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Monday, March 28, 2011

A Surprise from St. Louis

First and foremost, I like to thank Fitri of Rumah Manis who has been so supportive in my fondant pursuit and generous in adding my fondant tools. Her unexpected package came by as a sweet surprise in the middle of a long boring week at work. I couldn’t help but feel so blessed since she sent me all the things that I had wanted but unavailable in Thailand. The package consisted of spiral pattern and mini fondant rolling pins, flower cutter and pattern press sets, and dusting and decorating tip pouches, and lots of chocolates… and of course a very special St. Louis keychain and postcard. Wow, thanks Fitri! Thanks so much :-)

This has been such a big inspiration to get me going with my fondant creation as what she has so precisely put it in her postcard:
“Greetings from St. Louis :-) Dear Kris, I send you some stuff to help you create more and more lovely things with fondant. Enjoy, and always follow your dreams.”

This week I tried something that kids like Fitri’s daughter would love, I hope… Never quite sure how well it turned out but I thought it was time to lay my hands on figurines and explored the fun of creating cute little persons. Fit, this is a dedication to you and your daughter. Hope both of you like these! :-)

Meanwhile, I like to show my gratitude to Cindy Cullen of Culinary Arts College who has included my blog in the Top 40 French Cooking Blogs. Couldn’t believe my eyes that Bake in Paris was placed in the Pastry category right next to the prestigious celebrity blog of David Lebovitz. And Cindy's description of my blog goes something like “… a pristine site with beautiful images that will have any reader salivating instantly. The blogger is a graphic designer whose artistic instincts play a pivotal role in the construction of each pastry. Undoubtedly, these pastries taste as good as they look”. Feel free to check it out!

And another gratitude goes to Xiaolu of 6bittersweets for inviting me into the judging panel for this month’s DMBLGIT. It has always been fun and exciting to stay focused and objective in giving points to the participants’ photos. Drop by 6bittersweets to see who are the lucky winners!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Passion... fruits

Hi, friends! I have been away taking my time practicing sugar flowers and yet felt so much wanting to go back to blogging. Yes, after a couple of years blogging has become a habit or a ritual or a lifestyle... yes, everyone?

Well, as much as I wanted to be a regularly posting blogger, I am juggling between a full-time job, a relationship, and this new calling of fondant world. No no no can't use those as an excuse... Well, in that case let me say "I'll do my best!"

However I do want to keep baking and posting something that everyone would love to see, read, or to my wishes, bake following the recipe. I have thought about Joconde challenge and decided to give it another shot since it was quite a wonderful challenge last time.

This round I gave the Joconde a tint of orange color complete with the, as usual, my favorite passion-fruit flavor. And I just couldn't resist the passion fruits so here I go messing up with passion fruit mousse. Sour and tangy, just the way I like the mousse cake. And I also wanted to give that wooden-pattern scraper which has been sitting in my drawer a go on chocolate decoration.

So before you can see the orchard fondant creation as what I promised in my previous post, I hope you are happy and enjoy this Joconde creation! Have a great week ahead :-)

Makes one 7 inch mousse cake

1. Joconde

A.Patterned Joconde Décor Paste
Needs one 13inch x 13inch baking pan

- Unsalted butter – soften > 50g
- Icing sugar> 50g
- Egg whites > 50g
- Cake flour> 55g
- Orange coloring > adequate (If chocolate color is desired, reduce cake flour to 43g and add 15g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture).

- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
- Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
- Fold in sifted flour.
- Tint batter with coloring (or cocoa variation) to desired color.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:
- Prepate 13inch x 13inch baking pan. Place upside down. Upside down pan makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
- Spread silpat on the reversed side baking pan. Place imprint stencil on it.
- Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 5 mm thick across the imprint stencil on silpat with a spatula. Level up the décor and lift the stencil away.
- Keep the colored décor paste leftover (approx.. 125-155g) aside. Use later.
- Slide the baking pan with décor on silpat into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare joconde sponge.
- Preheat oven to 250C.

B. Joconde Sponge
Needs one 13inch x 13inch baking pan, reverse upside down

- Unsalted butter- melt > 15g
- Egg whites > 45g
- Granulated sugar > 5g
- Almond meal (if use hazelnut flour, omit butter) > 43g
- Icing sugar > 38g
- Cake flour > 13g
- Eggs > 75g

- Melt butter. Leave to cool.
- Dust the reversed side of baking pan with icing sugar.
- In a clean mixing bowl whip egg whites and granulated sugar to firm, glossy peaks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
- Sift almond meal, icing sugar, and cake flour. Set aside
- On medium speed, add eggs into almond mixture a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
- Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
- Fold in melted butter. Mix well.
- Remove décor paste baking pan from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde sponge batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
- Bake at 250C until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 8-10 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
- Leave the oven at 250C.
- Cool joconde. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from silpat.
- Flip cooled cake on to the sugar dusted reversed baking pan. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The icing sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)
- Set aside. (If you are not going to cut the joconde décor into strips on the same day, put it inside an air-proof container or a closed box.

C. Joconde base
Needs: one 9inch x 9inch baking tray and one 7inch cake ring.
-Place silpat or parchment paper on baking tray.
- Use a 7inch cake ring as a guide to spread the colored décor paste leftover on silpat or parchment paper.
- Bake at 250C for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Peel away the parchment paper if used. Cool.

Preparing the mold for mousse:
Needs: one 7 inch cake ring.

- Press 7 inch cake ring into joconde base to cut out a 7 inch base. Remove the excessive bits.
- Line the inside of cake ring with a curled piece of parchment paper with the height same as cake ring.Stick the top part of paper with paper tape.
- Bring joconde base to press into the bottom of the mold. Measure the height of cake ring deducted with the thickness of joconde base.
- Cut décor joconde into strips following this height.
- Press décor joconde strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing the ring wall. Meet the ends together.
- The mold is done, and ready to fill.

2. Passion Fruit Mousse

-Passion fruit juice > 125g
- Granulated sugar > 75g
- Egg whites > 90g
- Granulated sugar > 60g
- Gelatine powder > 20g
- Water> 5 tbsp
- Whipping cream > 270g
- Orange coloring > a few drops
- Passionfruit flesh and seeds > 22g

- Combine passionfruit juice and sugar in a blender. Blitz until fine. Leave aside.
- Beat egg whites until frothly. Fold in sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- Heat gelatine powder and water on double boiler until gelatine is completely dissolved. Leave until just warm.
- Meanwhile beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.
- Pour passionfruit mixture into whipping cream mixture and mix moderately. Fold in meringue, a few drops of orange coloring, and passionfruit flesh and seeds, combine them well.
- Pour mousse mixture into cake ring.
- Pour into the cake ring until the brim of the décor joconde strips.
- Refrigerate overnight. Remove from cake ring and peel away the curled paper.

3. Passion Fruit Glaze

- Passion fruit juice > 60ml
- Passion flesh and seeds > adequate
- Granulated sugar > 2 tbsp
- Corn flour > 1 tsp
- Gelatine powder > 1 tsp

-Combine all the ingredients except gelatine in the saucepan. Cook at medium heat until glaze is boiled and thickened.
- Remove from fire. Fold in gelatine powder and stir until it is fully dissolved.
- Cool. Spread on mousse cake. Refrigerate for one hour.
- Decorate.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2 Tiered...

I have been feeling so great of knowing and keeping in touch with Kate of Artisan Sweet By Kate who has been so supportive and attentive in providing information and help regarding fondant decoration. Together with the Cake Strips, she also included a book about Creating Celebration Cakes and Sugar Flowers in the envelope. I was so grateful! Thanks so much Kate! This 2 tiered cake is dedicated to you, my friend! :-) And a visit to her blog is a cake decorating bliss! Check it out!

My fondant learning progress has been slow but sure, a couple of things I have learnt from Kate, books and Internet. I am glad I am moving forward. In between spare time I have been reading and practicing, and yet find that it is necessary to plan ahead for attending more classes, either the art of royal icing, sugarpaste and flower gumpaste. My options would be Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. I am just so excited imagining when the time comes and I am actually sitting in the class with sugarpaste in my hand and a big smile in my face.

Well, this 2 tiered cake is my first attempt on making a tiered fondant decorated cake. It was scary at the beginning but when it was done, I didn't waste any second of incepting new ideas for my next fondant cake. So what would it be? I don't know, maybe some decoration that would involve orchid and striking red color?

And undoubtedly I need to get organized! Need to start sketching my ideas. Since fondant decoration involves many steps of preparation, a clear understanding of all elements is crucial.

Last but not least, I like to thank Avanika of Yumsilicious Bakes and Linda V of Bubble and Sweet for their great comments and offers to help in terms of learning more about fondant. And thanks to many others whose comments have been tremendously encouraging!