Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Less is More: Semi-sweet Chocolate Cake

It is no doubt that (cocoa) chocolate has been one of the exquisite flavors we endeavor. Apart from the luscious ol’ vanilla, chocolate has its own unique amenities to astound your taste buds and overall flavor experiences.

Personally, I would prefer dark intense chocolate taste rather than the milk chocolate or white chocolate variants. Reason being is that it tastes much more authentic than the rest. To translate that in cake recipe, I choose to use cocoa powder rather than baking chocolate. Dutch-processed cocoa powder specifically, gives better chocolaty taste to my cake that baking chocolate couldn’t prevail. Plus, baking chocolate may contain “cocoa butter substitute” or “vegetable fat” which replaced the actual “cocoa butter”. I bet the taste is off!

The recipe I owned is actually my mother’s. She had changed and established the recipe with her own personal expectation of how a chocolate cake should be. And, as part of being conscious on health, she made it less sweet than the average chocolate cake. From then, until now, the recipe never failed to serve our family with a good tasting and less sweet chocolate decadent.

Now, I’m using the recipe (with a few other adjustments) for the orders from clients and I believe that one day, semi-sweet chocolate cake can out shine the demand of regular sugar-loaded chocolate cake.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

It's a Collab

Crèmeuss has teamed up with a wedding boutique named Butik Pengantin Kaseh Collection as being part of the Kaseh Collection packages. Packages offered ranging from RM1200.00 to RM4200.00 and with every package worth RM2000.00 and above, you will receive a free cake by Crèmeuss. The profile of the cake designs will be selected by the Kaseh Collection and Crèmeuss in accordance to your overall wedding theme.


Butik Pengantin - Kaseh Collection
 A little bit about Kaseh Collection, it provides assistance in your wedding events or any other functions with makeup services, wedding dresses with accessory rental, and ambient décor for your wedding ceremonies. The owner of the boutique has now changed and licensed to Mrs. Sherry as when she bought the boutique from its previous owner in late 2012. So far, the boutique services have reached clients from Kepong, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and the adjacent addresses in Banting. Mrs. Sherry herself is a warm-hearted, dedicated and helpful individual in assisting the needs for the events. Any consultation to your events will be taken seriously from Mrs. Sherry.

For those who are interested in visiting Kaseh Collection, please do so and check through the Kaseh Collection Blog or their Official Facebook Page. Should you have any further inquiries or booking a date, please get intact through the address and contact numbers published on the pages.

Never the less, Crèmeuss still take any personal orders from clients. Any personalized and custom designs will be taken and special requests will be taken into consideration.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sweet Royalties

Royal icing is the easiest icing ever invented on earth in my opinion. It is made out of icing sugar and egg whites essentially. However, sometimes additional acid like lemon juice or cream of tartar used to whiten the icing and kill some bacteria (since it’s raw egg whites and royal icing is not cooked).

Piped Shells, Borders, Dots and Filigree always been the classic template for Royal Icing designs
Basically, royal icing is a hard white icing used to cover as well as to decorate cakes and pastries like wedding cakes and cookies. The consistency of the working royal icing is subject to the final designs intended. It can be stiff which the royal icing holds it shape or it can be runny. Stiff royal icing always used to make ornate decorative work like piping shell borders, swags, and intricate lace piping as it will hold the shape as is until it fully dried. A slight runnier royal icing is often used for “flooding” technique. “Flooding” is the term used to describe the technique of spreading royal icing onto a flat surfaced pastry (e.g - cookies) and it will settle itself and dries up to a complete flat surface. Regardless of the consistency, both types made from just one stiff royal icing recipe and to make it runnier, additional moisture (water) is mixed as desired.

Pink "Fleur De Lis" with Cracked Gold Pearl
 Have you ever wondered how the name “Royal” came about this icing? Royal icing can be traced back from the British civilization in around 1600’s. Many agreed that the earliest recipe for royal icing called for icing sugar, egg whites and rose water. This was when wedding cakes started received special treatment and acknowledgement. In 1840’s, the wedding cake of Queen Victoria’s marriage was extravagantly exaggerated with white icing. This marked as the moment which suggested the name “Royal” to the icing. And believe it or not, the term “Icing” also existed from the use of royal icing.

Wilton brand Meringue Powder. I bought it personally for around RM 30.00++ in Malaysia
Today, in Malaysia especially, royal icing does not greatly appreciated as the medium of icing or covering cakes. Some reasons for that are due to the hard and solid quality of the icing that cannot be cut through with knife, and also the health risk awareness from the raw egg whites. Owing to the health risk posed, some cake decorators opt for royal icing strictly for little and less detailing décors work only. Nevertheless, pasteurized eggs can be used safely for a major use of royal icing. These eggs available in the market though the drawback is that they would cost a little bit more than ordinary fresh eggs. Other options may be in the form of dried and powdered egg whites or some companies named it “Meringue Powder” like Wilton Company. This type of egg white is hygienically treated in the process and lot safer for consumption.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Trusty Ol' Fondant

Fondant is a well-known and widely used icing in wedding cake industry for over the years. It gives a velvety matte surface showcasing untimely wedding cakes a sophisticated appeal. It’s not harsh to say that fondant has been the most trustworthy and fool-proof icing for wedding cakes. Why? Because of its pliability and easy to mold ability creates multitude of eye appealing designs. Almost as versatile as buttercream, fondant can be used to ice cakes, embossing textures on, cut-out into pieces, mold into figurines, lace work and also creating ruffled effects. As long as it’s external cake décor uses, fondant serves all.

Miniature cake iced with Yellow tinted Rolled Fondant. Other samples of fondant cakes can be found here

Little that we know, fondant actually can be divided into two types, which are “Rolled Fondant” and “Poured Fondant”. Rolled fondant is the type that we all know and excessively seen. Its main use is to cover and decorate cakes and other pastries. Rolled fondant made mainly from sugar, more specifically icing sugar, and other ingredients like gelatin, glucose syrup, water, and some fat. The additional ingredients lend themselves to the quality of the rolled fondant – pliable but firm enough to hold shapes like clay. Its pliability stands for a period of time allowing for some room for it to be worked with. Although however the exterior of fondant will eventually dry a little (but never crusts), the overall fondant that’s underneath will stay relatively soft to be cut through with knife. Contrariwise, poured fondant is made with just sugar and water, boiled together to a certain temperature read and will be left off-heat until the syrup cools down. After that it will be agitated and kneaded continuously until it forms into a white opaque mass almost like dough. Despite the same purpose of poured fondant to the one we are familiar with – rolled fondant, the use of poured fondant can be traced mostly in candies and other confectionery products.
Proper technique and tools will help getting the smoothest result with fondant. Pastry Wheel, Rolling Pin and Fondant Smoother (not shown in picture) combo is always a great help.
Options in acquiring rolled fondant are left for the decorator to choose. Store bought fondant is a convenience because of its ready-to-use eminence, but for a domestic use, you’ll get bang for your buck with home-made fondant. Either one works equally the same although store bought fondant wins over having the smoothest texture to the home-made one. Through my experience, home-made fondant isn’t as workable to be reused from previous scraps as compared to the store bought fondant due to the fact that it will be slightly dry and crumble apart. Store bought fondant seems to work fine always in retaining its elasticity after kneading it continuously.

Leftover fondant will crumble apart. Simply knead it continuously to revive it to its pliable consistency.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Buttercream: The Dream Cream

Buttercream is a classic, versatile, and widely used complimentary component to make up various pastry dishes like cookie sandwiches, desserts, and cakes. Needless to say that cakes are the most common pastry products that married well with buttercream. Either to frost, ice, sandwich, or décor a cake, buttercream alone gets all the jobs done. How versatile is that? Of course you can flavor it with any flavor your heart desires. Additional flavoring may be from essences, extracts, emulcos, concentrated fruit purees and essential oils which all are potent in concentration. Adding too much liquid to buttercream will compensate the overall texture of the buttercream. Same principle goes to liquid food coloring. Nonetheless, any food enhancers of flavoring or colorant which are dry (powder form) in nature or even viscous liquid (gel or paste) will work immensely without compromising the texture.
Some examples of Flavored Buttercream: (Left to right) Chocolate Fudge Buttercream, Coffee Buttercream, Rose Buttercream, and Vanilla Buttercream
To date, buttercream recipes have been tweaked, improvised, and innovated with newly engineered ingredients. This is due to the quest of researching substitutes to the actual butter in the recipe since butter cannot hold it shape in room temperature (talking about Malaysia). The earlier recipes of buttercream incorporate 100% pure butter and as the time goes by, some recipes offset a little amount of butter with other fats like vegetable shortenings and margarine. In contrast to butter which derived from dairy origin, margarine and shortening come from plant origin widely from palm oil (unless stated otherwise in the packaging). The oils from the plants are hydrogenated to change the consistency to the one that we know – solid in room temperature. Another food innovation of the same category is “Krimwell”. It is a special type of margarine that is used widely by Malaysian bakers and cake decorators as it serves exceptional quality in buttercream consistency. Also, Krimwell is the plant derived (palm oil) substitute for butter. However, there’s always a catch in substituting ingredients, in this case it will compromise the taste of the “Butter”. Some people will never trace any difference but for some others, butter emulco or butter flavoring might do the trick to get the “almost” authentic taste of butter.

Vanilla Buttercream, Rose Buttercream and Coffee Buttercream may have a little softer of a consistency since they are flavored with essences. In contrast to the Chocolate Fudge Buttercream that uses Cocoa Powder for flavor and color, it has a rather firmer consistency.
The easiest buttercream recipe on earth is just icing sugar, butter, milk or water, and vanilla essence. I’ve read somewhere online that this recipe is also known as the “American Buttercream” (please don't quote me on this). Other traditional ones can be categorized by the method of preparing, which are the Italian Method, Swiss Method and French Method. One thing they have in common is that they incorporating either egg whites, egg yolks, or even just yolks. Italian Method uses the Meringue technique by whipping egg whites with hot sugar syrup, Swiss Method also uses Meringue technique but with tempered egg whites and fine granulated sugar, and last but nut least the French Method which uses the technique similar to the Italian Method but instead of just egg whites, it calls for only yolks or the whole eggs. Too much of a hassle aren't they? For domestic bakers, I can assure you that the so called "American Buttercream" serves just as effective and more importantly fool-proof.

Slight differences may be noticed in the texture of buttercreams. The grains of icing sugar may not be fully dissolved and cause little tiny grittiness to the texture. I believe that there is the 10X grade of icing sugar (the finest), but sadly in Malaysia, we can't easily find icing sugar with various degree of fineness (it's okay though, it's not the end of the

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Contrast but Conclude - Purple and Yellow

Selecting a color pallet or scheme can be overwhelming. While they are just colors, mismatching them can be very unsightly for the eyes. This applies in almost everything the eyes are seeing - garments, accessories, house paints, and even foods.

Color contrast can be worked together
Colors can be contrasting to each other and some colors are complimentary to each other. For example, Red and Green, Blue and Orange, Purple and Yellow, are contrasting colors. But with different shades and concentration, they can work together just nice. Complimentary can be understood by matching colors that have same color undertone or cast for example, Green with Turquoise and Blue, Red with Pink and Maroon.

Shades of Purple over faint Yellow
Purple and Yellow have been the chosen theme for this wedding gift cake. The base fondant was tinted lightly with yellow and adorned delicately with white royal icing. The decor was 3 clusters of purple flowers up top. The flowers represents Roses, Peonies, and Forget-me-not. All in different shade of purple to give dimension to the bouquet.

Delicate Royal Icing - Chandeliers
The cake was Chocolate Cake (less sweet, as requested) frosted with White Chocolate Buttercream (less sweet, as requested also) and iced with Fondant.

Purple Flower Bouquet - Mysterious but Subtle

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Busy as a Bee

Hey guys, sorry I haven't updated anything here. Currently been busy with a wedding gift cake. I'll definitely upload some pictures of the cake soon. In the mean time, if any of you guys want to order wedding cakes or cupcakes, just leave a comment here. I'll get back to you soon

Monday, 4 February 2013

Sweet Construct: Pastillage

Pastillage is a French word that means "Sugar Paste". It is a sugar-based dough that will dry firm and crisp used to make center piece decors and figurines of certain objects like flowers. Having said it's a sugar paste, it doesn't at all works as similar to fondant. Pastillage will dry crisp but fondant will not (although fondant will dry a little but on the outside of the exposed surface). In contrary to fondant, pastillage isn't created to be eaten. Yes it's sugar and sugar is edible, but the main purpose of having pastillage is for decor purposes.

Ideally, pastillage is one of the classic productions of pastry kitchen. Although it belongs to the pastry kitchen, most pastry chefs in the industry aren't regularly practicing it due to the time consumption and tediousness. However, Pastry Artists may be the ones who worship and perfect the techniques of pastillage making regardless of the obstacles.

Essentially, pastillage is made by just simple ingredients like icing sugar, gelatin, and water. To date, there are many other recipe variations available that will include egg whites, cream of tartar, and others. Along with the process of alternating recipe, emerged the famous "Gum Paste". The discovery of the edible gum called "Tragacanth" has replaced the use of gelatin in the pastillage recipe. Gum paste is more pliable than pastillage and when it sets dry, it will be a little more sturdy than the pastillage would. I personally never tried working with gum paste just because the gum tragacanth isn't readily available at my reach and is priced too high to the quantity that you'll get.

The first ever Pastillage Model I have ever made in my Classical Pastry Class in my diploma years.
Second project in Bachelor Degree's class - Pastry and Confectionery Techniques. Sugar Box made out of Pastillage used for a dessert-buffet Center piece.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Hand-painted in Pink: Rustic but Romantic

Talking about color, Red and Pink always been associated with Love. Red being the bold and Pink being the softer side. What's more important is that Pink now has been approved by both sexes. We can see men also working out those pink shirts and shorts. Pink is a unisex preference now!

While having Pink in your wedding cakes would sound cliche, a little twist can make it look fresh and out of the norm (in Malaysia context of course...Lol...). Hand-painting can be interesting for the painter and the client respectively. I enjoyed myself experiencing new techniques through the years and I'm wishing of experiencing all of the pastry techniques soon.

This latest wedding gift cake order was from my family friends. He wanted it to be White and Pink on a Moist Chocolate Cake. The cake was frosted with Chocolate Buttercream and iced with Fondant. No Pastillage Bouquet intended but he requested the Rolled Fondant Roses. the overall design was an adaptation of the English Rose High Tea Sets.

Rolled Fondant Roses

Hand-painted - Pink Roses clusters

Hand-painted Pink Roses - Rustic English

It's Turquoise, not just your average Blue

Living in the modern era (or perhaps Post-modern Era), bright colors and shade variation of a same color are getting in the current trends. Be it in Fashion or Food - "Garments or Gourmets" (as how I like to call it). Colors are getting more and more recognized and acknowledged to its multitude spectrum range. There is no more 'just' Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple and so on. People are more conscious on the exact shades like Scarlet Red (Red with Orange undertone), Dusty Pink (Muted Dirty Pink), and also Turquoise (Blue with a hint of Green). These amazing colors can be seen quite often on garments and following the trends, food also has put colors in its eye appeal construct.

Traditional Wedding Dress would always be whites, creams, or pastels colored. But here in Malaysia, we like it to be bold, colorful and cheerful with bright colors everywhere - the dress, bridal bed (pelamin), and of course, the cake. Here are some pictures taken from an order last year (2012). The profile of the cake was Lace & Filigree with color theme of Turquoise and White. A slight dome shape top for a distinct design and the bottom was wrapped around with Embroidery Lace effects Fondant. The actual cake was just Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Fondant icing. Filligree Designs are piped Royal Icing to give that Soft but Intricate Lace look. Message on the cake was also using Royal Icing.

Lace and Filigree Design - Dome Shaped Turquoise Cake

Swirls and Dots - Message for the Love Birds

Subtle - Turquoise