Sunday, 28 May 2017

‘Animal Family’ Pull apart Chiffon Cupcakes (Pull apart 'buns')


Happy 11th year wedding anniversary!! These are my first Pull apart Chiffon Cupcakes in a ring, inspired by those cute pull apart buns. I made this as a surprise for hubby as a special memory of our 11th year together (now with 3 more little ones). This ‘Animal family’ represents our small sweet family of 5 and our favorite animals/characters! Can you tell who is who?

(Obvious hints: Those who knew me in jc know that my favourite character is in pink ;). My son is my hubby’s mini ‘me’. My girls look alike and love the animal that ‘meows’).

I used my basic chiffon recipe below, and baked it in 2 bigger glass bowls (11.5 diameter) and 3 smaller bowls (8 cm diameter). Do look for thicker bake proof bowls, Pyrex or Iwaki brand. I divided by batter roughly into 3 parts for the different animals/colours.

Egg yolk batter
3 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
39g vegetable/corn oil
42g water
5g vanilla extract
60g Prima cake flour, sifted

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

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter:

a. Whisk egg yolk with sugar using hand whisk until light and well-mixed.

b. Add in oil first, then water and vanilla extract and mix well.

c. Whisk in sifted cake flour and whisk well, ensuring that no lumps are formed.

3. Divide the batter into 3 parts.
To the first portion, leave plain. To the second portion, add approximately 1/5 of a teaspoon of strawberry paste/emulco. To the last portion, add approximately 1 teaspoon pumpkin powder. *You may substitute with your preferred food coloring/flavour.

4. Prepare meringue:

a. In a grease-free, dry bowl, using electric mixer, 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 - peaks slope downwards forming a hook.

c. Add in rest of the castor sugar for meringue and whisk till firm peaks form - peaks point up but slightly hooked at the tip.

5. Divide the meringue into 3.

6. Fold in meringue gently into each colored egg yolk batter 1/3 at a time. *Fold in unidirectional, gentle strokes and do not overfold.

7. Fill the bowls with the batter till 3/4 full.

8. Bake at 160°C for 10 min then at 140°C for 20-25 min, or until skewer inserted into center of cakes come out clean.

9. Pour excess pink batter into 15-cm baking pan lined with baking paper. Pour excess plain and orange batter into cake pops molds. These are for the ears. Bake at 160°C for 15 min.

10. Allow to cool completely on wire rack, before unmolding by hand.


I used charcoal chiffon sheet cakes (from another bake) to cut out facial features using bento cutters. You can also pipe on using melted chocolate. I cut out ears from the sheet cakes/cake pops and used melted marshmallows to stick everything together. You can also use melted white chocolate to stick them together. 


Hope you like my simple, sweet ‘family of 5’ pull apart buns! Thank God for the blessings of family!


With lots of love,
Susanne


More loving, chiffon creations here =)

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Friday, 26 May 2017

Happy Cat Earl Grey Lavender Salted Caramel Macaron Carousel (updated recipe)

Someone saw my first Happy Cat carousel and was so charmed by it that she wanted one too! But this version has different type of cats and another cute little critter thrown in ;).


I used the non-reduced sugar macaron shell recipe but used icing sugar that already has cornflour added in. 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. 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 pictures of the process...

Piping cats!

Piping mice!

In an effort to try and make the carousel macarons less sweet, I decided to try reducing the white chocolate content in the filling. Previously I used a ratio of 1:4 for vegetable shortening:white chocolate. Now I try to use a slightly smaller percentage of white chocolate, 1:3.5. Here's the updated recipe for non-refrigerated filling that can remain stable in hot climate like in Singapore.

Recipe for Earl grey lavender white chocolate filing
Ingredients:
140g white chocolate
40g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
4 tsp Earl Grey tea powder
1 tsp dried lavender flower powder*
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

* Toast about 2 tsp of dried lavender flowers at 100℃ for 10min in the oven. Use mortar and pestle to grind until powder form. Sift the ground lavender.

Steps:
1. Place white chocolate and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 20 seconds and mix well with spatula. Repeat until mixture is melted and smooth.

2. Add salt and mix well. Gradually add tea powders and vanilla and mix well.

3. Leave to stand for a while until toothpaste-like consistency. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto shells.

I piped the middle of the shells with salted caramel.

Filling the large shell!

Do not fill the shells on paper straws with salted caramel or the macaron will slide down the pole.

Assembled cats and mice!

I decided to add on extra royal icing fish and cheese deco :)

Pipe these on baking sheet, dry thoroughly before carefully peeling them off.

I stuck the fish and cheese deco onto the carousel base with some royal icing.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of the loose pieces!

Too cute!


With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

'Peanut butter and Jam' Iced Gems Chiffon Cakes (Recipe Video)


Recipe video of Iced Gems Chiffon Cakes (from Deco Chiffon Cakes book) is finally completed, thanks to Food and Travel for helping to film and compile (I'm very bad at these)!

Video link here:


It will also be on June issue of Food and Travel magazine.


Blessed Wednesday!

With lots of love,
Susanne

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Monday, 22 May 2017

'Sheep on Bench' Mango Sponge and Pudding Cake

Someone requested for mango cake with cute sheep deco. I came up with mango sponge and pudding cake with whipped mango ganache filled sheep macarons!


Bear with me as this is going to be a long blog post because there are a couple of firsts for me for this bake. It's my first attempt at making a bench out of homemade modelling chocolate and my first attempt for this flavour of sponge and pudding cake.

I had lots of fun making the bench and it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge. There's room for improvement since it's my first attempt but I have learnt a lot from this experience. For one, I should include another leg in the middle of the bench even if aesthetically it may not be as nice as I didn't realise how fast the structure can soften in hot Singapore! I will also reduce the amount of corn syrup by a little the next time I need to make a chocolate structure that needs some strength and rigidity.

Recipe for dark modelling chocolate bench
Ingredients:
100g Dark Chocolate couverture
35g Light corn syrup

Steps:
1. Melt dark chocolate in microwave safe bowl by heating at medium power for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until chocolate is fully melted and there are no lumps.

2. Add corn syrup and stir until well mixed. The mixture will harden immediately.

3. Pour onto clingwrap and wrap it. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until firm.



4. Knead it until it becomes pliable. You may find that wearing gloves or kneading the chocolate through clingwrap helpful as the chocolate may melt and stick to your fingers.

5. Pull out a small handful of chocolate and roll it between two pieces of baking sheet to thickness of 6mm for the legs and 4mm for the bench planks. Use an oiled bench scraper to cut out portions of the chocolate. Stick the pieces together using a bit of semi-melted modelling chocolate. Simply pinch a bit of the chocolate and rub between your finger tips to melt it.

Useful tips:
- Place the rolled chocolate on top of reusable freezer packs to firm up the chocolate a little so that it is more rigid but not so hard that you have difficulty cutting through.
- Place the cutout pieces on smaller pieces of baking sheet to facilitate moving them around.
- Chill the cutouts until rigid before assembly.
- You may use straw or cookie cutter to make patterns on the bench back.



I needed to prop up the middle and refrigerate until rigid before removing the baking paper support. On hindsight, I should have added a leg there.


6. Store finished product in fridge until ready for assembly.

So cute!

I have made macaron sheep in rainbow scarf before sometime last year. You may refer to this post for the macaron shells. I decided to make the scarves appear more vibrant this time. The macarons are filled with whipped mango ganache. Recipe can be found here.

Sheep in vibrant scarves!


Recipe for mango chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes two 7" round cakes):
3 egg yolks
5g caster sugar
42g vegetable/canola oil
52g mango puree
60g cake flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp mango flavouring (optional)

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g caster sugar

Steps:
1. Line the base of the pans with baking sheet. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Preheat to 150℃.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add puree, vanilla and mango flavouring and mix well. Gradually sift in flour and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Prepare meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding sugar once the egg whites are foamy.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions with a spatula. Pour the batter into the two prepares pans. Tap the pans gently on the table to release trapped air bubbles.

5. Bake at 150℃ for 10 min, followed by 130℃ for another 25-30min or until toothpick comes out clean.

6. Let the cakes cool in the tray for 5 min before removing.

Freshly baked cakes!


Recipe for mango pudding
Ingredients:
A)
113g evaporated milk
247g water
188g mango puree
1/4 tsp mango flavouring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
40g sugar
1/16 tsp salt
2 tsp agar powder

B)
36g custard powder
210g water

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients in B) in a jug and mix well. Set aside.

2. Place all ingredients in A) in a saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring.

3. Stir contents for B) again and slowly pour into A) while stirring the contents in the saucepan. Keep stirring and bring to a boil again. Boil for a couple of minutes before removing from heat.

4. Sieve the custard before assembling.



Assembly
1. Scoop some pudding to line tbe base of the spring form pan. Note that the sponge cakes should be about 1-1.5" less in diameter than the spring form pan. Cut the sponge cake if necessary to fit the pan.

2. Place a sponge cake over the pudding. Pour more pudding to cover the cake.

3. Add the second sponge and pour more pudding over, making sure that the sides of the cake are covered.


4. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm before unmoulding onto a cakeboard.

I decorated the cake with a park scene using chiffon cake. The centerpiece is of course the chocolate bench with the macaron sheep on it. Here's a picture of the cake without the occupants on the seat ;)


Thank God the cake was very well received!

With love,
Phay Shing


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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Penguin Igloo Checkerboard Chiffon Cake


This is my humble attempt at a Checkerboard Chiffon Cake for my nephew (whose class just visited bird park). As a cute Penguin on Igloo was requested, the base design is an Igloo-inspired design, made by patterning Checkerboard ‘Ice cubes’ using Chiffon Cake. This is one difficult cake which I don’t think I will attempt again so soon =p. Briefly, the checkerboard design was made by using 8 homemade dividers in the chiffon pan (picture tutorial in Deco Chiffon Cakes, similar to 6-flavour Earth Tones cake), and filling in layers like my Rainbow Chiffon Cake (in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes, then removing the dividers. Quite a stressful project as you can tell =p. The cake is also not my tallest chiffon cake due to its complexity, but thankfully the texture was not compromised.


The Penguin was made by joining two oval chiffon bowl cakes together. The snowflakes were cut from chiffon cake sheet cakes using snowflakes plunger, and glued on with melted marshmallows. Sorry for the short post! As my kids are not well at the moment. Everyone please take care!

With lots of love,
Susanne


As mentioned above, on the 6-flavour Earth Tones cake on Deco Chiffon Cakes cover.

And Rainbow chiffon on Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes cover.



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Monday, 15 May 2017

Dancing Princess Chocolate Macaron Carousel

My friend requested for a princess themed macaron carousel for her sister's birthday and gave me free reign on the design. Here's what I came up with :)

 In my opinion, it is the prettiest and daintiest macaron carousel I have made! Some may beg to differ and say that my unicorn carousels are probably prettier. I love the happy look on the faces of the princesses who are lost in ecstacy of their dance.

Designing such a complicated subject usually requires me to search for references. I seldom copy wholesale the designs I find from the internet and make improvisations as such...


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. 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 pictures of the process...

Piping the shells! More tedious than I thought!

Freshly baked shells!

I decorated the shells with royal icing and fine tipped edible black marker. I added a dash of peach coloured lustre dust for the rosy cheeks. The royal icing crowns were piped onto baking sheet, thoroughly dried before sticking them onto the macaron shells with some royal icing.

I must qualify that the slender limbs of the princesses were very fragile and I broke one of them by accident. So do be extremely careful when handling macaron shells with thin bits sticking out. Make extra shells just in case you break some.

So dainty!

I filled the centers of the macaron shells with dark chocolate as requested but line the outer ring with white chocolate ganache as dark brown will spoil the dainty girly effect of the carousel. I filled the princess shells with white chocolate. The white and dark chocolate fillings have shortening, salt, vanilla bean paste and coffee liqueur added. Choose your favourite eating chocolate or couverture for this.


Recipe for dark and white chocolate fillings
Ingredients:
Dark Chocolate
90g dark chocolate, chopped
20g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur

White chocolate
45g white chocolate, chopped
10g vegetable shortening
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur

Steps:
1. Place chocolate and shortening in microwave safe bowl. Melt on medium power for 20 seconds for dark chocolate and 10 seconds for white chocolate. Stir well. Repeat until mixture is totally smooth.

2. Add salt, vanilla and coffee liqueur one at a time and mix well with a spatula.

3. Wait for mixture to thicken to toothpaste-like consistency if it is too runny. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto shells.

I couldn't help smiling and admiring the princesses on the carousel!


Thank God the carousel was very well received in terms of looks and taste!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

'Safari' Pink Leopard Prints Chiffon Cake


Happy Mother’s Day!!

This is my humble attempt at a Leopard Prints Chiffon Cake! It's vanilla chiffon with chocolate spots. The giraffe and lion are made from orange-chocolate chiffon cake, similar to my previous Giraffe Print safari chiffon cake.


I made the Leopard prints pink and sweet-looking for ladies, but feel free to change it to the normal brown/dark brown leopard prints!

Leopard Print Chiffon Cake (9-inch tube pan)
2 whole eggs (60g eggs)
53g castor sugar
106g vegetable/corn oil
110g water
12g vanilla extract
160g Prima cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted (alkalized)
Pink gel or natural food coloring
(you can also replace pink with light brown colour using less cocoa powder)

11 egg whites
120g castor sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a tray of water at the bottom of the oven (I used the lowest rack to bake the cake). *You may omit steam baking; I like to use it to control my oven temperature rise.

2. Beat eggs with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.

3. Next add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found.

4. Spoon out 10 tsp and add ½ tsp cocoa powder, mix well. Spoon out 15 tsp and add a dip of pink food colouring, mix well.

5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks, mixing in caster sugar gradually in a few additions.

6. Divide out the meringue: 20 tbsp for cocoa batter, 30 tbsp for pink batter, leaving the rest for plain batter. Gently but quickly fold in the meringue into the respective egg yolk batter. *You need to work very fast for the meringue not to deflate.

7. Transfer the pink and cocoa batter into piping bags. Pipe pink ‘10-cent coin’ blobs at the base of the pan. Pipe small cocoa dots or crescents beside each pink blob. Then spoon the plain batter gently into the spaces between the pink-cocoa blobs. Cover the blobs gently with more plain batter. When the blobs are fully covered, repeat the above process 3x until batter is 2-cm from the brim. *You need to work quickly as chiffon batter deflates very much faster in the pink/cocoa piping bags.

8. Bake the chiffon cake for 15 min at 160°C and then at 150°C for 10 mins and 140°C for 30-31 min, or until skewer comes out clean. *This is just a guide as each oven’s internal heat is different, do optimize for your own oven.

9. Invert the chiffon cake once removed from oven.

10. Unmould the chiffon cake by hand after cake is completely cool (watch Video tutorial 'Hand Unmoulding Chiffon Cakes for a Clean Finishing'). Gently pull the cake from the sides of the tin at each angle and push the removable base up to unmould the sides. To unmould the cake from the base, gently lift up the cake from the base using hands, repeating this at each angle before turning the base over.


Orange-Chocolate Giraffe and Lion Chiffon Cake pops

The giraffe’s head was from a cake pop mold, filled with half orange and half cocoa batter. The body and limbs were from a patterned swissroll (orange with cocoa spots). The lion was from a 'lion' chocolate mold. Other details were cut from sheet cakes, and assembled using melted marshmallows.



This is such a special day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my mom for being so wonderful. Wishing all mummies a very happy blessed Mother’s day!!


With lots of love,
Susanne


More fun chiffon creations here =)

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

'uStiletto Massage Station' Earl Grey Lavender Macaron Carousel

I feel honoured to be able to bake for an event for Osim. This post features one of my two baked items for the event --- a carousel to promote their uStiletto foot massager!




The other bake for Osim was high heel shoe cupcakes and you may see it in this post.

When I was given the task of designing a carousel to promote the three different designs of leg massager, I was stumped. I thought a carousel with just the leg massagers will look weird. And so, thank God that I had the inspiration to create a little massage station with ladies using the leg massagers under the umbrella of the carousel :).

That also means that the design of the carousel would be more complicated. The subjects woule be full body versions of ladies sitting on chairs using the massagers, and the carousel structure has to be taller. It took me longer than usual to come up with the templates for the subjects...

Template

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. 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 baked shells...

Piping the shells

Freshly baked shells

Checkout the awesome feet!

Decorating the shells was a little unnerving because I had to ensure that the leg massagers look like the actual product! Thank God they are recognisable. *Phew*! I had to pipe/draw by freehand using royal icing or edible marker.

Decorated shells!

I filled the shells with a ring of lavender white chocolate on the outside and filled the middle with Earl Grey white chocolate. You may refer to this post for the recipe for the filling.

I brushed the bottom of the shells with Earl Grey Lavender sugar syrup to soften the shells a little. I didn't measure the amounts of the ingredients but just created a syrup that is flavoured with both teas. This technique of brushing syrup onto shells is not new as some professionals use this technique to speed up maturation process of the shells.

Brushing syrup onto the shell.

Piped filling on the shell

Assembled carousel structure. I think it looks beautiful on its own :)

Filling shells of the carousel subjects

Ladies on poles!

I cut the paper straws to the appropriate length before attaching the ladies onto the carousel structure with royal icing.

As usual I get the comment that the carousel is too pretty to eat :p. Here's a peek of the carousel at the event. Tucked away in top left corner of the picture.



With love,
Phay Shing


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