Friday, December 31, 2010

Cakes in Japan

Now that i have some time to sort out some (only some) of my 3,000+ photos.. here are some of the cake photos that i took at Takashimaya in Osaka and wondering how these cakes are made. If there are anyone who can tell me how these cakes are done, i'll be so grateful..:D

These are cakes hanging up in rods..i think they are baked in factory and then sent down to the store where they brush syrup over the rotating cakes cos there is an outer layer of sugary crust on the cake...and i saw this lady brushing and brushing and brushing..over and over...

I bought a small version of the round cake (above) to try.  Does anyone know how this is done? This looks just like our local Kueh Lapis (layer cake) in term of layers but this Japanese version taste lighter and more like sponge cake.   

This is the bigger ring cake but i bought i don't think i can finish so many slices after a huge dinner. 

These Chiffon Cakes..Japanese Chiffon Cakes.  No ring in the centre and it looks so pretty, tall and neat too! How did they do it? Anyone knows? It's so tall too!  I had a sample piece and it tasted very good too!  I wanted to buy it on the last day to bring back but i forgot about it! 

Oh..hahaha..i had to sneak in dessert at macdonalds which was a daily you know my son loves macdonalds! 

and this food-strap set i bought at Macdonalds (the one below) in Osaka.  The bears are the Singapore version..which i just bought it a few days ago. 

And this little fish staring at me at the aquarium in Osaka.  Very cute isnt it?  I love this shot that i took of this fish... of course there are other fishes too but i doubt you want to be bored with fishes and crabs and!

Happy New Year to you my friends! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Banana Pajamas Cake

My son's birthday is on boxing day and we usually celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve with logcake as his birthday cake.  But this year, I decided to bake a special cake for him.  Initially I thought of just baking a normal quick and easy chocolate cake (like last  year) or go down to the bakery to buy him a cake...but guilt got the better of me.  Even though I am not certain if he knows what or when his birthday is (and he is still rather confused as to how old he actually is), I should still make him feel special by baking one of his favorite character cakes.   I figured Banana Pajamas is probably quite appropriate because whenever you ask him to sing a Birthday Song, he would sing it as "...Happy Birthday B1 & B2.." and not his name or any other person's name...because he is replaying this episode of Banana Pajamas in his mind - of them celebrating their birthday with Morgan, Lulu & Amy with a cake, munchy honey cakes and yellow jelly.. 

This design is taken from Debbie Brown's book. Of course her Banana Pajamas character cake is way way way better than this.  That's because i didn't follow her instructions and I used my own cake base and thus resulted in a not-so-great Banana Pajamas. But inspiration and design is from Debbie Brown.  

Again, i couldn't decide which photo i like better, thus posted up both of them.   Since this cake wasn't exactly planned for and last minute i rushed through, i felt that i didn't really do a very good job in carving or fondant work..but at least they still look like Banana Pajamas since my son is able to identify them..and he seems pretty happy when i completed it.  We have yet to cut the cake, so not sure if he will be upset if we cut it tonight though..

Happy 18th Birthday to my son Joel! Yes, he is 18 already and i can't believe it....i  keep forgetting at times and still sees him as my little boy..  

Updates: [He didn't want to cut the cake at all...probably he doesn't sees it as a cake and doesn't want to destroy it........hmm..maybe i should just bake him a plain cake next time so at least he knows a cake is a cake..hahaha]. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wedding Macarons

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my earlier post re the wedding cookies i made for my friend.  All of you are always so encouraging and kind with your words.  Thanks! :D   Without further ado, here's the second installment of the wedding cookies..this time round in the form of macarons.  Macarons are also cookies correct?  Not so sure..but i think so.  As my friend's wedding theme is pink, so pink and white macarons (white looking more like champagne color actually) it is.. I hunted for THE cute ribbon for the longest time and managed to find the one that i like but it's sooo expensive...what to do, i needed to have that ribbon to complete the entire look for the macaron-lollipops, so not much of a choice. 

Tying the ribbons was hard work..believe me..trying to get those little dots facing the correct way was a pain..i actually took 1 hour just to bag and tie 35 of them!  Thankfully only 35 of them in lollipops..the balance 100+ are just normal macarons...*phew*..

I set these up for my amateurish photoshoot..hahaha.  I can't decide if i like the dark background better or the white one. So i posted both here. As you can see, my Macdonald's coke glasses are in action again. Sorry folks, i really don't have any vase or nice flower pots or proper glasses at all.. i only have these free coke glasses..and i have a LOT..yup..i spend every weekend at Macdonalds because that is my son's favorite place.  

In case you all wondering, i baked the shells before i left for my hols to Japan.  I must say macaron freezes very well.  Thus, I just spend the whole of last night after work filling them.  Otherwise, i don't think i can do all 140+ macarons in just a night...and find time to take photos.. :D 

I'm pretty pleased with how my macarons turned sweet and pretty in pink and white.  :D   The pink ones are strawberry macarons filled with strawberry jelly and buttercream. The white ones are rum and raisin macarons filled with "rum-mish" raisin jam and rum buttercream.  Both flavors are the Bride's favorite! :D 

Merry Christmas everyone! :D

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wedding Favor Cookies

Just got back from my hols on Friday and had to rush through my friend's order for wedding favor cookies, so i didn't have much time to comment on blogs or to catch up quite as quickly. I surprise myself sometimes - I managed to bake 120+ cookies on Saturday and then ice them all the very next day. usual, my husband is always at my back nagging as to what time i'm finishing and it's late etc, so i had to ignore him after a while...

My friend's wedding theme is pink, so all the cookies have to be in pink.   Cookies were made in 4 different flavors..and i used different recipe for each flavor (I like to try new recipes...i get bored i don't always stick to a particular recipe).  They all turned out quite yummy and sweet. :)

Wedding Favors: 喜喜 Heart Cookies

Wedding Favors: Lace Heart Cookies

Wedding Favors: Mini 'Love' Heart Cookies

Mini Cupcake Cookies

Snowflake Cookies

Candy Wrapper Cookies

The candy wrappers cookies imo weren't very well piped as i was rushing through and felt that my piping wasn't as delicate as i would my arm and hand were tired after icing 120+ cookies.   As you can see, i did the heart shaped cookies first and the rest later..  My friend's wedding is on Christmas Eve, so i added the snowflakes there so she can put on her dessert table.   

So here ends the part 1 of the wedding cookies...i'm working on part 2 tonight....hopefully I get them out on time as per my schedule..

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pierre Hermé Macarons in Tokyo

Just a short post as i'm still here in Tokyo and have rather limited time on internet. I'm out all day and by the time i get back to the apartment, i'm soo tired to even check emails.   Was shopping in Isetan at Shinjuku today and stumbled upon Pierre Hermé shop. I saw the colourful macarons and was tempted to try even though each piece was really quite pricey.  Nonetheless, after i tried them, i didn't regret paying and they tasted soo good. Surprisingly, his macarons are not so sweet.  I ate 5 at one after another and i couldn't stop. I went back and bought another 5 more so i can eat it tomorrow morning for breakfast..hahaha.. I'm a dessert person and i need my sugar-rush in the morning and not coffee.  

Flavors: Chocolate/Caramel, Pistachio, Chocolate & Rose Macarons 

Rose Macaron

Ispahan Macaron

Ispahan: Lychee centre, Raspberry & Rose infused buttercream.

Flavors: Chocolate, Yuzu, Vanilla/Cassis, Chocolate/Caramel, Vanilla/Chocolate Macarons

And earlier the day, i went to Michelle Wibowo's sugar art's exhibition at the Imperial Arcade.  Her work is super super amazing and her fine detailed work is so awesome.  She's an all rounder...her piping work is excellent and so is her cake carving!  When i grow up, i want to be just like her!   Took quite a lot of photos but i have no time to sort them out as yet.   Anyway, my time to surf the internet is up and i need to log off now as there's a Q to use my!  

I miss baking....and decorating... :(

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 184: Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache

Still longing for the peanut butter ice-cream i had in Melbourne, i was quite happy to see that this week's recipe has some peanut butter in it.  Usually, i don't like peanut butter on anything, but the peanut butter ice-cream gave me a whole new perspective.   

For the black raspberry syrup, i couldn't bring myself to use Chambord that i carried all the way back from my last trip.  If you have not seen the Chambord, the bottle is sooo cute that i just couldn't bring myself to open it. LOL! Thankfully, i have another black raspberry liquor which doesn't have a cute bottle.  I bought that first before i found Chambord.   

I placed both bottles side by side and contemplated for quite a while.. 
can you see why i can't open the Chambord? 

The chocolate genoise turned out great. I panicked when i saw the genoise shrank away from the sides while baking, and i quickly removed it from oven. Only then did i realised that Rose had mentioned in her book that when the cake is fully baked, it will shrink from the sides.  I panicked for!    

The chocolate genoise tasted delicious, or shall i say SUPER delicious on its own...i kept eating the top crust of the cake..while getting it ready for syrup brushing.  It's one of the best chocolate genoise i've ever tasted.  Super chocolatey and moist light crumbs. I used bleached flour and if i had used cake flour, i would think the genoise would be even more delicate.   Normally i'm not a fan of any syrup, but this black raspberry syrup is soo good, reminds me of Ribena. I grew up with Ribena and so did my kids...(and I'm still drinking it)...:p!   I brushed lots of the syrup onto the chocolate genoise, even though the genoise is pretty moist imo, but i still brushed quite a lot of it. 

Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache is pretty straight forward...and tasted really good too.  Not sure what percentage of chocolate i used cos the label faded away..but i know it's Valhorna Equatorial or something like that.    After it's whipped, the ganache feels very soft and not so easy to frost..but i managed to frost it quite neatly and with sharp edges..yay! :D.  Since i just got back, i did not have any strawberries or fruits in the fridge to decorate the cake with...i only had mini!  I wanted to use Reese peanut butter cups but because of our hot weather, the peanut buttercups went out of shape. 

VERDICT:  WINNER! Super delicious!!  I was pleasantly surprised that the genoise didn't taste too wet or too moist after i brushed so much of the syrup in it. Also the syrup blends in very well with the chocolate genoise and enhanced the chocolate flavor imo.  Best chocolate genoise i've ever tasted.  Light & chocolatey.  Paired with the light whipped ganache, it's heavenly.   In fact, i think i would eat the genoise on it's own too!  And I see lots of possibilities i can do with this chocolate genoise base.   Everyone in my family loves it!  Guess what? My son too!  He ate a huge slice and I'm so happy! :D  

Dinner in Melbourne

Noteworthy dinners i had were at The Millswyn.  I understand its new, just opened not too long ago.  Nice environment and food is really good.  We were there for 2 nights. 

Dinner Menu on Saturday:-

The oysters pretty fresh and good. I'm not sure if they were the best triple 0s-Belon oysters but they were very good imo.  I had The Land, ie the Waygu beef..which was really delicious but i couldn't finish the entire huge steak of beef.  The Chocolate Tart was amazing..creamy thick chocolate filling with thin crispy crust - heavenly! And the milk ice-cream with vanilla salt gave a interesting twist to the entire dessert. 

Dinner Menu on Monday:-

Lots of red wine..but i didn't had any. I did taste/sip a bit of the Kir Royale and Toast to Prosperity.  Kir Royale tasted like a fruity champagne..and Toast to Prosperity was interesting as it has gold flakes in it and also chocolate liquor which i like of course!  I adored the Italian Master..sooo sooo good! The Foire Di Burrata was sooo yummy..i love the creamy centre!   Again..lots of meat..which is great too but i had a little.. i think you can tell by now i'm not so much a meat person.. i love starters and desserts - i'm not so much a main course!   I had the peanut butter ice-cream sandwhich w/ Raspberry jelly which was sooo yummy! Normally i don't like anything peanut butter except peanut butter itself on bread..but this made me change my mind. The best peanut butter ice-cream i ever had! Yums!  I tried a bit of the Pear Sorbert and it was delicious too! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby and Laces Cookies

We had long weekend holiday and I thought I had ample time to bake the cakes for ABC, HCB and cookies for my friend.  However, my daughter had a minor 'accident'  - she cut her finger (quite badly!) while doing her project and i had to rush her to a 24-hr clinic at night.  The doctor attending said it was minor and didn't give us anything and told us just to monitor. He didn't even have bandages in his clinic to dress up the wound and told me to go to the nearest pharmacy to buy and dress it up on  my own.  The next day, the cut on my daughter's finger was still red and bleeding, so i rushed her down to A&E and the doctor opened up the wound, examined it and said cut was quite deep and needed stitches!!  I can't believe that the earlier doctor just brushed it off so lightly.  

After all the worrying and rushing to the doctors, my baking plan went awry.  I didn't have time to bake anything.  However, i need to ice the cookies i've baked on I know i will be occupied the week later.

Hence decorated these baby shower cookies & lace cookies from Sunday night & over the next 2 nights till very late (or shall i say early!). As usual, my husband nagged at me constantly (every 30mins interval after 10pm) if i'm done as it's getting late, that i needed to get to work the next day...otherwise, i will not have enough sleep and can't concentrate at work..and bad for my health..blah..blah..blah...

Baby Shower Cookies

Made these baby shower cookies for a friend. Her sister will be having a baby soon and because of some very Chinese tradition, she can't see her sister or baby till a month later after baby is born . I thought if my friend could give her sister some pretty cookies, that would be nice.  

Heart-Shape Lace Cookies

Round-Shape Lace Cookies

These heart & round lace cookies are just my "practice-to-pipe" cookies.  Saw some lovely lace cookies by my 2 flickr pals (Rosey Sugar & Jill Sugar) and thought i'll give it a go. Of course mine is no where near their standard..theirs are perfect and their piping always so delicate and pretty - I adore their work! I needed to practice piping round, so i made lots of round cookies.  However, i didn't really do a very good round outline turned out quite terrible..some jagged edges, some diamond shape, some oval..some just out of shape round.. These above that you see are the 6 best rounds that i've done! LOL!  Gotta practice more! 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Bostini

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page 351 : The Bostini

Simple and easy recipe. I don't have any latte cups except the free Madonald's colored coke i ended up using that instead..:p   

The pastry cream was easy to do..steps just like making any custard. :) So i knew exactly what to do.  I had only 400g of pure cream and ended up using the rest in sour-cream.  Didn't affect the taste and in fact tasted quite good.   Since i used non-stick cucpake pan, i didn't grease or flour the pan. I had no problem removing the chiffon cakelets out of the pan either.  Since mine is cupcake pan, i put in 2 chiffon cakelets into the coke glasses and poured in the chocolate sauce.  

Since i don't own any long spoon, i ended up using bubble-tea straws (i just had bubble tea this afternoon..:p) as prop for photo-taking...LOL!

VERDICT:  DELICIOUS! The chiffon cakelets can be eaten by itself and it's yummy and soft! Together with pastry cream, it is yet another dessert.  Taste and look complicated when it's really pretty simple to do. Great dessert to serve your guests if you're entertaining at home. I really like it.  My daughter enjoys it too.  My husband doesn't like all these creamy stuff..but he ate 2-3 cupcakes without the cream at one sitting..he said it's really good!  I do agree with him, the cupcakes are heavenly on its own and rather addictive. :D I've been munching on them since they were out from the!  So i am now left with more pastry cream than cupcakes..:p

Marie Helene's Apple Cake

After seeing Monica, Jenn & Vicki's blogroll on Marie Helene's Apple Cake for their French Friday's with Dorie posting, i knew i had to bake this as well.  I have the book and was already eyeing at this recipe. It's super easy and fuss free.   True enough, this recipe is a winner.  Very yummy and delicious!  I wonder if it will go along with the bostini pastry cream.... :D

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween: Cookies & Marzipan Finger Cupcakes (guest-post @ PinkLittleCakes)

Thank you Kathia for inviting me to guest post! :D

Hi! I'm Faithy! I have no idea what Halloween is since we don't really celebrate here in Singapore.  So when Kathia of Pink Little Cakes asked me if i would like to guest post in her Halloween series, i figured it would be fun and agreed.  How difficult would it be since I've seen gift shops selling halloween related stuff etc...?

I thought for a really really long time (almost a month since i opted to be the last in line ...) and couldn't come up with any ideas at all! Everyday I would read all these wonderful creations that other awesome guest-bloggers were creating. And as the date for my posting came nearer, i panicked!  So on Sat i rushed out to the shop and bought some halloween cutters and made these cookies....

However, because of my bad time management and no planning, I rushed through to ice these cookies on Sunday. My husband was nagging at me all the time to finish up quickly cos it was past midnight and I needed to get up early for work the next day.  Hence, I felt I didn't do a good job with these cookies.  

The next day, I thought about it again and decided that maybe i should make cupcakes! With the halloween theme, I'll make marizpan finger toppers for the cupcakes!  These, i thought to myself, would be soo cool!!   So, right after I came home from work, i sat down to mould these finger toppers with marzipan..   But while making these fingers from mazipan, i was quite disturbed and frightened..cos they began to look more and more realistic to me.  I wasn't sure at this point if i wanted to use them as cupcake toppers so i just took some photos of them as 'lollipops'.  

My husband came home, saw these and said i should cut off the stem to make them look more realistic - and he added that if i wanted to do something like that, i should make them look as realistic as possible. With his advice, I cut off the stem and they ended up looking even more frightening and morbid..!?!  I took these photos really I was felt rather gross! 

Creepy isn't it?  Well, as i was saying, i was pretty disturbed, so i packed these fingers into a box and brought it with me to work the next day. I showed everyone who came to my office to see what they had to say about the fingers. Most took it as a matter of fact and didn't seem very disgusted or shocked.  Some even encouraged me to use it as toppers for my cupcakes..saying they don't mind eating the cupcakes even with these fingers on it. They thought it would be fun and in line with the halloween theme.  I was encouraged....but wasn't totally convinced.  Took me 2 days to think about it and the fingers sat in my office for 2 days before i had the courage to bring them back home again..hahaha...

Finally I made chocolate cupcakes with frosting and placed the marizpan fingers on each cupcake. So I ended up with these....

If you want the "shock" factor for your halloween party, i think these marzipan fingers are the way to go... definitely be the talk of the party!   :S

Finally, i'm sharing with you the recipe to chocolate cupcake (as seen in the photos above). It's very light, soft and moist just like what the book said it would be.  However, I didn't find it as chocolatey as i would like though..

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcake 
adapted from the book Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. Melt the chocolate in microwave.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
4. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy about 2 mins using electric mixer
5. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. Scrape side of the bowl.
6. On medium speed, add eggs one at a time until each is blended into batter
7. Add vanilla and beat until mixture looks creamy, about 1 min
8. Mix in sour cream until no white streaks
9. On low speed, add half flour mixture, mixing to incorporate it. Mix in water, then mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.  
10. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cups and bake for 15-20mins (depending on size of the cup).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cats Cookies

This design is taken from this book "Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits" which i bought recently. I had limited time after work to pipe these, i used parchment cone only instead of the usual bag & tip, so less washing up to do ..:)

The ball of yarns, i wanted messy yarn balls (to be different from the book) but in the end they looked more like Cha-Soba (green tea noodles) ...LOL!  

Initially i wanted to make halloween cookies but somehow ended with these because i fell in love the design after seeing them in the book. Perhaps i just don't get the halloween thing since we don't celebrate here at all. We have the Chinese 7th-month "Ghost month" which is like the equivalent of halloween i think.  Back to the drawing board..hahaha...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Many Splendored Quick Bread

Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Page : Many Splendored Quick Bread 

This is a simple and quick recipe anyone can put together very quickly.  Despite it being super quick and easy, everything went wrong for me..Oo..   

I don't think i've cooked with zucchini i was wondering if i should remove the skin and the seeds?  Anyway, I ended up removing both.  When i was about to weigh the walnuts, i found out all 3 packs of walnut that i had turned rancid...and i'm only left with some cashew and pistachio nuts.  After much thought..i decided to use cashew nuts..i mean how bad can it turn out right?   

I grated the zucchini and carrots...and after grating them equally extra-fine..i realised that i should have grated the carrots medium-fine!  At this point i noticed the recipe called for instant oatmeal..mine was the regular oatmeal that has to be cooked...opps..too late..i can't remove it out of the flour..and i didn't have any instant unflavored ones either.  *Arrgghh*.. What's wrong with me today!!

Made a slit after baking 15mins and then baked for a further 45mins.  The cake ended up looking ok. I was worried it might not cook at all because of the oatmeal.  

VERDICT:  It tasted more like weird banana cake to me. LOL!  I think it was all my doing and most likely had nothing to do with the recipe.  The cashew nuts tasted weird in the cake..hahahaha..just doesn't blend in...and i think the regular oatmeal didn't help either when paired with the carrot and zucchini...and it tasted very bland! Super Weird Taste! :P  It went straight into the trash.  Nobody liked it.  

Me: Disqualified in this round. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flora Painted Cake

This is just a practice (to-paint) cake and for nobody in i'm typing this, this cake is still in the fridge!   I had major fondant issues with this cake and the fondant kept tearing...bugs me to see tears/crack lines on the fondant. Strange.. i could only blame it on the weather and for me not turning on the air conditioning.   

I painted this free-hand and it's my first time painting directly on the fondant cake.  It feels different and not like the usual painting on paper..:S.  Definitely more room (lots in fact!) for improvement for sure! I need to find the right consistency for the paint - food colors i meant.  **The flower pattern that i've painted is made with reference to Donna Dewberry's paint work in her book.** 

I've been slacking in commenting on my blogger friends' blog posts (you all know who you are..:D..but i do try to catch up whenever i can..)..because i have been busy with translating Pierre Hermé's Macaron book to English with the help of google! it is...

Don't ask me why I bought this since it is in French and I don't read or write or speak French. I suppose this is THE Pierre Hermé Macaron book and it was sitting on the bookshelf staring at how can i not buy it?! LOL!  So far, i've translated 20 initial pictorial pages and google translate has been doing a very good job for me. LOL!  I can safely say i can now understand the ingredients listed in French in this book.  :D


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