Tuesday, 17 July 2018

'We Bare Bear' Meringues


My kids love 'We Bare Bears' and meringues, so I made these for them. They loved these ‘We Bare Bears’ meringue kisses very much, especially the chocolate version. I used cocoa and charcoal powder for the brown and black colours. The recipe is adapted from Two Bites Kitchen into my 'We Bare Bears' meringues.


Recipe (‘We Bare Bears’ meringues)
90g castor sugar
30g water
35g egg whites
25g icing sugar


1. Make sugar syrup by dissolving castor sugar in water under low heat. Keep stirring under the low heat for a few mins till fully dissolved.

2. Whip egg whites with sugar syrup above using an electric mixer till stiff peaks.

3. Mix in icing sugar using the mixer.

4. Divide the batter into 3. Mix in the respective colored powder (cocoa and charcoal), leaving the last plain. *I didn’t take note of how much I added. Just pinch by pinch till I get the desired colour.

5. Transfer the batter into piping bags. For each colour, I had a large tip for piping the body, and a smaller tip for the fine features. Pipe the body first on the parchment paper, followed by the features.

6. Bake at 100°C for 90 min (top, bottom heat, no fan)

7. Allow to cool and remove from the parchment paper.


A little sweet for me, but my kids really loved them. Hope you liked them too! 

With lots of love,
Susanne 






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Monday, 16 July 2018

Coconut Gula Melaka 'Basket of Flowers' Chiffon Cake

Someone saw the "basket of flowers" I made for my mum's birthday more than three years ago and wanted one for her birthday so I made this as requested ๐Ÿ˜Š.


She chose the colours of the flowers and flavour of cake.

The layer cakes I baked for the flowers are mildly flavoured with vanilla and coconut. I added pandan paste to colour the leaves green. The recipe for coconut Gula Melaka chiffon cake is adapted from my coconut Gula Melaka Ah Mah cake recipe. I increased the flour content and reduced the coconut milk content to make the cake firmer as it has to support the weight of the flowers. Even then, the flour to liquid ratio is still about 0.71, which is about the ratio I use for baking chiffon cakes in chiffon tins.

Cooked dough method coconut Gula Melaka chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes one 15cm chiffon cake):
42g coconut oil
60g cake flour, sifted
1/8 tsp cocoa powder (optional, added to deepen the brown colour)
1/8 tsp salt
43g coconut milk
3 egg yolks

3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
30g granulated Gula melaka
6g castor sugar

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 150℃. Set oven rack to lowest position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional).

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan until 70℃ or until you are able to see swirl lines appearing in the oil. Pour into bowl of flour. Whisk until well combined. Gradually add coconut milk with salt dissolved in it and whisk until a thick paste forms. Add one egg yolk at a time and whisk until well combined.

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

4. Add a third of the meringue into egg yolk batter and mix well. Pour the mixture into the meringue and quickly but gently fold until no trace of meringue is seen.

5. Pour batter into chiffon tin until batter is about 2cm away from the rim. Gently tap the tin on the table to release trapped air bubbles.

6. Put into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Note that baking time will vary as each oven is different. Immediately invert to cool and carefully unmould by hand.

Freshly baked cake!

I used the same recipe to make some thin layer cakes to create the pieces for basket weave as well as to fill up the hole of the chiffon cake.

Tedious to assemble!

I just randomly added on flowers and leaves on top, gluing all parts using melted marshmellows.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Matcha-Chocolate-Vanilla Marbled Cream Cheese Cookies

It's nice to have a relatively relaxed and simple bake after a hectic week last week. Thank God for a smooth photoshoot and school hands-on event last week! Presenting my version of marbled cookies with the flavours: Matcha, chocolate and vanilla!


I adapted the recipe from the cream cheese cookie class that I conducted in June for kids as everyone at the class said it was really yummy. I prepared a large quantity of dough for each flavour here so feel free to scale it down. I discovered a method of creating the marbling effect of two or three different coloured/flavoured cookie dough in only two rounds of re-rolling the dough. The more times you rework the dough by gathering it up and rolling it out again, the tougher the cookie can potentially become. So in order to keep the cookie texture delicate, rework your dough as little as possible. Unfortunately I will be teaching how to marble cookie dough in an upcoming class for Junior chef so I will be unable to share the technique of marbling in two simple steps. Perhaps some of you who are smart enough can figure it out ๐Ÿ˜‰. You may knead the dough over and over to marble it but that's not what I did.

I prepared three portions of the dough below, one for each flavour.

Recipe for Matcha, Chocolate and Vanilla cream cheese cookies 
Ingredients (makes about twenty 5cm cookies for one portion):
100g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
30g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
60g castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
180g plain flour, sifted*
26g egg, lightly beaten (about half an egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract

* Replace with 170g plain flour and 10g cocoa powder for chocolate dough. Replace with 172g plain flour and 8g bakeable Matcha powder for Matcha dough. The portions of cocoa and matcha powder I suggested is rather mild. Feel free to increase if you prefer stronger flavour.

Steps:
1. Place cream cheese in large mixing bowl and mash it against the sides of the bowl with a spatula until it is softer. Add butter and mix the two together. Add salt and sugar and beat it with spatula or electric mixer until lighter in texture.

2. Gradually add egg and mix well after each addition.

3. Add sifted flour or flour and cocoa/matcha in a few batches and mix well after each addition until a ball of dough forms.

Vanilla, matcha and chocolate dough

4. Divide each coloured dough into 3 or 4 portions. Take one portion from each colour to create a marbled dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Repeat for the other portions. The reason why I divide each colour up is due to the large quantity here so it's easier to work with smaller portions each time. The marbled dough should be rolled to thickness of about 5-6mm.

Marbled dough

5. Chill the dough in the freezer or fridge until firm before cutting out the dough. You may store the dough in the freezer for a few months in airtight condition. Let the dough soften at room temperature a little before stamping or cutting out the shapes.

I used a scalloped square cookie cutter. You may use a knife to cut squares if you wish or any other shapes.

6. Place the cookie cutouts on baking tray lined with parchment paper with about 2cm spacing between cookies. The cookies won't expand much during baking so you can put the cutouts quite close to each other.

7. Bake in preheated oven at 160-170℃ on second lowest rack for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned at bottom and edges. Note that baking time and temperature may vary as each oven is different. Use the slight browning visual cue as your gauge. Cool completely before storing.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 9 July 2018

'Little Miss Chatterbox' Chiffon Cake


Does she make you smile? =)

This is a Little Miss Chatterbox I made after my visit to the cutest new Mr Men, Little Miss Pop-up at Kumoya! Everything was so happy, I just couldn't stop smiling while I was there! =) Thank God the cake was very well-received too!

I used the same Strawberry-Vanilla Chiffon Cake recipe here as my Super Mario (recipe in link). For the yellow hair, I just piped some yellow batter to the base of the bowl before adding the rest of the pink batter. The hands, hair and feet are also made from chiffon cake batter in silicone cake pop molds (picture here).

Have a happy, blessed week!

Best wishes,
Susanne




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Creative Baking: Macaron Basics

Update 12/7/2018:
Great news for those of you overseas who want to get a copy of the book earlier! I will release the contact email for you to place your order for the book to be shipped to your country during the Preorder period of 18-28 August 2018 in Singapore so keep a lookout for the contact in late August and you can receive a copy of the book around the time of official launch in Singapore!

Update 10/7/2018:
Preorders will take place from 18-28 August for Singapore addresses. I will put up an e-form here nearer the date so stay tuned!

US release date -- April 2019
This will be for all customers in Canada, North Central and South America.
UK release date -- January 2019
This will be for the Book Depository, and the rest of Europe, Australia and India.
South Africa
Marshall Cavendish has a South African distributor, so those of you in South Africa who are interested can order the books according to the Singapore publication date.  

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

The photoshoot is finally over! Thank God for a wonderful team and very smooth phototaking session! The purpose of this blog post is to share what went on during the photography session and I may use this post for any updates about the book in the future. Keep in mind that these are photos of photos taken on screen using my phone camera so what's going to appear in the book will be more beautiful. Presenting my second macaron book, Creative Baking: Macaron Basics!



The focus of Creative Baking: Macaron Basics is different from my first macaron book, Creative Baking: Macarons. Although there is a little overlap in the sense that the basic Italian method is covered for both, I decided to introduce the French method in this book as most homebakers will find the French method easier. Macaron Basics focuses more on different techniques to create various features or designs whereas my first book focuses on a larger variety of designs based on different themes.

Rest assured that although this second book has less designs (total of 14), they are carefully selected such that they are relatively simple and are suitable for special occasions, but yet unique enough, such as...

Valentine's Day

Mother's Day (or Valentine's Day too)

Or even Chinese New Year!

I doubt that you can find any other book giving you instructions on how to make hemispherical macarons...


Or create pretty swirls like these ๐Ÿ˜‰


I had my moments of cute overload too! When I saw the team working on setting up the chick macarons,


I couldn't help but exclaim "Oh my! So cute!!"


Of course the unicorn carousel made it to this book too!


It may seem complex but it's actually made up of fairly basic pieces. I cover how you should make macaron structures in this book too.

Much as the carousel is pretty, we felt that it shouldn't be the center of attention for the book cover as the book title implies something "Basic". After some discussion, we decided to include a deconstructed version of the carousel in the foreground to better reflect what the title of the book (and aim of the book) says. And that is why my hand ended up on the book cover too ๐Ÿ˜….

I also included some updates in the recipes for fillings and FAQ/ troubleshooting sections so this is a great companion book to my first one. Templates and links to video tutorials are also provided in the book.

Macaron Basics is expected to be available in stores in Singapore end September/early October. The book will be available on Amazon, Book Depository and Kindle in due time. For those who want to know, the ISBN is 9789814828604.

Keep a lookout for updates!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Maisy and Friends Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

This is another bake that I was working on during the busy period of preparing for the Creative Baking: Macaron Basics photoshoot. Vanilla chiffon cake with dark chocolate ganache in between and topped with Maisy and friends macaron cake toppers!

The class of 3 year old tots really enjoyed this cake!

I made the macaron cake toppers concurrently with the Noah's ark macarons so it was quite a challenge to pull off the whole thing but glad that they are recognisable :)

The balloon is made of royal icing and mounted on a cookie bag wire tie. I was afraid that it would break off if the entire thing was made of macaron

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Here are a couple of pictures of the piping process...It was really challenging and I ended up working really late that night!


I was working with 12 different coloured batters!


Recipe for vanilla chiffon cakes
Ingredients (Makes two 9.5" round cakes):
6 egg yolks
10g caster sugar
84g canola oil
90g fresh milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
120g cake flour
1/4 tsp salt

Meringue
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
110g caster sugar

Steps:
1. Line two 9-10" round pans with parchment paper at the base. Set oven rack to second lowest position. You may place a tray of water at the base of the oven if you wish to create steam but it's optional. Preheat oven to 160℃

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

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

4. Quickly but gently fold in meringue into egg yolk batter in three additions. Divide the batter between the two pans equally. Run a chopstick in the batter to pop any air bubbles or gently tap the pans on the table.

5. Bake for 5 minutes then reduce temperature to 150℃ and bake for another 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before carefully unmoulding the cake from the sides of the pan by hand.


I baked some thin chiffon sponge cakes for the simple decoration.

Recipe for Vanilla sponge chiffon layer cakes
Ingredients (Makes one 10x12" and two 7x7" cakes):
3 egg yolks
42g oil
42g water
60g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Green and pink gel food colouring

4 egg whites
55g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Steps:
As above but don't use steam baking. Bake at 160℃ for 11-12 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Immediately flip the baked cakes out of the lined baking trays and gently peel off the parchment paper. Cool with parchment paper covering the cakes.

I love the smooth look of the layer cakes!

I filled the cakes with whipped dark chocolate ganache and the macarons with a firm dark chocolate ganache. You may use other fillings of your choice but this was requested. A firmer ganache is recommended as filling for the macaron cake toppers to prevent the toppers from sliding down the sticks in hot Singapore.

Firm dark chocolate ganache
90g dark chocolate couverture or chocolate bar chopped up
9g unsalted butter
23g heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl or over a double boiler. Melt the chocolate for 20 seconds at medium power. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat heating and stirring until mixture is smooth and all chocolate has melted.

2. Chill in freezer for 2 minutes. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat chilling for 1-2 minutes and mixing until you are able to whip the mixture to be creamy-like.

3. Transfer to piping bag and fill the shells.



Whipped dark chocolate ganache for filling cake
Ingredients;
270g dark chocolate couverture
30g unsalted butter
135g double cream (45% fat, you may use heavy cream which is 35% fat)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5tsp vanilla bean paste

Steps:
Same as above.

To assemble, pipe a little ganache on the cakeboard. Place one vanilla sponge cake on. Pipe more whipped ganache before topping the cake with another vanilla sponge. Decorate the cake with the green and pink sponge, using cookie cutters to cut out the alphabets and "grass". Glue them on with melted marshmellows.




Thank God that overall it was really well received with the class of tots asking for second helpings. I was told there wasn't enough cake due to the extra helpings requested...Oops! I also made the mistake of forgetting to take the big cake out of the fridge much earlier as chocolate ganache takes a longer time to soften to room temperature than Swiss meringue buttercream or dairy cream. And it was an unusually cool rainy day that day, not your usual hot afternoon in Singapore. The dark chocolate ganache layer remained too firm as the cake was brought straight from the fridge in my house to party venue ๐Ÿ˜…. Another oops! Lesson learnt. I should either go for a lower chocolate to cream ratio or take the cake out of the fridge earlier next time. Or possibly both. It's my first time filling a vanilla chiffon cake with dark chocolate ganache in between. I usually work with dairy cream or Swiss meringue buttercream where it is a concern that the filling stays firm long enough in hot Singapore where room temperature is about 28-29℃.

Nevertheless, I am always happy to learn, and glad to know that the cake was yummy enough to warrant seconds!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

'Cat Kissing Fish' Chiffon Cake


Does it look like the cat on land is kissing the fish in the water? ๐Ÿˆ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿ˜š My humble attempt at an optical illusion chiffon cake, inspired by the "cat kissing fish" video and drawings a while back. I also drew inspiration from the very talented cake artist Elena gnut on instagram. Mine is the sweet cartoon version hehe. I also changed to colour scheme to sweet pastels as I pictured a very sweet scene of the cat and fish making friends.

I used the patterning technique from my latest book "Deco Chiffon Cake Basics" for drawing on the fish in the water, the waves and the water. Briefly this involves prebaking the patterns for 2 min before the rest of the batter is added. The "cat" is made from 2 round cakes, similar to the "Panda Chiffon Cake" below in "Deco Chiffon Cake Basics". I made this cake few months back actually. Those who are close to me know that I am very busy on the family side recently, so posting my backlogs.


Hope this sweet cake made you smile! The video is an interesting watch if you have the time!

With lots of love,
Susanne


Other fun patterns can be found in the older books:


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Friday, 29 June 2018

Cooked Dough Banana Chiffon Cake with Dark and White Chocolate

Sometimes I have requests for simple bakes like these...Banana chiffon cake with white chocolate drip!

I included dark chocolate ganache in the middle and around the sides as well to add a little more dimension to the overall flavour 

I adapted the recipe from the Kitchen Tigress but used the cooked dough method. The cake is very, very soft, moist and fluffy so handle with care.

Ingredients (makes one 15cm chiffon cake):
110g banana puree (one large ripe banana)
28g canola oil
15g fresh milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
A few drops banana essence (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
45g top flour or cake flour (increase to 50-55g if you want a more structurally stable but slightly drier cake)
1/5 tsp baking soda
2 yolks

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

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 140℃ and set the rack to lowest position. Place a tray of water at the bottom of the oven (optional especially if you prefer your chiffon cakes with browned sides as the browned cake crust is more flavourful. Bake at 160℃ of you prefer cake with crust.)

2. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda into mixing bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a small saucepan until it reaches 70℃ or you are able to see swirl lines in the oil. Pour the oil all at once into the flour and whisk until well combined.

3. Gradually add milk with vanilla, caramel flavouring and banana essence (if using) and whisk until well combined with each addition. Add one egg yolk at a time and whisk until well combined with each addition.

4. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form or stiff peak is just reached, gradually adding in the sugar once the egg whites turn foamy.

5. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Slowly pour the batter into chiffon tin.


6. Bake for for 60-70 min or until skewer comes out clean. Invert immediately to cool completely before unmoulding by using a combination of hand and straight edged metal spatula. Bear in mind that this cake is very soft so unmould carefully.

This cake is yummy on its own but if you want to add a bit of chocolate, you may use the simple recipe I used. Simply melt some dark chocolate with whipping cream using the ratio of dark chocolate:cream = 3:2. Leave the ganache to firm up at the countertop until toothpaste consistency. Frost the hole of the cake and refrigerate until firm. You may add some stripes at the side of the cake like what I did. Simply pipe random horizontal lines of ganache and then smooth them out horizontally with a spatula.

For the white chocolate drip, I used a ratio of white chocolate:cream = 3:1. Melt the white chocolate and cream togther. Transfer the white chocolate ganache into piping bag and then pipe in rings on the top surface of the cake. Pipe the drips around the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake in an airtight container.


Thank God that I received feedback that the cake tasted great! The requester loved the cake I baked so much that she didn't hesitate to order another flavour of cake from me again.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Japanese Milk Bun Bears with Kaya Filling


School has just reopened, so I made these simple Japanese Milk Bread Buns with kaya filling for my kids' snack break. It's an easy bake, using a similar recipe to the previous Chocolate Bear-in-a-cone, but without cocoa powder.

Milk Bun Bears (With Kaya filling)
(A)
100g Prima bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp instant dry yeast
130g warm milk (~37°C, I microwaved for 20 secs)

(B)
100g Prima bread flour
20g unsalted butter
1/3 tsp salt

Black/pink food marker for decoration

1. In the stand mixer bowl, add all the dry ingredients in (A). Then add in the warm milk and mix vigorously using the dough hook for a few minutes. This helps to activate the yeast. Stop when you see little tiny bubbles popping when you stop stirring.

2. Add in the rest of (B) ingredients into the bowl. and mix using the dough hook until window pane stage (around 20 min, using speed 3). *Check for window pane after kneading for 20 min

3. Cover with cling wrap. Let it proof for 40 min for 1st fermentation. The dough will increase in size to about 1.5-2 times.

4. Do the finger test for the bread dough (leave an indent). Once the 1st fermentation is ok, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and degas the dough.

5. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Shape into balls and cover for 10mins (bench time).

6. After 10 min, flatten the dough and section out 2 small parts for the bear’s ears, and 2 smaller parts for bear's hands.

7. Flatten the larger dough into a circle. Place a 2 tsp ball of kaya (or whatever filling desired) in the center. Pinch to seal and roll into a round ball. Place the ball with pinched ends facing down on the prepared baking tray.

8. Repeat for the rest of the bread dough. Attach the ears and hands onto the bread. I used pasta sticks to prevent ears from dropping after proofing. I didn't need to use for the hands as they were small.

9. Cover gently with cling wrap. Let it rest for 30 min for 2nd fermentation.

10. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the buns into the oven then lower to 150°C. Bake at 150°C for 30 min.

11. Cool the buns completely on a wire rack.

12. Draw on features using food marker.

Hope you like the simple, easy and cute bread buns!

With lots of love,
Susanne


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Monday, 25 June 2018

Noah's Ark Raspberry Dark Chocolate Macarons

I am in the midst of finishing up making macarons for the photoshoot but still really excited about working on this project for my friend :)


Noah's Ark, macaron version! The whole ark is made up of macarons too!

I added little "step stools" for the giraffes or they will appear too short...Or simply make taller giraffes if you are attempting this 

All the brown parts, shells and filling, are raspberry and dark chocolate flavoured. I have freeze-dried raspberry powder on hand so it was an excellent addition to compliment the richness of chocolate. I will just share how to make macarons of this flavour in this post. You may refer to my first macaron book, Creative Baking: Macarons for step by step guide on the basics and how to create macarons of various shapes. The template for elephant macarons can be found there too. I used the reduced sugar Italian method recipe to make these. For simplicity, you may replace rice and cornflour with icing sugar.

Recipe for raspberry chocolate macaron shells 
Ingredients (makes about 25-30 macarons):
Mass
100g superfine almond powder
90g icing sugar
9g rice flour
1g (1/2tsp) cornflour
40g egg whites
1/8 tsp fine sea salt (optional)
1 tsp Freeze-dried raspberry powder
10g Cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)

Meringue
40g egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
100g caster sugar
38g water

Steps:
1. Prepare baking tray with template and parchment paper. I am assuming you are making regular sized round macarons of about 4-5cm. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position.

2. Sift together all dried ingredients for the mass. Add egg whites and mix well to form a thick paste.

3. Prepare the italian meringue. Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan without stirring until it reaches 115-118℃. In the mean time, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peak stage medium low speed. Any peaks should melt back in after one second. You may start beating the egg whites when syrup temperature reaches 110℃. Once syrup temperature is reaches 115-118℃, switch mixer speed to medium high speed and carefully pour syrup into the egg whites in a thin steady stream, avoiding the beaters. Continue beating for another 10-15 minutes or until meringue is cool to at least body temperature.

4. Fold the meringue into the mass in two additions until batter is able to fall off spatula in an almost continuous manner.

5. Transfer to piping bag and pipe rounds in the baking tray. Bang the tray on the table a few times to release trapped air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any stubborn bubbles. Tap the tray again.

6. Rest the piped shells in air-con room or under a fan until dry to touch. Preheat oven to 140℃ towards end of drying time. Use top and bottom heat only. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 120℃ and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until feet no longer appears wet. Do note that macaron shells made with cocoa powder added tend to require longer baking time. Also note that each oven is different so adjust baking time and temperature accordingly.

Just to share a photo of the piped layers of the hull of the ark...

These are large so baking time was about 35-45 minutes.

Here is a photo of the piped shells for the animals...

Not at my best with piping ๐Ÿ˜† but glad that the outcome is still cute.


I filled the shells with a rather firm ganache as the animals, especially the owl, need to remain intact and easy to handle when left out at room temperature in Singapore. Feel free to increase the amount of heavy cream for a softer ganache if you wish.

Raspberry dark chocolate ganache
Ingredients:
180g dark chocolate couverture (or chocolate bar chopped)
20g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
44g heavy cream
4 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Steps:
1. Place chocolate, butter, cream and salt in a microwave safe bowl and heat at medium power for half a minute. Stir to mix well. Repeat until melted and smooth. Alternatively you may use double-boiling method.

2. Add vanilla and mix well. Add raspberry powder and mix well.

3. You may let the ganache stand at room temperature until it firms up to toothpaste consistency or chill it and whip it up to have a lighter texture.

To whip it, chill in freezer for two minutes and beat with a spatula or electric mixer. Repeat chilling and beating until it is light and creamy.

I mounted the owls on sticks so that they can be inserted into gaps on the roof of the ark to make the owls look like they are roosting on top :)


I covered a seven inch cakeboard with stiff royal icing to mounted the name and ark on. I assembled the layers of the ark directly on the cakeboard.


Completed ark but the inhabitants have not arrived yet 

Some have settled in :)
I didn't stick the animals onto the ark so that the recipient can play with the pieces like a doll house concept type of toy.

I was really charmed by this setup. I hope you are too! Not to mention, this combination of raspberry and dark chocolate is really lovely. You may make your own raspberry jam like I did for some of my macarons but using freeze-dried powder is a quick and convenient way of including natural raspberry flavour into the bake.

With love,
Phay Shing


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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Video tutorial for French Method of making macarons

I have finally decided to do a full video tutorial for making macarons!


It took me a few hours of processing 14 separate videos and photos to create this 5 minute tutorial ๐Ÿ˜…. This is precisely why I am not keen on making video tutorials often.

French method is covered as most homebakers will find this easier than Swiss or Italian methods.

The focus of this tutorial is on the basic techniques that newbies may find difficult, especially the part for folding the batter and testing consistency. Please be patient as the book (Creative Baking: Macaron Basics) will only be physically in stores in Singapore by end September/ early October. For UK, it will be around January/February 2019 and US about April/May 2019. Full recipe and baking conditions can be found in the book.


I hope you find this tutorial helpful!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 18 June 2018

Chocolate with Custard Baked Mooncake

I have decided to teach traditional baked mooncake for Culinary Arts Ministry class at church this August but with a twist :)

Chocolate mooncake skin with custard filling and salted egg yolk!


My taste testers all said this is really delicious as you get a good balance of chocolate, custard and savoury salted egg yolk flavours all in one bite.

Recipe for salted egg yolk for mooncake
(Recipe is adapted from here.)
Ingredients (for 12 mini mooncakes*):
6 salted egg yolks
A small bowl of rose wine (or vodka)
1tbs cooking oil
1tsp sesame oil

*Mini mooncakes are 50g each. If you are making regular sized mooncakes of 100g each, there is no need to halve the salted egg yolks as each mooncake will have a full yolk.

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 160℃. Set oven rack to middle position.

2. Cut each salted egg yolk into half and reshape into balls. Each half yolk ball weighs about 6-7g.

3. Dip each ball into rose wine for 30-40 seconds and set aside on baking tray lined with aluminium foil.

4. Mix sesame and cooking oil together in a small bowl. Lightly coat each ball with a brush or use your finger.


5. Bake for 5-10min until cooked but not dry. It may be hard to gauge this but watch the colour carefully. Once it starts to lighten a bit in appearance. Take it out of the oven. Mine took about 7 minutes. Cool completely before use.


Pat the excess oil and moisture off with paper towels. You may prepare this ahead of time and store in airtight container for a few days.

I used store bought custard flavoured lotus paste mooncake filling from Phoon Huat. You may make your own custard filling from scratch. Internet has lots of recipes so you may just pick your favourite :)


This filling compliments the chocolate mooncake skin very well. Together with salted egg yolk, you get a very well balanced and rich tasting treat.

For the mini mooncakes that I am making, I use the ratio of 30g filling and 20g dough. Since each salted egg yolk half is about 6-7g, I portion about 23-24g of custard filling for each mooncake. Wrap each salted egg yolk ball with the custard filling. You may do this while the dough is resting.



I adapted from Ann Low's recipe for the mooncake skin and it can be found here.

Chocolate mooncake skin recipe
Ingredients (makes about 12 mini mooncakes of 50g each):
113g plain flour
18g cocoa powder
85g golden syrup
25g peanut oil
1/2 tsp alkaline water

Steps:
1. Sift together cocoa powder and plain flour. In another mixing bowl, mix together golden syrup, peanut oil and alkaline water.

2. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mix. Mix the two together to form a dough. Cling wrap and let it rest for 30 min. Portion out the filling and wrap the salted egg yolks with it while waiting for the dough to rest.

3. Towards end of resting time, preheat the oven to 165℃. Portion out 20g of dough for each mooncake.

4. Carefully wrap each filling ball with dough. Pinch seal and roll the ball between your hands to smooth out any creases or cracks. The dough is rather easy to handle without the need for extra dusting with flour.


5. Place the ball into a mooncake plunger and press out the shape onto baking tray lined with parchment paper.



6. Bake for 10min, then cool for 10min on baking tray. Bake for another 10 min at 165℃ and cool completely before storing. There is no need egg wash but best to spray water on the surface before baking to prevent the skin from cracking.


Freshly baked!

Do wait for 3 days for the mooncake to ๅ›žๆฒน (literally translated as "return oil") to enjoy it at its best texture although you may consume it freshly baked. The skin is more biscuity when freshly baked but becomes soft with storage.

Store the cooled mooncakes in airtight container in a cool and dry place. It can keep for a month in airtight condition.


With love,
Phay Shing
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