Thursday, August 27, 2009

Relax ..

When I have to create a birthday cake for someone, I think about their profession, their hobbies, their favourite past time etc.. so that the cake can be meaningful to them. Which is also why I named my blog bake-a-story, as each cake can tell something about the receipient i.e. the baked goods can tell a story.

This cake tells of someone who needs to relax perhaps by having a nice long spa.

I had very little time to create this cake as it was needed on a weekday. I made the sponge cake and while it was in the oven, explored the cakecentral website for ideas. It had to be simple as I had barely 2 hours for the decoration.

This is the figurine I created for the cake.

Me and hubby had a debate about the chest hairs.. whether it should be straight or curly :-)

The ducky companion. My son say adults do not have rubber duckies.

The finished cake. I did not bring my camera.. so picture was taken using my mobile phone.

I added the little feet. You cannot see the tub. I used whipped cream to pipe like a wooden tub.

Cake is sponge cake with super yummylicious durian filling. My brother in law ate three pieces, what a compliment!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eh... Flower Bread..?

With the Panda Bread experience, I tried to make a Flower Bread last evening. The result ... eh.. not quite what I had in mind. But little Samantha was very excited and took one slice for supper. She loves anything pink and 'girly' and this bread suits her really well.

The 'petals' were too far apart. It looked like the sun, if only it were all yellow. If I do bake this again, I will make the following changes :

1) Choose a more prominant colour that yellow for the center

2) Increase the pink from 25g to 30 or 35g

3) Instead of alternating white and pink, I'll overlap them a little

4) My hubby suggested green background, I think that's a good idea.

This is how it looked like prior to baking.

And after baking.

This time, I took time to roll the dough to the length of the bread tin. But later, I lost patience and did not wait for it to rise to the top (it was getting late and we had not had dinner!) .

What should I try next?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Adorable Panda Bread

When a friend of mine sent me this link, I took a look and my heart skipped a beat. How adorable! The original creator of panda bread is Taro Taro from Japan. Who would have thought that a loaf of bread can hold some much creativity! I told myself I must make this bread and thankfully, Florence from Do What I Like has a translated recipe.
So here's mine.

Not nearly as perfect as Taro Taro's nor Florence's, but I was delighted. As I held the serrated knife, I told myself.. moment of truth.. and the next moment, two pairs of panda eyes were staring back at me! (OK.. maybe my standard is a little low...)

Here's the panda from the other side of the bread. A baby one... all squashed up. :-)

I liked the fact that every slice looked a little different.. surprises along every slice!

Try it! Its fun! Just follow Taro's detailed steps. Oh, by the way, if you look at Taro's site, it has pictures submitted by people who tried, some were ultra creative, others were hilarious.

I have replicated Florence's recipe here for your reference, with minor modifications. The dough is very easy to work with, not too tacky.

Ingredients: <600g loaf (206 x 108 x100h)

230g bread flour
70g cake flour
30g sugar
milk + 1 yolk = 210g (I used full cream milk)
4.5g salt
18g unsalted butter
4g yeast
8g green tea powder dissolved in 10g boiling hot water
8g cocoa powder dissolved in 8g boiling water

1. Heat up milk and yolk to temperature of 38℃. (I beat the yolk lightly with milk and send it to the microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds).
2. Put everything in bread machine and set to dough cycle. Let it knead for 20 minutes. Stop the cycle and restart the dough cycle and let it knead for another 15 minutes. (I did reset to restart the dough cycle and stop only when the dough is elastic.
3. Divide dough (about 560g) into 3 parts: 75g for the chocolate, 210g plain and the rest of the dough which is less than 280g for the green tea.
4. Add chocolate to the 75g dough and knead till the colour is even. Add green tea mixture to the 280g dough and knead till colour is even. (For the choc I did it manually, for green tea, I used the machine).
5. Round up the three pieces of dough separately and cover. (I usually use a big cake box or any other big container turned upside down and cover over it) Proof for about 40 minutes or double in size.
6. Punch air out of dough, round it and prove for another 20 - 30 minutes.
7. Use 90g plain dough for the face and 2 pieces of 27g chocolate dough for the eyes. (Refer to photo guide in Step (7) in TARO's site).
8. Fill the hollow of the eyes with 30g plain dough. (Refer to photo guide in Step (8) in TARO's site).
9. Roll remaining plain dough over the patterned dough. (Refer to photo guide in Step (9) in TARO's site).
10. Divide the remaining chocolate dough into 2 pieces (17.5g each) for the ears. (Refer to photo guide in Step (10) in TARO's site).
11. Use 70g of the green tea dough to fill up the hollow between the ears. (Refer to photo guide in Step (11) in TARO's site).
12. Wrap the rest of the green tea dough all around the patterned dough. (Refer to photo guide in Step (12) in TARO's site)
13. Place dough into a well-greased loaf pan and cover it with a lid and prove for 50 - 60 minutes in an enclosed area eg. microwave oven.
14. Bake at 200℃ for 25 – 30 minutes. (I baked at 180 degrees for 25 minutes)

More pictures.

Green tea paste from mixing green tea powder with hot water. Cocoa paste looks similar.

'Coloured' dough rounded and ready for proofing under a box.

The dough, all stacked up and ready to go into the loaf tin.

You can already see the panda staring at you with its lovely eyes...

Unfortunately, I did not roll the dough long enough, so its quite short lengthwise and was unable to fill the sides of the loaf pan. Or maybe I was too impatient towards the end and only proofed for about 35 minutes.

I was worried when I saw this... looks so lopsided.

This side looks much better.

It looks even better after slicing.

Right now, I have so many ideas of what other animals/pictures I want to create with this new learnt technique. Thanks to Taro! And also to SK who sent me the link.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nice and Easy Banana Cake

Took this recipe from Agnes Chiang's 'I can bake'. Made as a supper snack for cell group members after bible study.

The cake turned out very soft and moist. But unfortunately, the bunch of bananas I got from my MIL were not the right type of bananas, so its not as fragrant as it should be. Lesson learnt, do not use the 'kek leng gio' or translated 'Indian banana' for baking.

Recipe adapted from Agnes Chiang's "I Can Bake'.


180g butter/margarine (I used butter)
180g sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed coarsely
1/8 tsp banana essence, optional (I replaced with vanilla essense)
3 tbsp milk mixed with
1 tbsp lemon juice
240g flour
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 lime

1. Shift flour with baking powder and baking soda, set aside
2. Cream butter and sugar till light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
3. Mix in mashed bananas, essence, sour milk and flour until well combined
4. Pour into greased pan or muffin cups
5. Sqeeze lime over bananna slices. Arrange banana slices over top of cake
6. Bake at 180 degree celcius for about 20-25 minutes until cooked and golden brown

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fondant Ribbon Roses

I'd like to show you two very simple ways of making fondant roses. These are called ribbon roses. I use them very often in my cake decorations as they are very easy to make and really enhances the aesthetics of a cake.

I've used them on the wheels of the carriage cake and the plaque on the present cake.

First, you tint some fondant with colour.

I use Wilton gel colours. Use a little toothpick to transfer the colour. Knead the fondant till the colour is uniform.

Take a small ball of fondant. Roll it into hotdog shape. Use a small rolling pin to roll it flat. Then trim the sides.

Roll it up. Make sure to slant it just slightly as you roll it. For the tiny rose that I made, I only need half of that length. Then use your finders to slightly open the folds.

Another method, my prefered method, involves folding the fondant strip prior to rolling. The resultant rose has more rounded edges. In my opinion, a softer, more gentle look.

So, which one do you prefer?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Durian Puffs

I love love durians. Especially the bitter sweet variety. If I can get my hands on durians, they never made it into any cakes or pastry, as I would rather just eat them as is. YUM!

One of my cell member is a great cook and baker. She made some durian puffs the other day. Although I was to avoid dairy products, I just cannot resist! So poor Nathalie suffered for the next few days because of mummy's greed. :-(

I had never tried choux pastry, but I was inspired.

Before I knew it, the stars were all aligned. 1) Borrowed a book from the library about cheesecakes and in it was an easy recipe for choux pastry! and 2) a very generous friend of the family gave us a big tub of durian puree claiming that it was the same ones used in Goodwood Park's famous pastries and 3) there is an idle pack of whipping cream in the fridge.

The choux pastry was easier than I thought and it came out lovely and very well puffed up, with large cavities for lots of durian filling. As for the filling, I took care to make sure that I have more durian than cream for a more satisfying bite.

I ate a couple, if not for allergies, I would have eaten a lot more. It was delicious. But a pastry a tad hard. I would bake for a shorter time next time round.

Recipe for choux pastry adapted from Alex Goh's 'Fantastic Cheesecake'. The original recipe was for eclairs.


Milk 160g
Butter 90g
Flour 100g
Eggs 2 nos


1. Cook milk and butter until it boils
2. Add flour and mix to form a smooth paste. Beat it until lukewarm. (I used the mixer)(
3. Add eggs, one at a time. Bear until well blended and smooth
4. Place choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe a small round.
5. Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I could not find my 1M star nozzle, so I settled on a 1cm round nozzle. The first batch was too big for my liking. For the second batch, I piped about 50c coin round and made small, bite size puffs.

Will be trying eclairs next time.