Sunday, 22 October 2017

Hello Kitty Princess Chiffon Cake

I made this Hello Kitty Princess Chiffon Cake for my dear friend's little princess!

I first experimented with Hello Kitty chiffon cake many years back at the start of the creative chiffon journey for my daughter who loved Hello Kitty. Have not made it for many years (partly due to copyright concerns, so I don't make this for orders, only for own consumption or very close friends). For those who are interested on how I made it, hop on to my old post here =).

Thank God it was well-received and made the little princess very happy!

With lots of love,

Updated availability of my new book Deco Chiffon Cake Basics (a step-by-step picture guide) in different countries and e-book version can be found here. I added in some reviews/encouraging comments I had! So thankful for them!

Wishing you all a blessed week!

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Animal Train Macarons (updated version)

A mummy saw the animal train macarons I made for my younger kid two years ago and wanted one for her little boy too. Having had two years more experience making macarons, I must say I have been learning new things but there is still so much more to learn :). Revisiting old designs after a long interval means that I may have inspiration to improve the design. This time around, I created a better visual display by making a train track and small turf in the middle :).

Here is another view from the top...

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. Templates for the train macaron shells can be found in my Creative Baking: Macarons book.

The little animal passengers can be piped as a single unit with the carriages and locomotive if you wish. But I didn't want to go through the hassle of preparing so many coloured batters, some of which only need a teaspoon worth or less. I ended up baking the passengers and the train macaron shells in two separate bakes, with the passengers made using whatever leftover batter I had for another request.

Just to share some pictures of the process...

Piping mini macaron shells

Decorating the shells

This is how tiny they are!

Freshly baked train macaron shells. I baked extra shells which I used to bless someone else ;)

Royal icing was used to decorate the train macaron shells and stick the animals onto the train.

Completed macaron shells!

Filling the shells with Earl Grey Lavender white chocolate ganache. I used more freshly ground dried lavender flowers and went easy on the Earl Grey as young kids are consuming them. Ratio of Earl Grey powder: lavender powder is about 2:3 here.

I created the base tracks by using royal icing coloured with some cocoa powder. The grass was made using fairly stiff royal icing and a special tip for piping grass. The number "2" is a brown sugar cookie that is stuck onto the icing grass before it dried. I have some store bought sugar flowers which I stuck onto the grass before the icing dried.

The cakeboard base can be stored at room temperature in airtight conditions whereas the macarons have to be refrigerated for storage. Assembly has to be done at the venue but hey, I am sure mummy or little Ethan would have fun arranging the train on the tracks...Or so I thought. This gorgeous set was unfortunately destroyed by the courier and I did an emergency rebake in brown sugar cookie version since I had frozen cookie dough and refrigerated royal icing on hand. Thankfully almost all the little animal macarons were not damaged so I could reuse them for the cookie train set.

Cookie version at the party!

Thank God that the cookies were very well received by the kids and Ethan's mummy got to enjoy all the yummy macarons! Here's her review posted on Instagram:

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

'Sumikko gurashi' Polar bear and Penguin Chiffon Cakes

Aww aren't they cute?

These are Sumikko gurashi Polar bear and Penguin Chiffon Cakes I made for my dear friend's wedding anniversary! 

Sumikko gurashi is roughly translated to 'Life in the corner' or '角落小夥伴'. Recently I have been seeing their adorable plushies all over the place! These are my chiffon cake versions. These cute cakes are a little like my previous Pusheen chiffon cake. The cream coloured Polar bear is vanilla chiffon cake, while the light green Penguin is pandan chiffon cake flavoured.

I made one for each of them! May God continue to bless their marriage together <3.

Hope these bring a smile to your faces too!

With lots of love,

*Some updates*
My new book Deco Chiffon Cake Basics (a step-by-step picture guide) has just been launched! It is now available at all major bookstores (Popular, Kinokuniya, Times and Naiise) in Singapore

Deco Chiffon Cake Basics is also available in all Malaysia Popular, Kinokuniya, mphonline. It has already reached West Malaysia. East Malaysia may take a few days more. 

The book has also reached Indonesia today! It is available at Periplus, Books & beyond and Kinokuniya in Indonesia. 

More details on the book and online bookstore links here.

I'm very thankful to God and everyone's love and support. A big thank you! <3 

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Monday, 16 October 2017

Monster Chiffon Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam & Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Here are some monster cupcakes for a little boy's birthday, but also in time for Halloween!

Dark chocolate ganache filled monster macarons sitting on top of the cupcakes!

These aren't my ordinary chiffon cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream on top. It is super soft vanilla chiffon cupcakes filled with homemade strawberry jam and topped with fresh strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream!

My elder kid took the one extra cupcake with cream and jam and said it was really yums!

The monster macarons are really simple macarons to make if you are new to piping fancy shapes. They are round macarons with either little horns on the head or a separate macaron tongue added in the mouth. I used the reduced-sugar Italian meringue recipe to make these monsters. 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.

Piped circles and tongues

The monster eyes and features are added on using royal icing. I piped the eyes on baking paper, thoroughly dry them before sticking them onto the heads.

I filled the monsters with dark chocolate ganache.

If you feel adventurous or are a seasoned macaron baker, you may attempt the 3D version of monsters made from hemispherical shells. Please refer to my monster macarons bake last year for more awesome ideas!

I had some leftover fresh strawberry puree from making strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream so I made some jam with it. It is a really nice addition to the cupcake, adding moisture and a burst of flavour! And because it was a small quantity of puree, I didn't measure the ingredients but I can tell you that it is really simple to make and makes sure that you don't end up with leftover puree that you don't know what to do with. Simply add puree, a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and some sugar into a small saucepan. Amount of sugar added is according to your preference. Heat over low heat and stir until mixture thickens.

Homemade strawberry jam. I love the natural deep red colour!

Recipe for strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream can be found here. I changed brand of strawberry emulco so the colour is less intense.

Vanilla chiffon cupcakes
Ingredients (makes about thirty 44x35mm cupcakes):
Egg yolk batter
5 egg yolks
5g caster sugar
70g canola/vegetable oil
70g fresh milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
95g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt

7 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
95g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 140°C with tray of water at base of oven (optional but I put it there to create steam). Set oven rack to second lowest position.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add milk, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Gradually sift in flour and salt.

3. Prepare meringue. In a clean metal bowl, use electric mixer to beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until firm peaks form, just before stiff peaks.

4. Fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter quickly but gently in three additions. Spoon the batter into cupcake cases until about 1cm from the top of the rim. Gently tap the cases on the table to release air bubbles.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting with cream.

I made about 330g strawberry smbc to frost the cupcakes. I poked a hole in the middle of the cupcake using a chopstick and filled with a little strawberry jam before topping off with strawberry smbc.

Simply top the cupcakes with a monster macaron and you are done :).

All packed and ready to party!

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

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Christmas Piñata Shortbread Cookies

I am all excited about conducting a series of cookie baking classes for kids! To kick-start the series, I will be teaching how to make Christmasy piñata shortbread cookies---cookies with surprise goodies hidden inside them!

Shortbread cookies may seem really simple, but come to this class to find out how to transform it into a magical box containing colourful treats! Once the technique is learnt, you can create pinata cookies with any design you like for various occasions and parties.

Children between the age of 5-12 years old are welcome to join the class with one adult accompanying them.

You may find the details for sign up over here at ToTT.

Places are limited so do book your slot as soon as you can!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Rainbow Hearts Tea Flavoured Macarons for Wedding

Pastel shades of rainbow never go out of fashion. So here are some simple heart macarons in pastel shades for a wedding :)

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 the video tutorial below on how to pipe the perfect heart shape.

Just a quick note about baking light coloured macaron shells:
- Always use the lowest rack when baking
- Start at a higher baking temperature 140℃ to prevent hollows but lower it after the first 10-12 minutes of baking to 110℃ to prevent browning.
- add a little white powder food colouring as an “insurance” against browning

Freshly baked shells!

Tea flavours like matcha and Earl Grey were requested as they taste less sweet. Recipe for tea flavoured ganache can be found here.

Matcha ganache filling

Earl Grey ganache filling

Stay tuned for another wedding bake that went along with these macarons :).

Thank God that these were very well received in terms of looks and taste :). It is indeed not too sweet according to the guests despite looking dainty and sweet!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Pusheen Mermaid Chiffon Cake

This must be my new favorite creation!! As I love Pusheen and the Pusheen Mermaid is so super sweet!

This is a little like my previous creation Pusheen Cat Chiffon Cake, except it's vanilla-charcoal flavoured instead of black sesame. I opted for this flavour as it was a little hard to control the shade of the black with black sesame. For charcoal powder, I could add any amount I want without changing the flavour of the cake.

Some exciting news! My new book Deco Chiffon Cake Basics is going to hit the bookstores next weekend! It's a step-by-step picture guide to make it easier to understand as compared to previous books. Its focused on basic techniques of Deco Chiffon Cakes. Book cover is below for your reference =).

Have a meow-gical week ahead!

With lots of love,

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Friday, 6 October 2017

Baby Wolf Pup Brown Sugar Cookies

A friend wanted some girly wolf pup brown sugar cookies for her daughter's first month celebration so I came up with this :).

I had to do some editing work to the original picture of the wolf given to me by adding on the scarf using image editing tools. I love the fact that you can almost hear this wolf pup howling "Ah-woooo!!" :P

I use the same recipe for brown sugar cookies and royal icing as it is always very well received in terms of taste and looks.  You may refer to this post for both of the recipes.

Just to share some pictures of the process ...

Drawing the outlines of the wolf using homemade template and edible marker.

Outlining with black royal icing before flooding the spaces. I use charcoal powder to colour it black.

All packed and ready to party!

She loved the cookies and wanted me to make more for her eldest son's birthday a couple of months down the road! Keep a lookout for more awesome brown sugar cookies!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Pomelo Chiffon Cake

I brought a pomelo today to YES933 to celebrate mid-autumn ;)

Yes, it's actually chiffon cake =p It was my hubby's idea to put a netting over lol..

Sharing about my passion and new cookbook Deco Chiffon Cake Basics coming out next week. They did a funny egg separation challenge as well lol. You can still catch it on YES933 fb here.

Thank and praise God for providing.. Happy mid-autumn to everyone! We should be bringing out our lanterns with the kids tonight!

With lots of love,

This is the cover of my new cookbook Deco Chiffon Cake Basics, the focus is being a Step-by-step Picture Guide, great for beginners. It should be in all major bookstores eg Popular, Kinokuniya, Times, Naiise next week!

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Monday, 2 October 2017

Earl Grey Lavender Pink Unicorn Macaron Carousel (unicorns with closed eyes this time!)

Unicorn macaron carousels are perhaps the most popular macaron request that I get, with character macarons coming in at the second place. Not wanting to repeat the exact design again, I decided to draw the unicorns with eyelashes and eyes closed this time :)

Rainbow coloured name was requested.

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.

I decided to make a video tutorial for piping the unicorns since unicorns are so popular now.

Just to share some pictures of the process...

Freshly baked shells for the carousel structure

I usually fill macaron carousels with white chocolate base that has shortening mixed in but without heavy cream. This is to ensure that the structure remains stable even in Singapore's hot and humid climate. But after studying the structure again, I realised that the large macarons in the central pillar and roof need not be filled completely with very firm filling. I used a combination of firm white chocolate base filling and softer ganache that has heavy cream added to fill the shells. Ganache based fillings usually taste better that the white chocolate and shortening based ones. So using a combination of these two types of fillings imparts structural stability and better taste as the same time. Recipe for Earl grey and lavender white chocolate filling cam be found here. The Earl grey white chocolate appears darker here because I used a different source of tea powder this time round. Recipe for Earl grey white chocolate ganache can be found here. I just added some dried Lavender flower powder into the ganache to enhance the Earl grey flavour.

Here is how I filled the large base macaron and the smaller rounds for the pillar...

Outer ring is lavender white chocolate. The dark brown ring and center circle is Earl Grey white chocolate. The light brown ring is Earl Grey lavender ganache

The smaller rounds are filled with lavender white chocolate at outer ring, Earl grey white chocolate in middle ring and Earl Grey lavender ganache in the center.

The whole assembly can be stored for a few days in a cool and dry place without refrigeration.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday, 29 September 2017

Fresh Cream Scones (Children's Day Special)

I was hesitant about posting this because it is super quick and easy, looks unassuming, and you can find tonnes of scone recipes from the internet.

So why post this? Because it seems that many people are interested in the recipe when I told them my story....

Two years ago, my elder kid's form teacher requested for scones from me since she knew I am a homebaker. This was because the content of what she taught had a mention of scones and she wanted the children to know what a scone is and how it tastes like. I dug out Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe book (Baking Bible) and found an Irish cream scone recipe that looked really simple and gave it a shot. The children loved the scones so much that my kid wanted me to bake scones for Children's Day last year. It was again very well received with some of the children requesting for the scone recipe! Needless to say, scones are being requested again this year! I think this is becoming a yearly tradition of sorts :p

The recipe I am going to share is not for those of you who prefer buttery scones as butter is not used at all. Despite the fact that no butter is used, the scones still taste wonderful whether fresh from the oven or after storing overnight.

Delicious, simple (almost impossible to fail), so quick to prepare it takes less than an hour from start to finish and it provides enough servings for a class party (if it is mini scone sized). So if you are thinking of a quick and easy party bake for kids, why not consider making this :)

The recipe is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book, Baking Bible.

150g plain flour*
150g bread flour*
72g (1/2 cup) raisins
37g (3 tbs) sugar
1 tbs baking powder
3/8 tsp fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated*
28g (20ml) honey
316g heavy cream, cold
1 tsp vanilla bean paste*

*Note: You may use all bread flour or half plain flour and half bread flour like I did. Difference is protein content in the flour and texture may be affected depending on what type of flour you use. Original recipe called for 6g lemon zest. I didn't want the lemon flavour to come across too strongly (since it is for kids) so I used only one lemon's worth. Original recipe didn't have vanilla bean paste included. Feel free to change the raisins to include other types of filling or even make it a savoury treat like one friend suggested, adding things like thyme, cheese and bacon bits!

1. Preheat oven to 200℃. Set oven rack to second lowest position (recommended although middle rack will do too). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, raisins, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together. Make a well in the center and pour in honey, cream and vanilla bean paste. Use a spatula to stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use your hand to knead the mixture until a ball of dough forms. Be careful not to knead too much. Just enough to make sure no lumps of flour can be seen.

3. Line a 8x8" tray (Which I don't have so I just used a bigger tray) with cling wrap. Place the dough on the wrap.

Place another piece of cling wrap over the dough and press it flat until about 1-2 cm thick.

Freeze or chill until firm. This can take anywhere from 15-30 min. You may store the dough double wrapped in the freezer for a few months if you wish.

4. Cut the block of dough into wedges, cubes or whatever shape you wish. Wedges is recommended as you don't have to rework the dough to stamp out more scones. Reworking may toughen the scone a bit but I don't find that happening with this recipe. For the purpose of this blog post, I just cut out a few scones from the block with a 5cm round cookie cutter as I intend to bake the rest nearer Children's Day. Place the cutouts about 2cm apart on a lined baking tray.

5. Bake for 8 min. Rotate the tray and bake for another 7-12 min or until golden brown. Please adjust baking time accordingly as the size of the scones you are making may differ from mine.

Cool completely before storing in airtight container. Best eaten the next day toasted when the moisture within the scone is more evenly distributed. Freshly baked scones are crisp on the outside and moist and soft on the insides. I couldn't resist eating the one below on the spot!

Cross section of a freshly baked scone.

I opened another one after overnight storage...

Still soft the next day :) 

My kids had the scones I baked the day before for breakfast and both exclaimed that it is so good!

I have been decorating the scones with a small dollop of melted white chocolate and topped with chopped candied cherries since the first time I made the scones although this is absolutely optional. I think this little bit will stay in the tradition of making scones for Children's Day.

Perhaps some kids will grow up associating Children's Day treats in school with these humble scones and their signature topping of white chocolate and candied cherries ;). Simple and yummy homemade goodness!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Chocolate Bear Bread-in-a-Cone

Children's day is coming and every year the mummies are asked to contribute to their class parties. So this is an early trial for the kids =). I came across cute bread in cones from the talented Little Miss Bento's blog. And my kids love anything looking like ice cream! For those who knew me years back, I actually tried baking chiffon cakes in cone cups 4 years back for the same reason! The chiffon cake-in-cone tasted great out of the oven, but unfortunately cones become soggy after 2 hrs. This bread-in-a-cone is great! Cones do not become soggy so they can be kept and can be made beforehand for parties =).

This is my version of the Bread-in-a-cone. I added little hands because I thought they would be so cute with little hands popping out! So here goes!

Chocolate Bear Bread-in-a-Cone (adapted from Little Miss Bento) (Makes 6) 
100g Prima bread flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp instant dry yeast
130g warm milk (~37°C, I microwaved for 20 secs)

100g Prima bread flour
20g unsalted butter
1/3 tsp salt

6 ice cream cone cups

Black food marker for decoration

*She recommended pudding cups or canele tins to support the cone cups. I didn't have so I used a muffin or heart pan to hold the cones in position. This is to prevent toppling as it is rather heavy on top as it bakes.

*I used Kenwood mixer instead of hand kneading.

1. In the stand mixer bowl, add all the dry ingredients in (A). Then add in the warm milk and mix vigorously using the dough hook for a few minutes. This helps to activate the yeast. Stop when you see little tiny bubbles popping when you stop stirring.

2. Add in the rest of (B) ingredients into the bowl. and mix using the dough hook until window pane stage (around 20 min, using speed 3). *Check for window pane

After kneading for 20 min

3. Cover with cling wrap. Let it proof for 40 min for 1st fermentation. The dough will increase in size to about 1.5-2 times.

4. Do the finger test for the bread dough (leave an indent). Once the 1st fermentation is ok, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and degas the dough.

5. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Shape into balls and cover for 10mins (bench time).

*In the meantime, insert the cone cups into the holder pan.

6. After 10 min, flatten the dough and section out 2 small parts for the bear’s ears, and 2 smaller parts for bear's hands. Shape the larger dough into a ball, and then cup on one end to shape one end into a pointed end (tear drop shape) to fit into the cone cups.

7. Repeat for the rest of the bread dough. Attach the ears and hands onto the bread. I used pasta sticks to prevent ears from dropping after proofing. I didn't need to use for the hands as they were small.

Last proof, I proofed it in the oven (not turned on) as it's a little warm

8. Cover gently with cling wrap. Let it rest for 30 min for 2nd fermentation. *Do not overproof it, as the cones may become a little soft.

9. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the cone buns into the oven then lower to 150°C. Bake at 150°C for 30 min.

10. Cool the cone buns completely.

11. Draw on features using food marker.

Looking cute and fat after cooling!

My girl who loves bread finished two in a row!

With lots of love,

*Some updates, preordered books for my new Deco Chiffon Cake Basics book came on 22nd and I have mailed all out on 23rd! I have recieved messages from some that they have received it. Hope that you have received yours soon!
Those who missed it, no worries, it will hit the bookstores in mid-October in Singapore. For neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, it will be in bookstores in 2 months =). Thank you!

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