Little Sheep for a sweet little baby girl. Children themed cakes are a joy to make, especially when I am given the liberty to let ideas flow
The inside of the sheep crafted out of rice puffs bound together by marshmallow. Each piece to be covered by sugar paste once they are reasonably hardened
And the huge amount of sugar paste needed to cover it
Happy to be invited to the party too! And thrilled with kids crowding round
Once again, my posts are lagging way behind my bakes. This is a request for a black-gold-white cake for a 21st birthday. I like the sharp contrasts, possibly highlighting the character of the special lady of the day.
She wanted roses and peonies, but given the short time, I was not able to find any such cutters after going round all the cake decorating shops that I know of.. Gasp .. Had to settle for heart shaped ones which seemed to do the trick .. What a relief!
I’m immensely Satisfied with the gold powder that I’ve bought from the recent FHA, .. Love how the leaves and little buds accentuates the full blooms
And here’s the sugar veil laces which are so fun to make. The wonders of having the right tools
I’m so happy with this bake. Recently I’m into healthy and wholesome eating, decided to try using some avocado in my tests. Avocado is such a power food, and being so rich, it works well as a butter substitute.
Lots of blueberries for the antioxidant boost
And finally topped with chop almond for some crunch
And there it is, irresistibly fragrant cake out of the oven. Isn’t it inviting?
Well I can’t really taste any avocado in the cake, although I thought there is a very faint shader of the pale green. Or it could just be my imagination. Let’s put it to test with my girls:-)
Today is Baking Marathon Day. All projects started, but all incomplete just yet.
First the forsaken levain which had been hibernating in the chiller for weeks .. Sundried tomato sourdough loaf
Next power berries sponge for antioxidant power ..
And finally a chocolate cheese to indulge in
Will update in next post on the final products 🙂
I don’t really like to eat raisins, but I love them encased in bread dough! Call me weird, but I find the texture changed dramatically in the process!
Raisins, conditioned overnight, added towards the end of mix. It’s fun watching the raisins finding it’s way into the dough
Love the touch -you’ve got to be gentle yet sure. Too harsh and you may lose all the bubbles that have accumulated, too soft and you get a dough that lacks strength.
Yet another banana cake.
Love how using food grade flowers can jazz up the otherwise plain looking cake right away, the marvellous beauty of nature… Ideas copied from the recent FHA in town 🙂
When there is an abundance of overripe bananas, the best thing is to turn them into cakes. The riper they are, the more fragrant the cake is, naturally, without the need of any artificial flavors.
Here, the banana cupcake is paired with salted caramel buttercream, and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes .. Simple yet balanced profile.
Fancy an Oreo Oreo Oreo Oreo Oreo Oreo cheesecake? Why Oreo to the power of 6? No, it’s not a typo error.
Oreo base, Oreo topping, whole Oreos, Oreo bits, more Oreo garnish plus even more heaps of Oreo by the side. Is that enough Oreo for you?
Now is that an Oreo cheesecake or a cheese OREO cake? 🙂
Am home alone, not too hungry yet craving for something to munch. Have been having too many cakes, decided to make a simple healthy snack.
A look into the chiller reveals many kinds of greens .. Various lettuce, radish, seaweed .. And since I have smoked salmon and bread left from yesterday, this is probably the fastest and easiest for a lazy afternoon.
Throw in some caramelized banana chips and my daily coffee .. Perfect balance of crisp, chew and crunch
It’s a silent moment of sadness. Jazz had served my family well for the last 10 years, celebrating moments of triumph and suffering moments of anguish. She literally grow up with my children, fetching them to school, ballet classes, swim class, art class, music class. You name it -she is so much a part of our life.
Jazz is none other than our family car. 10 years is a long time, and emotional ties do develop. She had been most reliable and efficient, never failing to perform, often exceeding expectation.
On this last episode of her short 10-yr journey, as I drove on to surrender her a with heavy heart, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” flooded my head. … “And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain.. ” Getting teary eyed, I do wish that I can have things my way, but more often than not, this fails to be the case.
Nonetheless, with the closure of Season 1, we can now only look ahead to the start of Season 2.
While packing the store room, I was going through some of my daughter’s drawings, and stumpled upon a “sweet” painting she did as a little child. I remembered this is how I would draw too, whenever we are tasked to do “My House” in art lessons during Primary school. This is true even though most of us here live in high rise flats! How interesting .. in the child’s mind, the world is so beautiful – the rainbow and the sun would appear in almost all art pieces.
This cake is a combination of different projects – LV bag, champagne, flowers and cupcakes.
They pose different challenges, but are nevertheless fun and satisfying in different ways.
The bag is the most tedious, with the cut outs done individually by hand since I neither possess a cutter nor a stencil. I did get cross eyed in the process of painting them too – hmm, not bad as a form of eye exercise.
The flowers are the most intricate, also requiring a lot of time and, patience. The first few layers needs to be dry before the next can be applied. And it does take a few days for this to happen in our climate here. Try to hurry the process and, you risk the entire flower falling apart! Inner peace … 🙂
The easiest is, truly the most challenging. It took some experimenting before I figured how to present the bottle in an upright position. Started with a slightly harder cake for a better support. The last thing I ever want is to have a leaning champagne bottle! Despite that, the nagging fear of big humps or potholes during delivery. And the shape, it’s quite a daunting task balancing and getting the symmetry!
Fondant and gum paste work brings variety to cake making. Every cake design is unique, and each presents a new challenge. Living in a humid climate doesn’t help though. The solution, often, is blasting the air conditioning through the day – not entirely environmental friendly but I guess I will have to stay with this till I find a better solution.
Going to be sending out this hefty cake in a while. Hoping that the birthday girl will like it .. Happy 50th Birthday Emily!
Who would have thought that you need flower arrangement skills even in cake making? I certainly can take some lessons here.
Though not often required, I love it despite the amount of work involved. Truly, every petal, every leaf and every speck of colour is a labor of love, painstakingly built up resulting in a final spray of flowers! Satisfaction.
It’s every girl’s dream, to be able to create and control ice and snow.
This is a rather fun and interesting cake to make, right from Elsa down to the very last piece of ice shard. Couldn’t resist singing the “let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore …”. Well this song does not top the charts without a reason. “No right, no wrong, .. I’m free”- is this every girl’s wish too?
Back to the cake.Isomalt or hard sugar would have been a better choice. But isomalt isn’t very user friendly in my hot and humid climate. It quickly becomes sticky and melts into a ice puddle .. Probably good for melted ice project.
So, well, it’s back to chocolate work for the birthday girl!
I love bread baking, the touch of dough is truly therapeutic. I could be dead tired, or feeling unwell, but will instantly be energised once I start working on the dough. No one at home can really understand how I can be so sleepy during dinner, yet working late into the night waiting for the dough to ready itself. No one at home can really understand how I can complain of a nagging headache yet, covering my hands in flour and refusing to go to bed.
Just like to document this for those who share my passion, and for those who are thinking of starting.
Started on 9/3/16 8pm with ..
50g rye/50g water .. Sorry forgot to take pix
Using 50g of above ..And discarding the rest, i.e.
10/3/16 50g starter / 50g rye/ 50g bread flour at 8pm
At end of day, repeat above
Continue refreshing twice a day until she can triple her volume within 6-8hr. She is now ready!
Am going on a blogging marathon, because there are so many bakes I have done recently for all the lovely friends which I want to share!
Guess I will attempt to squeeze as many here .. They are kind of “haphazard”, not of any particular category or topic or whatsoever.
Why are there so many songs about rainbow, and what’s on the other side?
Indeed, why is there such a craze for anything rainbow? A feast for the eyes and tongue no doubt.
Quick lunch .. Complete and wholesome
Love those huge open crumbs, thanks to the very active baby!
Did this for a friend’s mum, a lovely lady who likes all things beautiful!
This cake was made specially for Mrs Skipp, the ballet teacher who has taught both my girls through the years since they were still so little. Never have I met another teacher who shows such passion and enthusiasm, yet always so understanding.
Friends have asked what’s inside the sewing machine? Is it all edible?
That’s it – rice puffs!
And the little cupcakes ..
I have fond memories of those hair gel and clips. It’s always “party time” during exam week. Girls turn up in full gear, mums helping with the hair, last minute checks with the character skirt and shoes. And yes, she will even provide an iron if there is a need to straighten any creases on the skirt!
This pin cushion. How many times she has pricked her fingers sewing the crochet on the pointe shoes, how much work she has gone through tirelessly altering the skirts, sewing the ribbons on the skirts, fastening and then removing the ribbons on the ballet shoes?
She’s such an inspiration .. I specially liked the phrase she uses close to exams .. “I yell because I care!” The girls not just learn to dance, they learn resilience, which to me is one of the most powerful tools one could have!
The “poor old sausages” have grown so beautifully .. Thank you Mrs Skipp, and happy 70th birthday!
Decided to make this since there was an abundance of korean strawberries in the supermarket, at ridiculously great prices!
Looks irresistible, isn’t it? I am not a cheese lover myself, but I just popped two pieces into my mouth as I am updating this blog! Perhaps it’s the combination of digestive biscuit and jelly layers, which somewhat tones down the cheesy taste in each bite. Of course, looks play a great role too – let’s face it – how often do we succumb to things that LOOK tasty?
I used to make this dessert really often, maybe once a fortnight, because my daughter simply adores it. But now, making this at home brings back memories. It feels kind of strange too, using my small mixer after months of using the big one at work! But I really should bake more often at home, before my dear appliances become white elephants and go to waste!
And this is the trimmings at the sides – reminds me of a flag? Hmm … which country is that?
Yet again, I have gone missing-in-action. It’s been 3 months…… not-too-long by calendar time, but a gravely lengthy period of absence in the blogsphere, isn’t it? For friends who have been reading my blog regularly, please accept my most sincere apologies. I promise to post more … but hey … thinking aloud now, I have not posted because I have not really done much baking at home since I started working at the bakery! ( ha ha .. I am still trying to justify my lack of inertia here … )
Anyway, now I am back with vengeance .. this time to tell you more of what I am doing at work … can you guess where? … yes, it’s at the same place I did my professional course – Creative Culinaire. Within three months of working, I think I must have baked more cakes than all my years of baking at home! It is great working with the other senior pastry chefs and watching them create the most beautifully crafted cake decor. They have also been a great source of inspiration and totally self-less in their teaching, sharing and guidance – really could not have asked for any thing more!
To add more excitement, I was also given the chance to do what I used to do a long time ago – teach! I must admit that it was rather nerve-wrecking to be standing infront of a big group initially, but the butterflies do go away and things do fall in place after a while. And now, the school is zooming in strongly on children education .. to start the ball rolling for the mighty dragon year .. a fondant modelliing cum chocolate making class has been scheduled for the coming March holidays.
It’s been such a long time since I last posted – must have been almost a month! Gosh! I do wish I had more time in a day! So many things to do and yet so little time … have recently started to work out of home (notice I say “work out of home” .. because I consider myself to have been working at home, never NOT working .. )
Having been a stay-home-mum for more than a decade, I must now confess how trying it is juggling between work and family! Nonetheless, it’s a joy to be back in a workplace with a boss and colleagues .. and what more can I ask for .. I get to do something I love too!
Before this blog turn from a baking into a how-to-balance-work-and-family blog, these are some recent bakes I did for some friends ..
This one is for my hubby’s good friend, his long-time friend since childhood. This friend loves to fish, loves to bowl. I’m not sure why he finally decided on the latter theme – I was initially unsure how to proceed since I was not a big fan of bowling – until i chanced upon a cake in one of the magazines. But this is probably one of the most “dull” cakes I have ever made, so unlike my usual colourful and vibrant style .. LOL
This cake looks really simple, but it is really one of the hardest for me!
First, the design is too simplistic – the simpler the cake, the harder it is to make it stand out!
Secondly, the spherical shape is a real challenge. Infact, you can see the irregularities at the sides of the ball. Lesson learnt – for this kind of cake, a harder and more sturdy butter cake is a must so that it can hold its shape better.
Thirdly, because I had the fondant really thin, I was quite afraid of puncturing through the layer when making the 3 indents. And I was running out of fondant that night, and to make things worse, I had to attend class the following day and will not be able to go buy a new packet of fondant in case of accident. Wow, last minute work is no joke!
In any case … Happy Birthday Henry!
It’s Angry Bird again for a good friend’s son, but this time instead of a fondant covered one, I used a new technique learnt in class to create the cake top so that the birds can rest “comfortably” on it. The rest of the cake is iced with rich chocolate buttercream – now everyone loves chocolate, isn’t it – so no worries about being too chocolaty!
Other items requested included things that I had been doing in class – so it was not difficult to churn them out! It was great fun doing different permutations from the basic one. I made them all super mini – goes into the mouth in one bite!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Just attended a talk this afternoon on “Breast Screening: Your Best Protection against Breast Cancer”, came back equipped with more knowledge. Another talk titled “Dietary Tips for cancer Prevention” has also been scheduled for 26/10 at 3pm.
In conjunction with the month’s activities, a record breaking attempt has been made to create Singapore’s largest pink ribbon logo cupcakes. Do lend your support – 100% of the proceeds raised from the sale of cupcakes will go towards the KK Hospital Health Endowment Fund. Details of the sales is as follows:
KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital (Tel: 6225 5554)
Cafe Pralet @ 17 Eng Hoon St #01-04 Eng Hoon Mansions (Tel: 6223 5595)
Sorry for being MIA for the last couple of days – I have been so totally caught up with the course – examinations had just ended, and gosh, I feel totally drained! It’s been ages since I last took an examination – how scary age catches up with us. I used to have a great memory, but now, it takes great effort to remember little things!
Though a short 14-days course, examinations were administered very seriously – Theory paper yesterday and Practical today. Though extremely tiring, the experience was exacting and stimulating too. The various permutations that can be derived out of a basic recipe is simply amazing – there is really no boundaries, and we are truly limited only by our creativity and how daring we are to be different.
We took lots of pictures of the beautiful bakes that were produced .. but that has to wait .. too tired to download at the moment ..
And tomorrow will be the last day of course – how time flies – I was just posting about passing the litmus test at Day 3, and now it’s all coming to an end! We have been reporting to class daily and baking like there’s no tomorrow for the past two weeks – I think I will be at a lost after tomorrow! Hmm .. will I wake up staring at the ceiling on Friday, wondering what to do for the rest of that day???
The little boy was so into Nerf Gun that the games for his birthday all revolved around this gadget. When I sent the cake to them, I was caught by traps at the doorstep, alarm system, and saw a huge target board hanging on the wall. This brings back lots of memories – it’s been such a long time since I planned such parties for my own girls. How time flies!
When my friend first approached me to make a Nerf Gun cake, I honestly have no slightest clue what it is – what … nerf … gun? I thought it was a typo error in the sms, something I am guilty of when in a hurry. But I gave myself a good excuse .. this is boy’s toy, and I only have 2 girls ..
Anyway, using a technique of choclate transfer I just learnt in class, the following was born …
On the whole, I am quite happy with the outcome, except that I should have used a darker orange so as to allow the name stand out a little more. But I am glad that the little cupcakes were well received, and the mummy had no chance to eat any bullets nor the target board as those were the target of the little boys!
Did another strawberry mousse. The method is quite similar to the one earlier except that in place of chocolate work at the side, I line the cake ring with strawberries before assembling the cake and pouring the mousse. The end result seems pleasant enough, except that I need to buy more strawberries than needed. In case you are thinking that it is because of rotten strawberries – well, no. It’s because I tried to choose similar sized ones, so could sometimes use only a few from a punnet. I think Korean strawberries would be perfect for this kind of assembly – because they are all almost the same size, albeit a little small.
In class today, each of us also brought home 4 fruit mousse cakes. A selection of fruit puree were given. Since I have always been doing strawberry and mango, I thought perhaps this is the chance to try out other flavours … and chose lime, passionfruit, orange and blackcurrent.
This turned out to be a mistake – the lime and passionfruit were really SOUR! Oh my gosh – instead of using only one kind of puree, I should perhaps have mixed a sweet and a sour, say, passionfruit with mango; or maybe 20% lime with 80% orange puree? Hmm .. this needs to be tested again …
Tomorrow I will have to make a cup of sweet coffee to go with the sour fruit mousse cakes … LOL
These are the mini cupcakes I made recently for children’s Day. Can you recognise which school uniform the figurines are wearing? I think they look so sweet, except that my daughter commented that her friends are not that fat! I nearly burst out laughing – good point – but I have yet to figure how to pipe thin figures that remain stable and stay in shape – no pun intended ..
More cupcakes – for my daughter’s ballet class – actually presented the cupcakes on the wrong date, on 1st October! In my mind, that’s Children’s Day – since when had that been changed to 7th October?? Anyway ..
This is pretty much the same concept, except for the change in the girls’ costumes and ballet accessories.
And another here, again the same idea as the previous ones ..
Mousse cakes are fun to make, but my problem is in the storage. I wish I have a huge fridge and freeze to store all these!
My daughter is taking ballet lessons from this truly wonderful teacher with such great passion for what she is doing. I just loved to bake for her at any opportunity that arises. This was specially done for her on the ballet exam day. The teacher’s pet statement “I yell because I care” – how true indeed. The girls were at the mercy of her harsh words weeks before the exam, but I believe this teaches them resilence – that’s life, isn’t it?
The ship is made up of two 7×10 sponge cakes, blackforest filling. I should have made it with fresh cream topping, and pop the finished cake into the fridge. But the explorer in me wanted to try something different – and decided to use fondant to cover the sponge cake. This proves to be a challenge, as the sponge plus the berries were rather soft, making the covering process rather daunting. Nevertheless, I managed to secure the planks of wood, albeit with a little uneven surface.
Second challenge – fresh cream needs to be stored in the fridge, but fondant can’t. What does this imply? I can only do the planks on the day itself, right to the hour before delivery! Was in cold sweat as I really hated to disappoint the little boy – same age as my own daughter. My belief of “where there is a will, there is a way” did not fail me!
As promised, here are the photos of the cakes we have created over the week – feast for your eyes, and for my mouth too! Yumm … actually I brought home so many cakes, I really have to share with friends and neighbours, otherwise I might gain a few kgs from this class alone!
This is the Claire Fontaine – my favourite as at now. Isn’t it simply beautiful? And so absolutely inviting? It tasted so good even before I bite into it! The richness of the pastry cream is perfectly balanced with the refreshing fragrance of poached orange.
This is really addictive – very rich chocolate buttercream sandwiched between layers of coffee sponge. The texture is unique too – sink your teeth into the crispy dacquoise layer, followed by the smooth velvety chocolate buttercream and soft coffee sponge, with the occasional bursts of chocolate pearls
Ha ha .. please pardon the angry birds. When I brought the cakes home that night, my daughter quickly pointed that the birds looked cross eyed! Kids do have such an eye for details!
Here’s another fruity one with contrasting texture all within the same mouthful. Chunks of crunchy apples, crispy crumb topping with rich cream flavoured with vanilla pod.
Simply put – if you like bananas and chocolate – you will love this!
A French inspired cake for the chocoholic … I love the shiny finish …
And finally, a Disney-themed one for the child in us ..
It is now almost 1.30am, and hey, we survived Day 3! Infact it is really much much “humane” than the first two days. We even get to leave the bakery before 7pm! Even my ever-supportive husband cannot believe it – he predicted that we have to sleep there tonight!
Will post some pictures of the cakes we baked over the last few days, and also the Children’s Day ones I just did – but that will have to wait till the weekend. Today’s post will be really short and sharp – my eyelids are feeling heavier, and it’s yet another long day tomorrow ..
Have been attending many many classes over the past years, most of which being 1-day courses. I am not satisfied with these anymore – baking isn’t just about collecting recipes – and feel that it is timely to bring this to the next level, so that I can continue to learn more and build on my love for the art. So I took the bold step and signed up for a longer programme – two-and-a-half-weeks duration.
I know it is not an easy course, but never did I realise how demanding it can be, and how it can zap all my energy and throw me into bed like a dead log at the end of each day.
On Day 1, we took turns to share what we hope to achieve from the course. One classmate shared that this will be a litmus test before he decides whether he wants to go deeper and bigger in this area. Indeed, we were told that by the end of Day 3, we should have a better indication of whether we should be heading in this direction.
It’s the end of Day 2 now, at 1.30am. Physically, I am totally beaten, but my mind is too excited to sleep just yet. I have just done a batch of cupcakes for Children’s Day, something I promised my daughter two weeks ago for her party two days later. And I have promised a birthday cake for a friend’s son this Sunday, and another batch of Children’s Day cupcakes for another class in school next Monday. All these were commitments made before I decided to take up the course, but of course there is no turning back now! Like it or not, regardless of whether it is do-able, I have to JUSTBAKEIT!
Strangely, I feel my excitement mounting despite the added pressure of producing these 3 cakes in the span of a few days, on top of being in class for the whole day. My husband cannot fathom how I have the stamina to bake at this unearthly hour, having already been at the bakery the entire day! I can’t offer an explanation, but hey, a promise is a promise! Or, perhaps the instructor’s zest and enthusiam is contagious – she is a truly inspiring lady, so full of positive spirits and never-ending energy despite having a thousand things on her mind.
The Professional Course is structured in such a way that it simulates a real-life situation in a bakery. In Day 1, our group baked a total of 71 cakes! In Day 2, we assembled 3, and make more preparations for the following day. I have no doubt that Day 3 will be another day at war, fighting against time!
I have enjoyed the past 2 days, though I have to admit that I have not felt so totally drained for a long time. I dare say I am more exhausted now than even after the recent Yellow Ribbon Run, with its many hard-to-tackle upslopes. So will I pass the litmus test after tomorrow? Will there be any difficult challenges and upslopes that will throw me off the track?
At the moment, I feel certain that nothing is going to rock me, I feel confident of the path I have chosen, and I am happy with myself for that. Certainly looking forward to Day 3. …
Had been rather busy, and not been adding new posts for a few days – it feels kind of strange, even to the extent of being ambivalent. On the one hand, I can’t wait to upload my latest creation, yet I cannot help but feel that this is all a monologue (except of course, thankfully, for my baking pal, F – you know who you are!)
Putting this somewhat unsettled sentiment aside, I am now proudly presenting – cupcakes for a friend’s wedding. She has requested for a yellow/turquoise theme, so along with the cupcakes, I came up with a similar colour-themed wedding cake. Have not received any feedback yet – hope she (and they) likes them!
and finally, the wedding cake ..
This is not exactly a newly “baked” cake. Infact, I did this some months back, but thought of adding it here for variation. This is not the cake you will find palatable, but is definitely one of the most practical and well-received gifts for a baby shower!
Here’s a closer peek at it – diaper, little socks, nappy pins and packs of wet wipes at the core!
Was having a craving for chocolate – so made 2 chocolate cakes over the weekend, one for the same September babes birthday and another for a friend. Made 2 big batches of dark and white chocolate – so had lots of choc decor pieces to go round!
And yet another one ..
Hey, think I ought to slap myself for forgetting to take a shot of the cut-cake again. I promise, next round I will ..