Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Choo Choo Train & scenery

Here is my son's birthday cake. Took me the whole day! From 9 am in the morning till about 5pm. Baked the cakes from scratch, the bottom is a chocolate banana cake iced with chocolate ganache, top cake is mango sponge cake frosted with whipped cream.

Notice the shark's fin in the water? And the dolphin?

The puffy things on top of the cake are clouds.

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 trees will look better with smaller leaves but I could not locate my smaller 'leaf' tip.

Unfortunately, the chocolate banana cake was not too well recieved at the party, while everyone loved the mango cake. The chocolate cake was too hard as it just came out from the fridge, but tastes splendid when at room temperature.

Here's the cake while work in progress. Generous spread of bananas.

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

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

My son has a fascination with alphabets and numbers. He enjoys all books about Alphabets and counting. One of his favourite book is 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' by Bill Martin Jr. (Author), John Archambault (Author), Lois Ehlert (Illustrator). The book is about all the alphabets trying to find room up in a tree. Here's what the book cover looks like.

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

A man and what he loves

I think cakes for men are so much harder to design than cakes for women. If all else fails, just add some flowers on the cake and it will look gorgeous. But for man .... a lot more thinking and more work is required.

Created this cake for an uncle of mine. This cake tells a LOT about this uncle: he loves napping, coffee, TV (see the remote control?), reading the newspaper (particularly on stocks) and some dessert. I thought its quite a cute cake, with lots of details. :-)

The couch and sidetable are small pieces of cake smeared with some jam and then covered in fondant. I left it out in my kitchen in our humidity and had the biggest shock when I came home from work, ready to go to the party. The couch and table had melted!! I had to re-create the couch, man (as he was stuck to the melted couch), remote control and side table all in 30 minutes! The only items I could salvage was the coffee, cake and newspaper.

Below was the first set of figurine and details. Notice how 'wet' and sloppy the couch looked. I reckoned I put too much jam beneath the fondant and the fondant was rolled too thin. Lesson learned.

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

Farewell... Adious

This cake was made back in August, when a dear colleague decides to leave for greener, eh, to be politically correct, new pastures.

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


A good friend of mine challenged me to make a dinosaur cake for her son. I say this is a challenge because I have not seen a very nice dinosaur cake before. Most cakes use toy dinosaurs as decorations. Others are 3D dinosaurs which either end up too 'cartoony' or are impossible for an amateur like me to replicate.

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

Rye Bread

This is a good rye bread recipe. Oops.. cannot remember which book I got it from. The bread is soft and nutritious. Tastes excellent when lightly toasted... yum..

Looks good too, doesn't it? Kind of professional. :-)

Here's the recipe:

200g bread flour
50g rye flour
25g wholemeal flour
10g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps instant yeast

1 tsp honey
170ml water

10g butter

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

Fruited Muesli bread

I love Sundays. Missing church service last week made me enjoy this week's service even more. There are just so many things to thank the Lord for!

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
300ml water
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.