Friday, 24 November 2017

Superhero Themed Vanilla Macarons (Tips on how to colour shells deep red and black)

I have a request for superhero themed macarons for a little boy!
He loves vanilla so I filled the shells with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream

The purpose of this blog post is to share how I achieve a deep shade of black and red when making black and red macaron shells. Certain shades of colour may be difficult to achieve if you don't know how to and these two colours are examples. I will also share how I decorated the shells with adequate precision by hand.

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.

Although I used the Italian method, the ratios specified here should be applicable for French and Swiss methods as well.

For black colour, add 1g of charcoal powder for every 10g of almond meal along with an additional generous chopstick dip of black gel food colouring for every 30g of almond meal.

For red colour, use 1/2 tsp red yeast powder* for every 45g almond meal, and 1/8-1/4 tsp red powder colouring for every 90g almond meal. I use the red powder colouring easily available from supermarkets that is more for local desserts such as Ang Ku Kueh as a little bit goes a long way. I use in combination with gel as I find powder alone tends to stain my fingers and baking paper. This is more of personal preference so you may stick with just powder colouring. I add a drop of red gel colouring for every 30g almond meal.

*Red yeast powder doesn't colour the batter much but serves to dull down the brightness of super red artificial colouring and give it a more earthy tone. Note that too much red yeast powder will cause meringue to deflate and results in denser macaron shells. Omit this if you are unable to obtain it. I prefer using natural sources wherever possible.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the various shapes

Freshly baked shells. Check out the feet!

In order to get nice identical logo prints on the shells, I made stencils out of paper by cutting out the shapes with a craft knife. I traced the outlines using edible marker (yellow colour to match the royal icing colour), and then decorate with royal icing. Feel free to use a toothpick to nudge the icing where necessary. To give it a slightly glittery effect, I brushed on a little gold dust on the yellow icing after it is dried.

Decorating Superman shells

Decorating Batman shells

The fine webbing of Spiderman was done using a fine tipped edible marker.

Really tedious to draw by freehand. I took on an average of 8-10 minutes for each one!

Keep a picture of Spiderman's head right next to your macaron shell so that you can copy each line as accurately as possible. I treated the web pattern like a complicated Chinese character and "wrote" it as such :p. After a couple of heads, I get the hang of it and memorized the steps to "write" the web pattern.

Spiderman's eyes were added on with royal icing.

I filled the shells with reduced-sugar vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.


With love,
Phay Shing

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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Camouflage Soldier Chiffon Cake


Anyone watched Ah Boys to Men 4 yet?? =)

I was just reminded of my cute Camouflage Soldier Chiffon Cake from my 2nd book, Deco Chiffon Cakes with the super funny movie out! I made it from my nephew's birthday but didn't have a chance to post it before the cake went into the cookbook. Its made from yummy cocoa and pandan chiffon cake and now with the step-by-step pics, you can try making your own cute army soldier hehe.

With lots of love,
Susanne

Book cover of 2nd book Deco Chiffon Cakes


Updates

New Deco Chiffon Cake Basics Book launch event on 2nd Dec 2018, 4pm at Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City! Cu there :) (taken from kinokuniya instagram). Thankful it was in Top 10 Non-fiction bestsellers in Kinokuniya!



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Monday, 20 November 2017

Two-Tiered Lychee Rose Longevity Peach Sponge and Pudding Cake

I had a request some time back for lychee rose longevity peach cake. The requester saw the longevity peach cake I made for my grandma two years ago and loved it very much. I decided to make something similar but two-tiered this time :)


This is a refreshing dessert that goes well as the last dish for a sumptuous birthday celebration meal. Alternating layers of light lychee rose sponge and pudding, served with succulent lychees stuffed with pudding. The longevity peaches are light and refreshing chiffon sponge cakes too!

I won't go into details of the bake as the detailed recipe can be found in the blog post for my grandma cake. The thing that I did differently here is in the assembly. I used flexible plastic meant for wrapping around cakes as shown in the photos below. I did this for my Ondeh-Ondeh pandan kaya Gula Melaka chiffon cake for my dad too.

6.5" and 4" cakes

The edges of the cake is much cleaner this way than using springform pans like I used to.

Unmoulded cakes

I don't have a picture of the cut slice of this cake but I made one for my grandma two years ago so it looks something like this:

Alternating layers of soft lychee rose chiffon sponge with refreshing pudding, eaten along with succulent lychees!


Give this cake a try if you love lychee :).

With love,
Phay Shing

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Mermaid Tail Chiffon Cake


I love turquoise colour very much so it was a joy to make this Mermaid Chiffon Cake with pretty mermaid tail and purple shells, inspired by the Little Mermaid. I was a little reminded of Legend of the Blue Sea show which I loved earlier =p.


Briefly, it was made by sculpting and cutting a chiffon cake into the shape of a tail, and then covering it with scales cut from chiffon sheet cakes of different colours. I used marshmallow cream to stick the pieces on. It was very tedious as you can imagine, to assemble the scale piece by piece from circle cut-outs from chiffon sheet cakes. It was a lot of work but thankful cake was very well-received, which brings the most joy =).

This is actually the 2nd time I am making a Mermaid Tail Chiffon Cake! The last cake was pink in scheme for a close mummy friend a year ago, still in my backlogs.. oops!

I've been really busy with kids, so sorry for less posts lately. Thank God for his grace in sustaining daily!

With lots of love,
Susanne

PS: Story of the behind the scenes on my IG @susanne.decochiffon (20/11/17)


Updates
New Deco Chiffon Cake Basics Book launch event on 2nd Dec 2018, 4pm at Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City! Cu there :) (taken from kinokuniya instagram). Thankful it was in Top 10 Non-fiction bestsellers in Kinokuniya!



Deco Chiffon Cake books

  


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Friday, 17 November 2017

Happy Bunny Reduced-Sugar Coconut Macarons

Hubby and I use Wechat to communicate because we simply love the range of expressive and cute emojis. One of our favourite is this happy bunny that is absolutely adorable. You can't help but smile or even laugh looking at the range of emojis :). And since I was fine-tuning the recipe for my upcoming reduced-sugar coconut snowflake macaron class, I thought of squeezing in a few cute macarons for hubby's birthday :).

I had so much fun playing the pieces for photography!

I used the Swiss method to make these macarons. As I will be conducting the class using this macaron shell and filling recipe, I won't type it out in detail here. I tweaked my original recipe for making Gudetama coconut macarons to make these bunnies.

Just to share a couple of photos...

Piping out the bunny

Filling the shells with less sweet coconut white chocolate ganache

My hubby loved the coconuty taste of the macarons and said it's not overly sweet. And of course can't help but smile looking at the cuties :).

With lots of love,
Phay Shing



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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Christmas Snowman, Reindeer, Hat Chiffon Cakes


As promised, here's the recipe for the Christmas chiffon pops that I did for the demo at Courts on Sunday 12th Nov =). Thanks to those who came and gave encouraging words as well!

These chiffon cake pops are made entirely fondant-free, so are soft, fluffy and low in sugar, suitable for kids and the elderly alike! The Snowman and Reindeer are actually miniature versions of the cakes in my cookbooks, Deco Chiffon Cake Basics and Deco Chiffon Cakes. If you like bigger cake versions, you can check out the books.

The Snowman and Reindeer are baked from cake pops molds (below), while the Snowman hats and Trees are from baking in paper cones (from SKP, I trimmed it so that they are shorter).




Snowman and Hats Chiffon Cake Pops
(makes 3-4 snowman from 6 cake pops and 3 hats)


Egg yolk batter
10g egg yolk
5g castor sugar
10g vegetable/corn oil
14g milk
1g vanilla extract
15g cake flour
Orange and red icing colours or natural food powders (pumpkin and red yeast powder)

Meringue
1 egg white
11g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140°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 milk 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: 1 tsp for orange, 3 tsp for red, and leave the rest plain. *You can use pumpkin and red yeast powder for orange and red, or icing colours.

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: 2 tbsp for orange, 6 tbsp for red and the rest for plain.

6. Fold in meringue gently into each colored egg yolk batter 1/2 at a time. *Fold in unidirectional, gentle strokes and do not overfold.

7. Fill the cake pops molds with plain batter till almost full (6 cake pops). Fill orange (1 cone) and red batter (3 cones) into paper cones till around an inch tall.

Pour the rest of the red batter into a large cupcake liner to bake sheet cake (thin layer) for cutting out scarves and buttons.

*For Christmas hats, leave some plain batter for sheet cake in a cupcake liner.

8. Bake all at 140°C for 28 min, or until skewer inserted into center of cakes come out clean.

9. Allow to cool completely on wire rack, before unmolding by hand (picture tutorials of unmoulding can be found in my cookbooks).

Assembly

Snowman

1. Round up the base of the round cake pops and stack using marshmallow glue in between (melt some marshmallows with a sprinkle of water for 30s microwave)

2. Cut a thin strip from red sheet cake for scarf. If you are not confident, you can use string candy.

3. Trim off the orange cone, and stick on using marshmallow cream.

4. Trim off the red cone and stick on using marshmallow cream.

5. Pipe on the eyes and mouth using melted chocolate or draw using food markers.

6. Cut buttons from red sheet cake using a small circle plunger, stick on using marshmallow cream.

7. Stick on hands using fried pasta sticks or pocky.

Christmas hats

1. Prepare a red cone chiffon cake.

2. Cut a thin white strip from plain sheet cake and stick around the base using marshmallow cream.

3. Cut a round circle from plain sheet cake and stick on top.

Reindeer Chcocolate Chiffon Cake Pops
(makes 10 cake pops/reindeers)

Egg yolk batter
10g egg yolk
5g castor sugar
10g vegetable/corn oil
14g milk
1g vanilla extract
15g cake flour
Chocolate paste (<1/4 tsp), or 1 tsp cocoa powder in 4 ml water

Meringue
1 egg white
11g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140°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 milk and vanilla extract and mix well.

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

d. Add in cocoa paste (cocoa powder in water or store bought) and mix well.

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

6. Fill the cake pops molds with cocoa batter till almost full.

7. Bake at 140°C for 28 min, or until skewer inserted into center of cakes come out clean.

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

Assembly 

1. Using some white compound chocolate or candy melts, pipe on the eyes.

2. Use a food marker (brown or black) to draw on the eye balls.

3. Add a dip of red coloring to the white chocolate, mix well and pipe on the nose (alternatively, you can use store bought dragees or icing candy that are round and red, stick on using melted chocolate).

4. Stick on pretzels for the ears or chocolate sticks or fried pasta sticks.


Pandan Christmas Trees Chiffon Cake Pops

Shared in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes (first chiffon book below).


Hope you enjoy these cute creations (video taken before the demo for fun) =)


With lots of love,
Susanne

                                  NEW!
  

Updates:
New Deco Chiffon Cake Basics Book launch event on 2nd Dec 2018, 4pm at Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City! Cu there :) (taken from kinokuniya instagram)



(13/11/17) Deco Chiffon Cake Basics in Top 10 Non-fiction Bestsellers in Kinokuniya! Thank God and thank you!


(13/11/17): Thankful that Deco Chiffon Cake Basics is a Bestseller in Periplus (Indonesia) and Naiise (Malaysia/SG) too!! Thank you!


(12/11/17) Thanks to those who came for my demo today!! Heartfelt thanks!




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Monday, 13 November 2017

Matcha Azuki & Chocolate Salted Caramel Mini Chiffon Cupcakes

This is the second part in my series of wedding bakes. Sorry for the long delay because I had more pressing bakes and ToTT class registration announcements to make 😅. Here are some simple but yummy mini cupcakes that are tasty but not too sweet. I stress the "not too sweet" part because the bride was very specific about the bakes being not too sweet 😅. Chiffon sponge that is soft, fluffy and packed full of flavour, and Swiss meringue buttercream that compliments the sponge cake flavour. I made tea flavoured heart shaped macarons in pastel rainbow shades along with these cupcakes.



Matcha chiffon cupcake with Azuki bean Swiss meringue buttercream and Azuki bean jelly hearts

My matcha chiffon cupcake recipe here uses same number of egg yolks and egg whites, which is what I don't normally practice (usually I use less egg yolks than whites for a lighter texture). I do so here to help to make the cake richer and stay more moist as the size of the cakes are small. Resulting texture is not noticeably different from my usual chiffons and the key to this is a well made meringue and good technique of folding in meringue into egg yolk batter.

I love making cake deco that is yummy and compliments the cake flavour, such as my macaron decorated cakes and Ondeh-Ondeh pandan kaya Gula Melaka chiffon cake. For these minis, I made simple Azuki bean jelly that totally goes well with the Azuki bean cream and Matcha chiffon. This is not the first time I made jelly as deco to compliment the cake. You may take a look at my mango cupcakes with vanilla cream and mango jelly over here.

Matcha chiffon cupcakes recipe
Ingredients (makes about forty 30x38mm cupcakes):
Egg yolk batter
5 egg yolks 
10g caster sugar
56g canola/vegetable oil
65g Matcha milk (dissolve 4-5tsp (about 7-8g) of matcha powder in 60g of hot milk, sieve to remove lumps. You may not use all of it)
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt

Meringue
5 egg whites
70g caster sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 140℃, set oven rack to second lowest position and place a tray of water at the base of the oven (optional).

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until well combined. Add matcha milk and vanilla and whisk until combined. Gradually whisk in sifted flour and salt 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 in sugar when the egg whites are foamy.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in 3 additions. 

5. Carefully fill the cupcakes until about 80% full. Bake for 10 minutes and reduce temperature to 130℃ and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before adding cream.

Azuki bean Swiss meringue  buttercream recipe
Ingredients:
100g Mashed canned Azuki beans
1/8 tsp salt

Steps:
1. If using frozen thawed Smbc, rewhip the cream before adding in mashed azuki beans and salt. Whip everything together with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

2. Transfer cream into piping bag fitted with star tip.

You may prepare the cream ahead of time and freeze in freezer Ziploc bags. Simply defrost at room temperature and rewhip before using. Pipe a simple swirl on top of cooled cupcakes.

Azuki bean jelly recipe
Ingredients:
120g Azuki bean puree (press canned Azuki bean through sieve or buy Koshian from Japanese section of supermarket)
120g water
20g white sugar (or to taste. Mine is considered less sugar)
1/8 tsp salt
1.5 tsp agar powder

Steps:
1. Combine everything into a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Boil for a minute while stirring to ensure agar powder is fully dissolved as we are making a firm jelly here.

2. Pour into silicone moulds till about 5-10mm thick layer. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes or until firm. You may prepare this a day before assembly time.

3. Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out small hearts.


Top the Azuki bean cream with a dainty Azuki bean heart :).

All done!

Chocolate chiffon cupcakes with Salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream

When you have a tried and tested recipe where recipients from more than one party say that it is yummy, you go back to it :).  The chocolate chiffon recipe I use here is a tried and tested recipe that I have used for log cakes, bigger chiffons as well as cupcakes, all with very good reviews. I tweaked the recipe slightly, omitting the Kirsch and  instant coffee but substituting these two with Kahlua coffee liqueur. I also replaced the baking powder with baking soda and find that the batter is more stable so this tweak shall stay for my future chocolate cake bakes. I decided to do this replacement as I still notice some deflating of the batter due to the use of cocoa powder (even with Dutch processed) so an alkaline-based leavening agent such as baking soda will help to balance the pH of the batter better.

Chocolate chiffon cupcake recipe
Ingredients (makes about thirty-five 30x38 cupcakes):
Egg yolk batter
4 egg yolks
10g caster sugar or brown sugar
56g canola or vegetable oil
60g fresh milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur
26g Dutch processed cocoa powder (if using regular cocoa powder, add 1/2 tsp baking soda)
52g cake flour
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 tsp baking soda

Meringue
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
70g caster sugar

Steps:
Follow the same steps as Matcha chiffon recipe above. Just sift together all powdered ingredients and mix all flavourings with the milk.

Salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream
Ingredients:
180g Reduced-sugar vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream
70g Homemade salted caramel

Steps:
Similar points to take note of as Azuki bean smbc above. Mix salted caramel with vanilla smbc using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Piping salted caramel smbc on chocolate cupcakes

Sprinkle the salted caramel cream with some chocolate rice and top with a red heart sprinkle.

Packed and ready to party!

Here's a peek at the insides of the cupcakes. I baked extra so I could do a taste test :).



Soft, moist and fluffy! The lower flour to liquid ratio plus lower temperature steam baking helps to retain the moisture of the cakes.

Like the macarons at the wedding, these were very well received too! The bride said that the chocolate cake with salted caramel was rich and tasty without being too sweet, which was what she wanted. The Matcha Azuki cupcakes however, she felt could do with stronger flavour although she loved the fact that it is also not too sweet, so I have amended the recipe shared here to include more Matcha powder and Azuki bean.


With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Cute Doggy (Chihuahua) Chiffon Cake


How much is that doggy at the window? =p

This is a creation for my friend's son who loves dogs! She gave me free rein on the design so I ended up making chihuahua-inspired design as I love dogs hehe.

The base cake is vanilla-pandan chiffon cake. I was trying to simulate green pastures lol. My cake is cream colour because I didn't use a reduced egg yolk recipe this round =).

Vanilla Pandan Spots Chiffon Cake  (8-inch tube pan)
Egg yolk batter
6 egg yolks
40 g castor sugar
79 g vegetable/corn oil
86 g water
10 vanilla extract
120 g Prima cake flour, sifted
1 tsp pandan paste

Meringue
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
90 g castor sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Prepare a tray of water under the lowest rack for steambaking. *Optional but helps to increase moisture and control oven temperature for ogura-like texture.

2. Beat egg yolks with sugar with whisk till pale and light before stirring in oil, water, and vanilla extract.

3. Add in sieved flour and whisk till no trace of flour found. Divide the batter into two. To the first portion, leave plain. To the second portion, add pandan paste.

4. Meringue: Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar till frothy. Add in half the castor sugar for meringue and whip till soft peaks. Add in all the castor sugar and whip till firm peaks form or just to the point of reaching stiff peak.
*Firm peaks give finer, softer texture, especially with steam baking.

5. Divide the meringue into two each coloured batter. Gently quickly fold in the meringue into respective batter in 3 additions.

6. Spoon the pandan batter in cloud-like blobs in the pan, then fill the surrounding spaces with plain batter. Continue till the pan is 2-cm from the brim.

7. Bake the chiffon cake for 15 min at 160°C, then 150°C for 10 min and then 140°C for 25+ min, or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.

8. Invert the chiffon cake once removed from oven and allow to cool completely.

9. Unmould the chiffon cake by hand (‘Hand Unmoulding Chiffon Cake for a Clean Finishing’ video tutorial).

The doggy was made by combining chiffon cakes baked from glass bowls (similar to my panda cake in Deco Chiffon Cake Basics book). I used mini swissrolls for the limbs.

Hope you have a blessed week!

With lots of love,
Susanne


Updates:
Book launch event on 2nd Dec 2018 at Kinokuniya, Ngee Ann City! Cu there :)
(taken from kinokuniya instagram)


Books:


(13/11/17) Top 10 Non-fiction Bestsellers in Kinokuniya! Thank God and thank you!

(13/11/17): Thankful that Deco Chiffon Cake Basics is a Bestseller in Periplus (Indonesia) and Naiise (Malaysia/SG) too!! Thank you!



(12/11/17) Thanks to those who came for my demo today!! Heartfelt thanks!




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