Thursday, July 23, 2009

happy happy!

This post got delayed a little while. I left it as a draft, thinking of completing the post when i get home. But obviously, that didn't happen cos i fell sick that very night. Thank God I managed to recover just in time for a giant order of 210 cupcakes *sweat* I pray that everything will go on smoothly tomorrow =X

So anyway, this is my very very first blog award! haha..I must really really thank honeybeesweets for passing this award to me =)) I'm really flattered and will do my best in keeping up with the blog. Hopefully, my experience in baking will benefit someone out there =)

The Kreativ Blogger Award comes with some rules:

1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated things about myself that people might find interesting..I think I'm a pretty boring person to begin that's quite tough, but I'll pull through =p

1. I have 2 younger sisters and 1 younger brother. So that makes 4 of us in total. I guess that's pretty rare since the society is pretty much "nuclear family dominated"

2. Chocolates are my first love. Milk chocolates actually. (not the white ones..the lighter brown ones) However, I've learnt to appreciate dark chocolate every since I went on a baking frenzy =p

3. Local (Singaporean) Hawker Fare is something I can't give up. I have a LONG list of favorites and just to name a few: fried hokkien mee, satay and rojak.

4. I love watching HK dramas, not ALL though. I'm pretty selective too. =p

5. I don't quite like to shop cos I hate to walk.

6. I like to spend relaxing afternoons at a high-tea buffet or a nice cafe with good company and just talk about anything under the sun =)

7. Been a "chaffeur" in my family ever since i got my driving licence. bahh

So, the other 7 bloggers in my list goes as:

  • Simply Anne's - I love her take on food and that one should still enjoy and indulge, with control of course =D
  • Grace - She's like the chiffon master to me. Check out the number of chiffon flavours she's done!
  • Happyhomebaking - I love her earnesty in sharing recipes and the efforts she puts into answering queries =)
  • Pei Lin - Love the recipes she shares =)
  • aimummy - Her perserverance and beautiful works always leave me in awe
  • Baking cottage - Nice nice person who loves to bake too!
  • Elin - Yummy food and lovely pictures!

I hope to do even better after receiving this award and many thanks once again to honeybeesweets =D

Friday, July 10, 2009

Getting to know Bob

I've been waiting to share the biggest ever cake project of my life and here it is, finally. Completed and delivered. I'm praying hard nothing went wrong with the cake and the kids would love it.
It all started out when Ian's mummy very very very kindly referred me to a wonderful nice mother, Judy. Judy was looking for someone who takes cake orders. And like all lovely mothers out there, she wanted a very nice, memorable birthday for her son, Wen Bin. So, plucking up my courage, I took her order. It was indeed a great learning experience for me, and lucky for me, Judy was very clear with what she wanted the cake to be and all the specifics she provided helped me along with decorating the cake easily.
More imporatantly, I'm super grateful to her for trusting me with this huge order. It was fun, tiring and frustrating as well, hand moulding these figurines. And fo course, many people helped along the way. Like D, who helped along with the moulding (he moulded 95% of the red one - "muck") and of course my brother, who, by the way is in the mids of his 'O' levels prelims =X (I'm sorry mum!) He was earnest in giving his opinions and helped me along with touching up the tiny details. Thanks bro!
I'm sorry to everyone whom, if i had lost my temper along the way with preparations of this cake. As mentioned of course, it's my maiden attempt at moulding with fondant so i had to have practices and practices and MORE practices. even with that, accidents still do happen when you're into the real deal. Something I learnt about moulding. "you can mould the same thing 1001 times over and probably come out with slightly different variations of it every single time." That's how unpredictable it is. (or maybe it's just that i'm a novice and, *ah hem* not very doing very well in it)



for deco

Last but not least, I really want to thank God for giving such an opportunity and gift. Once again, I experienced how real He is. The story goes...

The fondant figurines were left to dry in an air-conditioned room overnight (I was afraid Bob couldn't stand right up =X) Things dried up a little and boy was I excited. 1st miracle: NO ants. =D

I was super tired last night and fell asleep while saying my prayers before going to bed. Really worried about the cake as well. It's my first time covered such a huge cake. It measured 12" x 9" on a 16" cake board. and Judy requested the board to be covered in fondant as well. *sweat*

Thinking back on my "experiment" attempt to see how things would work out. (i experimented on a 6" x 9" cake) and it was quite a bit of a disaster and i thought the experience would help me a little better when the real thing came. NO. it did not.

Happily, I rolled out the fondant and got worried as it didn't seem like there was enough to cover the cake AND the cake board. starting to panick. time ticked by..the collection was 1.30pm at the Searangoon MRT. by 12.45pm, I was still rolling out the fondant and figuring out should I cover the cake. =XXX No choice, gotta roll it thinner to make it bigger. yikes! would it tear and crack and give way while i "drape" it over the cake? HOW? I was suffering from a mild panick attack. I was taught at Anna's classes to roll up the fondant with the rolling pin and unroll it over the cake. Easy I thought. but no! the fondant was rolled out so BIG, the rolling pin wasn't big/long enough at all! It was thin AND heavy. I was practically screaming "help!" in my head. My brother re-assured me that things can AND would work and I gathered myself, said a small prayer and rolled it. a quick glance at the clock. 1.00pm. Ahhhh~

Somehow, we did it. BUT with a bald patch on one corner of the cake board. how?! ( i managed to mend that at the end =p) So anyway, my mum was using the car, so i had to get my own transport to the MRT. I had a good mind to get a cab to zoom to the MRT. Just friend who was going to go out with my sister soon came (who, btw, DRIVES). I begged for a ride to the MRT and he gladly obliged. Phew! they too helped in the final touches of the cake and with their help I finished the cake. YAY!

A quick check on my HP and i realised Judy's hubby who was supposed to collect the cake said he'd be 15 min late! double YAY! I had time to mend the cake, get changed and compose myself. but, NO! i couldn't find a plastic bag big enough for the cake and no way was I going to let her hubby carry the cake box in his hand.

I offered them a free delivery and hence, managed to get it delivered on time. =) I'm still waiting for her comments and photos. Hopefully everything turned out great. The weather's been humid and I'm sure the fondant is sweating =X I just hope nothing on the cake falls off or something. *cross fingers*

-the finished piece-

I'm sorry that you had to bear with me for the long-winded story and thanks for reading it. (well, that is if you DID read it) haha~ I really hope Wen Bin loves the cake. I'm pretty satisfied with it, despite the nerve-wrecking hiccups along the way.

I've managed to get her permission to share the photos taken during the birthday celebration.

update: mummy Judy was really really nice and sincere in giving her honest opinions on the cake.

"Few pics to share taken in my boy's childcare with his friends. They loved the Bob cake. Personally, i find the cake too soft but i like the taste though. Not too sweet, just nice. My hubby find it nice too compare to some other chocolate cakes we ate, either too sweet or bitter. Loved the taste of sugar moulded fondant too. Not too sweet either. As for the outlook of cake, vehicles are nice moulded. I like the muck. Scoop looked exactly the same too. But find that all the figurines looked wet though, texture abit different and some of them fall off easily but we used water to stick it back. I saw the teachers had 2nd servings, guess they liked the cake too. "

Got to admit that the figurines weren't given enough time to dry out completely, which explains the "dropping off" and "looking wet" part. =X Will do much better in future! =p

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cookies Galore!

I'll have to admit that this blog post title is a little mis-leading. There's only one kind of cookie flavour featured here. BUTTER COOKIES. Its funny how we're usually more pre-occupied with the "pro" stuff that we come to realised we don't even have a good, basic recipe.

Fortunately for the invention of the World Wide Web, I don't have to rack my brains and squint my eyes all the way through shelves and shelves of books in the library for tried and tested good recipes. I fell back on the ever reliable HHB for the recipe of yummy, easy butter cookies.

The recipe was a breeze and the recommended way of rolling and cutting it out was brilliant. i loved it. It was time for the taste test. And.. it passed with flying colours under the examination of my younger sister and her friends' taste-buds. Not to forget, my brother as well. I actually did the first batch earlier, but without any high expectations. (as i had terrible experiences with cut-out cookies previously) Hence, no pictures of the first batch.

Not to mention, what's the fun in butter cookies when you don't decorate them! Many people start of baking with the simple stuff like cookies and decorating cookies. Ashamed of myself, I've never ever decorated a cookie before! So, whipping out my meringue powder, i made some royal icing. Thanks to the great tutorial here, I managed to grope my way around decorating cookies a little better. Here's just part I. The outline. I'm praying hard that the flooding succeeds and hopefully you'd get to see the end-result soon!

*I added cocoa powder to the royal icing to get a dark shade for the outline instead of trying to get it tinted black. (it's an experiment anyway =p)

Up next! Stained glass cookies. Do a quick search and I'm sure you'd find many people having attempted stained glass cookies. They're such a beauty, but I'm afraid I spoiled them =S The sweets bubbled like crazy in the oven and now they all look bubbly and "hole-ly". I comforted myself and well, isn't that a new cool design? HA~
To save resources, in case this fails, I only experiment on 3 cookies. Yes, 3 only. All the cookies above came from the same batch of dough. I figured that the temperature was too high for the sweets to melt nice and evenly, so I'm gonna try it a a lower temperature in future. Until I succeed...
Here's an attempt to see the "transparency", stained glass effect. Sad to say, I think the bubbles are obstructing that view. sigh. Till then..
Here's the recipe used for the butter cookies, with a tiny admendment and that is, the addition of pure vanilla extract.

Vanilla butter cookies (makes ~20 cut out cookies about 3" in diameter)
100g butter, softened at room temperature
80g caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
180g cake flour
20g corn flour
1.Sift cake flour and corn flour together and set aside. Line baking tray with parchment paper, set aside.
2.With an electric mixer, add in sugar to the butter in 2 ~3 additions and cream till the mixture turns pale and fluffy.
3. Add in egg yolk and vanilla and mix well.
4. Add sifted flour mixture in 2 ~ 3 additions, stir with a spatula to form a soft dough.
5. Place dough in a plastic bag and flatten with rolling pin. Refrigerate the dough for about half an hour.
6. Remove dough from fridge. Roll out dough on slightly floured work surface and cut out with slightly floured cookie cutters. If the dough appears to be a little to hard and breaks into pieces while rolling, leave it at room temperature for a few minutes. The dough will soften up and can be rolled easily.
7. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 15 mins.
8. Let cool and store in air-tight container.

*I placed a ball of dough in those big transparent plastic bags (people used to put bao/curry puff/etc) and rolled the dough. This way, the you have a less messy work space and need not flour the work surface or rolling pin.
*I rolled the dough to about 1/4" thick.
*Do flour the cookie cutters lightly as it will help release the cut-out dough easier.
*I split the dough into smaller mounds and rolled it in several plastic bags. That way, the dough won't soften up too much/fast. You can work on each dough slowly without worrying the dough softening and having to refrigerate it again.
*gather the scraps and roll them out again until you finish using the dough.
recipe adapted from HHB
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