Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Subaru WRX

A dear friend wanted me to make a car topper for her son's 6th birthday cake. Not ANY car, but a SUBARU IMPREZA WRX WRC 2005. *sweat* But still, I rose to the challenge... :P

Here's how it looked like on the yummilicious cake my friend baked.

Side comparison with the model car that I referenced

Top view

Back view

Car made with store bought ready made fondant :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

DARING BAKER: August 2008 - Chocolate Éclairs

My 'First Challenge'! Well, I have a confession. July was SUPPOSED to be my first challenge. But due to some work related issues, I could not complete it on time. So... *sob sob*...

Then August's challenge came along *yay*. This time it's hosted by Tony Tahhan and MeetaK . And it's Chocolate Éclairs.. yumz. I've made Choux pastry before, and I often have problems with the pastry deflating (due to undercooking). This time was no exception.

My heart was deflated with the first batch. But I grit my teeth, and counted my eggs (to see if I still had enough).. and went at it again. This time I baked it longer... my anticipation rose as I saw the little puffs expanded in the oven. Then...... wait for it...... wait for it..................... ta da!

They were supposed to be swans... albeit a little deformed :P
You can see another batch of cream puffs rising to it's golden puffiness in my oven... yumz!

Cream puffs were filled with the given chocolate pastry cream recipe. It tasted totally yumz for me... and my 21 month old daughter. I know coz she didn't want to share!

The swans were presented to my sister in law as we were celebrating her birthday that night.

The recipe called for more eggs than my usual cream puff recipe, but I didn't mind the egginess at all! And I would definitely make the chocolate pastry cream again (and I did.. for Aunty Irene's birthday cake)

My pics sux. I should spend more time taking pictures of the final products next time. Check out the babies by the other Daring Bakers.

Here's the recipe.

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze ( I didn't do this)
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce (--- I didn't do this-----)
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lounging with a good book

A friend requested that I make a topper for her daughter, Amanda's 12th birthday. Amanda has been working hard as her UPSR (nationwide exam for Primary Year 6 students) is fast approaching. Her birthday falls within the exam period, so her mum decided to celebrate her birthday earlier. A short breather for her before her exams begin.

Now Amanda is a little of a bookworm. Her mum said, "She's always on the sofa with a book." And thus, that became the inspiration for the topper.

I had the vision in my head and was planning to get the fondant to make the topper this week. *sob* Fate has it that there is a lack of supply of fondant this week!

Lucky me, I had another pack of Marshmallow at home... the good ole Marshmallow Fondant came to the rescue. *phew*. This time I mixed in two teaspoons of GumTex to help with the hardening process.

Hi, I'm catching up on some R&R (Reading and Relaxing)
-- the tub you see at her feet is actually my tub of food based color paste. It's there to support the topper till it hardens :P

*Meow*.. can I sit on your lap?

The back of the seat. Wanted to capture the kind of seats that my friend has at home. The holes at the back reminds me of the wooden seats I used to have at home.

A for Amanda :)

I'll add some more details later today. Hope Amanda likes it *cross fingers*

Figurine : Marshmallow Fondant

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let's have a Bull-ish market

This was ordered for a special someone who's really into the share market and finances. My task was to create something fun with it. Yikes!

So I thought... and I thought.. and I thought some more... Eureka! Bull vs Bear. But of course with cuter representations.

So let's see... imagine a bull and a bear, in a mud pit (since it was chocolate cake that was ordered). That means I can muck up the Chocolate Ganache (read : Not super smooth) hehehe Oh evil little me!

The side of the cake is coated with dessicated coconut

Yay! I win, said the bull

Ow! Ow! Get'off my back!, yelled the bear

Cake: Chocolate cake
Filling : Chocolate Ganache
Topping: Chocolate Ganache
Figurine: Fondant

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dear Aunty Irene

“Only an Aunt can give hugs like a mother, can keep secrets like a sister,
and share love like a friend.”~ Spanish Proverb

Aunty Irene turns 70 this year. She's the sweetest aunt anyone could ask for. She's actually my husband's aunt (so I guess I am related to her now by marriage hehe).
She sends cards (yes, physical cards via snail mail) just to say thanks, or just to drop a note to say hi.

Her daughters (B&B), decided to do something special for her this year. See, Aunty Irene is part of a nearly '8 is enough' family. She has 2 brothers (my Father In Law inclusive) and 4 sisters. The thing is, all her sisters got married to non-Malaysians and are scattered across Australia, Italy and France.

This year.. the WHOLE gang decided to get together to SURPRISE her. It took B&B nearly 1 year to get all the logistics. I of course offered what I think I can do best.... the cake :)

I wanted the cake to be special (just like Aunty Irene) and just as sweet. So this is what I came up with.

The top layer was Chocolate butter cake with chocolate cream. The bottom layer, Lemon butter cake with lemon curd filling. The whole presentation was covered with fondant with royal icing flowers.

I am so glad that the cake was a hit! An uncle from Australia who's NOT a cake person came up to me and told me he LOVED the lemon cake. *phew*

Happy Birthday Aunty Irene :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fit for a princess

My cousin turned 6 last weekend. Instead of cracking my head for a gift.. I offered to bake a cake (naturally). Her request was .... a pink castle, with lots of flowers..

Immediate thought.. should I have just cracked my head for a gift? HAHAHAHA..
Anyway, I must admit I was excited of the challenge. Or maybe it was the little girl in me who got excited.. :)

Three cakes, and 5 hours later... tada!

The pink castle for Megan

M - For Megan, naturally...

Knock Knock.. is there a princess inside there?

Oh there was a lil' duck pond behind the castle too :)
(made with royal icing)
Cake : Buttercake with strawberry swirls .. totally yum!
Frosting : Strawberry jam
Decoration : Fondant, royal icing
p/s : We bought candles from Tesco in the shape of horses (didn't manage to take pics though).. and just before the ceremony, Megan gets to place the horses on the castle.. it was so adorable.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ice Cream or Cupcake?

This was inspired by my dear friend Babe. She in turn was inspired by Chef Michael Smith (from Chef at Home and Chef at Large). It's such a novel idea and an interesting twist to a cupcake.

The interesting thing about this cupcake recipe is that it contains NO FLOUR. Yup.. hehe.. not exactly living up to my blog's name (Floury Moments). Thus the final product is a very fudgy, chocolaty cupcake. Because I used dark chocolate, it has a bit of a bitter taste to it as well.. hehe all good if you are not into super sweet chocs.

Though having said that, the marshmallow frosting was completely new for me too.. and it was DIVINE!.. I didn't manage to get it up to stiff peak as the recipe called for (but can somebody tell me how many gm is 4 packs of gelatin!?!). I cheated and popped my frosting into the freezer a couple of minutes between whips :P .. it did come to thick ribbon consistency.. thus the shape didn't retain when it was piped onto the cones.

Transporting these babies requires science!! hehe ... I had to resort to using my aluminium cupcake cups to stabilise them.

Doesn't it look sweet?

This batch of cupcakes were made for my bake buddy, Bea. She's such a talented baker.. Now that she's focusing on her thriving home baked cakes business.. I wish her ALL the best.. and I'm sure she's on the sweet path to success :)