Friday, 30 October 2015

Safari Themed Macarons with Milo Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I have a request for safari themed macarons. Any animal and quantity at my convenience.... My kind of request when I have many other macarons to bake as well :). Thankful to have such a thoughtful requester! These were baked as and when I had the capacity while I baked for the creative macaron book. There are hippos, zebras, tigers and giraffes :)



For your convenience, I will just type out the recipe.

Ingredients:
200g almond powder/ground almond, preferably superfine
200g icing sugar
200g caster sugar
160g egg whites, divide into two equal portions
1/8 tsp white powder colouring (optional)
1 tsp carrot powder (optional)
1 tsp Queen's natural sourced yellow food colouring powder (optional)
1/3 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp charcoal powder
Yellow, blue and orange gel food colouring
75 ml water

Here's a photo of the carrot powder my hubby bought from Akari at Anchorpoint!



Steps:
1. Make the mass. Sift together icing sugar and almond powder. Add 80g of egg white and mix well to form a thick paste.
2. Divide the mass into the ratio of 2:2:2:2:1:1 for white:blue:orange:yellow:brown:grey.
3. Add sifted natural powder colouring to the respective masses and mix well. Add additional gel food colouring to get the desired shade. It is optional to use natural food colouring if you don't have but it helps to reduce the amount of artificial colouring needed. Here's how the orange mass looks like when coloured with just carrot powder...


4. Make the Italian meringue. Heat caster sugar and water in a small sauce pan without stirring until the syrup temperature reaches 115°C. In the mean time, beat 80g of egg whites in a clean metal bowl with electric mixer at medium-low speed until foamy and opaque. Do not beat past the soft peak stage. Turn the mixer speed down if necessary to keep egg whites moving. Once syrup reaches 115°C, remove from heat, turn mixer speed up to medium-high and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites. Keep beating for 10 minutes until meringue is stiff, glossy and cool.
5. Divide the meringue into the ratio for the various colours, or follow this formula that I use for meringue: mass ratio by weight, I.e. weight of meringue/weight of mass=0.55. By following this formula, you will end up with a little meringue leftover, which can be used to stick the baking paper onto the tray. Fold the meringue into the masses in two additions, with the first addition using about a third of the portion. Do watch my video demo for the macaronage process and how to test if the batter is ready. Fold until batter moves in a slow-moving lava-like manner.

6. Transfer batter into piping bags fitted with a Wilton #10 tip for most of the piping, except for fine parts where you may want to transfer about 1-2 tbs of batter into piping bags fitted with a Wilton #5 tip. You may refer to the video tutorials here for piping simple shapes and here for piping complex shapes. Remember to bang the tray a few times on the table after piping.

Zebra piped!

Hippo piped!

Tiger and giraffe piped! Ok I must admit that the number of animals is not the same for each type because I made these while baking macarons for my creative macaron book:p

7. Dry the piped shells under a fan or in an aircon room for 1-2 hours or until the shell is dry to touch.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 130°C for 17-22 minutes for white and light blue shells and 135°C for 17-22 minutes for orange and yellow shells with oven rack set at lowest or second lowest position. Bake for a few minutes more at 120°C if the shells are still stuck to the baking sheet. Let the shells cool before removing from baking sheet. They should be able to come off the sheets easily if properly baked.

Baked shells!

Decorate the shells with royal icing and edible marker.

I made a few bears as well!

Fill the macarons with Milo swiss meringue buttercream. Recipe for the buttercream can be found here.


Refrigerate the macarons in an airtight container for at least 24h before serving.

Another look at these assembled cutie pies!



All packed and ready to party!


With love,
Phay Shing


Read More »

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

'Miffy Birthday' Strawberry Yoghurt Chiffon Cake


This is a sweet Miffy cake for a sweet church friend. I am thankful and blessed for the opportunity. The Strawberry Yoghurt flavour was chosen by the hubby and it matched perfectly with the sweet Miffy theme. The recipe for Strawberry Yoghurt chiffon cake is from here but scaled down to 7-inch chiffon tin. I aliquoted out 8 tsp of batter and added in a drop of strawberry paste to get a darker line for the base. I cut a cute mini birthday smash cake and pink balloon from excess pink batter.

Strawberry Yoghurt Chiffon Cake (7-inch chiffon tin)
3 egg yolks
20 g sugar
39 g vegetable/corn oil
47 g strawberry yoghurt drink
60 g cake flour, sifted
4 ml vanilla extract
Strawberry paste

4 egg whites
43 g sugar
¼ 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 egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, yoghurt and vanilla extract.
3. Add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found. Stir in few drops of strawberry paste and pink beetroot powder.
4. Scoop out 8 tsp batter and add 1 more drop strawberry paste. Mix well.
5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till firm peaks or just reach stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions. Scoop over 18 tbsp meringue into darker pink batter.
6. Fold in the meringue gently into the respective batter 1/3 at a time.
7. Pour the light pink batter into the chiffon tin from a height till 2/3 full.
8. Scoop over the dark pink batter leaving 2 cm from the top.
9. Gently tap the tin on table 3x to remove air bubbles (but do not overdo it!).
10. Bake the chiffon cake for 15 min at 160°C and then at 140°C for 30 mins.
11. Scoop leftover dark pink batter into 2 cake pop molds and bake for 12 min at 160°C.
12. Invert the chiffon cake immediately once out of the oven to cool
13. Unmould by hand after the cake is cool. 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 (see 'Hand Unmoulding Chiffon Cakes for a Smooth Finishing' video tutorial).

The Miffy face is baked using Vanilla chiffon cake (1 egg recipe) in an egg shell (for face) and 6 cake pops (from which I cut out feet, hands and ears). The Miffy body is baked using recipe for Lemon chiffon cake (also 1 egg recipe) for her body in a paper cone (snipped at the top) and 2 cake pops (for arms).

Vanilla Chiffon Cake ( 1 egg yolk)
1 egg yolk
7g sugar
13g vegetable oil
12 ml boiled water
2 ml vanilla extract
20g cake flour

2 egg whites
10g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

*Follow the previous steps for chiffon cake.
Baking time and temperature for egg and cake pops:
Cake pops: 12 min at 160°
Egg: 20 min at 160.

Lemon Chiffon Cake (1 egg yolk)
1 egg yolk
14g sugar
13g vegetable oil
15 ml lemon juice
20g cake flour
Zest of ¼ lemon
Lemon emulco

2 egg whites
10g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Baking time and temperature for cone and cake pops:
Cake pops: 12 min at 160°
Cone: 25 min at 160.


Thankful cake was well-received and the word delicious was used! Happy birthday to Hui Min!

With lots of love,
Susanne

Read More »

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Longevity Peach Lychee Rose Chiffon Sponge & Pudding Cake

You have seen cakes with cream and "naked" chiffon cakes like what we have on our blog. Here's a "new" type of cake that I came up with for my grandma's and aunt's birthdays. My aunt whose birthday is also around the corner celebrated at the same time too! Soft lychee chiffon sponge sandwiched with refreshing lychee rose pudding, topped with canned lychees stuffed with more pudding! If you can't imagine what this cake is like, think of Pandan kaya cake but lychee and rose flavoured instead :). And without the coconut milk!


Here's a small slice of the cake cut by the waitresses at the restaurant that my extended family went to for the birthday celebration.

That's a teeny bit of liu sha 寿桃 from the restaurant that you see there on the left.

Everyone was "moaning" that they are too full after eating all the wonderful food from the restaurant but everyone finished their portion of cake because it's light, refreshing and not too sweet :). Everyone, both young and old, gave the cake a thumbs up so do give this recipe a try if you are looking for alternatives to creamed cakes but would not like plain chiffon sponge. I may look at doing other sponge & pudding cake flavours in the future as I think that this is a very good combination for birthday celebrations, especially if you have to eat cake after a sumptuous meal.

It's been a really busy period for me and the busyness continues even after the photoshoot for chiffon cakes is over as I still have to work on the macarons for photoshoot. My mum said just keep the cake for grandma simple and without the "寿” written on the cake. I made this cake along with another one with the same flavour for a friend's aunt, who is also my friend. Two cakes concurrently! Thank God I managed to finish both cakes in time despite some hiccups because of my experiment with filling macaron shells with pudding, which I will share in my post for the second cake in the near future.

This cake is made up of a few parts -- the peaches, two 9" round lychee chiffon sponge cakes, lychee rose pudding and stuffed lychees.

Please refer to this post for the recipe for peaches. I baked really mini ones in heart shaped ice cube tray like the ones for this cake, and a huge peach in the largest heart shaped silicone mould that I have (bought from Daiso). Bake the ice-cube tray peaches for 9 minutes at 150°C followed by 135°C for 5 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Bake the large peach at 150°C for 9 minutes and 130°C for another 20-25 minutes. I placed a tray of water at the base of the oven to create steam during baking. Just to share some pictures of the process.

Spray painting the huge peach

Adding on the leaves.

Recipe for lychee chiffon cake (makes two 9" round cakes)
Ingredients:
4 egg yolks
15g caster sugar
60g canola/vegetable oil
60g canned lychee puree (blend lychees with a bit of syrup from can and strain through fine meshed sieve)
1/4 tsp rose water
1/2 tsp lychee flavouring
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
90g cake flour

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60gg caster sugar

Steps:
1. Prepare baking tray of water at base of oven (optional). Preheat oven to 150°C. Line the base of both 9" pans with baking sheet.
2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Gradually add oil, followed by puree and flavourings and whisk until well combined. Gradually add in sifted flour and salt until no trace of flour is seen.
3. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, gradually adding in sugar when meringue is at soft peak stage.
4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three additions. Divide the batter equally for the two pans. Tap the pans on the table a few times.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing onto cooling rack to cool completely with a sheet of baking paper over the cake.

Freshly baked!

Recipe for lychee rose pudding
Ingredients:
(A)
150g evaporated milk
330g water
250g canned lychee puree in syrup, strained
1tsp rose water
1/2 tsp lychee flavouring
50g caster/ granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2.5 tsp agar powder
1/2 tsp liquid yellow food colouring (optional)
(B)
48g custard powder
240g canned lychee syrup
40g water

1. Combine all ingredients in (B) in a jug and stir until custard powder dissolves.
2. Place all ingredients in (A) in saucepan and boil over medium low heat while stirring continuously.
3. Once the mixture boils, stir (B) again before slowly pouring into (A). Keep stirring while boiling. Remove from heat after the mixture boils for a minute, stirring continuously.

Pudding mixture

Assembly
1. Scoop some pudding into the base of a 9" spring form pan. Make sure you keep stirring the pudding mixture in the saucepan now and then to prevent it from setting.
2. Place one sponge cake on the pudding in the pan. Carefully scoop some pudding to fill in the space around the cake.


3. Scoop more pudding to cover the layer of cake before placing the second sponge cake on top. Scoop some pudding to fill the space between the cake and the wall of the pan.
4. Refrigerate for 2h or until set.
5. Transfer some pudding into a piping bag and pipe pudding into canned lychees that have been pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until pudding sets.

Stuffed lychees

6. Carefully remove cake from springform pan and place on cakeboard. Decorate with longevity peach cakepops and canned stuffed lychees. I used toothpicks to secure the lychee to the cake.
7. Brush the longevity peaches with a bit of syrup from the canned lychees to keep them moist.

Keep the cake refrigerated until it is time to serve. The cake tastes better after storing in the fridge for a day after the flavours from the pudding and sponge have come together!

Blessed birthday to 婆婆 and 二姨!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

Read More »

Monday, 26 October 2015

'Green Monster' Pandan Chiffon Cake for Halloween


This is a cute Green Monster made from Pandan Chiffon Cake! It’s a simple, fun and alternative bake for Halloween-themed kids’ playdate from the usual pumpkin and scary stuff. It's my first cake after the month-long busy photoshoots for the creative chiffons book so I was happy to try something simple and experimental! The eyes are made from pandan and vanilla chiffon cake pops, which were immediately snatched up by the kids! =p The face is made from a 6-inch pandan chiffon cake from a removable base pan. Hope you will enjoy this fun, cute creation! Nom nom nom...

Pandan and Vanilla ‘Eye’ Chiffon pops
1 egg yolks
9 g sugar
15 ml vegetable/corn oil
16 ml coconut milk
3 ml vanilla extract
26 g cake flour, sifted
A pinch of salt
1 ml pandan paste
Charcoal powder

Meringue
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
15g sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract and pandan paste.
3. Add in sieved flour and a pinch of salt and whisk till no trace of flour found.
4. Scoop out 4 tsp batter and add pandan paste, set aside another 4 tsp (plain batter). To the rest of the batter, add ½ charcoal powder (black batter). Mix well.
5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.
6. Scoop out 8 tbsp meringue for the pandan and plain vanilla batter respectively, and gently fold into the respective batter in 2 additions.
7. To the rest of the meringue, gently fold into the charcoal batter in 2 additions.
8. Scoop the pandan and plain batter into 3 silicone cake pop molds each. Pour the charcoal batter into a baking-paper lined 6-inch tray. Gently tap the mold/tray to remove air bubbles from the batter.
9. Bake the cake pop mold at 160°C for 12 min and the tray for 14 min.
10. Leave to cool on a wire rack and unmould the cake pops by hand when cool. Similarly, peel off the baking paper for the black cake and flip onto a new sheet.
11. Set aside and keep air tight until assembly.

Pandan Chiffon Cake (6-inch tin)
2 egg yolks
13 g sugar
24 g vegetable/corn oil
30ml coconut milk
2 ml vanilla extract
4 ml pandan paste
40g cake flour, sifted
A pinch of salt

Meringue
3 egg whites
30 g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Method:
1. Preheat oven at 160°C. Prepare a tray of water under the lowest rack. *I used steam baking and a lower baking temperature from the start to control the temperature rise to be more gradual for baking in a removable base without centre tube.
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale yellow before stirring in oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract and pandan paste.
4. Add in sieved flour and salt and whisk till no trace of flour found.
5. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.
6. Fold in the meringue gently into the batter 1/3 at a time.
7. Scoop the batter into the chiffon tin.
8. Gently tap the tin on table 3x to remove air bubbles
9. Bake the cake for 40 min at 150°C (or when skewer comes clean).
10. Invert immediately once out of the oven to cool
11. Unmould by hand after the cake is cool by gently pulling the cake off the sides and bottom of the tin (see Hand Unmoulding video tutorial).

Assembly
1. Use a circle cutter to make the same cut on the pandan and plain cake pops, join them together to form the eyelids and eyeballs, then use a yakult straw to poke through the 2 of them.
2. Use a straw or small circle cutter to cut eyeballs from the charcoal layer cake. Cut a smile by using a large circle cutter to make 2 cuts in the layer cake.
3. I happened to have pink layer cake from a concurrent bake for the tongue, but if you do not have, just use Hawflakes for the tongue.
4. Melt some marshmallows with a spray of water in a microwave and use the marshmallow cream to stick the mouth and eyeballs onto the cakes.



This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up ~ October 2015
Event Theme : Coconut
and hosted by Jess of Bakericious


With lots of love,
Susanne

Read More »

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Miffy Shortbread Cookies

Here are some really easy Miffy shortbread cookies! You may be wondering why am I posting something so simple in our blog. Well, why not :p. To be honest it's because I have been really busy with bakes and writing for the chiffon book I am co-authoring with Susanne and the macaron book I am doing on my own. This is a bake that I recorded but haven't had the chance to publish some time back.


I used the cookie cutter that is sold at Isetan to make these cookies. Keep in mind that any recipe that you use to make cookies with imprints should not expand too much during baking. That means no baking powder, baking soda or yeast.

 (Makes 42 Miffy cookies)
Ingredients:
130g icing sugar
260g unsalted butter
380g plain flour
10g corn flour (you may replace with plain flour for a firmer cookie)
1/4 tsp white powder colouring (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:
1. Sift all dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or knife. Add vanilla and form a ball of dough with your hands.

2. Roll the dough between two baking sheets to thickness of 5-6mm. Chill in fridge until firm. At least 30 minutes or overnight.

3. Cut out the Miffy heads using the cutter and lay out the cutouts on a baking tray lined with baking sheet. Clean the cookie cutter every time there is dough stuck on it. You may lightly dust the cutters with plain flour but I find it unnecessary.


4. Chill the whole tray of cookie cutouts while preheating the oven to 150°C. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the base of the cookies turn very slightly brown. Be careful to watch for browning as each oven is different.

Freshly baked!

5. Prepare some black royal icing by adding some charcoal powder to white royal icing. Use a Wilton #2 tip to pipe on the eyes and mouth of Miffy, using the cookie cutter imprints as guides. Air dry for 45 minutes to let the icing to dry completely.


Store in airtight container. These cookies taste better as they mature with age. You may store them up to a month in a cool, dry place.

All packed!

With love,
Phay Shing

Read More »

Friday, 23 October 2015

Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes book with Marshall Cavendish

*Updates
(20/9/16) Very excited to announce that my new Creative Chiffon Book 2, titled Creative Baking: Deco Chiffon Cake is now available at all major bookstores.

The second chiffon book covers more innovative 3D patterns, festive cakes, cute animals (character chiffon), and trending flavours like salted egg yolk lava chiffon cake! And an extended 6-page troubleshooting FAQ section for creative chiffons and free basic recipe!




Deco Chiffon Cakes Book availability:
Singapore: Popular, Kinokuniya, Times
Malaysia: Kinokuniya, MPHonline, selected Popular
Indonesia: PeriplusBooks & beyond, Kinokuniya
Thailand: Kinokuniya, Asia books
Philippines: Fully Booked (Dec 2016), National Bookstore (mid Feb 2017)
Book depository/Amazon: Book depository promotion (discount with free shipping worldwide), Amazon UK


Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes


(10/4/16) A Bestseller cookbook that sold out its first print run in 3 months. 2nd print run in shops from mid-April 2016!

(31/1/16): Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes makes Strait Times Bestsellers list for non-fiction! Thanks everyone for your support!

(6/2/16): A Bestseller book in Kinokuniya SG!


Singapore - Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes is available at Kinokuniya, Popular, Times and all major bookstores (from Jan 16 2016).

Malaysia - Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes is available at Kinokuniya and MPH online. It was sold out at MPH bookstores so only available at MPH online now (from Feb 2016).

Other countries - Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes will be available in neighboring countries like Indonesia from March in Kinokuniya, and Australia (Melbourne) from June.

Online stores - Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes is available on Book DepositoryKinokuniya online and Amazon!


6 Flavour Rainbow Hearts Chiffon Cake Demo in the book Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes!


News feature in Straits Times!


Watermelon Chiffon pops from the book featured in Smartparents.sg, mediacorp (formerly Mother & Baby) (March 2016):


Pandan Ogura Cupcakes from the book featured in Food & Travel Magazine (June 2016):


(24/4/16) Creative Chiffon Cakes demo and display at the joint Creative baking books event @ Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City. It was really fun and encouraging! A big big thank you to everyone!


(2/4/16): My first book event! Creative Chiffon Cakes Book event @ Times Punggol Waterway. A big thank you to everyone who came and supported!



****


Very blessed to have three Creative Baking books with Marshall Cavendish in the pipeline! It was really a great privilege to work with the pros and a very good learning experience!


The first is a Creative Chiffon Cakes book, which has a cute collection of chiffon cupcakes/pops, multi-colored chiffon cakes, patterned chiffon cakes, hidden chiffon cakes and shaped chiffon cakes!
I'll be the main author of this book, sharing more on the big chiffon cakes.

The second is a Creative Macarons book with lots of cute creative macarons by Phay Shing. Do look forward to her updates! =)
Here are some photos and details to share for the Creative macarons photoshoot and book :).

Here are some sneak peeks into the Photoshoots for the Creative Chiffon Cakes book!

Photoshoot 3: Decorated, Patterned, Hidden and Shaped chiffon cakes!


Photoshoot 2: Multi-colored Chiffon Cakes! Rainbow, ombre, dual-colored etc.


Photoshoot 1: Chiffon Cupcakes/Cake pops!


All photo credits and styling to the talented people at Marshall Cavendish!

The book is not all about pretty pictures, but it is a Recipe book with detailed picture tutorials covering the Basics as well as for each recipe. It will also cover Tips for getting the fluffiest, prettiest chiffon cakes as well as a Troubleshooting section.

We like to thank Phoon Huat and Chew's eggs for their generous sponsorship of the ingredients for the book! I absolutely love the quality of the Redman castor sugar and flour! And I only trust Chew's fresh eggs for the shiny meringue of my creative chiffon cakes!



Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes will be out at Kinokuniya, Times and bigger Popular stores in Jan 2016. Really thank God and the team again!

With lots of love,
Susanne

Updates (May 2016)
Here's featuring wonderful bakers who have tried out the recipes in the book and made their chiffon cakes so beautifully!




(10/8/16) My Rainbow Chiffon Cake is trending! Even Polar has started introducing it into their range. Why don't you try it too? =)


Read More »

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Pororo Chiffon Cake


I made this Pororo Chiffon Cake quite a while back but haven’t gotten down to blogging due to the crazy busyness with the Creative Chiffons book we’re working on. Yesterday we wrapped up the last photoshoot with Marshall Cavendish, so thank God for that! =)

This chiffon cake base is actually a two-tone 'Frozen' landscape chiffon cake, but I forgot to take a picture of the side profile! It’s my humble attempt at making a ‘pop-out’ Pororo from chiffon cake, not easy at all due to Pororo’s many features like helmet with ‘P’, googles and beaks etc. For Pororo, I did something similar to Super Mario by cutting and joining 2 bowl chiffon cakes ie, I cut an oval from a yellow bowl cake and did likewise for the white bowl cake, and put the white one into the yellow one. The rest are a mixture of cutting and carving, with the arms and bodies are from swissrolls. I cut the rainbow letters from rainbow-colored chiffon cake layers for a sweet dreamy look with the snowy landscape.

Made with lots of love, sorry for the super belated post! =p
Susanne

Read More »

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

“寿” Pandan Chiffon Cake with Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream (macaron shell decorations)

This is one of those cakes that taste better than it looks :p. I made this 6" Pandan chiffon cake with Gula Melaka swiss meringue buttercream together with the large order of 40 longevity peach cupcakes :). All decorations are macaron shells except the leaves.



The lady who ordered this for her 90-year-old grandmother loved the design of a longevity peach themed cake I made last year and would like something similar. So this cake was modelled after my old one.

Since I had some leftover cake and a bit of cream, I made one small layered cake to eat at home and take a sample cross-section of the cake too!


It's the first time I am decorating a cake with macarons because this order came at a really busy time, coinciding with photoshoot sessions for the chiffon cake book I am co-authoring with Susanne. With such a large quantity of longevity peaches to make as well, I decided to stick with simple decorations that can be made way ahead of time. Macaron shells freeze very well so it's the perfect choice :).

Macaron decorations
You may refer to this post for the macaron shell recipe for white and brown shells. I made these together with Brown and Cony macarons and froze them. Just to share some photos of the process...

Freshly piped macaron shells!

I dissolved some pink gel colouring in a little Vodka (Yay! Finally got some! Free too from a goodie bag :)) to make pink paint. I brushed on the pink flower patterns and pink shades on the peaches. I prepared some stiff green royal icing by adding some icing sugar to my stock of flooding consistency royal icing until I get the right piping consistency. I piped on the leaves using a piping bag with a corner snipped off.

Painting in pink and icing with green royal icing

Pandan chiffon cake

Begin by preparing Pandan juice. I don't measure exact amounts. Just roughly pick our about 20-30 Pandan leaves and blend with 100ml of water. I used more leaves this time as most are young and small. Strain out the juice and squeeze out any juice left in the pulp through a coffee filter. Let the juice collected sit in the fridge to settle for a few days. Use only the dark green layer that has settled at the bottom of the bowl.

Freshly made Pandan juice

Separating the clear liquid layer from the dark green layer.

Ingredients (makes four 6" round thin layer cakes^):
3 egg yolks
10g caster sugar
35g canola/vegetable oil
19g Pandan juice
32g coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Pandan paste
1/4 tsp coconut flavouring (optional)
58g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt

4 egg whites
40g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

^ I actually baked more layers than needed just in case. I also didn't have more than one 6" round pan so I baked big layer cakes and used the 6" round pan to cut out circles. Edges are not neat but it's not an issue since the cake is going to be covered in cream. You could also bake a tall 6" cake and slice it across. Increase the baking time if you are doing it this way.

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place a baking tray of water at the bottom of oven to create steam (optional). Set oven rack to second lowest position. Line baking pans/trays with baking paper.

2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut milk, Pandan juice and all the flavourings. Whisk until well combined. Gradually sift in flour and salt, whisking until no trace of flour is seen.

3.  Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in a clean metal bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

4. Quickly but gently fold in the meringue into egg yolk batter in three batches. Scoop the batter into the prepared trays. Tap the trays on the table a few times to release trapped air bubbles.

5. Bake for 12 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Note that baking time may vary as each oven is different. Immediately remove from tray and peel off baking paper.

6. Cool the cakes before assembly or storage in the freezer. If you are freezing the layer cakes, place baking paper between layers and double cling-wrap the cakes, minimizing air space. Place the wrapped cakes in ziplock bags to ensure a really airtight storage. Improperly stored cakes in the freezer will result in dry cakes.

5 layers here but I only used 4 as I was afraid that there was not enough cream.


Gula Melaka Swiss Meringue Buttercream (smbc) (recipe adapted from here and here*)
Ingredients:
64g Gula Melaka, crushed
2 Pandan leaves, cut to 5cm strips
24g water
2 large egg whites (about 80g)
24g brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
80-100g unsalted butter, softened and cut to tablespoon sized cubes
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp coconut flavouring (optional)

*I took the best of both recipes, replacing all white sugar with less brown sugar but increasing amount of Gula Melaka from one recipe, and including Pandan leaves in making the Gula Melaka syrup and some vanilla bean paste from another recipe. What you get is something that is not overly sweet but so full of flavour! I took the liberty of adding an extra hint of coconut flavour to up the notch in pleasuring your senses ;).

Steps:
1. Dissolve Gula Melaka in water with Pandan leaves over low heat in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool.
2. Place egg whites, brown sugar and salt in a heatproof metal bowl over a saucepan with 1" of water. Make sure bottom of bowl doesn't touch the water. Heat the saucepan with medium-low heat such that the water is gently simmering. Use a hand whisk to whisk the egg whites until temperature reaches 71.1°C (measure with candy thermometer) or until the mixture is warm and sugar is dissolved. Rub the egg whites between your fingers to see if it has dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and use electric mixer to beat on medium high speed until stiff peaks form and cooled. About 6-10 minutes.


4. Add butter one cube at a time and keep beating. Don't worry if it starts to curdle. Just keep beating and adding the butter and it will all come together in the end.


5. Add vanilla bean paste, coconut flavouring and Gula Melaka syrup 1 teaspoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until light and fluffy. You may use it immediately or freeze/refrigerate until time to frost the cake. Just bring to room temperature and rewhip until fluffy before frosting the cake.


Yums!!! So yummy I ended up licking the spatula and bowl :p. After storing the smbc of course.

Assembly

1. Place a layer of Pandan cake on cakeboard placed on turntable. Brush with some syrup (5g white sugar dissolved in 20ml hot water. I used a bit of Pandan water to impart some Pandan flavour.). Spread a thin layer of gula melaka smbc with a spatula.


2. Repeat step 1 for three more layers of cake. Cover the top and sides with smbc. Use a large offset spatula to smooth out the top as you rotate the turntable. Use a bench scraper to smooth out the sides.


Pardon the not-so-good frosting with smbc as it's been a long time since I last frosted a cream cake :p. Thank God smbc is so much easier to work with than dairy cream!

3. Place macaron shell decorations on top. Those of you who are expert at piping buttercream decorations would prefer to do that :). I prefer to just slap on the deco when I am hard pressed for time, and focus on the sponge cake and cream. Upsize the gula melaka smbc ingredients if you would like to pipe buttercream decorations as the portion here is just about enough to frost the cake.

Thank God that the cake was well received! My hubby who doesn't like cakes in general said this is yummy and not too sweet!



This post is linked to the event Little Thumbs Up ~ October 2015
Event Theme : Coconut
and hosted by Jess of Bakericious



With love,
Phay Shing


Read More »