Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And the Winner is....

....PEI - LIN

Sorry all for the terribly long wait. Christmas week was kinda a mad rush with church activities and numerous durian cake orders. I'm not complaining, but rather, grateful that orders were sorta pouring in when I least expected. Things were tough, but thank God for D who took leave to help me bake the cakes while I was away at work.

I know I said I wanted to mail out the gift before Christmas, but hey! There are 12 days of Christmas, so it is techinically still christmas!!

Anyway, congratulations to Pei-Lin, I'd be mailing you soon for your address before I sent out the package. In the mean time, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Friday, December 11, 2009

christmas, blogoversary and a giveaway (updated 11.12.09)

HI EVERYONE!
I've been trying hard to keep up with baking while staying healthy and sane.

Don't think I've been scoring well in that area. Nevertheless, I'm hoping that the coming Christmas holiday would be a good rest for me =D

Since christmas is coming AND my blogoversary in 4 days, what better time to show some appreciation to anyone and everyone who has been reading, has read and is still continuing to read my blog?

And since Christmas is about remembering Jesus's birth (well, also to remind me to be more like Him) and its the season of sharing, I'd like to take the chance to have a
CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!

If you haven't reaslied, I'm quite a fondant-decorating person. So, I've decided to giveaway some brand new flower plunger cutters to encourage and increase fondant popularity wahahah!

only ONE set up for grabs!

TO WIN:
just leave a comment saying if you like christmas and if you do, what you like about this season. Also, as a fondant advocate haha! Do say if you'd like to see / purchase fondant tutorials that has step-by step photos as to how to mould those cute little figurines =) If so, what kind of figurines would you like?

Please remember to leave your name and e-mail so that you may be contacted if you are the lucky one! Oh! and this giveaway is only valid if you are living in Singapore or Malaysia =)

Each comment will be tagged with a number and D will have the honour of picking out that lucky winner!

Hurry and leave your comment now! I hope to be able to send out the cutters before christmas and so leave your comments by:

SUNDAY, 20th DECEMBER 2009, 2359 hrs

**winners will be notified via e-mail and if response is not received within 24 hours. A next winner will be selected. **

Update 11.12.2009:

I have decided to delay the launch of the fondant tutorials due to personal reasons. For those who are really interested and can't wait to get their hands on those tutorials. I have 2 websites to recommend. =)


This website has both "free How-Tos" and online tutorials sold. Check out the link above for more details.

I do not know when will I be launching my first fondant tutorial, so if you are still interested, just drop me a comment (at the chat box) or e-mail me on what kind of tutorials you are interested it. I may consider putting them up for FREE =D

But no worries! The giveaway is still on!

Friday, November 27, 2009

new job = piling backlogs!

For those who are still not in the know, I have finally started my new job. And have been into it for almost 3 weeks now. I haven't been slacking from baking, in fact I just got a HUGE HUGE oven =DDDD

Backlogs are piling and I have on hand, one of the most exciting recipes to share thus far in my baking life. hahaha! If you've been following my twitter, you'd have guessed it and YES! it's the SUPER DARN spongy chocolate sponge cake which can be made in a breeze. Even muddled-headed D could do it, so I believe anyone else out there can hehe =p

So, let me post 3 posts in one breathe, before more gets piled up! First up!! PIGGIES ENCORE!!!! I received another cupcake order for the same piggies theme and decided to mould the piggies a little more differently. But, due to work and all, I only managed to think of one new design and the rest remained similar. So here it is!


Mango and Peach Yoghurt cupcakes with lemon swiss meringue buttercream =)





Flower pig?!


Truly piggy!


Party piggy =p


NEW! Hot Pig! (both *ahem* literally and figuratively)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAERAH!! I hope you love the cupcakes as much as how I enjoyed making them =D

Next up! D and I made a birthday cake for my sister's 21st. I gotta admit it was kinda like a last minute decision, so the cake was done in a jiffy and the design was, erm...kinda simple. BUT, I'm glad she liked the cake and she was surprised!! So, without saying, it was made with the darn good chocolate sponge sandwiched with fresh blueberries and whipped cream filling. Some thought it was a black forest! haha.

This was the second time D and I made this cake in hmm a week and a half? D even boastfully said he can now memorise the weight of the ingredients heh... T_T

We themed the cake spongebob as we knew my two younger sisters were fanatics of spongebob and friends. Ok, maybe just spongebob himself. But oh well, I wanted to mould spongebob out of fondant but was seriously running out of time! D was brilliant and remembered he bought small little sponge bob figurines for my other sister. So we told her that we would borrowed it just for the cake (since it's gonna go back to the same house isn't it? hahaha!!) so there you have it! A sponge bob cake!

Well, come to think of it, D did 95% of this cake. Inclusive of baking the cake, whipping the cream, filling and coating the cake and also the decorations!!! I only helped with piping of the words which was bleahhh. I'm so proud of him =D


Spongebob on shore haha!

Last but not least was little Chermaine birthday! My church friend JM asked if her colleague could do a cake for her daughter and I'm sad to say that this cake ended up in a mess =(( I am SO SO SO terribly sorry and to make up for it, I decided not to charge for the cake. I still hope little Chermaine was happy nonetheless.

Little Chermaine is a HUGE fan of mickey and minnie so I was asked to do a normal cream cake with mickey and minnie fondant figurines. It was raining cats and dogs every other day for the past week that the figurine barely had time to dry =( So the hands dropped off by the time it was delivered.

What's worse, lesson learnt. No.1: NEVER paste fondant on whipped cream. Whipped cream is so moist, it practically melt the fondant and it just became GOOOEYYY. EWW!

My sister was supposed to deliver the cake for me when she called and told me about the horror. She quickly whipped up another batch of cream and re-creamed the cake. But, it still didn't make it in the end =(

The cake was in dire straits when delivered and I was almost tempted NOT to deliver the cake. But upon fearing that little Chermaine would be really upset, I decided to just do it.

Many apologies for the terrible cake, I am still thinking of taking time out to compensate the terribly done cake. Hopefully I have time to make a new one this time. maybe a smaller one?

But, for viewing pleasure, I snapped photos of it while it was still...hmm.. presentable. So this was how the cake looked..while still o...k...




Mickey and minnie dried ok in my tupperware container but fell apart almost instantly when i transferred them to the cake board. SIGH...this was how they were..on the tupperware..




Oh well, HUGE lesson learnt. I hope little Chermaine's parents don't hold it against me =XX

As for something with a lighter note, I actually translated the darn good chocolate sponge cake recipe from Grace's blog. I saw many comments that they didn't understand the video. So, hopefully this is of some use to someone hehe..





Here's the darn good chocolate sponge which has NEVER creacked in the oven despite me NOT shielding it. =D IT is super moist and spongy and has a nice, chocolatey taste to it. Try it and you'll not regret!

Don't be surprised at how she man-handles the cake hahaha! I admit i was really skeptical with the way she mixed the cake it was as if she was beaten the heck out of it and the bubbles were all going to heaven. haha! I admit I still wasn't as daring as her. but yep! IT WORKS. Mixing in flour WITH a electric mixer. haha!



DARN spongy Chocolate Sponge Cake



Ingredients:
203g Whole eggs
32g Egg yolks
135g Caster sugar
21g Glucose
1g Salt
32g Vegetable oil
21g Cocoa powder
106g Cake flour
1g Baking soda
21g Milk


Method:
1. Warm vegetable oil and mix in cocoa powder until well mixed and dissolved.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add in whole eggs, egg yolk, caster sugar and salt and beat on high speed until foamy and about doubled in volume and salt and sugar have dissolved.
3. Add in glucose and beat on medium speed until ribbon stage.
4. Sift flour and baking soda over beaten egg mixture. Mix in flour on low speed for 3 seconds just to combine most of the flour. After which, mix at medium speed for approx 20 seconds (or even less) just until mostly incorporated. Fold in any remaining traces of flour with rubber spatula.
5. Take some of the beaten egg mixture and add it into the cocoa powder-vegetable oil mixture to lighten the mixture. Add it into the egg mixture, together with the milk and fold until well incorporated.
6. Pour into an 8” tin and bake at 170C for about 35 minutes.
7. Invert onto a cooling rack after removing from the oven.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a chanel handbag...

...cake. Yea, if only I owned a real Chanel handbag. haha!



This was a pretty last minute order and I could have very well rejected it. But since I figured I'd probably won't have the chance to do something like that once I've started work, so I took it up!

It's been a while since I made a handbag cake. The last was....hmmm...during class. Bahhh...But I'm really glad I managed to put what I've learnt to use. I explored with using a different handbag strap this time, but hmm..not too good a result. I tried making a real zipper but my hastiness got the better of me and the zipper was too ugly. I refused to put it on. Besides, the real bag didn't have a zipper!



Karen requested for the bag to be pink because black seems a little dull for a birthday. What a thoughtful friend Karen is. She chose this Chanel bag as this was something they all eyed just some days ago. What better idea to present her a birthday cake in the shape of her dream bag =p

While I had alot of fun decorating this cake, I hope Karen, the birthday girl and their friends had a fun time together!

Happy Hatchday!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

my first official food review...

I've never really thought if I'm a serious foodie or some sort. As a Singaporean, I'm sure many of you would agree we ALL love food. Being born in a place with plentiful of different types of food, it's hard to watch your waistline, especially so when the exercise rate goes downhill while your age reaches for the sky.

Enough of depressing weight issues. Life is short, so enjoy while you can. haha! After making Royston's chocolate birthday cake, I was kinda dying for some real good chocolatey cake. I vaguely remember having some real, darn good chocolate cake from Jane's Cake Station, located in the ulu part of Singapore, deep down at Jalan Kayu.

I was really determined to try it again since it was years, probably almost 10 years, since I had the chocolate fudge cake from Jane's. I somehow recalled having a fantastic durian cake from Jane's as well. It was one of the FIRST durian desserts I conquered that led me to accepting durian in desserts. (recall: I started hating durian at some part of my life)

So, with high hopes, I drove down specially at 11+ am just to make sure I get my slice of cake.





ta-da! Yummilicious - looking cake. The cake defintiely looked chocolately and fudgy. But the smell wasn't appealing. One sniff and I could tell it wasn't a good quality chocolate. I started doubting my memory. It was either "memories always tasted better" or my taste buds got sharper after all that baking.

Nonetheless, the chocolate cake was okay, but really, not fantastic at all. If given a choice, I wouldn't go back there anymore for the chocolate cake. But! the cake has it's merits. The cake itself was really light and fluffy and stayed soft and moist after 5 days in the fridge. The fudge on the other hand, seemed lacking. Of what, I am not sure. It was not like what I expected a dense creamy fudge. But rather, a more jelly-like kind of topping. It was horrible, but just fell short of what I expect.



So, I thought, surely the durian won't disappoint! Hmm..it didn't exactly, but surely it still didn't taste as good as it used to be. I am also pretty sure durian essence was used in the cake layer. Why so? I bought a durian essence, wanting to use for mooncakes, but I couldn't accept the fact the essence was really really really too fake. and yucky. The smell is SO strong, it lingered in the room for at least a day. As such, the smell is engraved in my head.

The cake comprised of one THICK layer of durian cream encased in two thin layers of durian sponge (which was, "as light as air" - quoted by my Dad). The durian cream was not chunky durian, but smooth and creamy it was with tiny durian fibres. the durian taste good.

And as D put it, as long as the durian used is good, how bad can a durin cake taste? There! you have it. The durian cake IS good, but not THAT good that will warrant me a special trip down to the ulu jalan kayu just for a slice of durian cream cake.

Jane's Cake Station
265 Jalan Kayu S799493
Call 6481 1322

Mon-Sat 12pm-6.00pm,
Sun & Public Holidays 12pm-4pm
Closed on Wednesday

8-inch Chocolate Fudge Cake : $30.00
8-inch Durian Cream Cake : $38.00
*Other sizes available. 8-inch is the smallest*

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Royston turns FOUR!



Royston's daddy sms-ed me earlier in the week to ask if I could bake a cake for little royston. When I asked if he had any design in mind, he replied, no. So I suggested using his favorite cartoon character as a theme. However, after some discussion, Royston's daddy decided to go with something plain. Either a chocolate or carrot cake. I figured that chocolate would probably be a more popular flavour with kids, so I went ahead.

I guess it was one of the most difficult cake I worked with. Reason being, I had no theme! It was supposed to be plain and kiddy. *scratch head* I really got stuck for a moment. Luckily, D was around to tolerate my nonsense and gave me some suggestions. And if you've guessed it, he was the one who suggested making a rainbow. hehe..I think he's picking up a little in the art department and probably will soon surpass me bahhhh....

The cake was a small 6-inch cake just enough for 6-8 decent slices. As such, I could only fit 3 colours for the rainbow. Sigh...if only I had mini M&Ms...

To make it a little more kiddy, I piped stars around the edge and once again, not too very well done. But but but, I'm really really pleased with how smooth the frosting was. Even though it wasn't perfection, it was as close to as I could get.

I used Anna's velvety chocolate cake recipe for the cake and whipped honey-dark chocolate ganache for the filling and frosting. And I must say, the ganache worked beautifully!

I decided to pipe some words in a more kiddy font and again it was piped with the ganache. How useful isn't it? =ppp The consistency of the ganache was really nice to work with, it was one of those times when I piped pretty nice words. HAHA~ What a brag..I know I know..I was just happy I managed something simple yet kiddy.

Wishing little Royston a happy 4th birthday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stunning 2-tier cakes...



If you're wondering whether work have been keeping me really busy, then you're wrong. In fact, I haven't started =( I really want to come back to blogging, but the break is so comfortable. Especially when you don't have to compose shots, edit and write a story. =p

Nonetheless, I'm happy to say that I'm coming back soon! Probably with less frequent updates, but, you'd still be hearing from me =))

So anyway, sometime back, Philia and I met up with Anna and we had a great time coming up with new ideas for the "Stunning 2-tier cake" class. I always look forward to group baking/decorating sessions hehe! And many thanks to D for always bringing my masterpieces  to work. =p Thank God for that or imagine the extra calories on me. yikes!

The one above is Philia's handiwork and don't you think black and white simple says "timeless"? It's such a simple yet absolutely beautiful combination. Classy and elegant. Nice. The ruffles may seem daunting, but you'll find out how easy it is to put it together. Randomness is the key. If you're a perfectionist, or a mathematician in the making, you'd probably have to lock your symmetrical side away while you venture into art and decoration. ha~


Next up! We have Anna's beautiful beautiful design. This is something I've ALWAYS dreamt of trying out. Cherry Blossom. Don't they just reflect serene romantism (If there's such a term), complete with an asian-touch?

Once again, don't be put off by this seemingly elaborate design, it's far more simpler than you think it is. Look at the stumpy, fat branches. Guess what? They're piped melted chocolate. Chocolate is such a brilliant substitutute. Its yummy, easy to pipe and the branches will be done in no time. As for how to pipe them nicely, I couldn't stress enough, randomness brings out the beauty in it. 

I guess that's probably why I love decorating. No rights and wrongs, just go..with the flow..=pp


And then comes mine!! Well, although I was part dying to try out the romantic cherry blossom design, I was also eager to make a really cute, happy, childish child-like cake. There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to accomplish this.

1. I wanted to let people know that tiered cakes aren't just meant for weddings. They are perfect for birthdays too! In fact, they're really good for children's parties. =D

2. A cake like that looks seemingly more difficult than the cake with flowers with the amount of details, but no! It too can be accomplish in that wonderful 4 hours.

3. More importantly, I want people to know that the skills that they'll learn in this class can be applied to almost any cake design they might ever have. Be it sweet, loud, whimsical, or romantic. Who says wedding cakes are just about flowers and who says birthday cakes are not meant to be as pretty as a wedding cake?

So, I decided on this simple hmm...garden theme. I deliberately had 2 different colours for the 2 tiers so that I could exhibit the contrast and I was pretty happy with the out come. Very happy in fact. Thanks Anna for suggesting to me to make that pot of honey =p It added a really sweet touch to it (pun not intended hehe!)

So, if you're itching to learn how to decorate a cake AND making a tiered cake, why not make an appointment with us at Sugar Inc this coming Sunday (1st November 2009) and let your creative juices flow. From timeless, to romantism to happy and child-like. Take your pick or simply be inspired by the people around you that day itself =)

Hurry now as there are only two seats left for this workshop!

To register, hop on over here!

See you on Sunday!

Friday, October 16, 2009

my first wedding...



...cake.

I previously mentioned that I'd  be taking a break from blogging but this occassion warrants a special blog entry. =)

Like I said, I made my first wedding cake, not MY wedding but my cousin's wedding. It isn't worth mentioning just because it is my FIRST wedding cake, but rather it is special to me, at least, as I witnessed and learnt much from this whole cake making experience.

Let me first give a little background before the question marks in your brain discourages you from reading further and your hand just scrolls the mouse to have a glance at the pictures. ha~

Well, my aunt, my mum and my dad have casually mentioned on different occassions to ask me to bake a little something for my cousin, Adeline. Prior to that (like many months ago), Adeline did ask if I could make a wedding cake for her, but later dismissed the idea. I struggled a little with what should I bake and somehow settled with decorated cookies in the shape of wedding cakes. Isn't that cute? I mean, it IS a wedding cake and it's small and..something..new!

I had cookie dough ready in the the refrigerator and I thought things were going my way. I happily rolled and baked them on Thursday. Wanted to flood them on Friday and by Sunday, they would have dried, nice and hard =)

But, no! That wasn't my dad's idea of an ideal gift. He wanted a nice grand wedding cake.
Time check: 09.10.09, Friday, 3pm
Wedding date: 11.10.09, Sunday, 7pm
RIGHT. 2 days. a grand wedding cake. and no time. 

Oh before I forget, I promised my sister to help her out with her friend's birthday cake due, 09.10.09, Friday 6 pm. HELP!!!

I scrambled to work things out in my brain. No cake recipe. No filling in mind. No design. What could be worse than scrambling to work on nothing?! Thank God, Anna loaned me Peggy Porshen's book and I immediately chose the designed inspired by the "pink wedding cake".

Design, settled. No fondant. Gosh, thank God, Dennis called Kitchen Capers and they waited for us for 10 mins just for us to rush and get the fondant. I had marshmallows and icing sugar, but I figured ready-made fondant would buy me much more time and boy, was I glad Dennis made that call. =D Thanks dear!

NO CAKE RECIPE! I experiment on many cakes, to only realise, 90% of them aren't suitable for tiered cakes! =((( I always fell back on Rei's pound cakes recipes, not that they were particularly good to eat or anything, but those were the only ones I've ever tried. I had no time for mistakes, no time for risks, I just had to make do with whatever I've done so far. Now, the filling. I needed something that would hold up for a good 8 hours and not taste yucky. I wanted to go with chocolate ganache. The hard kind. (ie. more choc than cream) BUT, my sister reminded me that the cake was already chocolate. So, we scrapped that idea. I finally settled on Italian Meringue Lemon Buttercream. Very reluctantly. Read: Very reluctantly. I had a few unhappy episodes with making italian meringue and I've stayed away from it since a long time. But but, it went on SUPER well that day and I do believe it's God's guidance. =D


When I finally finished baking the cake, it was already past 12 am. -_-'' Thank God for Dennis and my sister, Sandy who struggled to keep their eyes open and still painstakingly cut out the fondant flowers. In order not to complicated things, I decided to go with white flowers =pp While we were at it halfway through and the clock pointing at 2, my sister said my mum mentioned we shouldn't be making cakes cos they're unhealthy. I got kinda pissed that here we are, slogging out, and there she goes complaining.
We decided to abandon the operation wedding cake, packed up and went to bed.

Early next morning, I helped out at the last pretty floral class for this year at CSC club. With my eyes barely opened and brain hardly awake. I'm glad all the participants were happy and learnt something new. The tea ceremony was held on Saturday, 1pm and I obviously couldn't make it. My mum dropped a bomb on me when she told me that my dad happily told my aunt (my cousin's mum) that I'd be make her a wedding cake!! YIKES!

We scrambled to get things done, and thank God, my other sister, Freda, offered to make the wedding figurines. OH, I couldn't thank her enough =D


We made more flowers and by the time all of us surrended, it was past 3 in the morning. And, we still had to attend service the next morning at 8.30am. O.o

We still manged to drag our sleepy heads to church and struggled to pay attention to the sermon and rushed home after service and a quick breakfast. My sister only got started with making the groom on Sunday afternoon and I'm glad we all made it in the end =) Thank God for her perserverance and her creativity! I was so busy with the buttercream and other stuffs, she handled the fingurine all by herself, with a little help from Sandy. I'm really proud of them!


My brother decided to join the force, partly to skip studying for his 'O's and look at his creation. -_-''' Of course, this wasn't what went up in the end, this was! (see below)


If there was a time I feared covering cakes with fondant, it was then. All the past attempts didn't have very good results. The fondant cracked and wasn't smooth. But this time, It was all well. VERY well instead. Even my sister mentioned that this time, it was the best of all. =DDD If there was any tip about covering fondant cakes, it would have to be not to roll the fondant too thick. The weight of the fondant weighs down on the cake and the edges will start to crack and be unsightly =)



All ready, just missing the bride and groom toppers which were still giving us problems. =( The groom's arm refused to stick on nicely. But we were glad it eventually did. =D


This shot was taken at the hotel itself and I was glad we managed to surprised my cousin and cousin-in-law. Wishing them a really blissful marriage ahead as they learn to continue to love one another, as they have promised.



Although they are not christians, I still want to leave them with one of my favourite verses.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...."
-1 Corinthians 13: 4-8-

Sunday, September 27, 2009

a new job, new plans and a break

Nope. No pictures today.

Haven't been really updating this blog as frequently as I would like to, but I've been pretty busy with the mooncake orders. Orders are now officially closed and big thanks to everyone who ordered from me.

While the blog entries have stopped for a while, things have in fact been busy busy and pretty "hectic". Though busy and tired, I really find joy in doing what I do. I am also really glad that my passion in baking is taking me to a whole new level. Though exciting, and being something I could never dream of, it encompasses a whole new dimension in my perception of baking. I am taking on a new role, with new responsibilities and with a different approach. Sounds like a riddle? All will be revealed in due course =p So stay tuned...

Another thing worth mentioning is that, yes! I finally got a job. After months of procrastination, thinking and baking, I finally found myself a job. Things would get busy and I am expecting to bake lesser and lesser. Well, at the same time, I have been toying with the idea of going on a hiatus. The job came at a right time, giving me more reason to take a break from blogging. But but! I will be back! Soon, I hope =p

With a job and more new responsibilities, I thought I'd take a break from blogging to sort things out. Certain things that have happened made me a little weary of others and disappointed too. Seeing blatant "plagarism" of people's photos and recipes made me wonder whatever happened to "integrity".

okay okay, before I get all too philosophical and trying to act cheem, I just want to thank everyone who has been reading my blog, whoever you are, whether or not you are existing. I hope my blog has been of some help to you or anyone and it's my regret for not being able to post up more recipes. I'd work at that in time to come when I have settled down more, and get used to being busy with work.

Thank you for all your order enquiries, I will still be taking orders but my schedule will be more tight and less flexible. So if you are keen or interested, do e-mail and let me know early. I will try my best to meet them =)

Thanks! and see you soon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Any last orders?

I want to extend a huge thank you those who have ordered mooncakes from me this year.

For those who have not placed your orders, hurry now and do so at SweetCouture.
We have added many more flavours to our existing range. Download the order form today!

Due to overwhelming responses, we are closing our orders soon. So, hurry, place your orders by 27th September.

Once again, a BIG thank you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Durian Chiffon


I would be helping out at Sugar Inc.'s "The Art of Chiffon" Workshop this Friday. To help me get prepared, Anna sent me a copy of the recipes to get myself familiar with the recipe. If you have been following her website/blog, you'd know that she has included a durian chiffon recipe as a bonus recipe for participants to try it out at home.
Okay, okay, before I digress, I actually bought a tub of durian puree to continue more mooncake experiments and increase the variety of flavours and also because Ian's mummy has been asking about durian mooncakes =p. So, with the tub of durian puree and a durian chiffon recipe, I couldn't help myself but tried out the recipe.
Although you seldom see chiffon posts in my blog, but truth to be told, I've been trying it out again and again for quite sometime. Somehow, they just don't get photographed before it's cut up into pieces and disappeared into someone's digestive system. I've only used Rei's chiffon recipes and nothing else. I do remember having attempted a durian chiffon recipe sometime back, but that was baked in a round pan. It actually kinda failed then and ever since, I was a little petrified with baking durian chiffon. (the last attempt turned out like kueh )
However, I really trust Anna's recipes and they've never fail. Not only so, people are usually full of praises when I make cakes using her recipe. So, without thinking, I measured the puree, strained it till it was really smooth, creamy and nice. Thank God I get to skip the step of removing the flesh ha~ The egg yolk batter was done in a jiffy and the egg whites whipped so beautifully. But boy! The batter was ALOT and my arm ached halfway through while folding in the whites.Phew! I persevered and sent it into the oven for baking. It rose really really nicely and high. I tent the cake right from the start as I know my oven always browns the tops too quickly. I usually remove the baking tray (which I use to tent the cake) ~10 min before the end of the baking time. The cake rose so high, it took with it a patch of brown skin. (see above picture) Or maybe because it liked the smell of durian too? bahhh~


The time came for me to unmould the cake and, yes, I was rough. Very rough indeed. The browned sides were lovingly stuck onto the chiffon tin and my jerky hand movements made holes and tore some edges off the chiffon. The cake was SO soft, I really had to handle it with care. It was really moist that I could hear the squish-y sound as I sliced into the cake.
To be honest, I'm not a durian lover. I don't eat the fruit, but i do eat anything related. Durian ice cream, durian cream puff, ...I took a bite off a slice and fell in love with it immediately. The durian fragrance was subtle yet substantial, present, yet not overpowering. I asked my sister to have a bite to try. (she's a durian fan by the way, she wanted to scoop the durian puree out of the tub to eat -_-''') I asked if the durian was too mild for her, she said no and few seconds later, she asked for the whole slice. And told me she likes the cake =D 
Mild enough for non-durian lovers, fragrant enough for durian monsters lovers! 
Although I really hope to be able to post this recipe, I'm afraid I won't be able to. But! You can always sign up for "The Art of Chiffon" class right here! A variety of chiffon recipes will be covered and learn the essentials to making a good, yummy, fluffy chiffon!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mooncakes Part III

Here's part III of this year's mooncake series. If you're wondering where did part II disappear to? or if I've made a mistake, it's actually here. I kind of forgot to name it proper (as I was obsessed with the "MORE" theme =S) but I suppose that constitutes as a part II too right?
So, I've finally finally started on the snow skin selections and ta-da here they are! All the mooncakes in this post were made in a day. yes, 3 flavours and 2 kinds. It was pretty tiring but satisfying too! I had fun playing around with the different mooncake plates and changing the designs. The headache comes when you've got too many flavours and you gotta start identifying them amongst the sea of mooncakes.
But but, snowskin ones aren't much of an issue. The colour tells it all isn't it? I love the deep hue of green on the pandan snow skin. Believe it or not, the gree came entirely from freshly blended pandan leaves. Nope extract, essence nor colouring added! Completely Au Naturel! (I think my spelling's wrong, but you get the picture) The mango snow skin was a little disappointing though, the nice golden yellow I was expecting didn't turn up! Though there was a slight subtle mango fragrance penetrating the skin thanks to the mango juice I used. =D The Mango Lotus was perfect this time after the horrible perfumy experience the last time round. yay!
The texture of the snowskin is great! But it was a little difficult to work with. I suspect it's due to the higher content of liquid. Anyhow, I'd just have to practice wrapping them nicely and make it look real pretty =)
Now this may look or sound odd to some (including myself). I embarked on this combination of flavour and "type of skin" as:
1. I wanted to see if I could wrap a salted egg nicely.
2. Know how to make mooncakes with salted yolks
I told D my plan and he kept quiet for a moment. We continued and finally he popped the question. "Are you sure you wanna put the yolk in a snow skin mooncake? I like mooncakes with salted yolks, but not when it's with snow skin!" I thought for a few seconds, and replied, "But I saw people doing that!!" I ran through the imaginary memory store in my brain (which doesn't function too well) and alas! I  found  remembered where I once saw it. It was from a mooncake recipe book, I quickly whipped it up and show it to D and went "There! They make salted yolks with snow skin leh". D had no choice but to accept the fact that this experiment was to be carried on. muahaha!
So since the yolks were to be placed in snow skin ones, it had to be thoroughly cooked before wrapping and thank God it was cooked and tasted nice. (I don't eat salted yolks, but a friend's mum loved it =D)
Note: These were mini mooncakes (~60g) and so the yolk was HUGE. My mum feels the yolks are too big and too over-powering. but hey! Everyone has different preferences right? I'd still be using full yolks for mini mooncakes. I though of making them half the size, but that wouldn't give you the nice round shape and beatiful innards anymore.
Enough of snow skin and crazy try-outs, let's go back to tradition. I was really excited to use this particular plate design you see here and it obviously proves useful in identifying mooncake flavours. Especially the baked ones because they all have the same skin! So quite obviously, this particular moonie had a Lotus filling. The only boo-boo is that I wished I had the "白连" plate design instead. I love lian rong, but prefer bai lian much more anytime! I learnt from the auntie at Sun Lik that the difference is actually just the lotus seed skin. White Lotus paste is cooked with the skin removed. Normal Lotus Paste is cooked with the skin intact
Here's the cross-section of the white lotus paste ones =) The skin, a tad to thick but I'm not sure if I should reduce it. Any suggestions? Would you eat a mooncake with skin this thick or a mooncake with slightly thinner skin? Leave a comment and let me know! =D
The challenge! Wrapping salted egg yolk in baked mooncake. This time, I cooked the yolks partially before wrapping them in. I've read that some cook them partially and some leave them raw. I felt uneasy about having them completely raw though I know they'd obviously be cooked in some way or another whilst basking baking in the oven. It seems like it looks a little over-cooked and appears a little dry. But D re-assured me that this is normal! How? Please advice a non-salted yolk eater. bahhhh
Just bear with me for the last one. Baked Pandan Lotus. I love pandan. Anything pandan. Pandan chiffon, barely cooked with pandan, pandan jelly, ...The smell of pandan Ahhh! its just so intoxicating. Don't you agree? Anyway, this pandan lotus paste is pretty good. =) Not too sweet and a nice real pandan fragrance. YUM!
So that's the end of Part III of this mooncake series, next up..probably...durian??

*I've received requests for mooncake order and I am very glad to say these will all be available for orders! Just visit sweetscouture.blogspot.com for more info on how to order. =)

*the above mooncakes are ~60g. Some are a little larger. I would only be making standard sized mooncakes upon special request. Book your order soon!  These are entirely home-made, so please understand there's a certain amount that I can make in a day. =)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

cupcake order!

Got this pretty last-minute order and was really glad I was able to pull it off. I'm thankful for people I've "known" through flickr and that I'd been able to draw many many many inspirations from their works.
The lady who ordered from me asked for a simple birthday cupcakes for her best friends =) So sweet! She added she quite like ribbons and piggies too. Immediately, ccyhan's piggies cupcake photos popped into mind and I showed her the link of those cuppies. She liked them and so, I replicated them. Though probably not as nice and pretty as ccyhan's, but I thought it was passable =p
Thank God my younger sister was home and she was helping me with some of the moulding and cutting out fondant flowers happily haha!
Pretty obviously, these cupcakes were "From Leander". Really want to thank Anna for loaning me those cookie letter press and I put them to good use on these fondant! yay!!
Leander orded 12 cupcakes and so with the Blogshop Promotion, she got 3 flavours! Yummy Oreo, Nutty Nutella and Zesty Orange =) The Yummy Oreo and Nutty Nutella were frosted with Swiss Meringue Latte Buttercream while the Zesty Orange ones went with cream cheese frosting. yum!
I had some extra cupcakes from baking and well, my brother is having is CCA's sec 4 farewell party tomorrow and he had trouble thinking of what to give his juniors. haha! So, these extra cupcakes came in handy and i just frosted them all with sinful, rich chocolate ganache =DD [p.s: I got them from the pretty floral cupcake class (as there were extras hehe!)]
A close-up on the piggies! I made 4 of them each with their own "activity" and "character". I quite like how things turned out =p
Leander requested last minute for one cupcake to be decorated with another friend's name "Don" as he was also celebrated his birthday. She mentioned that she wasn't sure if he'd turn up and if one of it was with his name she could pass it to him the next day. So, to accomodate for the uncertainty, I made one cupcake with "happy bday don" so it'd seem "whole" to be given individually =) I made a rabbit to go along as Leander said that he's born in the year of rabbit! A pity that the rabbit couldn't really be seen =(
I had fun overall and was really really glad to pull off yet another order. phew! The night was spent viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls at the art house. hehe..pretty interesting facts and amazing truths =D

Friday, September 11, 2009

MORE mooncakes!!

This is a delayed post as well =XX I actually got these baked last Friday. And as usual, I was lazy, tired and had a thousand and one excuse before I got these photographed, edited and posted!
My younger sister asked if I could make mooncakes with her as a birthday gift for her friend. I thought, what better excuse for me not to make it with her? =p So, with the new mango lotus paste and pomelo lotus paste we tried three different kinds of "flavours". Some were mango lotus, others were pomelo lotus and the rest mango and pomelo lotus mixed together. Sounds pretty interesting and yummy right? NO! To my dismay, the moonies turned out a little odd? With the pomelo tasting like....perfume? It was good if you nibble it and eat it bit by bit but not when you chunk it down your throat like no one's business.
Anyhow, we concluded that these would probably taste ALOT better with the snowskin ones, so experimenting that now fills up my free Saturday. (you'd know what I'm saying if you had followed my previous post)
These were the mango-pomelo ones. The paste looked so similar, you can't see the distinction between them after baking =( Worse still, they taste hmmm really special. =p
BUT but but, I had tried a slightly different ratio on the skin and adjusted the baking temperature and timings and yipee! They were thin and soft now, right after baking! No more hard, rock-like biscuits! I can safely conclude that I have highly over-baked them the previous time round.
But, no fret! From this mini mistake/experiment, I can conclude, mooncakes are resiliant to overbaking! muahah..but of course not when they're over baked to the point of being burnt and black. I don't think anyone would still want to eat that. haha!
So, my advice is (an advice from a mooncake novice..how odd) if you overbake them (i.e. hard like a rock and taste more like crunchy biscuits rather than mooncakes) just leave them in a airtight container for 2-3 days and ta-da! Nice yummy, soft  mooncakes. If you don't, good for you, just pop them right into your mouths =p
Due to poor calculation, I had leftover mooncak pastry and I took the chance to make some small little piggies a.k.a 猪仔饼. They obviously turned out a little wrong ha~ My dad thought they were mouse -_-''' and D thought they look more like crocodiles rather than pigs. sighh.. Despite they're dubious appearance, they taste pretty good =) Just like good'ol piggy biscuit =D

graduation piece

I'm a little late in this post (What's new), I've actually completed this last Saturday and the pictures were sitting in my camera until I decided to take them out late last night. =p
I don't recall having mention this before, but yea, I've been attending Cake Decorating Classes at BITC (Baking Industry Training Centre) for the past 8 weeks.
As a course requirement, everyone was supposed to make a "Sugar Plaque" (Not sure if I got the spelling right) at the end of the lesson as a piece of assignment. In case you were wondering, the plaques were made of sugar paste which were left to harden and dry up. On the other hand, the pictures/flowers were made up of a combination of royal icing and fondant.
Each student had to complete two plaques and we sorta agreed that one would be a floral one and the other would be something with a picture or some sort.

Here's a collage of the sugar plaques my other classmate completed! Aren't they pretty? Although made up of entirely edible ingredients, I don't think anyone actually eats them. They become more like pieces of art. Frame them up and I think they'd make a good decorating ornament haha! Or better still, some speacial design to go along with your pretty cake. Perhaps, a wedding cake =p
After 8 weeks of burnt Saturdays, I suddenly feel a little lost having my Saturday free, but I'm not complaning! More time to try new recipes and more time for rest!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blogshop...opened!

This may come as a surprise to some of you as it was for myself! I've finally decided to officially open a "blogshop" to take in orders officially after various e-mail enquiries.

I hope to be better organised and systematic as well as work to cater a larger crowd. So, having said that, I didn't realise what a special day it is today. 090909. With that said and with the official opening of my blogshop, I've decided to hold a mini promotion valid for a limited time!

Hop on over to check it out!

Friday, September 4, 2009

MORE macarons...

I love love love this picture! =DD BUT, i'm not the photographer. Remember my last macaron post, when I'm supposed to pass them to a friend? Well, those pink sweet things never quite got to where it was supposed to, so I made another batch, experimenting at the same time, since we had a dinner gathering last night! (phew! what a long sentence)

I started the day feeling a little lazy and eventually still got around making these little things. I didn't know where I got the courage from to venture into trying some new flavours other than my usual plain shells + chocolate ganache. So, I tried making some coffee flavoured shells by just adding 2g of instant coffee granules. I'm not sure if it was a mistake or a "blessing in disguise". I naive-ly thought the the granules would break up into powder form when I blended the nuts/sugar mixture, but not they didn't! I was looking for a slight brown tint from the coffee, but it never quite appeared as the granules refused to be grounded fine. And since it WAS intended to be an experiment, i continued. In my urgency to finish baking quickly, I decided to warm the egg whites which were taking forever to reach room temp. And stupid me warm them too long in the microwave and I got half-boiled egg whites. twice. So I finally got the hang of warming them after wasting 70g of egg whites.

So, being lazy, again, I'm still with the french method. Although it did cross my mind to try the italian one again, but the thought of boiling the sugar syrup, plus, a dinner appointment later in the evening kinda just made me blow that idea. So, it's still french. I can safely say I got the hang of whipping just 35g of egg white in my kitchenAid mixer pretty well =))

Surprise surprise! While folding the nut/sugar mixture into the whites, the nice pale brown i was looking for sufaced! While there were still some granules not broken down, they actually became quite a pretty sight with speckles of brown scattered randomly in the "macaron batter".

Since I was on a coffee theme, I decided to do "opera macarons". So I made a coffee swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate ganache. I piped a ring of coffee buttercream and filled the hole with dark chocolate ganche.

I'm glad it all went well and the shells were more "sturdy" this time though I didn't try out on myself personally. I've actually been trying to make heart-shaped macarons but sad to say, my piping is a little irregular and I always can't find a match size! So, no pics and no filling for those heart-shaped ones =(

Nonetheless, I really like that I've ventured into flavouring the macarons and hmmm maybe I'll try....hazelnut shells next?
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