Monday, 29 April 2019

Yuzu Honey Ginger Chiffon Sponge and Pudding Cake

My brother requested for a simple birthday cake for his colleague. After discussing what flavour options to go for, we decided on yuzu. I took the liberty of adding other subtle flavours into the cake as well... Honey, ginger and a little lemon juice! I am a foodie of sorts so I love to focus on bringing an interesting touch to tantalize the senses with flavours and textures that are not one-dimensional, especially when called to create bakes that are simple in design. Here's my take on a simple, no-frills chiffon sponge and pudding cake with no artificial colouring added. The decorative motifs are made entirely out of yuzu peel. Pudding and jelly layers contain no added refined sugar too!


This cake is made of two yuzu chiffon sponge layers, two yuzu ginger honey pudding layers and one layer of yuzu ginger honey jelly. The added yuzu peel decoration adds to the citron flavour and provides an extra bite as well. Although I made yuzu chiffon cake a number of times, I used a reduced egg yolk recipe as a white chiffon was needed. There is no need for that over here so I took the chance to experiment with another recipe and used the cooked dough method. Recipe is adapted from Neo Sook Bee's Instagram post (IG: neo_sook_bee). Do check her awesome account full of delicious looking sponge cakes! The refined sugar-free pudding and jelly layers were inspired by another awesome lady who specializes in coming up with vegan recipes that are keto friendly. Do check out Mei Yee’s Instagram account and be blown away by the beautiful photography and delicious looking food and bakes (IG: nm_meiyee)!

One of the ingredients I used here, yuzu juice concentrate, may not be easily available. I bought a bottle of it during a seasonal offer at Isetan as I was really impressed with the intense flavour without artificial undertones. The only ingredients were sugar and yuzu in the juice concentrate. Substitute juice concentrate with blended and sieved yuzu marmalade and water using equal parts of jam and water if you are unable to get the juice concentrate. The flavour may not be as intense. I use a combination of marmalade/jam and juice concentrate to impart the different intensity, flavour and texture that either jam or juice has. The juice concentrate has an intense yuzu flavour with some sweetness from the sugar added. The jam has pieces of yuzu peel that provides extra bite and a little bitterness that offsets the sweetness of the jam.

Recipe for yuzu chiffon cake, cooked dough method
Ingredients (makes one 17cm chiffon and a 7x7" thick sheet cake. You may use a 7" round pan with removable base but without the central tube. I don't have that so I had to resort to using another cake to cover the hole in the middle of the chiffon ๐Ÿ˜†):

Egg yolk batter
58g Canola or vegetable oil
95g Cake flour
90g Yuzu tea*
5g Lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
5 egg yolks

Meringue
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
70g caster sugar

* Dissolve 60g of yuzu jam in 80g of hot water. Blend it until you get your preferred coarseness of yuzu peel. Measure out 90g of yuzu tea.

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 150℃. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional). Line 7x7" tray with parchment paper or Teflon sheet if using.

2. Sift cake flour and salt into mixing bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat oil until 80℃ and pour into mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add yuzu juice and whisk until you get a thick smooth paste. Add egg yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

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

4. Quickly but gently fold meringue into egg yolk batter in three additions. Pour batter into prepared tin/tray.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the 7x7" thin sheet cake from oven and unmould immediately onto a parchment paper to cool. Reduce temperature to 140℃ and continue to bake the 17cm chiffon cake in the tube pan for another 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for 30-40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Note that I am baking two cakes at the same time (one 7x7" thin cake and one 17cm tall chiffon cake). If you have a 7" round tin without the central tube, you just have to focus on baking one cake.

6. Cool the tall chiffon cake inverted until room temperature. Unmould by hand. Slice the cake into two (or three if you prefer). Store in airtight container. When ready to assemble, place one layer of sponge on cakeboard with an acetate sheet wrapped around it for layering sponge, pudding and jelly. Because I am using chiffon tin to bake the sponge, I covered the hole in the middle with cake cutout from the layer sponge cake.

Freshly baked yuzu chiffon cake!

A closer look at the cake. You can see tiny specks of yuzu peel!

I chose to use the yuzu peel in the jam as decorations but this is optional. I rinsed the peel in water and leave it to dry on paper towel, cutting and curling the pieces before they are fully dried. You may use the oven at 60℃ to speed up the drying but be careful not to overdry it. As long as the peel is able to hold its shape, it's ready.

Drying yuzu peel

Yuzu ginger honey pudding
Ingredients:
A)
50g Water
4tsp Cornflour

B)
200g Yuzu jam, blended and sieved
150g Heavy cream

C)
25g Yuzu juice concentrate
20g honey
150g Water
1 and 1/4 tsp Agar powder
1/8 tsp salt
5g (1tsp) Lemon juice
5g (1tsp) Ginger juice

Steps:
1. Prepare A) by dissolving cornflour in water in a jug. Set aside.

2. Mix yuzu jam and whipping cream together in a bowl. Set aside. If you want the pudding to have a smooth texture, use a fine sieve for the pureed jam. If you prefer yuzu peel bits in the pudding, you can skip the sieving.

3. Prepare C). Place all ingredients except agar powder in a saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until honey and salt is dissolved. Scatter the agar into the mixture and keep stirring. Once the mixture boils, keep stirring for a minute to ensure all the agar powder is dissolved.

4. Add B) into saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.

5. Stir A) and pour into saucepan in a thin stream, stirring continuously. Keep stirring until mixture boils and continue stirring for another minute or two.

6. Pass the mixture through a sieve if you would like a smooth pudding.

7. Use a ladle to carefully pour pudding over the sponge.

Pudding on sponge layer

8. Wait for a few minutes for the pudding layer to set a little. To speed this up, you may refrigerate the cake for 2 minutes. Carefully place the other sponge layer on top and gently but firmly press it down into the pudding layer.

9. Carefully layer the rest of the pudding on top of the sponge layer. Let the pudding set a little for a few minutes.

10. Carefully arrange the yuzu peel on top of the pudding, gently pressing it into the pudding. Chill the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. In the mean time, prepare the jelly layer.

Yuzu peel on pudding layer

Yuzu ginger honey jelly
Ingredients:
60g Yuzu juice concentrate
240g Water
5g Lemon juice
15g Honey
10g Ginger juice
1 tsp Agar powder

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients except agar powder in a saucepan. Bring to boil while stirring until honey is dissolved.

2. Scatter agar into the mixture and stir continuously for another 2-3 minutes until all the agar is dissolved.

3. Pour into a bowl to let it cool to room temperature but stirring frequently to prevent the jelly from setting.

4. Use a ladle or jug to gently pour jelly over pudding layer. Chill for at least a few hours or overnight before carefully removing the acetate sheet.

Best served within two to three days of assembly. Keep refrigerated in airtight condition.

Thank God that the feedback for this fairly experimental cake was good! It wasn't consumed at its freshest due to my baking schedule but it was still good! The recipe is a keeper! Everyone loved the texture and when the three layers: sponge, pudding and jelly were eaten together, the taste was sublime ๐Ÿ˜Š.

Here's a peek at another yuzu chiffon cake creation that I made with this sponge cake recipe shortly after. Design is taken from our Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes book. Sunflower cupcakes!



With love,
Phay Shing
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Thursday, 25 April 2019

Merlion Chiffon Cake


Very excited and thankful for the opportunity to bake for K-pop star Chung Ha when she was over in SG in collaboration with LG Singapore! The Merlion is our Singapore icon, so it was specially designed for her as a surprise gift. Of course, mine ended up being the cartoon version as that's me haha! The colour palette was chosen to match her concert theme. And the chiffon cake is pandan flavoured as we wanted to showcase our local flavour =).

I used freshly blended pandan juice, but skipped the heavy green portion so that there wouldn't be a greenish hue, and instead topped up with some pandan flavour extract (from baking stores). I have shared a video of the making the Merlion cake here. Hope you like this labour of love and sweet creation! And here are more pics! =)


And this is my dream pic! I am a big fan of k-pop so really honored and thankful to be bake for someone as talented as her!


With lots of love,
Susanne

Updates: Featured on E Online!






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Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Tiger Chocolate Choux Pastry

Besides cupcakes, cookies, puddings/jellies, macarons, tarts and buns as part of the dessert table for parties, why not consider Choux pastry! Here are some tiger Choux au Craquelin filled with a mixture of chocolate pastry cream and non-dairy whipping cream!


Recipe for Choux pastry case
Ingredients (makes about 16 tiger pastries):
Craquelin
35g plain flour, sifted
35g unsalted butter
30g caster sugar
2-3 drops of orange gel food colouring

Choux pastry
100-105g water
1/2 tsp salt
20g unsalted butter*
20g olive oil*
60g bread flour, sifted twice
95-105g eggs, lightly beaten (about 2 eggs)
3 drops of orange gel food colouring

* You may use all oil or all butter depending on your preference. Oil only will result in a crispier and lighter case but butter only will result in a richer and more fragrant case.

Steps:
1. Prepare the Craquelin. You can do this ahead of time. Cream sugar and butter together until well combined. The sugar doesn't have to be fully dissolved. Add orange food colouring and mix well. Add flour and mix well to form a dough. Roll to 3mm thickness between two parchment paper. Freeze until firm. Use a 4cm cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the cutouts on a tray lined with parchment paper. Freeze until needed.

2. Prepare a baking tray with template for the tiger ears, and another baking tray with template for 3.5cm circles OR hemispherical silicone moulds with circles 3-4cm diameter. Line the baking trays with parchment paper, silicone mat or perforated mat (preferred choice if you want to have the best shape retention). Preheat oven to 190℃. Set oven rack to middle position.

3. Place water, salt, oil and butter into a saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and pour the flour in all at once. Mix well. Press out any visible lumps of flour with spatula. Add gel food colouring and mix well. Return to heat at medium-low and knead the dough with spatula for about 3-4 minutes to let more water evaporate.

4. Transfer the dough into a bowl. Knead for about a minute with spatula and spread out in bowl to cool for a few minutes. Add half of egg to dough and mix well with spatula. Add half of remaining egg and mix well. Add the remaining egg a little at a time, testing the consistency of the batter after each addition. Once the batter is able to fall off the spatula in 3 seconds, it is ready. You may refer to this post for the video tutorial of preparing basic choux pastry batter.

5. Transfer batter into piping bag with a 2mm piping tip or a small hole cut. Pipe the ears. The thin long part is for inserting into the head. Use a wet finger to tap down any peaks. Dab some water on baking tray around the piped batter to create steam during baking. Bake for 10-12min. Cool completely on tray. Preheat oven to 200℃ before baking the next tray.

Piped batter for ears

6. You may pipe tall mounds of batter using the 3.5cm circle template or pipe about 12g batter into each hemispherical mould and freeze until firm. At least 2h or overnight. If using frozen batter, pop the frozen hemispheres onto perforated mat, leaving at least 4cm spacing between mounds. Place a frozen cookie cutout on top of each piped mound/frozen mound. Dab some water around the mounds.

7. Place baking tray in oven. Reduce temperature to 190℃ and bake for 10-15 min. Reduce temperature to 180℃ and bake for 10 min. Reduce temperature to 160℃ and bake for 10-15min. Reduce temperature to 130℃ with the fan mode on and bake for 15min. Use the longer baking time range for frozen batter. Do note that each oven is different so adjust baking temperature and time accordingly.

Frozen mound of batter with cookie dough on top.

8. Cool on baking tray until you are able to handle with your hands. Cut a small hole at the bottom of the pastry case. Return to oven to dry it out more at 130℃ if still wet inside. If not, leave it to cool completely.

9. Use toothpick to make small holes to insert the ears. Carefully insert the ears.

Tiger head!

I used white chocolate, black candy melts and royal icing for adding the facial details on the tiger. White chocolate chips and candy melt chips can be kneaded together and rolled between parchment paper to create sheets because Singapore is that warm ๐Ÿ˜…. Use cookie cutter to cut out the necessary shapes for the parts. I used black royal icing for the stripes.

Store decorated cases in airtight condition at cool room temperature for up to a few days.

Chocolate pastry cream with whipping cream
Ingredients:
30g cornflour
40g sugar
20g cocoa powder
3 egg yolks
300g+20g milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
Pinch of salt
25g unsalted butter
130g whip topping (non-dairy whipping cream)**

** You may use full dairy whipping cream if the environment that you serve the pastries is not too warm.

Steps:
1. Sift together cocoa powder and cornflour into a heatproof heavy bowl. Add sugar and whisk together. Add egg yolks and 20g of milk and whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.

2. Heat 300g milk, vanilla, salt and coffee liqueur (if using) in a saucepan until the milk just starts to bubble at the edges.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and pour in a thin stream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Start off pouring very slowly before pouring faster. This is to temper the egg yolks.

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat while whisking all the time. Once mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk until mixture becomes smooth again. Return to heat and keep whisking as the pastry cream thickens until your preferred consistency. Keep in mind the pastry cream will be firmer upon cooling.

5. Remove from heat and add butter. Whisk until butter is melted and incorporated. Transfer custard to a bowl and press a piece of cling wrap on the surface of pastry cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for an hour or until cool. You may prepare this a day ahead of time.

6. Beat cold whipping cream using electric mixer until firm or stiff peaks form. Take the chilled pastry cream out from the fridge and stir to loosen it. Fold in the whipped cream into the pastry cream in a few batches.

Adding whipping cream into pastry cream

Pastry cream with lightened texture when the whipping cream added

Fill the Choux cases just before consumption if you like to enjoy the cases crisp. If you prefer to have the Choux pastry soft, let the filling sit in the case in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before consuming. The pastry cream with whipped cream added can be kept refrigerated for a few days.

My hubby had a couple of extras that I have and he said it's really good! The Choux pastry was a little soft but still slightly crisp (I let it sit for a couple of hours with filling in the fridge) and filling had just the right texture and taste. Hubby likes the filling smooth and rich and not too mousse-like. It's tasty while not being too sweet!

If you would like to know what other designs you can make with choux pastries, checkout my Deco Choux Pastries book!



With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 21 April 2019

'Lamb' Coconut Chiffon Cake


Blessed Easter!!๐Ÿ’• This Chiffon cake is a Lamb called Love!๐Ÿ’–

The lamb is made from Coconut chiffon cake coated with Desiccated/ shredded coconut! Was rather experimental! ๐Ÿ˜› Did I get the texture of the sheep fur correct? ๐Ÿ™ˆ

For those interested in a yummy and whiter Vanilla Coconut Chiffon Cake, recipe has been shared here before.

The cake was very well-received in terms of its taste and texture! =)

This cake is especially meaningful to me during Easter as for Christians, Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb who died and rose again to take our sins away, out of his great Love for us =).
Blessed Easter to all!

With lots of love,
Susanne


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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Creative Baking: Deco Choux Pastries

I am so excited to present to you the sixth book in our Creative Baking series -- Deco Choux Pastries!


Update 11/10/2019:
Deco Choux Pastries is already available on Book Depository! Click on this link to go to the website!

Update 20/06/2019:
Deco Choux Pastries is already available at Kinokuniya and Popular bookstore in Singapore! It is also available for ordering from MPH online in Malaysia! Click on this link if you would like to place an order.

Update 8/6/2019:
Book event for this book will happen on 30th June at Redman, Star Vista! I will demonstrate the making of some absolutely adorable sheep choux pastry cases from start to finish. From the making of batter from scratch, all the way to piping batter, assembling and decorating baked cases. There will be a free giveaway of some sheep choux pastries as well as sale of the books where you can get them autographed on the spot! So do save the date and come and see the demo if you are interested!


******************************************

Although this book comes after the chiffon cakes and macarons cookbooks, I first ventured into making non-traditional choux pastry designs in mid 2014, and saw the huge potential for creative expression back then. I just didn't have the bandwidth to focus on developing this area until I made a deliberate effort to make time for it in early 2018.

Let me share with you why I am so excited about Choux pastries. I love the complementary textures and flavours of the crisp outer pastry case and cold and creamy filling! It's like party in your mouth as you take time to savour the flavours and textures ๐Ÿ˜Š. In terms of technical difficulty, Choux pastries are easier than chiffon cakes and macarons as you don't have to deal with meringues and you don't need to have sophisticated equipment like electric mixer or candy thermometers. Even people who don't bake often are able to get it right the first time as seen from my Choux pastry classes! Choux pastries contain much less sugar than chiffon cakes and macarons, and you can even make it totally savoury! Only a few basic ingredients are needed to make choux pastries and steam power is the source of raising agent. No artificial chemicals are used!

Deco Choux Pastries is a full length recipe book with 30 different designs, unlike our shorter Deco Chiffon Basics and Macaron Basics books which have only half that number. Like all the previous books in this series, I cover the basics, ingredients and equipment, frequently asked questions, recipes for various fillings (savoury as well as Asian flavours are included!) and storage. Printable templates are provided, along with the recipes for each design. The designs are divided into four sections -- basic, chocolate coated, Craquelin coated and assembled choux pastries. There are a few video tutorials that I made to provide better visual aids than still photos. The QR code can be found in the respective pages of the book. Unlike the few deco choux pastry designs that are already around in specialty cafes, I try to use Choux pastry itself to create as many features as possible, instead of relying on fondant or chocolate.

Here is a sneak peek at the photoshoot sessions which spanned over three consecutive days. Bear in mind that these are photos of raw photos on the photographer's tablet so the quality of pictures will be much better in the book. It was tiring but I was charmed by how whimsical the whole thing was!

Such as...

 A group of hamsters laughing so hard that they can't stand up straight

Pandas who are looking a little lost while driving past towers of orange juice

Durian puffs like you have never seen before

Sheep that look slightly puzzled.

Happy bees...

And happy snowmen too!

There's the absolutely adorable,

As well as simple and elegant.

Are you excited about getting a copy of this book?

I will update this blog post in the future for various book launch dates. This book will eventually be available on Book Depository (estimated date is December 2019), Amazon (estimated date is March 2020) and Kindle.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 15 April 2019

Ladybug, Beetle and Spider Coffee Macarons

Sometimes I get unusual requests and this is one of them. Bug themed macarons. Filled with coffee flavoured filling. For a kid ๐Ÿ˜ฑ. I go ๐Ÿ˜ฑ because there are more parents being concerned about feeding kids tea flavoured bakes from me because of the caffeine content but this kid wants coffee! Anyway I am using decaffeinated coffee here so there's the flavour but without the high caffeine content ๐Ÿ˜†. I gave my own take on what bug macarons should look like. Proper roundish bug shaped of course, made using hemispherical macaron shells!


These macarons were made concurrently with those for a cake topper. I used a reduced-sugar Swiss method recipe for this. Ingredient list for the reduced-sugar Swiss method recipe can be found here and the detailed steps can be found here. In order to create the hemispheres, I use an upturned silicone mould.

It's a little tricky to pipe on a curved surface but definitely doable. I have used this to make teacups and many other designs.

You may refer to this post on how to pipe on a curved surface. I have a video tutorial in there.

I decorated the macaron shells using royal icing to make them look more bug-like.

I used modelling dark chocolate for the apider’s legs so it's not in the picture

I made my own modelling dark chocolate. You may refer to this post for the instructions.

Feel free to scale up or down the recipe for the filling below.

Recipe for coffee white chocolate whipped ganache
Ingredients:
75g white chocolate, finely chopped
37g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
37g heavy cream
2tsp instant coffee powder
1tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (optional if unavailable but adds that extra coffee kick)
1/8 tsp salt

Steps:
1. Heat heavy cream in a small microwaveable until hot. Dissolve coffee powder in it.

2. Add butter and white chocolate and mix well. Heat in microwave oven at medium power for 10 seconds. Mix well. Repeat heating and mixing as necessary until everything is smooth and melted. Alternatively, you may use the stove for this. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate.

3. Add salt and coffee liqueur and mix well. Chill until you are able to scoop it out like ice cream. About 15-30min.

4. Whip by hand using spatula or use an electric mixer to beat until light, smooth and fluffy.

5. Transfer to piping bag and fill the macaron shells. Let the assembled macarons rest in the fridge for at least 24h in airtight container before consuming.


Filling the hemisphere with coffee ganache!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 11 April 2019

Rainbow Chiffon Cake Pops


I will be teaching this item, Rainbow Chiffon Cake Pops at the upcoming Culinary Arts Ministry this Sunday for church. I was inspired to make these as Easter is coming, and I was reminded of God's promise and His love for us. The flavour is Coconut Pandan as this is one of my fave local flavours still. I will be sharing the recipe below for the reference for those interested who want to try it at home =). Hope you will be reminded of the pretty rainbow that God made as a covenant that he would never judge the world again by a flood, a sign of God's mercy and love.

This is somewhat a simpler and smaller version of my Chiffon Cake Rainbows (in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes), which is in a different flavour (vanilla) and uses a chiffon tube pan. So hop on onto the book (book cover will be at the bottom of the post) if you want to try a giant cake version =).



Rainbow Chiffon Cake Pops (Makes 6 rainbows or 3 large cupcakes)
1 egg yolk
5g castor sugar
13g coconut oil
15g water
2g pandan extract
20g cake flour, sifted

1 egg white
Pinch of cream of tartar
17g castor sugar

*you can replace 15g water + 2g pandan extract with 17g pandan juice

1. Preheat oven to 140°C.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter:

a. Whisk egg yolk with sugar using hand whisk.

b. Add in coconut oil, water and pandan extract and mix well. You can also substitute water + pandan extract with pandan juice.

c. Whisk in sifted cake flour till no lumps are found.

4. Divide out the egg yolk batter as follows: 5 tsp pink, 4 tsp yellow, 2 tsp green, 1 tsp blue. You need the most batter for pink which is on the outer ring, and least batter for blue which is right as the base.

5. Prepare meringue:
a. In a grease-free, dry metal bowl, using electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy.

b. Add in castor sugar for meringue gradually and whisk at high speed till firm peaks form.

6. Portion out the meringue as follows: 10 tbsp pink, 8 tbsp yellow, 4 tbsp green, 2 tbsp blue. Gently fold in meringue into respective egg yolk batter 1/3 at a time.

7. Fill each colour into 4 piping bags. Pipe a rainbow layer starting with pink on the outer most and blue innermost. Repeat each colour 3x (3 layers), till the batter is around 1-cm thick.

8. Bake at 140°C for 18 min, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

9. Allow cakes to cool before unmolding.

10. Slice a cupcake into 2 to make 2 rainbows!


I used the largest souffle cupcake liners that I could find, but you can use any size, as long as you have sufficient space to pipe the lines.

PS: If you want to make the chiffon cake pops look like the big chiffon cake rainbows, simply use a straw to punch a hole in the blue circle. I actually had those rainbow versions, but my hubby said this version (without the hole) was cuter.


Hope you like the pretty and meaningful rainbow chiffon cake pops!

With lots of love,
Susanne






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Tuesday, 9 April 2019

'Olaf, Piglet and Pooh on Scooter' Macarons on Chocolate Cake

Someone requested for a really chocolatey cake (no light and fluffy chiffon cake please), with a scooter themed macaron cake topper and with some of the birthday girl's favourite characters. This was what I came up with ๐Ÿ˜Š


The chocolate cake is not just any chocolate cake. It's a wickedly dark chocolate cake with character! I made four layers of Rose Levy Beranbaum's German chocolate cake with a mixture of chocolate custard and whipped dark chocolate ganache filling between the cake layers, topped off with dark chocolate drip and a little salted caramel white chocolate whipped ganache on the sides of the cake just to give a little colour contrast and variation in flavour. Mdm Rose's chocolate cake recipe although chocolatey, is oil based and dairy free so I decided to make a richer custardy filling to compliment this dense in texture but light-on-the-palate sponge. Be prepared for a long post because of the many components involved in this bake.

And I haven't started on the macarons ๐Ÿ˜…. I will briefly mention what I did for the macarons since details can be found in other posts. I used the reduced sugar Swiss method recipe for this batch as I also made a small batch of hemispherical macarons for another request concurrently. I wouldn't use my swiss method recipe with significantly lower sugar for this as I need the stability for the many colours involved. Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the characters. I piped Olaf’s arms separately and also added some cornflour to the batter to make it less prone to breaking.

Freshly baked shells!

I filled them with matcha white chocolate ganache or dark chocolate ganache, both whipped versions for a lighter texture.

I forgot to mention that the details were added on using black edible marker or royal icing.

Here's a peek at the feet on macaron shells! Olaf's arms are stuck into the filling.

And of course, it is really satisfying to see the fully constructed piece! I glued the pieces together with stiff royal icing.

The German chocolate cake recipe is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Heavenly Cakes recipe book. I used smaller sized pans (7.5" diameter) but baked four layers of sponge (instead of two 9 x 2" pans in her original recipe) so I scaled the ingredients accordingly. I took the liberty of adding a coffee liqueur and reduced the sugar by about 7%.

German chocolate cake
Ingredients (makes four 7.5 x 1.5" round cakes):
80g alkalized cocoa powder
144g boiling water
130g canola oil
88g egg yolks (about 5)
216g egg whites (about 7)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
90g cake flour
90g plain flour
330g caster sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 175℃. Line base of baking tins with parchment paper. Mdm Rose suggested using cake strips for the baking tins. I just place a tray of water at the base of oven to create steam and a similar effect of slowing down the temperature rise of the cake tins.

2. In mixing bowl, whisk cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent loss of moisture through evaporation. Leave to cool to room temperature. About 30 minutes.

3. Add yolks and oil into mixing bowl. Use electric mixer to beat on low speed. Gradually increase to medium speed and beat for 1 min or until smooth and shiny like buttercream. Scrape down and beat in vanilla and coffee liqueur for a few seconds.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift the mixture. Add half of flour mixture to chocolate mixture. Beat on low speed until dry ingredients moistened. Scrape down the bowl. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Increase mixer speed to medium high and beat for 1 minute. Batter will be thick.

5. Add egg whites and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase to medium high speed and beat for another 2 min. Batter will be like thick soup.

6. Transfer batter into prepared baking tins. They will be filled till about 1/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake center springs back when pressed in the middle. Immediately unmould the cakes and cool completely upright on wire rack.

You may trim to tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife if there's a dome after cakes have cooled. Store between parchment paper in airtight condition until ready to assemble. I bake the cakes a day before assembling with filling.

Chocolate custard
Ingredients:
250g fresh milk
2 egg yolks
40g sugar (use more if you prefer sweeter)
20g cornflour
15g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (substitute with vanilla if you don't have)
15g unsalted butter, cool but softened
1/8 tsp salt

Steps:
1. In a heavy mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1.5 tbs of milk from the portion above. In another bowl, sift together cocoa, cornflour, sugar and salt. Add the sifted mixture to the egg yolks. Whisk until a smooth paste forms.

2. Place milk, vanilla and coffee liqueur in a saucepan. Heat until it just starts to bubble at the edges.

3. Carefully pour the hot milk in a thin stream into the egg mixture while whisking continuously. This is to temper the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4. Cook the mixture over medium low heat while whisking continuously. Once the mixture thickens, remove from heat and whisk vigorously until smooth. Return back to heat and continue whisking until custard is thickened to your preferred consistency. I usually cook for about a couple of minutes more. For this cake filling that is going to be mixed with whipped chocolate ganache, I cook until it is able to form soft peaks. For Choux pastry fillings, I cook until it is able to hold firm to stiff peaks.

5. Remove saucepan from heat and add butter. Whisk until butter is incorporated.

Adding butter to custard

6. Reserve about 100-120g custard for coating each layer of sponge. Reserve 180-200g of custard to mix with 200g of whipped ganache. Press a piece of cling wrap on surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in fridge and whisk to loosen before using.

Whipped dark chocolate ganache
Ingredients:
75g bitter dark chocolate couverture* (73.5%)
75g dark chocolate couverture (56%)*
150g heavy cream

*You may choose to use one type of couverture

Steps:
1. Place everything in a heatproof or microwaveable bowl, depending on how you want to melt the chocolate. You may use double-boiling or microwave to melt the chocolate slowly. Stir until all chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.

2. Chill in fridge for 15-20min or leave out in air-con room until scoopable consistency. Whip with an electric mixer or spatula until lightened in texture. Be careful not to over whip or it will become grainy.

3. Fold in 200g of whipped ganache into 180-200g of chocolate custard. Reserve the rest of the ganache for frosting the sides and top of the cake. Transfer the portion of ganache for frosting the cake into piping bag with a small hole cut.

Dark chocolate drip
Ingredients:
50g dark chocolate couverture (56%)*
30g bitter dark chocolate couverture (73.5%)*
65g heavy cream

* You may choose to use one type of couverture

Steps:
Follow step 1 of whipped chocolate ganache above. Make this only after the layers of cake have been assembled and you are about to apply the drip on the cake. Transfer ganache into piping bag with a small hole cut when you are ready.

Salted caramel white chocolate whipped ganache
Ingredients:
80g salted caramel chips (I used Hershey's)
20g white chocolate chips
35g heavy cream

Steps:
Follow steps 1 and 2 of whipped dark chocolate ganache. Be even more careful not to overheat this as it's white chocolate based.  Chilling in fridge should require a shorter time than the dark chocolate ganache as the chocolate to cream ratio is much higher here. Transfer to piping bag with a small hole cut.

Assembly
1. Place an 8" cakeboard on a turntable and apply a small smear of whipped ganache in the middle. Place a sponge on top.

2. Apply a thin coat of pure chocolate custard with a spatula. This will help to moisten the sponge.

3. Pipe the mixture of chocolate custard and whipped chocolate ganache on top.

4. Place another layer of sponge on. Repeat until all four layers of sponge are assembled. Gently but firmly press the top of the sponge downwards to squeeze out any air spaces between filling and cake layers.

5. Apply some whipped dark chocolate ganache to fill up any gaps at the sides of the cake where the filling layers are. Use a bench scraper to scrape off any excess ganache. You may choose to frost the top of the sponge with a thin layer of whipped dark chocolate ganache if you wish.

6. Pipe some whipped salted caramel white chocolate ganache as you wish. You may pipe the lines in a discontinuous fashion if you wish.

7. Use a bench scraper to scrape off excess salted caramel ganache and to smoothen out the frosting on the sides of the cake. I go for a rustic semi naked look so I don't have to care too much about being neat.

8. Apply the dark chocolate drip along the circumference of the cake. Try to turn the turntable and pipe at the same rate so that the spacing between drips is more or less even. Some drips can go longer than the others. I made sure there is sufficient space for the name near the base of the cake. Quickly cover the top of the cake with more ganache and smoothen it out with a spatula.


A close up view of the cake...

I don't work with fondant so I used vanilla chiffon sponge which I baked concurrently with an earlier request and used alphabet cutters to cut the name out. I used a little salted caramel ganache to glue the name on.

Do store macaron cake toppers and naked or semi naked cakes separately in the fridge as the moisture released from the cake will turn the macarons soggy quickly. Only if the whole cake is frosted with buttercream that doesn't contain too much liquid content should be placed in contact or same confined storage space as macarons.

Just to share what I do in the kitchen when I work on bakes sometimes...I smeared some leftover chocolate custard on chocolate sponge trimmings to have a try...๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹. Wickedly chocolatey! Do wait for a couple of days before eating the assembled cake to let the sponge and filling come together. It becomes more fudge-like and rich with storage! Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before enjoying all that chocolate goodness!



Thank God the cake and macarons were very well received!

With love,
Phay Shing
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