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

Read More »

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
Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Graduation Bear Marshmallows

 I made some marshmallow graduation bears for my niece who is graduating from preschool.

I made some heads-only version as well as full body ones

I shared the piping video tutorial on Instagram and you may see it here:

For those of you who bought my Deco Marshmallows book and want to try your hand at making these bears, you may use the shiba template from the book like I did.

I used the 3.5cm circle template for making the bear heads.

I must admit it was a challenge to make so many and work on some angel marshmallows concurrently! Not all the marshmallow bears are shown in this post as I made more than 20 of them. Thank God I managed to pull it off!

with lots of love,

Phay Shing

Read More »

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Totoro Surprise Roll Cake


Totoro Surprise Roll Cake!💓 "Totorolly" cute?🥰  

I combined cake patterning and cream patterning. Assembly video on my IG here

With love, 


Read More »

Monday 20 November 2023

Guinea Pig Wife Biscuit (low carb version)

 Hubby loves having 老婆饼 (wife biscuit) at the start of the day sometimes but Chinese pastries are usually not keto/diabetic-friendly. That's why I decided to make a more sugar-free/ low carb version of his favourite Chinese pastry as his birthday bake.

These cute pastries are modelled after a guinea pig plush we have at home whom we have named 圆滚滚 (pronounced as "yuan goon goon" and it means roly-poly in English). Here is 滚滚 looking at the pastry version of himself 😆!

We have a soft spot for guinea pigs since we have one geriatric pig at home (the other one passed almost a year ago).

I must admit that I couldn't do a full sugar replacement as candied wintermelon, the key ingredient in the filling, has to be made using actual sugar because it relies on the chemical properties of sugar for it to work. I rinsed the excess sugar crystals off the candied wintermelon thoroughly and pat the pieces dry before mincing to reduce the amount of actual sugar. But in all other areas, I replaced regular sugar with Erythritol. I didn't use Allulose as it tends to brown/burn at much lower temperatures and has a stronger aftertaste that hubby doesn't like. Although Erythritol isn't easily soluble in water, it isn't an issue for this bake. It also browns nicely when baked. I don't recommend replacing plain flour with keto alternatives as you need the gluten formation for the flaky pastry to work.

The plush toy is from a very talented artist, Birdie Tam ( Instagram account). I adapted the wife biscuit recipe from Yeo Min's (@pastoriessg Instagram account) newly launched Chinese Pastry School book. Do grab a copy of her book if you are interested in Chinese Pastries. She is very detailed and has done much research into the history and science of Chinese pastry making.

This bake consists of shortbread cookies for the leaves and ears, candied wintermelon filling, and Chinese flaky pastry made from laminating water and oil dough. I used only matcha, cocoa and charcoal powders for natural colouring. You may have a look at my reel for the process of making this:


Makes about 15 wife biscuits. Whenever sugar is mentioned, you may use regular sugar or sugar-replacement of choice. I used powdered Erythritol (zero GI) for all.

Shortbread cookie leaves and ears
10g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
20g vegetable shortening or butter (I used shortening as wife biscuits aren't buttery)
30g plain flour, sifted
Cocoa powder
Matcha powder

Wintermelon filling
65g cooked glutinous rice flour* (a.k.a gaofen 糕粉)
40g sugar
Pinches of salt
110-115g water
15g peanut oil
125g candied wintermelon**, finely minced
12g white sesame seeds, toasted

* If you are unable to get cooked glutinous rice flour, you may buy the raw one which should be available at Asian markets if you do not live in Asia. Stir-fry the raw flour without oil in a frying pan over low heat until you are able to smell the distinctive aroma of cooked glutinous rice flour.
** Also available from Asian markets. You could also make your own from scratch but the whole process requires about a week due to the long wait time for the sugar to draw moisture out from the wintermelon pieces, and the subsequent drying process. Yeo Min has a recipe for making candied wintermelon in her book too.

Water dough 
100g plain flour
20g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
28g peanut oil
55g hot water

Oil dough
80g plain flour
40g vegetable shortening (you may use lard or ghee)

1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
Charcoal powder

1. Make the shortbread ears and leaves. Mix sugar, salt and shortening until well combined. Do not whip to avoid introducing too much air into the dough. Fold in flour. Form a ball of dough. Divide into two equal portions. Add matcha powder to one portion and cocoa powder to the other portion until desired shades are obtained. Shape the leaves and ears with the help of cookie cutters if need be. 

I used a combination of cutters and a small knife to get the shapes I want.  If you need to estimate the size of the features, make a shortbread dough of about 45g in weight and shape it into 滚滚 shape as an estimate.

Bake at 150C for 6-7 min or until very slightly browned. Cool completely. Store in airtight condition. This can be made a day or a few days in advance.

Freshly baked cookie parts

2. Make the wintermelon filling. You may wash off the excess sugar coating the pieces of wintermelon like I did but this step is optional. The filling will still be sweet but not too sweet. Whisk together gaofen, icing sugar and salt. Add water and oil. Knead with spatula to form a dough. Cook over low heat until translucent. Knead in minced candied wintermelon and sesame seeds. Divide into 24g balls. You may make this a day in advance if you are busy. Store in airtight condition in the fridge.

There are only 12 in this picture but the recipe portion is for 15 pieces.

3. Make water dough. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and sugar. In a heatproof jug, whisk together oil and hot water until thoroughly emulsified. Pour into flour mixture and knead until smooth and elastic. You can see in my reel, the dough passes the windowpane test, is smooth and stretchy. Cover with cling wrap and set aside while you make the oil dough.

4. Make oil dough. Rub shortening or fat of choice with flour until fine breadcrumb-like. Press crumbs together into a ball of dough. Cover and set aside.

5. Divide the dough. Divide water dough into 13g balls. Cover to prevent drying out. Divide oil dough into 8g balls. 

6. Laminate dough. Lightly dust work surface with flour. Press a portion of water dough flat. Wrap a portion of oil dough with it. Roll the combined dough into a long flat piece as shown in the reel. Roll it up like a swiss roll. Rotate by 90°, seam side up. Roll into a long flat piece again. Roll up like a swiss roll. Set aside covered while you work through all the dough. Rest covered for 15 min. It doesn't matter if you end up resting longer 

Again there are only 12 in this picture but the portion in recipe is enough for 15.

7. Preheat oven to 180C fan/190C. Line baking tray with parchment paper.

8. Wrap filling with dough. Press a swiss roll of dough with seam facing upwards flat. Fold the ends of the swiss roll inwards and press flat again. Roll the dough into a flat round disc with the edges thinner than the middle as shown in the reel. Place a ball of wintermelon filling in the middle and wrap it. Pinch the seams together and roll into a ball. Place on lined baking tray. Traditional wife biscuits are pressed into a flat disc on the baking tray but I left mine "roly-poly" shaped.

9. Apply egg wash. Mix egg yolk with 1 tsp of water. Brush each ball of pastry with egg wash in the pattern of guinea pig markings. 

10. Pierce the dough. The steam produced by the filling may cause the pastry dough to burst if air vents are not created for steam release. Ideally, wife biscuits have numerous holes or a couple of large slits at the top of the pastry for the vents. In this design, I didn't want to spoil the look by introducing lots of vents so I only made one where it would be hidden by the leaves. If you don't mind the holes, please make more holes evenly distributed over the top of the pastry. You may use a wooden skewer or cake tester to pierce the holes.

11. Bake the pastries. Bake for 15-18 min or until lightly browned. Reduce oven temperature to 110C fan/120C. 

12. Paint the facial features. Mix some charcoal powder with some egg wash to make a black paint. Use a fine brush to paint the nose. Use the blunt end of the toothpick to paint the round eyes.

13. Add on ears and leaves. Use some egg wash as glue to attach the ears and leaves on the head. Bake the pastries again at lowered oven temperature for about 7-8 min to set the egg wash facial features and the glue for the ears and leaves.

Cool completely before storing in airtight container. It can store at cool room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for a week. I highly recommend toasting it before consuming if not consuming freshly baked. During storage, moisture from the filling permeates the crust so toasting it will re-crisp the crust.

Hubby gave a big thumbs up for these homemade wife biscuits!

Here's a closer look at the filling and flaky crust!

You may want to remove the ears and leaves just before toasting if you are afraid of burning them by accident during toasting.

Here's a peek at some wife biscuits that I made in the traditional shape!

They are so good freshly baked!

The water and oil dough can be refrigerated in airtight condition for a couple of days and used for wrapping filling and baking on another day. These traditional shaped wife biscuits were made with leftover dough (since I only made 12 圆滚滚wife biscuits). Hubby and I ate them fresh from the oven and they were superbly good!!

with lots of love,
Phay Shing
Read More »

Tuesday 14 November 2023

'Dog & Bunny Picnic Fun' Chocolate Macarons and Cake

 I made this cake for a girl who loves food, bunnies, her Maltipoo pooch and chocolatey stuff with crunchy bits so I created this for her birthday!

I used my default Swiss meringue method recipe for this bake but I split this bake into three separate sessions and applied different variations of my Swiss method recipe to different batches. For the large green base, picnic basket and mini food items, I used all the egg whites in the Swiss meringue. For the bunny and dog, I split the egg whites into unwhipped to mix with dry ingredients to form a paste, and whipped in the Swiss meringue. I made extra pieces in case of accidental uglification.

I used edible markers and royal icing to add in the details. The sprinkles on cupcakes and donuts were added after the macaron batter was piped but before baking.

The picnic mat was made from leftover homemade fondant that I froze from an earlier project.

The fondant is glued onto the macaron shell with a little brush of water

The following are recipes for the individual components for this bake.

Chocolate feuilletine crunch

I made chocolate feuilletine crunch to add the chocolatey crunch goodness that the birthday girl likes. You may make the feuilletine from scratch but because I had so many components to make for this bake, I bought mine from Redman in Singapore. I melted a mix of milk and dark chocolate and mixed it with the feuilletine in the ratio of 1:3 for feuilletine:chocolate by weight. The fat from chocolate coats the feuilletine flakes and prevents them from turning soggy when sandwiched between ganache in the macarons or diplomat cream in the cake. Simply spread the mixture of melted chocolate and feuilletine in a thin layer on baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze it until it is time to assemble.

I used 70g feuilletine and 210g chocolate to spread into a 10 x 12" tray

Dark chocolate ganache

I made the chocolate ganache slightly differently from my usual by adding a little corn syrup and gelatin.

150g Dark chocolate couverture 
60g Heavy cream
6g Light corn syrup (optional)
12g unsalted butter, softened
1 gelatin sheet bloomed in ice water (optional)
Pinches of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur 


1. Heat chocolate in microwave/double-boiler until softened and slightly melted. Set aside.

2. Heat cream, salt and light corn syrup in small saucepan until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Pour over softened chocolate and let it sit for a minute.

3. Stir the chocolate in one direction until melted.

4. Melt bloomed gelatin after squeezing out excess water. Add to ganache and stir gently until well combined.

5. Add softened butter, vanilla and coffee liqueur. Mix well. Cover with cling wrap.

6. Set aside to firm up at cool air-conditioned temperature or in the fridge until toothpaste consistency.

7. Transfer into piping bag and fill the macarons. I didn't whip the ganache this time like I usually do for a lighter texture.

Mixed berry jam

I used frozen strawberries and freeze-dried raspberry powder as I couldn't get hold of fresh/frozen raspberries. You may use any mix or either type of berries for the jam. I tend to use only a little sugar and no pectin, to keep the berry flavours strong and without "fillers". I take my time to reduce the jam over low heat (about 30 minutes or more) until it is thickened to jam consistency. The sugar I use is 10% of the original weight of fruit.

400g strawberries
40g sugar
5g freeze-dried raspberry powder (you may add more if you wish)
Pinches of salt

I cooked until thickened and fruit is reduced to about 60% of its original weight. But for the macaron filling portion, I reduced the jam further to reduce the amount of water content even more.

Chocolate chiffon sponge

I used the default chocolate cake recipe from my ultimate chocolate cake, which was adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's German chocolate cake recipe. I whipped the egg whites portion like the meringue for chiffon cakes although Mdm Rose's recipe doesn't whip up the egg whites. Instead of steam baking, I tried baking at a lower temperature of 120C with the oven fan on for about 50min, and then increasing the temperature to 160C for 8min. The resulting cake was still moist and fluffy with flat tops. I sliced each sponge horizontally into half.

Chocolate diplomat cream

This recipe is similar to my default chocolate diplomat cream but I changed the ingredient amounts a little for some of the ingredients and changed the process of cooking a little.

220g + 30g milk
35g sugar
2 egg yolks
18g cornflour
12g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
1/8 tsp salt
15g unsalted butter
40g dark chocolate couverture
100g whipping cream* (I used 15g dairy + 85g non-dairy)

* you may use full dairy, full non-dairy or a mix like I did in whatever ratios you like depending on climate and your taste preference. It is awfully hot in Singapore nowadays so I limit the amount of dairy cream.


1. Heat 220g milk until steaming hot but not boiling. I just put my hand over the saucepan and once I can feel the heat and see steam rising from the milk.

2. In the meantime, whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt, cornflour, cocoa powder and 30g milk together in a heatproof jug. 

3. Once the milk is hot, pour in a thin stream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously. Pour everything back into saucepan.

4. Whisk the custard over medium-low heat until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and continue whisking until smooth. Put it back on  heat and continue whisking and cooking. Once it starts to bubble, continue whisking over heat for 1 minute before removing from heat.

5. Add chocolate couverture and butter. Whisk until smooth. Add extracts and mix well.

6. Transfer pastry cream into bowl and press cling wrap on surface. Refrigerate overnight or at least 2h.

7. When ready to assemble cake, whip whipping cream of choice until firm peaks. Briefly whip the chocolate pastry cream until loosened. Fold whipped cream into pastry cream in a few additions. Transfer into a large piping bag.

Macaron Assembly

I filled the large green macaron with dark chocolate ganache, followed by a disc of chocolate feuilletine crunch, some more ganache and mixed berry jam.

The dog, bunny and basket are filled with chocolate ganache and chocolate crunch. The mini food items are filled with just the ganache as they are really tiny.

The macarons were glued on with more royal icing onto the picnic mat

Cake Assembly

The cake is made of four layers of chocolate sponge with three layers of filling. The filling consists of chocolate diplomat cream, mixed berry jam, crunchy chocolate balls and chocolate feuilletine crunch. I brushed the sponge with some syrup (1:2 sugar:water) before layering on the filling as shown in the picture below.

From top left to bottom right:
1. Place chiffon sponge in acetate sheet ring. Brush the surface with some syrup.
2. Spread a thin layer of diplomat cream in the middle.
3. Pipe a ring of diplomat cream to the desired height you want.
4. Place chocolate feuilletine crunch in the middle.
5. Place a ring of crunchy chocolate balls around the chocolate feuilletine crunch. Add more diplomat cream if necessary.
6. Cover the crunch layer with a little diplomat cream.
7. Add a layer of berry jam.
8. Add a little diplomat cream over jam layer.

Repeat all steps until last top sponge is in place. Brush the surface with more syrup. Cover the top of the acetate ring with cling wrap before freezing for 2-3 hours. Carefully remove the acetate sheet.

I added more crunch around the base and on top of the cake, as well as more crunchy chocolate balls on the top.

As the sponge is soft and the macaron topper is heavy, I added 6 skewers in the cake as dowels under the crunch layer on top.

Here's a reel for this bake! I didn't document the whole process in detail because I didn't want the fuss of having to edit a tonne of content or have the joy of being in the moment of the bake the whole time.

Thank God the cake was very well received! Here's a lovely picture of the birthday girl and her family along with the cake! I have permission from my client to share this picture.

with love,

Phay Shing

Read More »

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Baby Jesus and Angel Cookies

 This is the third year our church's Culinary Arts Ministry is having a cookie giveaway project. And for this year, we decided to tell the Christmas story through cookies! Several of us are involved in baking hundreds of cookies so this takes some co-ordination and planning in advance. With many of us having busy schedules, using royal icing transfers is one way to make a big project more manageable. I am in charge of making the angel cookies and a couple of other members have kindly volunteered to make the baby Jesus cookies. We have sheep, heart, star and candy cane (representing shepherd's staff) as part of the cookie storytelling too! Of the whole collection, baby Jesus and the angels will be made using icing transfers as they can be made way in advance and the use of templates makes it easier for those of us who cannot pipe by freehand. Here are some of the icing transfers and sample cookies I made.

I chose to use my default brown sugar cookie as the cookie base as it is actually adapted from a gingerbread cookie recipe which does well being exposed for long periods, has a long shelf-life, and has a soft chewy texture that is still great after being softened by royal icing. I coloured and flavoured it by substituting 10% of plain flour with black cocoa powder. I wanted the cookie to appear like the angels against the night sky as they brought the good news of Jesus' birth to the shepherds. As the cookies are smaller (about 4-4.5cm), baking time should be around 10-12 min at 170-180C. Cookie and royal icing recipe is in the link for my default brown sugar cookie recipe. 

Here are the templates for baby Jesus and the angels.

Resize the templates to fit on A4 paper before printing. Please acknowledge me if you use the templates and share your work 😊. The icing transfers can be used on cookies that are 4-4.5cm in diameter. Feel free to change the hairstyles if you wish like what I did for some of the angels. I crafted the design with simplicity in mind for those of us who need to produce hundreds of cookies but have limited time. So if you have the bandwidth, feel free to embellish your icing transfers with more details like halo, rosy cheeks etc.

You may refer to my reel or YouTube video for the piping steps (will update the post soon with the video links). 

Here's the angel royal icing transfers I made in advance! I will be baking the cookies and sticking the transfers on nearer the date. This method of making the design really makes the work more manageable when you have to make so many!

Here are some tips and pointers you may find helpful.

How long can I store royal icing transfers?

They can be stored in airtight conditions at room temperature for a few months with no issues if they are thoroughly dried and sealed. This means that you can already prepare the icing transfers right now in early- mid November if you intend to give out the cookies at Christmas time. You may stick the transfers to the cookies a week or even two weeks before the giveaway.

What surface can I pipe the icing transfers on?

You may use parchment paper, teflon sheets, silicone mats or even acetate sheets. Refrain from using warm oven to dry the icing transfers if you are using acetate sheets.

Royal icing transfer tips and Instructions

- Store unused icing in the fridge covered in airtight container and with cling wrap touching surface of icing. You may prepare the royal icing in advance and it can be stored in the fridge for a month.

- Stir icing thoroughly before transferring into piping bag or OPP (oriented polypropylene) cone for use. Do not overfill OPP cone if using.

- Make sure consistency of icing for baby Jesus/angel is at flooding consistency I.e. when you try to draw streaks of icing in the mixing bowl, it should disappear within 10 -15 seconds. If it does not, add a few drops of drinking-safe water at a time and stir thoroughly before testing the consistency again.

- Make sure consistency of icing for the hay is stiff. i.e. when you try to make any peaks of icing in the container, it should stand up straight without curling over.

- Cut a hole about 2mm in size in piping bag for piping baby Jesus' swaddle, angel's body, the face and hair. Cut a 1mm hole in OPP cone for the nose, angel wings and eyes (if piping dots for eyes instead of stamping with toothpick). 

- Use a skewer to nudge the icing where necessary. 

- Use a damp paper towel to quickly erase any mistakes before the icing sets. 

- Make sure icing for face is hardened on the surface before you pipe/ stamp out the nose and eyes. Use the blunt end of a toothpick to stamp out the eyes for a quick way to ensure that the eyes are consistently round and the same size. Use fan or oven with fan mode at 60-70C to speed up drying process.

- Make sure icing transfer is thoroughly dried before attempting to remove it from the parchment paper. Icing may appear dry on the surface but inside could still be soft and wet so it may be safer to err on the side of drying for a longer time. Overnight drying in the open is definitely safe.

- Store icing transfer in airtight condition before use.

- After baked cookie has cooled down completely, you may pipe the hay using the stiff icing in piping bag fitted with a #233 tip with adapter for attaching baby Jesus icing transfer. Pipe a swirl starting from the circumference and ending in the middle of the cookie. Gently but firmly press the icing transfer onto the hay.  Pipe a small dollop of icing to stick the angel onto the cookie. (See video tutorial)

- Please switch piping tips once the holes of #233 tip starts becoming clogged. Quickly wash and dry thoroughly before using again. Using a tip adapter helps you to make the switch more seamlessly because stiff royal icing hardens much faster than flooding consistency icing.  

- Dry in the open overnight before storing/packing. Alternatively, you may dry in oven at 60-70C for 15 minutes + 30 minutes in the open or until icing is dry. Cool completely before packing.  It is not recommended to dry the icing with the cookie for too long in the oven as it may cause oil from cookie to seep into the icing.


1. Help! My piped icing is bumpy and not smooth!

Icing consistency may be too thick so you may need to thin it out a little. Be careful not to over-thin it or you may experience issue number 2 below. Try to work in a more humid area that has no draft to prevent the icing from setting too fast on the surface. Resist the urge to prod the piped icing too much with a skewer once you have piped it as the longer it stays piped, chances are a thin crust has already formed and disturbing the icing will cause the surface to appear bumpy.

2. My piped icing surface is smooth but after sitting out for a while, the middle starts to sink in and form a crater/crack.

There are 3 possibilities:

a) Your icing consistency is too runny

b) You didn’t stir the stored icing sufficiently before transferring into piping bag 

c) You left the piped icing sitting out for too long and the meringue structure of the royal icing breaks down before a crust starts forming on the surface 

For issue with c), try splitting the templates into smaller quantities to work with e.g. pipe only 4 or 8 at a time before sending into 60-70C oven to quickly dry the surface. This is what I practice at home to prevent the cratering effect. I set up 2 or more trays and keep rotating them between oven and work surface, piping only a few to several transfers at a time. Oven drying for about 2-4 minutes helps the crust to quickly form, preventing the cratering effect.

3. Help! I broke the icing transfer! Is there anyway to rescue it?

That depends on how bad the damage is. I would usually discard because trying to fix it and still make it look nice is difficult. Prepare to make extras because icing transfers are generally fragile and time consuming to make. Accidents usually happen while removing transfers from parchment paper and while transferring it from place to place. The risk of breakage only stops happening once it is stuck on the cookie where it belongs! If a clean crack happens across the swaddle, you may use white icing to pipe across it so it appears like part of the design on the swaddle. If the crack happens across the face, sorry you may have to discard the transfer.

4. Help! I accidentally thin out my royal icing with too much water!

Add icing sugar a little at a time until royal icing reaches the correct consistency.

I am not a cookie decorating expert but I have made iced cookies since about 9 years ago. Hopefully what I shared is helpful for you if you intend to make large batches of Christmas cookies!

with lots of love,

Phay Shing

Read More »

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Chiffon Cake Longevity Peaches (no artificial colouring added) on Pandan Kaya Cake

 I have been making longevity peach chiffon cakes for the past 9 years and this is the first time I decided to make it as naturally coloured as possible for my grandmother's 88th birthday. You may click on this link to see my past bakes that are longevity peach themed and made in various flavours like lychee rose and yuzu. Grandma likes to celebrate her birthday according to the lunar calender so the actual date we celebrate is not fixed each year. Because of this, I had to make the cake for her at a rather busy period so I kept things simple but yummy.

Here's this year's longevity peach cake for grandma!

The peaches sit on top of my signature pandan kaya cake!

Here's a better look at the peaches!

The peaches are almost naturally coloured, not 100% naturally coloured, because the bottled pandan paste I used for the leaves already has artificial green colouring added. In the past I had to use white colouring to make the peaches appear whiter instead of yellow, and used pink gel colouring to add on the pink. This time round I used a chiffon cake recipe adapted from Mimi that doesn't use any egg yolks to omit the use of artificial white colouring, and I used diluted fresh dragonfruit puree to colour the peaches pink naturally. The peaches were made a week in advance and frozen due to my busy schedule, but they still appeared and tasted as good as new!

You may refer to this post for my reduced sugar pandan kaya cake that is still tasty and refreshing at the same time. I increased the amount of sugar/gula melaka by about 20% for both the chiffon sponge and pudding to suit the tastebuds of my grandma and the whole clan of the extended family since this request was not a "siew-siew-siew-siew dai" (less-less-less-less sweet in colloquial Singapore) order 😆, but is still less sweet than commercially sold cakes in general. My cousin commented that it tastes better than Bengawan Solo's signature pandan kaya cake!

Chiffon cake longevity peaches (makes about 12-15 mini peaches):

Egg yolk batter
35g cake flour
Pinches of salt
10g caster sugar
15g vegetable oil (I used canola)
40g milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp pandan paste

2 large egg whites (about 38-40g each egg white)
30g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Pink dragonfruit puree, sieved & diluted with water 
Water or simple syrup** 
Cake glue or melted marshmallow

* I split ingredients in half as the leaves & peach body have different baking time & temperature profiles

** Make simple syrup by dissolving sugar in hot water in 1:2 ratio. Using syrup instead of water helps to keep the sponge moist longer during storage

1. Line a baking tray (or 2) with teflon sheet or parchment paper. Size of tray doesn't matter as we just need to spread the batter as thin a layer as possible for the leaves. Lightly grease heart shaped silicone molds with a little oil. You may use egg shells if you don't have the heart molds, and carve out the shape after baking. Wash and air dry eggshells thoroughly if using them. Preheat oven to 125C with fan on.

2. Make egg yolk batter. I know the name seems somewhat inappropriate because there is no egg yolk used but this is the same portion that is in all chiffon cake recipes where the yolk normally goes. In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to mix oil, milk, vanilla, salt and sugar together. Sift in flour and whisk until well combined. Divide into 2 equal portions. Add sifted cocoa powder and pandan paste to one portion, cover with cling wrap and set it aside. Cocoa powder is added to deepen the green colour and make it appear less neon bright.

3. Make one portion of meringue with one egg white portion of ingredients. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg white with cream of tartar until firm peaks, gradually adding sugar once the egg whites are foamy. Take your time to build up a stable, tight and glossy meringue at medium speed. Going high speed all the way creates large air bubbles and the meringue is not as stable.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the white egg yolk batter in 3 additions. Transfer into piping bag. Fill the mold until full.

5. Bake for 25-35 min. Increase temperature to 150-160C and bake for another 5 min. Cool completely before unmolding. Note that the baking profile is just a guideline and is dependent on mold size and oven so adjust accordingly.

6. Preheat oven to 170C with the fan on. 

7. Prepare another batch of meringue. Fold meringue into green egg yolk batter. Pour into lined baking tray and spread as thin a layer as possible.

8. Bake for 30 seconds. Turn off the oven fan and continue baking for 8-9 min or until done. Keep an eye on it as it can go from done to brown within a minute or less. Immediately flip onto fresh parchment paper and cool completely before cutting out the leaves with cookie cutter. You may use scissors/knife and a homemade template if you don't have an appropriate cutter.

9. Use scissors to trim off browned parts of the peach body. You may also use scissors or a small fruit knife to carve the shape if you used egg shells to bake.  Use the back of the knife to make an imprint in the middle of the peach.

10. Brush the tip of the peach with diluted dragonfruit puree. I didn't measure the dilution ratio as the exact measurement is not important. I go by the colour I get visually. You can always apply another coat if the colour is too faint, or add a little more puree to your paint. Don't use undiluted puree as the colour is too dark. Use some water to blend the pink colour towards the white parts of the peach. In the past I used a toothbrush spray to create the ombre pink effect but this method is much cleaner!

11. Glue the leaves onto the peach body using cake glue or melted marshmallow. Store in airtight condition in the fridge or freezer until ready to consume.

Here's the reel of the process of making the peaches!

I had leftover pandan sponge and pudding so I assembled a few pandan kaya cupcakes. 

Looking cute!

I think I am going to stick with this method of making chiffon cake longevity peaches from now on with the exception of substituting the milk with some other liquids for flavour variation. I hope this post is helpful for those of you who want to create healthier versions of longevity peaches for your loved ones that minimizes artificial food colouring. You may use matcha powder for the leaves to make it fully naturally coloured but I wanted the peaches to match the flavour profile of the cake below. Maybe I shall try that next time! 

Update: I did an Instagram poll and majority are in favour of a longer, more detailed video tutorial so I made a youtube video version of it and you may see it here:

with lots of love,

Phay Shing

Read More »