‘Watermelon’ raisin bread

This week, the hubs and I finally decided that enough is enough and sleep-training has to be administered to little Faith. For months, we did not have quality sleep because Faith woke up a few times in the night and needed us to soothe her back to sleep. Initially, we thought we had it easy since she could sleep through the night when she was about 3 months old but that changed when she experienced teething.

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So, our sleep-training started on Monday. It proved easier for me when the hubs took over. I was simply too soft-hearted and felt terrible having to hear her cry so badly. It’s heart-wrenching. Yesterday, the crying was bad and to distract myself by surfing the Internet for baking recipes. It was then that I stumbled upon the video on Watermelon lookalike raisin bread and logged it into my mind that I would bake the following day. Faith loves bread and I thought this should turn out all right as compared to my previous failed panda bread attempt.

I didn’t really follow how it was done in the video. I guess in bread making, there are some fundamentals that we will all adhere to but there are certainly different ways to doing it. Here’s mine (I’m using the Tang Zhong/ water roux since I want a very light version for my bread. You can also use the standard bread dough for this):

Recipe for the water dough “water roux”:
Cook 250g water with 50g bread flour at medium low heat. Keep stirring until it becomes thickened and there’re no lumps left. If you’ve a candy thermometer, measure it until the temperature turn to 65C then turn off the heat. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a cling wrap to avoid skin forming. The amount of water dough here would be more than what a recipe requires. You could store it in the fridge for about 2 days.
Recipe for the bread (approximately 550g for the dough):
(A) 195g bread flour20131129-060341.jpg
90g plain flour
12g milk powder
30g caster sugar
6g salt
6g yeast
60g beaten eggs
65g room temperature water
75g water roux (cooled & at room temperature)
(B) 45g unsalted butter
(C) 3/4 cup raisins
(D) Red and green food colouring (I used Wilton’s) or use Matcha powder for green
1. Put ingredients (A) and knead using the dough hook until it becomes dough-like and then add in the unsalted butter (B). Continue kneading for about 15 minutes at medium speed until the dough becomes elastic and does not stick to the side of the mixing bowl. You should hear the ‘flap, flap’ sound. 🙂
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2. Divide the  dough into 3 portions in this proportions – 150g (neutral colour), 150g (green) and the remaining for red. Add in the food colours and knead till it has reached the desired colours. Add in the raisins for the red dough and mix till they are evenly incorporated. Let them proof for 40 minutes in clean bowls covered with cling wrap.
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3. Punch down the dough to release the air. Let rest for about 10 minutes.
4. For the red dough, roll it into a log the length of your baking tin. Flatten the neutral-coloured dough and make sure it is big enough to wrap the red dough. You can use a rolling pin to do so. For me, I just use my palm and flatten like the roti prata man. Do the same for the green dough and wrap. Do make sure you seal the seams well, if not, they will open when they go into the oven. The following are the steps.
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5. Place the completed dough in the baking tin (9″ x 5″) [mine is slightly smaller] and proof for 40 minutes. 15 minutes before it is due for baking, switch on the oven to a temperature of 180C.
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6. Egg wash the top of the dough for 15 – 20 minutes. The loaf of bread is done when you hear a hollow sound as you tap the top of the bread. Unmould the loaf and let cool completely on a cooling rack before you cut it into slices.
Note: I would use more matcha powder the next time for green. I suspect it will make a nice combination with raisins. 😉 There’s so much room for improvement. Try it and let me know how it turns out!
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Linking up with

Japanese Strawberry cake (again!)

This is a continuation from the previous post.

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After looking through various sources, I adapted Ochikeron’s recipe and baked an 8″ strawberry cake for a birthday girl. The recipe would have been great for a 6″ cake but since an 8″ is being called for, I have to bake sponge base twice which is not too much of a problem since the recipe is rather straight forward.  I would see if I could double the portion the next time I bake an 8″ strawberry cake.

For now…

Cake base (I made twice for 8″ cake)
2 eggs ( I used 55g egg) @ room temperature
60g caster sugar
60g top flour, sifted
20g unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Syrup
1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
20ml very hot water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream
300ml non-dairy whipping cream (I used Phoon Huat’s; this amount is more than enough and I have left over)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh strawberries (depending on how you decorate the cake)
– for the sandwich layer, slice off the tops and cut into 0.5cm thickness
– for decorations on top, all up to you!

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Beat eggs and sugar over a bain-marie (hot water bath) until the mixture warms up. I used my finger to test. A little warmth is good enough. This is to dissolve the sugar and by adding heat to the egg mixture, more air can be incorporated easily when the mixture is whipped. Remove the mixture from the bain-marie and continue beating the egg mixture till it triples in volume and turns very pale (almost white). I use my standmixer which saves a lot of time and effort!

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2. Towards the last 2 to 3 minutes, beat on the lowest speed. By reducing the speed of the mixer, a stable egg mixture with fine foam is obtained and less volume is lost when the flour is folded in. When the egg mixture has reached the “ribbon stage”, sift in the flour a little at a time in 3 stages. Cut through the mixture with a wire whisk after each addition.

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3. Sprinkle the cooled melted butter over the batter and fold in using a spatula. Take care not to over-mix the batter.

4. Pour the batter from a height of 30cm into a lined tin. Towards the end, pour the remaining batter to one side of the tin.

5. Lift the tin and drop it gently onto the table top twice to eliminate air bubbles.

IMG_91956. Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes. While it bakes, make the simple syrup solution. Dissolve 1/2 tbsp sugar in 20ml of very hot water. Then add the vanilla extract. Stir to mix well and set aside.

7. When the cake is done, turn it onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool with the pan covering it. Wrap using clingwrap when it is completely cooled if you do not intend to frost the cake on the same day (the cake keeps for 2 to 3 days, refrigerated). Otherwise, proceed to slice the cake in half, horizontally.

8. To make the cream, whip the cream and vanilla extract (preferably in a metal bowl) sitting over an ice bath. In the video, she whips till soft peaks form. For me, I whip till stiff peaks are formed. But don’t overwhip! Use instantly or keep it chilled in the fridge, covered, at all times.

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9.Now, brush sugar syrup onto the first layer of the cake (sliced side). This keeps the sponge cake nice and moist.

10. Spread a layer of cream and then top with the cut strawberries. Add another layer of cream over the strawberries.

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11. Brush the remaining layer of cake (sliced side) with sugar syrup, then place it on top of the strawberries and cream. Proceed to frost and decorate the entire cake.

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My initial design was this but I find it a tad too plain for an 8″ cake. Then I redesigned and decided that each slice should have a strawberry and since I’m supposed to pipe some birthday message on it, I used two pieces of dark chocolate and pipe the wordings on them. Royal icing will smudge on the cream so I would have to resort to this method. Not the most beautiful but well, this shows that the cake is home-baked! 😉

12. Keep the cake chilled until time of serving. The colder the cake, the easier it is to cut (and the yummier it is to eat!).

IMG_9224Packed and delivered!

Source: The Little Teochew & Okashi by Keiko Ishida
The video, again.

Japanese-style Strawberry cake | Keiko’s vs Ochikeron’s

I’ve been searching for recipes for light and fluffy sponge cake the past week. Fact is, the sponge cakes I have baked recently were rather firm to the touch and when you sink your teeth into a slice, you feel that you have one lump of stuff in your mouth. I also realised that many, like my mom, prefer their cakes to be light and thus my quest for suitable recipes began.

I had baked the Japanese-style Strawberry Cake using La Fuji Mama’s recipe before and I thought it was good enough. This time round, I used Keiko Ishida’s recipe and I though the result is the same as the previous one. Alas, my mom, my most valued critic, told me that the sponge is not soft enough. Can you imagine my frustration???

IMG_9181Decided on this design after reading this.

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Nearly forgot to take the pic of the interior – the last piece.

The following video is a close representation of Keiko’s genoise sponge recipe. The sponge is soft but I would have wanted it to be softer. I’m not sure if it is supposed to turn out like the above though.
You can find a similar recipe here.

So, I went to do some research again. On my tabs, there is this recipe that I’m supposed to try and I decided to use hers.

And so, I used an 8″ springform pan to bake the cake. It yields one with a height of 1.5cm tall. This won’t do if I want to make a proper cake. So I made another round of batter. The sponge cake turns out soft and fluffy and I think mom would approve of it!

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The recipe can be found here.

Overall, I prefer Ochikeron’s recipe which works wonderfully well for a 6″ cake. It is straightforward and fuss-free. I did use a standmixer to make the egg mixture which is much faster than using a handmixer (my arms hurt!). Her sponge cake is softer and overall, a light and well-aerated sponge cake results.

Disclaimer: I think you have to try the recipes for yourself and determine if my analysis is right. : )

Will post the adapted recipe next!

Gymnademics at the ARC

For a while now, I have thought of enrolling Faith in some gym/ enrichment classes. You see, being a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM), I have the privilege of interacting with Faith all most of the time. I read, play, do grocery shopping and take a walk with her, amongst the many other activities that we engage in. HOWEVER, there are times, oh, many times that I do not know what to do with her. Basically, I have run out of ideas! Fellow SAHMs, do you face the same issue?

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After browsing parenting blogs like those of Candice and  Adeline who share their experiences on Gymnademics, I emailed them about their trial class since I wanted to check out the environment for myself and see how Faith reacts to the class. But the sleep-deprived mom soon forgot about it until I received an email from the centre, inviting me to visit the outlet at Alexandra Retail Centre (ARC). It’s a timely reminder, so I thought, and made an appointment to go down.

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We were warmly greeted by the staff and Joseph, the GM, walked through the programme with the hubs and me. The studios were visually colourful and child-friendly. Faith warmed up to Joseph minutes into the sharing and then busied herself with the musical instruments. She was really engaged with them as the hubs guided her to explore the instruments. No need Mama already!

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After the brief introduction of the gym and what they do, I was all ready to enrol Faith in the class when I was asked if I would be interested to be their ambassador for a term. Why, yes, of course! This will be an awesome opportunity to learn more about Gymnademics, her vision and beliefs.

I am all eager for Faith to start and am thankful that the centre allows BOTH parents to be with the child during each lesson. So, that means all of us can learn together. I am also informed that the parents would be given some materials after each session so that they can reinforce what was learnt during the lesson at home. Let’s just see if this is true. 😉

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Faith is going to start the lesson in about two weeks’ time and she will be attending the lesson at the ARC’s outlet. Apart from the fact that it is quite a distance from our home, I guess the other factors are still good and enticing enough for us to attend the class there. They include:

1) It is within a sheltered walking distance from Labrador Park MRT (circle line)IMG_2824
2) There are many F&B outlets at ARC (so we will also be exploring the makan places here!)
3) NTUC (can do grocery shopping!)
4) Parking is free on weekends (yay for those who drive!)
5) We can explore the area like the Hort Park, Henderson Waves, Labrador Park, etc after the session ( means family outing!)

I will be sharing Faith’s progress at Gymnademics for sure. Do stay tune as there will be some give-aways in future posts.

To celebrate the new outlet at ARC, Gymnademics is offering some opening specials when you sign up for a class package by 30 Nov 13:

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Gymnademics @ ARC
460 Alexandra Road
Singapore 119963
Tel: +65 62717569
Email: info@gymnademics.com
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Faith @ 12 months old

20131122-090317.jpgDear Faith, you are 1 year old! Yay! The whole family rejoices with you!

This month saw you reaching a few milestones. You had been cruising for some time now and recently, you were able to stand on your feet without any assistance. That’s quite a progress! Previously, you were so afraid that you would fall but I guess you have finally caught the idea of standing. The next step for you is to walk, baby! Don’t let fear grip you or else you will not learn!

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This month, you finally know how to hold the bottle and drink from it! Lately you also decided that you should just feed yourself as compared to having the adults put food into your mouth. Though that’s not very often, Mama is confident that you will do so more frequently and also learn to use the utensils soon!

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Since you have turned one, Mama is really giving you freedom in the food that you eat. No more pureed stuff. Anyway, I think you don’t appreciate them anymore. You are still not good in your chewing but noodles, porridge and fish seem fine.

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You take some time to warm up to adults. Are you shy? They like your company, you know? Do show your friendliness by your waves! Thankfully, you are fine with Gong Gong, Po Po and Ah Gong. Gong Gong said you like to hang out with Po Po and choose to play by her side. Hah!

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Actually, you can be quite cheeky, letting out your laughter and cause the adults to chuckle. Gong Gong said you have become more mischievous! Stay that way! We suspect you like to hang out with peers your age because when Papa and Mama bring you out, you seem to like to be with the little kids! Perhaps, Mama should bring your out on some play dates soon.

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Personally, Mama thinks that you have changed a little in terms of your look. Looking more like a lady eh?

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Papa and Mama hope that you can sleep through the night. You wake up a few times in the night and also start the day early at 6am but… you will soon fall back to sleep and I have to put you in the carrier. Mama’s back is getting worse each time. You are not that light anymore! Hah. Maybe Mama shouldn’t indulge you anymore and should train you from now on.

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Stay healthy and happy!

Happy 1st birthday, Faith

Your birthday was yesterday but Mama was too busy to blog!

Anyway, we didn’t intend to have a birthday bash for you as we want you to spend time with your loved ones, our family who have lent their helping hands throughout this one year. Perhaps next year, we will have a small party for you and you can celebrate and have fun with your friends?

It’s a pity that your cousins are still overseas, otherwise they would be celebrating with you.

20131121-115859.jpgHere you are celebrating with Gong Gong. He has helped Papa and Mama very much when we are both busy and Gong Gong adores you!

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It’s a family affair when it comes to birthday celebration. We also celebrated your Ko Po’s birthday too. She even cooked you Mee Sua as is the family tradition to have this on his/her birthday.

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The older folks really love you!

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Mama baked you a rainbow cake covered with macarons. May your life be filled with vibrancy!

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We had initially wanted to be decked in pink (Mama’s favourite colour) but grey seems fine too! May you grow up with the right values and the wisdom to discern what is right in situations where there are gray areas.

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Here’s a little about the rainbow cake. I had initially designed a two tiered cake since we are celebrating Koko’s birthday too. It would be a fruit cake for the adult and the rainbow cake for the kiddo. However, by the time I finished baking and ready to assemble, my energy level has dropped and decided to forgo the fruit cake.

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A day before, the father-in-law came over as he suspected that I would be baking a cake. How thoughtful! I used the vanilla cake recipe but reduced the sugar to 1 cup. After dividing the batter into 5 portions, I added the various colours.

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Then, they are cling-wrapped and placed in the fridge before the assembling the following day.

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To be honest, I had wanted to bake the macarons but since so many colours are involved, I forgo it and bought them instead. Unless there are folks who can help me finish the shells, I wouldn’t bake them. Too much trouble!

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I made a mistake of placing the finished product in the fridge, thinking that I could preserve the crispiness of the macarons but in so doing, the cake has become hard even though it was brought out of the fridge 3 hours after. The next day, when I consumed the remaining cake, it was softer and tastier. Hmm… lesson learnt. Another thing to improve is to add in more buttercream in each layer.

Faith | Celebrating one year of goodness

Faith is turning 1 year old! Woot! Here’s tracing Faith’s growth by the months through pics.
Moments after she was born.

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At 1 month old.

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At 2 months old

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At 3 months old

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At 4 months old

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At 5 months old

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At 6 months old

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At 7 months old

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At 8 months old

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At 9 months old

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At 10 months old

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At 11 months old

Photo on 10-22-13 at 10.21 AM #4

At 12 months old

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Weekend trip to Legoland

Our family travelled up to Legoland over the weekend with our cell group from church. As we wanted to travel up together as a convoy, we departed at 4pm and reached our hotel, Hotel Granada, JB, at around 7pm via the second link. We thought the hotel is well-located, with a fast-food restaurant just outside the building and Aeon JUSCO Shopping Arcade within walking distance.

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Faith warming up the JT and S at the hotel lobby.

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IMG_9022After resting for a while, we proceeded to our dinner place which was recommended by one of our cell members. We ordered quite a number of dishes and in the end, each adult only pays about S$10! Wow!

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The following day, before proceeding to Legoland, we hopped over to the mall to satisfy our shopping desire. We only had about 2 1/2 hours to do so and to have our lunch as well. Since it is impossible to have A & W back home, we went for this fast-food joint naturally. However, I must say, the standard has dropped and the portion, shrunk.

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Need my caffeine fix!

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It was drizzling when we reached the theme park. Thankfully, we brought umbrellas. However, even if you didn’t bring, you can loan from them!

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Watching the 4D show

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We did not take the rides this time round but we are definitely coming back again with our family and I’m sure it will be loads of fun then!

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Accident scene

Accident scene

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Love travelling in groups and driving up with these folks is all fun and laughter! Shall we have more?

IMG_2718The Christmas season is sure marching in furiously!

A day to remember

14 November. My menses came {finally} after almost a year of breastfeeding Faith. It is also a day that Faith got to visit a doctor (first second time!) after coughing and wheezing for days.

Thankfully, there were no M cramps which I normally would have. I guess the Lord must have known that I needed strength to bring Faith to the clinic and to look after her. The hubs would be out till late at night since he had a dinner to attend.

To save time and to prevent a cranky baby crying on the way to the clinic, I chose one that is near our place. The little one was excited to see other children in the clinic and attempted to play with the available toys. She was diagnosed to have bronchitis and her airways were blocked. No wonder she hasn’t been eating or drinking well. Poor girl! So she was given some medication and I just hope I’ll remember to administer them at the right timing!

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Bored and started to play

Bored and started to play

Faith's medication

Faith’s medication

To encourage her to eat, I baked pumpkin bread for her, pumpkin being her favourite vegetable.

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Get well soon!
Oh yes, Faith manages to acquire the skill of holding the water bottle and drinking it by herself.
Thanks to the secret training Gong Gong gave her. =)

A new milestone reached

Faith reached a new milestone today! She could stand up on her own with much confidence! My in-laws were here to witness that proud moment and we were all cheering for her as she did that.

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Prior to this, Faith has been learning to stand but she always has the fearful expression. Perhaps, she fears falling. At my dad’s place, she likes to move around with the tricycle and cruise all around. Finally she got it!

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Other fun pictures over the week!

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We bought Chinese books for her! And now the Mama has to brush up on her Chinese too!

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And Faith loves Mama’s wallet … a lot!

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😉

Hello Kitty Cupcakes

I had another order – 20 Hello Kitty cupcakes – over the weekend and I thought I should just post the process of making them.

I made the toppers a few days in advance so that they can be dried and stored before the actual day of assembling.  They are rather easy to make as long as you have the mould which you can purchased from baking stores like Phoon Huat, Sunlik and Bake King. However, it can be time consuming too. 😉

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After the faces have been cut out and dried, I applied yellow fondant as the nose.

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The next step is to do the ribbons. I had made them using the mould but it was way too time-consuming to do that. This time round, I just mould them using freehand. Stick to the ears and dry them.

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Then, ‘paste’ the face to the pink background – circles – which were made beforehand. Dry them.

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Apply black icing as whiskers. I only applied light strokes as I don’t like them too dark. Dry them again.

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Assembling time! The cupcakes are baked and buttercream applied so that the toppers can stick to them.

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My place is rather warm and you can see that sweating happens very soon!

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Since the customer is going to place these cupcakes in the fridge, I cling-wrapped them to minimise sudden change in temperature after they are taken out of the fridge. This is to prevent sweating. Not a very pretty and inviting sight to behold, ya know? ;p

FFWD | compote de pommes two ways

The name above is basically applesauce in French and being a lover of apples, I’ll definitely avail myself to make this! I used20131108-211629.jpg NZ colt apples and Fuji apples for this and it takes a while for the colt apples to soften. In the end, the chopper did the mashing for me.

I proceeded to do apple turnovers since mom loves these. Knowing she doesn’t really appreciate very sweet desserts, I have scaled down the amount of sugar by a bit and didn’t add anymore during the cooking process. And the best thing is, she likes the turnover, saying that the sweetness is just right!

Makes my day, I tell you.

This is the first way that Dorie talked about, the traditional way. I’ve yet to try the second way which is to add salted butter and vanilla extract. Next time.

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This is a weekly attempt at French food via French Fridays with Dorie.
If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us?

 

A dino cake for a 1YO

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Some weeks ago, I received a FB message from a mom asking me if  I could bake her son a cake for his one-year-old 20131110-142901.jpgcelebration. According to her, she would gladly support a SAHM for the effort as compared to purchasing one from a bakery. I was obviously happy that someone (a stranger!) would trust me enough to perform this task. Originally, a simple vanilla cake with buttercream was asked for and since the son loves this dinosaur that he often plays with, I came up with the first design.

Subsequently, the mom asked if it was possible to do a cake covered with fondant + a figurine and gave me a budget. Another draft was then made.

Draft 1 | Buttercream cake

Draft 1 | Buttercream cake

Second draft | Fondant cake

Draft 2 | Fondant cake

Thankfully, the mom was rather easy-going and accepted the proposed design very quickly. Love working with such people!

One week before the actual delivery, the figurine was made since it takes time to dry the material. I used full gumpaste for the dinosaur and tried to sculpt it based on the picture I received.

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To create the desired colour, I combine orange and red. Divide the gumpaste into the various parts of the dinosaur.

IMG_8692This is the first dino that I made which is quite ugly in my opinion due to the cracks.

IMG_8693The second dino. Much smoother and I painted it with the relevant {food} colours.

After the figurine is done, it is left to dry. Since I have no air-con and I do fear that it will not dry in time, I dried it using the fan and it was switched on 24 hours for 2 days! I also wrapped the dino with clingflim as I’m afraid the hands will not stay intact. Thankfully after 2 days, I could safely say it was okay!

Next, a day before the collection, the vanilla cake was baked and sandwiched using IMBC. Since the mom had requested for a less sweet cake, I reduced the amount of sugar and hoped that it would be to her liking. The cake has to be completely cooled before covering with fondant and that’s the reason why I baked it a day before.

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Something went wrong after I’ve covered the cake with fondant the first time. The air pockets expanded and they made the cake rather grotesque. Thankfully, I covered the cake the night before and I could redo the whole act on the day of delivery. A few reasons could contribute to the air bubbles but I believe the main reason is that my place is warm and this results.

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Thankfully, there is still sufficient time and I re-covered the entire cake using another type of buttercream and this time round, I made sure that I covered well so that air bubbles could be minimised.

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Roll out fondant to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Since this is a 8″ by 3″ cake, I rolled to a circle of diameter 14cm.

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Sometimes, when we cover the cake, it may not be a perfect job but no worries, borders can always cover up the imperfection. This is meant to be the grass on the sides of the cake and then I covered another stripe of chocolate fondant over it as the mud/ ground. The fondant is chocolate-flavoured and tastes not bad!

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Once these are done, the rest can be quickly assembled.

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These should be made beforehand so that they are a tad dry during assembling.

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This cake will only be consumed the next day and I certainly hope there will not be any major problem!
Dear cake, please do your part to satisfy the family and the birthday boy.

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Clingwrapped and off to be delivered.

Complimentary cupcakes for the boy to play with. Hah!

Complimentary cupcakes for the boy to play with. Hah!

Lessons learnt and changes to be made in future:

1) Cover the cake with chocolate ganache to ensure smooth covering and prevent air bubbles
http://www.artandappetite.com/2009/11/ganache-instead-of-buttercream/

2) Cake should be covered, assembled, delivered and consumed within the same day, if possible.

3) Press down the layers of cake after sandwiching with buttercream to prevent any trapped air

4) Consider installing air-conditioner?

About air bulging after covering cake fondant

http://cakecentral.com/t/686940/fondant-and-buttercream-bulges-air-bubbles

http://www.deliciouscakedesign.com/blog/?tag=air-bubbles-under-fondant

http://www.artandappetite.com/2009/11/ganache-instead-of-buttercream/

For Vanilla Cake (Yields an 8 x 2″ cake)
I made 2 portions for this cake

2 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. I used 2 8-inch tins. Line the tins with baking paper.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder together.

3. In a standmixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 1 minute. Gradually add the castor sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated.IMG_8723

5. Add the vanilla extra and beat until combined.

6. With mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add half of the milk and beat. Repeat and then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined.

6. Spoon mixture into baking tins. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean.

For Italian Meringue Buttercream

You will need:
190g caster sugar
38g water
75g egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature, in cubes
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Make sure the sugar is dissolve in the water and cook the mixture until it reaches 120C. This will take from 5 to 10 minutes. After the sugar is dissolved (while continue boiling), I would wet a pastry brush and wet the sides of the pan to prevent sugar from crystalising.

2. While boiling the sugar  syrup, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 115C degrees, start to whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until soft peaks are formed. The sugar syrup is still being boiled at this time. When it reaches 120C, remove from the heat source. reduce the standmixer speed to low and drizzle in the sugar syrup from the side so that the hot syrup doesn’t splatter.  Raise the speed to high when all the syrup is poured in and continue to whisk until the mixture cools to room temperature (or when you can touch the steel bowl , 5 to 10 minutes.IMG_8786

3. Only when the meringue is cool enough should you begin to add the butter. I gauge using my sense of touch. If I can hold on to the sides of the steel bowl of the standmixer comfortably, it’s at the right temperature. Reduce the speed to medium. With the mixer running, drop in the butter, 1 tbsp or cube at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding another. The mixture may deflate and begin to look curdled. Just raise the speed to high and continue to add tbsp-size pieces of butter, making sure each is completely combined before adding more. When all the butter has been added, the frosting should be smooth and thick. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Feedback from customer: Thankfully the air bubbles did not show up! They were happy with the workmanship though they find that the cake is firm ( not much of a choice, I’m afraid!) and a bit too sweet. So, that means I still have to reduce the amount of sugar!

WW | A look at my dining table

So this is a messy dining table in my apartment currently because I’m working on some cake orders due this weekend.

A sneak peek.

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This dining table should be back to its usual state after this week. I just hope da man won’t mind that much! ;p

Linking up with

First proper Amen!

Recently, we have been introducing ‘Amen’ to Faith especially when giving thanks for the food that we consume. I guess she is also exposed whenever we are attending service or even in our weekly small group. Each morning when she wakes up and night before she turns in, I would also pray with her and close with an ‘Amen’. Faith will always look at me in the eyes and smile whenever the prayer is completed.

Just now, da man came over to us after his shower and started to pray together with us and as he finished off with, “In Jesus’ name we pray”, Faith clasped her hands and uttered ‘Amen’ audibly and with much confidence. You could have imagined my joy! All three of us said ‘Amen’ together! Faith must have known that she had done something right and clapped her hands.

May this continue and that as a family, we will continue to walk in His ways.

Oh Lord, grant us wisdom to parent Faith in Your ways.

Uncle G’s birthday

We celebrated G’s birthday with a meal at a Cantonese restaurant and while taking pictures of Faith, I realised her face features have changed a little. Still adorable and now even more so. This little girl has indeed grown!

Celebrated our church's 27th anniversary. Thanking God for His faithfulness towards us.

Celebrated our church’s 27th anniversary. Thanking God for His faithfulness towards us.

Papa teaching Faith the name of the restaurant

Papa teaching Faith the name of the restaurant

Faith having her bowl of fish porridge and she likes it!

Faith having her bowl of fish porridge and she likes it!

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The many facial expression of Faith

Happy birthday, Gab!

Happy birthday, Gab!

FFWD | Hurry Up and Wait Roast Chicken

Loving this recipe because I just have to add some oil, salt and pepper to this combination and put the skillet into the oven. It saves a lot of time too since I can do my stuff while waiting for the chicken to be ready. Since there are only two of us, I used two chicken thighs instead of the whole chicken. Of course, in my family, vegetables are important and to complete this meal, potatoes, cauliflower and carrots are thrown in.

Both Ken and I had a scrumptious dinner! Yummy!

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This is a weekly attempt at French food via French Fridays with Dorie. If you are interested in French cooking, why not join us?

November, a month of celebration

I’m welcoming November with wide open arms, simply because there are too many birthdays to celebrate and we are awaiting the arrival of a dear friend’s baby boy!

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Can’t do without cakes on birthdays eh? It’s thus a good opportunity for me to practise my craft!

First up. I did my first figurine – mother and child birds. Haha. I added tylose powder to fondant so that they will harden and leave them overnight facing the fan. By the second day, they are almost ready but I thought I should continue to let them firm up.

Covered the cake with Italian Meringue Buttercream as the crumb coat and used Satin Ice. However, the fondant is way too soft for me to manage and I find it too sweet for my liking. I think I should just stick to my usual brand.

After some trial and error, this is the product. Simple eh?

I think I might have come up  with my own IMB recipe!

I think I might have come up with my own IMB recipe!

The tools I use to cover the cake with fondant. Alas, I applied too much buttercream!

The tools I use to cover the cake with fondant. Alas, I applied too much buttercream!

Condensation taking place

Condensation taking place

Another attempt on another cake

Another attempt on another cake. Crumb coat. Just a thin layer will do.

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Mother & child

It’s a good start to November!