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{Cake boss}: Meet the Boss

What's the odd for Buddy Valastro, Jr., the star of the show Cake Boss on TLC to come to Woodstock, GA?  I mean Woodstock is a small city about an hour from Atlanta.  Anyway,  since I live in Woodstock too, I jumped in to the opportunity to meet him.   His show has inspired me to  bake and make fondant decoration I sell on Etsy.  I have been watching his show since I was pregnant with my daughter, so indirectly she was forced to be Buddy's fan :)

Back off Buddy, I am the Boss :)
I had my book signed yippeee and a picture of my daughter decorating cake.  One of Buddy's crew said one day he wants to visit her restaurant.  Amen to that.  If she does, we'll difinately hang this picture on the wall.

{Tips must know}: Cake Cutting counts

Very frequent I was asked by my clients: How big is the cake, and how many serving. Each time I have to imagine and count the serving in my head. "Think no more" for now I have a chart :) Thanks for Tamara Wisdom who pinned this chart.

{Chiffon Cake}: Pandan and chocolate flavor

If chiffon is your favorite cake, you gotta try this recipe.  If chiffon is not your favorite cake YET, you gotta give this recipe a chance.  I have tried many recipes and the texture was too dry for me.  One day I found the secret to make Chiffon cake moist: Coconut milk.  The disadvantage of using coconut milk in your recipe is the cake won't last long, especially in summer day.  But if the cake is so good, it won't last long anyway :)

Here are general info about chiffon cake:
1. The baking pan has a tunnel in the center. It's called tube pan.
2. You beat egg whites until foamy before adding it to other ingredients.
3. Don't  cheat and take a peek in your oven until at least 40 minutes of baking .
4. Don't cut the cake while it's warm coz. the cake might deflates.
5. The preferable cooling down time is about 2 hours plus. 
6. No need to grease the baking pan, nor lining it with parchment paper.

Ingredients A:
7 egg yolks
80 g coconut milk
80 g vegetable oil
1/2 cup pandan extract.  Add 1 t pandan paste for stronger color and taste. If you don't have pandan extract, use 1 T of pandan paste.
150 g flour. 
4 g baking powder
3 g salt
90 g sugar

Ingredients B:
7 egg whites
90-95 g sugar
1/8 t cream of tartar (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 F.

(A) Combine egg yolks, coconut milk, vegetable oil, sugar and pandan extract (or paste) in a mixing bowl.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture into the bowl.
Whisk everything to combine.
(B) In a separate and dry bowl, beat egg whites about 1 minutes.  Add sugar and beat for another 1 minute or till it forms soft peak.  Add cream of tartar if you like.

Fold egg white into egg yolk mixture in 3-4 additions. Don't over mix.

Pour cake mixture into a tube pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
Flip the pan upside down if your pan has footings.  Or else, flip it upside down against a bottle and let cool for 2 hours minutes.  Well if you really really can't wait that long, let it cool for about 30 minutes.
Loose side of cake and cut cake with a serrated knife.

If you are making Chocolate Chiffon,  substitute some of flour with unsweetened chocolate powder.  For example, use 120 gr flour and 30 gr chocolate powder.  And off course, you don't need pandan extract. However add 1/2 cup water instead.

How to make pandan extract? Chop 20 pandan leaves and add 1/2 cup of water. Blend with blender or food processor.  Strain the liquid using strainer and discard of the rest of the leaves.

Where to buy Pandan extract?  I just found a can of pandan extract in can fruit aisle in Asian grocery.  The taste is not so strong but it's better (time wise) than making my own extract.
Where to buy Pandan essense?  Asian market. 
I always use this brand of Pandan Essense.  It's a thick paste rather than clear liquid.

I tried this clear liquid essense and the taste just NOT right.
Btw, you can substitute pandan paste with lemon or any other flavor you like.
I hope you'll able to try my recipe and let me know how it turn out. 

{The infamous} Pierre Herme Macarons

Whether it's a cute bunny, or a porky pig...

or Hello Kitty, bumble bee, even a caterpillar

or a fruity macaron...

Whatever shape and flavor macarons you are going to make, you must try the infamous Pierre Herme recipe.  So far, it's a fail proof recipe.


You’ll need:
150 grams almond powder
150 grams confectioners' sugar
56 grams fresh egg whites, room temperature
150 grams granulated sugar
38 grams water
56 grams old egg whites, room temperature

Sift the almond powder and confectioners' sugar together. Set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan and cook until it reaches 245F. Don't stir the syrup as you will end up with crystallized mass.

While the sugar is cooking, start whipping the aged egg white on medium speed until it forms a soft peak.
When the sugar is ready, pour the cooked syrup in a steady stream over the meringue with the mixer running on slow. It will splatter, but don't try to scrape them into the meringue as you would get lumps.
Increase the speed to high and continue beating until you have a stiff glossy meringue.

Mix the fresh egg white with the almond-sugar mixture and blend together.
Fold in the meringue into this almond mixture in addition.
Add about a third of the meringue and fold progressively, then proceed with another third of the meringue and fold it in.
Don't overfold the batter as you would have a gloppy mess.
Consistency is really important at this point, some people say that it should flow like a lava. If you're not sure, try piping a little dollop and see if it leaves a peak that will not spread or if it spreads too fast. You should still see a little peak after you pipe, but the peak should disappear or almost disappear after you pipe a row of them.

Put the batter in a piping bag with round tip (approximately 9mm in diameter) and pipe the macaron batter on top of silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 14-15 minutes. Once baked, slide the silpat or parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Peel each macaron shell carefully.

You can fill them with ganache or flavored buttercream. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up before consuming.

{Cupcakes}: Boston Creme (Cream)

source: Cupcake Station
It has been a month I haven't been to my local farmer's market.  I am motivated to go, 'not' because of the fresh vegetables and fruits, but for the 'Boston Cream' cupcake.  There are two vendors that sell cupcakes, one sells Salted Caramel Cupcakes and one sells many varieties of cupcakes.  I got to try so many cupcakes every week and Boston cream is my favorite.  It is very simple to make.

Here is my 'quick' version of Boston Cream Cupcakes:
1 package (18 oz.) yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix.
1/4 cup French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix. You can find this with the Jellos.
2 cup milk
1 T butter
Make cupcakes according to package directions.  Cool completely.
Whisk pudding mix and 1 cup of milk in medium bowl until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate.
Poke a small hole on top of cupcake with spoon or tip of knife.  Spoon pudding into the hole.  You may use a pastry bag or zip -lock bag to fill the hole but I found it faster to just spoon the pudding into the hole.
Microwave dark chocolate on low-medium temperature for 30 seconds.  Repeat until all chocolate melts. Add milk and 1 T butter and stir, if you don't see a smooth ganache as desired, add more milk.  Cool to room temperature.
Frost tops of cupcakes with chocolate ganache.

Tips: When making the chocolate ganache with microwave, it is important to change the setting to low, medium or 50.  Do a 30 seconds increments, stir and put it back in microwave until you get a smooth ganache. High temperature and long duration will cause chocolate to crumble.
You may also do the traditional way to make chocolate ganache, by putting chocolate into a glass / stainless steel bowl over boiling water.  Stir until chocolate melts. add milk and butter as necessary. Cool to room temperature before putting it on cupcakes.

Source: the Kitchn

{Indonesian dessert}: Bubur Canil

Today I just need a little pick me up food.  I need sweet so bad.  I was so determined to make chocolate pudding when I see some left over lychee and mandarin oranges from last week Fruit pie and pudding.  But then I saw coconut milk.  If I don't use it it will go bad, and I feel so guilty throwing away food especially coconut milk.  With today market like this, I think it's worth it to invest in coconut milk.  The price has doubled since last year; from 99 cents to $ 2.29 a can. Crazzzyyyy.

Anyway, I saw someone posted Biji Salak dessert on facebook couple weeks ago.  And I have been wanting to make it.  Not sure if what I made 'Bubur Canil' is the same as 'Biji Salak' taste wise, but they looked the same.  If I am not mistaken Bubur Canil is creamier and it served kinda dry while Biji Salak is served like a soup.

It's very easy to make Bubur Canil.

Boil 100 gr palm sugar in 500 ml water.
Meanwhile mix 100 gr glutinous rice flour and 25 gr rice flour.  Add about 100 ml water, mix dough thoroughly.  Make small balls.  I believe in Indonesia, they shape it like a worm about 2 inches long.
Put the balls inside the boiling palm sugar water and let them cook until all balls are floating.
Mix 3 T rice flour in a little bit water, and put it inside the palm sugar water. Stir till the water becomes creamy.

Bring to boil or microwave 150 ml coconut milk.  Add a bit of salt and Pandan leaf. 

It's better consumed while it's warm.  I like to put just a little bit of coconut milk on it.  I love the creaminess, the sweetness and yet a slight taste of salt.  It reminds me of popular American cupcake: Salted Caramel cupcake.

Fruity Pudding

While making the Fruit pie in my previous blog, I got an order of Birthday Cake/Pudding.  Pudding for Indonesian is like a Jello. A firmer version of Jello.  An hour later, I got another phone call, she wanted all pudding, no cake.  She prefered a chocolate pudding.  Perfect I said.

My favorite to make Pudding cake consists of chocolate cake, sponge like pudding and mocha pudding on top.   Now that I have to make chocolate pudding and make it looks special...hmmm what a challenge.  I decided to make a Black Forest Pudding.  Chocolate pudding on the bottom, kirsch pudding with black cherry, sponge like pudding with rum and topped with dark chocolate pudding, Yummy my daughter said.

I decorated the top with the left over fruit from the Fruit pie.  I also made a thinner version of the custard filling to accompany the pudding.  Since I am extra generous :) I open a can of Lychee and packaged it in a cup for the Birthday Girl.

{Summer in a Pie}: Fruity Pie

I received email from the local farmer's market that there would be a Pie Contest on upcoming Saturday.  I am not a lover of American Pie due to its sweetness, so there's no way I am making a Pie.  I wiki the definition of a Pie and 2 Pies came to my mind: A fruit Pie and an Indonesian Dutch Shepards Pie.  So I was determined to submit both pies in the contest.

The pie tasted good, many of my friends like it.  But the judges have different opinion :(  O well..
I think my pie is just perfect: I love the crispiness of the crust.  The custard filling is not too sweet and not too rich.

You should try my recipe and let me know what you think.

For the CRUST:
Combine 100 gr unsalted butter or margarine (room temperature), 225 gr all purposed flour, 1/2 t salt.  Add 1 egg yolk and knead briefly.  Add 3 T cold water if needed.  Tip: don't microwave the butter or margarine.  You'll end up with clumps of flour.
Wrap dough with plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
Take out dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Roll dough between 2 plastic sheets and lay it on the greased pie pan.
Gently press dough to resemble pie :).  prick the bottom with a fork
Bake in the preheated oven 350F for about 10 minutes or more.

For the custard filling:
In a saucepan, combine 250 ml whole milk, 25 gr corn flour and 50 gr sugar.  Stir constantly and bring it to boil.
Off stove, take a little bit of this mixture and add it to 1 egg yolk.  Then transfer this mixture back to the milk mixture and bring to boil.
Add 1 T margarine, 1/4 - 1/2 t vanilla essence and good amount of rum :)
Remove from heat, cool it to room temperature and refrigerate.
Based on my experience, this custard filling can be stored up to 3-4 days.

To assemble:
Spoon filling into the crust and decorate with fruits.

Trust me this pie is good. I am gonna make more tomorrow.

Cute Bento for Birthday

Bento is a Japanese word for home packed meal.

My daughter is turning 2 next month and I want to prepare something light and cute for her Sunday school's friends.  She likes Elmo so much but I had no luck with Elmo bento.  I want the Bento to be an  individual serving, or at least in a box so I don't have to deal wit serving and cleaning.

Image via: Design Swan

Image via: Adventures into Bento making

For the adults, I am thinking an 8x6x3" box from Papermart and decorate the box with tag and ribbon.  I have not think much about it but I will post the picture once I decide.  Please com back on May.

{Quilted Cake}: Chanel Inspired Cake on a dime

When Chanel bag is out of reach, why not having the cake?

 I love the puffy texture of Chanel bag on a cake.  The Google search for this texture is Quilted Cake.  Some made it 3 dimensional, some made it flat and some made dotted lines just like quilting.

For butter cream covered cake, there is a quilting mat you can purchase for about $ 30.  Ouchhh!
For fondant covered cake, there are cookie cutters with 1-3 square diamonds and 1-3 diamond shape.  The price ranges from $ 11 -$ 30.  Some suggest using  a pizza cutter to make the line.   I tried all of the above.  Cookie cutter leave a sharp cut to the fondant so it leaves a thin line instead of an indentation.  The pizza cutter does the same thing.  Well my opinion is just based on my experience.  It might work for other people.

If you follow my tutorial, you only spend less than a dime.  Yes less than 10 cents to make a black and white print of this template.

SQUARE diamond template
Click on this template and print it at 100% scale.  The distance between dots is about 1".
If you like a diamond template instead of square like shown above, you can purchase it from my ETSY. This template is free temporarily until end of March 2012. Afterward, it's $0.99 per download.

Wrap this around your cake and poke hole on the dots with a push pin.  The marks will be your line guidance.
Take a thin skewer.  Yes a bamboo SKEWER for satay.  Push it against the fondant following the dots.  BEND the skewer slightly on the cake top when it starts to curve. That's it.  I promise you won't fail.

Tip: make sure your fondant is about 0.25" thick if you want to create the puffy looks.

Next step would be gluing the non-pareil pearl.  Dilute small amount of fondant with droplets of water to make a thick solution.  Use a tweezer to handle the pearl, dip it into the fondant water solution and attach it to the cake.  Push it halfway in.  It will give you a better illusion of puffiness.  Also a more secure pearl attachment.

Customized rhinestone # 16
For the numbers, I use wooden number, spray them in black.  Cover the front  face with glittered paper or fabric (optional).  Them glue different sizes Rhinestone on it.

I added a double pearl necklace and ribbon to create DRAMA on the cake.  This kind of pearl is the fashion style in the moment.

What do you think?  can you make one Chanel Inspired cake on a dime now?