Dotty Dot Cake

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In my office, we have a nice little tradition to gather once a month to celebrate the birthdays of team members in that month. This is April’s team cake – Dotty Dot Cake. In the mood for colours.

It’s a six layer chocolate cake with white chocolate whipped cream and lemon curd buttercream.

Recipe adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Makes 2 x 9 inch round cake

Ingredients:
For cocoa buttermilk cake:
(I increased this by 1.5 times to get 3 cakes/6layers, and used 8inch pans instead. You will get a taller cake)
250g all purpose flour
60g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
226g unsalted butter, softened
150g sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
110g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled.

For white chocolate whipped cream:
170g premium quality white chocolate
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For lemon curd cream:
Refer to my earlier post

5 cups italian meringue buttercream via Whisk Kid.

Method:
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven at 175C. Butter and flour 2 8inch cake pans. Line bottom with parchment paper.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat till throughly blended into the butter.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one. Beating well after each addition and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
5. Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk; Add dry ingredient in 3 portions and buttermilk in 2; mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter.
6. Fold the melted chocolate into the batter with a spatula.
7. Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for 26-30 mins.
8. When done, let the pans cooled for 5 mins on the rack before turning cakes out to cool completely.

For white chocolate whipped cream:
1. Melt white chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
2. Boil 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
3. When the chocolate is melted, remove from simmering water. Pour the hot cream into the chocolate and let it sit for a min. Stir chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let mixture cool till room temperature.
4. Whip 1 cup of cream till soft peaks. Add cooled chocolate all at once and whip till firm peaks.
5. Turn cream into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 6 hours.

For lemon curd cream:
Refer to my previous post

Assemble the cake:
1. Tint the buttercream in any colour you fancy
2. Divide each layer into half.
3. Fill each layer with white chocolate whipped cream and lemon curd cream alternatively.
4. Crumb-coat the cake with a layer of plain buttercream. Refrigerate till firm.
5. Frost the cake with more buttercream. It doesn’t have to be very smooth as most part will be cover with the buttercream dots
6. Fill piping bag with coloured buttercream and pipe away. I have used a Wilton 233 tip.

Shared at Lady Behind the Curtain on 03 May 2012.

Happy Owls

Once a upon a time, there live a clan of happy, cherubic owls. Granpa owl and granma owl have two sons and a daughter. The sons married and produced a baby-girl owl and a baby-boy owl respectively.

Granpa owl and granma owl like to bicker with each other, just like any old-loving couple. Elder-son owl and elder-wifey owl have their hands full with the energetic baby-boy owl. Younger-son owl and younger-wifey owl love to travel and have brought baby-girl owl to many far-flung forests. Daughter-owl is at the prime of her life and doing a lot of fun things.

The owls like to eat rainbow seeds and they have gained wonderous bright coats of fur. Meet the owls.

This hardly looks like a befitting cake for male senior citizen. Well it’s really hard to come up with a cool decorated cake for guy…. So, after sleepless nights, I came up with a family spin to this one, with all family members represented by the alter-ego owls. 

The cake is done up in vertical layers with lemon curd cream and sweetened whipped cream.

P.S. No owls are harm in the cake cutting process.

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Recipe adapted from Okashi Treats
Makes a 6 inch cake

Ingredients
For the sponge:
1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 tsp lemon extract
35g unsalted butter
60g cake flour
60g fresh whole milk

3 egg whites
85 g castor sugar

For the sweetened whipped cream:
100g whipping cream
1 tbsp castor sugar

For the lemon curd cream:
Lemon curd and buttercream

Method
For the sponge:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 28cm X 28cm flat square pan with parchment paper, with some paper over the edge where you can use to lift the cake out later.
2. Sift flour twice and set aside. Mix egg, egg yolks and lemon extract and beat lightly to mix.
3. Melt butter over low heat. Add shifted flour and cook through.
4. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and add egg mixture a little at a time. Mix into a smooth batter. Add milk and mix well.
5. Strain batter and set aside. (I skip this step since the batter looks smooth enough to me as it is and I’m lazy.)
6. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites till foamy. Add half the sugar and continue beating till soft peak. Add the rest of sugar and beat till stiff peak.
7. Add one-third of the meringue to the egg mixture and fold in.
8. Add remaining meringue and continue folding.
9. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
10. Bake for 20 min. When done, take the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper. leave to cool on the rack.
A cool pictorial for the sponge here

For the sweetened whipped cream:
1. Whip cream and sugar in a chilled mixing bowl until stiff peaks.

For the lemon curd cream:
1. My lemon curd is based loosely on this recipe. With the sugar and lemon juice adjusted to individual taste. I skip the butter (step 3 in the link) as the curd will be mix in with buttercream. I make a batch of these and keep them in the fridge. Always handy.
2. For the buttercream, I use a normal italian meringue buttercream. Very good pictorial from Whisk Kid.
3. Mix the cooled lemon curd and buttercream. No measurement here, just go by taste. If you prefer more lemony, add more curd. more creamy, add more buttercream.

Assemble the cake:
1. Place sponge onto clean surface. Peel off the parchment paper from the sponge. Peel off the brown skin on top as well. Cut into 4 long rectangle pieces. Take care to have equal width. Measuring with a ruler will be good.
2. Spread lemon curd cream onto the slices. Then spread the whipped cream.
3. Roll the first rectangle as per normal swiss roll. Put it upright on it’s cut edge and place it onto a 8 inch cake circle.
4. Take the second piece and connect the short side to the edge of the first rolled up rectangle, cream side in. Continue in similar fashion till all slices are done. Slice off the edge of the last slice at an angle, so that the cake will look round. Swipe off any excess cream from the top with a spatula. Put into the freezer to set.
5. Cover the cake with buttercream and decorate as you like.

I’m really tired now. If it seems tedious, it is. One advice is try to prepare as much as possible in advance. The sponge is best freshly made so you can’t really make this in advance, but you can do the decorations, lemon curd, buttercream in advance. I hand modelled the decorations using gum paste.

Shared at Lady Behind the Curtain, Today’s Creative Blog on 25 Apr 2012.

Rose Cake

There’s two birthdays in the family for March, mother-in-law and sister. For my sister birthday, I’ve made a cake decorated with swiss meringue buttercream roses. Revision for my piping. I also tried to do colour graduation. Ha ha… Lesson learnt: Should prepare the different coloured cream is bowls first in order to achieve better graduation. Rather than mixing along as I finished piping one layer…

The cake is a basic genoise sponge cake with raspberry jam and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. Did not soak the sponge in syrup…opps… very dry. Luckily, there’s the buttercream to counteract.

The cake
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Sideview
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Closeup
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Half eaten 😀
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Peach Flowers Cake

Have not been posting for a long long time… didn’t mean to neglect the blog, but was just a tad busy. I’m still baking lots, at least 1 per week, and buying eggs at alarming speed! I use almost a tray of eggs (that’s 30) in slightly over one week. Goodness!

So over the weekend, the family celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday. I wanted to create a cake that is elegant yet simple. The base peach colour turned out in an exact shade I’m very happy with. The flowers colour are pretty co-ordinated as well. However, I do need to improve on my piping skill. The lines surrounding the cake did not turn out smooth…

The cake
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A little close-up
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In action
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Bee Cake

My MOST ambitious project to date: Three-tier beehive cake for my colleague’s girl
Ambitious because
1. My 1st real tier cake.
2. It’s a relative big and heavy cake – 5inch, 8inch and 10inch respectively.
3. I need to carve the cake – I don’t have round cake pans and I’m not going to buy more pans.
4. I hoped the bees will taste good.

Like with any project, planning is key. Weeks ahead, I baked all the cake layers (chocolate), wrapped them up tightly and put them into the freezer. Then I purchased all required edible and inedilbe materials and kept them away. I also came up with a list of steps for decorating.

The birthday celebration was on Sunday, 15 Jan. I started my preparation on Friday night.

Bees:
Initial idea is to make them in “cake pop” style. you know, with the candy melts and sticks. That did not work out for me. Maybe I thinned the melts too much or there was moisture on the cake balls after taking them out from the freezer. The coating was not smooth and patchy all over. It was not looking good and I decided to try out a different plan B.
With the cake balls, I wrapped the yellow fondant over it and decorated them with eyes, strips and wings. Looking cute at this point.
The nightmare came when it’s time to attach the bees to the cake. The cake bees were way too soft and they kept sliding off the cake. Their fondant skin started tearing and the bees got distorted by too many pokes and jabs I made at them to get them stay. I only managed to keep one cake bee on the top of the cake. In the end, I re-made the bees with good old fondant. A bit too sweet to be eaten whole but at least they remained adorable and they stayed on the cake.

Cake:
It’s fun to carve cakes. 😀
This was the part I feared most initially. I had sleepness nights as I stressed over how to make the edges smooth and arc. It turned out to be fun actually! *maybe it’s me…* Get a knife and a turntable and start cutting down. Oh, I filled the cake layers with nutella swiss buttercream, fridged them, carved them, covered all over with cream and into the fridge again. Then covered them with fondant, stacked them up and start attaching the decorations all over. That’s the procedure in less than 2 secs but took me forever to actually finish it…

Cake Drum:
I cut out a 14 inch circle from a big piece of styrofrom. Covered it with alumnium foil. Then lay green fondant over it and finally attaching a nice ribbon around the edges. The cake is transferred the drum before the rest of the decorations goes on.

I had many heart-stopping moments… when the fondant didn’t go on nicely on the cake and there were cake showing around the edges, when the cake bees had to be taken off the cake and they left black marks on the cake to be somehow covered, when chocolate cake crumbs got onto the fondant *urgh*, when the humidity raised and fondant won’t co-operate….

Somehow I managed to finish it after 2 sleepless nights and a day. I’m totally exhausted at the end of it and gotten somehow a couple of brusies and cuts and blisters… don’t ask… but I’m happy with the results. Really happy…

Some pictures my colleague took at his place. He’s a good photographer. 20120116-094934.jpg

Noticed the slight crumpled green fondant near the name. That’s caused by him, and I’m not around to fix it 😛

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one last fancy shot, this time taken by me 🙂 20120116-145613.jpg

Good Old Chocolate Cake

Slept right through last night instead of waking up to bake a cake for my hubby’s friend. I’m feeling the efforts spent on the previous cake… 

Started baking as soon as I woke up this morning so that the cake can be decorated later in the night. (I have a full time job, but that’s story for another blog). Well, it’s super rush….. but the cake looks all right. pictures will follow.

I baked the cake with Martha’s recipe here