Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas greetings

From Melbourne to the rest of the world, here's wishing you all a blessed Christmas!

May you receive the lasting gift of joy, peace, and love that comes from Jesus Christ.

Have a great time celebrating with family, friends, and all your loved ones!

Monday, December 22, 2014

My new favourite thing to make

If you still haven't seen or heard about decorated roll cakes, then you must have been living under a rock in recent times!  Deco roll cakes were created and popularized by a famous Japanese food blogger named Junko.  As with anything Japanese-made, these cakes are just oozing with cuteness!

Image credit:
Image credit:

I have been wanting to buy Junko's books since early last year but they were written in Japanese.  I really didn't want to go through the struggle of translating so I had to forego buying them and content myself with just admiring photos of deco roll cakes online.

Just over a week ago, while looking for books on the internet, I accidentally discovered that Junko's books have already been published in English!  Of course, I wasted no time in ordering them!!!

So far, I have tried making three of the deco rolls in the first book, all of them incidentally featured in the cover.

Strawberry print roll - vanilla flavoured cake with whipped cream and strawberries.

Teddy bear deco roll - chocolate flavoured cake with whipped cream, mangoes and strawberries.

Arabesque motif deco roll - matcha flavoured cake filled with whipped cream and sweet red bean paste.

The cakes are chiffon-type so as expected, they are very soft and moist.  However, unlike the chiffon cakes that I am used to making, these ones have less cake flour and have no baking powder.  I think the lower flour content makes the cakes easier to roll.  They do not crack at all!  (And they are not even rolled while still hot.)

As you know, my family isn't all that crazy about eating cake so while I hope to try all of the designs in the books (as well as make my own), I really have to control myself.  At first, I thought the cuteness was enough to convince my kids to keep on eating the cakes one after another, but now I realize that no matter how light and delicious they are, I cannot keep on making them every single day!  I should really consider giving these as gifts!

You will definitely see more of these cake rolls here in the future.  I really wasn't keen on making cake rolls before but now that I've tried and found the process quite easy, I think my next move would be revising my own chiffon cake recipes so they would be more suited to be made in this manner.  Hmmm,,,I reckon I'll start with an ube cake roll. :)

Till next time.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ending my caking year

I am so sorry for being away for almost a month.  The 2014 school year concluded early December so as you can imagine, I have my hands full with the kids in the house all the time.  Also, I have been concentrating on finishing all my cake orders for the year.  I am taking a break starting this coming week till early January so I can do things that I have been procrastinating on (#1 on the list: a second book).  Plus I also want more time to prepare for Christmas.

For my last big cake commitment, I made a two-tiered cake, a large caramel cake plus two dozens red velvet cupcakes for an 18th birthday party.  As you will see, I went all out on the buttercream roses! I really like the old-fashioned look they project even though gumpaste flowers may look more life-like.

In this past year, I think I made more caramel cakes than ever before.  Since I started selling cakes, my most sought-after product was the ube macapuno, but now, people have shifted to the caramel cake.  I believe this cake suits the Filipino taste best because it's not overly sweet.  More than that though, there is just something so endearing about the buttercream roses, don't you agree?  Oh and let's not forget those lace-like squiggles too - no matter how messy they seem to appear while piping them, they still end up complementing the whole traditional vibe. 

I really loved making this two-tiered cake although at first, I was afraid it was going to be a complete disaster. While positioning the roses and piping the leaves, I kept on hitting the soft buttercream. This is the downside of using a non-crusting buttercream like SMBC.  You can't smooth it out just like that!  If you look close enough, you will notice the uneven cake comb marks on the bottom tier.  I accidentally touched it and couldn't fix it properly because the ribbon and the roses were already in place :(

I piped all the buttercream roses the night before I assembled this cake and put them in the freezer.  It was a breeze to just position them all later.

I didn't totally go all-buttercream and it would have been really neat if I did.  The #18 topper and the cutout letters for the celebrant's name were made from gumpaste.  I also moulded gumpaste roses and cut out leaves for the cupcakes.  It just saves time to be able to do all these in advance.

So there you go.  That is my way of ending my caking year with a bang.  I still have a few more cakes to do before Christmas though nothing extraordinary.  Hopefully, if all goes as planned, our Christmas cake will be something new.