Wednesday 29 April 2020

Sagrada Familia Cookie Construction on Mangoes n Cream Chiffon Cake

I have made some meaningful bakes in the past. This one is another meaningful one especially in a time like this when everyone's lives are affected. (P.S. I made this cake before homebakers are not allowed to bake for sale so I didn't break any law here.)

A hubby wanted to plan a surprise for his wife's birthday. We discussed some designs for the birthday bake and I wasn't sure how the subject of the whole family having to cancel holiday plans to Spain in June because of Covid19 came up. I asked where did they plan to visit in Spain and there were a couple of options. I chose Sagrada Familia because while it is challenging, it looked like I could possibly replicate it with something edible. Presenting my take on this famous building, on top of a mangoes n cream chiffon cake!

Small cake for a family of 4 while mangoes are in season! 

I used a no-spread cookie recipe for the cookie construction and it can be found here. I used masarang arenga sugar instead of white sugar as it produces a nice brown colour for the cookies as well as a nice caramel flavour and diabetic friendly properties. You could use dark brown sugar or brown sugar too.

I made templates out of cheap plastic files bought from a bookshop to cut the building blocks of cookie dough. 

The structure was put together using royal icing. I tried to colour the icing the same shade as the cookies so that the joints can look as seamless as possible. 

You may refer to this post for the vanilla chiffon cake steps. I scaled it down to 2 egg yolks, 3 egg whites for a 6 inch round pan without the central core tube.

Ingredients for vanilla chiffon (6"round tin with removeable base) :
2 egg yolks
5g caster sugar
28g vegetable/canola oil
28g milk
40g cake flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

3 egg whites
40g caster sugar
1/5 tsp cream of tartar

I sliced the cake into 3 layers and keep in airtight condition.

Prepare the mango sauce. This sauce is optional but I recommend it if you want the cake to taste more mangoey. The quantities of the ingredients aren't exact because it depends on your tastebuds and how sweet the mangoes are. Any excess sauce that is not used during assembly of the cake can be kept as extra sauce to drizzle on your cake when you eat. I used a little concentrated yuzu juice to give it that hint of citrus freshness but you may replace with lemon juice

Mango sauce recipe
2 to 3 ripe mangoes, pureed (I had about 350-370g worth)
1 tsp 100% yuzu juice (or lemon)
40g sugar (or according to taste and sweetness of mangoes)
A pinch of salt

1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat and stir now and then to make sure the bottom doesn't burn.

2. Cook until mixture is reduced to consistency of your liking

3. Sieve mixture to remove fibers. If you prefer the fibers in there then skip the sieving. Cool completely before assembling. You may prepare this a few days or a day before assembly.

Prepare some sliced fresh mangoes. I used a triangle cookie cutter to cut some pieces that are visible on the outside of the cake.

You may refer to this post for whipped cream that tastes great but has enough stability in hot Singapore. Of course you should still try your best to keep it away from heat but at least it shouldn't melt into a puddle as you work.

Make sure that you have all that you need for assembly before you begin. Prepare the whipped cream last.

List of items for assembly:
7 or 8 inch cakeboard
Acetate sheet with some scotch tape
Sliced vanilla chiffon cake
Sliced fresh mangoes
Mango sauce
Whipped cream

Steps :
1. Place a layer of chiffon cake on cakeboard. Wrap acetate sheet around cake and tape the ends of the sheet to form a ring. Carefully spoon some sauce onto the sponge and spread it out to a thin layer. Not too thick or the sauce will show on the outside. Leave about 2 cm spacing not coated away from the circumference.

2. Carefully spread some whipped cream over in a very thin layer.

3. Place the mango slices as shown in third picture below. Drizzle some sauce over the mangoes.

4. Cover the mango slices with whipped cream, using a chopstick to carefully nudge the cream into the gaps between the mango slices around the circumference. Drizzle some sauce over.

5. Carefully place another slice of chiffon cake over and gently press it down. Repeat the assembly until third slice of chiffon cake is in.

6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before carefully removing the acetate sheet.

Doesn't this look inviting? 

I added some jumbo straws into the cake as dowels to support the cookie structure as the cake is really soft.

Thank God the cake was really well received and brought much joy to a family during these trying times!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday 23 April 2020

We Bare Bears Choux Pastries with Whipped Ganache

I was playing around with whipped ganache to create different types of bears for a junior chef class and I couldn't resist making these!

We bare bears in Choux pastry "boxes"! 

Recipes for whipped ganache for choux pastry can be found in my Deco Choux pastries book. There isn't a fixed ratio of chocolate to cream because it depends on how firm you need the ganache to be. I add a little butter to increase the fat content, making the ganache more stable. Feel free to add complementary flavourings that you like to whipped ganache.

Just a little secret tip on how I manage to shape these piped ganache. Use a clean, damp (not dripping wet) finger to gently tamp down any unwanted peaks or bumps in the piped ganache. That is how I achieved smooth tops on the bear heads as well.

Recipe for the choux pastry case with the craquelin can be found in this post. Do adjust baking temperature and time according to your oven as each oven is different.

A peek of half eaten choux pastry 🤣...

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday 22 April 2020

Rainbow Slide Rainbow Bundt Chiffon Cake

Sending you LOVE💖 and rainbows🌈 during these difficult times. Stay safe and persevere.. Together we can overcome! 💪

Rainbow bundt chiffon cake with Rainbow arch and Rainbow slide = )

Recipe for Rainbow bundt chiffon cake has been shared here. Recipe for Rainbow Arch is in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes book, and the same recipe is used for the Rainbow slide by piping the rainbow lines on a baking sheet.

Hope this creation encourages you!

With lots of love,

"Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Cor 13:7

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Sunday 19 April 2020

Custard Pudding with Maple Syrup

I am not sure about you but I always run into the trouble of having too many spare egg yolks lying around due to macaron and chiffon cake bakes. Here is a really quick and easy recipe for Japanese custard pudding that kids will love! My kids said that it is better than anything they had that is sold outside! The best part is, it can be made with ingredients you most likely already have at home.

Does this look inviting to you? 

I adapted the recipe from Just One Cookbook and the original recipe can be found here. There are a few changes I made to the original recipe to make it easier (no need to mess around with making the caramel) but no less tasty! I used store bought maple syrup instead of caramel to top off the set pudding, replaced white sugar with brown sugar, added a pinch of salt and used only full fat milk instead of a mix of cream and milk. I highly recommend the use of gelatin sheets instead of powdered gelatin for better taste. The use of brown sugar instead of white sugar also adds to that caramel flavour without actually having to make the caramel.

I have the pretty bottles that Don Don Donki uses for containing the custard puddings that they sell. I can't bear to throw them away so I kept them and made my own custard puddings in them! My younger kid exclaimed that the ones I made tasted better than the ones that came in the bottle from the store after he took a few bites.

I had 2 spare egg yolks at the time of making the puddings so feel free to scale the recipe accordingly. Adjust the amount of sugar according to taste. The amount I used was a tad too sweet for my elder kid but just right for my younger kid. I didn't adjust the amount of sugar from the reference recipe for this attempt but I will reduce by 5-10g in the future.

Recipe for custard pudding
Ingredients (makes 4 pudding) :
5g gelatin sheets or powdered gelatin, bloomed in cold water for 10 min
100g + 160g full fat milk (you may replace up to half with heavy cream if you prefer richer pudding)
2 egg yolks
40g brown sugar (use less if you don't have a sweet tooth)
A pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Some maple syrup

1. Squeeze excess water out from bloomed gelatin sheets. Place in microwave safe bowl and heat for 10 sec on low heat. Stir and heat again if necessary, until gelatin is fully melted. Set aside.

2. Heat 100g of milk with vanilla in a small saucepan until it starts to steam (but not boiling). In the mean time, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale and thick.

3. Slowly pour hot milk into egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium low heat, whisking continuously. If you have a candy thermometer, it would be good to monitor the temperature of the custard as you cook. Keep whisking and cooking until temperature reaches 71°C or mixture thickens slightly.

4. Remove from heat and add melted gelatin into the mixture. Whisk until gelatin is combined with the custard.

5. Sieve the mixture into another bowl. Add the remaining 160g of milk and whisk.

6. Portion the custard into moulds or glass bottles to set in the fridge for 2 h.

7. Pour some maple syrup over the pudding before serving. Enjoy!

Custard pudding can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Update 20/04/20:

Some of you asked me about substitution over instagram and I thought it would be good to include it here.

1. Can I replace milk with substitutes?
Yes you can! You may replace dairy milk with soy, rice, almond or coconut milk but keep in mind each substitution will impart its distinctive flavour that is not like the original custard pudding.

2. Can I replace gelatin with agar powder?
Not directly. Agar needs to be boiled in a liquid for a couple of minutes to dissolve completely. The egg yolk mixture in this recipe needs to be cooked gently at a lower temperature. So if you must use agar, add it to the other 160g portion of milk and bring it to a boil for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously. Set it aside before working on cooking the egg yolk mixture. Combine the two together and sieve it before portioning into the jars/moulds. Do note that agar has a crunchier texture than gelatin and you may need to use slightly less agar.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday 17 April 2020

Rainbow Hurricane Chiffon Cake

Rainbow Hurricane or Rainbow Layer Chiffon Cake? 🌈 Which do you prefer? = )

Hope these rainbows bring some cheer to you during this time! *hugs*

Do take care during this time, take time to breathe, and it's a great bonding time with your family too. We may never get this much time again to focus on them.

Back to the cakes, the Rainbow Hurricane Chiffon Cake is actually quite similar to my Rainbow Tiedye Chiffon Cake I made a few years back, but an inverted version, and using a broader spatula.

Recipe for the Rainbow layer chiffon cake has been shared in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes, and in fact it was on the book cover!

I have also previously shared a tutorial on Hurricane chiffon cake.

Lastly, I have also made a longer, more in-depth tutorial for the Rainbow Hurricane Chiffon Cake if you prefer class style where you can bake along!

Hope they made you smile!

With lots of love,

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Monday 13 April 2020

'Different Sides of K' Earl Grey Lavender Macaron Carousel

This is perhaps one of the most tedious and challenging macaron carousel theme I have made to date because each character is unique and intricate. The only other one I made of this scale is the one for Osim 3 years ago. Someone wanted me to make something personalized for her boss's birthday. I am sure you can tell from the carousel that her boss is a fashionista who loves to eat ramen, loves karaoke, listening to music and has an adorable pet dog!

This design was tedious because I have to make double the number of characters required 🤣. I almost always make extra pieces of characters, one for each design, just in case of damage or butter fingers (dropping and breaking the macaron shells during decoration or assembly).

I used the reduced sugar Italian method recipe. Those of you who follow me would have realised I haven't used Italian method for my bakes for more than a year! It still rocks! And it is really good for large batches requiring many colours. I just haven't used it for a long time as I seldom work with large batches in a single session nowadays. Just to share some pictures of the piped batter...

I ran out of auburn colour for the hair so the bottom shells of one of the character designs look weird. I painted the macaron shell post-baking to make it same colour as the hair

Freshly baked shells! 

Checkout the awesome feet! 

I decorated the shells using edible marker, lustre dust, royal icing and edible paint (dissolve gel colouring in vodka) 

Lavender earl grey flavour was requested. I have come a long way since I first made macaron carousels and refined the fillings over time to make them more flavourful without being too sweet, but at the same time firm enough to be structurally stable in Singapore's hot weather. I filled the outer layer of filling with a firm water-based white chocolate ganache, and a strong flavoured water-based earl grey lavender ganache for the interior.

Outer ring of white chocolate ganache and inner portion filled with earl grey lavender ganache

The extra set of character macarons, decorated and filled! 

Water-based Earl grey lavender ganache
Ingredients :
Chocolate mix
60g white chocolate
12g cocoa butter
12g dark chocolate couverture 73.5%
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt

Tea flavouring
90g boiling water
4+1 earl grey tea bag
1/2 tbs earl grey tea powder
2-3 drops food grade lavender essential oil*

*If you don't have lavender oil, use dried lavender flowers instead. Infuse 2 tbs of dried flowers along with the earl grey tea bags.

1. Steep 4 teabags in 90g boiling water for 5 min. Strain, measure out 24g concentrated tea. Reserve an additional 1 tsp of concentrated tea for the firm white chocolate ganache later.

2. Dissolve earl grey tea powder into the 24g of concentrated tea. Add lavender oil. Set aside.

3. Squeeze out water from the soaked teabags and remove the tea leaves from the bags into a small bowl. Add an additional bag of dry tea leaves to the soaked and drained tea leaves. Set the leaves aside.

4. Place all chocolate mix ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Melt on medium low power for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat until mixture is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat. You may use double-boiling method if you wish.

5. Chill melted chocolate mix in freezer for 1-2min and whip using spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing until mixture resembles buttercream. You may use an electric mixer to whip the melted chocolate mix while placing the bowl in an ice bath.

6. Add the tea flavouring mix one tbs at a time into the whipped chocolate mix and fold in until combined after each addition.

7. Add the tea leaves into the ganache in a few additions, folding in well after each addition. You may add less leaves if you prefer less strong flavour.

8. Transfer into piping bag.

Stiff water-based white chocolate ganache
80g white chocolate
20g vegetable shortening
1/8tsp salt
1 tsp concentrated Earl grey tea (from previous step)

Steps :
1. Place all ingredients except concentrated tea into microwave safe bowl. Melt on medium low power for 10-20 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

2. Add the concentrated tea 1/4 tsp at a time into the melted chocolate. Mix well after each addition. Transfer into piping bag.

Just a tip about assembling the characters onto the paper straws, you may use a little royal icing to glue the stick to the bottom shell and let it set before adding the filling. This is to ensure that the character won't slide down the pole due to its weight as the filling may not be firm enough to support its weight.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Toilet Roll Chiffon Cake

Toilet Roll Chiffon Cake! 🧻🧻 Our humble little toilet roll has suddenly become a prized commodity during this period! 💪

I suddenly realized one day that my freshly unmoulded chiffon cake looks so much like a toilet roll already with its hole in the middle🤭. Hope this cute cake made you smile amidst this "circuit breaker"! 😃

Today is also #worldhealthday, where we celebrate the healthcare heros who are working to keep us safe. A big thank you!

Just to show you how much the toilet paper chiffon cake looks like the real thing! =p

And a video to show it too!

I have also shared the recipe below. Hope you like it! Do tag me if you try it! =)

Toilet Roll Chiffon Cake (by Susanne) – 5-inch tall tube pan
½ whole egg
13g castor sugar
26g coconut/vegetable oil
25g water/milk
40g cake flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp chocolate emulco

3 egg whites
36g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140°C.

2. Beat 1/2 whole egg with sugar till well-mixed, before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.

3. Next add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found. Spoon out 5 tsp batter and add chocolate emulco (1/4 tsp), mix well.

4. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in sugar in 2 additions.

5. Spoon out 10 tbsp meringue and fold into brown batter. Fold in the rest of the meringue gently into the plain batter 1/3 at a time.

6. Using a spoon or spatula, coat the inner tube with brown batter. Then fill the rest of the cake pan with plain batter. Gently tap the pan on table to remove air bubbles.

7. Bake the cake at 140°C for 40-45 min or until skewer comes out clean. *Oven temperatures may vary depending on your oven brand and size, do check for doneness using the skewer.

8. Invert the cake pan immediately once out of the oven to cool.

9. Unmould by hand after the cake is cool.

Do take care and stay safe! <3 

With lots of love,

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Tuesday 7 April 2020

Strawberry Bear Choux Pastries (new filling recipe!)

Bear choux pastries again! But this time filled with a new filling. Strawberry pastry cream made with lots of strawberries!

This request came at a time when I was busy preparing for my first bear choux pastry class so I could only manage making 25 heads instead of the full body version. This bear design can also be found in my Deco Choux Pastries book.

You may refer to this post for the basic choux pastry and craquelin recipe, and how to create features like the ears out of choux batter. No colouring was added for these bears. I piped 2.5cm diameter batter, topped with 3cm craquelin for these.

Freshly baked choux pastry cases! I highly recommend using a perforated mat for baking. 

I decorated using royal icing instead of melted chocolate since you can put the pastry cases to dry thoroughly in the oven at 70°C when royal icing is used. You can't do that with chocolate. A small piece of pastry case is cut out from the base so that you can fill with filling with much ease 

Store decorated pastry cases in airtight condition at cool room temperature. I bake until the cases are crisp and dry so they can be stored for up to a week at room temperature.

Recipe for strawberry pastry cream
Strawberry jam
250g strawberries
70g sugar (more if you prefer)
1tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tsp strawberry emulco

Strawberry pastry cream
270g jam
50g milk
3 egg yolks
30g cornflour
Pinches of salt
25g unsalted butter
80g non-dairy whipping cream
50g dairy whipping cream

1. Blend strawberries and place in a small saucepan together with the rest of the jam ingredients. Make sure you weigh the empty saucepan first. Cook over medium-low heat while stirring continously until the liquid is reduced and the weight of the contents in saucepan is 270g.

2. Pour milk and add salt into the cooked jam and whisk together.

3. Heat the saucepan with low heat until steaming hot but not boiling. In the mean time, in a heavy mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and cornflour until a paste forms.

4. Pour hot jam with milk in a slow, thin stream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking the egg yolk mixture continuously. This is to temper the egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

5. Heat the saucepan over medium-low heat while whisking continuously. Once the mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk vigorously. Put it back on heat and continue to whisk until pastry cream thickens to consistency of your liking. Do not heat the custard too fast as it may become lumpy.

6. Remove from heat and add butter. Whisk until well combined. Transfer into a bowl and press a cling wrap on the surface. Refrigerate until cool. At least 30min or overnight .

7. Combine dairy and non-dairy whipping cream in a mixing bowl. You may use either type of cream or adjust the ratio according to personal preference. If you are using fully dairy cream, be careful not to overwhip. Whip whipping cream until firm peaks.

8. Take pastry cream out from fridge and stir briefly with spatula to loosen it. Fold in whipped cream in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition.

I like to store the pastry cream in sealed piping bags in the fridge so that the recipient can fill the pastry cases when it is party time. I recommend filling choux cases only when you are about to eat so that you can enjoy it crisp on the outside with cold and creamy filling on the inside.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Friday 3 April 2020

Sumikko Gurashi Playground Chiffon Cake

Safe distancing and staying at home. How are you coping?

Even the cute Sumikkogurashi characters are doing their part in safe distancing (1m apart), and staying at home (empty playground below 😅).

The kids will be missing their playground for a while, but let's do our part to protect our loved ones and the medical workers on the frontlines by staying at home and being part of the "circuit breaker"... Let us continue in love and encourage one another during this difficult time.

The cake, including the slide is made entirely from chiffon cake! It is crafted and cut out from bigger chiffon cakes. The Sumikkogurashi characters are usually huddled together, so here they practice social distancing =p. Actually it was just a coincidence. I made it for a JC friend some time back. Hope it made you smile as it did to me!

Stay well and positive!

With lots of love,

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Naturally Coloured Penguin Macarons (Junior chef class)

I had fun much fun preparing for the photoshoot for this class' ad. Presenting my take on penguin macarons!

Ouch! Somebody fell off the iceberg! 

I try to keep junior chef classes simple with only one colour of batter to work with. To make it easier for little hands, I will prepare royal icing transfers for the white belly of the penguins. The filling is cookies n cream swiss meringue buttercream. I will just do a demo of this filling due to time constraint.

More details about the class and the registration link can be found here.

With love,
Phay Shing

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