Thursday 30 August 2018

Marshall and Chase Brown Sugar Cookies

This is one of those way overdue posts 😅. I made these Paw Patrol themed cookies for my friend along with the cake with macaron cake toppers some months ago.

Marshall and Chase Brown Sugar Cookies!

Brown sugar cookie and royal icing recipe can be found here. I have always used the same recipe as it is always well received. Brown sugar cookie base may not look as pretty as regular white sugar based ones but they taste so much better!

Just to share some pictures of the process...

I use homemade templates to make cookies of customized shapes.

Icing in progress!

Nearly there!

I tried adding shadows to make the image a little more 3D using edible marker and vodka. I perhaps overdid it a little for Chase...Oops!

Anyway, the little boy was thrilled to receive his favourite characters as yummy treats!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday 27 August 2018

'Baked Mooncake' Macarons with Mung Bean Paste and Salted Egg Yolk

I challenged myself to create mooncake lookalikes last year for both snowskin and baked mooncakes. It took me a few tries to get the looks right as it was tedious and tricky to get all the right "imprints" and mooncake shapes in macaron form. You may read all about it in this post. This year I thought of making macarons that not only look like the real deal, but also taste like it! Presenting my mooncake wannabes!

I didn't plan to make the snowskin version this year as I thought the baked version appears more like the real thing.

I made the mooncake shells concurrently with my Pusheen and Rilakkuma Teachers' Day bake so it's the same batter as Rilakkuma. It was a small batch of 12 mooncake macarons. I also used a bigger piping tip for the mooncake imprints this time round compared to last year as the smaller tip gets stuck now and then with batter. I had a long day of piping many Pusheens and Rilakkumas so I didn't want to go through the trouble of having to unblock the piping tip now and then! Resulting imprints from using a larger piping tip look less refined than last year's but I am not too perfectionistic about that. You may use any of your favourite macaron recipe to make the shells, or any one of my macaron recipes on the blog. What I really want to share in this post is the recipe for the filling as it is unique.

Here's a picture of the piped shells before baking.

Here is a shot of the shells after baking and after the "egg wash" effect was added. I didn't actually brush the shells with egg wash but just painted it such that it has an effect that looks like egg wash.

Checkout the feet!

I made two types of fillings to mimic the traditional mooncake filling: mung bean paste based and salted egg yolk based.

The mung bean filling recipe is adapted from my first attempt at using homemade mung bean paste as macaron filling last year. You may read about it in this post. I didn't need the filling to be really stiff over here since I am not making a macaron structure so the filling over here is quite different from my first attempt. The whole process of making mung bean paste, which is one of the common mooncake fillings, is rather time consuming and tedious. But you have the added advantage of having absolute control over how much sugar goes into the filling. This is quite an important criteria for me when it comes to macaron fillings as macaron shells already have a high sugar content. Do make the mung bean puree ahead of time and you may even freeze it for a long time. When you want to make the macaron filling, you may work with defrosted mung bean puree and you will find it less of a hassle this way. Which was precisely what I did!

I adapted the mung bean paste recipe from Christine's.

Recipe for mung bean cream 
Mung bean puree
200g dried deshelled mung beans
A few pandan leaves, knotted or cut into shorter strips

Mung bean paste
150 mung bean puree
28g brown sugar (more if you prefer sweeter)
24g milk (or coconut milk)
1 pandan leaf cut into smaller pieces
1/2 tsp salt
21g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp wheat starch

Mung bean cream
140g mung bean paste
40g heavy cream/ whipping cream

Note: this recipe is catered for macaron filling so it tends to be less sweet but saltier, to be paired with macaron shells that already have high sugar content. Please adjust sugar and salt content accordingly if used in other pastries.

1. Prepare mung bean puree. Wash and drain dried mung beans a few times before soaking overnight. Drain the soaking water and rinse and drain one more time. Transfer beans into a shallow steaming plate. Add pandan leaves and cover the beans with enough water till about 1cm above the beans. Steam for 30-35 min or until beans are soft. Drain away excess water and remove pandan leaves. Press the beans through a fine sieve. You may freeze any excess puree for future use. The 200g of dreid beans suggested here is more than you need so there will be excess.

2. Prepare mung bean paste. Heat milk with Pandan leaf in microwave oven or in small saucepan. Let the leaf steep for 10 min. Discard the leaf. Place all ingredients except wheat starch in a nonstick frying pan or wok. Bring to a boil while stirring with a spatula. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Keep stirring until liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Gradually add sifted wheat starch and stir until well combined. Continue cooking the mixture and stirring/kneading with spatula until a soft dough forms and all liquid has been cooked off, about 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.

Freshly made brown sugar mung bean paste

3. Make mung bean cream. Gradually add cold heavy cream to mung bean paste and use a spatula to mix well. You may use an electric mixer to incorporate the ingredients together or have a workout using the spatula all the way!

Mung bean cream

Transfer into piping bag and pipe this filling in a ring on the bottom shell.

Recipe for salted egg yolk filling 
32g sieved cooked salted egg yolk* (about 2 egg yolks)
32g unsalted butter, softened

1.* Prepare salted egg yolks by cooking the yolks. You may do so in a few ways. Steaming the yolks only or steaming/boiling the whole egg with shell on, and then extracting the cooked yolk. Press the cooked yolk through a fine sieve and measure out the amount required. Cooking just the yolk takes about 9 minutes of steaming. Cooking whole eggs with shell on takes about 15 minutes.

2. Combine the salted egg yolks in part 1 with butter. You may use a spatula or small hand whisk to combine the two together.

Salted egg yolk filling.

Transfer into piping bag and pipe a dollop of this filling in the middle of the bottom shell.

Refrigerate the assembled macarons for at least 24h before consuming. Before consuming, let the macarons rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Here's a closer look at the cross-section...

No hollows! And yums!

I got hubby to help me to do a taste test and he said it tastes like mooncake! My friend who requested for this set of mooncake macarons tried it said it's yummy and not too sweet!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday 26 August 2018

Pooh, Piglet and Rainbow motif Snowskin Mooncakes

Mid-autumn is coming again! I make mooncakes every year as my hubby and kids, especially my #3, love mooncakes. So making mooncakes is a must for me every year!

This year I used a recipe based on shortening again (instead of olive oil) as it keeps the mooncake softer for a longer time. It is also whiter and prettier. Here is the recipe I used, which makes around 18 50g-mooncakes.

Snowskin Mooncake Recipe (Makes 18 pieces of 50g mooncakes)

200g Kou fien (cooked glutinous rice flour)
160g Icing sugar
60g Shortening
200g Cold water
Pandan paste, strawberry paste, food coloring, charcoal powder (as desired)
540g white lotus paste

1. Divide the lotus paste filling into balls around 30g each. Cover with cling wrap.

2. Sift kou fien and icing sugar together. Mix well.

3. Add in shortening and quickly mix by hand (wearing gloves) until the mixture is uniform and resembles bread crumbs.

4. Pour in the cold water. Use your hands (wearing gloves) and knead the dough until it becomes soft and smooth. Divide the dough into your desired colours/flavours and knead till they are uniform in colour (do not overknead). The gloves help to prevent sticking to your hands.  Cover the dough with clingwrap and let them rest for 10 – 15 minutes before they are ready for wrapping.

5. Divide the prepared dough into 30g balls. Dust your mould, hands and table top with some kou fien.

6. Flatten the prepared dough into a circle with the edges slightly thinner than the centre (I used a cling wrap around the ball to prevent sticking). Put the filling in the middle of the circle and pinch tight to seal the edges. Roll the ball smooth and press it into the mould. Lightly push out or knock out the mooncake from the mould.

7. For the rainbow motif, roll the rainbow colours: pink, orange, yellow, green and blue into thin strips. Align into the rainbow and place it into the mould before you add the mooncake ball.

8. For pooh and piglet, just shape into the animal from the mooncake ball directly. I used mooncake dough with charcoal powder for the facial features. The parts stick easily without needing any additional ‘glue’.

9. After shaping, store the cakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for about 2 hrs for the mooncake to become firming before consuming. The mooncakes stay soft at least for several days, and are still delicious!

Hope you like them! Happy mid-autumn in advance!

With lots of love,
Susanne =)

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Thursday 23 August 2018

Pusheen and Rilakkuma Tea Flavoured Macarons for Teachers' Day

I had fun with this set of macarons. A bunch of nerdy and studious looking Pusheens and Rilakkumas filled with Matcha or Earl Grey white chocolate ganache for Teachers' Day!

They all seem to be giving teachers the message "Cher, we will study really hard as the best gift we can give you!"

If you aspire to be able to create macarons that have character and speak to volumes to you, I encourage you to get a copy of my books Creative Baking: Macarons and Creative Baking: Macaron Basics. They are companion books and have complimentary focus and content.

Like I mentioned in my second book, I choose the type of method to use depending on size of batch and colour range. For this fairly large batch of macarons, I use the Italian meringue method. I replaced some icing sugar with rice flour and a bit of cornflour as suggested in my second book too on how you can reduce the amount of sugar used if you wish, without compromising structure.

Just to share some photos of the process..

Piping Pusheen shells

Piping Rilakkuma shells

Freshly baked. All 51 of them! Checkout the awesome feet!

I actually made a small batch of mooncake macaron shells as well since it's the same colour base as Rilakkuma so stay tuned for that post!

I filled in the ears of Rilakkuma with royal icing and drew in the details in black edible marker.

I filled the shells with Matcha or Earl grey white chocolate ganache. This is a fairly firm whipped ganache that can allow for storage in air-conditioned room for three days. I scaled down the recipe to a third and reduced the amount of whipping cream used to make the ganache slightly firmer.

Wishing all teachers Happy Teachers' Day! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday 20 August 2018

Banana Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Dark Chocolate Drip

I had a request for banana chocolate chiffon cake topped with dark chocolate drip!

I took the liberty of including salted caramel white chocolate stripes along the sides of the cake, on the inside ring of the chiffon cake and also for the name. The requester saw my first banana chiffon drip cake and wanted something similar for her son. She actually requested for not just one, but two such cakes for separate celebrations with different number of pax!

I baked a 15cm and a 17cm chiffon cake at the same time

I will provide the recipe for baking the banana chocolate chiffon cake for these two chiffon tin sizes. Please use the baking temperature and time as references since each oven behaves differently. Always use an oven thermometer. The chiffon cake itself is more banana-y than chocolatey as the cake was supposed to be covered with dark chocolate ganache. So I decided to go easy on the cocoa powder in the sponge recipe. You may choose to replace 5-10g of cake flour with more cocoa powder to increase the chocolate flavour if that's your preference. Make sure you use overripe bananas for that extra banana-y flavour! I used the cooked dough method here, adapting the recipe from my previous banana chiffon drip cake.

Banana chocolate chiffon using 15cm chiffon tin
110g banana puree (about 1-1.5 large bananas)
28g canola oil
15g fresh milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
1/4 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
45g cake flour
10g Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 egg yolks

3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
45g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 150℃. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Place a tray of water at base of oven (optional). I place the water at the base to create steam.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Sift together cake flour, baking soda and cocoa powder in a large enough mixing bowl. You will be preparing the batter in this bowl. In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, salt and flavourings.

3. Heat oil in a small saucepan until temperature reaches 90℃ (I am using a higher temperature here than previously to bring out the chocolate flavour from the cocoa powder more strongly). If you don't have an instant read thermometer, heat until you are able to see swirl lines in the oil. Pour all the oil at once into the flour mixture. Whisk until well combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. This allows the cocoa powder to bloom.

4. Gradually add the banana mixture and whisk until well combined. The mixture will become very thick but just continue. Add the egg yolks one at a time and whisk until well combined. The mixture should smoothen out in consistency and become less thick.

5. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until firm peaks form but you are able to turn the bowl upside down without meringue slipping out.

6. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three batches until no trace of meringue is seen.

7. Pour batter into chiffon tin. Gently run a chopstick through the batter to pop any trapped air bubbles. Place chiffon tin in oven and reduce temperature to 140℃. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 120℃ and bake for another 20 minutes. Some people may prefer to bake at higher temperature but I find that for my oven it makes the cake rise too fast, causing it to have huge cracks and dries the cake out more. So just use a baking temperature and time that works for you.

Banana chocolate chiffon using 17cm chiffon tin
165g banana puree (about 2-3 large bananas)
42g canola oil
22g fresh milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
67g cake flour
15g Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/8 tsp baking soda
3 egg yolks

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g caster sugar

Same as above but bake for 30 minutes at 120℃ after the first 30 minutes at 140℃.

Resulting cake is super moist so it was a little challenging to unmould by hand. You may use a spatula to unmould if you wish.

I used a firmer dark chocolate drip by using ratio of about 1.4:1 for dark chocolate: whipping cream. You may use a ratio of 1:1 if you wish but it's better to chill the cake thoroughly before frosting with the drip if you are going for 1:1 ratio.

I whipped the salted caramel white chocolate ganache to give it a more spreadable, creamy texture so that it can frost the sides of the cake well. Caramel flavour compliments banana and chocolate very well so do add this to the cake if you have the bandwidth! I added more white chocolate to the caramel frosting to improve the colour contrast (lighter brown) so the caramel flavour isn't as intense.

Dark chocolate drip
Note that amount suggested here is enough to cover both cakes.
140g dark chocolate couverture
100g whipping cream

1. Heat cream until it just starts to bubble.

2. Pour hot cream over a bowl of chocolate couverture. Wait for a mitnue before stirring in one direction until chocolate is melted and smooth. Alternatively, you may just double boil the cream with chocolate until smooth and melted, or use the microwave.

Resulting chocolate ganache should have a thick gravy consistency before you start covering the cake with it. It will be a thinner gravy consistency if you use a ratio of 1:1.

White chocolate salted caramel frosting
60g salted caramel chips
30g white chocolate chips
30g whipping cream

1. Same as for dark chocolate drip for creating the frosting for piping the name on the cake. The ganache should be a thick gravy consistency.

2. In order to make a frosting for the sides of the cake, chill the ganache in fridge for a few minutes and beat it with a spatula or electric mixer until smooth. Repeat chilling and beating until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Transfer the ganaches into piping bags and create the desired frosting.

You may wish to decorate with some bright red coloured fresh fruits to make the cake more attractive in appearance. I filled the holes in the chiffon cake with strawberries. I can assure you that this cake is definitely yummy! I had great feedback for both cakes!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday 19 August 2018

Sumikko Gurashi Polar Bear Chiffon Cake

Who loves Sumikko Gurashi or '角落小夥伴' ? 💖  This is not my first time making Sumikko Gurashi's Polar bear! See previous post. This Chiffon Cake is inspired by the version from a visit to Tokage's forest house 🌳 in a pumpkin suit! Can you 'bear' to cut the cake? =p

With lots of love,

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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Woodland Creatures Choux Pastry

My schedule is pretty much packed from now till end of the year. Whenever I have time, I try to play around with Choux pastry designs as there is so much potential for creativity! Presenting my Choux pastry version of woodland creatures on a tree stump!

The stump is made from a large Choux pastry case too so yes, everything is Choux pastry based.

I had fun creating this whimsical bake and my friend is happy to take all my creations, which includes some other designs that I will share in due time. As for what filling I used, I made three types of Jell-O instant pudding for her to try. Vanilla, white chocolate and lemon. I followed the package instructions except that I replaced half of the milk with whipping cream.

As this may be featured in my next Creative Baking book on Choux pastries, I am unable to provide the full recipe. But you may refer to any recipe on the blog that uses cookie dough on top of the piped pastry batter as a reference for the animal heads, and any recipe for the tree stump.

Great to know from my friend that the pastries were yummy!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday 13 August 2018

Chiffon Succulent Cake

My healthier chiffon version of a Succulent cake with no cream! Do you like it?

The cake is made entirely from chiffon cake, including the pot and the succulents. The 'pot' is made from baking vanilla-chocolate chiffon cake in a ball cake pan. The bigger pointed succulents were made my cutting sheet cakes into a long zigzag and then rolling them up. The skinnier spiny ones were by stacking snowflakes from chiffon cakes. The long stems at the back were from piping chiffon sheet cakes with light and dark lines and then cutting them out. The flowers were cut using flower cutters and then rolling up the flowers. The stones were cut from chiffon thick cakes.

Do you like pink or white?

The spiny succulents can be found in my Tri-flavour earth tone chiffon cake in my newest book Deco Chiffon Cake Basics (cover below) too. 

Hope you like my humble creation!

With lots of love,

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Sunday 12 August 2018

Macaron Playground on Strawberries n Cream Chiffon Cake

This has got to be one of the most involved piece of work I have done so far. A customized macaron playground with moveable parts on top of a large strawberries and fresh cream chiffon cake!

You can only guess at what this creation is supposed to mean. I didn't ask the requester 😅. This is my third macaron playground but the first one I am putting on top of a cake.

Characters wearing rainbow coloured exercise suits and different expressions at the playground

Here's a back view to show the step ladder I made for the slide.

Watch the playground in action!

I used the French method to make the characters and Italian method to make the playground structures on separate days of baking. Because the characters have so many colours but the quantity is small. I am not putting the recipe here because you can find them on the blog or in my macaron books.

Freshly baked shells!

I decorated the faces with black edible marker, white gel food colouring dissolved in a little vodka, and peach coloured lustre dust brushed on for rosy cheeks.

Raspberry white chocolate and Earl Grey white chocolate flavours were requested for the filling. As this structure has to be stable in Singapore's hot climate, no butter or cream is used in the filling.

Raspberry white chocolate
90g white chocolate, chopped or chips form
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
4 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder

Earl grey white chocolate
90g white chocolate, chopped or chips form
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
3.5 tsp Earl grey tea powder

1. Place white chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10 seconds. Mix well. Repeat until melted and smooth.

2. Add salt and mix well.

3. Gradually add raspberry or Earl grey tea powder and mix well after each addition. Do a taste tear. You may add more if you wish.

4. Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto macaron shells. Let the mixture firm up a little in mixing bowl or piping bag if it is too runny to pipe.

Piping raspberry white chocolate

Piping Earl grey white chocolate

I assembled the structure using stiff royal icing and some food-grade materials to create the playground.

I made a three layered vanilla chiffon sponge cake with two layers of strawberries and fresh cream. I won't provide the recipe for vanilla sponge as you can find it here. It is always very well received and goes very well with strawberries and cream.

Just to share a photo of one of the layers of vanilla sponge. I baked each layer using a 5 egg yolks and 7 egg whites recipe and baked in a 12x12" tray.

Previously in my unicorn macaron carousel on top of a strawberries and cream cake creation, I used full dairy whipping cream (35%fat) with gelatin and icing sugar to stabilize. It was really scary as the cream does not hold up for long in Singapore's weather. A lot of care was taken for transport and I warned my friend not to serve until about time to consume so that the cream doesn't melt. I didn't want the case of heart attack again so I decided to use whipped white chocolate ganache to get a very similar yummy fresh cream taste but better stability. I used a mix of non-dairy whipping cream and pure dairy whipping cream to get the best of both stability and taste.

Whipped white chocolate ganache
75g white chocolate, chopped
200g whip topping (non-dairy whipping cream)
275g dairy whipping cream (38% fat)
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place white chocolate in a large and deep mixing bowl. Heat whip topping and dairy whipping cream in a saucepan until bubbles just start to appear.

2. Pour heated cream into mixing bowl and slowly stir in one direction to melt the white chocolate. When chocolate is all melted, add salt and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

3. Prepare the strawberries before you whip the cream and make sure all cake pieces are cut to size that you want so that assembly can take place once the cream is whipped. Whip the chilled ganache on low speed using electric mixer. Once the mixture starts to thicken. Continue to whip by hand. Watch the consistency carefully. Whip until stiff peak but the cream should still be smooth. Do not over whip.

I used 750g worth of strawberries for the cake.

A peek at the insides

Dowels have to be inserted as the macaron playground is substantial in weight. I let the straws stick out of the cake so that it's easy for the recipient to arrange the playground on top of the cake on site.

Thank God that the whole bake was very well received! Both young and old loved the looks and taste of the cake and macarons!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday 8 August 2018

'Merlion' National Day Flag Chiffon Cake

Haha suddenly so many National day bakes.. cos today is a special day! Happy National day to all! <3 I have been wanting to make the Merlion for a long time! Finally get to make this year, albeit a cartoon version inspired by Naiise =).

I am glad that the square chiffon tube pan I got from Japan finally got to good use!! I can finally make a true National day chiffon cake! The colour is from Raspberry Jello. For full recipe and video tutorial, click here.

Happy holiday and National day to all! #wearesingapore #ndp2018

With love of love,

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'National Day' Heart-shaped Bread Loaf (naturally colored)

Just for fun, made a National day-themed heart-shaped loaf bread for the kids, since all of them are singing National day songs from school! The red color is naturally colored using PME red colour. I love their natural range, they have both liquid and powder and very concentrated. The extra kneading affected the structure slightly, but still tastes very nice! I tried a different recipe this time which uses shortening instead of butter, shared by my wonderful friend. I really like it =). I used cheese to cut out the moon and stars. Hope you like this simple bake! We are all looking forward to the long holiday weekend! Happy National day to all too!

With lots of love,

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Tuesday 7 August 2018

Singapore Flag Earl Grey Cream Puff

I have made Singapore flag brown sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, chiffon cake pops, snowskin mooncake and macarons before. Here's my first attempt at making Singapore flag choux pastry!

I was testing out Jell-O's instant pudding mix as choux pastry filling as I am planning for a Choux pastry class for kids and wanted something really simple yet yummy. It is really good and easy! But instead of using just milk as the packaging suggested, I used a mix of milk and whipping cream. Texture is almost like homemade pastry cream. I added some Earl Grey powder to flavour it. I don't have to provide the recipe for this as you just follow package instructions but replace half of milk with whipping cream. The instant pudding mix comes with flavours such as lemon, white chocolate, vanilla and chocolate. I used the vanilla packet for making this Earl grey pudding filling.

I finally have a small window of time to do more experiments with Choux pastry so I decided to make the Singapore flag design in time for National Day.

As this may be featured in my next Creative Baking book on Choux pastries, I am unable to provide the full recipe. But you may refer to any recipe on the blog that uses cookie dough on top of the piped pastry batter as a reference.

Here's a peek at the cookie dough I place on top of each piped dollop of batter.

Oops! Accidentally broke one.

Do keep a lookout for other exciting Choux pastry creations that I am coming up with.

Happy birthday Singapore!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday 6 August 2018

Baby Shark Chiffon Cake

Sing with me now.. Baby Shark do do do do, Baby shark do do do do.. Baby shark do do do do.. Baby shark!

Heehee seems every toddler can sing this song! This chiffon cake is made similar to my previous cake, except that is is dual flavour, the top uses lemon chiffon recipe instead. The deco is all cut from sheet cakes similar to my previous creations and cookbooks.

Hope this made you smile!! Looking forward to the holidays this week!

With lots of love,

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Teh Tarik Graduation Bear Chiffon Mini Cakes with Macaron Hats

My friend requested for these graduation bears for a graduation event at the law faculty of Singapore Management University 😊

Teh Tarik chiffon mini cakes topped with graduation hat macarons!

The mini cakes were displayed along with a hundred macaron graduation hats. I posted the recipe for the macaron hats using italian method in my previous post. The hats will also appear in my upcoming Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book but French method is presented.

My friend preferred a flavour that is a little more unique and has a local flavour. We discussed a few options that can produce cakes that are naturally brownish in colour and finally settled on Teh Tarik. I wanted to create a cake that is not just tasting mildy of milk tea but something with body, fragrance, a good balance of flavours and texture. I did some research and found this post very helpful on making Teh Tarik at home. I didn't follow it exactly as I am making a cake and not a drink. Teh Tarik is traditionally made using black tea dust and condensed milk. Since sugar is used in making cake, I used evaporated milk instead of condensed milk as it is less sweet but still has similar wholesome milky flavour that is different from using fresh milk. Here's one of the recommended brands of tea dust that I used to brew the tea.

I tried to search for Teh Tarik chiffon cake recipe and couldn't find many references. The one I found over here has a mild flavour as it is just made from tea that is brewed. So in order to create a more intense flavour without adding more fluids into the cake batter (which would affect the consistency), I added some instant black tea powder and full cream milk powder to enhance both tea and milk flavour. Well I didn't have instant black tea powder on hand so I used Earl grey tea powder instead (Earl grey is black tea with bergamot).

Milk tea recipe
Note that this recipe is more for baking cake and not for drinking.

160g evaporated milk
60g water
24g (4tbs) black tea dust

1. Boil evaporated milk and water in a small saucepan. Place tea dust in a cup or bowl.

2. Pour boiled milk and water into cup of tea dust. Steep for 5 min.

3. Strain out the tea dust and let the tea cool. You won't be using all of the tea.

I will provide the chiffon cake recipe but I didn't bake it exactly this way as I doubled the recipe and broke it down into three batches for baking due to the different baking temperature and time required for different parts of the bear. But if you are baking as cupcakes or whole chiffon cakes, you may refer to the recipe below.

Teh tarik chiffon cake recipe
Ingredients (makes about one 17cm chiffon cake or about 3-4 bear mini cakes or about twenty 44x35mm cupcakes):
Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
6g castor sugar
42g canola oil
58g milk tea
3/4-1 tsp instant black tea powder (omit if you want lighter coloured cake and milder tea flavour)
18g full cream milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
60g cake flour
1/2 tsp white powder colouring (optional. I added as the natural tea colour is rather dark)

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g castor sugar

1. Prepare all the necessary tins, moulds, baking trays lined with parchment paper/silicone baking sheet. I used ice cube tray for the legs, baking tray lined with silicone baking sheet for baking the sheet cakes for arms, gown, ears and facial features, and glass bowls for the head and body. Preheat oven to 170℃ for sheet cake, 150℃ for baking cake batter in glass and silicone moulds, chiffon cake tins or cupcake cases. You may wish to place a tray at the base of the oven to create steam but that's optional. I prefer to use it.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients in B) and mix well. Pass through a fine sieve to remove any lumps out.

3. In another mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil gradually and whisk until well combined. Gradually add B) and whisk until well combined.

4. Gradually sift in C) and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

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

6. Fold meringue into egg yolk batter in three batches until no meringue is seen. Pour into prepared trays or tins. Gently run a chopstick through the batter to pop any air bubbles.

7. Bake the cake. This part will vary widely depending on which receptacle you are baking the cakes in. Thin sheet cakes should bake at higher temperature of 160-170℃ for a short time of 9-11min. Cupcakes or cakes baked in the bowls bake for about 30-40 min at lower temperature. I bake at 140℃ for the first 15 min then reduce to 130℃ and bake for the rest of the way. For whole chiffons baking time could be 50-55min. But do note that this range of temperature and time will vary from oven to oven so only use it as a gauge. Use a skewer to test for doneness.

8. Whole sheet cakes have to be unmoulded immediately, the other cakes should be cooled completely before unmoulding. Chiffon tin should be inverted too cool.

I couldn't resist playing with the unmoulded portions after four rounds of baking although I planned to assemble the next day. Why four rounds you may ask...I baked another round without tea for the purple portions of the gown.

I was going..."so cute!" Even though it's just a naked bear without face

I used circle cookie cutters of various sizes or a small fruit knife to cut out parts for the ears, arms and gown, and glued the parts together using melted marshmellows. I used wooden skewers to secure the head and arms to the body. Brush the surface of the sponge with simple syrup to prevent it from drying out.

Here's a bear at the party along with the macaron graduation hats!

Just a note, do not store macarons with chiffon cake as the macarons will turn soggy fast. Assemble it at the party venue for display.

Thank God that my friend said both the macarons and cakes were very well received!

With love,
Phay Shing

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