Tuesday 30 October 2018

'Characters in Tea Set' Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons

This is what happens when the requester gives me free reign of design, specifying only the required characters and flavour of filling ๐Ÿ˜. Presenting my tea set macaron cake!

R2D2, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Marie and Darth Vader sitting in teacups (or hiding in teapot in Piglet's case)

Everything in the setup is made of macarons! The wooden serving tray, teacups, saucer and teapot (handle, spout, body and lid!) are macarons! Needless to say, so are all the characters. I must admit that the teapot was particularly challenging but I am glad that at least it is recognisable ๐Ÿ˜†.

I used a stabilized French method recipe that I have been using recently as the colours are many but quantity is few. My schedule lately is also more manageable if I break down a complex bake into shorter separate sessions, instead of having a long full day of baking many different coloured and complex-shaped shells. I had to coach my kids as it was exam period.

The hemispherical shells for the teacups and teapot were made by piping the batter over silicone cake pop moulds. You can find the details of this in my Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the characters. I usually prepare an extra set in case one set turns out ugly.

Piping the wooden serving tray. The wood grain pattern was a challenge to pipe with batter!

I forgot to take photos of the piped batter for the teacup set. But you may refer to my first attempt  for some photos of piped batter for making hemispherical macaron shells.

I decorated the shells with royal icing and black edible marker 

Assembled teacups! This photo actually went a little viral when I shared it on social media and it got reposted twice in Instagram

I filled the tea set with something kid friendly, something with chocolate in there as requested. I didn't want the filling to appear extra dark so I used a mix of dark chocolate, white chocolate and hazelnut to create a filling that is still yummy despite having less dark chocolate content.

Recipe for chocolate hazelnut ganache
80g dark chocolate
80g white chocolate
40g hazelnut ganache* (or hazelnut butter)
50-70g whipping cream (use more if you prefer softer ganache)
20g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

*I used store bought hazelnut ganache and didn't intend to make my own because I have it on hand from another recent bake. You may add more hazelnut butter or ganache if you prefer stronger hazelnut flavour.

Hazelnut ganache from Phoon Huat

1. Heat a saucepan filled with about 1" of water and let it simmer. Put all ingredients in a heatproof bowl that can sit on top of the saucepan without the base touching the water.

2. Use a spatula to stir the contents until everything is melted and homogeneous. Remove from heat.

3. Chill in freezer for 2 minutes. Beat mixture with spatula until smooth. Repeat chilling and beating until the whipped ganache resembles buttercream

Whipped ganache

4. Transfer into piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Piping filling into wooden serving tray macaron shell.

Here's a photo of the tea set at the party! Someone else made the cake. I made some extra macarons too and those adorned the cake.

I hope this post has inspired you to let your imagination run wild!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Saturday 27 October 2018

Sumikko Gurashi Neko Chiffon Cake

Sumikko Gurashi Neko, ready to have some dessert! ๐Ÿค—

Do you feel like hugging her? =D

This cake is made in the same style as my previous creation, Ufufy Marie Cat Cottony Cake. You can refer to the previous creation for the recipe. As I wanted cream colour, I used 5 egg yolks instead of 1 whole egg for the egg yolk batter.

Neko means cat in Japanese, so this is another cat cake! My favorite part of this new creation is the checkered scarf! The scarf was made using the same method as patterned swissrolls =). Briefly, I piped the stripes and filled with white batter in between the spaces and baked for 16 min at 160°C. I wrapped the scarf around the Neko using marshmallow cream. The fork and spoons were also cut from chiffon sheet cakes and glued on using marshmallow cream. If you are interested, you can read more about the techniques from my cookbooks on Deco Chiffon Cakes (below). 

Hehe now the cute Neko looks ready to eat!

Very thankful my 3rd cookbook Deco Chiffon Cake Basics (left most) launched exactly one year back, is going for its 3rd print run! Thank you so much for your support. The books are available on book depository with free shipping worldwide.

Have a blessed week! With lots of love,

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Wednesday 24 October 2018

We Bare Bears Cream Puffs (a concise guide to basic Choux pastry recipe)

I will be slowing down posting on the blog as I have to find time to write my next book on Deco Choux pastries in the midst of being the primary caregiver for my family, classes and baking for sale. Really not easy to juggle with many things ๐Ÿ˜…. I also try to carve out time to bake the designs that are going into the book so that I can determine the details with more precision (such as template dimensions). Today I was playing around with a design that is not going into the book but it has a similar concept as one of the entries in the book. My kids loved eating these chocolate coated lemon pudding filled cream puffs!

They look like they want to eat the Choux pastries too!

As far as Choux pastry recipes go, they are pretty standard and you can tweak the individual ingredients according to your preference. No matter which recipe you use, the important part is still to make sure you cook the dough thoroughly before adding the eggs, and to add just enough eggs to the batter to get the right consistency. The ratio taught at culinary schools is 2:1:1:2 (by weight) for liquid:fat:flour:eggs. If you want a richer pastry shell, use a ratio of 1:1 for milk:water for liquid portion, and butter for the fat portion. If you want a lighter shell, use water for liquid and vegetable oil for the fat portion. If you want a crispier crust, use bread flour instead of plain flour. Although the use of cake flour is discouraged due to low protein content, Korean recipes seem to use it. Most recipes add a little more flour to the ratio to give the pastry cases more stability and a little less butter to make the pastry less heavy. A little salt and sugar is usually added too. So a typical recipe would look like this:

100g water (you may replace 50g with milk)
40-50g butter (or oil)
50-65g bread or plain flour or combination
1/2-1tsp salt
1tsp sugar (optional)
100g eggs, lightly beaten (you may not need to use all. About 2 eggs)

I piped the Choux cases with a 1/2" open star tip in short ร‰clair shapes for the body of the bears, and small short strips for the legs (without using a tip but just cut a small hole in the piping bag). Both parts are baked separately due to the different baking times required.

Piped ร‰clairs. Using a star tip instead of round tip helps to prevent large unpredictable cracks.

When baking the pastry cases, never open the oven door too early as you risk deflating them. Bake until they are crisp and golden brown. Depending on your oven, baking at constant temperature setting, or preheating to high temperature and then drop it during baking may be more suitable for you. Typical temperatures are 175-200℃. Baking time really depends on the size of your piped pastry and baking temperature profile you are using. Typical piped batter that is 3-4cm in size will need about 25-40 minutes to bake.

Freshly baked Choux cases

Does that mean that all Choux pastry creations are brown in colour and you can't add colour to Choux pastry creations other than using Craquelin (cookie dough) and coating the surface with a glaze? Not true! In my Deco Choux Pastries book, I shall show you how "naked" Choux pastry cases can be colourful too with simple but cute designs that will make you slap forehead and go "Why didn't I think of that?!"

These bears are simply cute variations of Choux pastries with chocolate glaze. For single coloured pastry cases, simply dip the pastry case in melted chocolate. Multiple coloured ones have to be piped on. Unlike conventional chocolate glazed choux pastries, I glaze the cases before filling them because choux pastries are just yummier freshly filled.

Chocolate coated Choux cases

As I made these bears for fun (it is still work but it's not meant for any specific request), I didn't spend too much effort with the filling. I used my “cheater’s” recipe again but my kids love it. I just used Jell-O’s instant pudding mix to create the filling. I happen to have lemon flavoured pudding mix that compliments the white chocolate or dark chocolate glaze very well. I just used the package instructions as a guideline and created the filling by stirring the powdered mix with milk.

Messy but happy eater!

I can't write in detail contents that are going into the Deco Choux Pastries book but I hope that this post has been helpful!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday 22 October 2018

Polar Bear-in-Pumpkin Chiffon Cakes

These Polar bear-in-Pumpkin Chiffon Cakes are inspired by the fall season and my previous Polar Bear creations.

However, these are smaller cute kawaii versions, baked using Cooked dough method with butter (SCS butter) instead of oil.

I am thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with SCS Dairy to do a Cakes Giveaway to celebrate their 60k on FB.

Do click in to support or join in the fun if you like =).

Have a blessed week!

Best wishes,

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Friday 19 October 2018

Penguin Family Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Macaron Cake Toppers

As the weather turns cooler in the northern hemisphere, don't you feel like wrapping yourself up nice and snugly like some of these penguins?

I made these macaron cake toppers for a family of five that is celebrating a member's birthday. As the quantity requested is small but four colours are needed to make the macaron shells, I used the French method to make these. I shared in my post earlier this week on how I tweaked the basic French method recipe to make the batter stable for a longer time and to withstand the splitting and working of the batter to accomodate multiple colours. Please refer to that post for detailed steps. I will just provide the ingredient list for an even smaller batch.

Ingredients (makes about 12-14 macarons):
Dry ingredients
45g superfine almond flour
55g icing sugar
1/8 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp salt (optional)

40g egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
36g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping out the penguins!

Filling some of the penguins with lavender Earl grey and osmanthus white chocolate ganache fillings. These were meant for my kids' teacher and my kids since the requester only wanted 5 penguins as cake toppers.

I filled the cake toppers with dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Tuesday 16 October 2018

Stella Lou Chiffon Cake

One of my most structurally complex Chiffon Cake Sculpture to date!

Stella Lou made into chiffon cake! Do you like it? <3

I found out Stella Lou was Japan Disneysea's new addition,  Duffy's friend. She is a sweet lavender bunny ballerina =).

I made this for a dear mummy friend, she was in the group which started me on my baking journey. It is a very special group.

When I was tasked to make this cake, I wasn't quite sure how to do it, and sat on the problem for quite a long time. Thank God for the inspiration and that the experiment to make bake chiffon cake in a bundt pan to make the tutu skirt worked out!

And even more thankful the cake was very well-received! This is my joy in making cakes for loved ones and friends =) <3 .

I am also very thankful for the news that my 3rd cookbook Deco Chiffon Cake Basics is going for its 3rd print run (within a year!)! Very very thankful to God and everyone for your love and support!!

Have a blessed week!

With lots of love,

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Monday 15 October 2018

Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol Purple Sweet Potato and Pulut Hitam Sponge & Pudding Cake

When your little one has a variety of characters that she loves, and you would like to try a unique cake flavour, you get a cake that looks like this :)

Peppa Pig meets some representatives from the Paw Patrol squad on top of a black glutinous rice and purple sweet potato sponge and pudding cake!

I have shared the recipe for the black glutinous rice chiffon with purple sweet potato pudding in detail in another blog post. It is a more diabetic friendly cake without compromising flavours and aroma. I didn't use any white sugar in the black glutinous rice chiffon cake, but used coconut palm sugar (Gula melaka) instead. The pretty purple sweet potato pudding contains only a fraction of white sugar as compared to the reference recipe I adapted from. There isn't a need to use a lot of white sugar in the pudding as the coconut milk, fresh milk and sweet potato imparts some natural sweetness to the dessert. The harmonious mix of coconut milk, Gula melaka, pandan, black glutinous rice and purple sweet potato is really nice if you love all these.

What I would really like to share here is the recipe for the macaron shells. As all macaron bakers know, it is a pain to work with many colours within a single batch of batter, and even more so when the quantity of macarons required is so few. That makes it not economical to use Italian method although it is my preferred method for multiple colours of batter within a single batch. I prefer the Italian method when working with multiple colours as it is easier to adjust the colour of the batter without risking overfolding as much as French and Swiss methods because you add the colouring to the batter base before the meringue is added. If you split a single batch of macaron batter into many colours made from French or Swiss method, you have less folds to make before you risk overfolding, because the colouring is added to the batter after the meringue is folded in. The French method also has a less stable meringue than Italian or Swiss meringues as the egg whites are not cooked at all. This means you have to try to work really quickly with the French method if you want to make designs with multiple colours, or resort to using a lot of sugar in the meringue. You could choose to use the Swiss method to make the meringue more stable but you still have to be careful not to overfold the batter while adjusting the colours to the desired shade.

How do I overcome this dilemma? I decided to stick with the French method as it is the simplest logistically and suitable for small batches. But I tweaked the regular recipe to make the meringue stable for a longer time. The key ingredient I added here is cornflour. Much as cornflour helps the macaron shells to dry faster, be less prone to cracking during baking and slows down the breaking down of meringue, adding too much of it will make the batter very thick and the texture a lot more chewy. The slightly higher icing sugar to almond flour proportion used also helps with the stability. Care still needs to be exercised when colouring the batter to prevent overfolding.

Here is the French method recipe for making a more stable macaron batter. Feel free to halve the recipe for an even smaller batch.

Ingredients (makes about 24-28 macarons):
Dry ingredients
90g superfine almond meal
110g icing sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

80g egg whites
75g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Gel food colouring as needed

1. Sift all the powdered ingredients together. Set aside. Prepare baking tray with template and parchment paper. Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position.

2. Make the meringue. In a small bowl mix cornflour together with caster sugar. Set aside. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, gradually adding caster sugar and cornflour mixture once the egg whites are foamy. Make sure the meringue is really stiff, like whipped cream consistency.

3. Make the batter. Scatter half of dry ingredients into meringue. Gently fold in with a spatula until just combined. Scatter the rest of the dry ingredients. Gently fold in until just combined. Divide the batter to to the number of desired colours. Carefully add as much gel colouring as is needed and gently fold in until the batter is homogeneous. If the batter consistency is still too thick at this point, continue folding until it is able to flow like slow-moving lava.

4. Transfer into piping bag and pipe away! Dry the shells before baking. You may find the details of the basics of making the batter, piping and baking in my Creative Baking: Macaron Basics and Creative Baking: Macarons books.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Freshly baked macaron shells. Checkout the awesome feet!

I made only 9 characters in total with a little leftover batter to spare. But it was tedious! Fine details were added in using edible marker and royal icing.

I filled the macarons with dark chocolate ganache and homemade salted caramel as requested.

I mounted the macarons on cake pop sticks so it is easier to display on top of the cake.

I have a few photos to share for the sponge and pudding cake too. Some people are hesitant to replace all the white sugar with coconut palm sugar in the meringue as they are afraid that the meringue will not whip as well. This is to prove that it can!

Egg whites beaten to firm peak with only coconut palm sugar added

Folding in the egg yolk batter and meringue. The black bits are black glutinous rice grains that I didn't process until superfine to provide some bite to the cake.

Nice and tall pulut hitam chiffon!

Layering the sponge and pudding layers. I love the natural colours!

I added on simple deco with white chiffon sheet cake

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday 11 October 2018

Christmas Lollipop Macaron Class

Those of you who would like to learn how to make macarons but have never mustered enough courage to attempt, do join me for this class to make Christmasy lollipop macarons!

This class is meant for beginners as I will cover the basics of French method, the simplest of all methods in terms of technical difficulty. But the design is not like any other you have seen because I will teach you the trick of piping such swirl patterns! This design is taken from my newly released Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book.

Please click on this link for details of what you will learn in this class and for registration.

After this class, you will be able to bless others with this delectable sweet treat ๐Ÿ˜Š

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday 10 October 2018

Milo Hurricane Swissroll with Kaya Whipped cream

Milo and Kaya is a very school combination that my family loves and is part of our local “kopitiam” or “Toastbox” breakfast culture. It got a thumbs up from my family who love milo and kaya. I will be sharing this item at my church’s Culinary Arts Ministry session this Sunday. For the session, I have scaled the typical 4 egg recipe (10-inch by 10-inch roll) into a 1 egg recipe (7-inch by 4-inch roll). This fits nicely into an aluminium bread loaf tray =). I also tried out a 2 egg recipe (10-inch by 5-inch roll). I will share the recipe for both the 2 egg recipe (10”x 5”) and 1 egg recipe (7”x 4”) for your reference. These are great if you just want to make a small roll for a small family.

Milo Hurricane Swissroll (10-inch by 5-inch)
2 egg yolks
7g castor sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract (1g)
20g vegetable oil
30g milk
37g cake flour, sifted
2 tbsp milo (16g) in 1 tsp hot water (to make a paste)

2 egg whites
30g castor sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 165°C. Line a 10-inch by 5-inch pan with baking paper.
2. Egg yolk batter: beat egg yolks with castor sugar before stirring in oil, milk and vanilla extract.
3. Divide the batter into two (by weight). To one portion, add milo paste, made by dissolving 2 tbsp milo powder in 1 tsp hot water. Mix well.
4. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in caster sugar gradually.
5. Divide the meringue into two (by weight) and fold in the meringue gently into the each batter.
6. Pour the plain batter onto the prepared baking pan. Transfer milo batter into a piping bag and cut a 0.7cm hole. Pipe the milo batter evenly over the plain batter.
7. Using the end of a spatula, draw lines parallel to the long side of the pan to and fro without lifting the spatula. Repeat with lines parallel to the short side of the pan. When completed, give the pan a gentle tap to remove bubbles.
8. Bake at 165°C for 25 min, or until skewer comes out clean.
9. Flip over and place a new baking sheet over. Roll parallel to the short side with the brown side on the outer surface while cake is still warm.
10. After the cake is cool, unroll the cake, spread on the cream and roll it back up again.

Kaya Whipped Cream
33g heavy cream
60g kaya (no sugar) - I used Glory (no sugar) but actually it is the perfect sweetness to my liking

Combine the heavy cream and kaya and whip with an electric mixer till stiff peaks (less than a minute).

Milo Hurricane Swissroll (7-inch by 4-inch)
1 egg yolk
4g castor sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla extract (pinch)
10g vegetable oil
15g milk
19g cake flour
Milo paste: 1 tbsp (8g) in ½ tsp hot water (it may be easier to make a bigger quantity)

1 egg white
15g castor sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 165°C. Line a 7-inch by 4-inch loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Egg yolk batter: beat egg yolks with castor sugar before stirring in oil, milk and vanilla extract.
3. Divide the batter into two (by weight). To one portion, add milo paste, made by dissolving 1 tbsp milo powder in 1/2 tsp hot water. Mix well.
4. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in caster sugar gradually.
5. Divide the meringue into two (by weight) and fold in the meringue gently into the each batter.
6. Pour the plain batter onto the prepared baking pan. Transfer milo batter into a piping bag and cut a 0.7cm hole. Pipe the milo batter evenly over the plain batter.
7. Using the end of a spatula, draw lines parallel to the long side of the pan to and fro without lifting the spatula. Repeat with lines parallel to the short side of the pan. When completed, give the pan a gentle tap to remove bubbles.
8. Bake at 165°C for 25 min, or until skewer comes out clean.
9. Flip over and place a new baking sheet over. Roll parallel to the short side with the brown side on the outer surface while cake is still warm.
10. After the cake is cool, unroll the cake, spread on the cream and roll it back up again.

Kaya Whipped Cream
17g heavy cream
30g kaya (no sugar) - I used Glory (no sugar) but actually it is the perfect sweetness to my liking

Combine the heavy cream and kaya and whip with an electric mixer till stiff peaks (less than a minute).

Hope you like it!

With lots of love,

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Monday 8 October 2018

Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron Ferris Wheel for Marriage Proposal

Occassionally I get unusual requests. This is one of them. Not only was the request unusual, it was meant as a surprise on board a fairly long flight out of Singapore. Presenting my first macaron Ferris Wheel used as part of a marriage proposal!

This is actually the second time the requestor ordered a macaron structure for me for his fiancee. I didn't post the first one as there are so many unicorn macaron carousel posts on the blog already :p. He ordered a chocolate hazelnut flavoured mini unicorn carousel for her and she loved it. So he requested for the same flavour the second time that he ordered.

I baked the macaron shells for this along with Winnie the Pooh and friends and my acorn Ferris Wheel. All rather challenging designs due around the same time. Thank God all of these three bakes were very well received and the Ferris wheels survived transport and still tasted yummy! *Phew* I was a little nervous about how a delicate macaron structure with moveable parts would survive a plane trip. Like I mentioned in my first macaron Ferris Wheel post, I have to lock the rotating wheel for transport purposes as any movement of the wheel can add stresses to parts of the structure and cause it to break prematurely. The lock is 100% edible and easy to remove but works perfectly in preventing the wheel from rotating.

I used the Italian method for making the macaron shells. You may use your favourite macaron recipe or any recipe in our blog. You may refer to my macaron books Creative Baking: Macarons and Creative Baking: Macaron Basics for a more systematic review of the basics and piping techniques, as well as the macaron shell recipe I used here.

Just to share a photo of the "carriages" on the Ferris Wheel.

I am not ready to release all the details of making the Ferris Wheel yet but I can share this yummy filling that is firm enough in hot Singapore weather for macaron structures.

Recipe for hazelnut chocolate filling
35g Hazelnut ganache (from Phoon Huat)*
30g dark chocolate chips or couverture
30g white chocolate, chopped or chips  (I use compound white chocolate)
35g ground hazelnut
10g vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt

* You may just use any chocolate hazelnut spread or hazelnut spread. If you are able to get hold of pure hazelnut butter, that would be the best. But I wasn't able to get it and didn't intend to make my own.

Hazelnut ganache from Phoon Huat

1. Place all ingredients except ground hazelnuts into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium power for 10 seconds and mix well. Repeat heating and mixing until all the ingredients are melted.

2. Add ground hazelnut and mix until combined.

Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto shells. If the mixture is too runny, let it firm up for a while before piping.

Please excuse me for the lack of photos for this bake as I was really focused on making it and forgot to take photos of the process ๐Ÿ˜†.

Thank God the surprise went very well!

The requester sent me this photo of the Ferris Wheel in a romantic setting on the plane which was on a night flight. The couple decided to share it with the cabin crew who fedback that it tasted great and not too sweet. Some of the crew asked the requester for my contact details too.

Congratulations to the couple!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday 7 October 2018

Sally Duck Chiffon Cake

Line Sally Duck having a birthday celebration! =) This is made from Vanilla lemon chiffon cake in ball pans. The hat was made by baking chiffon cake in a paper cone, shared in my cookbooks. Thank God the cake was well-received. My friend sent a picture of her lovely girl with the cake and shared that she loved it! I am always very encouraged by and thankful for these little messages.
Have a blessed week!
With lots of love,

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Wednesday 3 October 2018

Longevity Peach Lychee Rose Chiffon Sponge and Pudding Cake (version 2)

It has been about a year since I made longevity peach chiffon cake. There are two updates I made to the recipe that I have been using. Between then and now, I have tried using cornflour instead of custard powder as one of the pudding gelling agents for other sponge and pudding cakes and find that it works as well. So for once, my lychee rose sponge and pudding cake doesn't have yellow pudding ๐Ÿ˜Š. Afterall, custard powder is just cornstarch with added colouring, flavouring and salt. I have also introduced freeze dried lychee powder as it is packed with lychee flavour without the slightly chemical aftertaste that the bottled liquid flavourings have.

All peaches are made from lychee rose chiffon sponge cake!

You may refer to this post, this post and this post for the recipe of lychee rose chiffon and how to make the longevity peaches. I did tweak the recipe a little since I have access to freeze dried lychee powder. Otherwise the steps are the same. For your reference, I will just type out the ingredient list for making heart shaped chiffon pops of various sizes.

Recipe for longevity peach chiffon pops
Ingredients (makes one 10cm heart, four 6cm hearts and twelve 3cm hearts):
1 egg yolk
5g caster sugar
32g canola oil/ vegetable oil
38g lychee puree (sieved)
1/4 tsp lychee flavouring
1/4 tsp rose water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp freeze dried lychee powder
A pinch of salt
44g cake flour
Some white gel food colouring

3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
35g caster sugar

You may refer to this post for the non reduced egg white chiffon sponge recipe and pudding recipe. I also used some freeze dried lychee powder for the pudding and replaced custard powder with cornflour. I have also reduced the amount of lychee flavouring I use as it has a slightly chemical aftertaste. The freeze dried lychee more than compensates it. For your convenience, I will also type out the ingredient list here.

Recipe for lychee rose chiffon sponge
Ingredients ( makes two 7.5" round cakes and one 12x10" layer cake):
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
8g caster sugar
90g canola oil/ vegetable oil
90g lychee puree, sieved
1/2 tsp rose water
1/4 tsp lychee flavouring
1 tsp freeze dried lychee powder
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
135g cake flour

9 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
105g caster sugar

I baked extra green sheet chiffon cakes for the leaves and green layer on top of the base sponge.

Recipe for lychee rose pudding
150g evaporated milk
330g water
250g lychee puree, strained
1 tsp rose water
1/4 tsp lychee flavouring
1 tsp freeze dried lychee powder
50g sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2.5 tsp agar powder

48g cornflour
240g canned lychee syrup
40g water

Do note that the quantity for pudding I posted here is quite a lot as it caters for sponge and pudding cakes where the pudding covers the whole cake. If you are not covering the whole cake, you may halve the recipe.

I use plastic cake ring for layering the sponge and pudding layers

Feedback for the cake was it was not too sweet and suits the family's taste buds ๐Ÿ˜Š.

I also made extra sponge and pudding cupcakes for my friend and did simple deco with extra cake pieces.

Keep in mind that I really put this together hastily ๐Ÿ˜†

Thank God for helping cope with the many things I have to handle.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday 2 October 2018

Witch Pusheen Chiffon Cake

Witch Pusheen is stirring up a blue pea flower cauldron of #meowgical potions! ๐Ÿคฉ

Entirely made chiffon cake, including the pot, spoon, squashes, hat and of course the Pusheen! =)

This is actually part of a collaboration with Pusheen, for their limited fairytale meowgical fall edition. I am honored and thankful for the opportunity. The actual Pusheen plush has a glowing flashing blue pot! I can only make blue pea flower soup hehe =p

Hope you liked this cute creation!

With lots of love,

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Monday 1 October 2018

Iced Gems Macarons with Ermine Buttercream ( Children's Day Special)

I have a class planned on Children's Day so I decided before hand that I won't be making scones again this year for my kids to share with their classmates, which I have been doing for the past three years because scones have to be made fresh. I need some time to prepare for the class. And that's why I decided to make macarons for them instead. I made neapolitan iced gems a few years ago for Children's Day and thought why not make iced gems again but macaron version. I came up with these :)

I made mini macarons topped with the signature iced gem royal icing but filled with a new type of filling that got me all excited when I first discovered it. It is not a new type of cream. In fact it is rather old school. It's just that I haven't come across it as it isn't as commonly used by homebakers in Singapore as Swiss or Italian meringue buttercreams or dairy cream.

Ermine buttercream, also known as flour buttercream, makes use of cooked dough to provide stability for the cream whereas Swiss or Italian meringue buttercreams use cooked egg whites as the stabilizer. What attracted me to have a closer look at this option is the really low sugar content, lower butter content but still fairly stable at warmer temperatures. Although there is some concern that people allergic to gluten aren't able to consume it, the plain flour used can be substituted with corn flour. If the sugar and butter content are lower then what's in the cream?? Milk! Lots of it. The beauty of this buttercream is you can substitute the whole milk with variations according to your preference, such as partial or full substitution with whipping cream, evaporated milk or even condensed milk. If you want non-dairy options, you may use soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk. And because the butter content is lower, any flavourings that you add to the buttercream will come out more strongly instead of being masked by the flavour of butter. Sounds good? It is!

I will share the recipe for macaron shells and the ermine buttercream I used. Do feel free to scale down the recipe for both filling and shells. I was making enough macarons for two large classes of kids. Each kid gets 3 mini macarons.

Recipe for reduced sugar macaron shells
Ingredients (makes about 240 mini macarons, 480 shells):
250g superfine ground almond
230g icing sugar
15g rice flour*
5g corn flour*
1/4 tsp fine sea salt (optional)
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 drop of orange gel food colouring
100g egg whites

Italian Meringue
240g caster sugar
90g water
96g egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

*Replace with icing sugar for non reduced sugar recipe.

1. Prepare baking tray with 1" circle template and line with parchment paper, Teflon sheet or silpat according to your preference. Set oven rack to second lowest position.

2. Prepare the mass. In a large mixing bowl, sift together almond, icing sugar, salt, rice flour, cornflour and cocoa powder. Add egg whites and orange gel colouring and mix well to form a thick paste.

3. Prepare the italian meringue. Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan on medium heat without stirring. Swirl the pan a little to help the sugar dissolve. In the mean time, beat the egg whites on low speed to loosen it up. Monitor the syrup temperature with a candy thermometer. Once the temperature reaches 110℃, you may increase mixer speed to medium to get it to froth up more. Make sure you don't beat past soft peak stage. Reduce mixer speed if necessary. Once syrup temperature reaches 115-118℃, remove saucepan from heat. Turn mixer speed to medium high and carefully pour syrup in a thin stream, taking care to avoid the beaters. Continue beating on high speed for another 10-15 minutes or until cool to at least body temperature.

4. Use some meringue to stick parchment paper to the baking tray. Fold meringue into the mass in two batches until the batter flows in a slow moving lava-like manner. You may refer to this post for video tutorial on how to fold and check for consistency.

5. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a 5-6mm piping tip. Pipe the circles. Bang the tray several times on the table and use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles.

6. Let the shells dry in air-con room or under a fan until it is dry to touch. Bake in preheated oven at 140℃ for 10 min and 130℃ for another 5-10 min or until feet doesn't appear wet. Baking time and temperature varies from oven to oven so adjust accordingly. Cool completely on tray before removing.

Freshly baked shells

I decorated the macaron shells with colours that Khong Guan uses. You may refer to this post for the Royal icing recipe.

I wanted to make a filling that has a colour that matches the macaron shells rather closely while still retaining a vanilla based flavour. I replaced the white sugar with brown sugar and used some icing sugar to help with the stability of the buttercream. I also added a little Milo powder to add to the brown colour. I replaced half of the butter with vegetable shortening as these macarons are to be brought home as gifts. I wanted to make sure that the cream was really stable enough to withstand all the transport. You may stick with using all butter.

I have to thank a Facebook friend for generously sharing her recipe and tips for this buttercream. Her recipe contains a lot less sugar than most recipes on the internet whereby butter and sugar content is about the same.

Recipe for brown sugar ermine buttercream
240g milk (I used evaporated milk since I had an opened can at the moment. Original recipe was 200g and calls for whole milk.)
40g plain flour
4g Milo powder
3/4 tsp salt (use less if you are frosting cake)
30g brown sugar
125g unsalted butter (sit at room temperature for 10 minutes)
125g vegetable shortening
20g icing sugar (original recipe didn't have)

1. Whisk together flour, Milo powder, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Gradually add milk and whisk until no lumps. I find that sieving this mixture into a saucepan helps to get rid of any lumps of flour.

2. Heat the saucepan of mixture over medium low heat and keep whisking until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and continue whisking to smoothen out the mixture. Bring it back to low heat and keep whisking. Continue until mixture is thick enough to hold it's shape. Remove from heat whenever necessary to keep whisking out any lumps forming. You don't want any roux lumps in the buttercream. Transfer into a bowl and press a cling wrap on top before refrigerating until cool.

Some recipes suggest only heating and whisking until the roux thickens. If you want the buttercream to be really stable at warmer temperatures, continue working on the roux until consistency is much thicker but still smooth.

 3. Beat butter, shortening and icing sugar until pale and fluffy. At least 5 minutes or more. Add the cooled roux one tablespoon at a time and beat until smooth. Continue beating for a couple more minutes after all the roux has been added to get it really creamy and smooth.

Transfer to piping bag and fill the shells

Here's a peek at the assembled shells!

Store in airtight container in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

According to my friend Nur Huda who shared the buttercream recipe, any excess buttercream can be stored in the fridge for a few days and up to a month in freezer. Simply let it soften at room temperature before rewhipping before use. Very much like how you would treat stored Swiss meringue buttercream.

As it is my first time making this buttercream, I had to do a taste test with a macaron that has been matured overnight with this filling.

Nice and fluffy macaron shells with creamy filling!

The macaron was perfect after maturing overnight. Light crisp outer shell with soft chewy interior! I let the kids do a taste test too and they loved it! I was pleasantly surprised that the macaron itself tastes pretty much like the biscuit base of iced gems with its milk and vanilla flavour, just perhaps sweeter than the biscuit version because the actual biscuits don't contain much sugar. All in all, I am very satisfied with this recipe and experiment!

Happy Children's Day in advance!

Update: thank God the the macarons were very well received! My kids feedback to me that their classmates all loved it. Some even wanted second helping but there weren't any ๐Ÿ˜…. The form teachers got to try too and they also loved it!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing
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