Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Dumbo in Teacup Carousel Chiffon Cake

In case you missed the Dumbo movie, here's my Dumbo in a Teacup Carousel cake! Can you guess how I patterned the rainbow hearts in the cup?

For those who followed my early work, you may find it familiar =). It's the same technique as my 6-flavour Rainbow Hearts Chiffon cake in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes book.. I used Rainbow hearts cut outs to get the perfect shape. You can watch the previous video to see how it is done. In this case, I used a 3D ball pan instead of a normal round chiffon pan. The Dumbo is shaped from a bowl cake. I stuck cake pops and ears from chiffon cake onto it using melted marshmallow.

Hope you like this cute creation! The patterning techniques and chiffon cake glue and other techniques are in my cookbooks (below). The Rainbow hearts chiffon cake is in the first book on the right.

With lots of love,

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Tuesday, 16 July 2019

'Ginger Cats on a Swing' Macarons on Mixed Fruit & Cream Cake (dairy-free)

My friend requested for a dairy-free bake for her 2-year-old twins' birthday. As usual, I ask what the recipients like and she told me they love swings, ginger cats, butterflies, the colours pink and red. She also requested for something less sweet. I took all that on board and came up with this 😊

The cats and swing are made of macarons. The butterflies are made of bean paste dough. I filled the macarons with dark chocolate and raspberry white chocolate. I also used a reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells, keeping in mind my friend's request. The cake is made up of four layers of chocolate chiffon sponge, and three layers of non-dairy whipping cream, strawberries and kiwi.

I didn't stick the cats onto the swing because I wanted it to be a doll house concept where the "dolls" can be played with. The macaron swing can actually swing too! It took me a while to figure out a mechanism that actually works but is simple enough to put together using whatever tools I have.

I used the reduced sugar Swiss meringue method recipe for the macaron shells. You may refer to this post for the recipe. I added some freeze dried raspberry powder to the shells to colour it and flavour it as well. Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the cats 

The cats were decorated using royal icing, edible marker and lustre dust. 

I filled the shells with dark chocolate and raspberry white chocolate. 

I experimented with using shaved cocoa butter to replace some of the white chocolate so that the filling is not so sweet but is stable in Singapore's hot weather. The filling has to be relativdly firm as the structure had to be stable.

Recipe for raspberry white chocolate filling
80g white chocolate
10g cocoa butter
20g vegetable shortening
1/4tsp salt
4 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder

1. Place all ingredients except raspberry powder in microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10 sec and mix well. Repeat until everything is melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

2. Gradually add raspberry powder and mix well.

3. Set aside at room temperature for 15-30 min to let it firm up to toothpaste consistency. Transfer into piping bag.

Recipe for dark chocolate filling
Ingredients :
40g dark chocolate
10g vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt

Same as above for raspberry white chocolate but skip step 2.

I had to use some ingenuity to figure out the mechanism for the swing such that the macarons won't break.

Looking sweet 

Happy cats on the swing 

You may refer to this post for bean paste dough that I used. I used it to make flowers previously but the dough can also be used to make other things like the butterflies here.

I baked the chocolate chiffon cake using this recipe but replaced milk with water for a non-dairy version. I used 2 egg whites worth of batter for each layer of 8" round cake. I used cookie cutters to cut out strawberry hearts and kiwi leaves.

Layering the cake with non-dairy cream nd fruits.

I decided to go for simple but sweet looking cake so I just frosted the whole cake and used a small spatula to create patterns on the surface. This is nuch easier than my naked cakes revealing neat layers of fruit and cream because you don't have to be neat at all with this kind of rustic finishing 😊.

Looking sweet! 

Although the macaron swing was a challenge to me, I had fun creating it, along with a simple and refreshing cake!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 11 July 2019

Stand Mixer Chiffon Cake

My new retro Stand mixer!!

Just kidding! This is actually chiffon cake =p

My most challenging work so far! ^_^" *sweat*. I didn't think I could do it. Thank God for providing! <3

Here is the cake side-by-side with the pretty pink version of the Stand mixer. Does it look like the Mini-me? They looked really cute together!

It was a lot of work, a lot of carving involved. The bowl was hollow as well =p.

Hope cute cake made you smile! =)

With lots of love,

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Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Whale Shark Blueberry Choux Pastry

It's been a really busy time with book event and classes on 3 consecutive weekends and I am glad I managed to complete this request from a friend! Whale shark choux pastries filled with blueberry whipped cream!

I must admit that it took me 3 tries to get decent shape of tapered éclairs for the main body of the whale shark, partly because I wasn't thinking clearly and used the wrong tip size or wrong piping technique for the first two tries *slap forehead*.

As usual I made my own templates for piping the fins, tail and main body of the shark. As a rule of thumb, I make the cookie cutout about 5-6mm larger than the piped area. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe for craquelin and choux pastry batter.

Just to share a couple of photos of works in progress and a tip on how to pipe the whale shark body shape.

Piped batter for whale shark body. 

Choose a large enough open star piping tip and pipe a tapered éclair. The batter should fall from the piping tip naturally, and not flare out from the piping tip (which creates a line wider than the diameter of piping tip). You may refer to this post for the video tutorial on how to pope éclairs to see what I mean. The difference is, for the tapered éclair, you release pressure on the piping bag earlier and continue dragging the piping tip towards the finishing point to create the taper. It takes a little practice to get this right. You can always scrape the batter off the mat and try again. I strongly recommend using perforated mats for baking éclair shaped choux pastries for better shape retention.

Freshly baked choux pastry case! 

I cut a rather large hole at base of the pastry case for ease of filling the pastries. Be sure to thoroughly dry the cases in the oven before decorating. I used Royal icing for the underbelly, and black candy melts for the eyes. For the candy melt eyes, I didn't melt the candy melt chips but instead just roll the chips between parchment paper and use a round cutter to cut out the eyes. Singapore is that warm that I can roll and cut the candy melt chips. Store baked cases (decorated or undecorated) in airtight condition at cool room temperature until you are ready to fill. You may store it up to a week.

Please also refer to my new book, Deco Choux Pastries for a systematic overview of how to prepare, pipe batter and create choux pastries of various shapes.

I made my own blueberry jam from scratch and added more kick to it by adding freeze dried blueberries. It's really tart so feel free to add more sugar if you prefer.

Blueberry jam
Ingredients :
250g fresh blueberries
45g caster sugar (or according to taste)
1tsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt
10g freeze dried blueberry powder (optional)

1. Place all ingredients except blueberry powder in saucepan. Cook using medium low heat and stir frequently, gently mashing the blueberries when they are soft.

2. Continue cooking until desired consistency. This could take about 15 min. Press jam through sieve to remove the skins.

3. Add freeze dried blueberry powder and mix well. Chill in fridge until ready to use.

Homemade blueberry jam

Blueberry whipped cream
150g non-dairy whipping cream, cold (I used Redman's Whip topping)
150g heavy cream or double cream, cold
150g blueberry jam

Note: you may use non dairy whipping cream alone, dairy cream alone or both but in different ratio from what I suggest. As Singapore is really warm, I use a mix of both to get the best of milky fresh cream taste and stability. You may add icing sugar if you wish to sweeten the cream even more. I omitted because the non dairy cream already contains some sugar.

Steps :
1. Place both types of dairy creams in mixing bowl and beat on low speed using electric mixer until stiff peaks form. If using purely dairy cream, be careful not to overbeat or the cream will separate.

Whipped cream

2. Fold in blueberry jam in a few batches until well mixed.

Store filling in fridge in airtight condition (I keep in piping bags) until ready to fill pastry cases. You may prepare this up to a few days in advance.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Chip Ufufy Chiffon Cake

Posting another of my backlogs. I made this Chipmunk Ufufy Chiffon Cake last year. I just love all things round and cute!!

I had a video of the jiggly texture of the cake! The chipmunk looked like he was looking for nuts.

Someone commented that the nut was right beside him LOL!

Hope this made you smile!! Hehe

With lots of love,

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Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Milo, Tea and Coffee Merlion Macarons (template provided!)

This year I am involved in conducting a macaron workshop for our church carnival as part of a community outreach event. Since the event is near national day, I thought of sharing something that is uniquely Singapore. Merlion macarons filled with familiar coffeeshop drink flavours: Milo, Teh (tea) and Kopi (coffee)!

Hubby helped with coming up with the idea of taking photos of these Merlions. Don't they look like they are having fun doing synchronized swimming 😆!

I came up with the Merlion design so there isn't any copyright issues involved and I can share the template. Please acknowledge the source here if you do use the template as I have taken pains to draw the template. Do acknowledge the source here if you use my recipe and share your work in public domain too!

I decided to demo the simplest method of making macarons, the French method, as it is logistically least involved. I use icing sugar instead of caster so that the meringue is more stable and the batter dries faster.

Recipe for French method Merlion macarons
Ingredients (makes 12 Merlion macarons):
Dry ingredients
45g almond meal (preferably superfine)
55g icing sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour

40g egg whites
36g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

Food colouring
1/8 tsp white powder food colouring
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
3/16 tsp red powder food colouring

1. Prepare baking tray with template and parchment paper.

2. Sift together dry ingredients. Divide into two equal portions. Add sifted white powder colouring to one portion. Add sifted cocoa powder and red powder colouring to the other portion. Use a whisk to whisk together each of the coloured dry ingredients to distribute colouring evenly. Set aside.

3. Prepare the meringue. In a small bowl, whisk together icing sugar and corn flour. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, gradually adding in icing sugar mix once the egg whites are foamy. Whisk the egg whites when icing sugar is added in before turning the mixer speed up or you get powdered sugar flying everywhere. The meringue should be so stiff that it is able to ball up inside the whisk when it is beaten. Divide the meringue into two equal portions.

4. For each coloured batter, scatter half of the powdered ingredients into the meringue. Gently fold in with spatula until just combined. Scatter the other half of dry ingredients and fold in until combined. Continue folding and pressing the batter against side of the bowl with a little more force now until batter is able to flow off the spatula in almost continuous manner. When you make little peaks of batter in the bowl, it should melt back in when you tap the bottom of the bowl.

You may refer to this tutorial on how to prepare macaron batter and basics of piping. You may refer to my macaron books, Creative Baking: Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic presentation of the techniques of basic macarons and fancy shaped macarons.

5. Transfer each coloured batter into piping bag fitted with Wilton #5 or #6 tip. Pipe the head and body of the Merlion, followed by the mane and "arms/fins". Bang the tray on table after piping a few macarons to flatten any peaks and pop any air bubbles trapped before a skin is formed on the surface. Use a toothpick to nudge the batter where necessary.

Piped batter

6. Dry the piped batter in air-con room for 20-30min or until you are able to run a finger across the surface of the shells without feeling any stickiness. In the mean time, preheat oven to 170-180℃ (top and bottom heat only, no fan). Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Once the shells are dry to touch, place tray in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 140℃. Bake for 10 min. Reduce temperature to 110-120℃ and bake for another 10-15 min or until feet do not appear wet. I give a range of oven temperature as each oven is different so adjust baking temperature and time accordingly. Always use an oven thermometer.

7. Let the macarons cool completely on baking tray and gently peel the parchment paper away from the shells. Use black and blue edible marker to draw the details.

Check out the feet on the macaron shells!

Whipped ganache filling recipes
I am going to make these Merlion macarons as giveaways during the event so the fillings have to be tasty as well as firm enough to withstand Singapore's hot climate. Feel free to reduce white chocolate content or increase whipping cream content, or replace vegetable shortening with butter if you live at a cooler place. Feel free to upsize the recipe if you wish.

4tbs Milo kosong powder
30g heavy or double cream
40g white chocolate, finely chopped or use chips
15g unsalted butter, room temperature
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Tea infused whipping cream
2tbs tea dust/ 2 tea bags of black tea
50g heavy or double cream

30g tea infused cream
45g white chocolate
15g unsalted butter
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1.5 tbs Earl grey tea powder

1.5tbs instant coffee granules
30g heavy or double cream
45g white chocolate
15g unsalted butter
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

1. Prepare tea infused whipping cream by heating whipping cream in a small saucepan or microwave oven until it just starts to bubble. Steep the tea dust/ tea bags in the hot cream for 10min. Strain out the tea dust / remove tea bags and measure out 30g.

2. For all the different flavours, heat the heavy cream/tea infused cream until hot but not boiling. You may use the microwave oven or small saucepan to do this. Add Milo powder/ Earl grey tea powder/ coffee granules to the hot cream and stir until the powder is dissolved.

3. In a microwave safe/ heatproof bowl, add white chocolate, butter, vegetable shortening and flavoured cream from step 2. Mix well and melt the contents until smooth using either microwave oven at medium-low power or double boiling. Do not overheat or the white chocolate will separate.

4. Add salt and vanilla bean paste and mix well.

5. Chill the bowl of flavoured ganache in freezer for 1-2min and mix well with a spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing/whipping until you get a smooth fluffy buttercream texture.

6. Transfer to piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Filling the Merlion macarons!

Store filled macarons for at least 24h in the fridge in an airtight container before consuming. I pack a piece of paper towel inside the sealed container/bag to absorb any moisture so that the macaron shells won't turn soggy as they mature with the filling due to unwanted water condensation. Leave the matured macarons at room temperature for 15 min before opening the container/bag to prevent condensation from forming directly on the macaron shells.  It may sound troublesome but this is a tried and tested method I use in Singapore's hot and humid climate to ensure that the macarons are in the best condition when you consume them after storage and with repeated taking in and out of fridge. These macarons are good for a couple of weeks storage in the fridge and a few months in the freezer.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 27 June 2019

'We Bare Bears'-in-Box Chiffon Cake

'We Bare Bears' popping out of a box! 1, 2, 3.. which is your favorite? <3

This cake is an extension of my previous 'Ice Bear-in-Box Chiffon Cake'. The bears managed to find a box big enough to house all 3 of them! =) As the box was so long, the base is a 10-inch pandan chiffon cake.

And here is a more side view =).

Always love We bare Bears so much!! Don't they look so cosy! Hope they made you smile as they made me while I was making them! <3

With lots of love,

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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

'Basket of Yellow Orchids' Pandan Kaya Cake

This is another bake that I had time to study and mull over. Yellow orchid themed pandan kaya cake for some guests to Singapore!

I made a similar cake for my mum's birthday a month plus ago. The same design of partial basket weave cake (basket weave made entirely out of gula melaka chiffon sponge) revealing the alternate layers of pandan gula melaka chiffon sponge and pandan Gula melaka pudding, except that I made a square cake instead of a round one. I also used the same recipe for bean paste flowers to make the orchids and leaves, whereas I made roses for my mum.

To me honest, I wasn't sure I could pull it off as I didn't have orchid petal cutters and veiner or the specific leaf veiner and cutter. Nor did I have the time and patience to study gum paste/sugar paste orchid tutorials thoroughly before I embarked on creating the flowers and leaves. I made my own templates for the petals and leaves and created a species of yellow orchids that isn't known 😆. I had some advice from experts at making edible flowers so that was really helpful too. Check out Helen (Instagram: bakepeoplehappy) and Shirley (Instagram: shirleyyangacakes) on Instagram to see their beautiful work!

I used dried mung beans that are easily available at supermarkets in Singapore to make the bean paste orchids and leaves. Even the shelled dried mung beans have a little black bits that got incorporated into the bean paste but I thought it's ok to have some imperfections on the flowers. You may refer to this post on my first experience with making bean paste roses. I am unable to share the recipe as I bought it from Helen. You may purchase it from her if you are interested. It tastes like bean flavoured mochi and way less sweet than sugar or fondant flowers AND it's super easy to handle and shape.

Just to share a few photos of the works in progress flowers and how I managed to pull this off without some of the specialized tools.

I used cheap plastic file to create templates for cutting out the petals and leaves. It's the same type of plastic sheet I use for cookie templates. It's reusable as you can wash the templates.

I created the petal veins using the blunt knife blade of a fondant tool. I didn't have foam pieces for helping to shape the petals and leaves while drying the moulded parts so I just used pieces of paper towels and cling wrap. I also didn't have specialized plastic petal/flower cups for drying formed parts so I just used a silicone baking mould that I have at home. 

Just a tip, always leave a small portion of same coloured bean paste dough (bottom right corner of photo above) for testing out edible paint colours after the formed flowers have dried.

I used paper towels and cling wrap for shaping the drying bean paste leaves too. I manually created the leaf veins using a baking knife blade shaped fondant tool.

After attaching the petals, column and throat of the orchids to gauge wires, I hung them upside down to dry. I didn't have a special drying rack so I just used a wire rack for steaming stuff in the wok and placed it over a mixing bowl. You can use whatever you have at home to create a makeshift drying rack to hang the flowers upside down.

Drying assembled orchids

Instead of dusting the flowers with edible dust, I made edible paint by using a mixture of vodka, edible petal dust and gel food colouring.

Orchid in the middle already has some subtle green shades added on. The one on the left has all the details added in. See how the flower comes to life with added details!

Completed set of buds, leaves and orchids. I didn't use one of the buds as I felt it was unnecessary.

A closer look at an orchid!

I used floral tape and more gauge wire to assemble the buds and flowers into a stalk. I attached a wooden dowel rod as a support too. Wrap the base of the stalk with cling wrap so that the surface directly in contact with the cake is food safe.

You may refer to this post for detailed recipe for the pandan Gula melaka kaya cake. I didn't make a diabetic friendly version this time round so I just used regular caster sugar instead of Stevia. Half of the sugar content comes from coconut palm sugar (Gula melaka) so overall the bake is still a little more diabetic friendly than pandan kaya cakes that are made using caster sugar only, and it adds that extra flavour to the cake. Coconut palm sugar has a glycemic index a third of regular white sugar.

I must admit that assembling a square pandan kaya cake isn't as easy as the round one as the square acetate sheet mould I made wasn't firm enough. I need to keep in mind to reinforce the walls with adjustable square metal cake ring in the future. The basket weave is made entirely out of Gula melaka chiffon cake. I followed the way basket weave pattern is piped on cakes using buttercream as a reference to create the basket weave.

Even the unadorned cake looks inviting 😊

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday, 21 June 2019

Princess Mermaid Chiffon Cake

Princess Mermaid Chiffon Cake, filled with a jelly surprise!

The beautiful photo above is taken by the talented @mmlittlee. I wish I could take photos like her!

The backdrop was also beautifully done by her. The cake was modeled after Ufufy Princess Ariel and entirely decorated with chiffon cake. The tricky part was baking a huge sheet cake big enough for the hair!

I managed to find a picture of the jelly inside. There was more jelly in the top side. Thank God cake was very well-received, especially the jelly surprise, and this always brings me so much joy! =)

Still school holidays so not much time to blog. Hope all of you are having a great time with the family too!

With lots of love,

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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Iron Man Assorted Macarons

I made some assorted macarons for my friend who is a fan of Iron man 😊.

Dark chocolate, salted caramel and lemon flavours! 

I filled the macarons with whipped dark chocolate ganache for chocolate macarons. I filled the salted caramel ones with a ring of salted caramel cream cheese, followed by a generous dollop of homemade salted caramel in the middle. I filled the lemon ones with a ring of lemon whipped white chocolate ganache, followed by a generous dollop of homemade lemon curd in the middle.

As the piping of Iron man shape is rather challenging, I chose recipes for macaron shells that produce a more stable batter. Originally I only planned to use the reduced sugar Swiss method recipe but I didn't prepare enough batter 😆. I topped up with a stabilized French method recipe as it can be prepared much more quickly and is stable enough for a small batch.

I used the reduced-sugar Swiss method for head version and stabilized French method for the full body version of chibi Iron man macarons. Here are some photos of the piped batter...

Piping the full body version

Piping the head version, top shells

Bottom shells for the head version

Adding in the details post-baking is also not for the fainthearted. It took me about one and a half days of work to complete adding in the details with edible black marker and painting with royal icing. Of course with interruptions from the kids as it's the school holidays 😅.

Filling the macarons...

You may refer to this post for the recipe for whipped dark chocolate ganache. You may refer to this post for salted caramel and this post for lemon curd. I will share with you the recipe for salted caramel cream cheese and an updated lemon whipped ganache recipe.

Salted caramel cream cheese
50g salted caramel chips (I use Hershey's brand)
40g unsalted butter, room temperature
30g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. In a small mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese with a spatula until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

2. Place salted caramel chips and butter in heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of freshly boiled water without the bottom of the bowl touching the water. Use a spatula to mix the contents in the bowl until melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat. Don't panic if the mixture appears to separate. It will all come together later after chilling and whipping. Set aside to firm up in air-con room until scoopable consistency, about 30min. Alternatively, chill in freezer for 1-2min and stir/whip with a spatula. Repeat chilling and whipping until smooth, firm and creamy like buttercream.

3. Add salt and mix well. Add whipped cream cheese in a few additions, mixing well after each addition using a spatula.

Lemon whipped white chocolate ganache
55g white chocolate, finely chopped or use chips
20g unsalted butter
18g lemon curd
Zest of a lemon
1/8 tsp lemon paste
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

1. Place white chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt together using medium low power at 10 second bursts, mixing well in between heating rounds. Be careful not to overheat.

2. Chill the melted chocolate in the freezer for 1-2min and stir/beat with spatula. Repeat freezing and beating until light and creamy like buttercream.

3. Add lemon zest and salt and mix well. Add lemon paste and juice and mix well. Gradually add lemon curd and mix well.

Thank God the macarons were very well received!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Friday, 14 June 2019

Snoopy and Woodstock on Hurricane Chiffon Cake

And that is how I applied my Hurricane Chiffon Cake! To make a green pasture design for Snoopy and Woodstock! Looking at them makes me go Awww.. and reminds me of the wonderful moments we have with our best friend =).

For those who are interested how I made Snoopy, I have shared the recipe here. The same recipe and technique is used for making the Hello Kitty and Snoopy cake pops. I used a Snoopy mold. If you like a whiter cake, you can reduce the egg yolks down from 3 egg yolks to 1 egg yolk. For the house, I just cut out a block of red chiffon cake and stuck a red sheet cake over for roof using melted marshmallow cream. The woodstock is carved/cut out from yellow sheet chiffon cake.

Video and recipe for Hurricane chiffon cake has been shared last week.

Hope this made you smile!! hugs

And sorry for disappearing for over a week, was overseas and wasn't near any PC. But it was a good break away, by God's grace.

With lots of love,

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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Dinosaur Choux Pastries on Kiwis n Cream Chiffon Cake (Dairy-free)

My friend requested for a dinosaur themed bake for her son. Her family loves the strawberries n cream cakes I bake so she requested for another fresh fruit n cream cake again. She was game to try choux pastry so I took up the challenge of creating the dinosaurs and backdrop using choux pastry!

The birthday boy and some of the family members are allergic to dairy so this bake is dairy-free (well almost...I still used dairy butter in the Choux pastry case and pastry cream but it's a small percentage in relation to the other ingredients and the birthday boy is able to tolerate.)

I will share the links to detailed recipe of some of the components of this bake but will include detailed recipe of new stuff like dairy-free but rich chocolate pastry cream and the ingredient list for my dairy-free vanilla chiffon cake.

You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe of choux pastry case and the Craquelin on top of it. I chose rather safe colours for the dinosaurs so that any browning will be less obvious. Remember to use a perforated mat for the main body pastry cases as it helps to retain the shape better. Just to share photos of the process...

Piped batter with cookie dough on top before baking.

Freshly baked cases with the various parts

Assembled choux cases using royal icing. The volcano and trunk of the tree are made using a special technique for making cylindrical shaped choux cases shared by seb.pettersson (Instagram)

Here's a peek at the nicely hollow interior of the truncated cone I baked for the volcano!

I had to stop to ooo and aahh at the final Choux creation because it's just so cute and whimsical!

T Rex looks like it ate too much and had to sit down while Brontosaurus looks like it still wants to eat 😆

The pastry cases are not glued to the cakeboard so that they can be filled with chocolate pastry cream just before consumption. Here's the rich and smooth dairy-free chocolate pastry cream recipe. You may scale it up or down accordingly.

Dairy-free chocolate pastry cream
3 egg yolks
30g cornflour
15g cocoa powder
30g caster sugar
300g + 23g soy milk (or rice/ almond milk)
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate couverture (or chopped dark chocolate of your choice. Add more if you prefer even more chocolatey and firmer filling)
20g unsalted butter (or dairy-free butter), room temperature
110g non-dairy whipping cream, chilled

1. Place 300g soy milk, salt and vanilla extract in saucepan and heat on medium low heat until it just starts to bubble at the edges.

2. In the mean time, sift together cocoa powder and cornflour into a heavy heatproof mixing bowl. Add sugar and whisk together until combined. Add egg yolks and 23g of soy milk and whisk until a thick smooth paste forms.

3. Once the soy milk is sufficiently heated, remove from heat and pour in the slow thin stream into egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly. This is to temper the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into saucepan.

4. Whisk the mixture while heating over the stove on medium-low heat. Once the mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk until it smoothens out. Put the saucepan back to heat and whisk continuously until your preferred custard consistency. Remove the saucepan from heat to whisk now and then as necessary. Do not use high heat or you end up with scrambled eggs.

5. Once the custard is cooked to your preferred consistency, remove from heat and add butter and chocolate couverture. Whisk until smooth and all the butter and chocolate has melted. Sieve the pastry cream if there are any lumps. Press a cling wrap on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cool. At least an hour.

6. Whip non-dairy whipping cream until firm peaks form. Use a spatula to gently beat the pastry cream until it is loosened in texture. Fold the whipping cream into the party cream in a few additions until no trace of whipping cream is seen. You may store the chocolate pastry cream in the fridge for a few days in airtight condition

I love the fact that this pastry cream is rich and chocolatey without the taste of soy milk at all! 

I have made strawberries n cream vanilla chiffon cake quite a few times and used the same default recipe because it is always very well received. I adapted this dairy-free version from my default recipe. The only changes I made were changing the liquid from fresh milk to water and using more vanilla extract. I don't have access to rice milk or I would have used it. I didn't use soy milk as I didn't like the idea of having the taste of soy mixed with fresh fruit and cream. I prefer it to have a pure vanilla and milky flavour which compliments a tart fruit like kiwi better.

As this is a larger 8" cake, I decided to bake three separate layers of cakes instead of one large cake and then slicing into three. The ingredient list is for all three layers in total so you may bake it as one tall cake if you wish. I baked each layer for about 45 min with a tray of water at bottom of oven at 135-140℃. Note that baking time will be much longer for a single tall cake.

Dairy-free vanilla chiffon cake
Ingredients (8" round pan with removable base):
5 egg yolks
6g castor sugar
67g canola oil
67g water (or rice milk)
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
96g cake flour

6 egg whites
78g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

You may refer to this post for the steps for making the sponge.

A freshly baked layer of vanilla sponge!

Assembling with non-dairy whipping cream and kiwis. Using acetate sheet helps to keep the assembly neat.

I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract to 300g of non-dairy whipping cream. As the whipping cream is rather stable, I didn't need to add gelatin or icing sugar as stabilizer. Sugar is also already present in the non-dairy cream.

Assembled cake!

I baked a separate orange coloured chiffon sponge for the name and glued it onto the cake using non-dairy whipping cream.

This bake is really a labour of love as I put in lots of care for each component!

If you would like to explore more fun Choux pastry designs, do check out my Deco Choux Pastries book which is currently available at bookstores in Singapore!

With love,
Phay Shing

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