Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cool "Caking" Gadgets

Adjustable Cake Ring...

Ever since I saw this in a baking book, I've been wanting to have one.

It's basically a stainless steel round, the diameter of which can easily be adjusted to the cake size you want. It's what pastry chefs use to achieve their perfectly shaped layered cakes and pastries.

A friend had recently gifted me with a Target card and so I went off and rewarded myself with a Sunbeam coffee maker and this cake ring.  I couldn't wait to try it on a cake idea I've had on my mind for sometime.

This is my cake version of a Filipino favourite, Buko (Coconut) Pandan, traditionally served as a salad/dessert with pandan jelly cubes and strips of young coconut in a creamy dressing.

Two-layered pandan chiffon cake, filled with whipped cream and coconut, sides covered with cake crumbs and topped with a layer of pandan flavoured gelatin.

I assembled the whole thing in the cake ring and left about 1/4" space at the top for the gelatin.

My whipped cream layer at the cake top was uneven, hence that white spot.

We couldn't wait to unmold the cake and eat it, so as soon as the gelatin set, I carefully removed the cake ring and sliced up the cake. 

Clay Extruder...

As the name suggests, this handy thing is really for clay but is widely being used for fondant as well, to easily create hair, grass, ribbons, bows, vines, letters, blocks, etc.   It's quite expensive but I reckon, is a pretty good investment if you are into moulding for toppers and other cake decorations.

Comes with 20 disc designs!

I tried the extruder yesterday and it was fun, just like playing!  My youngest son kept asking if he could try it.  The only thing I didn't enjoy about using it was that I had to clean it afterwards.  Can't leave any traces of fondant/gumpaste inside the tube or they will dry hard.

I used the extractor to make the hose and the lines on the helmet.  This topper is for a fireman themed cake I'm currently working on. 

I'm sure I'll have lots more uses for these cool gadgets in the future.  Can't wait!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Mocha Chiffon Cake

Another cake done, this one for a 70th birthday.  I wanted to decorate the cake with something special, something I've never tried before.  Thought a fondant bow would be nice.

With the help of this tutorial, I came up with this gumpaste bow to use as my topper.  To achieve this particular look, I embossed some embroidery prints on the gumpaste then brushed it with gold shimmer dust before cutting the strips for the loops.  After each loop had dried, I thought of experimenting by painting over the prints with antique gold edible paint.  That made the prints stand out more, don't you think?

I had a bit of trouble assembling the loops though.  I used royal icing at first to "glue" them altogether but even after a day, the royal icing remained soft.  Rather than take the risk of it not hardening, I took the bow apart again, cleaned off the royal icing and used melted white chocolate instead.  It ended up kinda messy around the center...and that explains why I decided to add some roses.  They're there to conceal the mess.

The final cake is a two-tiered (6" and 10") mocha chiffon frosted and filled with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  I may have rolled out my gumpaste a little too thick because my bow was quite heavy.  I had to put it on top of a small cardboard round supported with straws underneath.

Speaking of mocha chiffon...I've been getting tons of emails requesting for a copy of the recipe I use.  Instead of emailing them one by one, here it is now for everybody's convenience.  For frosting, I usually make Swiss Meringue Buttercream but you can use any buttercream recipe of your choice.  Add a bit of coffee dissolved in a little boiling water to make your frosting mocha flavoured as well.


MOCHA CHIFFON CAKE (recipe suitable for an 8” round, 3” high pan)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar for egg yolks
¼ cup corn/canola oil
4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons water*
2 teaspoons coffee powder*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons white sugar for egg whites
*dissolve the coffee in a little boiling water, then top up to have a total of 6 tablespoons of water/coffee mixture.

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well. Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan.
4. Bake for about 55 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
5. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a cake board. 
6. Cut cake in half horizontally.  Fill and frost with buttercream and decorate as desired.

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM (adapted from Shelly Kaldunski's Cupcakes book)

3 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the eggwhites and sugar. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer), about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the eggwhite mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature, and holds stiff peaks (the mixture should not look dry), about 6 minutes.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter has been added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.