Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chocolate Wassant

I am a fan of the chocolate wassant bread at Provence Bakery, so are a lot of my friends and colleagues. Sometimes, at lunch time, we would detour to Holland Village to pick up bags of the soft, fluffy bread.

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


Two Christmases ago, I saw a nativity cake on CakeCentral and secretly harboured the ambitions to create a similar cake. It was full of beautifully hand modeled fondant figurines that I can only dream of making. This Christmas, I finally made my version of the nativity cake, drawing inspirations from the one that I've seen, for a family Christmas eve party.

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


Wow! Has been more than a month since my last post... how time flies...

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.