Monday, 21 May 2018

Pulut Hitam and Purple Sweet Potato Chiffon Sponge and Pudding Cake

My mum has diabetes so I have to be creative in coming up with birthday cakes that are tasty but yet low in GI. It is my preference to use wholesome natural ingredients without resorting to artificial sugar and so I came up with this cake that you most probably can't find elsewhere :)


Pulut hitam (black glutinous rice) chiffon cake with purple sweet potato pudding and topped off with sweet potato Ondeh-Ondeh! Absolutely no artificial colouring is used.

I used only Gula melaka or coconut palm sugar as the sweetener in the chiffon cake, and the pudding is adapted from here with only 20% of caster sugar that the original recipe suggested. You may think that this cake will be bland tasting but far from it, it is really flavourful from the harmonious blend of black glutinous rice, coconut milk, pandan, Gula melaka and sweet potato, but yet it is not too sweet!

This cake may appear simple but it is made from scratch with a lot of love. I began by cooking the black glutinous rice porridge. You may refer to this post for the recipe for the porridge. Although I provided the recipe for the pulut hitam chiffon sponge in that post, I tweaked it to make it suitable for baking in a chiffon tin as it needs to be more structurally stable than when you bake a flat layer cake. You may choose to use a recipe that uses black glutinous rice flour but the flour as not as easily available as the raw black glutinous rice grains and I find the flour sold in Singapore isn't as fragrant as the ones from Indonesia that my friend gave me a few years ago. Personally I prefer the version baked by using the porridge. I also usually sneak a bowlful to eat as it is one of my favourite Asian desserts!


Recipe for pulut hitam chiffon cake
Ingredients (for one 17cm chiffon tin or one 15cm chiffon tin + one 7" square sheet cake):
3 egg yolks
33g Coconut oil
180g black glutinous rice porridge
15g coconut cream of coconut milk
80g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp charcoal powder (optional)

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g granulated coconut palm sugar (use more if you have a sweet tooth as mine is not a very sweet version)

Steps:
1. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional). Preheat oven to 150℃.

2. Whisk egg yolks until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut cream and porridge and whisk until well combined. Gradually add in sifted flour, salt and charcoal powder and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in Gula melaka once the egg whites are foamy.


4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Pour into the prepared chiffon tin (and square tray if you are baking a sponge cake to cover the hole of the chiffon cake). Use a chopstick to run through the batter to pop any trapped air bubbles

5. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 30 min. Reduce the temperature to 110℃ and bake for another 10-20 min or until skewer comes out clean. Bake the sheet cake for 15 min or until skewer comes out clean.

6. Invert immediately when removed from oven to cool. When completely cooled, carefully unmould the cake from the chiffon tin by hand.


7. Slice the chiffon cake horizontally using a long serrated knife into two, three or even four slices as you wish. I use a ruler and toothpicks as markers to indicate where to slice horizontally. Keep the sliced cake in airtight container while you prepare the pudding.

Recipe for purple sweet potato pudding
Ingredients:
A)
400g pandan water (boil a several torn up pandan leaves in water for 10 min)
16g Caster sugar (please use more sugar if you prefer it sweeter)
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp agar powder

B)
147g purple sweet potato puree (steamed and mashed)
180g coconut milk

C)
40g cornflour
67g fresh milk
1 and 1/3 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients in A) in a saucepan. Mix together B) ingredients in a bowl. Mix together C) ingredients in a jug.

2. Bring A) to boil, stirring frequently. Make sure that all the agar powder is dissolved.

3. Add B) to A) and bring to boil while stirring.

4. Stir C) again as the cornflour would have settled to the bottom. Slowly pour in a small and steady stream into the saucepan while stirring the contents in the saucepan. Continue stirring while heating over medium-low heat for another 2-3 minutes. The mixture will thicken.

5. Pour the contents of the saucepan through a sieve to remove any lumps that may be there.

Assembly
You may use a springform pan or flexible clear cake plastic rings like what I used. If using the plastic rings, make sure that you prepare the bottom layer of sponge on the cakeboard with the plastic ring secured before you make the pudding.

1. Place a layer of sponge on cakeboard with the cake plastic ring. You may cover the hole with a round sheet cake cutout from the sheet cake if you wish.

2. Use a ladle to scoop some pudding to cover the sponge. You may layer it as thick or thin as you want.


3. Place the second layer of sponge on top of the pudding carefully. Gently but firmly press it down such that the pudding comes into contact with the sponge.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have the desired number of alternating layers.

5. Cover the top of the assembly with cling wrap. Refrigerate for 2h or overnight. Carefully remove the plastic cake ring.

I chose to decorate with some purple sweet potato pudding flower cutouts and sweet potato Ondeh-Ondeh. You may refer to this post for the recipe for Ondeh-Ondeh.


This cake is really lovely for those of you who love pulut hitam and coconut milk combi but want something not so sweet. My friend who took some extra cake that I made let her parents-in-law try. They loved it so much that she wants me to bake that for her father-in-law’s birthday!

Needless to say, my family enjoyed the cake too! Here's a peek at the cross section of the cake


With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

3D Totoro Chiffon Cake


Cute Totoro Chiffon Cake! I hope I captured his innocent, sweet expression well! =p
Briefly, I baked a Bamboo Charcoal Chiffon Cake in a big ball pan and small bowl. The arms and legs are from cake pops from cake pop molds. I joined everything up using melted marshmallows/chocolate. For the white patch, I had reserved 10 tsp plain batter and spooned it into one side of the pan. I made this for a very sweet mother (made it last week during Mother's day but I was too busy to post =p). Wishing everyone a Totoro-rific week ahead! =)

With love,
Susanne


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Thursday, 17 May 2018

'Graduating Potted Cacti' Chocolate Macarons and Chiffon Cupcakes

My friend had a rather unique request for graduation themed macaron/cupcake bake that incorporates plants for a friend who finally completed her ACCA. That's how this bunch of smiley potted cacti wearing graduation caps came about :)


The bake consists of macarons filled with dark chocolate ganache on top of chocolate chiffon cake covered with dark chocolate ganache and crushed oreo cookies. Even the little graduation hats are made of macarons!

I used the reduced sugar 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.

Just to share some pictures of the process...


Piping the cacti

Piping little squares for the hats

Decorated shells. Checkout the awesome feet!

See how tiny these hats are! I can't provide too much details here because the hats will appear in my upcoming Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book!

The macarons were filled with a firm dark chocolate ganache.


Please refer to this post on how I made the chocolate chiffon cupcakes. I used the exact same recipe.

The cupcakes were topped with a softer ganache than the macaron filling. I made about 120g of soft ganache, using a ratio of 1.5:1 for dark chocolate:cream. I added 30g of crushed oreos into the ganache and topped up the surface with more crushed oreos. This quantity is enough to fill about 18 cupcakes.

Coating the cupcakes with Oreo and dark chocolate ganache 

Thank God it was really well received in terms of looks and taste!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 14 May 2018

Ufufy Winnie the Pooh Raspberry Custard Cream Puff

I am excited to announce that there will most likely be a Creative Baking: Choux Pastries book in the future as Marshall Cavendish is keen to add this genre to the Creative Baking series 😊. In the mean time, I am having fun trying out various things to gain more experience and see how far I can stretch the boundaries for this genre of bake to create bakes that you probably don't see elsewhere much. I am in love with Choux pastries because for once, it's something that is not that high in sugar content but very tasty. The contrasting but complementary textures is so lovely that it will leave you savouring the moment with a smile :). Crisp outer pastry shell with cold and smooth custard...Mmmm-mmm! Most Choux pastries are so limited in design that it's making my fingers itch to create something more exciting but yummy at the same time. As compared to chiffon cakes and macarons, choux pastries are easy too!

And so, I decided to play around with non-dairy Choux pastry shell recipe instead of my usual butter and milk recipes. This is not the first time I am using a non dairy recipe but the previous designs are possibly items that may go into the book so I am withholding it first. The shells tend to be really delicate and melt in your mouth yet crisp with an audible crunch when you bite into it. Not as flavourful as the butter versions but it's not a big loss because when paired with rich and creamy custard, it is perfect! The colour of the shells is also a lighter shade of brown than the recipe with butter.  Here's my humble attempt at making Ufufy Winnie the Pooh with raspberry custard!

Hubby says they look like they are lining up for a gang fight...

...And this looks like the aftermath of the fight 😆

It's my first time playing around with modelling white chocolate to coat the pastry shells. I think I prefer my previous white chocolate-shortening combination but if I don't try this, I won't know. Or maybe I just need more practice working with modeling white chocolate for Choux pastry. I will not touch fondant for deco as chocolate tastes much better. I am sure you will agree!

I will provide the basic recipe but not detailed steps for making Pooh design so you may still try this out and enjoy a delectable dessert at home.

Raspberry custard filling recipe
Not a fan of raspberry? You may replace with strawberry, blueberry or blackberry.
Ingredients:
2 egg yolks
40g sugar
18g cornflour
4g freeze dried raspberry powder ( leave this out if you don't have freeze-dried fruit powder. Add more chopped fresh fruit instead)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g milk
Frozen thawed or fresh raspberry chopped (25g or any amount you like)
10g unsalted butter, room temperature

Steps:
1. Whisk together egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and raspberry powder to form a thick paste. Set aside.

2. Heat milk with vanilla until it starts to bubble. Slowly pour into egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously. Pour mixture back into saucepan.

3. Heat the mixture over medium low heat while whisking continuously. Once it starts to thicken, remove from heat and continue to whisk. This is to prevent the custard from turning lumpy. Return to heat and continue whisking until the custard thickens to the consistency that you like. Some like it rather runny, thickened until it is able to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Some like it so thick it is able to hold a firm peak.

4. Remove from heat and sieve the custard into a bowl. Add butter and mix well. Fold in the chopped raspberries.

5. Press a cling wrap over the surface of the custard and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.


Recipe for light, non-dairy Choux pastry shell
Ingredients (makes about 18-20 small puffs):
100g water
50g olive oil or vegetable oil
60g bread flour, sifted twice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten (about 100g, may not use all)
Yellow gel food colouring (optional. I added to give the pastry a more yellowish hue)

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 190℃ set oven rack to middle or second lower position. Line baking tray with silicone mat or parchment paper

2. Place water, oil, salt and sugar (and gel food colouring) in a small saucepan. Stir continuously while bringing to a boil.

3. Once water is boiling, remove from heat and pour the flour in all at once. Quickly use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix the flour into the liquid until a dough forms.

4. Return back to low heat and cook over the stove for another 2-3 min to let some of the water evaporate. The dough should be smooth, free from lumps of flour.

5. Remove from heat and transfer into another bowl. Use a spatula to knead it for a minute or so and then leave it to cool to at least body temperature.

6. Add half of the beaten egg and mix well until mixture is homogenous using a spatula. Add the rest of the egg a little at a time and mix well between each addition until the mixture is firm but shiny and smooth, and falls off the spatula slowly when scooped up, leaving a letter "V" hanging from the spatula. The mixture should not be too runny or your choux pastry will not rise properly.

7. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip or open star tip if you like. Pipe rounds that are slightly smaller than ping-pong ball size, leaving about 5cm between piped rounds.

8. Wet a finger to tap down any peaks in the piped batter to prevent it from burning. Dab some droplets of water into the parchment paper around the piped batter. This is to create some steam to help the pastry to rise more in the oven.

9. Put into oven and reduce temperature to 180℃. Bake for 30-35 minutes. If it is browning too much, you may reduce the temperature to 160℃ for the last 5-10 min of baking time. Do not open the oven door too early to prevent the pastry shells from collapsing. Turn off the heat at leave it in the oven for another 10 min to dry out the shells. Cool completely before filling.

To fill the pastry shells, you may poke a hole at the base and then pipe the filling in. Alternatively, you may cut it in half and sandwich the filling in between. Some like to add in whipped cream to lighten up the texture but I find it optional. Depends on your preference :). Choux pastries taste best when freshly filled so try to keep the pastry shells and filling separate for as long as possible!

Enjoy!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Rose, Osmanthus and Lavender Rosette Macarons

There's a certain charm about rosette macarons and I made these for an event :)

Rose, Osmanthus and Lavender rosette macarons!

I love floral teas so it's been quite like aromatherapy for me by creating these macarons. I made my own floral extracts, flower powder and infused the cream with the dried flowers before making the ganache.

You may refer to this post for the macaron shell recipe. I modified it a little by increasing the icing sugar and almond flour to 40g each. I didn't add any floral extracts or flower powder into the macaron shell so as to let it remain uniformly coloured and in a pastel shade. You may add some flower powder (ground and sifted dried flowers) if you don't mind the shells appearing speckled.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping pink rosettes

Cross section of a baked macaron shell

I made the floral extracts by storing the dried flowers with vodka in small glass bottles for a few days. Ideally you should prepare this two weeks before time but I didn't have the time to do it. I compensated it by packing each bottle full of flowers. Store the bottles in a cool and dark place. Give the bottles a little shake now and then.

Homemade floral extracts!

I brushed a little extract on the underside of the macaron shells and added some to the ganache.

I used a coffee grinder to grind the dried flowers and sifted them. I must admit that it wasn't easy to get the rose powder as compared to lavender and osmanthus. Anyway I used some rose water to enhance the rose flavour such that it is still strong despite less powder used.

Rose, Osmanthus and Lavender powder

I added the flower powder into the ganache. You may add to the macaron shells if you wish.

Recipe for whipped floral ganache (piped as roses)
Ingredients (enough to fill 15-18 rosette macarons):
132g white chocolate, chopped (or compound white chocolate chips if you are afraid of overheating white chocolate)
12g unsalted butter
12g vegetable shortening
3/8 tsp salt
36g heavy cream with dried flowers infused*
1 tsp osmanthus or lavender extract, or 1 tsp rose water + 1/4 tsp rose extract
1.5 tsp dried osmanthus powder, 1 tsp lavender powder or 1/4 tsp rose powder
A drop of gel food colouring

Note that I am making a stiff version of ganache as Singapore is rather warm. You may add more cream if you wish.

* Heat about double the amount of cream required until it starts to bubble. Pour into a bowl with 1 tbs of dried flowers (2 tbs for dried rosebuds). Let it steep for about 15 min at room temperature. Cover and let it continue steeping in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Strain the cream and weigh out the amount needed to make the ganache.

Other logistics
Flower nail
Baking paper cut into small squares for each piped ganache rose
Petal piping tip

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and melt it at medium low power for 20 seconds. Mix well with spatula. Repeat until completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, you may use double boiling method to melt the chocolate and all the ingredients together

2. Chill the bowl in freezer for 2 min. Stir with spatula and return to freezer for another 2 min. Repeat freezing and whipping the ganache until texture lightens up and is smooth and creamy.

I love the natural colour of osmanthus from the extract!

3. Add a small drop of gel food colouring and mix well. Transfer the whipped ganache into piping bag fitted with a small petal tip (I used Wilton #101). Dab a little ganache onto the flower nail and stick a small square of baking paper on it. Pipe a rose on it and transfer the paper with the rose onto a baking tray. You may Google for video tutorials on how to pipe the roses. Sorry I didn't do a video tutorial for this 😅. It is advisable to use a small round tip to pipe a cone before piping the petals using the petal tip but I didn't want to waste resources by using an additional piping bag and tip so I just used the petal tip to roughly pipe a cone in the middle.

Tray of piped roses. I don't pipe it perfectly because to be honest, this is the first time I am piping them!

4. Freeze the tray of piped roses until firm. The ganache in piping bag may soften until it becomes difficult to pipe due to hear from you hand. If that happens, empty the piping bag and chill the ganache again. Rewhip and fill the piping bag.

5. Pipe some ganache in the middle of the macaron shell. Quickly add on the flowers using tweezers or chopsticks. Top up the middle with more ganache of necessary. Gently place the top shell on. Press it down a little after the ganache roses have soften a little. Return the tray of piped roses into the freezer if they get too soft to handle. For this reason, I piped each coloured rose on a few small trays such that at any time, one or two trays are chilling in the freezer.

Adding the ganache roses

I love this pretty sight!

You may leave the assembled macarons as they are or add on leaves like I did. I prepared vanilla white chocolate ganache that is coloured green for the leaves and used a small leaf tip to pipe the leaves between the roses.

Rose macarons

Lavender macarons

Osmanthus macarons

I must admit that making the filling took longer and was much more tedious than making the macaron shells for once! Thankfully at the end of it all I was rewarded with a pretty sight :)

With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Garfield Chiffon Cake


Who grew up with Garfield?? I remember looking forward to reading it in the Sunday papers! =D

I remembered my best friend in primary school was crazy over it! Oops is that telling my era? haha

It was a lot of work making the details, especially around the back. Here's my humble attempt at boomerang to show more details at the side and back. The stripes go all the way around the back on both sides!



And yes, you guessed! This is made from orange chiffon cake with the lovely smell of orange zest!

Hope it brought back some nice memories! It's a classic!

Have a blessed week ahead! =)

With lots of love,
Susanne


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Saturday, 5 May 2018

Hurricane Swirl Neapolitan Macarons

Hurricane Swiss rolls have trending on social media lately and Susanne has done a very nice hurricane chiffon. With so many hurricane bakes around, I am inspired to make my version on macarons too :).

Chocolate and vanilla shells with raspberry white chocolate ganache filling

I am also taking this chance to announce that there will be a Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book coming up hopefully before Christmas this year!! The focus will be on various techniques (mainly piping techniques) on how to create various effects or shapes for macaron shells. This will be a companion book to Creative Baking: Macarons.

As such, I won't be able to disclose too much details about this bake as it may be included in the book.

I thought of doing a completely naturally coloured and flavoured macaron to try out this technique. And so this became Neapolitan flavoured. I have a few packets of freeze dried raspberry powder so I used it instead of fresh raspberry for the ganache.

I used the French method for this small batch of 11 macarons as I wanted to use as little ingredients as possible for this experiment. You may refer to any of my French method recipes from the blog (regular and reduced sugar) to work on this design although I used a different ratio of ingredients for this bake.

What I can reveal is, you have to fill the piping bag with two colours of batter and rotate the piping bag as you pipe. There's quite a bit of details that I left out but you get the idea :). I also have a video tutorial on how to pipe these beautiful swirls but will only make it available in this blog post probably in a few months time.

Freshly baked shells!


Raspberry white chocolate ganache*

* Please refer to this blog post for the ganache recipe if you are using fresh or frozen fruit puree. Just replace strawberry with raspberry.

Ingredients:
66g white chocolate, chopped
12g unsalted butter
18g whipping cream
1/8 tsp salt
5g freeze dried raspberry powder

Steps:
1. Put all ingredients except raspberry powder in a microwave safe bowl. Melt at medium power for 20 sec and stir. Repeat until melted and smooth

2. Add raspberry powder and mix well.

3. Freeze for 2 min and whip with spatula until homogeneous. Repeat freezing and whipping until texture is light and creamy.

4. Transfer into piping bag fitted with an open star tip if you wish. Pipe swirls on the macaron shells.


Refrigerate for at least 24h before serving.

My friend who shared this with her family said it's yummy!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 3 May 2018

Hourglass Cream Cheese Cookies

It's the June school holidays and if you are wondering what fun activity to do together with your child, why not take part in the cookie baking classes I will be conducting for parent and child to participate together :). The theme I have for this two-part series of cookie bakes is “Edible Toys”.

The first of this series is hourglass cookies. I will be combining techniques taught in two of my previous Junior chef cookie classes into one session --- stained-glass cookies and pinata cookies. Parents and kids had fun in those two classes so I guess it will be double the fun for this 😉




I will be teaching new things as well, such as how to make your own cookie cutter from plastic cake rings that baking shops sell, and how to use isomalt to create the stained glass. Note that I will not be using hundreds and thousands as the "sand" inside the hourglass but larger spherical sprinkles instead as those work better for the toy.

Please click on this link to register for the class of you are interested. Hope to see you there!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Hurricane Chiffon Cake


So many Hurricane Swiss rolls! Here comes my Hurricane Chiffon Cake!

This is another of my fun experiments! The recipe is different from my usual chiffon recipe to make the batter more liquid, heavier and more flowy to create the Hurricane effect.

I have included a spinning video of the Hurricane in Instagram and Facebook! Hope you will enjoy seeing and making this unique Hurricane chiffon cake =).

Hurricane Chiffon Cake (15-cm tube pan)
3 egg yolks
18g castor sugar
40g vegetable/corn oil
42g milk
60g cake flour
4g vanilla extract (to plain batter)
2 tsp cocoa powder in 5g hot water (to cocoa batter)

3 egg whites
35g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140°C. Insert a tray with a thin layer of water under the lowest rack for steam baking (optional).


2. Prepare egg yolk batter:

a. Whisk egg yolk with sugar using hand whisk.

b. Add in oil, milk and mix well.

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


3. Divide the egg yolk batter into two. To the plain batter, add vanilla extract. To the cocoa batter, add cocoa paste.


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. Divide the meringue into two and gently fold meringue into respective egg yolk batter in 3 addtions. 


6. To make the hurricane pattern at the base:

Pipe a ring of cocoa batter around the base (outer ring).

Fill the middle with plain batter (inner ring - no need to pipe, can just spoon).

Use the base of a spatula, draw zigzag lines from the outer ring to the tube, and then from the tube out again. 
Repeat the zigzag lines around the base of the pan until you reach the starting point. 

*Make your zigzags tight and almost perpendicular to the ring.

**Updated (10/5/18), added in photos for point 6 and 8


7. Fill the base with more cocoa batter. Fill the tube pan with cocoa batter till half full, then fill with plain batter till 2-cm from brim. 


8. To make the hurricane pattern at the side:

Using the back of the spatula, draw lines down and up the side of the pan. 

Again, repeat this until you have reached where you started. 

*Similar to point 6, but zigzags are up and down. 



9. Bake at 140°C for 1 hr, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. *If not using steam baking, baking time may be reduced by 10+ min. Individual ovens' internal temperature may vary so it is important to check for doneness using a bamboo skewer.


10. Allow cake to cool completely inverted on wire rack. 
 
11. Unmould by hand when cool (see video).


I added in a Gudetama on top because Gudetama looked so apt for the cake!



Hope you like it! 

With lots of love,
Susanne


More Fun Creative Chiffon Cake ideas here!


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