Friday 30 August 2019

Dairy-Free Blackforest Chiffon Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a peek at the works in progress state of the figurine. Looks a little spooky ๐Ÿ˜‚

Thank God I managed to pull it off!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday 28 August 2019

Totoro and Friends Chiffon Cakes

How high can you go? =p

Totoro and Friends Chiffon Cakes! 

Looking blur and cute <3 Hope this made u smile! =)

I have made a few versions of Totoro for friends in the past! This is my favorite version so far as it is so fat and cute!

With love,

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Monday 26 August 2019

Woodland Themed Yuzu Dark Chocolate Choux Pastry

I will be conducting a class for making fox, raccoon and bear choux pastries at Redman!

You may find this design familiar as these are featured in my Deco Choux Pastries book but in simpler form without the arms and the tree stump. I decided to choose a flavour of filling that will tantalise your taste buds. Refreshing yuzu pastry cream with bits of rind in there to provide some bite, lightened with whipped cream, and with bits of finely chopped dark chocolate to add another dimension to the filling.

Please click on this link for more information on what is covered in the class and to register.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Littlest Pet Shop Dark Chocolate Macarons

This was a last minute request I couldn't refuse as it was for a little girl suffering from leukemia. Littlest Pet Shop macarons!

Filled with dark chocolate ganache because she loves chocolate 

I use the French method for all small quantity bakes now so as not to end up wasting batter as well as to make the batter with the least amount of time and effort. I used this recipe but replaced caster sugar with icing sugar, to create a slightly more stable batter. I split the underfolded batter before adding the various colouring and continue folding until the right consistency. As the amount of batter per colour is really small, I didn't use the lava consistency test to test if the batter is ready to be piped. Instead, I tap the bottom of the mixing bowl after creating peaks in the batter. If the peaks melt back in to the rest of the batter, it is ready to be piped.

You may refer to my macaron recipe books, Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic view of the various techniques needed to make the batter and create fancy shapes.

Just to share a couple of photos of the process...

Piped batter

Freshly baked shells! 

I used a combination of royal icing and edible marker to add in the details.
I filled the macarons with dark chocolate ganache that is still relatively firm in Singapore's hot weather.

Hope this small batch of cute macarons brings a smile to your face as it did to bless the recipient ๐Ÿ™‚.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Friday 16 August 2019

3D Lego Policeman Chiffon Cake

Who dreamt of being a Policeman when you grew up? ๐Ÿ‘ฎ‍♂️

My humble take on creating a big 3D 12-inch tall Lego Policeman Chiffon Cake! =p

I took a while to conceptualize the cake as it was quite complicated in terms of the shapes and size. The core is made by combining a square chiffon cake with a lego chiffon cake.

Have a blessed weekend!

With lots of love,

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Wednesday 14 August 2019

Piggy Macaron Carousel

It's the first time I get a request for pig themed macaron carousel and I took the liberty of making it a little different from my usual carousels.

Somebody is being cheeky and climbed onto the roof! You can almost hear the piggy snigger ๐Ÿ˜! 

I used the Swiss method to make the macaron shells and you may refer to this post for the recipe.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the piggies 

Piping carousel frame pieces. I use Teflon sheet instead of parchment paper for larger pieces so that the base of the macaron shell can remain flat as parchment tends to wrinkle up under the piped batter for larger macarons. 

Nutella was requested as the filling but I added an outer ring of salted caramel filling for aesthetics. Dark brown filling wouldn't look as good against the blue carousel frame. The salted caramel filling is fairly firm as you don't want the piggies to slide down the pole. I will share the recipe here.

Recipe for salted caramel filling
70g Salted caramel chips
10g Cocoa butter
20g Vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp Sea salt
1/4 tsp Caramel flavouring (optional)

Steps :
1. Place salted caramel chips, cocoa butter and vegetable shortening in microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium-low power for 10 seconds and mix well. Repeat heating and mixing until everything is melted nd smooth. Do not overheat or the mixture will separate. Use some force to mash the salted caramel chips against side of bowl during mixing to help it melt more evenly and more quickly.

2. Add salt and caramel flavouring. Mix well.

3. Chill the mixture in freezer for 1 to 2 min. Stir and whip until texture is lightened. You can choose to let the mixture sit at room temperature until it firm's up to toothpaste consistency without whipping as well but I prefer the former.

4. Transfer filling to piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Filling the piggies with salted caramel and Nutella. I decorated the shells with edible marker and royal icing

Let this set overnight at cool room temperature in airtight condition. 

Fill the carousel frame macarons in a similar way. 

With love,
Phay Shing
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Thursday 8 August 2019

Dessert Themed Raspberry Macarons (class with Redman!)

I am starting teaching at Redman in addition to teaching at ToTT! For my first class at Redman, I will be teaching how to make donut, ice-cream cone and cupcake macarons, filled with raspberry whipped ganache and homemade raspberry jam!

Although I started my macaron journey with Italian method, I have come to fall in love with the Swiss meringue method as it also produces a stable meringue, you can work with slightly smaller batches than Italian method, and it is also easier to manage. The ice-cream cone and cupcake designs are taken from my first macaron book, Creative Baking: Macarons.

Click on this link to register and view the details of what is covered in the class. The raspberry jam will be premade for you as it is time consuming but easy. I will provide the recipe for it.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday 7 August 2019

Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep Strawberry Macarons

Besides the Peppa Pig and family macaron centerpiece that my friend requested, these Peppa and Suzy strawberry macarons also appeared at the party!

These were individually packed as door gifts 

I used the Swiss method to make these macarons and you can refer to this post for the recipe. Ever since I discovered that I could work with a little cocoa butter substituting white chocolate for my macaron filling, I have been tweaking my default recipes as I am always eager to make the filling less sweet whenever possible. So what I will share here is my strawberry white chocolate buttercream recipe that is stable in hot Singapore weather, less sweet AND packed with strawberry flavour.

Just to share some pictures of the process first.

Piped Suzy Sheep 

Piped Peppa Pig 

Freshly baked shells! 

I decorated the shells with royal icing and edible marker

Here is the revised recipe for strawberry white chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients :
Strawberry jam
250g strawberry pureed
30g sugar (or to taste)
Pinch of salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4tsp strawberry emulco (optional)

Strawberry white chocolate buttercream
80g white chocolate, finely chopped or use chips
20g unsalted butter
30g cocoa butter, very finely chopped or use shavings
1/8tsp salt
55g strawberry jam

Steps :
1. Prepare strawberry jam by placing all ingredients in a saucepan and cooking over low heat, stirring frequently until mixture is reduced to about half the original weight. Let it cool to room temperature before using or you can a prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate.

2. Prepare white chocolate buttercream. Place white chocolate, cocoa butter and butter in microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium-low power for 10 seconds and mix well. Repeat heating and stirring until mixture is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat. You may use double-boiling method if you prefer.

3. Add salt and mix well. Chill in freezer for 2 min and mix well with spatula. Repeat freezing for 1-2min and mixing/beating with spatula until mixture resembles buttercream and appears light and fluffy.

4. Add the jam a teaspoon at a time and fold in until combined.

When assembling macarons with high water content fillings like jam, always insulate the shells with a layer of buttercream or ganache to prevent the shells from turning soggy fast.

Coat top and bottom shells with buttercream. Pipe a ring of buttercream on bottom shell. Fill the center with jam before sandwiching the shells together. 

Store in refrigerator for 24h in airtight condition before serving. When you want to serve, let the airtight container sit at room temperature for 15 min before opening to consume. This is to prevent condensation from forming on the macaron shells when you open the container. You may store macarons filled with jam for up to a week in the fridge.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Tuesday 6 August 2019

4d Rabbit chiffon cake with flapping ears

My humble, crazy attempt at a moving 4d Rabbit chiffon cake with flapping ears! Lol ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚

For my daughter's 8th birthday!! ๐Ÿ’•

It was a crazy experiment I only dared to try on my own daughter's cake. It is not very stable though, it broke after I play too many times with it =p. But still it was a very memorable and special cake and experiment!

I was so busy with her birthday and other responsibilities that I fell sick after that and also forgot to post last week. Sorry for the silence.

Thank God she is 8! May God continue to watch over her and she grow in love and grace!

With lots of love,

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