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.
160g evaporated milk
24g (4tbs) black tea dust
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
3 egg yolks
6g castor sugar
42g canola oil
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
60g cake flour
1/2 tsp white powder colouring (optional. I added as the natural tea colour is rather dark)
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g castor sugar
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!