Tuesday 28 February 2017

Cute Neko (Cat) Chiffon Cake

Happy birthday my dearest Charissa! This is a cake for my 3rd child's 3 year old birthday! She loves cats so she requested for a cat cake this year. I love how simple 3 year olds are, how they are fascinated by the cats and birds in the surroundings, how they stop to smell the flowers. Sometimes I wish they don't grow up so fast =p

Hehe, so back to the cake, I used a tried and tested recipe that I've used many times, my Strawberry yoghurt-vanilla chiffon cake (recipe link in previous post). And for the cat, the same reduced egg yolk vanilla chiffon in 2 bowls and cake pops for the arms.

The teachers had asked whether the cat was a toy or could be eaten when I brought out the cake lol!

Ah, I rarely have cut slices of my cakes as they are almost always gifts or birthday cakes for other people. But I finally have a cut slice from today's cake a I was the mum-cum-official cake cutter lol. You can from the slice that the crumbs are very fine, tender and soft. The cake was finished in no time! But no one could bear to eat the face.. I think it's because there were no boys in the class. Usually the boys fight for the head while girls can't bear to eat it haha! My girls were fighting for the hidden marshmallows inside the cake! =)

With lots of love,

Some good news to share! Deco Chiffon Cakes is on 2nd print run! I just received copies of the new run today. Thanks for your support!

First book Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes (3rd print run)

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Monday 27 February 2017

Veggietales Earl Grey Lavender Macarons

I got in touch with a friend on Facebook whom I have not met in more than 20 years! She's really excited about getting some some bakes from me and this was what she requested for :)

Laura, Bob, Larry, Junior and the French peas! 

My kids love listening to songs from Veggietales so as I worked on these macarons, I have the Veggietales theme song ringing in my head :p.

This batch was made along with two more requests and one accidental bake that resulted in more 3D macarons. I was pretty much exhausted by the end of the day but these cute and cheerful characters never fail to put a smile on my face :).

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.

Just to share some pictures of the process...

Piping Larry

Piping Laura

Piping Bob and French peas. The bottom shells of the peas are not shown in this picture

Piping Junior

Freshly baked shells!

I decorated the shells with royal icing and edible marker. Laura's ribbon was piped on baking sheet and dried thoroughly before sticking onto the macaron shell.

I filled one set with Earl grey lavendar white chocolate ganache. I used the recipe in the link for Earl grey ganache but added 1/2 tsp of dried powder lavender flowers for every 1 tbs of Earl grey powder used.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday 26 February 2017

Baby Whale Chiffon Cake (Pandan-blue pea flowers)

This baby whale chiffon cake is a another cute creation I like very much! The flavour is vanilla for the white belly, and pandan with blue pea flowers that both yummy and pretty for the teal shade. It's the chiffon version of a cute baby whale cake from fondant that's the cutest I saw (I think the originator of the design is whipped bakeshop from US).

Anyway the reviews for the chiffon cake was really good! My recipient was a pastry chef student, and she said it's nothing like what they learnt in baking school, being so much softer, moist and so tasty! 

Hope you will like this creation too!

Baby Whale Chiffon Cake (Pandan-blue pea flowers chiffon cake)
For 6-inch tube pan

3 egg yolks (I used 60g eggs with shell)
20g castor sugar
40g vegetable/corn oil
42g water
5g vanilla extract
60g Prima cake flour
½ tsp pandan paste (I used redman)
blue pea flower extract (40+ blue pea flowers in 10g hot water) 
*this is optional if you do not need the teal shade, or if you do not have the flowers, you can use a dip of blue food colour

4 egg whites
45g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a tray of water under the lowest rack for steambaking. *Optional but helps to increase moisture and control oven temperature for ogura-like texture.

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

3. Add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found. Spoon out 5 tsp batter and leave plain. To the rest of the batter, add pandan paste and mix well. I further added in drops of blue pea flower extract (optional if you do not need the teal shade, or you can substitute with a dip of blue food colour).

4. Meringue: Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till frothy. Add in half the castor sugar for meringue and whip till soft peaks. Add in all the castor sugar and whip till firm peaks form or just to the point of reaching stiff peak.
*Firm peaks give finer, softer texture, especially with steam baking.

5. Spoon out 10 tbsp meringue for plain batter, leaving the rest for the pandan batter. Gently quickly fold in the meringue into respective batter in 2-3 additions.

6. Spoon the pandan batter till 2/3 of the pan. Then spoon the cream batter onto one side of the pan. Gently spread neatly till around 3-inches wide to make the belly of the whale. Fill the surrounding with pandan batter. Gently tap the tin on the counter lightly to remove air bubbles (but do not overdo it so as not to disrupt the pattern).

7. Bake the chiffon cake for 15 min at 160°C and then 140°C for 25+ min, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

8. Invert the chiffon cake once removed from oven and allow to cool completely.

9. Pour the remaining pandan batter onto a 6-inch square pan lined with baking paper. Bake at 160°C for 15 min.

10. Flip the sheet cake over onto a new sheet of baking paper and cover with another piece to cool completely.

11. Unmould the chiffon cake by hand (‘Hand Unmoulding Chiffon Cake for a Clean Finishing’ video tutorial).

12. Fill the tube hole with any sweets or surprise and then cover it up with by cutting a circle from the sheet cake corresponding to the size of the hole.

13. Cut the fins using a leaf cutter and stick onto the sides using toothpick and melted marshmallows. Cut the water spout using tear drop cutter and stick on similarly.
*Melted marshmallow from popping a few marshmallows with a sprinkle of water on high for 30 secs.

14. Add on facial features using melted chocolate for eyes and pink food marker for cheeks, or using black/pink sheet cake cut outs (I had cut outs from a concurrent bake).

Hope this brings a smile to your faces! Have a blessed week ahead!

With lots of love,

More fun chiffon ideas here!

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Thursday 23 February 2017

Solar System 2-tier Chiffon Cake (Charcoal-blue pea flowers)

I made this cute Solar system 2-tier chiffon cake some time back. It got lost in my phone until I got reminded of it suddenly when a friend tagged me yesterday with a cute solar system cake!

The two-tone cake and base recipe is similar to the Charcoal-blue pea flowers solar system chiffon cake I made for my son's birthday a year back, omitting the cinnamon powder. I deliberately made one side look like it was facing the sun, with charcoal chiffon on one side and charcoal with blue pea flowers on the other side. The planets are all cute mini chiffon cake pops sticking into the cake. I made them by baking chiffon cake batter (with marbling) in small cake pop molds. The solar system cake was actually in Deco Chiffon Cakes book to the last draft but taken out at the very last minute in favour of the chick chiffon =p.

Thankful it was well-received!

With lots of love,

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Wednesday 22 February 2017

My Melody Macarons with Mango Ganache (New filling recipe!)

I love bakes that challenge me within reason. This is one of them :)

My friend requested for some full-bodied My Melody macarons that are to be given away as gifts. She wanted some filled with dark chocolate ganache and some with mango flavoured filling. While the dark chocolate filling is a no-brainer, the mango one is a challenge in hot and humid Singapore. I am happy to say that my experiment with making a mango flavoured filling that is full of fresh fruit puree but stable at Singapore's hot room temperature is a success! And this is the new recipe that I would like to share in this blog post.

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.

Just to share some pictures of the piping process...

Freshly baked shells!

I created the flowers on My Melody using royal icing. The templates for the macaron shells come in handy for this too. Be sure to let the icing dry thoroughly before attempting to remove them from the baking paper.

Decoration was done using a combination of royal icing and black edible marker.

Checkout the feet!

I googled for a mango white chocolate ganache recipe suitable for macarons and found this, which I used as my reference. I found the proportion of puree used a little low and I was wondering if cream could be omitted totally without risking the whole mixture separating/chocolate seizing. The ganache needs to be firm and omitting the cream allows more puree to be added without making the ganache too soft.

I bought some Thai mangoes and made a puree by blending one mango with 1tsp of lemon juice. The lemon juice is added to prevent browning. I sieved the puree to ensure that it is smooth.

Mango puree

Recipe for whipped mango white chocolate ganache
Ingredients (fills about 16-20 macarons):
55g white chocolate, chopped
10g vegetable shortening
10g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
25g mango puree
1/4 tsp mango flavouring

1. Place white chocolate, vegetable shortening and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 20 seconds. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Add salt and mix well.

2. Freeze the bowl for 2 minutes and mix well with spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing. As the mixture thickens, start to beat it with the spatula. You will notice that the texture will lighten up and become creamy.

3. Add a teaspoon of puree and whip the mixture with the spatula until well combined. Repeat until all the puree has been added. Add mango flavouring and mix well. The texture should be like buttercream

4. Transfer whipped mango ganache into piping bag and pipe onto the shells. Store assembled macarons in the fridge in an airtight container for at least 24h before serving.

I filled some shells with dark chocolate ganache.

I am really excited about discovering this new filling as it opens up new options for flavours that are suitable for macarons which need to withstand longer storage away from the fridge in hot and humid Singapore.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday 19 February 2017

Tokidoki 'Donutella' Chiffon Cake (Reduced egg yolk vanilla recipe)

I finally got to make Donutella from Tokidoki for my friend! 

The creation is made entirely from chiffon cake, including the donuts! This chiffon cake is naturally colored, so this is a reduced egg yolk recipe for whiter cake, and using a new natural yellow coloring find from Bake king for the yellow. My review for this new natural coloring is that the yellow colour is pretty strong and I’m happy with it. 

The recipe is also a cross between chiffon and ogura for more moist and finer crumbs. And I’ll share it for your reference, if you want a whiter and more ogura-like, fine chiffon cake. I also used steam baking to control the oven temperature and for moister finer cake.

Vanilla chiffon cake 2-tone with reduced egg yolk (8-inch/9-inch chiffon pan)
1 egg
2 egg yolks
40g castor sugar
78g vegetable/corn oil
85g water
120g Prima cake flour
10g vanilla extract
Natural yellow coloring

8 egg whites
90g sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. 
*Prepare a tray of water under the lowest rack - I usually use steam baking to control oven temperature and for more moist cake, but it can be optional.

2. Whisk egg yolk and whole egg with sugar until light, fluffy and well-mixed.

3. Add in oil and mix well. Then add water and vanilla extract and whisk till well-combined.

4 Whisk in sifted cake flour and mix till well-combined.

5. Divide the batter into two. To one portion, add few drops of the natural yellow coloring (above). Leave the other plain.

6. Prepare meringue:

a. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy.

b. Add in ½ castor sugar for meringue and whisk at high speed till soft peaks form.

c. Add in rest of the castor sugar for meringue and whisk till firm peaks form.

7. Divide the meringue into two. Gently fold in meringue gently into each egg yolk batter 1/3 at a time. *Fold in unidirectional, gentle strokes and do not overfold.

8. Spoon yellow batter into the base. Make waves by depositing mounds. Fill with plain batter till 2-cm from brim. Gently tap on counter top to remove air bubbles. You may find picture tutorial of waves in my first chiffon book ‘Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes’.

9. Bake at 160°C for 15 min, 150°C for 10 min, then 140°C for 30+ min, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

10. Invert pan to cool on a wire rack completely.

11. Unmould the chiffon cake by hand (see video tutorial ‘Hand unmoulding Chiffon cakes for a clean finishing’).

The Toki doki was fun to make! Yes donuts! I used my Neopolitan chiffon donut recipe from ‘Deco Chiffon Cakes’ (my second chiffon book) for the ears. 

The face and body were from joining two bowl cakes from baking chiffon cake in glass bowls. I prepiped the pink hair on using chiffon batter. Something to note is that what you piped will be inverted when the cake is flipped over. I conveniently forgot about that and had a good laugh when my first face was inverted =p. The arm and feet are from mini swissrolls. I glued everything on using melted marshmallows, using toothpicks for the ears.

Thankful cake was well-received! This is one of my favorite creations as I love cute things! Have a blessed week ahead!

With lots of love,

Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes (1st chiffon book)

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Thursday 16 February 2017

PJ Masks Brown Sugar Cookies

Sometimes I am a little hesitant to post seemingly simple looking bakes like this. But not to do so would not be representative of the repertoire I make. Presenting my PJ masks brown sugar cookies!

I have always used the same brown sugar cookie and royal icing recipes because the feedback is always awesome. Cookies are about the simplest type of bakes compared to chiffon cakes or macarons because they have a bigger margin for error don't need electric mixers. Checkout this post for the detailed recipe for the cookie and icing.

As usual, I made my own templates for cutting out the cookie dough and for decorating the cookies. Please refer to this post on how to make and use the homemade templates.

Cutting out the cookie dough using a homemade template

Icing the cookies!

Although the designs look simple, to ice them perfectly is not as easy as it looks because geometric shapes are less forgiving to errors made in precision. Overall I am satisfied that they look neat enough on the whole :p.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday 13 February 2017

Pink Ombre Hearts Chiffon Cake Pop Valentine's Bouquet

This post is to wish everyone a happy, blessed Valentine's day with your loved ones! Life is short, do cherish our loved ones and every moment with them.. <3

I've already shared the recipe for the Pink ombre hearts pops in my previous post Pink Ombre Stripes Heart Chiffon Cake & Cake pops. Picture tutorials for the diagonal stripes can be further found in Deco Chiffon Cakes book.

I placed 5 hearts cake pops into a bouquet to say "someone loves you more than you can imagine". I learnt that different number of roses mean different things =D.

Happy Valentine's day!!!

With lots of love,

I opened back up a new class for the "Field of flowers" wavy chiffon due to oversubscription. Now left one last slot. If you are interested in wavy patterns, do sign up before it's gone.

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Famous Landmarks Lavender Earl Grey & Dark Chocolate Macarons

A friend gave me a list of famous landmarks that she would like as macarons, giving me a flexible timeline and whatever landmark I am able to accommodate. This is the kind of request I like 😀! Challenges me but I am given the time and space to exercise my creativity. I decided to go for monochrome effect. Here's my version of seven of them!

I managed to make Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Merlion, Big Ben, Temple of Heaven, Taj Mahal and Leaning Tower of Pisa! I must admit that making these together with two other requests was a challenge. Plus, I had to deal with 3D hemispherical shells with the leftover batter. I was exhausted by the end of the day. The amount of details on some of these landmarks had to be either painstakingly piped on with macaron batter or drawn in carefully with edible marker post-baking. Thank God that I managed to pull it off and they are at least recognisable!

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. If you are making a batch of these, divide the mass and meringue into ratio of 1:2 for grey:white batter.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the shells. Lots of pulling of batter using toothpick!

Freshly baked shells!

It took me about 3 hours to finish decorating all of them, including eye breaks from focusing on the intricate details. Thankfully Eiffel Tower and Temple of Heaven didn't need post baking work!

I filled one set with Earl grey lavendar white chocolate ganache* and another set with dark chocolate ganache.

*I used the recipe in the link for Earl grey ganache but added 1/2 tsp of dried powder lavender flowers for every 1 tbs of Earl grey powder used.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday 12 February 2017

Pink Ombre Patterned Hearts Chiffon Cake (Strawberry-Vanilla)

This Pink Ombre Hearts Chiffon Cake is a Valentine’s day cake with multiple flavours and hearts patterned into the chiffon cake! This is the Pink Ombre version of my 6-flavour Rainbow hearts chiffon cake from my first cookbook, Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes. Instead of 6-flavours and rainbow colours, here I have 2-flavours and their combo: vanilla and strawberry.

You can see the video tutorial below for how I patterned the chiffon cake with multiple flavours/colours.

I used the same recipe from Pink Ombre Stripes Heart Chiffon Cake I posted last week for this cake, but divided the batter into 3 colours/flavours instead of 4. Click on the link for the recipe.

May you have a blessed Valentine’s day with your loved ones!

With lots of love,

Creative baking: Deco Chiffon Cakes: focuses on 3D patterns on both the base and sides of the cake, eg. 3D flowers, moomoo etc. and characters

Creative baking: Chiffon Cakesfocuses on rainbow and two-tone chiffon cakes

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Tuesday 7 February 2017

Ombre Pink Heart Macarons (Video tutorial and other tips included!)

This is an impromptu bake that I decided to do in the midst of preparing 120 macarons for this weekend's Culinary Arts event where I will be teaching how to make Matcha Azuki bean macarons. Since Valentine's Day is around the corner, I thought why not make some simple heart shaped ones too!

Although my preferred choice of method is the Italian method, I decided to make these using the French method, which I will be teaching this weekend. Many of you may find it simpler to use the French method too since there's no messing around with boiling syrups and candy thermometer. I am including a video tutorial in the blog post on how to pipe the perfect heart-shaped macaron. You may have seen a few other video tutorials on YouTube. The way I pipe is different from what you have seen elsewhere so do take a look at how I pipe :). I will also share with you how to create the sweet ombre shade in a deceptively easy way.

Do take a look at this post for the basics of macarons made using the French method. If you would like a reduced sugar recipe, please refer to this post.

Recipe for macaron shells
Ingredients (makes about 12-14 hearts, 24-28 shells):
40g egg whites (aged in fridge for a few days*, brought to room temperature before using)
36g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
43g superfine almond powder
57g icing sugar
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp white powder food colouring (optional)

*In order to age egg whites, place the egg whites in a clean bowl in the fridge. Cover the bowl with a paper towel to allow excess water in the egg whites to evaporate. Loosely cover the paper towel with cling wrap. This is to prevent anything in the fridge from entering the egg whites.

1. Prepare tray with heart template and baking paper over it. You may print out on an A4 sheet. I was lazy to print so I used my heart cookie cutter to trace out the hearts.

2. Sift together almond, icing sugar, salt and white powder.

3. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy using an electric mixer. Gradually add caster sugar while beating the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Scrape down the meringue from the sides of the bowl and beat the meringue for several seconds more or until the meringue is really glossy and stiff. Repeat the scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating again if necessary.

4. Scatter about a third of the dry ingredients into the meringue and fold in gently with a spatula. Repeat until all the dry ingredients have been added in. Test the consistency of the batter. You may refer to this video tutorial to have a better idea of the correct consistency. Continue folding the batter until you get a slow moving lava-like consistency.

5. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a Wilton #10 or 12 tip. Pipe away! Have a look at the video tutorial that I made below on how to pipe:

6. Bang the tray on the table to release trapped air bubbles. Dry in aircon room or under a fan until the surface is dry to touch. About 1-2h depending on humidity.

7. Bake in preheated oven at 160°C (top and bottom heat only, fan off) at lowest rack. Turn the temperature down to 140°C once the tray is in. After 10 minutes of baking, reduce temperature to 110°C and continue baking for another 8 minutes or until the feet do not appear wet. Cool completely before peeling the baking paper away from the shells.

Freshly baked shells!

Checkout the feet!

Prepare some peach or pink colored lustre dust. Use a soft brush to apply some dust on a corner of the heart. Please refer to this site on some tips for how this is done :). I learnt this trick from there too!

Looking sweet!

For better colour contrast, I filled these shells with dark chocolate ganache. Store in airtight container in fridge for at least 24h before serving.

I hope that showing how manageable this bake is will convince you to try your hand at making macarons :). I had a phobia of making these a few years ago because of its reputation of being the hardest thing to bake well. Don't be too discouraged if yours don't turn out well the first time round. Practice makes perfect! Let me just highlight some points to ensure higher rate of success for French method:

1. Always store almond meal in fridge.
2. Buy superfine almond meal.
3. Age your egg whites.
4. Ensure that the meringue is really stiff.
5. It is safer to underfold than overfold your batter.
6. Never send the shells into the oven if you are not able to run a finger across the tops of the shells without feeling any stickiness.
7. Always start baking at a higher temperature then lower towards the end.
8. Use the lowest or second lowest oven rack to bake.
9. Always use an oven thermometer.

With love,
Phay Shing

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