Sunday, December 30, 2007
And after coming across the chocolate swirl bread at Happy HomeBaker blogsite (sorry I don't know how to create a link), I decided to use the recipe of the chocolate paste and my favourite cream bread recipe to re-create the chocolate wassant at home.
Here's a tray of lovely wassants :
Not quite as lovely as the ones at Provence, but hey, I'm only a novice. This is actually my fourth attempt already. I think the best was my third attempt, which I managed to get three layers (like Provence's, as I observed) of chocolate paste in between before I roll them into tiny croissants.
I rolled out the bread dough into a large rectangle and spread the chocolate paste on it using a spatula. Hmm.. an idea just crossed my mind, next time, I will try spreading nutella, I bet it will taste just as great. The best will be three layers of chocolate, but I only managed two. Roll the dough even thinner, then cut them into little triangles. Roll each triangle like a tiny croissant and they will look lovely like this :
From my last few attempts, I learned that what is key to ensuring that the bread is soft and fluffy is to ensure that you do not bake it too long. My first attempt, I baked at 180 degrees for 12 minutes. It was OK, but not soft enough. In this attempt, I baked the bread at 200 degrees for about 8 minutes. The bread is soft, slightly crisp outside and very nicely browned, without any egg-wash. But I think the best was when I baked it at 180 degrees for 8-9 minutes, almost as soft as Provence's and stayed that way for couple of days.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Here's Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus....
I used store-bought Wilton fondant to mould the figures. I usually buy the white coloured ones as they are cheaper and I can colour them on my own, using Wilton gel colours. Baby Jesus was suppose to be sleeping on a bed of straws.. I did not have the tools to make the straws so it looked as if he is sleeping on a bed of worms... The two beige round lumps you saw at the back are 'heads'. I was thinking of making the three wise men but I ran out of fondant and had to make two shepherds instead. Then I realised I did not even have enough fondant for two shepherds... so I made my own gumpaste (since this is the only recipe I have on hand that I have all ingredients).
Here's the final cake.
The pictures was not very well taken as I only managed to finish the cake like half an hour before the party and the lighting was bad. But I thought its a very lovely cake, couldn't wish for more. Cake is 12" chocolate banana cake with low fat ganache (recipe from Creative Culinaire).
The thing about fondant is that it 'sweats' when put on top of icing and colour can smear so I usually try to use less strong colours to prevent dis-colouring my cakes.
My favourites are the little lambs.. they are tiny as a twenty cent coin and really cute. I smeared compound chocolate on the cake board, let it harden about 80%, then sprinkled some brown caster sugar on top before placing the figures on top. I like the effect, it looks like sand with a little bit of shimmer. Grass is icing sugar left over from my cookies decoration.
The shepherd with the beard is made with my home-made gumpaste and it dried solid hard but is also brittle, especially the thin parts. The fondant made ones are still malleable. This is my first experience with gumpaste.. will try putting him in the fridge to see if he 'melts'.
Here are some of the cookies that I made. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you!! Cheers!!
And a very happy snowman!
Monday, December 10, 2007
Had been busy at work and at home with little time for baking. Even had to turn down some opportunities to create cakes.
My little girl is going through the 'terrible twos' phase and her bad temper is ignited by the smallest thing that goes against her wishes. She'd then cry inconsolably for the next hour. I'm almost pulling my hair out!
Anyway, here are some cookies and treats I made last year for the Christmas season. I pray I get sometime to do the same this year.
1) Marshmellow Snowman
Marshmellows coated with white chocolate, on a skewer. M&M buttons and noses. Eyes and hands are piped chocolate. Easy to make and oh so cute!2) Christmas cookies
An assortment of chocolate cookies (recipe taken from wilton), decorated with royal icing, which I packed in little bags and gave away to dear colleagues in the office.
How long did it take to decorate these? Back-breaking long.
3) Joy to the World!
The Lord is come! Christ bring salvation to the nations and we celebrate with joy, the birth of baby Jesus.
Stained glass effect created using coloured piping gel.
A Merry Christmas to all! May you experience the real joy of Christmas.
Friday, November 16, 2007
This one's for my nephew's 21 birthday. A 'cool' cake - beach theme, complete with sandals, 'sand' sea shells, starfish, a crab and the indispensable ipod for the young adult. Everything is edible, except the 'screen' of the ipod which is just a piece of paper.
The straps of the sandals of strips of licorice. Sea shells, crab, starfish are all made of fondant. The ipod is biscuit wrapped with fondant. I am especially proud of the ear phones, I thought they look quite real. *argghh* cannot find a close-up pic of the ear phones.
Anyway, a lot of his guests were amazed by the cake and they actually ate up the earphones and the ipod...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The wheels of the train are mini oreos. Trains are fondant cutouts. I had wanted to make 3-D trains but the space between the cakes is not wide enough. Anyway this is so much simpler.
The layers.. I did not fill the cake with enough chocolate ganache...end out with many gaps between the banana pieces.
The two cakes, frosted and stacked.
Sorry about the mess in the background and lousy photography. Must go take some lessons from a good friend who will officially turn full time professional photographer next week!! Congrats, Yu Hsin, on your freedom from the corporate world!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I used this theme for his first birthday cake. 'First' because this cake is used for celebration in his preschool on 19th Oct. A 'Second' cake will be baked for his home party on 20th Oct. Last year, I baked a total of three Winnie the Pooh cakes for him for three seperate celebrations!
I am quite against using too much colouring in my fresh cream as it taints the mouth, especially for messy kids. So there is no way I will replicate the above. Imagine all the kids with orange, green and pink mouths, am sure the parents will come after me. Here is my interpretation :
All fresh cream except for fondant bunny, fondant letters (cut using cookie cutters), dark brown fondant 'coconut' and chocolate 'rocks'.
Although the bunny is cute, I regreted putting it there. It just does not seem to blend well with the overall design of the cake. But it was almost 11pm when I finished decorating the cake on a Thursday night. After a long day at work, I simply did not have the energy to re-do it. Anyway, the little four year old kids will not notice... and I am right.
Stay tuned for my second birthday cake. I promise it will be much more elaborate.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The new couch looks better, but the remote was way too thick... looks more like a phone. Did you notice that little fork on the cake plate?
The first thing my son said when he saw the cake was ' Where's the TV? Mummy you forgot the TV'. I wish I had more space on the cake and a little more time...
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Which animals are in constant look-out for greener, eh, new pastures? Sheeps of course. My little lambs are made of fondant with royal icing wool. The body is a mini sausage sized fondant. Royal icing piped with round tip, all over the mini sausage, except for bottom and front. Royal icing will appear pointed, hence you'd need to smooth out the points with your finger.
I also made mini fondant flowers in three different colours using fondant cutters.
Pebbles are just black and white marbled fondant pressed flat.
So, here is my final "We'll miss ewe!" cake.
If you can read the words on the pole, it says 'new pastures'. Well, some people move on, others stay but life goes on!!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The cake was picked up last night. And till midnight the night before, I still had no idea what to do!! I baked the cake, frosted it white, piped trees at the sides and the top was completely blank, like my mind.
I searched for a nice picture to 'print' on top of the cake.
In the end, I opted for a 2D T-Rex. Here's comparing my 2D fondant creation with the actual picture :
Looks pretty impressive yeah? So I guess the four years I spent in the Art Elective Program in Secondary school was not in vain. :-) Took me about 1.5 hours to do this..... kind of long ... but I had to stick on the tooth one by one...
Here's the finale - the cake!
I must say I am very pleased with the final outcome (well, except for the handwriting). I added the finishing touch of gummy dinosaurs at the sides.. all kids love those little gummies...
Now the birthday boy is asking for transformer cake!! I may have to skip this... too challenging.. but I have till tonight to decide...
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Looks good too, doesn't it? Kind of professional. :-)
Here's the recipe:
200g bread flour
50g rye flour
25g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps instant yeast
1 tsp honey
35g chopped walnuts, optional
1. Mix (A) till well blended
2. Add (B) an knead to form a dough
3. Add (C) and knead to form a smooth, elastic dough. Do the 'window pane' test
4. Add (D) and mix till well combined
5. Cover dough and leave to rise for 30 minutes
6. Punch down. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and shape into balls
7. Shape balls into ovals
8. Spray some water on the dough and sift some rye flour on top
9. Use a sharp knife to cut out leaf shapes
10. Bake at 200 degree celcius for 20 to 25 minutes
Have tried this recipe couple of times now and was successful each time. My family and extended family enjoy this bread, so do try it.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Although its my domestic helper's day off on Sunday, I still managed to bake quite a few breads. Thanks to my dear hubby and wonderfully good children.
I made the fruited muesli bread, as I have too many bags of muesli at home! The result looked and tasted good too. Unfortunately, when left overnight, was a little hard, not sure if it was because I did not proofed it long enough.
Here it is, shaped, brushed with eggwash, sprinkled with some muesli and 'imprinted' using star shaped cookie cutters.
And this is the final result, golden brown and healthy.
Here's the recipe
475g bread flour
2 tablespoon milk powder
3 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon butter
100g fruit muesli
1 and 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
100g ready to eat dried apricots
50 g dried cranberries (i replaced with raisins)
1. Mix all dry ingredients for 1 minute (except apricot and cranberries)
2. Mix in wet ingredients, except butter
3. Knead till dough come together
4. add butter, knead till dough is smooth and elastic
5. Add apricot and cranberries, mix till even, do not over mix
6. Cover dough and rest for 1 hour
7. Punch down, divide into 2 portions and shape into balls
8. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle some muesli on top
9. use cookie cutter to 'print' on the dough
10. Leave to proof for an hour
11. Bake at 180 degrees for half hour. Bread should sound hollow when tapped with finger tips
12. Cool on wire rack
I also baked some rye bread which I gave away. Its getting late, so I'll share next time.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
And this is after shaping, proofed, brushed with egg and decorated with twisted orange slice.
Taste wise, it is nice and refreshing. Unfortunately not fluffy soft.. no fault of the recipe.. entirely mine.
So here's the recipe if you are interested.
5 large eggs
2 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange extract
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
2 tablespoons high quality orange liquer (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
3 and 1/2 cup bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter
1 egg, beaten for brushing
12 thin orange half slices, with peel, for garnishing
1. Mix eggs, milk, sugar, extract, orange rind, orange liquer and flour for 3 minutes on low speed
2. Switch to medium speed, add salt and knead for 7 minutes
3. Gradually add butter, and knead till a smooth uniform dough is formed
4. Cover with plastic and leave to rise in refrigerator overnight
5. Transfer dough to floured surface and punch down
6. Divide dough into 3 equal parts and each part into 4 pieces, for a total of 12
7. Roll each piece into a ball and place in a cup. Brush with beaten egg and top with a twisted half slice of orance. Let rise at room temp for 2 hours or until 3 times in size
8. Bake in 180 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown
I wish you success!
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
For an entire week, I was extremely bothered. I could not trust myself to create an edible car without it looking like a cartoon. So this is what I came up with :
The cake is a 7 inch round, cut into 1/3, 2/3 pieces and the smaller piece placed on top of the bigger piece (can understand?), to form the couch. Frosted in pale blue fresh cream. Man and cushion is fondant. The 'dream cloud' is white chocolate. Car is made from layers of fondant. I also used the tip of a toothpick to write the car plate number and outline the lights.
Overall, I liked the appearance of the cake.. with a touch of humour.
Update (26 June 2008) - this guy's dream got fulfilled this year. Congratulations!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Here are the piggies, drying in a pan.
Got to go! Presentation slides waiting.....
Friday, September 21, 2007
On his birthday in March this year, I baked him a cake capturing him in his favourite hobby. This is my first attempt at figure modelling using fondant. As it was a weekday, I had to squeeze in cake baking and decorating into my busy work schedule. Baked cake the night before. It was a carrot cake, so the preparation and baking took a loooong time. Frosted and decorated the cake (without the figure) in the morning before going to work. Made the figure half an hour before leaving for the restaurant in the evening. Here is the result.
See how the guy look cross-eyed? He certainly looked funny. But I was glad that the cake looked good overall and tasted great too.
Did another fisherman cake recently, in July. I think this time I did a better job at figure modelling. At least can see his fingers and toes. :-)
Other details in the cake includes - a sailfish, star fish, bait box with worms, crab (hidden behind the boat).
I had some problems with this brand of non-dairy cream, cannot remember the brand, but its made in U.S. Not easy to handle and gets 'hole-y' when handled too much.