Monday, 7 January 2019

Piggy Chiffon Cakes in Macaron Teacups

It's only natural that I put little piggies in the macaron teacups that I made! Please refer to my previous post on how to make the macaron teacups where I provided a video tutorial on how to pipe the hemispherical shells.

The piggies in cups with chiffon Mandarin oranges!

I will share the recipe for making the strawberry orange flavoured chiffon piggies which have no additional artificial colouring added. I have been making creative chiffons for five years now (how time flies!) but this is the first time I did something differently to make it easier and faster to complete a bake like this. Before I share the details on how to make the piggies, let me share a little about the Mandarin orange chiffons.

I have been making the chiffon Mandarin oranges around Chinese new year since 2014 and this is the sixth consecutive year I have been making them! They have a special place in my baking journey as the first successful experiment for baking chiffons in glass bowls and one of the earliest creative chiffon bakes. You may refer to this post for the recipe and shaping/decorating instructions. Just to share some photos of the process...

Freshly baked Mandarin orange chiffon cakes in glass bowls

Shaping the unmoulded cakes in the same glass bowls they were baked in

Imprinting the creases at the top of the orange

And now, on to the piggies!

I baked the three larger piggies in small glass bowls and the mini ones in small hemispherical silicone mould with 4cm diameter cavities. I actually intended to bake only the mini ones but had leftover batter so I baked three larger piggies in the glass bowls.

Strawberry orange chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes one 15cm chiffon cake or in my case it's about twenty to twenty-five 4cm hemispheres and one 8x8" chiffon sheet cake):
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks
5g caster sugar
30g vegetable oil
30g freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2-1 tsp strawberry emulco*
A pinch of salt
40g cake flour

3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
40g caster sugar

* The strawberry emulco or strawberry paste added is variable as it depends on how strong the red colouring is in the strawberry paste you are using. Add a quarter tsp at a time into your batter and observe the resulting colour before you decide to add more.

Note: I use a slightly higher oil content and less juice content as the chiffon cake is to be stored together with the macaron teacup. Macaron shells turn soggy if they come in direct contact with moisture from chiffon cake. To keep the cake fairly moist without turning the macaron soggy during storage, I use a higher oil content but lower juice content.

1. Line the 8x8" baking tray with parchment paper or Teflon sheet. If you don't have the tray of this size, you may substitute with other sizes. Just fill with enough batter to form a thin layer when you want to bake. I prefer using Teflon sheet as it produces sheet cakes without creases. Preheat oven to 160℃. Set oven rack to second lowest position.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until combined. Add orange juice and pinch of salt until well combined. Gradually add sifted flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. Add strawberry emulco a quarter tsp at a time until a desired warm pink shade is achieved.

3. Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks, adding sugar gradually once the egg whites are foamy.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter a third at a time. Quickly spoon the batter into the mould cavities (or glass bowls or egg shells if you have neither silicone mould nor glass bowls). Spoon some batter into lined baking tray and use the spoon to smooth out the surface. It should just be a thin layer of batter.

5. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 135℃ and bake for another 7-8 minutes or until skewer comes out clean for the sheet cake. Immediately remove from oven and flip onto a parchment paper.

Continue baking the hemispheres for another 10-15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before unmoulding.

6. Shape the unmoulded hemispheres to make the bottom look more rounded. I did this by gently inserting the bottom into a slightly smaller mould that I have. If you don't have, you can still gently mould it using your hands (see my video tutorial for shaping Mandarin oranges). I found that the silicone mould that the cakes were baked in were not rigid enough for moulding, unlike the glass bowls. That was why I used a smaller mould for shaping.

7. Cut little triangles from the sheet cake using a small fruit knife for the ears. Cut out snouts by using a round cutter to cut out a piece from the sheet cake. Gently squish it to make it oval. If you have oval cutters you may use it instead. Use the blunt end of toothpick to create the nostrils. The tail of the larger piggy and “hands” of the smaller pig was made by using a round cutter to cut out a circle and then gently moulding it into a ball with your fingers. Keep the small cutouts in airtight container to prevent them from drying out.

8. I used to bake thin black and white sheet cakes for the character's eyes. This meant that I had to go through the trouble of preparing extra batter and baking them. The thing that I did differently was to use black candy melts for the eyes. No, I didn't melt the candy melts, transfer into piping bag and pipe the eyes on. I did something much faster and easier. I used a rolling pin to roll the candy melt chip between parchment paper until it was flat. Then I used a small round cutter to cut out the eyes. Singapore's weather is warm enough such that it's easy to roll the candy melt chip flat. If you are working in a cold kitchen, you may want to warm up the chip with the heat of your fingers or hands before rolling it flat. Something that took half an hour using more ingredients can now be done in less than 10 seconds with only one ingredient!

9. I melted some white compound chocolate with a bit of vegetable shortening and used it as glue to stick on the small parts. I used the same melted chocolate to pipe the white highlights in the eyes. I usually use melted marshmellows with a sprinkle of water as glue but find that using this form of melted chocolate works wonderfully too. The addition of vegetable shortening is to make the chocolate stay in a workable fluid condition for a longer time. Otherwise the melted chocolate may harden quite quickly and you need to re-melt it before you are done with the assembly.

The last step of assembly involves filling the macaron teacups with whipped Earl grey white chocolate ganache and then gently placing the mini piggies and two round balls of chiffon for the hands on the ganache.

Store the assembled teacup with piggies in airtight container in the fridge.

Since it's the first time I am making a creation with this configuration of chiffon and macarons, I kept one test piece for five days in the fridge (trying to push the limits here) and did a taste test.

I love the look of the cross section 😍😍

I was pleasantly surprised that the chiffon wasn't overly dry nor was the macaron shell overly soggy! I normally brush the surface of baked chiffons with some syrup to prevent the sponge from drying out during storage in the fridge but didn't do so for the mini piggies in the cups as I didn't want to risk turning the macaron shells soggy. So I am really pleased that this configuration is workable and so cute!

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Hi...amazing...I wish to know where to purchase the glass bowl? What size is that and what the bowl called?



    1. Hi Amanda,
      As long as the glass bowl is oven-safe, you may use it. The brand is iwaki. I bought mine over a period of time from various places such as OG, Tokyu hands, Robinsons and Meidi Ya. If you are unable to get the bowls, you may use metal moulds, silicone moulds or even egg shells.

    2. Hi...thanks for your replied..May I know this bowl u used for this orange is what size ya?


    3. Hi Amanda, sorry for the late reply! Just saw this comment. I used the outer rim diameter of 8.5cm but I have baked in glass bowls slightly bigger before. Please refer to links to my older Mandarin orange chiffon posts for details. Dimensions of the bowls are found there