Thursday, 15 March 2018

Koala Black Sesame Custard Cream Puffs

And the journey for Creative Choux pastries continues! I actually have a backlog of Choux pastry posts that I can't wait to share but will release slowly over time. Checkout my Instagram account if you would like a sneak peek of what other creative choux pastry designs I have come up with. For now, let me share this koala black sesame custard cream puffs!

Black sesame Choux pastry case with black sesame white chocolate on top and smooth black sesame custard in the middle!

I love the close up view of the cross section!

I was still trying out different recipes for Choux cases until I found this one. I think I am going to stick with it! It is the puffiest and nicest in texture so far. Please refer to this excellent blog post on making Choux pastry (eclairs) and the various tips for techniques. I didn't follow the ingredients exactly but followed the technique pretty much closely.

Many thanks to Susanne for gifting me with a packet of black sesame powder that I could use!

Recipe for black sesame pastry cream
400g milk
70g sugar
36g cornflour
30g black sesame powder (use more, up to 20g more if you prefer stronger black sesame flavour as mine is quite mild. )
4 egg yolks
20g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ extract

1. Sift cornflour into a medium sized bowl and whisk in black sesame powder and sugar. Add in egg yolks and whisk until a paste forms. Set aside.

2. Heat milk with vanilla in a saucepan until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and slowly pour into egg mixture while whisking constantly.

3. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Heat on medium low heat while whisking constantly. Once mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and keep whisking until mixture is smooth. This is to prevent lumps from forming in the custard. Return the saucepan back to heat and keep whisking until custard has desired consistency of curd. Remove from heat and whisk as and when it is necessary and you see lumps starting to form.

4. Remove from heat. Add butter and mix well. Pour custard through a sieve into a bowl. Press a cling wrap over the surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to fill the Choux cases. You may make this up to a few days ahead of time.

I made matcha custard as well!

Recipe for black sesame Choux pastry case
Ingredients (makes about 14 koalas):
75g water
75g milk
75g butter
5g sugar
5g salt
90g bread flour
10g plain flour
10g black sesame powder (omit for plain choux cases)
150g eggs (approximately 3, lightly beaten)

Note: you may replace all plain flour with bread flour, or some bread flour with plain flour. Plain flour gives the pastry a more tender bite whereas bread flour helps to give more strength to the structure and makes it more crispy

1. Sift together plain and bread flour into a bowl. Preheat oven to 180℃ and set oven rack to middle position

2. Place water, milk, sugar, salt and butter into a saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and pour the flour in all at once. Mix well to make sure all the flour absorb the liquid.

3. Return the dough to cook over medium low heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to knead the dough with a spatula in a bowl to let it cool for a couple of minutes. This also helps gluten to form.

4. Gradually add beaten egg and mix well after each addition. The batter is ready when it appears shiny and yet leaves a trough that doesn't collapse when you run a finger across the batter surface.

5. Transfer into piping bag fitted with a Wilton #12 (or larger) tip. Pipe a circle for the head, and then two dollops at each side of the circle for the ears. Tap down any peaks with a wet finger to prevent it from burning in the oven.

I was working on another Matcha Choux at the same time so stay tuned!

6. Bake at 180℃ for 20 min. Reduce temperature to 160℃ and bake for another 20 min. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 min in the oven. You may sprinkle a little water around the piped batter before baking to help the pastry to rise more in the oven. Pierce the side with toothpick to release any steam. Cool completely on cooling rack. Note that baking temperature and time is dependent on individual ovens. Extend baking time if need be to thoroughly dry out the cases.

Freshly baked Choux case

Recipe for black sesame white chocolate
160g white compound chocolate chips
10g vegetable shortening
10g black sesame powder
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place chocolate and shortening in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 20sec on medium power. Stir with spatula. Repeat until melted.

2. Add black sesame and salt and mix well.

3. Transfer to piping bag and pipe on the Choux cases. Decorate as you wish with melted dark chocolate for the eyes and nose, and pink coloured white chocolate for rosy cheeks.

To fill the Choux cases, make a hole at the side or bottom such that a piping tip can fit into the hole. Fill piping bag fitted with piping tip with pastry cream. Fill the cases. Be careful not to overfill or the cream may burst out of the case, but fill enough so that it's yummy. Best to fill the cases just before consumption. Store any filled pastry into the fridge and finish eating the next day.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 12 March 2018

Sun, Earth and Moon 3D Macaron Models

Have you ever done school projects whereby you had to make the solar system model or Sun, moon and Earth model? I was given such a project but using macarons to do so 😂

Sun, Earth and Moon models filled with vanilla white chocolate rice crispies!

This is not just a static display but all three can rotate on the stand!

Pardon the poor lighting as it was raining. It would help to have sturdier 10cm cakeboards too 😅

I have done a number of bakes involving the use of cake pop moulds to make hemispherical shells. But this is the first time I am making a full sphere by joining two hemispheres together.

I used the regular recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too. You may wonder which part of the model requires piping of complex shapes on flat surfaces. Let me reveal a little secret on the hidden mechanics of the frame. You need to pipe donut shaped macarons for the frame/stand of the models. I have made a few macaron structures with moving parts so I am able to reveal a bit more.

Showing off the feet and interior of donut shaped macaron shells. No hollows and beautiful, even feet all around!

One thing I learned about this bake is that not all silicone cake pop moulds are made the same. The blue cake pop moulds I have below are not as good for the purpose of baking macaron shells as they remain stuck for a long time and require much longer time in the oven for drying out. The dark red moulds however were very easy to use. Spacing between the rounds was wider and the macaron shells just detached themselves from the silicone mould while cooling down out of the oven.

Piping hemispherical shells.

Remember to thoroughly bake through the shells before removing them from the mould or you will risk breaking the shells while unmoulding.

Freshly baked shells, decorated with edible paint.

I made the edible paint by dissolving gel food colouring in vodka, use crushed paper towel to soak up some paint and dab on the surface of the shells.

The Earth was a lot trickier. I had to assemble the whole thing before adding on the continents using royal icing. Icing on a spherical surface is tricky but thank God I managed it. Freehand too without using marker to trace out the continents!

I borrowed my kids' inflatable globe as my reference

Recipe for rice crispies white chocolate filling

Some consideration has to be made about the filling as it will be really heavy to fill the whole sphere with regular ganache or buttercream. I opted for a rice crispies base with chocolate as the binder. I would personally use dark chocolate as it is less sweet but the requester wanted vanilla white chocolate. Feel free to increase the ratio of chocolate to rice crispies cereal as you see fit. I used fairly little white chocolate to prevent the whole thing from becoming too sweet, so the rice crispies are not bound too tightly.

60g rice crispies cereal
60g compound white chocolate chips
30g vegetable shortening/ unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla bean paste
1/8 tsp salt
10g golden syrup or honey

1. Combine white chocolate, golden syrup, shortening and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Melt in 20 sec bursts at medium power. Stir with spatula. Repeat until completely melted.

2. Add vanilla bean paste and mix well.

3. Pour rice crispies into chocolate mixture and mix until well coated.

Fill the shells by carefully spooning mixture into each hemisphere. Quickly put two hemispheres together and gently press them together. Leave the chocolate to set at cool room temperature.

I hope this post inspires you to see that there's endless possibilities when it comes to making macaron structures :)

With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 11 March 2018

George and Dinosaur (Peppa pig) Chiffon Cake

Peppa pig was one of my earlier experiments with cartoon chiffon cakes 4 years back for my sister-in-law. I made a few different versions later, both small and big, 2D and 3D, for close friends and family. I haven't made it for a long time so it is nice to revisit it though I am a bit rusty. I had to rebake the cake one time =p... see I also have failed bakes! This is my first attempt at a front facing Peppa pig version; the rest were side facing.

I made it for my dear church friend's godson who loves Peppa pig, George and the dinosaur. Thank God it was well-received though not an easy bake for me! School holiday is coming so less time to blog for me.. It's going to be a busy week!

Wish everyone a wonderful, fruitful week ahead! <3

With lots of love,

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Friday, 9 March 2018

Pandan Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake 'Ondeh Ondeh'

I have been dreaming about oozing chiffon cake "ondeh ondeh" for some time, ever since my previous Nyonya Kueh Chiffon Cake with chiffon "ondeh ondeh". It's not easy though, I had many countless failed experiments with exploded "ondeh ondeh" before I finally arrived at a model that can sort of work. Basically Gula melaka is heavy so it sinks to the bottom easily, so most of it usually comes out of the cake. There is an optimum amount and type that you can "encapsulate" to succeed.

This recipe was specially commissioned by and designed for LG Neochef last year in October 2017. I gave several demos on this chiffon cake "ondeh ondeh" cake pops with the LG Neochef then. It's super yummy and reviews for this Gula melaka chiffon "ondeh ondeh" cake pop were very good!

Currently the detailed printed recipe of this chiffon cake "ondeh ondeh" comes free with every purchase of the LG Neochef. LG was so generous that they allowed me to share on the blog now too! I'm happy more people can get to try this yummy recipe =).

Pandan Gula Melaka Chiffon “Ondeh Ondeh” (makes 12)
(by Susanne Ng, written for LG Neochef)

14g egg yolk (1 egg yolk)
26g gula melaka (in cubes)
14g coconut milk
1-2 pandan leaves, knotted
2g pandan juice
1g vanilla extract
15g coconut/vegetable oil
20g cake flour, sifted
Tiny pinch of salt
1/4 tsp pandan paste
20g grated gula melaka

60g egg whites (around 1.5 egg whites)
8g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

1. Cut 26g gula melaka into cubes. Dissolve the gula melaka in coconut milk (with pandan leaves to make more fragrant) to make the gula melaka syrup. Leave to cool. Makes around 40g gula melaka syrup.

2. Preheat oven, or LG Neochef microwave convection oven to 140 degrees celsius.

3. Whisk egg yolk with oil till well mixed.

4. Add in the gula melaka syrup, pandan juice, vanilla extract and pandan paste, whisk till well combined.

5. Whisk in sifted cake flour (with pinch of salt). Mix well and ensure no lumps are formed.

6. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy, in a grease-free and dry bowl.

7. Add in castor sugar gradually and whip till firm peaks form, i.e. peaks point upwards but not totally stiff.

8. Spoon gula melaka batter into cake pop molds. Leave a well, and then add a sprinkle (coffee stirrer size) of grated gula melaka into the well. Cover with more batter.

9. Bake at 140 degrees celsius for 28 min, or until skewer inserted into cake pop come out clean.
*I actually had some "controls" cake pops without filling to check for doneness as those with fillings will be wet.

10. Leave cake pops to cool on wire rack.

11. When cake pops are fully cool, unmould from the cake pop mould by flipping the mould over.

12. Roll in desiccated coconut (or freshly grated coconut steamed with some salt).

As I shared earlier, it is not easy to encapsulate the filling, I actually made a table of the amount and type to be encapsulated lol. For this experiment, those on the left 1st column had the most fillings, and subsequent columns had decreasing fillings, with "controls" - no filling- on the most right. Here's sharing what happens when you are too generous with fillings =p. Still (or even more) yummy of course! I had also tried liquid version (which didn't work), as well as gula melaka in cubes and grated. Oh and one last important point! Do not knock the batter in the cake pop molds to release air bubbles after you have added the fillings, they will sink and explode too =p. Finally, if you like even more fillings than the cake batter can handle, you can inject some gula melaka syrup using a piping tip or syringe, there will already be a "hole" in the middle of the cake from the gula melaka that was baked and melted.

With lots of love,

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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Rilakkuma Custard Cream Puffs

I made these Rilakkuma custard cream puffs along with my turtle Matcha cream puffs :)

I am posting this after I have tried another recipe for the Choux pastry case which I prefer as it's puffier. But I will still share the recipe I used here, which is still good. The pastry cream recipe will be one I am sticking with as it's smooth, yummy and I get to use up my excess egg yolks from making macarons or chiffon cakes. Both pastry cream and Choux pastry case recipes are adapted from Little Miss Bento.

Recipe for pastry cream (custard)
200ml milk
35g caster sugar
18g cornflour, sifted
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
10g softened unsalted butter

1. Whisk together egg yolks, cornflour and sygar in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat milk in saucepan until boiling. Remove and pour into egg yolk mixture in a slow and steady stream while whisking the egg yolk mixture continuously.

3. Pour the mixture back into saucepan and heat over medium-low heat while stirring continuously. Keep an eye on the mixture as it will start to thicken suddenly. Take it off the heat to continue stirring if necessary to prevent the custard from becoming lumpy, then put it back on the heat again. Keep heating and stirring until consistency is like smooth curd.

4. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Transfer into another bowl and place a cling wrap over the surface, touching the custard. This is to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to fill the Choux pastry cases.

I made Matcha and plain pastry cream. I love the smoothness of the cream!

Recipe for Choux pastry cases

Similar to the recipe I used previously but this one has more butter, salt and sugar.

Ingredients (makes about 15 Rilakkuma heads):
75g water
50g milk
62g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
35g bread flour*
40g plain flour*
2 eggs, lightly beaten (may not use all)

* You may use either bread or plain flour only. Bread flour makes the pastry more crispy and stronger in structure but plain flour gives it a more delicate bite.

1. Preheat oven to 180℃. Prepare the Choux pastry case. Place water, milk, salt and sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Once it reaches a roiling boil, pour mixture into the flour.

2. Use wooden spoon or spatula to mix well until a ball of dough forms. Return to saucepan and continue to stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes to cook the dough. Do not brown the dough. Remove from heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

3. Add egg a little at a time and mix well with each addition. Towards the end, test the consistency. It should fall off the spatula slowly and leave a streak that doesn't collapse on itself in the batter.

4. Transfer batter into piping bag with a hole cut at the end. Pipe circles according to the template drawn. Pipe the head, legs and tail. Use a finger wet with water to tap down any peaks, especially the small piped parts.

I used my macaron template for piping the rilakkuma heads

5. Bake at 180℃ for 20 min followed by 160℃ for another 20min. Turn off the oven and leave it in there for another 10 min. Do not open the oven door during baking as it may cause the pastry to deflate.

6. Use a knife or toothpick to pierce the side of the Choux cases while hot to release any steam.

Cool completely before decorating with melted compound chocolate. I melted the chocolate with a little vegetable shortening.

You may store baked cases in airtight container until you are ready to fill and serve. Undecorated cases can be toasted to make them crispy again. But if you have already added chocolate decoration, please don't reheat the cases.

Fill piping bag that has been fitted with a small piping tip with pastry cream. Make sure the hole at the side of the cases is large enough to insert the piping tip in before filling with pastry cream.

Best served immediately if possible. The contrast in texture between the crisp shell and cold, smooth pastry cream is the best when the cases have not turned soggy yet. You may store filled Choux pastries overnight in the fridge.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 5 March 2018

Paw Patrol Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream & Strawberries

My friend requested for a Paw Patrol themed cake along with some cookies. Here's the chocolate chiffon cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and fresh strawberries, topped with macaron cake toppers!

I didn't just make one set of Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Skye and Rocky. I made three!

Some of the piped shells!

I was experimenting with replacing some water with lemon juice for the Italian meringue since my experiment with raspberry juice worked. It's something I won't try again as it changed the nature of the sugar syrup and made the batter seem significantly more hygroscopic. It took a long time for the shells to dry 😂. I noticed that the sugar syrup seemed runnier than usual even though I boiled the syrup to 118℃. The acidity from the lemon juice prevents sugar crystals from forming in the syrup to the extent that it seems to change its viscosity. I experimented twice actually, with the first batch ending up in the bin. In the first round, I replaced half the water with lemon juice. The second time, I only replaced 5g (1tsp) of water with lemon juice and it was better but still caused problems.

And so...I won't recommend using lemon juice in making Italian meringue. So please refer to the recipe here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Freshly baked shells!

Decorating the shells also took quite a bit of patience and perseverance to see it to the end!

I used royal icing and edible black marker to add in the details.

I filled the macarons with filling that can allow for storage at cool room temperature for a week instead of fridge storage. This is because I used edible marker for quite a lot of the fine details and am afraid that condensation from refrigeration will cause the ink to smudge.

I filled the cake toppers with a mixture of dark chocolate, vegetable shortening, salt and vanilla bean paste 

I filled the loose pieces with homemade salted caramel in the middle and a ring of white chocolate or dark chocolate on the outside.

I used the same recipe for the chocolate chiffon cake as here to make two 9.5" cakes, except that I used the cooked dough method over here to bring out the chocolatey goodness from cocoa powder.

Freshly baked chocolate cakes!

Filling the middle with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream and fresh strawberries.

I baked some green and blue thin sheets of chiffon cake to decorate the cake.

If you ever make macaron cake toppers for a fairly naked chiffon cake, remember to pack the macarons and cake separately as the moisture from the cake will cause the macarons to turn soggy.

Thank God that the birthday boy was really happy with his birthday cake :)

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 4 March 2018

3D Panda Chiffon Cake (Video Tutorial and In-game baking)!

My kawaii Panda Chiffon Cakes, which is your favorite? =)

Super honored to have my Chiffon cake in a Computer game, and have my very own avatar! =p

My Panda Chiffon Cake is now in a computer game Home Street, where you can make the Panda cake in-game during the At Home in Japan Neighbourhood event (lvl 10+) to share with your friends, or even make your own REAL cake at home using the video tutorial!

Video tutorial for 3D panda chiffon cake is here:

Click here for my Panda Chiffon Cake recipe:

The 3D Panda Chiffon Cake is actually from Deco Chiffon Cake Basics, my newest cookbook focusing on techniques of Deco Chiffon Cakes with step-by-step pictures (available worldwide on book depository or in bookstores). You can see it on the panda on the cover below (bottom right).

And here's my avatar hehe =p. And more shots from the video. I love the cartoon so much! It really looks like the real panda!

Hope you have fun making the cake! =)

With lots of love,

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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Flower Pot Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes (Cooked dough method)

I have a friend who suggested that blooming cocoa powder before baking chocolate chiffon cake would make the chocolate flavour more intense, without resorting to using the coffee trick that many bakers use. I must admit that it was the first time I came across this and I looked up Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe book and studied the chocolate cake recipes. All of them...And I mean ALL required the cocoa powder to be mixed with boiling hot water before mixing into the cake batter. I did more research from the internet and was enlightened. Here's a good article on how, why and when you should bloom cocoa powder whenever you bake with it.

I already consistently get great reviews from recipients of my chocolate chiffon cakes in terms of taste. I have always relied on the use of some coffee liqueur, good quality vanilla bean paste and a bit of fruity alcohol to compliment the chocolate flavour from the cocoa powder. You can imagine my curiosity and excitement when I learnt about blooming cocoa powder!

I wasn't too keen on using hot water to bloom cocoa powder as I prefer to use ingredients that impart flavour to the final product. And therefore, a logical choice was to use the cooked dough method of making chiffon cakes. Hot oil can also be used to bloom cocoa powder. Cooked dough method also helps to keep the cake retain more moisture as the flour cooked with hot oil is able to absorb more water.

Sorry for the long intro 😅. I feel it is necessary. Presenting my humble looking but yummy bake! Flower pot chocolate chiffon cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache!

Flowers and ladybugs are made from macarons

Recipe for cooked dough chocolate chiffon cupcake
Ingredients (makes about twenty 35x44mm cupcakes):
3 egg yolks
42g canola oil
45g milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract/ bean paste
1/4 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
20g Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
32g cake flour

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 140℃. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Place a tray or a few bowls of water at the base of the oven to create steam (optional).

2. Sift cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.

3. Heat oil to 70℃ in a small saucepan (or until you start seeing swirl lines in the oil but not boiling). Pour the hot oil into the flour mixture. Whisk until smooth. Let the mixture sit for 4-5 minutes for the cocoa powder to bloom.

4. Add milk, vanilla and coffee liqueur gradually. Whisk until well combined after each addition. Mixture will become thick. Use an electric mixer if you find it easier.

5. Add in one egg yolk at a time. Whisk until well combined after each addition.

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

7. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Fill the cupcake cases until about 70-80% full. Gently tap on table to release trapped air bubbles.

8. Bake for 40min or until skewer comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Recipe for dark chocolate ganache for frosting cake

Recipe for dark chocolate ganache for frosting cake has a lower ratio of chocolate to cream as it need not be as firm as the filling for macarons. I use a ratio of 3:2 for chocolate : cream.

75g dark chocolate, chopped
10g unsalted butter
50g heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/16 tsp salt

1. Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring constantly with a spatula. Do not boil. Once chocolate has melted completely and mixture is smooth, remove from heat.

2. Let the ganache stand at room temperature to cool down and firm up a little for about 30 minutes. You may refrigerate for a while to speed things up. Once the ganache is about toothpaste consistency, you may frost the cupcakes using piping bag or spatula.

3. Sprinkle with chocolate rasp if you wish.


I filled the macarons with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry white chocolate ganache. You may find the links for the macaron and filling recipe from here. I made these flowers and ladybugs concurrently with my rose macarons.

Thank God that these were very well received!

With love,
Phay Shing

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