Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

It's 2010! In fact, it's the second day of 2010 and days are already going by in a flash! I was on a unintended mini hiatus for blogging for various reasons and I felt I was losing my mojo for writing. Not that I write with exiciting content and flowery language, but I felt the flow. It was nice to be able to vision what I'd be writing whilst photographing certain things and nice to write in an honest, "me" way.

I've had friends coming up to me saying I write pretty well, but seriously, I don't. My english ain't fantastic and my grammar is just terrible. But I guess what makes my posts readable is that I type what I think. Or rather, you'd probably be able to imagine me talking to you, in real person. ok ok, I'll cut praising myself.

Well, just as I thought I lost my blogging spirits, each visit to my own blog, yes, I am that lame to visit my own blog several times a day, reminded me of why I started out this blog initially. I wanted to share my experiences and hopefully my experiences will help others who just sparked their passion for baking. I don't think I've achieve much of that in 2009 but rather, I detoured. So with the coming of 2010, there are as usual, a truckload of resolutions. To keep things simple and realistic for the nth time, I am going to work hard on posting more recipes and tips for baking. Not that I'm a guru of any sort, but rather, I just share what I learnt along the way.

Work has definitely slowed my baking stints but it is not, and i'm not, going to let it diminish forever. Several events have taught me hard and I believe it's all because I jumped on the band wagon too fast than I could have caught up or handled. I fell, I tripped and lost sight of it, but I am not going to let it affect what I set out to do. It's back to basics in 2010.

Enough of nostalgia and I-don't-know-what-you-are-saying riddles. To end off 2009 (yes, I know it is already over) and to welcome 2010, I've decided to finish up my 2009 backlogs and welcome 2010 with open arms.

I envisoned baking up a storm last Christmas but once again, fell short of what I plan to do. What's new anyway. I still managed baking, but it was a mini baking class for a church mate, JiaJia, who planned to bake on her own to be given away as Christmas gifts. Why would I not jump at igniting a spark of baking passion in someone else? I did, and I almost regretted. It was a busy weekend and weekends were all I had to rest and recuperate for the next working week. Since it was a promise, I had no choice but to force myself and I was glad, she made it. Almost all by herself. I was a bad teacher as I was busy making macarons for a friend's macaron order while I left her all by herself, struggling with the hundreds of cookies =X

That's my church mate JiaJia

I am always amazed at how things turn out with unexpected rewards and I guess these are little things in life that provides you with the zeal to move on and venture into more exciting fields. Right, I was kinda exaggerating. All I wanted to said was that, I finally got the chance to use the Disney cookie cutters that I bought during my Taiwan/HK trip. HA~

                                                                        3D Mickey

3D Winnie

Jiajia spent a total of 2 days, baking and decorating those cookies. I wanna take this chance to apologise for not being able to give my utomost guidance during her cookie baking/decorating session and am really thankful for her independence during which I kinda 'neglected' her. I hope she had fun and will definitely continue baking!

Enough of Christmas, the year end is always jammed pack with activities, not only because New Year follows closely after Christmas, but also because my Ah Ma's (Grandma) birthday follows closely. The dates are different every year as she celebrates her birthday according to the Lunar Calendar. This year, we had it right smack in the middle, after Christmas and just before the New Year.

I probably forgot to mention earlier that, I received an order for EIGHT durian cakes from my aunt of which she intended to give away as gifts to her clients. I was up to my neck baking those cakes but thank God for D who help me ALOT. Well, I shan't dwell into details, but yea you get the point. I had made 6 in total and *ah hem* was tasked by my mum to make one for my Ah Ma's 85th Birthday.

I think it's no mean feat to be able to live so long, especially since she is diabetic and I've always admired her for being able to raise 10 kids in those tough times. My mum didn't come from a well-to-do family, but they survived. My mum is often being applauded for giving birth to 4 kids and I just can't imagine how my Ah Ma managed 10. Anyway, I agreed, almost immediately when my mum requested and once again regretted. Yes, yes, poor time management. I asked for it. So, I took urgent leave to make it up. Right, which do-do in the right state of mind would do that yea? Well, I did. Yes, I'm that do-do.

But it was well worthed. Once again, I had to engage the help of my holidaying sister and her boyfriend to do up the final touches of the cake. And I must say, it was during this big celebration that I felt my worth as a "baker" coming back and yes! I'm all geared for more kitchen experiments in 2010! Woo Hoo!

You can never go wrong with a Durian cake, in Singapore, at least.

Making the cake was a breeze but it was the decoration that was a headache. fresh cream decorations are the most challenging, while at least to me, in Sunny Singapore. Even though it has been raining cats and dogs these days, it just doesnt seem to help. Whipping cream over a big bowl of ice certainly helps (i've tried) but it wasn't justified for using so much ice just for cream. -_-'''

So let me just say, that I got the cake all covered and as smooth and perfect as I could managed. But, the cream quit on me when I was just about to pipe it. I finished every last bit of cream I had and it seriously pissed me off. Thank God for the packet of sponge fingers lying around and sisters lying around (oops I meant sisters who were free and watching tv) to help. I got the sides settled. So now what? I decided to sprinkle a pathetic amount of cocoa powder (just like how Jane's Cake Station does it) and use my gold and silver dragees to form the phrase "Happy Birthday Ah Ma". Halfway through, we had to abandon the idea. The wet cream seems to be seeping the colours out of thsoe sugar balls and the words would probably become all blurry and gooey the next day.

okok, to cut the long story short, we decided on sprinkling crushes oreos and somehow designing it. I was tired, moody and pissed with the cream (yes, I was pissed it with the whole night) So I left the design to my sister and her artistically talented boyfriend. And so, that explains the durian cake which totally doesnt look like one. I remember reading that oreos goes well with durian from HHB and so, readily agreed on that idea. After all, what else could I do?

I went to the dinner place right after work and was greeted with nothing but praises regarding the cake. Like I said, how wrong can we go with Durian in Singapore? But I'd really like to give credit to my sister and boyfriend for all that help they put into the decoration, for without it, the cake would probably be lifeless. A cake can look good naked, but not all cakes suit that style. Some cakes look better complicated, but some simple cakes are enough to bring a smile. Pardon my lousy attempt to rhyme. But yea, nothing beats a merry joyous birthday celebration.

I managed to get a picture of the insides because we were simple too full from the 9 course dinner and we "da-bao-ed" the cake. If you're wondering, this picture isnt taken by me. Well actually, the cakes pictures weren't taken by me, but by my sister and her boyfriend. And I must say, he's got a knack for taking photos. And why didn't I realise such a sexy background that existed in my house? *doinks*

Two thick layers of pure, creamy durian sandwiched between 3 layers of light vanilla chiffon. Simple, unpretentious and ultimately goodddd

I'll leave you with another alluring picture of this durian cake and the recipe for this winner durian cream recipe before I retire to bed. I am not at liberty to disclose the recipe for the vanilla chiffon, but any good sponge would suffice.

Rich, Creamy Durian Filling (Good for cakes or puffs alike)
recipe enough for an 8" round cake

1 kg Durian Puree
10-15 tsp Heavy Cream

Blend durian puree and heavy cream together until well combine.
Spread even layers for durian cake or simply pipe filling for durian puffs.

The more cream added, the less thick the filling will be. For a lighter taste, whip 200-300ml of heavy cream and fold into the durian puree.            



Passionate About Baking said...

Happy New Year Youfei!
I hope your love for baking will continue through the new year and many more years to come!
Btw, your durian cake looks really good and nice! I'm sure your grandma is very touched and happy with your cake!

Anonymous said...

Hi youfei!

I m a silent reader of your blog but today I saw a picture of your 85 years old Ah Ma, I was quite surprise. She don't look 85 at all, more like 60++. Wow!! How did she manage to keep her youthful looks? Must be from eating your cakes?? :)

youfei said...

Hi Jane!

Thanks for the confidence in my for my love for baking haha! I sure do hope I'd continue to bake as I long as I could. =p HAPPY NEW YEAR to you as well.

Thanks for the compliments on the cake! Durian cakes are easy to make and always a hit! Well, provided you've got good quality durians =p

Hi Anonymous,

It's nice to hear from you! I hope you keep reading my blog the coming year hahaha!

Hmm I think she looks younger probably due to her black her? She gets her hair coloured when she goes for a hair cut. =p And actually she keeps a pretty strict diet due to her being a diabetic so I guess that's why she looks "healthier" She usually takes only brown rice with boiled veg/ fish =) I'd love for her to try ALL my cakes hehe =p

Dodol & Mochi said...

Dear Youfei,

I meant to come by and speak out ... But, too busy and tired ... and lazy, LOL!

Firstly, HAPPY BELATED B'DAY to Ah-Ma from me arr ... Very gorgeous at her age!

At first glance, I really thought it was a durian charlotte! (Man, the French are so gonna be pissed by this ... DURIAN!!) Anyhow, I really love the idea of sticking the sides with ladyfingers! Maybe you can even ask your sis & her boyfriend joining you since you guys share similar passion and creativity ... They have a knack for pastry making!!! =D

You've done a really good job!! I must say you keep doing better and better! I'm very impressed!! Your writing, too! You're gonna be a success, trust me!


youfei said...

Dear Pei-Lin,

You're really really sweet! I thank you for your well-wishes on behalf of ah ma =DD

Thanks so much for the encouragement! hahaha hmm a durian charlottle! Why didnt I think of that?! haha now that you mentioned, yea, guess the french would think we're degrading the prestige of french pastry! hahahaha..Well, sticking sponge fingers are always a crowd pleaser and guess what? It covers up the sides and and well so you dun even have to bother about creaming the cake properly at all! =p I think pocky sticks works great too, just that I think sponge fingers gives a sense of sophistication.bahhh..

As for my writing, I dare not dream nor even think much about it. As it stands, I'm just going to speak my mind. =p Nonetheless, thanks for holding such high expectations of me! you're doing really well on your blog too!! =D Very happy and very impressed, with your photography as well. =)) It's easier to catch a good picture with nice background and props, but what impressed me about your photos are the simple homely background and daily "utensils" and yet, still present such great captivating pictures! nice work!!

you fei

Ian's mummy said...

Jiajia made hundreds of cookies??? hmm... how come I didn't get any? Ha ha!

Your birthday cake for your grandma very daring leh.... if my grandma still around, it'll usually be those traditional design with those shou tao and lots of cream! Good that your sis and her always busy bf is there to help! :-)

Don't tired yourself over baking.... accept orders only when you can... Take care!

youfei said...

Hmmmm..well i guess you gotta ask her then =p I think she gave her school friends as well..that's why..=p

Hmm actually, i dun think ive seena shou tao decorated cake leh..haha Yea was lucky that they were around..but then again, it was school hols!

Well, I've kinda stopped taking orders unless it's from relatives la..hahah =pp

Food For Tots said...

Wow! Your grandma looks so YOUNG at 85! So amazing! She is so lucky to have a talented grand daughter who can bake so well. You're making me drooling....looking at your durian cake. How I wish I can grab it from my PC. *Sigh*

youfei said...

Hi Food For Tots,

Many many thanks for your compliemnts for my Ah Ma! I thank you on behalf of her =)

Well, you flatter me..I'm just keen on trying out many kitchen experiments and still have a long way to go to mastering the art =p

I'd be glad to bake some for you one day! =p But it's a really easy durian filling to make and i'm sure with all your experience, you'd fare much better than me! =p

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