A cake for mom

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I have been thinking about making a cake for mom for quite some time. And I thought it apt to do so for her birthday. In our family, we don’t really celebrate birthdays. At most, we will go out for a meal (and that only happens for dad and mom) but most of the time, it is just a greeting.

This year, sis and her family would be coming back and I thought of a cake that would please the young and old. My nephews love strawberries and I thought the strawberry cake that I have baked a while ago would suffice. But to celebrate mom’s birthday, perhaps I should pipe rosettes on it?

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I took two days to bake this cake because it’s quite a challenge to do so in one day with a baby who needs you to carry her at times. On Thursday, I baked the sponge cake and sandwiched with two layers of sliced Korean strawberries (cos mom said these strawberries are sweeter) and whipped cream frosting.

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Deciding on what to use for the rosettes is difficult. I need a frosting that could withstand the hot and humid weather of Singapore. However, I also want the cake to be tasty and not too candy-like so frosting made with icing sugar is out. In the end, I settled on swiss meringue buttercream. Fortunately, I found this website but I have changed the method a little.

Using the same amount of ingredients,
100g egg white (3 large eggs)
135g sugar
227g unsalted butter, soft but still cold, cut into small equal size of cubes

Remove butter from fridge and cut into small cubes, set aside (you can do so slightly later too). Lightly whisk egg whites in a mixing bowl, place over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).

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Add in sugar in 3 batches, whisk sugar and egg whites till sugar is fully dissolved (rub some with your fingers, if it feels grainy, it hasn’t dissolved yet). I took about 4 minutes.

IMG_0223Remove from heat. Transfer the mixture into another bowl and using the standmixer and the balloon whisk, I whisk for about 5mins till peaks are stiff, thick and glossy.

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With the mixer at low (speed 1 or 2), add in the butter cube one by one, ensuring that each addition is well incorporated before adding the next one. Beat till mixture become curdles, stop the mixer, take a spatula, continue to fold and stir till the mixture become creamy and satiny. This takes rather long and at first, it was runny and I wanted to give up. But I thought I should just persist and there and then, it curdled. Phew!

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Using Ateco’s 824 star tip and adding a tinge of Wilton’s rose colouring, pipe rosettes on the cake. Remember to do a crumb coat first! If you know me, I’m not very good with decorating and piping so this is not done very well. Since Faith was making noise while I was doing all these, I thought she should just join me.

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I’m going to share with you a secret. The batch of buttercream is insufficient! I could only cover the top part and half of the side. So, I guess I would have to increase 1.5 times for the buttercream the next time! For now, I just have to bear with the imperfections and hopefully, mom wouldn’t mind. She won’t. I’m sure. I have fun making this cake and I’m actually quite hooked!

And so, I’m striking off one of the to-do items off my 30-stuff’s list. Yay!

IMG_0250Ok. Packed. Can’t wait for dinner later!

* Note to self. Photography skill needs to improve. Need to buy cake stand.

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FFWD: Pierre Herme’s olive sables

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I am all excited for this week’s item for the following reasons:

1) I have not cooked using olive before. Olive oil, yes, but not olive itself. Growing up, mom has never introduced this so it is alien to me. Most of the time, when they exist in a salad that I order, I would put them aside, even though I know how they can benefit the body.

2) This recipe was given to Dorie by Pierre Herme. How can you not bake it??

3) I have not baked sables before and a savory one? This is going to be super exciting!

IMG_3186The other day, I went to the local supermarket to purchase the pitted black olives. The lady at the counter asked me what I would be doing with it. My reply, “I’m going to bake cookies with it.” Her eyes widened. Huh? Olives? I have never heard of that! Neither have I.

So, you can imagine my excitement.

I started preparing this yesterday since it is advisable to chill the dough for at least several hours, or, better yet, overnight. And since I cannot wait to taste it, I baked about 6 slices of them, just to try.

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The dough for these slice and bake sables (French for shortbreads) includes the grated yolk (whoah!) of a hard-boiled agg, potato starch and confectioners’ sugar and the dough is super soft which explains why we need to chill it.

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So, how does a sable taste like? Personally, I’m not quite sure but mine is rather tender. I like the savory twist to a cookie. Brilliant.

Note: Try not to use canned black olives. They will fall apart or turn mushy when chopped.

If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us in French Fridays with Dorie? Next item on the list is Financiers. Can’t wait!