Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Brother's Engagement Cake - Did not turned out as planned but enough to fulfill a "Hantaran".

Dated May 26th, 2013, my only older brother, Ishak were engaged to Siti Haida. The engagement ceremony took place at Haida's place in Hulu Langat, Selangor and it went smoothly without any problems arose. The only thing we encountered was the fact that we parked our cars at the wrong flat...lol...Ishak was the one who lured us to park so far from Haida's place...hahahaha...but it was fine and everybody was taking it as a joke...
Standing tall against the rest of the Engagement Gifts.
The Engagement Gifts from the Ishak were 7 items in total consisting of the Engagement Cake, Engagement Ring, Bunga Rampai (Potpourri - Screwpine and Jasmine), Sirih Junjung (Floral arrangement of Betel leaves, Gambier, Areca, and Lime Stone Paste), Assorted Fruits, Bride Clothes, and Chocolate Candy with edible images of Ishak and Haida. There was another Ring with Tepak Sirih as what the Malays said "Cincin Merisik". I volunteered to be in charge of the decoration design of the gifts and there was help from our the aunties also. The overall color pallet was Pink and Off-white and I decided to make it simple but sophisticated with Peony Sprays in corresponding colors.
Snap some before it's too late...hahahaha
Of all the gifts for Haida, the engagement cake was the one I was most critical about. According to plan, it was supposed to be shaped in a birdcage replica. However, due to the time constraints and other work to be done, the cake ended up with just a 6" tall round Chocolae Moist Cake. The design was just simple with Fondant Icing, Royal Icing detailing, and Sugar Flowers Spray as Cake Topper.
It is much easier to create finer detailing and handle Modeling paste than with Pastillage.
I've made the Sugar Flowers a week earlier as I was trying out a new recipe which called Modelling Paste. Modeling paste can be said to perform the same purpose as Gum Paste and Pastillage. While Gum paste uses edible gum in the recipe and Pastillage uses gelatin (and sometimes egg whites), Modeling paste uses a powder called CMC (Carboxymethyl Cellulose). This cellulose is derived from plants and in food science it is used as stabilizer or viscosity modifier. I have to say that it helped me a lot in defining detail work in making sugar flowers as it is really pliable almost like a rubber. In comparison to Pastillage as I have always opted, Modeling paste is much easier to handle and less likely to break into pieces. However, owning to the fact that Malaysia is a Tropical Climate Land, the humidity prolonged the drying process.

Filigree in teardrops detailing. Floral Vines twirls down the cake.
The Flowers Spray was actually inspired by Alan Dunn's work in his book; Tropical and Exotic Flowers for Cakes. I took the inspirational wire work as floral vines twirling across the bouquet and down the height of the cake. There were Gradient Pink Roses, Gradient Yellow Roses, Hydrangeas and filler flowers in the spray.
Floral Vines using wires and floristry tape.
Closeup shot for the Gradient Pink Rose.
Roses, Hydrangeas and filler flowers.
The body of the cake design was the most depressing part. I was literally iced the cake with fondant 4 times and I still can't get it smooth on its surface (Owh~ I should be ashamed). But it could be due to the hot weather and also I was so stressed out trying to squeeze in everything in limited time frame. Nevertheless, as a Pastry Cook, I should be able to improvise to overcome difficulties shouldn't I? It's all about tips and tricks or as I've learned in my classes; Tricks of the Trade. After all, desperate time calls for desperate measures right?. Royal icing used to manifest intricate filigree designs but with a twist of using continuous little teardrop shapes. Visually, this helped in "correcting" the unevenness of the fondant surface. I was happy with the result then, Alhamdulillah...
In its box for transportation.
A little tip from me for all of you who like baking and pastry work, always be confident to your products and it will turn out good. If it's not, then improvise in the next step. you should never throw your products just because it didn't turned out the way you like it (unless it turned out overcooked Lol!...). Remember, the good thing about cooking always happened by accidents like fungi-leavened breads. Any faults you made in the process may possibly means new discovery that could be acknowledged.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake – Little Random Excitements Through Scrumptious Decadent

 Despite the sharp sour taste of lemon, this lemon poppy seed cake brings out the mellower side of lemon. Teamed up with Blue Poppy Seed, this cake can never go wrong.
Lemon poppy seed cake also baked in different forms. You may find it baked in Bundt cake pan, loaf pan, cupcakes and also the regular cake pans. Either way, the taste should be the main appeal and the blue poppy seed makes the cake even more interesting. Not just to the eye appeal, but also the excitement in every bite. Blue poppy seed gives random little crunch as you munch the cake. I personally love the overall taste of creamy and moist with little crunchy bits. L.O.V.E.Dot.Com!
The recipe I own and cater for clients is a rather creamier tasting than the average true-lemon tasting cake. It is a little crumbly in texture, but the moistness of the cake overcomes the crumbliness mess just fine. Also, I changed the recipe to be a little less sweet since overly sweet cake can mask the creaminess and the lemony taste.

As far as the frosting goes, I believe this cake has always been served with cream cheese frosting or poured with lemon flavored flat icing. Flat icing is a type of sugar icing similar to royal icing. Recipe can range from just as simple as icing sugar and water, to ones with additional flavoring and coloring. Some also glazed with lemon flavored syrup that I think can be a little too much for my liking and for clients with sugar-conscious diet.
Lemon poppy seed cake has been baked and served through the years and believed to be originated from the Britain. Then, it was a serving for the breakfast but now, we can just have it anytime. Some people also said that this is a variation of the traditional pound cake or butter cake. I’d say, with vast range of ingredients nowadays, lemon poppy seed cake has been taken to another level than just the ordinary pound cake variants.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Winner takes all: Chocolate-Butter Swirls, Flavor–Appeal Twirls.

Swirls of Goodness - Butter and Chocolate
Chocolate marble cake is another famous classic cake known from around the world. Despite the heavenly dreamy taste, the marbling swirls in the cake create an attractive look. The contrast of golden yellow batter and deep chocolate batter works well and it ignites your glutton inside. Sometimes, having a solid color cake can be a little bit dull. Imagine you slicing your wedding cake and you discover a marbling design in the cake instead, wouldn’t it be nice? Beautiful design not just embellish the outside of the cake but also all the way through the center.
It is a rich buttery flavor decadent! Combination of butter and chocolate really tickle your taste buds and its dense yet fluffy texture is just luxurious. As a derivative from basic butter cake, chocolate marble cake carries the classic and timeless flavor of butter cake but with a slight more excitement – the chocolate. I have to admit that the recipe of chocolate marble cake is so simple and thus, might fool you into thinking it’s just another boring cake. Well, for those who love the combination of dairy and chocolate, you’ll love this cake as much as your milk chocolate bar, only fluffier and cottony soft. And don’t forget that 2 colors whimsically swirls and marbles together.

Some would say that chocolate marble cake is a true meaning of “killing two birds with one stone” - Having a wonderful flavor and eye appealing marbling design (I know I did once think the same). But, come to think again it is rather a “winner takes all” cake - due to the fact that it looks just as amazing naked without any icing. Chocolate marble cake stands on its own sweet sovereign.