Wednesday, 30 November 2016

'Sheep in Rainbow Scarf' Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Macarons

Someone requested for "rainbow sheep" macarons from me. The original design was each sheep has all the colours of the rainbow in stripes. Sometimes, I don't give requesters what they originally ask for as I think something else along the same theme but different design will end up cuter and more visually pleasing. Here's my interpretation of "rainbow sheep". Cute sheep donned in rainbow coloured scarves, in time for the winter season in the northern hemisphere :).

If you find these sheep familiar, it is because they are made using the template from my Creative Baking: Macarons book. I replaced the collar and bell with the scarf.

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. 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.

Here's a freshly baked shell...

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

I filled the sheep with a ring of dark chocolate ganache followed by salted caramel in the middle.

I hope these cute sheep puts a smile on your face :).

With love,
Phay Shing

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

'Noah's Ark' Chiffon Cake

This was a labor of love and I had so much fun transforming a vanilla-chocolate chiffon cake into a 'Noah's Ark'! The ark is filled with numerous chiffon cake animals and crowned by a chiffon cake rainbow!

There are many elements in the cake, I'll try to break it down. The 'ark' itself is made from Vanilla Chocolate Chiffon Cake.

Vanilla Chocolate Chiffon (6-inch chiffon tube pan)
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks
17g castor sugar
30g vegetable/corn oil
33g water
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g prima cake flour, sifted
13g cocoa powder, sifted (dutch-processed)
¼ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt

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

1. Preheat oven to 160°C (I used steam baking but it's optional).
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till light and frothy before stirring in oil, water and vanilla extract.
3. Add in sieved flour, cocoa and baking powder, and whisk till no trace of flour found.
4. Meringue: Beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till stiff peak, mixing in caster sugar in 2 additions.
5. Fold in the meringue gently into the batter 1/3 at a time.
6. Scoop the batter into the chiffon tin and gently tap the tin on table 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 and leave to cool on cooling rack.
9. Unmould after the cake is cool.(see video tutorial ‘Hand unmoulding Chiffon cakes for a clean finishing’).

I baked an orange chiffon sheet cake to cut tiles for the ark, and stuck on them using melted marshmallows. 

Chiffon Cake animals
Recipe/ picture tutorial for chiffon cake animals and sheep cake pops are in Creative baking: Deco Chiffon Cakes. The highlight of my 2nd cookbook is cute animals (character chiffon).

Chiffon Cake rainbow
Recipe/ picture tutorial is in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes ('chiffon cake rainbow' is the most right picture in the poster below).

Ark house
I baked the same vanilla chocolate chiffon cake above in a silicone house mold, but converted to an ark but sticking on a chiffon cake 'roof'.

As you can see, it was quite a lot of work and made with lots of love!

With love,

Upcoming baking demo at Popular Bookfest Cookout event! 
"Do you want to build a 'Chiffon Cake Snowman'?"

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Friday, 25 November 2016

Hamster Macarons (template provided & tips for no-hollow shells)

Hubby loves hamsters so I thought why not make some of these cute critters for his birthday :)

I had lots of fun making these and watching them come alive. It's a pity the oven chose to play punk while I was baking this tray of macarons (the other trays I baked for other requests were fine) so the shells ended up a little browned. I reduced the temperature after the initial baking time but the temperature took too long to drop.

For those of you who would like to make these cutesies, I have provided the template. Please acknowledge the source from here if you do use as I took time to create this template.

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. 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.

For the benefit of those who want to give this bake a try, here are some details that will be helpful...

Divide the mass and meringue into 3 equal portions. Colour the masses white, straw yellow and brown.
White: white gel/powder
Straw yellow: yellow + tiny bit of orange + a drop of brown gel
Brown: Dutch processed cocoa powder + 2 drops orange + 1 drop yellow gel

 When folding in the meringue for brown and white, fold until just combined before scooping out about 2 tbs of batter from each colour. Add a teeny bit of orange, brown and pink to the white batter to create beige batter. Add about 1/2 tsp of Dutch processed cocoa powder and a pinch of charcoal powder to the brown batter to create dark brown batter. Continue folding the white and brown batters until they have a lava-like consistency.

Use Wilton #7 or #8 piping tips for brown, white and straw yellow portions. Use Wilton #5 piping tip for beige and dark brown portions.

Pipe these portions before letting the shells dry partially until a sticky membrane forms.

Pipe on the rest of the details.

As these shells are quite large, bake at 140°C for the first 12 minutes, followed by 120°C for 6-7 minutes and 110°C for another 8-15 minutes or until the feet does not appear wet. Place oven rack at lowest or second lowest position. Use top and bottom heat only. The initial higher temperature is necessary to set the structure and avoid hollows within the shells. But to keep it at 140°C all the way will cause browning.

Freshly baked! A little browned because temperature remained at 130°C or above for the first 20 minutes! I only realised too late as I was busy.

Decorate the shells with superfine edible marker for the paws and nostrils. Use royal icing for the eyes and sunflower seed.

I filled the shells with whipped Earl grey white chocolate ganache and salted caramel.

Cute and yums!

Checkout the yummy cross-section! Nice texture and no hollows in the shells!

One of the most common queries I get is how to get rid of hollows in macaron shells. There could a few factors or a combination of these factors that can cause the space between the top outermost layer which is formed during drying of the shells before baking and the fluffy cake-like interior.

- Baking temperature is too low during the initial baking time before internal structure has set. The oven has to be at 130-140°C during the initial 10-15 minutes (depending on size of macarons) of baking time. Use an oven thermometer to monitor the actual oven temperature at all times!

- Underbaked. This is related to the previous point. Underbaked shells have internal structures that are not fully set yet. So when you remove the tray of shells from the oven, the internal structure will collapse. Reduce the heat towards later half of baking time to ensure shells are baked through but not browned.

- Egg whites not beaten to soft peak before pouring in the syrup. If the egg whites are unable to hold a peak for a second before disappearing and the egg white bubbles still appear large instead of fine, the egg whites are not beaten long enough. The resulting meringue will not be stable.

- Italian meringue not beaten long enough. Make sure that the meringue is sufficiently cooled before you stop beating at high speed. This make take anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on size of your batch. I usually blow a fan at the stand mixer to help it cool faster. Make sure that the meringue is at least body temperature before you stop beating.

- Didn't bang tray on the table after piping. Any trapped air bubbles that are not released in the batter will gather to form the air pocket under the outermost layer of the shell.

- Under-folded batter. Not enough air is knocked out of the batter.

I hope all these tips helps! Don't fret if you still get hollows now and then. I still do sometimes especially when the oven doesn't cooperate. Just try again :).

Blessed birthday to my dearest hubby 😘!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 21 November 2016

Hi-5 Giant Macaron Cake Topper

Sometimes when friends are on a tight budget for customized cakes and I have limited time or capacity, they order customized giant macaron cake toppers from me ;). These cake toppers go on top of cheap cakes that are easily available from neighbourhood bakeries. Here's a Hi-5 giant macaron cake topper that I made for Susanne's elder daughter who is a Hi-5 fan in early August. Sorry for the super late post!

This cake topper is about 11-12cm big.

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. 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.

Here are the piped shells...

You may refer to this post for tips on how to bake large macaron shells.

Freshly baked!

The details are added on with royal icing.

Checkout the awesome feet!

I filled the macaron with lemon white chocolate ganache.

Cake topper on fruit cake!

Cute birthday girl nomming on a finger :p

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 17 November 2016

'Froggy' Pandan Salted Egg Yolk Chiffon Cake

I made this Pandan Salted Egg Yolk Chiffon Cake for Kinokuniya and also for party! The interesting flavour was actually requested by my friend. It turned out to be pretty fascinating and yummy, making our pandan chiffon cake more tasty and savoury (think pandan liu sha bao)! So do try it if you are getting bored of our normal pandan chiffon cake =). My friends who tried it said it was the softest chiffon cake ever!

Christmas came early! I received my first-ever kitchen machine - Chef Sense XL from Kenwood! Finally I can whip large volumes of meringue with ease without getting an arm ache and overheating problems. This cool mixer can whip up to 6.7 litres of meringue, a cool 16 egg whites! It’s a dream come true as I often make big cakes. It whips up soft fluffy meringue at less than half the time I usually take with a hand mixer. Not only that, I can multitask while the machine is faithfully doing its job. The meringue quality is also finer and smoother as compared to a hand mixer for large volumes, maybe because of the overheating issues with the hand mixer. Another really cool thing is the slim design of the mixer that requires really little space in my tight kitchen. The machine also comes with a dough hook for bread and a K-beater for mixing creamy cake/biscuit batter. More things to try in the future!

Recipe for:

Pandan Salted egg yolk chiffon (17-cm chiffon tube pan)
3 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
41g vegetable/corn oil
51g milk
60g prima cake flour
¼ tsp baking powder (optional)
1/5 tsp salt
2 salted duck egg yolks (boiled and mashed into fine crumbs)
1 tsp pandan paste
¼ tsp vanilla extract

4 egg whites
45g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Boil 2 salted duck eggs (or you can buy those vacuum packed boiled ones if you are lazy). Mash salted egg yolks with the back of a spoon into fine crumbs.

2. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a 17-cm tube pan.

3. Prepare egg yolk batter for salted egg yolk chiffon. First whisk egg yolks with sugar, then oil, milk, pandan paste and vanilla extract. Sift flour and salt into salted duck egg yolks, mix well and then sieve/push the flour-salted duck egg yolks into egg yolk batter and mix well.

4. Prepare meringue: whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till frothy. Add in ½ castor sugar for meringue and whisk at high speed till soft peaks form. Add in rest of the castor sugar for meringue and whisk till firm peaks form, or just the point of stiff peak.

5. Fold meringue gently into egg yolk batter gently 1/3 at a time.

6. Pour the batter into tube pan, tap on counter top or run a chopstick to remove air bubbles and then bake at 160°C. for 15 min then 140°C. for 31 min, or until skewer inserted comes clean.

7. Allow to cool inverted fully before unmoulding by hand (see video tutorial ‘Hand unmoulding Chiffon cakes for a clean finishing’).

Using my Kenwood mixer, I can whip by a 9 egg recipe (9 eggs, 12 whites), hands-free and faster!

Adding in the castor sugar in two additions.

The meringue increases 5-fold but doesn’t overflow the deep bowl.

Some tips: I find it useful to to pulse the mixer once at full speed after adding in the sugar to mix well, before turning the knob back to settings '4' for smoother meringue.

The pandan salted egg yolk chiffon recipe gives a lovely light green hue. I decorated the chiffon cake with some cake cut-outs into a cute froggy, using melted marshmallows as glue.

Hope this lovely creations brightens up your day, and do try it! =)

With lots of love,

Links to:
Chef Sense XL
Deco Chiffon Cakes - Christmas promos/updates


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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

'Bouquet of Flowers' Gula Melaka Chiffon Cupcakes

As the school year draws to a close, perhaps it's time to show the teachers some appreciation :). My friend requested for some bouquet cupcakes for her children to present to their teachers. It's my first attempt at making a bouquet although I have made flower cupcakes a number of times. Here are some bouquets, big and small :).

I will focus on how to assemble the bouquets in this post, as well as share the cupcake recipe. You may refer to Creative Baking: Chiffon Cakes for details on how to make the sunflowers, this post and this post on how to create the daisies and dahlias.

Recipe for gula melaka chiffon cupcakes
Ingredients (makes about twenty-five 44x35mm cupcakes):
4 egg yolks
100g gula melaka, chopped
46g coconut oil (or any vegetable oil)
80g coconut milk
4 Pandan leaves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp caramel flavouring (optional)
80g cake flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
32g caster sugar

1. In a heavy based saucepan, combine coconut milk, gula melaka and Pandan leaves together. Heat over low heat until all the gula melaka has dissolved. Set aside to cool. Pass the mixture through a sieve and squeeze all the liquid from the Pandan leaves. Discard the leaves.

2. Set oven rack to second lowest position. Preheat to 140°C. Place a tray of water at the base of the oven (optional).

3. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks until pale and thick. Add coconut oil and whisk until well combined. Add coconut milk mixture and mix well. Add flavourings and mix well. Gradually sift in flour and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

4. Prepare the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding in the sugar once the egg whites are foamy.

5. Fold the meringue into egg yolk batter quickly but gently in three additions. Tap the tray to release air bubbles.

6. Fill the cupcake cases until the batter is about 1cm away from the rim. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely before decorating.

After assembling and decorating individual cupcakes, here's how you assemble a bouquet:

Tape the cupcakes together at the sides.

Place the assembly of cupcakes on top of a square piece of baking sheet, which is lying at 45° on top of a non-woven sheet (or any paper that you fancy, as long as it is waterproof)

Gather up the sides of the outermost sheet and staple it such that it wraps the cupcakes snuggly.

Cut some square pieces of green paper. I chose waterproof ones again. Reason being, the cupcakes give out a lot of moisture during storage and any packaging material used must be able to withstand that. Fold the paper as shown.

Insert the green pieces of paper into any spaces between cupcakes or between cupcake and wrapping paper as you see fit.

You may wish to add on a ribbon. I had to staple the ribbon to the wrapping paper at two points to prevent it from slipping down.

Remember to brush the surface of the cakes with simple syrup to keep the cakes moist. Store in airtight container in the fridge. These cakes can keep for a few days.

A few loose cupcakes were requested as well. Here they are :)

With love,
Phay Shing

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Retro World Map Travel Chiffon Cake with Vintage Chiffon Airplane

I totally had fun making this Retro Travel-themed Chiffon Cake with Vintage Chiffon Airplane, loosely inspired by the Dr Seuss story 'O the places he'll go'! I didn't know how quite to name the cake, hence the funny long name (sorry about it =p!). Oh but speaking of retro, I'm in love with the feel and all things vintage!

For the base, I transformed a Chocolate Chiffon Cake (recipe in link) into a retro luggage. The straps were cut from chiffon sheet cakes and stuck on with melted marshmallows. The middle tier is an Orange-Chocolate Vintage World Map Chiffon Cake, modeled after those olden maps. A Blue-green pandan World Map Chiffon Cake is found here and recipe with picture tutorial is now in Deco Chiffon Cakes book.

The blue sky dome is made by baking chiffon cake in a wilton ball cake pan, and the airplane is cut from a Tokyo banana roll.

Thankful it was well-received!

With lots of love,

New updates:

Christmas came early!
Deco Chiffon Cakes at 20% discount for Christmas promotion at Times bookstore in Singapore! From now till 31 Dec 2016.

There is now a book depository preorder promotion (10% discount) for Deco Chiffon Cakes with free shipping worldwide!

Deco Chiffon Cakes available at Philippines Fully Booked from mid Dec 2016.

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Lego Friends Themed Neapolitan Macarons

A friend requested for some Lego Friends themed macarons. Here they are :)

There's hedgehog, handbag, butterfly, ribbon, $100 bill and Lego figurine head

You may accuse me of being lazy by not typing out the full recipe :p. It's because it's the same and I don't want to repeat myself for something that is tried, tested and the recipients love. But I promise to do a detailed write-up if and when I see the need to provide more information.

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. 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 the photos of the piped shells...


Rectangles for the $100 bill

The circular indents on these butterflies were made using a drinking straw when the shells are partially dried


Lego figurine head


Freshly baked shells! I baked some pirates along with this set.

Decorated with royal icing and edible marker

You may refer to this post for the recipe for Neapolitan filling -- dark chocolate, strawberry and vanilla white chocolate ganache.

Don't they look delectable with the fillings showing :)

With love,
Phay Shing

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