Wednesday, 23 October 2019

'We Bare Bears' Rainbow Faultline Chiffon Cake

Always wanted to try a faultline cake.. Better late than never!

Here's my Rainbow🌈 Faultline chiffon cake, complete with the cutest We Bare Bears! 

Can you guess how this is done? Most normal faultline cakes are done by creaming an extra layer on the top and bottom. They are really beautiful!

But for my chiffon version, I baked 2 cakes, one plain and one rainbow and sandwiched the rainbow between two parts of the plain cake. I needed the height as well, as more faultline cakes are tall.

I love We Bare Bears! Check out my previous works here and with the We bare bear tag.

Hope you liked it too! =)

With lots of love,

More loving chiffon cake creations here:

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Friday, 18 October 2019

Cinderella on Fluttershy Chocolate Drip Cake

This was made for a little girl who is a fan of both Cinderella and My Little Pony!

Cinderella riding Fluttershy on top of a dark chocolate drip cake! 

I had to come up with my own template for this creation as you can't find this from the Internet. Only one giant cake topper was needed for the cake but for complex characters such as this, I usually make at least one extra in case of damage due to butter fingers. I used the Swiss method recipe to make this as I was working on another bake concurrently. Swiss and Italian methods are great when you have to work with many colours and complex shapes as the meringue takes. Longer time to break down. I just haven't revisited the Italian method for some time because I am lazy to make the syrup 🤣.

Piped batter

Decorating the shells with a mix of  Royal icing and edible markers. You can see the rest of the characters I was working on as well. 

Since the giant macaron is a cake topper for a chocolate cake, I filled it with dark chocolate ganache.

I used this recipe to make the chocolate cake here but did things slightly differently. I cut the sponge into 6" diameter and used a 1:1  ratio of dark chocolate : cream for the drip. I added a little charcoal powder to deepen the drip colour a little and added about 1-2 tsp of light corn syrup as well to give the drip a higher shine. I frosted the sides with whipped dark chocolate ganache and omitted the whipped salted caramel ganache.

I love the look of this cake! *bling bling*

Just some tip about macaron cake topper on such a cake. Do use a long wooden skewer to make holes in the cake where the cakepop sticks on the cake topper are supposed to go. Carefully insert the cake topper by handling the cakepop sticks. DO NOT press on the macaron itself to insert the topper as you may accidentally damage it. I pack the cake topper and cake separately as moisture released from the cake may turn the macarons soggy.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Pusheen in Fall Chiffon Cake

Another Pusheen creation which I made exactly a year earlier! =) Now that it is fall, I remembered this cake. My Pusheen wearing a scarf, holding a toadstool. Those who know me know that Pusheen has a very very special place in my heart! I have had many Pusheen bakes, just search the tag =).

Hope you like this too!

With lots of love,

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Friday, 11 October 2019

Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori Cookies n Cream Choux Pastries

I have been getting a lot of macaron requests but few choux pastry requests. I am not sure if it's because people don't really like choux pastry or they don't know that there's so much potential for creativity. And so, I decided to take one day out of my schedule to work on something to showcase what choux pastry can be like 😊. Presenting my full body version of Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori choux au craquelin filled with cookies n cream filling!

Pardon me for the lack of pictures as I was really hoping not to take too much time for this impromptu project but I am glad to share my experience.

You may refer to this post for detailed recipe of the choux pastry case. I always use craquelin for the main body of pastry cases as it controls the expansion of the pastry in the oven. But for small parts like ears and limbs, this is not necessary. One little trick I use to make it possible for a range of Deco Choux pastry designs is to get the batter to be as close as possible to the same colour as the craquelin you make. Do keep in mind that there will be some level of browning after baking so aim to go for a brighter, more neon shade that you would actually like when you add colouring to craquelin and batter.

This is the template I made for making the ears, limbs, beak and wings. I have detailed tips in my Deco Choux Pastries book on how you can assemble it on the main body with perfect fit.

Tenplate for ears, limbs, wings and beak. I made extras just in case 

Matching the colours of the batter and the craquelin may be a little tricky at first but with practice you get better at it.

Craquelin on top of piped batter 

I decorated the baked cases with royal icing and some bits of black candy melts..

By the time I was done with decorating the pastry cases, it was around 4 plus in the afternoon and I wanted to catch the sunlight for photography. So instead of making my usual lightened pastry cream which would take a good hour or so including chilling the pastry cream before lightening it up with whipped cream, I decided to go for a filling that can be whipped up in a matter of 5 minutes.

I have some frozen whipped topping left in my freezer so I just defrost it a little using the microwave oven and then whipped it up to stiff peaks. Added some crushed oreo cookies (I bought those without cream from Redman) and viola! I have an instant cookies and cream filling! Not exactly the best tasting since full dairy cream tastes way better than non dairy whipping cream but non dairy cream beats dairy hands down in terms of stability in hot Singapore. What I would recommend if you have the time and ingredients, is to use a mix of dairy and non dairy cream for the best compromise of stability and taste. Use double cream if you are able to as the higher the fat content, the more stable your whipped cream will be.

Non-dairy cookies n cream filling 
90g whip topping*
30-45g crushed oreo cookies without filling

1. Use and electric mixer to whip whip topping until stiff peaks.

2. Add crushed oreo cookies in a few batches to whipped cream and fold in using a spatula

3. Transfer into piping bag and fill the pastry cases just before consumption

*you may replace half with full dairy whipping cream with at least 35% fat.

My kids had fun eating this!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Thursday, 10 October 2019

Pikachu on Pokeball Chiffon Cake

Pika Pika! Have you caught Pikachu?

This is a cake I made for a friend, very similar to the one I made for my mum 3 years back, which was featured on Today online. How time flies and Pokemon go is still so popular!

Exam period for now.. Add oil everyone!

With lots of love,

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Saturday, 5 October 2019

Reindeer Macaron Carousel Masterclass

So I am finally brave enough to conduct a macaron class for macaron carousel! I thought I would begin with Christmas themed carousel for my very first masterclass. Presenting my version of reindeer carousel!

This is an intensive course that spans over two days. You may ask why can't we finish it in a day? Technically speaking you can, but I want to focus on techniques for a whole lot of things in the areas of techniques for different methods of making macaron shells, different post-baking decorative techniques and two types of filling. You can read all about the content covered, along with the registration link over here.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Dark Muscovado Blondies with Salted Caramel Chips (50% less sugar)

Children's Day is just around the corner and I have been busy with a number of things. But this will be the last Children's Day that my elder kid is celebrating (how time flies!) so I am making it a point to squeeze in time to make something for my kids to share with their classmates and friends. What can a mama come up with that can be done in a single day (bake, pack and wash up) for approximately 80 kids that will likely be a hit for majority of kids? And bear in mind, doing this on top of cooking and housework and making sure hubby has my attention too.

I could have gone back to making fresh cream scones like I did for three consecutive years but then I remembered a baking experiment that hubby did a few months ago. He isn't a baker but had the urge to bake something simple and yummy to snack on so he made some blondies. I remember reaching for them when I was hungry because they are irresistible. If you don't know what Blondies are, they are similar to Brownies except that it's the non chocolate version.

Another reason why I settled on Blondies is because it is non chocolatey (some kids can't take chocolate or don't like chocolate, like my younger kid) and nuts are an optional item in it (nut allergy concerns for some kids) . It is strong in flavour and I make it a point to make it not too sweet as well. The original recipe that hubby adapted from contained double the amount of sugar that we used. You may refer to this blog post for the original recipe that I adapted from.

Due to the significant reduction in sugar, I baked the blondies in a smaller pan than what was recommended in the original recipe. I also baked the blondies in three 7x7" baking trays in three rounds of baking to produce 81 5x5cm squares of goodness. Some math is involved in determining exactly how many pans, rounds of baking and ingredients I need, which was why I set my planning for this bake as a math question for my younger kid to help me out.

This recipe is very much scalable and you can increase it based on number of eggs. A 1 egg portion yields 9 blondies for a 7x7" baking tray.

Recipe for blondies
Ingredients (makes nine 5-5.5cm blondies) :
110g dark muscovado sugar (or any brown sugar but the richer the sugar flavour, the more flavour your baked goods will have)
112g unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp caramel essence (optional but adds to the fragrance and flavour)
128g plain flour (use cake flour if you prefer a more tender bite)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
30-50g salted caramel chips *

* you may replace with butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, walnuts, pecans, or a combination of the above according to your preference.

1. Preheat oven to 175°C, set oven rack to middle position. Line the baking tray with parchment paper at the base and sides.

2. Whisk together sugar, salt and melted butter.

3. Add egg, vanilla extract and caramel essence. Whisk until a thick homogenous mixture is formed.

4. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold into wet mixture in a few additions using a spatula until just combined.

5. Fold in salted caramel chips or other goodies of your choice.

6. Pour into prepared tray and bake for 20-30min or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling rack before slicing.

I needed to weigh out each portion to bake since I bake three 7x7" trays at a time in my oven. 

I trimmed off the sides of the freshly baked blondie before slicing into 5-5.5cm slices

My elder kid couldn't resist helping me with the mixing of ingredients because "Ma, that looks fun".... Compared to studying for the last paper for his exams 😂.

And because it is Children's day, I decided to add some colour to the bake by using a glaze and rainbow sprinkles. Here is the recipe for the glaze. You may scale up or down easily. Original recipe that is shared on multiple websites use water but you may use milk or in my case, I used some lemon juice. I also added caramel essence to it. This glaze hardens and dries pretty quickly when exposed to air. You can add as little or as much glaze as you like, or omit it all together. I just drizzled a little glaze on the sliced blondies and scattered rainbow sprinkles on top before letting it air dry for about 20 min.

Recipe for sugar glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar (icing sugar with some cornstarch/cornflour already added)
1 tbs light corn syrup
1 tbs water
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp caramel essence

Combine all of the above together and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Cover mixing bowl with cling wrap if not using it immediately. Stir again just before use.

Store baked goods in airtight condition at cool room temperature for a few days. You may freeze it for longer storage and toast it before serving.

Blessed Children's Day to all the kids!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 29 September 2019

Burger and Ice Cream Chiffon Cake Pops

Burger and Ice Cream Chiffon Cake Pops, which is your favorite? <3

Just sharing a cute and simple treat I made for a children's party, since Children's day is coming!

The burgers are more fluffy versions of the Cheeseburger chiffon cake pops I made previously, and the ice cream pops are mini 'cornetto' versions of the Ice cream pops I shared in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes. Hope you like them!

Burger cake pops
Burger buns – chocolate chiffon cake
Beef patty – dark chocolate chiffon cake
Cheese – vanilla chiffon cake
Lettuce – pandan chiffon cake

Ice cream cake pops
Ice cream - vanilla chiffon cake
Cone - chocolate chiffon cake

The buns are baked in round silicone cake pop moulds. The beef patty, cheese and lettuce are cut from layer chiffon cake using round, square and leaf cutters respectively.

Cheeseburger chiffon pops (makes approximately 9)
3 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
39g corn/vegetable oil
40g milk
5g vanilla extract
60g cake flour
Cocoa powder (dark)
Pandan paste
Yellow food coloring (PME natural coloring)

4 egg whites
45g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140°C.

2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.

3. Add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found.

4. Scoop out 6 tsp batter into 3 bowls each. To the first bowl, add 1 tsp dark cocoa powder (for beef patty). To the second bowl, add 1/4 tsp pandan paste (for lettuce). To the third bowl, add a drop of yellow food colouring (PME natural yellow coloring) (for the cheese). To the rest, add 1 tsp cocoa powder (for the bun). Mix well.

5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.

6. Scoop over 12 tbsp meringue into each of the 3 bowls and gently fold in respectively. Fold in the rest of the meringue into the light cocoa batter in 3 additions.

7. Scoop the light cocoa batter into a cake pop mould (fill 18 round molds for 9 cake pop burgers). Bake at 140°C for 20-25 min, or until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.

8. Pour the dark brown batter into a baking-paper lined 6-inch tray and bake at 140°C for 20 min. Do likewise for the pandan and yellow batter.

9. Leave the cake pop mold to cool on a wire rack once out of the oven and unmould by popping the pops out when cool.

10. Flip over the layer cakes onto a new baking paper and leave to cool covered by another sheet.

11. To assemble, cut out circles from the dark brown cake for the beef patty corresponding to the size of the ‘buns’ (cake pops). Cut out squares from the yellow cake for the cheese. Cut out ‘leaves’ from the pandan cake for the lettuce using a leaf cutter. Assemble just like how you would make a burger, using melted marshmallows to glue the parts together.

Ice cream chiffon cake pops (makes approximately 15)
Same recipe is used as above, however, batter is only divided into 2. Leave the first batter plain, for the ice cream. To the other half, add 1 tsp charcoal powder.

Bake the plain batter in cake pops molds as above at 140°C for 20-25 min and cocoa batter in paper cones (from SKP) and 140°C for 20-25 min. 

Assemble by sticking the parts together with melted marshmallows or inserting a cake pop stick through.

Hope they make you smile too! They were a big hit with the kids! =)

With lots of love! Happy Children's Day in advance!

More loving chiffon cake creations here:

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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Matcha Azuki Bean Mini Cakes

If you are a fan of Matcha and Azuki beans in dessert, you will love this cake --- alternating layers of light matcha chiffon sponge and refreshing Matcha pudding with whole azuki beans!

I will be teaching how to make these mini cakes at Redman. I decided to use Sakura flowers and whole azuki beans for a simple and elegant decoration.

Please click on this link for more details and to register.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Duggee Chiffon Cake

Hey Duggee!!

Who will like a big Duggee Hug from me!! 🥰

Posting another of my backlogs.. I actually didn't know about the lovable dog Duggee, till my friend shared.

For this Duggee, I used dark pearl chocolate chiffon cake recipe, instead of the usual chocolate chiffon cake recipe. I liked it so much, I will share it below. It can be used in a normal 15-cm tube pan or ball pan. Hope you will like it!

Dark Pearl Chocolate Chiffon Cake (15-cm ball or tube pan)
2 egg yolks
8g castor sugar
26g vegetable/corn oil
29g milk
4g vanilla extract
40g cake flour
Pinch of chocolate emulco
15g dark chocolate
Pinch of baking powder

3 egg whites
35g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140°C. Prepare one 15-cm tube pan or ball pan.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter: Whisk egg yolk with sugar using hand whisk. Add in oil, water and vanilla extract and mix well at each step. Whisk in sifted cake flour and mix till no lumps.

3. Melt the dark chocolate (using microwave or double boiler). To the chocolate batter, add chocolate emulco and melted chocolate. Mix well.

4. Prepare meringue: In a grease-free, dry metal bowl, using electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy. Add in castor sugar for meringue gradually and whisk at high speed till firm peaks form.

5. Spoon or pour the chocolate batter into the tube pan, leaving at least 2-cm from the brim.

6. Bake the tube pans at 140°C for 1 hr, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean.

7. Leave the tube or ball pans (must invert) to cool completely on a wire rack, before unmoulding by hand.

Have a blessed week ahead! 💕

With lots of love,

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Monday, 23 September 2019

Alpaca Cookies n Cream and Matcha Macarons

When given freedom to design a centerpiece with the theme "alpacas", this was what I came up with, along with a bunch of loose pieces of alpaca macarons 😊.

Whimsical land! 

I used the Swiss meringue method to make these but reduced sugar in the meringue since Audrey (my friend who shared the recipe) mentioned it works just as well. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe. I reduced the castor sugar from 85g to 75g. Remember not to overbeat the meringue but beat it firm enough until it is able to form a firm peak (peak with a curled hook) when beater is slowly raised.

I love the mesmerising look of a well beaten meringue! 

Just to share some photos of piped batter...

Loose pieces of alpacas

Pieces of alpacas that go on the structure. I made an extra set just in case. 

I decorated the macaron shells with edible black marker and pink royal icing.

I have been including cocoa butter in my white chocolate based ganache nowadays since it works just as well and it makes the ganache less sweet too! I will share the recipe for the fillings here. Feel free to scale it up if you wish to make a bigger portion.

Matcha whipped white chocolate ganache
45g white chocolate chips or finely chopped
10g cocoa butter shavings
10g unsalted butter
15g heavy cream
2 tsp Matcha powder, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place white chocolate, cocoa butter, butter and cream in microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium-low power for 10 sec and mix well with spatula. Repeat heating and mixing until mixture is smooth. If there are stubborn pieces of chocolate or cocoa butter that refuse to melt, sieve them out. Be careful not to overheat. Press the chocolate/cocoa butter against sides of bowl during mixing to help them melt more evenly.

2. Add salt and vanilla and mix well. Add matcha powder in a few additions and mix well after each addition.

3. Chill in freezer for 1-2 min and mix well with spatula. Repeat chilling and beating until texture is light, smooth and creamy.

Cookies n cream Swiss meringue buttercream
35g egg whites (about 1 egg)
22g castor sugar
1/8 tsp salt
60g unsalted butter, slightly softened but cool
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
32g oreo cookies without cream, crushed

Steps :
1. Place egg whites, castor sugar and salt in a clean metal mixing bowl. Set the bowl over a simmering pot of water without the water touching the base of bowl. Whisk continuously while monitoring the temperature of the egg whites wihh a candy thermometer. Keep whisking until temperature reaches 71.1°C.

2. Remove mixing bowl from heat and beat on medium high speed with electric mixer until cool to room temperature. The meringue should be able to form stiff peaks.

3. Gradually add butter and beat well with electric mixer fter each addition until fully incorporated.

4. Add vanilla and mix well. Fold in crushed oreo cookies.

I filled the "hill" pieces with the matcha filling on outer ring and Oreo filling in the middle.

Filling the "hill" 

I filled the alpacas with Oreo filling.

Filling the alpacas 

Store assembled macarons in fridge in airtight condition for at least 24h before eating. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 15 min before opening the airtight container to prevent condensation from forming on the shells.

I glued the alpacas on the hill and created the grass using Royal icing. The flowers on the hill are store bought sugar flowers.

I hope this whimsical bake puts a smile on your face as it did mine 😊.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 16 September 2019

MSW Durian Chiffon Cake

Sorry for the delay in posting! I was away in Malaysia last week due to school holidays. Anyway, here to share a MSW Durian creation I made sometime back, inspired by a Mao Shan Wang Durian we had hehe =p. You can check out my previous post Durian Cottony Chiffon Cake I made for my dad 3 years back! =) I am still fine-tuning the recipe for this new version.

Hope you like it!

With lots of love,

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Matcha Azuki Bean T-Rex Choux Pastry (class + giveaway!)

When I first made dinosaur themed choux pastries, I was thinking to myself I should conduct a class on how to make them, particularly the chubby T Rex!

I decided to make a more naturally coloured version this time, show casing Matcha and Azuki bean flavours. If you are interested in learning how to make these cute dinos, please click on this link for more details and to register for the class.

This is also the first time we are doing a giveaway of a very useful baking item together with the class! I requested for this as I find that it makes a huge difference to use perforated baking mats when baking choux pastries. It helps to retain the shape of the piped batter much better than if you piped and baked on parchment paper or silicone mat as the little holes in the mesh helps to anchor the pastry as it rises in the oven during baking. For small pastry parts or plain round choux it doesn't really matter which surface you pipe on but for the "main body" of non-standard shapes or eclairs, it does. You will get to experience the use of the perforated baking mat in class and bring home a brand new one after the class! Perforated mats are also great for baking tarts, cookies and breads so it's not just for choux pastries!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Reading Room Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Macarons

As far as whimsical bakes are concerned, I think this is one of my most whimsical ones. Presenting a reading room scene made out of macarons! Even the armchairs, lampshade and floor rug are made out of macarons!

Darth Vader is finding someone else's reading material interesting 🤣. 

You can guess what are some of the birthday man's favourite characters and what's his favourite hobby. I had fun coming up with this creation!

I used the Swiss meringue method to make the macarons as there are many colours involved and I needed a more stable meringue. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe. Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the characters

I made the armchairs using raspberry flavoured macaron shells and filling by adding freeze dried raspberry powder. 

You may refer to this post for the raspberry filling recipe. I replaced some white chocolate with cocoa butter to make the filling even less sweet. I made Royal icing that is close to the colour of the macaron shells to join the individual macaron pieces together.

Filling the characters with raspberry white chocolate ganache. I decorated the characters using edible markers and paint made by dissolving gel food colouring in vodka. 

Filling the base macaron with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry ganache. This is the largest circle base I have made so far, which is about 15cm. My macaron carousels have 13cm circles as the base. 

You my refer to this post for the recipe for dark chocolate ganache.

I hope this creation brought a smile to your face as it did mine 😊.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Mooncarons (Swiss Method)

I began my quest of making macarons that look and taste like mooncakes two years ago so this is the third year I am giving it a go again and this time round, I can say that I am presenting mooncarons!

I have to thank my friend for exclaiming that these are "mooncarons" when she saw them. These are proper mooncarons, not just some mooncakes stuffed with a macaron in the middle 

Just some background to my experiment making these. Two years ago I made a few attempts, trying out different ways of making the mooncake pattern. The experiment included imprinting the surface of partially dried piped batter using mooncake moulds and indenting the surface of partially dried shells with toothpick. Both do not work so don't try 😂. Unless you happen to have liquid nitrogen and a custom made metal mould for imprinting piped batter. You can read all about my first attempt over here. Last year I focused on getting the taste of the filling right and you can read about it here. This year, I thought of experimenting yet again to add some height to the "mooncake" and change the process of making the shells by tweaking the recipe and process, such that the shells don't end up being too fragile and soft due to the use of gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) for meringue but still tastes great.

As always, begin by making your template. I used the mooncake mould imprinted part to trace out the outlines. This can only be done if you use the plunger type of mooncake mould because you can't do that with traditional wooden moulds.

This is the first time I am trying out using granulated gula melaka and icing sugar to make the Swiss meringue and am rather pleased with it. The resulting macaron shells aren't as fragile and still has that wonderful aroma and taste that is similar to traditional baked mooncake "skin". The macaron shells have the added advantage of having a lower GI because of the replacement of white caster sugar with coconut palm sugar. I usually split the egg whites into two batches for Swiss method now but in this case, I use all of it for the meringue to ensure that all the sugar is dissolved in it. This is also the first time I am trying out using the stand mixer to do most of the macaronage process.

Ingredients (makes about sixteen to eighteen 5cm mooncarons):
Dry ingredients
85g superfine almond flour
85g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cocoa powder (use 1/4 tsp if you prefer lighter brown)
1/4 tsp cornflour (optional)

Swiss Meringue
75g egg whites
60g granulated gula melaka (coconut palm sugar)
20g icing sugar (with cornflour/cornstarch already added)
A pinch of salt (optional)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

1. Prepare template and line baking tray with parchment paper. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

2. Prepare the Swiss meringue. Place all the ingredients in mixing bowl of stand mixer if using a stand mixer for meringue. If not any regular clean metal or glass bowl will do if using handheld mixer.  Place mixing bowl over a saucepan filled with a bit of water. Make sure the water in saucepan doesn't touch the base of mixing bowl. Turn the heat on to medium low heat while whisking the contents in the bowl continuously. Monitor the temperature of egg whites using a candy thermometer. Heat until temperature reaches 48-50°C. This process may take up to several minutes so prepare for a workout 🤣. The reason why you should heat slowly is because all the sugar had to be dissolved before you whip it up using electric mixer. If the temperature rise is too fast, some sugar may be undissolved and the meringue won't turn out well. Remove bowl from saucepan once temperature is reached. Use electric mixer or stand mixer to continue beating the meringue at medium speed until stiff peak. Note that the meringue shouldn't be beaten until it is so stiff and dry that it balls up inside the whisk (applicable for French method only).

Swiss meringue using gula melaka and icing sugar 

3. Scatter dry sifted ingredients into meringue in 3 batches. After each addition, turn mixer on to medium high speed for a couple of seconds just to incorporate the dry ingredients. After all the dry ingredients are added, use a spatula to gently fold the batter to ensure that everything is incorporated well. Test the consistency of the batter. If it falls off the spatula in a continuous or almost continuous ribbon, it is ready. If not, continue folding and check again. You may refer to the video tutorial here for the right consistency.

4. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a wilton #5 or 6 tip. Pipe the base of the shells. I use three shells for each macaron, with the middle shell as a ring. Let the top shell dry until a sticky membrane is formed before switching to wilton 1s tip to pipe the patterns. Unclog the tip if necessary as you pipe. Remember to bang the tray after piping to flatten any peaks and pop any bubbles trapped.

Top shell

Middle shell

Bottom shell

Dry in aircon room until dry to touch before baking.

5. When about to bake, preheat the oven to 170°C. Place baking tray in oven. Immediately turn temperature down to 140°C. Bake for 20-25 min or until feet doesn't appear wet for top and bottom shells. The ring should take about 15 min to bake. Let the shells cool on the tray completely before carefully peeling the parchment paper away from the macaron shells. If the shells are stuck, bake for another few minutes before checking again. You want to bake the shells until biscuit-like as the filling will soften the shells. Do note that baking temperature and time is just a guidine as each oven is different. Because coconut sugar is used, I bake them longer than if I use regular white sugar as it is more hygroscopic (tends to retain moisture).

Freshly baked shells! 

As with my previous attempts, I use gel food colouring dissolved in vodka to create a paint to give the shells an egg washed look that traditional mooncakes have. Use a mix of electric yellow and teeny bit of chocolate brown. You may want to oven dry the shells at 70°C before filling if the paint has turned your shells soft.

Please refer to this post for detailed recipe for the mung bean filling and salted egg yolk filling. You may Google for a lotus paste recipe if you prefer lotus paste instead of mung bean paste. Just thin it out with whipping cream as I mentioned in the post for the filling. The assembly sequence is shown below from left column to right.

1. Coat bottom shell with mung bean filling. 2. Place ring on top of bottom shell. 3. Fill cavity with a ring of mung bean filling and salted egg yolk filling in middle. 4. Coat top shell with a layer of mung bean filling. 5. Sandwich top shell on middle shell. 

Refrigerate for a day in airtight container before serving. Let the macarons sit in airtight container at room temperature for 15 min before opening and serving to prevent condensation from atmosphere onto the shells.

I love the view of the cross section! 

As you can see a lot of time and effort has been taken to come up with this so please acknowledge my hard work of you ever replicate this. Thank you and hope this will help you bless your loved ones at Mid-Autumn Festival this year!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday, 30 August 2019

Dairy-Free Blackforest Chiffon Cake

My friend sent me a picture of her daughter lying on a field and reading, and asked if I could make something like that for her daughter's birthday. I thought long and hard about the various genres of bakes I could use to make this and finally settled on chiffon cake since I think it is the best medium for this theme. It is the first time I made a full-bodied human figurine so I am glad it came out quite decently! Presenting my chiffon creation on top of a dairy-free naked blackforest cake!

Instead of cooked dough method for making chocolate chiffon, I tried doing it the regular chiffon way but bloomed the cocoa powder in boiling water instead of sifting together with cake flour. Blooming cocoa powder for bakes helps to intensify the chocolate flavour. I baked three 9" round layers. My friend's kids are allergic to dairy at some degree so the whole bake had to be dairy free.

Recipe for dairy-free chocolate chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes three 9" layers):
Egg yolk batter 
9 egg yolks
95g cake flour
50g Dutch processed (alkalized) cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
102g canola/vegetable oil
108g boiling water
2.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur

9 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
150g caster sugar

Note: divide the meringue ingredients into three to bake the layers individually unless you are able to bake all three at once.

Steps :
1. Dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water in a small mixing bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to cool. Preheat oven to 150°C, set oven rack to second lowest position. Line bottom of baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until thicker in consistency and paler in appearance. Add oil and whisk until we'll combined. Add cocoa and water mixture and whisk until combined. Add vanilla and coffee liqueur and whisk until combined. Gradually sift in flour and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. Divide the batter into three equal portions if baking one layer at a time.

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

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Pour batter into prepared baking tray. Gently run a chopstick around the batter to pop any air bubbles.

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 135°C and bake for another 30-35min or until top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before unmoulding by hand or gently using a spatula. Cool on cooling rack with a other parchment paper over it. Not that baking time and temperature varies from oven to oven so adjust accordingly.

I assembled the cake using non-dairy whipping cream and cherries. I brushed the surface of the cake with simple syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar and water) before putting on the cream.

Using acetate sheet to surround the cake helps with neat assembly. 

I covered the naked blackforest cake with a thin layer of chiffon sheet cake before mounting the figurine on top. The most challenging part of the figurine was figuring out how to make the arms holding a book as it is a little gravity defying. I made the book out of bean paste dough as I thought bean paste is more suitable for the look of a book. I bought the recipe from a talented baking friend so am unable to share the exact recipe but you may refer to this post for my experience of making the dough. It is like fondant except that it is a lot less sweet and tastes like bean flavoured mochi. The figurine is made of dairy free vanilla chiffon sponge. I used a combination of thin sheets of chiffons and chiffon baked in small moulds to create the figurine.

Here is a peek at the works in progress state of the figurine. Looks a little spooky 😂

Thank God I managed to pull it off!

With love,
Phay Shing

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