Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Woodland Creatures Choux Pastry

My schedule is pretty much packed from now till end of the year. Whenever I have time, I try to play around with Choux pastry designs as there is so much potential for creativity! Presenting my Choux pastry version of woodland creatures on a tree stump!



The stump is made from a large Choux pastry case too so yes, everything is Choux pastry based.

I had fun creating this whimsical bake and my friend is happy to take all my creations, which includes some other designs that I will share in due time. As for what filling I used, I made three types of Jell-O instant pudding for her to try. Vanilla, white chocolate and lemon. I followed the package instructions except that I replaced half of the milk with whipping cream.

As this may be featured in my next Creative Baking book on Choux pastries, I am unable to provide the full recipe. But you may refer to any recipe on the blog that uses cookie dough on top of the piped pastry batter as a reference for the animal heads, and any recipe for the tree stump.

Great to know from my friend that the pastries were yummy!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 13 August 2018

Chiffon Succulent Cake


My healthier chiffon version of a Succulent cake with no cream! Do you like it?

The cake is made entirely from chiffon cake, including the pot and the succulents. The 'pot' is made from baking vanilla-chocolate chiffon cake in a ball cake pan. The bigger pointed succulents were made my cutting sheet cakes into a long zigzag and then rolling them up. The skinnier spiny ones were by stacking snowflakes from chiffon cakes. The long stems at the back were from piping chiffon sheet cakes with light and dark lines and then cutting them out. The flowers were cut using flower cutters and then rolling up the flowers. The stones were cut from chiffon thick cakes.

Do you like pink or white?


The spiny succulents can be found in my Tri-flavour earth tone chiffon cake in my newest book Deco Chiffon Cake Basics (cover below) too. 



Hope you like my humble creation!

With lots of love,
Susanne

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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Macaron Playground on Strawberries n Cream Chiffon Cake

This has got to be one of the most involved piece of work I have done so far. A customized macaron playground with moveable parts on top of a large strawberries and fresh cream chiffon cake!


You can only guess at what this creation is supposed to mean. I didn't ask the requester 😅. This is my third macaron playground but the first one I am putting on top of a cake.

Characters wearing rainbow coloured exercise suits and different expressions at the playground

Here's a back view to show the step ladder I made for the slide.

Watch the playground in action!

I used the French method to make the characters and Italian method to make the playground structures on separate days of baking. Because the characters have so many colours but the quantity is small. I am not putting the recipe here because you can find them on the blog or in my macaron books.

Freshly baked shells!

I decorated the faces with black edible marker, white gel food colouring dissolved in a little vodka, and peach coloured lustre dust brushed on for rosy cheeks.

Raspberry white chocolate and Earl Grey white chocolate flavours were requested for the filling. As this structure has to be stable in Singapore's hot climate, no butter or cream is used in the filling.

Raspberry white chocolate
Ingredients:
90g white chocolate, chopped or chips form
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
4 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder

Earl grey white chocolate
Ingredients:
90g white chocolate, chopped or chips form
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
3.5 tsp Earl grey tea powder

Steps:
1. Place white chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10 seconds. Mix well. Repeat until melted and smooth.

2. Add salt and mix well.

3. Gradually add raspberry or Earl grey tea powder and mix well after each addition. Do a taste tear. You may add more if you wish.

4. Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto macaron shells. Let the mixture firm up a little in mixing bowl or piping bag if it is too runny to pipe.

Piping raspberry white chocolate

Piping Earl grey white chocolate

I assembled the structure using stiff royal icing and some food-grade materials to create the playground.

I made a three layered vanilla chiffon sponge cake with two layers of strawberries and fresh cream. I won't provide the recipe for vanilla sponge as you can find it here. It is always very well received and goes very well with strawberries and cream.

Just to share a photo of one of the layers of vanilla sponge. I baked each layer using a 5 egg yolks and 7 egg whites recipe and baked in a 12x12" tray.


Previously in my unicorn macaron carousel on top of a strawberries and cream cake creation, I used full dairy whipping cream (35%fat) with gelatin and icing sugar to stabilize. It was really scary as the cream does not hold up for long in Singapore's weather. A lot of care was taken for transport and I warned my friend not to serve until about time to consume so that the cream doesn't melt. I didn't want the case of heart attack again so I decided to use whipped white chocolate ganache to get a very similar yummy fresh cream taste but better stability. I used a mix of non-dairy whipping cream and pure dairy whipping cream to get the best of both stability and taste.

Whipped white chocolate ganache
Ingredients:
75g white chocolate, chopped
200g whip topping (non-dairy whipping cream)
275g dairy whipping cream (38% fat)
1/8 tsp salt

Steps:
1. Place white chocolate in a large and deep mixing bowl. Heat whip topping and dairy whipping cream in a saucepan until bubbles just start to appear.

2. Pour heated cream into mixing bowl and slowly stir in one direction to melt the white chocolate. When chocolate is all melted, add salt and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

3. Prepare the strawberries before you whip the cream and make sure all cake pieces are cut to size that you want so that assembly can take place once the cream is whipped. Whip the chilled ganache on low speed using electric mixer. Once the mixture starts to thicken. Continue to whip by hand. Watch the consistency carefully. Whip until stiff peak but the cream should still be smooth. Do not over whip.


I used 750g worth of strawberries for the cake.

A peek at the insides

Dowels have to be inserted as the macaron playground is substantial in weight. I let the straws stick out of the cake so that it's easy for the recipient to arrange the playground on top of the cake on site.

Thank God that the whole bake was very well received! Both young and old loved the looks and taste of the cake and macarons!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

'Merlion' National Day Flag Chiffon Cake


Haha suddenly so many National day bakes.. cos today is a special day! Happy National day to all! <3 I have been wanting to make the Merlion for a long time! Finally get to make this year, albeit a cartoon version inspired by Naiise =).

I am glad that the square chiffon tube pan I got from Japan finally got to good use!! I can finally make a true National day chiffon cake! The colour is from Raspberry Jello. For full recipe and video tutorial, click here.

Happy holiday and National day to all! #wearesingapore #ndp2018

With love of love,
Susanne

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'National Day' Heart-shaped Bread Loaf (naturally colored)


Just for fun, made a National day-themed heart-shaped loaf bread for the kids, since all of them are singing National day songs from school! The red color is naturally colored using PME red colour. I love their natural range, they have both liquid and powder and very concentrated. The extra kneading affected the structure slightly, but still tastes very nice! I tried a different recipe this time which uses shortening instead of butter, shared by my wonderful friend. I really like it =). I used cheese to cut out the moon and stars. Hope you like this simple bake! We are all looking forward to the long holiday weekend! Happy National day to all too!

With lots of love,
Susanne

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Singapore Flag Earl Grey Cream Puff

I have made Singapore flag brown sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, chiffon cake pops, snowskin mooncake and macarons before. Here's my first attempt at making Singapore flag choux pastry!


I was testing out Jell-O's instant pudding mix as choux pastry filling as I am planning for a Choux pastry class for kids and wanted something really simple yet yummy. It is really good and easy! But instead of using just milk as the packaging suggested, I used a mix of milk and whipping cream. Texture is almost like homemade pastry cream. I added some Earl Grey powder to flavour it. I don't have to provide the recipe for this as you just follow package instructions but replace half of milk with whipping cream. The instant pudding mix comes with flavours such as lemon, white chocolate, vanilla and chocolate. I used the vanilla packet for making this Earl grey pudding filling.

I finally have a small window of time to do more experiments with Choux pastry so I decided to make the Singapore flag design in time for National Day.

As this may be featured in my next Creative Baking book on Choux pastries, I am unable to provide the full recipe. But you may refer to any recipe on the blog that uses cookie dough on top of the piped pastry batter as a reference.

Here's a peek at the cookie dough I place on top of each piped dollop of batter.

Oops! Accidentally broke one.

Do keep a lookout for other exciting Choux pastry creations that I am coming up with.

Happy birthday Singapore!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 6 August 2018

Baby Shark Chiffon Cake


Sing with me now.. Baby Shark do do do do, Baby shark do do do do.. Baby shark do do do do.. Baby shark!

Heehee seems every toddler can sing this song! This chiffon cake is made similar to my previous cake, except that is is dual flavour, the top uses lemon chiffon recipe instead. The deco is all cut from sheet cakes similar to my previous creations and cookbooks.

Hope this made you smile!! Looking forward to the holidays this week!

With lots of love,
Susanne


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Teh Tarik Graduation Bear Chiffon Mini Cakes with Macaron Hats

My friend requested for these graduation bears for a graduation event at the law faculty of Singapore Management University 😊


Teh Tarik chiffon mini cakes topped with graduation hat macarons!

The mini cakes were displayed along with a hundred macaron graduation hats. I posted the recipe for the macaron hats using italian method in my previous post. The hats will also appear in my upcoming Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book but French method is presented.

My friend preferred a flavour that is a little more unique and has a local flavour. We discussed a few options that can produce cakes that are naturally brownish in colour and finally settled on Teh Tarik. I wanted to create a cake that is not just tasting mildy of milk tea but something with body, fragrance, a good balance of flavours and texture. I did some research and found this post very helpful on making Teh Tarik at home. I didn't follow it exactly as I am making a cake and not a drink. Teh Tarik is traditionally made using black tea dust and condensed milk. Since sugar is used in making cake, I used evaporated milk instead of condensed milk as it is less sweet but still has similar wholesome milky flavour that is different from using fresh milk. Here's one of the recommended brands of tea dust that I used to brew the tea.


I tried to search for Teh Tarik chiffon cake recipe and couldn't find many references. The one I found over here has a mild flavour as it is just made from tea that is brewed. So in order to create a more intense flavour without adding more fluids into the cake batter (which would affect the consistency), I added some instant black tea powder and full cream milk powder to enhance both tea and milk flavour. Well I didn't have instant black tea powder on hand so I used Earl grey tea powder instead (Earl grey is black tea with bergamot).

Milk tea recipe
Note that this recipe is more for baking cake and not for drinking.

Ingredients:
160g evaporated milk
60g water
24g (4tbs) black tea dust

Steps:
1. Boil evaporated milk and water in a small saucepan. Place tea dust in a cup or bowl.

2. Pour boiled milk and water into cup of tea dust. Steep for 5 min.

3. Strain out the tea dust and let the tea cool. You won't be using all of the tea.

I will provide the chiffon cake recipe but I didn't bake it exactly this way as I doubled the recipe and broke it down into three batches for baking due to the different baking temperature and time required for different parts of the bear. But if you are baking as cupcakes or whole chiffon cakes, you may refer to the recipe below.

Teh tarik chiffon cake recipe
Ingredients (makes about one 17cm chiffon cake or about 3-4 bear mini cakes or about twenty 44x35mm cupcakes):
Egg yolk batter
A)
3 egg yolks
6g castor sugar
42g canola oil
B)
58g milk tea
3/4-1 tsp instant black tea powder (omit if you want lighter coloured cake and milder tea flavour)
18g full cream milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
C)
60g cake flour
1/2 tsp white powder colouring (optional. I added as the natural tea colour is rather dark)

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

Steps:
1. Prepare all the necessary tins, moulds, baking trays lined with parchment paper/silicone baking sheet. I used ice cube tray for the legs, baking tray lined with silicone baking sheet for baking the sheet cakes for arms, gown, ears and facial features, and glass bowls for the head and body. Preheat oven to 170℃ for sheet cake, 150℃ for baking cake batter in glass and silicone moulds, chiffon cake tins or cupcake cases. You may wish to place a tray at the base of the oven to create steam but that's optional. I prefer to use it.


2. Prepare egg yolk batter. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients in B) and mix well. Pass through a fine sieve to remove any lumps out.

3. In another mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil gradually and whisk until well combined. Gradually add B) and whisk until well combined.

4. Gradually sift in C) and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

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

6. Fold meringue into egg yolk batter in three batches until no meringue is seen. Pour into prepared trays or tins. Gently run a chopstick through the batter to pop any air bubbles.

7. Bake the cake. This part will vary widely depending on which receptacle you are baking the cakes in. Thin sheet cakes should bake at higher temperature of 160-170℃ for a short time of 9-11min. Cupcakes or cakes baked in the bowls bake for about 30-40 min at lower temperature. I bake at 140℃ for the first 15 min then reduce to 130℃ and bake for the rest of the way. For whole chiffons baking time could be 50-55min. But do note that this range of temperature and time will vary from oven to oven so only use it as a gauge. Use a skewer to test for doneness.

8. Whole sheet cakes have to be unmoulded immediately, the other cakes should be cooled completely before unmoulding. Chiffon tin should be inverted too cool.

I couldn't resist playing with the unmoulded portions after four rounds of baking although I planned to assemble the next day. Why four rounds you may ask...I baked another round without tea for the purple portions of the gown.

I was going..."so cute!" Even though it's just a naked bear without face

I used circle cookie cutters of various sizes or a small fruit knife to cut out parts for the ears, arms and gown, and glued the parts together using melted marshmellows. I used wooden skewers to secure the head and arms to the body. Brush the surface of the sponge with simple syrup to prevent it from drying out.

Here's a bear at the party along with the macaron graduation hats!


Just a note, do not store macarons with chiffon cake as the macarons will turn soggy fast. Assemble it at the party venue for display.

Thank God that my friend said both the macarons and cakes were very well received!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Smiggle Ice cream Chiffon Cake


Happy birthday dearest Christine!! Time flies and my kids are growing up too fast! It's my daughter's 7th birthday and like all primary school girls, she likes Smiggle. I wasn't sure of what to bake for her, then I remembered she loves ice cream and that gave me the idea. I am really very thankful for Christine, who has always been very sweet, generous and joyful despite being the middle child. We truly thank God for her. This Ice cream chiffon cake is similar to a previous creation, which I have shared the recipe for. So you can refer to the previous post. There is also a picture tutorial for Giant cupcake chiffon cake in my second book Deco Chiffon Cakes (below) which you may find useful.

Hope this creation brings a smile to your faces too!

With lots of love,
Susanne




For more creative ideas on Deco Chiffon Cakes here:

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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Graduation Hat Macarons

My friend requested for some graduation hat macarons for a class of students graduating from university. Presenting my version of graduation hat macarons!



This is not my first graduation hat bake. I made graduation hat pinata shortbread cookies end of last year for a class of preschool kids. If you would like an easier bake than macarons, do check out that post!

I chose a flavour of macarons that is great even when you eat the macaron shell on its own because the top shell is larger than the bottom shell. The macaron shells contain cocoa powder and freeze-dried raspberry powder to help with the flavour. That's the great thing about black shells. You can add all sorts of flavoured powders without worrying about the final colour!

This design can also be found in my upcoming Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book but it will just be chocolate flavoured and French method is used. So I can share the Italian method recipe that I used here freely :)

I made about 100 of these but will provide recipe that makes about 40 macarons.

Recipe for raspberry dark chocolate black macaron shells
Ingredients:
Mass
160g superfine almond flour
144g icing sugar
14g rice flour*
3/4 tsp cornflour*
64g egg whites
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1.5 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
10g Dutch Processed cocoa powder
7g charcoal powder
A few drops of black gel food colouring

Italian meringue
64g egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
160g castor sugar
60g water

* You may replace with icing sugar if you don't want to reduce sugar.

Steps:
1. Prepare baking trays with templates and line with parchment paper.

2. Prepare the mass. Sift together all the dry ingredients in the mass. Add egg whites and mix well until a thick paste forms. Add a few drops of black gel food colouring to deepen the shade.

3. Prepare italian meringue. Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan until temperature reaches 115-118℃ on a candy thermometer. In the mean time, beat egg whites at medium low speed until soft peaks form. Reduce mixer speed if necessary. Don't over beat. Once temperature is reached on thermometer, remove from heat. Increase mixer speed to medium high and carefully pour syrup into egg whites in a thin stream, avoiding the beaters. Continue beating for another 10 minutes or until cooled to body temperature. Meringue should be able to hold firm or stiff peaks, appear smooth and glossy.

4. Mix about a third of the meringue into the mass until mixture appears homogeneous. Fold in the rest of the meringue until batter has consistency of slow moving lava.

5. Transfer into piping bag and pipe away! Bang the tray on the table to release trapped air bubbles.

6. Dry in air-con room or under a fan until dry to touch before baking in preheated oven at 140℃ for about 15-20 minutes or until feet does not appear wet. You may use the lowest or second lowest rack to bake. Cool completely before carefully peeling parchment paper away from macaron shells.

Freshly baked shells!

Decorating that many macaron shells was a hassle 😅. But so glad I made it! I can't release the details of this part as it's in the upcoming book.

Adding on the tassels

I made a fairly firm ganache as Singapore is rather warm and I didn't want to risk having super soft filling even if there's air-conditioning where the macarons are displayed. Feel free to increase the amount if cream if you prefer a softer ganache.

Recipe for raspberry dark chocolate ganache
Ingredients:
250g dark chocolate couverture
50g unsalted butter
1/3 tsp salt
50g heavy cream
2.5 tbs freeze-dried raspberry powder
1/2 tbs vanilla bean paste

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients except raspberry powder into a large heatproof bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. Don't let the water touch the base of the bowl. Stir the mixture until everything is melted and well combined.

2. Add raspberry powder gradually and mix well after each addition.

3. You may let the ganache stand at room temperature until it firms up to piping consistency, or chill in freezer for 2 minutes and then mix well. Repeat freezing and mixing until you are able to whip the mixture to make whipped ganache.

4. Transfer into piping bag and fill the shells.



Store in the fridge for at least 24h before serving. Leave the macarons for about 15 minutes at room temperature after you take them out of the fridge.

Checkout my next post where these macaron graduation hats will appear with another genre of bake for the same event 😉.

Thank God everyone said it was yummy!

With love,
Phay Shing

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