Monday, 16 January 2017

Everest and Skye Brown Sugar Cookies

This is the second installment of the Paw Patrol themed party bake. Everest and Skye Brown sugar cookies!

Have a peek at the first instalment over here, with macaron versions of Ryder, Marshall, Rubble and Chase.

Just like the macarons, this brown sugar cookie bake is not for the impatient and faint-hearted. It took me a day to make the templates, a day to make the dough, a day to bake the cookies, a day to outline with edible marker, two and a half days of intensive icing and half an hour to pack them individually. Some of the days involve less intensive work of an hour or so while others involve non-stop hard work from morning till evening.

You may find the brown sugar cookie and royal icing recipe from this post and how to make and use your own templates from this post. You may ask why go through so much insane hard work for something that can be eaten in a few bites? These cookies have gotten rave reviews from every single recipient that I baked for in terms of taste as well as looks since I started baking them for sale a few years ago. It's my passion to deliver bakes that taste and look awesome. And this hasn't changed over the years :).

Just to share some photos of the process...

Cutting out the dough using homemade template as a guide

Tracing outlines using edible marker

Day 1 of icing! I piped a thick layer of icing where the snout is supposed to be to create a slightly 3D pop-up effect.

Day 2 of icing! Almost there! 

Day 3 of decorating! Finally done! This last day mainly involves adding subtle shadows using back gel dissolved in vodka and brushed on with a small brush.

There's always a great sense of satisfaction and relief when I am finally done :p.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mandarin Orange “吉” Chiffon Cake (New)

I just wanted to share another nice way we can use the round center hole of the chiffon cake to form the “吉” word! During Chinese new year, we like to wish one another "大吉大利" (translated to "good fortune/luck") so this may be a nice gift or way to wish your family and friends.

Some of you may find this cake a little familiar. My first version of the Mandarin Orange “吉” Chiffon Cake was 3 years back and it was one of the first patterned chiffon cakes back then. The original version used fresh mandarin oranges for decor, but when this cake was selected for the festive section of "Deco Chiffon Cakes" recently, we thought to use chiffon mini tangerines or "kumquat" for a full chiffon version.

The mandarin orange chiffon recipe with picture tutorial of how to pipe the “吉” is now on Page 121-123 of my "Deco Chiffon Cakes".

I'll actually like to focus on the common problems encountered in piping the “吉” word in this post:

1) If the piping batter is too runny
You can either add some cake flour (start with pinches) or add some meringue (1-2 tbsp) until you get a batter that doesn't run which you can pipe easily with.

2) If you have problems with the “吉” pattern getting stuck onto the pan
Make sure your piping batter is thick, at least 5-8mm thick so that it sticks on to your cake instead of the pan.
Another reason why it gets stuck to the pan could be that you overbaked the pattern, so that it hardens and flakes off. Usually we bake for 1.5-2 min at 160°C but some ovens may be hotter.

3) If you have problems with “吉” 'holey' pattern
Make sure you do not underbake the pattern as well, if not it will break down while you are working with the main cake batter and you get a holey batter. Make sure that the pattern is dry at the surface after you bake it for 1.5-2 min.

Just in case you want to try a plain mandarin orange chiffon cake recipe, the recipe is actually same as that of that of orange chiffon cake but using mandarin oranges, so you can substitute either one into the recipe.

For the mini tangerines  or "kumquat", I baked the mandarin orange chiffon cake with few drops of orange emulco in silicone cake pop molds. The calynx and leaves are from mini 'star' and 'leaf' cut-outs from green pandan sheet chiffon cakes. I use melted marshmallows to glue them together.

Hope the above tips help! Looking forward to CNY! "大吉大利" to everyone!

With lots of love,

FYI many cookbooks including Deco Chiffon Cakes are on CNY promo at Popular bookstores now!

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Reduced-Sugar Chicken Macarons (French Method!)

I have been using the reduced-sugar recipe for almost all my macaron bakes using the Italian method for some time. The bakes have always been well received, including the recipients of my cousin's macarons. She tried using the reduced sugar shell recipe too! Someone once asked if the same sugar reduction technique -- replacing some icing sugar with a mix of rice flour and cornflour will work for French method too? Since I have a little unexpected spare capacity due to cancellation of request, I am able to spare a bit of time to experiment if it works....

Apparently it does :). Presenting my hen and baby rooster macarons using a reduced sugar recipe :). In time to welcome the year of the rooster!

I have written detailed write-ups of the basic French method using a ratio of ingredients that gives it a higher chance of success here and here so I will not elaborate on the techniques involved in this post. This higher chance of success comes about mainly due to the higher sugar content in both the meringue and powdered ingredients. I decided to try replacing about 12% of the icing sugar with a mix of rice flour and cornflour. I explained in my Italian method reduced-sugar recipe post that although rice flour can substitute icing sugar, it extends the drying time by a lot. Therefore some cornflour has to be added to help the shells dry faster. However, too much cornflour makes the texture more chewy and surface of the shell less smooth.

I have decided to try making more than one coloured batter using a single batch of meringue too. If you would like to work in small batches, French method is good for that although the risk of overfolding is higher and colour adjustment is more tricky.

Recipe for hen and baby rooster shells
Ingredients (makes about 10-12 macarons):
40g egg whites (aged for a few days, about one large egg)
36g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
43g superfine almond powder
50g icing sugar
6g rice flour
1g cornflour
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
Powder/gel food colouring (I use a combination of both, including natural sources whenever I can)

1. Prepare baking tray with template and baking sheet. Weigh the bowls for beating egg whites and for the dry sifted ingredients. This is to help you divide the meringue and sifted dry ingredients later on.

2. Sift the almond powder, icing sugar, rice flour, cornflour and salt together. Divide into two equal portions. Add coloured yellow and white powder to the respective portions of using powdered colouring. I used about 1/4 tsp of white powder and 1/4 tsp of Queen's natural yellow powder food colouring.

3. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, gradually adding caster sugar. Divide meringue into two equal portions. Add a drop or two of gel food colouring into the meringue if you wish.

4. Scatter the powder ingredients into the meringue and fold. Repeat in 3-4 additions. When the dry ingredients are more or less incorporated, scoop out about 1tsp of yellow batter and add red gel to colour it red. Scoop out 1 tsp of yellow batter and add 1/16 tsp charcoal powder to colour it grey/black. It is ok to overfold this small portion. Continue folding the main white and yellow batter until consistency is slow-moving lava-like. Please refer to my video tutorial to see how this consistency should be like.

5. Transfer yellow and white batter into piping bags fitted with Wilton #7 or 8 round tip. Transfer black and red batter into piping bag with a small 2mm hole cut at the end.

6. Stick the baking sheet down to baking tray with a bit of batter. Pipe away! Please refer to this post for video tutorials on how to pipe complex shaped macarons.

7. Dry the shells in aircon room or under the fan. If you want to, you may use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Preheat oven to 160°C with rack at lowest position.

8. Reduce temperature to 140°C when tray is in the oven. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 120°C and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake for another 10 minutes at 110°C or until the feet doea not appear wet. Use an oven thermometer at all times!

9. Cool the macarons completely before peeling the baking sheet away from the shells.

Freshly baked shells!

Checkout the awesome feet!

I taste-tested the shells. Texture is pretty much the same as the non-reduced sugar version! It's a pity I forgot to take a photo :p.

Update (13/1/17): I did another batch of chicken macarons so I took a photo of the cross-section. Take a peek at the texture!

Decorate with royal icing and edible marker.

I filled the macarons with lemon white chocolate ganache and lemon curd. Recipe can be found here.

These are for a friend and her hubby for their wedding anniversary. Both of them were born in the year of the rooster so it's a really fitting gift for them :).

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

‘Baby Rooster’ Salted Egg Yolk Chiffon Cupcakes

I’ve been really busy since school reopened and looking forward to CNY already! Since the Year of the Rooster is coming, there has been lots of request for rooster bakes! Last week I posted a baby rooster chiffon cake, this week I made some 3D baby rooster cupcakes and 3D chiffon rooster for a friend. These are salted egg yolk in flavour, which is currently my favourite flavour, as I love things that are sweet and savoury! You ought to try salted egg yolk chiffon cake if you haven’t!

Today’s recipe is a easy salted egg yolk chiffon cake recipe that doesn’t involve boiling salted egg yolk with milk. I also found it much easier to sift the mashed egg yolk without flour so it should be done separately. I used ready-boiled salted eggs from the supermarket. These are readily available and really convenient, and I love that these boiled egg yolks are really easy and quick to mash and sieve, as they are not too dry and have just the right texture to work with. 

Boiled Salted Egg Yolks I used

Previously, I have shared how thankful I am to have a new capable assistant, the Kenwood Chef Sense, which whips up large volumes of fine quality meringue quickly and efficiently. It’s a great time-saver for me. In addition to the balloon whisk for meringue, the Kenwood Chef Sense also comes with a K-beater for mixing creamy cake batter and dough hook for bread. The K-beater has a unique “K” design said to be optimized for mixing, so I was keen to try it out, as it can be tiring and time-consuming using the hand whisk to cream eggs and also eliminate cake flour lumps completely. Verdict: It is indeed great for creaming eggs and eliminating lumps effortlessly and quickly. Looks like I’ll get addicted to hands-free!

K-beater of Kenwood Chef Sense

‘Baby Rooster’ Salted Egg Yolk Chiffon Cupcakes (makes 5+ cupcakes)

2 egg yolks
13g castor sugar
27 g vegetable/corn oil
34g water/milk
40g Prima cake flour
2 boiled salted eggs (I bought ready-boiled ones from supermarket)
Pinch of salt

3 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
30g castor sugar

*If you do not wish to use salted eggs, you also can make plain or orange chick cupcakes by a small adjustment of reducing the water/milk/juice by 1g.

1. Mash the egg yolks of the boiled salted eggs and pass through sieve to obtain fine salted egg yolk crumbs. One salted egg yields around 14g of mashed and sieved salted egg yolk crumbs for me.


2. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare glass bowls for baking the chiffon cake. I used 6-cm OD bowls, but you can also use 8.5-cm or 11-cm bowls to your convenience. You can even use eggshells. 

Line a 15-cm baking tray with baking paper (this is to cut out the wings later). If you prefer it simpler and don't need wings, you can omit the baking tray and make more cupcakes =).

3. Add castor sugar for egg yolk batter to egg yolks. Whisk at maximum speed till mixture is light and well-mixed. 

4. Add in oil and mix well. Add water/milk. Whisk till well-combined.

5. Add in sifted cake flour. Whisk till batter is smooth and there are no more lumps.
Then add in mashed, sifted salted egg yolk from (1) and whisk until no lumps.

Note: The above steps (3)-(6) can also done using hand whisk.

7. Prepare meringue:

Video tutorial for whisking meringue in 3 easy steps

a. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy.

b. Add in ½ castor sugar for meringue and whisk at high speed till soft peaks form.

c. Add in rest of the castor sugar for meringue and whisk till firm peaks form, or just the point of stiff peak.

8. Gently fold in meringue into egg yolk batter 1/3 at a time. *Fold in unidirectional, gentle strokes and do not overfold.

9. Spoon the salted egg yolk batter into bowls till 80% full. Gently tap to remove bubbles.

10. Bake at 160°C for 15 min, then 140°C for 15 min, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

11. Pour the remaining batter onto the prepared baking tray and bake the sheet cake at 160°C for 15 min.

12. Allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before unmolding by hand. Gently pull the cake away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. You may find the picture tutorials of hand unmoulding from bowls and moulds in ‘Deco Chiffon Cakes’ helpful.

13. Assembly:

Crown: Use red ‘hearts’ sprinkles.
*Note: The red heart sprinkles may 'run' a little bit after one day, so it is better you put it on on the day of consumption.

Beak: Cut triangles from orange ‘hearts’ sprinkles by slicing off the 2 round tops.
*The orange wilton sprinkles doesn't seem to have the problem of 'running' =)

Eyes: Cut thin circular slices from black lace candy. You can also pipe on using melted chocolate.

Wings: Peel baking paper off sheet cake and cut ‘wings’ using small oval cutter.

‘Glue’ on facial features and wings using melted marshmallow, made by popping a few marshmallows with a sprinkle of water in the microwave.

Here's the top view before the wings were added! Very easy to make since sprinkles were used, and as cute without wings.

The mini tangerines on the right are in Deco Chiffon Cakes book (below), made from orange/mandarin orange chiffon cake, as part of the '吉' Mandarin orange chiffon cake.

Hope you will like these easy and yummy Salted egg yolk chiffon Baby Roosters!

With lots of love,

FYI Deco Chiffon Cakes and other titles having a festive discount (up to 30% discount) at Popular bookstores!

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Friday, 6 January 2017

Paw Patrol Assorted Macarons

My friend wanted to throw a Paw Patrol themed birthday party for her daughter so she requested for brown sugar cookies and macarons from me. Here's the macaron version of some of the characters!

The details and design are rather intricate so newbies will find it challenging or a great test of patience to make a set of these. For the majority of you viewing this post, I suppose it will be for your viewing pleasure only because few people are insane enough to attempt this :p

I used the reduced-sugar macaron shell recipe. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping out Marshall

Piping out Ryder

Piping out Chase

Piping out Rubble. Please excuse the way I used the tray. I was trying to squeeze as many shells into a single round of bake so I broke up the portion for Rubble

Freshly baked shells!

Decorating the shells with edible marker and royal icing...

It took me one and a half days of intensive work to decorate the shells!

I filled the shells with two flavours as requested. Lychee swiss meringue buttercream and dark chocolate ganache with lemon curd.

Remember to store the macarons in airtight container in the fridge. Let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before eating.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 2 January 2017

Hot Air Balloon Brown Sugar Cookies

Sometimes, simplicity is beautiful :).

This is actually an old post that didn't get posted earlier because I had other more pressing seasonal bakes to post first.

Here are some hot-air balloon brown sugar cookies made with Masarang Arenga forest sugar, a lower glycemic index brown sugar.

Preparing to fly away at a party!

I have used this type of sugar for another brown sugar cookie bake. The taste of the cookie made with this type of sugar has a stronger caramel flavour compared to ordinary brown sugar.

This type of sugar contains some vitamins too!

I made my own hot-air balloon template. To do so, you may refer to this post. Please refer to this post for the brown sugar cookie and royal icing recipes. Simply replace regular brown sugar with the Masarang Arenga forest sugar if you happen to have it.

Freshly baked cookies!

Partially iced brown sugar cookies

I have been asked how I get the lines so neat with the royal icing. Always use a toothpick to nudge the icing into areas that can't be reached by the piping bag/tip. Don't be shy to quickly wipe away any mistakes with a damp paper towel too ;).

Do give this cookie recipe a try and it won't disappoint you. My friend who tried it did it successfully and the recipients loved the taste of! My recipients always give rave reviews for the looks and taste too, and ask me to bake for them again!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

'Baby Rooster' Orange Chiffon Cake

Happy new year! My first post of 2017! Wishing all a bright start to a beautiful year! Since the Year of the Rooster is coming, I thought it would be apt to post a cute baby Rooster orange chiffon cake. For those who find the cute baby Rooster familiar, the cake is in Deco Chiffon Cakes. For those who want to try out recipe for the plain orange chiffon cake, which is very yummy and flavorful, it can be found below for a 15-cm (6-inch) tube pan.

Orange chiffon cake (15 cm chiffon tin)

2 egg yolks
13g sugar
26g vegetable/corn oil
32g orange juice
40g cake flour
Orange emulco (few drops, optional)
Zest from 1 orange

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

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil and orange juice.
3. Next add in sieved flour, orange zest and a few drops of orange emulco (optional) and whisk till no trace of flour is found.
4. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.
5. Fold in the meringue gently into the batter 1/3 at a time.
6. Gently tap the tin on table 3x to remove air bubbles
7. Bake the cake for 15 min at 160°C then 25+ min at 140°C.
8. Invert immediately once out of the oven to cool
9. Unmould by hand (video tutorial) after the cake is cool.

For this cute baby rooster version, the eyes were pre-piped onto the tube pan before the orange batter was added. The features were added on using chiffon sheet cakes. The detailed instructions and picture tutorial can be found in Deco Chiffon Cakes book.

Xin nian kuai le!!

With lots of love,

FYI, Deco Chiffon Cakes and other titles are now on festive promo at Popular bookstores!

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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Bear Lavender Earl Grey Macaron Carousel

Presenting my last post and last macaron carousel for the year...A beary cute macaron carousel!

A young lady wanted me to make this for her boyfriend's birthday which falls on the last day of the year. This customized carousel includes things that are special to them...bears, hearts and a duckie :). It's the first time I am including a fancy macaron as a decorative piece right at the top of the carousel.

I used the reduced-sugar macaron shell recipe. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons, as well as the template for the bears. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too. You may refer to this post for the dimensions of the shells required to make the carousel and the respective baking times. I piped a scalloped roof like the one similar to the sheep macaron carousel as I think it's really pretty and it is very helpful for positioning the paper straws during the assembly. Checkout the sheep carousel post for detailed steps of assembly.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping out the various parts...

Freshly baked shells!

I decorated the duck and bears with black edible marker. Heart sprinkles were attached onto the bears' hands with a bit of royal icing. Some peach coloured lustre dust was added to give the bears rosy cheeks.

Lavender Earl Grey flavour was requested for the filling. You may refer to this post for the filling recipe.

Lavender white chocolate filling for white bear.

Assembled bears and duck!

It's always a joy to watch the pieces come together to form a wonderful structure :).

Have a great 2017!

With love,
Phay Shing

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