Monday, 19 November 2018

Powerpuff Girls 20th Anniversary Chiffon Cake



Super honoured and thankful to be commissioned by Cartoon Network to make a Powerpuff Girls Cake for their 20th Anniversary!! Love those girls who save the world! Really thank God the cake was well-received by Cartoon Network! You can see their Instagram and FB posts here.

You can imagine how surprised I was and very thankful. The chiffon cake was lots of hard work though, taking over a week to design and make, including 1 remake. Really really thank God it worked out! Hope you like this labour of love too! <3

I have shared recipe for Tri-colour Rainbow Chiffon Cake before here. This is a big 10-inch chiffon cake, so the recipe is multiplied by 3.

The Powerpuff girls were the difficult part of the creation because of all the details. Briefly, the face was made by piping chiffon cake batter in glass bowls, so the features were baked into them (protocol follow Hello kitty chiffon cupcakes). The body was made from baking a mini striped chiffon cake in a cupcake liner. Other details are cut from sheet cakes (eg the hair) and shaped and also cut from cake pops. These were glued on using melted marshmallows. For step-by-step pics of these techniques, you can refer to Deco Chiffon Cake Basics cookbook (book cover below). I think in all I had like 12 bowls of different colours and shades of chiffon cake batter! 

Here is the shot right after I sliced into the cake =). Very stressful to slice always hehe.


Cut slices!

Just to mention here, the cut slices inside the rainbow chiffon cake are not straight, this is due to the expansion effect within the tube pan and it's normal! =) I had many people ask me that they cannot get straight lines inside the rainbow chiffon cake. Actually It's perfectly normal! =)



Hope you like this labour of love too!

With lots of love,
Susanne



Book covers:


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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Yuzu and Coconut Gula Melaka Chiffon Bunnies

My friend requested for several chiffon cake bunnies for her boss' birthday. She sent photos of his adorable pet bunnies for my reference so that I can come up with a chiffon version. Here it is! I unintentionally produced the bunny version of We Bare Bears 😆!


I made a total of 10 bunnies but only six are on display here. The brown ones are coconut Gula melaka flavoured. The white and panda patterned ones are yuzu flavoured.

Although I contemplated baking the bunny bodies in eggshells, I decided to use silicone moulds instead because I prefer the cakes to be a little larger. I bought the Silikomart half oval mould. You may use eggshells to bake these if you don't want to buy the mould. Make a hole at the side and not the pointy end of the egg if you are using eggshells for these. Make sure you wash the egg shell thoroughly after removing the membrane inside the eggshell and dry it before use.

I used the recipe from here for the yuzu flavoured cakes. I will type out the recipe I used for the coconut Gula Melaka bunnies here as I didn't use cooked dough method like I did for my past few coconut Gula Melaka cakes and increased the amount of coconut palm sugar used for a stronger Gula Melaka flavour. I used the powdered form of Gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) for making chiffon cakes but you may also finely chop from a block if you are unable to find the powdered or granulated version.

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 large cupcakes and one 7x7" sheet cake):
Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
10g Gula melaka
35g coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
50g coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
57g cake flour

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
20g caster sugar
40g Gula Melaka

Steps:
1. Line baking tray for baking sheet cake with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 160℃. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional) to create steam. Set oven rack to second lowest position.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks with Gula melaka until thick and pale. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut milk, vanilla and salt until well combined. Gradually sift in cake flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3.  Make the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, bear egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form or stiff peaks just reached, gradually adding in the sugars knce the egg whites are foamy. You may mix the caster sugar and Gula melaka together before adding to egg whites.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three batches until no trace of meringue is seen. Spoon the batter into the moulds/cupcake cases. Gently tap on table to release trapped air.

5. Bake for 5 minutes and reduce temperature to 140℃ and bake for another 7-8 min for the sheet cake but another 15min for the cupcakes/mini cakes. Immediately flip the sheet cake onto another parchment paper and cool it in a rolled up position like Swiss roll. Continue baking the cupcakes at 125℃ for another 10-20 minutes or until cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Do note that baking time will depend on size of cake and individual ovens.

6. Cool completely in the moulds before unmoulding by hand.

I have a unique way of shaping the cakes that doesn't involve careful and tedious carving with a small knife.

After unmoulding the cakes by hand, I wrap each cake up with cling wrap. I used scotch tape to tape around where the head is supposed to end (I wouldn't call that the neck here because it doesn't look like one hehe). Imagine giving the bunny a collar. That's where the tape should go. I used a round cookie cutter of an appropriate size to create an indent on each side of the bunny to create an impression of bunched up hind legs. Simply press the cookie cutter to the side of the cake for a minute or so while cupping the cake in your hand. Remove the scotch tape around the head after several minutes. Repeat making the indent on the sides of the bunny if you find that the cake bounces back too much for it to be visible.

Ta-dah! Bunny bodies made without complicated carving!

The ears, tail and facial features were made from sheet cakes. The ears are rolled up like Swiss roll. It helps to bake very thin layers of cakes for the ears and facial features. Although I used melted marshmellows to stick on the parts, I reinforced the ears with toothpicks. You may use sticks of pasta or omit the toothpicks.

Using melted marshmellows to glue on the eyes.

Here's a bunny looking somewhat lost and wanting to find the rest of his friends...


Only to be reunited to be "killed" and watch his friends get massacred too 😆. Glad that my friend and her colleagues enjoyed eating the bunnies!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Mr Men & Little Miss Macarons (new salted caramel cream cheese ermine buttercream recipe!)

My younger kid loves reading Mr Men and Little Miss books when we park ourselves at Kinokuniya although he reads longer novels at home. These whimsical characters have a sort of charm that he can't resist! That is why I made characters of his choice for his birthday to share with his classmates.

Mr Strong, Mr Happy, Little Miss Shy and Little Miss Naughty!

I made these during a really busy period when it was more convenient to break a long complex bake into a few shorter, more manageable bakes. These characters were baked over three separate days, decorated one day, and filled and packed on another day. That was why I used my stabilized French method recipe for the characters.

You may refer to either of my macaron books for piping and baking tips -- Creative Baking: Macarons and Creative Baking: Macaron Basics.

Baked shells without decoration

I must admit that piping the hands with those little fingers was a challenge.

Here's the side view!

I decorated the macaron shells with black edible marker and a little pink royal icing for Little Miss Shy's rosy cheeks.

What I really want to share in this post is another ermine buttercream recipe that is stable at Singapore's tropical climate and it's not too sweet. The kids love it! That's the feedback I got from my kid. I decided on salted caramel as the flavour as it's more exciting than vanilla but not as heaty as dark chocolate (some kids can't take chocolate well) and not all kids like fruity flavours like strawberry. I used ermine buttercream as the filling base for my Children's Day bake this year, which was also very well received by both my kids' classes. What I did differently this time is to use cream cheese as well to add that extra tangy dimension to the filling. Cream cheese is also rather firm so it's a good base to use.

For your convenience I will post the salted caramel recipe here as well.

Recipe for salted caramel
Ingredients:
100g caster sugar
2tbs water
60g whipping cream
15g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp sea salt (use coarse or fine according to preference)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

Steps:
1. Place sugar and water in a light coloured heavy base saucepan. Light coloured because it is easier to see the colour of the caramel. Heat over medium heat without stirring. Swirl the saucepan to help the sugar dissolve.

2. In the meantime, heat cream in another small saucepan until it just starts to bubble.

3. Monitor the sugar syrup as it boils, swirling the pan now and then to distribute the heat evenly. Once the colour of the syrup changes to light amber colour, keep a close watch. You want the caramel to have a deep flavour without being burnt. Once the colour is a deep amber colour, remove from heat and pour a little warm cream in and then stir quickly with a long wooden spoon. The mixture will bubble violently so be careful. Continue gradually pouring the cream and stirring the mixture until the bubbling stops.

4. Add butter and mix well. Add salt and vanilla until well combined. Transfer to a container or bowl and let it cool before using or storing. Salted caramel cam be kept frozen for several months or in the fridge for a month.

I forgot to take a proper photo of the salted caramel. This was what was left after adding some to the ermine buttercream. It's salty, sweet and a smoky, slightly bitter but not burnt flavour

Salted caramel cream cheese ermine buttercream
Ingredients:
60g whipping cream
60g milk
20g plain flour
80g salted caramel*
60g unsalted butter, cool but slightly softened
60g cream cheese, room temperature
20g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

*you may adjust amount according to taste

Steps:
1. Make the roux. Whisk together milk, cream and plain flour. Sieve the mixture into a saucepan. Cook over low heat while whisking constantly. Once the mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk vigorously. Return to heat and continue whisking. Most recipes just recommend cooking till it thickens. I cook the mixture until it is firm enough to hold a peak like this:


I switch to using a spatula to cook the roux once it gets really thick, removing the saucepan from heat now and then so that I can cook the roux more evenly, making sure I scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. Transfer the roux into a bowl and press cling wrap on the surface. Chill in fridge for at least half an hour. You may prepare this the day before.

2. Beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Add icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy. This should take a couple of minutes. Add salted caramel (bring to room temperature if you have stored in fridge or freezer) one tablespoon at a time and beat until well combined after each addition. Continue beating for a couple of minutes


3. Add the roux one tablespoon at a time, beating well with electric mixer after each addition until well combined.

Please excuse the messy roux with caramel smudge as I used a caramel stained knife to scrape it off the spoon 

4. Add vanilla if you wish. Continue beating for a couple more minutes until smooth.

Salted caramel cream cheese ermine buttercream!

To assemble the macarons, fill one piping bag with the ermine buttercream and another bag with salted caramel. Piping a ring of buttercream on the bottom shell and pipe a dollop of salted caramel in the middle.

Filling them up!

Glad that it was really well received!

Here's a peek at the insides. Pardon the lack of oozing salted caramel. I was close to running out of caramel towards the end and didn't want to make another batch just to fill a few more extra macarons that my kids had. Nonetheless, it's still yummy!



With lots of love,
Phay Shing


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Sunday, 11 November 2018

Cookie Monster Chiffon Cake


"C is for Cookie Monster!"

Who grew up with Sesame Street like me? =p

Cookie Monster made entirely from Chiffon Cake! Another very challenging cake, thank God it worked out! The arms and hands were particularly difficult as it was entirely carved from chiffon cake. The hat was also fun! I piped polka dots in the paper cone and baked chiffon cake in it.

A bit busy on the family front, especially with kids, so posting a little less (sorry about it). Been really tired... but thank God for sustaining us daily.

Hope you have a blessed week ahead! =)

With lots of love,
Susanne

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Thursday, 8 November 2018

Pandan Coconut Christmas Tree Macarons (class for kids!)

If you are thinking of learning how to make macarons together with your child, why not join me for a class to learn how to make these Christmas trees :)

I finally found the courage to conduct a macaron class for kids because finally there is a design that is simple but cute enough for that to happen 😆. You will learn how to make the basic round macaron shells using the French method, learn how to make pandan coconut whipped ganache and I am sure the kids will have lots of fun assembling and decorating the trees! The macaron shells are flavoured too. My kids taste tested the macaron shells without filling independently and both gave me the same verdict "Ma, it tastes like kaya!"

Although I try to keep the recipe as simple as possible so that kids can do quite a fair share of the hands-on, this class will benefit kids ages 8 and above more than younger ones as macarons afterall is still a fairly technical bake and instructions should be followed closely. That doesn't mean that those of you with younger ones are banned from the class, it just means that the accompanying adult will have to do more of the work. If you are interested in this class, please click on this link for more details and to register.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 5 November 2018

My Little Pony Rainbow Chiffon Cake


Unicorns and rainbows are always loved by little girls! I have made several versions of unicorns with rainbows. This is a My Little Pony-inspired Rainbow Chiffon Cake which I have always wanted to try =).

For top tier, you can refer to my previous creation, ‘Unicorn’ Soy Milk Chiffon Cake. It is similar except the eyes here are big and dewy!

The bottom tier is my signature Rainbow Chiffon Cake that is on the cover of my first cookbook Creative baking, Chiffon Cakes (bottom right). The detailed recipe is inside.

Have a blessed week! I was on staycation, so not really very functional yet =p. Glad the exams are over!

With lots of love,
Susanne












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Sunday, 4 November 2018

Reindeer Chocolate Cream Puff Class

Want to learn how to make a delectable dessert that is cute but not loaded with lots of sugar? Come and join me for a class to learn how to make this light and crispy reindeer choux pastry filled with rich and smooth chocolate pastry cream!


You will learn how to make use of cookie dough to create nicely rounded choux buns, how to use choux pastry batter to create small features such as the ears and antlers, how to make the chocolate pastry cream and how to put everything together to make this design without the use of fondant. Please click on this link for more details and to register.

With love,
Phay Shing


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