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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bicycle on a Birthday cake for two with Peanut Butter cream

              Last the past 2 weeks I was scratching my head as to what cake I should bake for my a family member.  In all my 26 years of cake baking, I have tried to make, almost, all the cakes that I learnt, not quite there yet as there are so many to choose from the large collection of cakes that I had learnt over a span of 26 years & I was only proficient in turning out the cakes after 10 years of practice & there are also times when the next birthday comes along, there may be request for a repeat cake that I had made earlier for the previous birthday/s.

             I knew that if I were to bake a cake; carrot, cupcakes or a Red Velvet cake, with a Cream Cheese frosting that the group that were going to meet at that birthday, would love it esp the Cream Cheese frosting but that would just be a safe choice!!! I wanted a change & an opportunity to go outside the box, so to speak, & pull out a recipe, haha out of a hat so to speak, that I have learnt but have not tried so I knew where I was heading this time round.

            I decided that I would make cupcakes, which was no big deal, & cover it with a Peanut Butter cream/frosting & now that's a big deal as I have NOT made it before!!! I learnt this so many, many years ago & have never made it as cupcakes Then was not a rage & when you have made the peanut butter cream/frosting [you would have to, first, make the egg custard & put it in the fridge after the custard is cool.  Ideally the custard should be smooth & cold when you are making the peanut butter cream/frosting] your cupcakes should be made the day before, then cool it & put the cupcakes in a tupperware & in the overnite & removed from the fridge [ideally your cupcake should be cold] when you are ready to put the peanut butter cream/frosting & you need to work a little quicker as when the peanut butter cream is room temperature, it is a little too soft & slightly harder to cover a large batch of cupcakes. Haha thinking on my feet, the next time I do this frosting again, I will take out half & put it in the fridge to cool so that when I need more of this frosting, I will just take the cold one from the fridge, give it a stir & use same!!!  

            So I took out the recipe, haha it was still crisp, no dog ear yet, and as I expected the recipe would be just 2 short lines as the Chef, I learnt from, was not big into lengthy recipes.  Probably his thinking was that we learnt better when we write our own notes, etc, etc. and I then to agree, I learnt better that way too. Thank goodness I have this penchant of watching intently & writing my own notes as he went along & another sad thing was that he was not Big either on demonstrating how to do a good egg custard.  He was experienced and would know what to do & I felt sorry for those young inexperienced home bakers who came for the class.  I was lucky as I have had the good fortune of learning how to make a good custard, you know like making a smooth velvety custard for Tiramisu or a Mousse, from other Chefs so making a good custard was no sweat off my brows, I could easily adapt what I learnt from other Chefs into making a custard for this Peanut Butter cream/frosting. And so like the big sister I was, which I was always "accused" of by my other baking friends, during the lunch break, I approached apprehensively the new, young & eager beavers & asked them if they were alright & understood the method for the Peanut Butter cream/frosting.  I was apprehensive as I did not know them from Adam & didn't know whether they would mind my take on what they had just learnt seeing that the Peanut Butter cream/frosting was only a 2 line recipe but what I did not expect was that my innocent concern opened a deluge of questions as I certainly did NOT want that Chef [who is my good friend] to think that I knew better than him, of course NOT, I wasn't smarter than him but I had decades of learning, practice & a deep passion for baking & a deep motherly concern for inexperienced and young home bakers being a mother myself to children of the same age group as them.  Luckily this bombard of questions from the young and inexperienced bakers were at a food stall and not in the presence of the Chef, as we were having lunch there as this peanut butter frosting was part of a class of many cakes we were to learn that day.  We all paid mega bucks to learn for the class that day, a couple of hundreds & I felt sorry for them :)  Sorry for digressing, just my thoughts.

             Ok back to the subject at hand.  I made the cupcakes & the Peanut Butter cream/frosting & I was real glad as it found favour with the Hubs & my girl.  Like what my girl wrote on my FB after the birthday when I posted the picture of the cake, the sponge cake was lite with just the right touch of salty & sweet & then I got a text last nite at 11. 30 pm from my girl, "mmmmmmmmmmmm peanut butter cake mmmmmmmmmmmm" it certainly made my day & as the birthday boy was into cycling, I made a bicycle with gum paste & as the bicycle was not able to fit into my cupcake, I made a mini cake for the birthday cake & the rest into cupcake size & needless to say, I adorn the rest of the cupcakes with gum paste flowers & shoes that I made earlier!!! 

                            Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Smitten with making gum paste shoes

          Day 127 of moulding gum paste flowers & objects.  I seem to love moulding shoes too.  After making a few types of baby shoes, I made a lady's slip on sandals.  I was tremendously happy with making the slip on as it was easy doing a bigger shoe but I still wasn't satisfied.  I have been wanting to make a high heel lady's shoes, and even after seeing a few tutorials on Youtube, I still could not do the heels.  I saw this heel mould in one of the sites where we can buy online but it was way, way out of my budget, I would have to cough off a few hundred dollars including shipping charges and IF I am still working, I would have bought it in a heart beat so when I went for my second gum paste class recently, I saw this darling, small silicon shoe mould which was purrfect as it was just the right size for me & the best thing, it cost lesser than 50 bucks :) I was ecstatic, couldn't be happier.  I took it off the rack, along with 2 more, a tin mould of a lady's dress and a silicon button mould, I have also been facinated with the different types of button & headed for the paying counter. 

            So after the class I headed home with such rapture, I could NOT wait until the next day to try making the high heel shoes.  So that same nite I made the shoes & the next day I added a ribbon!!! Then I brain stormed myself with this question, "What IF I want to make the shoe stand by itself?"  Hmm, I slept on it. 

           Next morning I came up with this solution; hoping against hope that IT would work.  I decided to add a small piece of black gum paste at the bottom of heel & at the bottom of the front part of the shoe & voila, IT stood tall!!! For me, I guess it is when we are hungry for something & we want something real bad, we will try anything & most times, with alot of passionate practice, we, sometimes, do succeed. 

                               Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Friday, October 26, 2012

My second gum paste class - bridal figures

          Like I mentioned in my last post, I was going to attend another class & it is still on the wedding theme.  This time when I went for the class yesterday we learnt how to make a bride & groom figurine.  It was simply fascinating watching the experienced instructor; watching & learning with great intent & after watching the demo; we had to reproduce what we saw.

           This is what I did.

                    Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another gum paste class

        Just one more sleep then it is back to gum paste class again; a wedding theme.  Will be learning to mould gum paste bride & groom figurines, a tiny, tiny posy of flowers, wedding cake toppers; all these will be placed on cup cakes; as I have never taken a class on moulding figures, I am quite excited to learn some techniques. 

       Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Converse Baby shoe

             Day 119 - I am very thankful for the age of Technology & being able to surf the net is one of my biggest pleasures & I am very grateful to ALL the generous & wonderful people for sharing their knowledge esp on making gum paste/fondant flowers, objects, baby & ladies shoes, etc. and working with my gum paste & turning them into things that fascinates me add years to my life.

             Making this Baby Converse shoe was not very hard but trying to insert the gum paste stripes into the holes, which I had align them when I was cutting & shaping the sides, is another thing altogether.  For me if I were to rate the difficulty of just inserting them into the sides of the baby's shoes, I would rate it as 10/10.  It took me over an hour to do so.  Thank goodness I am ruled by 4Ps, Passion, Perseverance, Patience & Practice. The gum paste shoe string that I made kept breaking when I tried to push it through the hole!!! 

             I made a mental note to myself.  The next time I do this baby shoe again, & I promise myself there will be another next time soon as I love how it looks, I would try some changes to make it easier; hope that it would be an easier task. Wow after doing same, I was mentally exhausted!!!

                         Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A colourful circle of baby gum paste shoes

               Day 118 of my gum paste adventures!!! Wow I have been breathing and "living" gum paste for nearly 4 months & just loving it!!! I would always sneak some time out during the day & let my hands do the "talking" then at nite I would check out Youtube for tutorials. It is just like an extension of our childhood where we played with play dough.

              What I love the most is the gum paste that I learnt 2 years ago and, haha never attempted to do until 3 months ago when someone dropped a bomb on me & asked me to bake her wedding cake inspite of me telling her that I had zero experience in the field of wedding cakes, AS I found that making my own gum paste from scratch was a breeze & I was able to roll the gum paste very thinly.  Since that the wedding cake request, I have also gone for a wedding cake class just to see up close how to place the dowels properly & of course, the art of how to cover the cakes with fondant. I know there are so many tutorials on Youtube but I preferred to go for the class so that I can take notes, pictures, ask questions, etc etc. & I loved the wedding cake class.  My only regret I waited so long to go for same.  I should have gone for the class 2 decades ago but then another student pointed out to me, when I express this regret in class, that had I gone for the wedding cake class 2 decades ago, the styling might be old fashioned.  

               In my initial craze of gum paste I started off with learning some flowers on Youtube of course!!! Then now I have moved into learning to make things like baby booties, I adore them!!! & once, I tried to make a figurine & though it was far from perfect, I was happy with what I did & to this end I am going for another class; still on the wedding theme, where I will learn to make a bride & groom figure, a small, yes tiny, bunch of flowers on stalks, etc to place on cupcakes.

              Then as I have a birthday coming up soon; the birthday boy is so into cycling, I searched the net for a simple bicycle that I could make so that I could make a few of them & place on the cake & finally I found one which was not too technical!!! It is quite difficult to make a 3D version of same so I am just going to place them lying down flat on the cake.  Well it is better than nothing!!!

                              Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wedding cake class

         I nutured a dream twenty five years ago that I would, one day, learn & make a wedding cake then out of nowhere I felt the urge that it was high time that I realised that dream, not so much, that I want to take wedding cake orders as they are quite stressful, but for the fact that I wanted to round up my knowledge on baking. Those dreams were partly responsible for making me the person that I am now, the rest were 4 Ps;  pure Passion, perservance, patience & practice; practice makes perfect yah!!! I am who I am comes to mind.

         I have seen, countless times, on Youtube how to cover the cake with fondant & stacking the tiers up but I needed to see up close, take shots on my camera of the various steps & most important, taking notes. The wedding cake class I went recently was very informative and enjoyable & I was quite pleased with my own effort. 


                       I came back & placed the wedding cake topper that I bought last year & it made the cake; simple & complete.

                      Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stained Glass Flower

                I did mention in my blog that I went to learn Edible Painting from Kelvin Chua, a Sugar Artist then when I heard that he was giving another class - Fleur. A stained glass effect of flowers; I knew that I had to again, clear my calendar & go for same.

                The first time I went for his class, I was a little nervous as was not interested in painting while in school & I couldn't paint to save my life but after a little warm up, I felt more brave.  He is so gifted & I was glad I went for the first class & if you were to ask me to rate my end product on a scale of 1 - 10; I would say I was a 5.

                Then the Fleur class came along.  This time I knew what to expect, I was nervous at all; I was all geared up!!! And I was glad; as this time the flowers, we had to do, didn't have so many petals!!!!!!! I had a grand time.  I didn't want to be too adventurous & fill the top & sides of the fondant covered dummy.  I went slow as was my style as I wanted to concentrate on a small section and also I wanted to do the rest at home.  There were 10 of us; all of them very much younger than me; so they were more motivated to do as much as they could & they did!!! Kelvin kept showing us the techniques & kept telling us to make sure that we had a pretty side to show.  Some of the students groaned as they had so much to do & me, I was "shivering!!!" I only did 1 side & if I made a mess; I am dead!!! But thank goodness I was happy with what I did.  I felt that I did justice to myself.

                   These were the handiwork of all the esteemed students & mine is the first on the right which has a plain white top :)

                      Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A gift to a friend at son's full moon

               The Hubs told me that we were invited to his friend's son full moon so I thought it would be good if I could bake a cake & top it with a gum paste Orchid then 2 days before the dinner I thought it would be nicer if I could top the cake with a baby which I saw on a blog.

               I decided to bake two Chocolate cakes & top one with my Orchid, just in case I had trouble with the 2nd option & trouble indeed I had as 2 days weren't enuf to dry the wheels of the cart properly & I put it on top of the cake when the ganache had not set slightly longer so when I placed it on the cake; the wheels dislodged itself :( Anyway thank goodness, the rest were in tack so I was happy to see that there was no cake at the function & mine caused quite a stir among the old & young alike & many came to thank me for my simple gesture!!! 

                    Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chocolate cupcakes adorn with the flowers I made

           Aimee, a very good friend of mine called me & asked me whether I would contribute some recipes to a cookbook that her Church, a different denomination from mine, was organising to publish & sell & the proceeds in aid of a school for special children.  I was only too pleased to do my little bit in aid of same.  She told me that the persons who were in charge of this project would contact me.

           I cranked my head to decide what recipes I would like to share.  I had so many I wanted to give until finally I decided that one, would be an Orange cake that my aunt gave to me 15 years ago & which I had be doing so many R&D that today it remains one of my signature cakes that I sell, & the other was my Nyonya Prawn Lemak with Pineapples, which I learnt from my esteemed MIL, a fantastic Nyonya cook & over the years, I also added my own take to the Prawn Lemak.  Both these recipes are in my Blog.

          So Nelly called me with regard to the recipes I wanted to contribute; I emailed them to her & then she said that she wanted to come over on a mutually convenient date with a few of her Church members to my home to meet the Hubs & me. Nelly came over with 4 others & right from the word "Go" both the Hubs & me bonded with these awesome sisters & brothers.  It didn't matter to me at all that they were not Catholics, to me, I find that we all form part of the body of Christ & are All brothers & sisters in His name.

           So I thought that was that. Then when Nelly called me the following week & invited me to go to her place for a sharing & fellowship, I was happy to go as I used to go with Aimee to her sharing & fellowship a long time ago too, as I find that there should not be any division as it was all Praise & Worship in His name.  Praise the Lord, Allelulia.  I am so happy that I made so many new friends, Yih Meh, Nelly, Nevina, Bros Ting, Hoe Pheng, Melissa, Joanne, WP, Foong Leng, along with a host of many more, whose names I have not "mastered" yet but master them I will because, with the grace of God, it won't be the last time that I would go for these fellowship, haha, not to mention the awesome food that followed!!!  Thank you Nelly, Yih Meh, Bros Ting & WP for making me feel welcomed. God bless. 

            And as I have been making so many gum paste flowers, I made some Chocolate cupcakes & used the flowers for decor & brought them there to makan makan. 

               Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia.