Thursday 28 December 2023

Matcha Ice-Cream Cake with Dan Heng & March 7th Marshmallow Toppers

 My elder kid wanted matcha ice-cream cake for his birthday and requested for Honkai Star Rail theme with Dan Heng and March 7th as the characters of choice. It's a challenge because anime type characters have tonnes of details and I have not made ice-cream cakes before and wondered if photography would be a challenge in tropical Singapore. 

Fortunately, I managed to pull it off with this delicious number!

I used my default basic marshmallow recipe and shared the ingredient list along with the piping video in this reel:

Here's a photo of all four of the marshmallows I piped. It took me many hours to complete this due to the sheer number of details! I made duplicates in case of accidental uglification or butter fingers.

Here are the completed marshmallows!

As it's my first attempt at ice-cream cakes, I needed a reference and found one I really liked. Although I used my own matcha honey chiffon sponge recipe which is really moist and soft, I followed the matcha ice-cream recipe and loved it! It is no-churn, creamy and not icy rock hard when frozen but doesn't melt into a puddle that quickly (so I had time to take photos and videos). Do choose ceremonial grade matcha powder for the best taste. I only had culinary grade on hand so it still tastes good but it would have been even better with a higher grade tea powder. I added vanilla bean paste to the whipped cream and used a combination of non-dairy and dairy whipping cream due to Singapore's perennially hot weather.

I used this blog post as my reference with some tweaks.

Matcha honey chiffon sponge
Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
40g oil
6g (1 tbs) matcha powder
34g warm water
10g honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g cake flour
pinch of salt

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
45g caster sugar

1. Line 10 x 12" tray with Teflon sheet or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 170C.

2. Egg yolk batter. Dissolve matcha powder, salt and honey in warm water. Add vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks until thick. Add oil and whisk smooth. Add matcha mix and whisk until combined. Gradually sift in flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Meringue. In s clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, adding in sugar once egg whites are foamy.

4. Fold meringue into yolk batter in 3 additions. Pour into prepared tray. Bake for 15 min or until done.

5. Immediately flip onto fresh sheet of parchment. Cool completely. Cut circles out with the cake rings you are using for assembling the cake(s). I used 8cm and 10cm diameter cake rings.

Matcha ice-cream 
2 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
1/16 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
50g white chocolate
120g whipping cream (I used 40g Whip topping and 80g heavy cream)
6g (1 tbs) matcha powder
2 tbs warm water

1. Whisk matcha powder in warm water. Set aside.

2. Melt white chocolate and keep warm. Set aside.

3. Whip whipping cream to soft peaks.

4. Set a saucepan with 1" water to simmer. In a heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and xanthan gum (if using). Add egg yolks and whisk together. Continue whisking over the saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved. The bottom of bowl should not touch the water. Temperature of egg yolks reached about 60C for me.

5. Add matcha paste and melted chocolate. Whisk until combined.

6. Gradually add mixture to whipped cream and fold gently after each addition. 

7. Transfer into piping bag and pipe onto sponge when ready to assemble.

Vanilla bean whipped cream
45g heavy cream*
40g whip topping*
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

* Use whipping cream of choice. Do not overwhip if using only dairy cream and add sugar according to taste.

1. Begin whipping only when matcha ice-cream layer is frozen. Put all ingredients in a bowl and whip till firm peaks (not too stiff, peak with a curl).

2. Transfer into piping bag when ready to assemble.

1. Line cake rings with acetate sheet cut to the height of cake that you want. Place the cake rings on lined tray.

2. Place a layer of sponge in the ring.

3. Pipe matcha ice-cream until the top of the ice-cream layer is about 2cm from the top rim of the acetate sheet.

4. Place another layer of sponge on top and gently press it in. Freeze for 1h.

5. Prepare vanilla whipped cream and pipe on top of the sponge. Slightly over-fill such that cream is a little higher than the rim.

6. Level the whipped cream with a spatula. Freeze for at least 1h or overnight before unmolding.

7. After unmolding, sift a little matcha powder and add matcha white chocolate decorations if you wish.

Here's the reel for making and assembling the ice-cream cake:

with lots of love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday 20 December 2023

Orange Chocolate Hazelnut Log Cake

 I have a large unopened bottle of chocolate hazelnut spread, Hazella, from Redman. It's nowhere near expiry but it's not the habit of my family to consume bread with sweet spreads for breakfast and I only use it for bakes. This is the reason why this year's log cakes for my family and friends are orange chocolate hazelnut flavoured. 

Here's a closer look at the larger log cake at the back.

The log cakes consist of:
- Orange chocolate hazelnut chiffon sponge, brushed with orange syrup
- Milk chocolate hazelnut feuilletine crunch
- Orange chocolate hazelnut whipped cream
- Dark chocolate hazelnut ganache
- Candied orange mushroom decorations with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) as the stems

I have to say that I used SMBC because I happened to be making it for another bake. Otherwise I would have made the mushroom stems out of marshmallows when I made the characters but I forgot to do it. It may seem like a complicated bake but it's actually quite simple when you use ready-made chocolate hazelnut spreads, chopped toasted hazelnuts and feuilletine flakes. You may omit the edible decorations and use plastic ones sold at baking supplies stores if you wish to simplify the bake even further. The most common chocolate hazelnut spread is Nutella but you may use any brand you like. My hubby and I tasted both Hazella and Nutella and find that Hazella is a richer version of Nutella. Stronger chocolate and hazelnut flavour.

Since my motive was to use up as much Hazella as I could, I included the chocolate hazelnut spread in every element of the log cake while trying to maintain a good balance of flavours. You may increase or reduce the proportion of the spread in the whipped cream, ganache and feuilettine crunch according to your preference.

Candied Orange Slices
A few small tangerines, thinly sliced
300g sugar
360g water
A dash of lemon juice (optional)
Some granulated sugar

Note: This makes a lot more than you need to use. Keep the rest for snacking!

Reference recipe is taken from here.

1. Place sugar, water and lemon juice (if using) in frying pan. Stir while bringing it to a boil.

2. Once it starts boiling, reduce to a simmer. Add orange slices in a single layer.

I included a few pieces of peel for fun

3. Simmer for about 45-60 min or until translucent.

4. Shake off excess syrup from each slice and place on parchment paper.

5. Dry in 90C oven for 1-2 hours or until no longer wet to touch but still a little tacky, turning the slices every 30 min. I placed half-dried slices on hemispherical silicone molds for the mushroom caps so that the orange slices are cup shaped when dried.

6. Cool completely. Roll the slices in granulated sugar. Store in airtight container until needed.

Remember to reserve the syrup from cooking the tangerine slices! It can be diluted with orange juice and used to brush the sponge.

Orange Chocolate Hazelnut Chiffon Sponge
(makes one 10x12" sheet sponge)
Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
45g orange juice with zest (I used 41g juice and 4g zest which is about 1 orange)
90g chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella, Hazella or other brands)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
48g cake flour
1/4 tsp baking soda

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
60g caster sugar

1. Line baking tray with Teflon sheet/parchment paper. Preheat oven to 170C. You may use a slightly bigger or smaller pan. The sponge will just be a little thinner or thicker.

2. Make egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks until pale and thick. Add chocolate hazelnut spread and whisk until smooth. Add juice, zest and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Gradually sift in flour and baking soda. Whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Make meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm or just reach stiff peaks, gradually adding sugar once the egg whites are foamy. Make sure your meringue is stable but not over whipped as the high fat content of this egg yolk batter tends to deflate the meringue more quickly than other batters.

4. Quickly but gently fold meringue into egg yolk batter in 3 additions. Pour into prepared tray.

5. Bake for 15-16 min or until done. Immediately flip the cake out onto fresh sheet of parchment paper. Roll it up to cool completely.

I used a larger tray and upsized the recipe to 4 egg portion for the larger log cake. Simply divide everything by 3 and then multiply by 4 to scale it up.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Feuilletine Crunch
25g finely chopped toasted hazelnuts 
25g feuilletine flakes
50g chocolate hazelnut spread
50g milk chocolate

Note: Scale up the portion accordingly if making more log cakes.

1. Whisk together feuilletine flakes and chopped hazelnuts. Set aside.

2. Melt milk chocolate with chocolate hazelnut spread. Stir until smooth.

3. Add feuilletine nut mix and fold until the flakes and nuts are coated completely. Set aside in warm place.

Orange Chocolate Hazelnut Whipped Cream
140g whipping cream of choice* 
50g chocolate hazelnut spread
4g orange zest (about 1 orange)

Note: Scale up the portion accordingly if making more log cakes.

*I used 105g Whip Topping (pre-sweetened non-dairy whipping cream) and 35g heavy cream. If using only dairy cream, you may need to sweeten with some sugar and stabilize with gelatin especially if you are in a hot climate.

1. Whip whipping cream of choice until firm peaks. Be careful not to overwhip if using full dairy cream. 

2. Add orange zest and fold in.

3. Add chocolate hazelnut spread and fold in. You may add more spread if you prefer a richer flavour. I kept the chocolate and hazelnut light here because these elements are heavier in the crunch and ganache layers. You may omit the spread if you wish.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
100g dark chocolate
75g heavy cream
25g chocolate hazelnut spread
15g hot water
Pinches of salt

Note: Scale up the recipe if making more log cakes 

1. In a small saucepan, dissolve chocolate hazelnut spread in hot water. Add heavy cream and salt. Stir to mix. Heat until just starts to bubble at the edges.

2. In the meantime, melt dark chocolate.

3. Pour hot cream mix over melted dark chocolate. Let it sit for 1min. 

4. Gently stir in one direction until smooth. 

1. Unroll cooled chiffon sponge. Brush surface with orange syrup. I didn't measure the dilution ratio but it is approximately 1:1 fresh orange juice : reserved tangerine cooking syrup.

2. Spread a thin layer of feuilletine nut crunch.

3. Spread a layer of whipped cream over the crunch layer.

4. Roll up the sponge into as tight a roll as you can. Freeze for 2h or overnight if you wish.

5. Cut the ends of the log cake. You may arrange the branches any way you like as shown in my two log cakes.

6. Apply some ganache on the cake board. Carefully place the main log on the board. Apply some ganache where you want the branches to be and then glue them on.

7. Coat the whole surface with ganache. Let it set briefly in air-conditioned room or in the fridge for about 10 min. 

Halfway through coating the surface with ganache

8. Use a fork to mark out the bark patterns on the ganache.

9. Add any decorations you wish. Dust with sifted snow powder if you wish. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. You may freeze the cake if storing longer than 5 days in the fridge. Defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.

Watch my reel to see how the cake is assembled over here:

Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

with lots of love,
Phay Shing
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Monday 11 December 2023

Penguin and Reindeer Marshmallows

 As Christmas approaches, I start to give some thought to the log cakes I am making for family and friends. Log cakes need some decorations too so I thought it's fitting to include some cute and squishy characters as toppers 😊.

Marshmallows can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to use as decorations or for consumption so they make perfect cake decorations. Much more fun than fondant or plastic decorations since you can squish them!

Here are some pictures of the piped marshmallows before dusting.

Here's the reel for piping steps of the marshmallows!

Making characters like these need marshmallow batter of different consistencies. E.g. Stiffer batter for the body and head, softer batter for the white belly and face patches. Marshmallows is one genre where technique and learning how to work with your equipment and environment is more important than the ingredient list of the recipe because meringues and gelling agents like gelatin and agar are involved. Find out more about how to master this fun confection and how you can tweak the basic recipe to include different flavours and fillings in my Deco Marshmallows book!

with love,

Phay Shing

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Wednesday 6 December 2023

Angel S'mores

 You have seen my iced cookie version of angel cookies. Here's my S'mores version using the same template!

The angel S'mores are angel marshmallows on my favourite (and default) brown sugar cookie coated with chocolate! I didn't use the classic Graham cracker base as my brown sugar cookie has a similar flavour profile and I happened to bake some brown sugar cookies.

I reused the template for royal icing transfers for making the angel marshmallows but I enlarged the template a little for a larger cookie base, and spaced out the angels more for marshmallow making. You may refer to my baby Jesus and angle cookie post for the template.

Piped marshmallows using the template before the faces are painted on 

Here's the video tutorial of how I piped the angel marshmallows and assembled the S'mores:

I used to think marshmallows are one-dimensional tasting candies that are way too sweet. S'mores was the reason why I fell in love with marshmallows because the taste, texture and aroma is on another level when the marshmallows are toasted just before consuming.

If you would like to find out more about how to create marshmallow characters of your own imagination, grab a copy of our newest book in the Creative Baking series: Deco Marshmallows! 

with love,

Phay Shing

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