Saturday 20 December 2014

'Doraemon on Dorayaki' 3D Figurine Chiffon Cake

My elder kid requested for a Doraemon birthday bake so I made a mini 3D Doraemon chiffon figure standing on his favourite food -- dorayaki!

Mmmm...This red bean pancake is bigger than me!

A look at Doraemon from different angles!

I wanted to add a red tail behind but felt that it was too much work already with all the facial details, pocket, bell, collar, arms and feet! And since the figurine is quite small, working with the small parts is quite a challenge. Anyway he looks good enough from the front and 45°angles :p

I don't have a customized mould so I created the figurine from layer cakes baked in 6" and 7" square pans (for the body, arms and small features), jumbo egg shells (more than 70g and with inner membrane removed, for the head, the bigger the better) and round silicone ice cube tray (for the feet).

Many thanks to Susanne's generosity, I have some blue pea flowers as natural blue colouring this time :). Although some artificial colouring has to be added, less is necessary.

As Doraemon has quite a bit of white features, I adapted the recipe from one that uses only one egg yolk but four egg whites as the base batter to minimize the use of white coloring. Only a few drops were needed.

Ingredients (makes about 4 figurines):
Egg yolk batter
1 egg yolk
10g caster sugar
43g canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
30g water
30g blue pea flower infused water (I soaked about 10 dried flowers in 33g water. Use more if you have. I didn't have that many)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided into 2 portions
74g cake flour, divided into 2 portions
Pinches of salt
1/8 tsp (heaped) charcoal powder
Red, yellow white and blue gel food coloring

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

Tools for shaping
Regular and jumbo straws
Round cutters
Small sharp fruit knife
Cutting board

1. Line the trays with baking sheet, preheat the oven to 160°C. Position the rack to second lowest position.

2. Make the egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolk and sugar until pale and all sugar has dissolved (first photo).

3. Gradually add oil and whisk until thick like mayonnaise (second photo).

4. Divide the batter into two. Gradually add 30g of water into each of the divided batter, one blue and one plain, and whisk until well combined. Add vanilla extract and mix well. Gradually whisk in sifted flour into each batter (third photo).

5. Portion out 1/2 tsp of plain egg yolk batter for each of the colors, yellow and black, and 1 tsp for red. Add food coloring and charcoal to the respective batters.

6. Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites until foamy in a clean metal bowl using an electric mixer. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the bowl can be overturned without the meringue falling out.

7. Fold the meringue into the various egg yolk batter in three additions. Portion about 1.5 tbs of meringue for yellow and black batters, and 3 tbs for red batter (fourth picture).

8. Pour blue batter into 4-5 XL egg shells to about 2/3 full and into the 6" tray. Spoon white batter into the ice cube tray and part of 7" tray. Spoon the rest of the coloured batter, side by side, into the 7" tray as well, making sure that red batter forms a rectangle. We need a long strip for the red collar. Bake the following at the respective time and temperature*:
- layer cakes: 160°C for 9-11 minutes
- ice cube tray/ cakepop mould: 160°C for 10 minutes, followed by 4-8 minutes at 150°C
- egg shells: 160°C for 10 minutes, followed by 150°C for 5 minutes. If still not baked through, extend baking time for another 5-7 minutes at 140°C.

* Each oven is different so your temperature and time required may be different. Use a toothpick to check for doneness.

Immediately remove layer cakes from pan, peel of the baking sheet and cool with a fresh baking sheet covering it. Roll up the blue layer cake as soon as you can to cool it in rolled up position.

Immediately invert the ice cube tray to cool. Carefully unmould by hand when completely cooled.

Carefully crack the eggshell by tapping it with the back of a metal spoon and gently peeling off the shells.

9. Here's the fun and tedious part of assembly.

Tips: Keep a small bowl of simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar:water) to brush on the small parts of cake to prevent them from drying out. Keep unused parts in airtight container. Have a small bowl of water to wet the knife a bit before carving (thanks Susanne for this last tip!).

i) Cut the eggshell baked cake to about roundish in shape. Use round cutters/ straws to cut out the facial features. Use the knife to carve out the various shapes. Carefully carve out the centreline, mouth and line on the tongue. Use marshmallows melted with a bit of water as glue to glue the parts on (first picture).

ii) Cut a rectangular strip from blue layer cake with width slightly less than size of head. Roll both ends as shown in the second picture. Glue the rolled up cake with melted marshmellow.

iii) Cut two ice cube tray baked cakes to form the feet and an oval for the belly. Glue them together as shown in the third picture.

iv) Secure the head, body, feet and dorayaki (I used store bought dorayaki) together using two toothpicks, one down each leg (fourth picture).

v) I apologise for the lack of photos from this point as I was rushing. Cut a white semi circle for the belly pouch and stick it on. Cut a red strip for the collar and small yellow circle with a strip in the middle for the bell. Glue those around the neck, hiding the joining between head and body a bit.

vi) Finally, make the arms. Cut two small blue pieces from layer cake and roll it up to form a Swiss roll. If it is too thick, try slicing the cake thinner before rolling again. Cut out a small semicircle from ice cube tray baked cake and roll it up a bit to shape into the hands. Glue the hands onto the arm and glue the whole arm onto the body.

When it was time to eat Doraemon, I did feel a bit reluctant to :p. But the kids had so much fun eating it and it was so nice to see their joy when they saw my creation and ate it!

Just to share a less flattering view of Doraemon from the side and back...

Do add on a tail if you have the time and energy!

Farewell Doraemon!

Blessed birthday to my firstborn! May you grow up to love God and people around you!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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