Friday 27 January 2017

Ombre Dahlia Pandan Kaya Gula Melaka Cupcakes

My friend tasted my Pandan kaya gula melaka cake I made for her last year and loved it so much she wanted more for her birthday this year! I decided to make something in sweet ombre theme for the flower cupcakes she requested this time. Presenting my version of ombre dahlias!

The detailed recipe and assembly steps of the Pandan kaya gula melaka cupcake can be found here so I will not repeat it in this post. What I will focus on is the change in recipe I did for the sheet cakes for the flowers. Very often people ask how do you get certain colours right because of the yellowish nature of the egg yolk batter. By reducing to one yolk, it helps especially for colours such as blue, purple and pink which will turn out green, grey and orangey respectively due to the yellowish undertone. But I thought of using whole egg this time to increase the moisture content (increasing water and oil doesn't have the same effect). The texture is indeed smoother and softer! Note that the sugar content is quite low in the recipe. This is to compensate for the sugar syrup which will be brushed on during assembly to keep the cake moist with storage.

 I have briefly mentioned how to assemble the dahlias in this post but will update with some step by step photos.

Recipe for Pandan chiffon sheet cakes
Ingredients (makes two 10x12" trays):
Egg yolk batter
1 egg (60-65g with shell on)
10g caster sugar
60g canola/coconut/vegetable oil
70g Pandan water (boil 2-3 cut up leaves in about 400ml water. Cool to room temperature)
1/4 tsp Pandan flavouring (transparent type)
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
80g cake flour
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
Pink, purple and white gel food colouring

5 egg whites
65g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Note: this portion of batter is enough for about 9-10 dahlias.

1. Weigh your bowl for egg yolk batter to help you divide it more easily later on. Line the baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170°C and set oven rack to second lowest position (note that we usually use 160°C as starting temperature. I realise that I get better quality sheet cakes if I start with a higher temperature for the first few minutes then lower it to 150°C for the later few minutes of baking time. Your oven may be different from mine so adjust the temperature accordingly).

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Beat egg and sugar until pale and thick. I used a hand whisk to whisk for about 5 minutes. You may use an electric mixer to do the job. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add water and flavourings and mix well. Gradually add in sifted flour and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Portion the batter into the number of ombre colours that you would like. If your oven is not big enough to accomodate the two baking trays, you may wish to divide the meringue ingredients into two. Colour the batter accordingly.

Ombre pink and purple!

4. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until firm peaks form or just reach the stiff peak stage, gradually adding sugar once soft peaks form. I find that it helps to use medium speed instead of high speed to beat the egg whites so that you can monitor the stage of meringue more carefully without over beating.

5. Fold the meringue into the various egg yolk batters quickly but gently in two batches. Pour the batter onto the baking trays such that a thin layer of batter is in the tray, about 1cm or less. Tap the tray on the table to release air bubbles.

6. Bake for 3 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 150°C and bake for another 6-7 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Immediately flip the cakes onto another baking sheet and gently peel the baking sheet off the cake. Cool the cakes before using as deco or clingwrap (double layer) and store in freezer.

Freshly baked!

I used 4 different flower cutters to cut out the cakes.

Here are the ombre cutouts!

Use a circle cutter to cut out the center portion of the biggest cutout. Use melted marshmellows as glue to stick the layers on. Gently press the middle of the subsequent layers into the depression at the middle. You may need to use a chopstick for the smallest cutout. Stick some white dragees in the middle and brush with syrup to keep the petals moist.

All ready for the birthday girl!

With love,
Phay Shing

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