large cupcakes and one 7x7" sheet cake):
Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
10g Gula melaka
35g coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
50g coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
57g cake flour

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
20g caster sugar
40g Gula Melaka

1. Line baking tray for baking sheet cake with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 160℃. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional) to create steam. Set oven rack to second lowest position.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks with Gula melaka until thick and pale. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut milk, vanilla and salt until well combined. Gradually sift in cake flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3.  Make the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, bear egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form or stiff peaks just reached, gradually adding in the sugars knce the egg whites are foamy. You may mix the caster sugar and Gula melaka together before adding to egg whites.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three batches until no trace of meringue is seen. Spoon the batter into the moulds/cupcake cases. Gently tap on table to release trapped air.

5. Bake for 5 minutes and reduce temperature to 140℃ and bake for another 7-8 min for the sheet cake but another 15min for the cupcakes/mini cakes. Immediately flip the sheet cake onto another parchment paper and cool it in a rolled up position like Swiss roll. Continue baking the cupcakes at 125℃ for another 10-20 minutes or until cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Do note that baking time will depend on size of cake and individual ovens.

6. Cool completely in the moulds before unmoulding by hand.

I have a unique way of shaping the cakes that doesn't involve careful and tedious carving with a small knife.

After unmoulding the cakes by hand, I wrap each cake up with cling wrap. I used scotch tape to tape around where the head is supposed to end (I wouldn't call that the neck here because it doesn't look like one hehe). Imagine giving the bunny a collar. That's where the tape should go. I used a round cookie cutter of an appropriate size to create an indent on each side of the bunny to create an impression of bunched up hind legs. Simply press the cookie cutter to the side of the cake for a minute or so while cupping the cake in your hand. Remove the scotch tape around the head after several minutes. Repeat making the indent on the sides of the bunny if you find that the cake bounces back too much for it to be visible.

Ta-dah! Bunny bodies made without complicated carving!

The ears, tail and facial features were made from sheet cakes. The ears are rolled up like Swiss roll. It helps to bake very thin layers of cakes for the ears and facial features. Although I used melted marshmellows to stick on the parts, I reinforced the ears with toothpicks. You may use sticks of pasta or omit the toothpicks.

Using melted marshmellows to glue on the eyes.

Here's a bunny looking somewhat lost and wanting to find the rest of his friends...

Only to be reunited to be "killed" and watch his friends get massacred too 😆. Glad that my friend and her colleagues enjoyed eating the bunnies!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Mr Men & Little Miss Macarons (new salted caramel cream cheese ermine buttercream recipe!)

My younger kid loves reading Mr Men and Little Miss books when we park ourselves at Kinokuniya although he reads longer novels at home. These whimsical characters have a sort of charm that he can't resist! That is why I made characters of his choice for his birthday to share with his classmates.

Mr Strong, Mr Happy, Little Miss Shy and Little Miss Naughty!

I made these during a really busy period when it was more convenient to break a long complex bake into a few shorter, more manageable bakes. These characters were baked over three separate days, decorated one day, and filled and packed on another day. That was why I used my stabilized French method recipe for the characters.

You may refer to either of my macaron books for piping and baking tips -- Creative Baking: Macarons and Creative Baking: Macaron Basics.

Baked shells without decoration

I must admit that piping the hands with those little fingers was a challenge.

Here's the side view!

I decorated the macaron shells with black edible marker and a little pink royal icing for Little Miss Shy's rosy cheeks.

What I really want to share in this post is another ermine buttercream recipe that is stable at Singapore's tropical climate and it's not too sweet. The kids love it! That's the feedback I got from my kid. I decided on salted caramel as the flavour as it's more exciting than vanilla but not as heaty as dark chocolate (some kids can't take chocolate well) and not all kids like fruity flavours like strawberry. I used ermine buttercream as the filling base for my Children's Day bake this year, which was also very well received by both my kids' classes. What I did differently this time is to use cream cheese as well to add that extra tangy dimension to the filling. Cream cheese is also rather firm so it's a good base to use.

For your convenience I will post the salted caramel recipe here as well.

Recipe for salted caramel
100g caster sugar
2tbs water
60g whipping cream
15g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp sea salt (use coarse or fine according to preference)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1. Place sugar and water in a light coloured heavy base saucepan. Light coloured because it is easier to see the colour of the caramel. Heat over medium heat without stirring. Swirl the saucepan to help the sugar dissolve.

2. In the meantime, heat cream in another small saucepan until it just starts to bubble.

3. Monitor the sugar syrup as it boils, swirling the pan now and then to distribute the heat evenly. Once the colour of the syrup changes to light amber colour, keep a close watch. You want the caramel to have a deep flavour without being burnt. Once the colour is a deep amber colour, remove from heat and pour a little warm cream in and then stir quickly with a long wooden spoon. The mixture will bubble violently so be careful. Continue gradually pouring the cream and stirring the mixture until the bubbling stops.

4. Add butter and mix well. Add salt and vanilla until well combined. Transfer to a container or bowl and let it cool before using or storing. Salted caramel cam be kept frozen for several months or in the fridge for a month.

I forgot to take a proper photo of the salted caramel. This was what was left after adding some to the ermine buttercream. It's salty, sweet and a smoky, slightly bitter but not burnt flavour

Salted caramel cream cheese ermine buttercream
60g whipping cream
60g milk
20g plain flour
80g salted caramel*
60g unsalted butter, cool but slightly softened
60g cream cheese, room temperature
20g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

*you may adjust amount according to taste

1. Make the roux. Whisk together milk, cream and plain flour. Sieve the mixture into a saucepan. Cook over low heat while whisking constantly. Once the mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk vigorously. Return to heat and continue whisking. Most recipes just recommend cooking till it thickens. I cook the mixture until it is firm enough to hold a peak like this:

I switch to using a spatula to cook the roux once it gets really thick, removing the saucepan from heat now and then so that I can cook the roux more evenly, making sure I scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. Transfer the roux into a bowl and press cling wrap on the surface. Chill in fridge for at least half an hour. You may prepare this the day before.

2. Beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Add icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy. This should take a couple of minutes. Add salted caramel (bring to room temperature if you have stored in fridge or freezer) one tablespoon at a time and beat until well combined after each addition. Continue beating for a couple of minutes

3. Add the roux one tablespoon at a time, beating well with electric mixer after each addition until well combined.

Please excuse the messy roux with caramel smudge as I used a caramel stained knife to scrape it off the spoon 

4. Add vanilla if you wish. Continue beating for a couple more minutes until smooth.

Salted caramel cream cheese ermine buttercream!

To assemble the macarons, fill one piping bag with the ermine buttercream and another bag with salted caramel. Piping a ring of buttercream on the bottom shell and pipe a dollop of salted caramel in the middle.

Filling them up!

Glad that it was really well received!

Here's a peek at the insides. Pardon the lack of oozing salted caramel. I was close to running out of caramel towards the end and didn't want to make another batch just to fill a few more extra macarons that my kids had. Nonetheless, it's still yummy!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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