Friday, 31 August 2012

Snowskin Mooncakes

I first made mooncakes about 10 years or so ago.  Both snowskin and traditional baked ones.  Only once and I didn't attempt again.  Not that they were no good.  Both types were commendable for a first try.  If I remember correctly, the reason I didn't attempt again was because I couldn't get hold of a good filling.  Mooncake fillings did not have as many variaties and good quality white lotus paste was not commercially available to the home baker at that time.  ( It could have been more than 10 years ago when blogging was non existence yet.)

My full time job is usually less hectic this time of the year.  And with my kids' birthday celebrations over for the year, I thought of volunteering my services at my child's school again i.e. to teach the kids baking.  The idea of making mooncakes came naturally as I recall they were quite easy to make and of course, because the Mid Autumn Festival was just round the corner.  So that is why I'm attempting to make mooncakes again.

I had thrown away or misplaced my old recipe since I wasn't expecting to make them again.  I even threw away the wooden mould.  So, I set about looking for a new recipe on the internet and chanced upon Ann's (of Anncoo Journal) green tea mooncake recipe.  Ann says that Kwong Cheong Thye's premix snowskin flour gives a soft texture that keeps for a week.  The perfectionistic me who only uses the best ingredients thus made my way to KCT and bought 4 packs of the flour at one go.  (I needed a pack for testing, 2 packs for the kids' lessons and another pack to make some for the family, that's how I estimated.)  Geylang was one of my least favourite places to drive to, not so much for its sleaze but the traffic and parking are a driver's nightmare.  So to avoid having to go th Geylang again anytime soon, I bought all I needed for the festival and today, I attempted Green Tea Snowskin Mooncakes.  I used the recipe from the premix packaging but substitued the syrup with icing sugar like Ann. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Hello Kitty 2

In addition to my daughter's cupcakes, I very quickly decorated this small Hello Kitty cake for a colleague's daughter who was returning to Taiwan after a 5 year stay.  I have wanted to bake something for her for quite some time but never got round to doing it until now when I only have a few days left.  This is the second time I'm doing Hello Kitty. 

Pardon my hastily taken pictures today.  Was really in such a mad rush trying to do so many things in one day.  But again, don't I always try to do too much?

Here it is.


Compare to my first one which was a much larger one for my daughter's birthday last year.

Cream Chantilly

I attempted to bake another set of cupcakes for my daughter's celebration in school.  Since I don't have much time from the celebration on Saturday, I did a very simple one.  Just my usual cupcakes filled with fresh strawberries and topped with cream chantilly, fresh berries and Kungfu Panda and Strawberry Shortcake cupcake toppers.

Unfortunately, the cakes were not up to my expectation.  I think it must be the cups.  I have used this recipe dozens of times without failure.  It was probably because I placed the square cups too close together resulting in insufficient circulation.  Many of them did not rise sufficiently, resulting in a very dense cake.

The chantilly cream was so so.  My last attempt was too watery.  This time, I managed to get quite a stiff consistency which allowed for piping.  It also set quite nicely.  Unfortunately, I placed the portion of chantilly cream with gelatine in an iced bath and some of the geletine solidified.  You could taste some bits of the gelatine in the cream chantilly.  Must remember not to do this next time.  I think it should turn out quite nicely otherwise.

Here is the recipe for the cream chantilly.

Ingredients:

500 ml UHT Whipping Cream
50g icing sugar
20g gelatine crystals/powder

1. Put small amount of cream in a bowl over a hot water bath, add gelatin, stir to dissolve.
2. Whip the rest of cream and icing sugar till mixed.
3. Pour gelating mixture into whipped cream and continue beating till soft peaks form.

Here are the cakes.



Monday, 27 August 2012

My First Post

This blog is my baking diary.

I cannot remember the first time I baked.  It could be Home Economics Class in Secondary One, Rock Cakes.  But I do remember that I enjoyed Home Economics lessons very much.  I enjoyed the cooking, the gadgets and also the craft work.  Unfortunately, I never had a proper oven until about 3 years ago.  I still did bake occasionally with my family's convectional microwave oven.  I churned out pretty decent brownies, cookies and pineapple tarts.  I wasn't very successful with cakes at that time because I didn't have a powerful mixer either.  The Panasonic one which my mum had couldn't get egg whites to peak.  After a few failed attempts, I stopped making cakes.

It was in November 2010 when I decided to get a Kenwood Chef.  I had always wanted to have a Kenwood but never dared to "invest" in it because I was afraid it will become a white elephant after a few months.  Oh, and it was the interest in fondant cakes that had me made up my mind that I wanted to bake seriously.  I had always loved craft work and the beautifully decorated fondant cakes that have become ever so popular just made me itch like crazy.  But before that, I needed a base to work on, so I needed to bake a decent cake.  That was how my real baking journey started.

Totally no regrets on getting KC.  It has been used almost every week since it was bought.  And baking (together with gardening) is now my favourite past time.  They fit in well with my current status of "full time working mother with 2 young children".  I can no longer hit the greens, pubs and clubs like before.  With baking, I can manage whilst my 2 kiddos are napping on the weekends.  I can bake healthy, wholesome stuff for my babies, and to satisfy my own sweet tooth as well.  Plus it is an avenue for me to express my creative streak.

For this first post, I am going to share a set of fondant cupcakes which I made for my daughter's 3rd birthday which we celebrated last Saturday.  It was based on a Garden theme.