Thursday, December 29, 2011
Guys, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope you all have a great time enjoying your holiday! As for me, it won't be any traveling at all, maybe just hanging out in the malls or if I am lucky enough, going to the beach when the weather and transportation allow and T's office is closed. So are you going somewhere?
Lately I have been quite swamped with cupcakes and became fond of them. There was a few corporate orders that sum up to 500 pieces of vanilla cupcakes required to be delivered within one week. It was kind of fun and amusing exploring how I could cope with tight deadlines, and cupcake stress.
When all was over and I looked back at the cupcake moment, I was pleased knowing that I have done my part in spreading joy to other people during this festive season, particularly those who have consumed my cupcakes. Hopefully at the end of it, those who liked them would do their part spreading words to their friends and I would get to bake more cupcakes next year, right?
As for now until the end of the year, I am delightfully taking my day easy, although I have to start thinking about the UK visa application soon.
Let's wish all the best for our 2012! Good luck and greatest success for all of you!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It has been a while since the last time I posted something on this blog. My apology to all of you who have taken the time to drop by only to find the same old post. And my gratitude to all of you who have sent warm regards and concerned emails asking how I was doing. Thank you!
A couple of things happened that took my time entirely away from blogging. First I was so overwhelmed of preparing my entry to the ICCA Wedding Cake Competition in Malaysia taking place end of last September. It was my very first competition so it was understandable how seriously I must have taken it. A three week dedication that consisted of flower preparation, coloring and dusting, and a lot of rolling and folding. In the meantime I also had to worry about the flight, accommodation, and how to carry my cake on board.
I was just super busy. There were times when I thought it was just too tiring joining such overseas event and should just quit. But then T was always there to comfort me and put me back on track thinking positively that it was a worthwhile journey of experience, either win or lose at the end. Due to the number of things we need to hand carry into the airplane, T finally decided to accompany me for the trip. A great support came just right in time, one week to the competition day.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Thanks to Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!, this month is passing by with lots of fun, call it candy fun!
I am sure many Daring Bakers have developed great chocolate and candy creations, and that is why I have been so excited about this challenge, and make sure that I will not skip it, no excuses whatsoever. This is a great challenge I have been looking forward to...
Personally I felt great that finally got to make a chocolate version of Ispahan, which is a blend of white chocolate, rose water, and lychees. It is in fact a compatible match with almonds, so I just can't wait to eat all these once the photo shoot is over. And they are in pink, who could resist?
At the same time, I also made Lychee Delight (a lychee version of Turkish Delight)and Coconut Lime Chocolate Truffles. So all in all, I have made two chocolate candies and one non chocolate candy. It has been a great time and I am on my way to fulfill my craving for chocolate right after this. I am sure you are too, aren't you?
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
T landed a birthday cake order, for his company who runs a stylish shopping center in Bangkok. He was very excited about it as he was in charge of organizing the party and keen on making it extraordinary.
He thought I was the right person who could make the cake that fitted the occasion. I asked him what he had in mind and he firmly conveyed that the cake had to represent the company's business. So after throwing a few ideas, T settled on a fondant cake in a shopping bag shape. That would be the first customized fondant cake for such birthday event in his company and he was sure everyone would be delighted about it.
Apparently I was just as excited as him about the cake. Took the initiative to do a sample cake one week before the actual event. Just wanted to make sure that it would be the right size and decoration that would fit the theme that he had planned out for the party. It was also a good practice to get all the things right for the real cake.
Everything went smoothly with the sample cake, and the real cake in the following week. It was so much fun watching the company's staff who attended the party taking turns in photographing the cake. And as for the next day, I had seen at least two or three persons including the cake photos in their Facebook. Cool!
My conclusion is as everyone likes shopping, everyone seems to like a shopping bag cake too. Thanks T for having the confidence in me! And hope you all enjoy the photos of the pink sample cake and the purple real cake!
Friday, July 29, 2011
I had thought about skipping this month’s challenge due to my lack of focus. My mind was filled with thoughts about completing a shopping bag birthday cake which was initially being ordered for delivery on 22nd this month. For some reason it was postponed for another week and the new date was 27th which was also the date of delivering Daring Bakers’ Fraisier. It was tedious to concentrate on a couple of things at the same time so I finally decided to just focus in my shopping bag project.
The cake was delivered on time and I thought that was it – me setting aside the Daring Bakers Challenge and was merely happy with one achievement rather than two. But then something happened, on the way back home T bought me 2 packs of strawberries out of the blue. He never did this before and it was like a hint that within whatever time left out there I had to continue with the challenge, even though I was late. Well, better be late than never at all, right?
So there I was, making the best I could mending for the lost time. And I should really say that I am glad that I have done it. This Fraisier is filled with strawberries and instead of having a layer of almond paste on the top, I chose to cover it with Mango Jelly. I was just so in a mood of summer due to my boredom of the rainy season we have right now, so mango and strawberry definitely brighten up my day… and I am sure they will to yours too.
Thanks to Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes for this wonderful challenge. Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Sometimes we are surprised of how simple things could please our eyes and bring us happiness. I guess some great cake decorators understand and practice this concept occasionally. The other day I was decorating my cake and thinking hard what design I should create to go along with my Gerbera sugar flowers. So there Mich Turner came into picture.
A London’s top cake designer who are well known for her creations, Mich Turner has written many inspiring cake decorating books. One that is in my collection and has become an important source of ideas is “Wedding Cakes” published in 2009. In that wonderful book on page 78 Mich, who is famous for her chic and contemporary design showed that when a grid of ½ inch lines running in random direction are piped on cake, and then dots of pearls are added at random spots on those lines, the result is a very cool pattern.
It took me just a short while to complete such seemingly detailed pattern. And I could not wait to quickly compose my Gerbera flowers on it. These blossoms are made in various colors and sitting in the air-proof container for quite some time now. The moment has arrived for them to strike a pose.
Thanks to Mich for the wonderful pattern, and wish to read and enjoy more of her books in the near future. I am sure if you are fond of fondant cake decorating, you might have some of her books in your collection too. Which one is your favorite?
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Cattleya is a genus of 113 species of orchids from Costa Rica to tropical South America. The genus was named in 1824 by John Lindley after Sir William Cattley who received and successfully cultivated specimens of Cattleya labiata that were used as packing material in a shipment of other orchids made by William Swainson (wikipedia.com)
Cattleya is definitely the queen of orchirds. Due to its size and beauty, Cattleya represents our visual idea of all orchirds. Typically recognized by its showy flowers, there are hundreds of species around. Recently my observation in the orchird exhibition concluded that there were almost no color limits to this flowers – white, yellow, light green, purple, orange, you name it!
I had so much fun forming and shaping these flowers. And if you notice well, Cattleya is in Top 5 of flowers to be used in decorating Wedding Cake. I can’t agree more, once these flowers are up there on the cake, they turn the creation into magical beauty and elegance. I wasn’t sure about which colors to start with but yellow and purple could never go wrong.
Satisfaction was all I had once they were up there on the cake. With their charm, they made my photo shoot into a fun but indecisive session – I had to photograph them in almost any angle possible instead of just stick with one best.I promised myself I would continue making them in the future.
My next attempt would be lime green and white orchird, even though frankly speaking the orange ones did catch a lot of my attention.
Monday, June 27, 2011
I have to admit that from the outset I was not so keen of this challenge, simply because I was not moved by how Baklava looked. It vaguely reminded me of Apple Strudle challenge quite long time ago. Rolling dough until it was transparent was just as challenging back then, but I had done that with Apple Strudle and that was the second reason I wasn’t quite interested.
But then I had a strong reason to join this challenge – I was so eager to make the home-made phyllo, the compulsory of this challenge. It might be astonishing, phyllo is an ingredient one could never find in Bangkok. I remembered ordering a phyllo pack from a shop in Singapore and my friend who had picked it up left it in his fridge and totally forgot about it on the day he left for Bangkok to see me.
Apparently I could make good use of my huge rolling pin which helped expand the phyllo dough as wide as possible quite easily. I had decided to go moderate with the recipes and be happy with a smaller size Baklava: 4 inch x 11 inch.
When the baking was done, I couldn’t resist tasting Baklava while it was still hot and crispy. I figured that it would taste better without soaking it in syrup but simply brushing the top with a layer of syrup to create a glossy surface. What do you think?
My first bite into Baklava was just delightful, it was delicious - the nutty fragrance and crispiness had fulfilled my most anticipating palate. Felt good I had taken the Baklava challenge and right there and then, I was glad I could tell everyone how delicious this Greek dessert was.
Thanks so much to Erica of Erica’s Edibles for this luscious dessert! Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.
Monday, June 20, 2011
In between my time of decorating fondant cakes, I regularly manage to allocate some time to bake macarons or stumble into things related to them. And for that I need to update this blog regarding my meeting with the Queen of Macaron, Thip of Bonbini, recently in Bangkok.
It was a nice Wednesday morning when we arranged to meet at Heart Core Café run by Thip’s friend in Chaeng Wattana Road. And as everybody would have suspected, it was Thip’s kindest gesture to show a small group of friends how to bake macarons.
Thip was just so friendly and it was pleasant to meet her and her sister, Ba (middle in the photo) of Sawasdee Blog Culinaire. Had a great time chatting with both of them. Thip was very generous to share with us – like what she would normally do in her macaron classes – tips and technique of baking macaron. And for that special occasion, she had picked Italian meringue style to bake chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache filling.
During delicious lunch break which was also the time to leave the piped macarons form skin on the surface, I had ample great time to talk some more with Thip and Ba. The macaron session was finally wrapped up with a luscious tasting of chocolate macarons. Yummy! Soon I was back home, I just had to remake macarons learnt in Thip's session! And the result can be seen in these pictures...
“Thanks so much, Thip! I wish to see you again in San Francisco, and good luck to you for your future endeavors!” For those who are interested in learning macarons with Thip, do check out Bonbini!
Monday, June 6, 2011
What could be more interesting than decorating cakes with flowers? In this case, gumpaste flowers. While before I found my passion for fondant decoration, my cakes were mostly decorated with either fresh fruits, chocolate pieces, or buttercream piping.
Only when I embraced the muse of fondant world, the decorating ideas became truly limitless. And I enjoyed every design and color possibility - it is like pushing myself back into graphic design all over again - only now I fiddle with fondant and gumpaste as my media.
For those who love flower gumpaste, mostly are big fans of Alan Dunn, the author of uncountable cake decorating and sugar flower books. Alan is a true inspiration for many of us who admire the natural beauty of flowers and plants, and make an attempt to mimic them into cake decoration.
I am sure his upcoming book "Tropical and Exotic Flowers for Cakes" that will be published in August this year will become a big hit. Can't wait to get a copy of it!
Meanwhile, I was spending my free time developing this set of birthday cakes for my boss' birthday celebration. Apparently he was very excited about the flower spray - he started pulling the blossoms out from the arrangement and giving to the female staff in the office. The white rose which was the centerpiece, was given to his assistant. All in all, it was a wonderful celebration and everyone seemed to enjoy his or her slice of chocolate cake.
Friday, May 27, 2011
The rainy season finally came. It is late than last year but the rainfall is definitely still as stong. People in some parts of Thailand start worrying about flood, the worst nightmare that could happen and drive them away from their houses, and destroy their farms and cattles. Let's wish it doesn't go into that state of disaster this year.
However, thanks to the rain, the weather is cooler right now. After the extreme heat in April, I basically so looked forward to welcoming the rainy season.
May is the month when things are getting better and nicer. It is a month full of public holidays, and swamped by a wide variety of fruits. Durian, the king of fruits are available abundantly with reasonable price and excellent taste. Mangosteen is a dear friend of durian and always present right side by side. Mango, orange, lychee, and jackfruit are next to them. It is a great month for fruit lovers.
And in this great month, we have a great Daring Baker's challenge: Marquis on Meringue. Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt, the hosts are proclaiming that this is a special dessert due to its rareness - never being seen in mainstream cookbooks or written about online. By participating and indulging in this dessert makes me one of the small percentage of world population who ever made and tasted Marquis.
The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Besides the sugarpaste and flower gumpaste, one of the things that a fondant cake decorator has to familiarize himself with is the royal icing. While at first I was merely aware of royal icing conventional piping, as I get to learn more about fondant decorating, I find out there are so much more I can fiddle with such as broderie anglaise, lacing, filigree, extension work, embroidery, etc. So many things to learn ... so little time.
Brush embroidery is the decorating technique which involves imprinting, outlining and brushing. The decorator usually imprints a pattern on the cake, then outlines the design following the imprint by piping the royal icing starting from the deepest or most internal layer. A damp paintbrush is then used to pull the edges of the outline piping inward leaving brush strokes pattern. The whole process is time consuming especially if the design is elaborate and extensive, but normally the end result is worth the effort as brush embroidery gives an elegant look to the cake.
As I was practicing Brush Embroidery, meanwhile at the other side of the world the Queen of Macaron, Thip of the inspiring Bonbini informed me that she would be visiting Bangkok. It was totally delightful to receive her email a few weeks ago and arranged an appointment to meet up one of these days.
My respect and admiration for her were earlier established in her very first year of blogging when she introduced her irresistible range of macarons and exquisite pastry. It was intoxicating, I should admit that I had entirely dedicated my time in baking macarons through and through. Into these days, while any presence of macaron is in my sight, I would instantly think about Thip.
It was mainly her that shed the lights into exotic, adventurous, and sophisticated desserts such as basil-lime sorbet with basil gelee, coconut vanilla bavarois with hibiscus gelee, and many more…. And not to mention her fabulous feuille d' automne. Sensational… Do check out her blog, Bonbini :-)
I am sure meeting up with Thip would be pleasant and exciting…. So look forward to it!