Ultra Chocolate

Last weekend, my sister said they wanted to go East Coast Park for cycling, followed by Carl's Junior for dinner, and to celebrate my nephew's birthday. I asked if she wanted a cake for him, she said okay if it's not much trouble. I pondered for a while on what type of cake should I bake for him, taking into consideration that the cake cannot require refrigeration. Because I would assume that we would probably spend at least an hour under the late afternoon sun before adjuourning for our dinner, then followed by cutting the cake.

Finally, I decided on the Cake fondant ultra-chocolate. I used valrhona chocolate and ghirardeli cooca powder for the cake. I read on Honey Bee Sweets' post on this cake that it's worth to use good quality chocolates. Very fortunately, I took her advice! I had misread the instructions and tried to overturn the cake while it was warmed and ended up my cake broke into half! I quickly patched it back and decided to put it in the fridge to see if I can salvage it.

The next day, it was really easier to remove it, but the cake was really hard and crumbly, but the taste was heaven! It was very chocky and extremely rich. Even as I pinch off the sides for my children, they loved it too! As I do not have time to bake another cake to replace it, I decided to trimmed it smaller to fit the buttercream portrait I drew of my nephew earlier. As I've not done buttercream transfers before, I was rather clumsy in the transfer. The tracing on the portrait also wasn't well done. So I'd admit that this cake decoration failed totally this time! *tsk*tsk*

Luckily my sister and my nephew were very forgiving. They didn't complaint about the design, and were happy with the taste of the cake. In fact, all of them liked the cake very much. Boy, was I glad! I must say, this type of the cake belongs to "I am very ugly, but I taste very good!" Hahaha...

Sharing some pictures I captured in East Coast Park while my kids went cycling, I just r&r.

Green Tea Cupake

I wanted to prepare some simple cakes for my meeting on Tuesday. So I decided on using one of the cake recipe from "The Cake Bible". Instead of using cocoa powder, I replaced it with green tea powder. I just realised it's been a long long time since I used my green tea powder to bake. I sort of missed having green tea desserts. Initially, I thought I wanted to mix some red beans (as I don't have azuki beans) with green tea cake. Then I decided not to make it so troublesome (laziness set in), so I did away with the red beans. Finally, I bake Moist Green Tea Cupcakes, and did some simple decoration using chocolate ganache on the cupcake. The reviews from my colleagues – moist and yummy!

You can get the recipe from Rose Levy's website..

Cookie Art Workshop 23 Aug 09

Another fun Sunday, conducting this Cookie Art workshop in Asian Bakes @ The Central. I always like to be there early, do my setup, preparation. Then have a short rest and lunch in the studio before the participants arrived. This was my prepared lunch.

Then it was back to having fun. Captured my participants in actions. They were so engrossed in their decorations. I can understand that. Sometimes, after they finished their outline or flooding, they stand upright to take a breather! Heehee...

Busy cutting out the shapes from the dough.

Piping outlines, and flooding the cookies.

Taught them how to check for runny consistency for piping, and they were busy filling up the coloured royal icing for flooding. They were all very fast and good!

Finally, just to share the nice containers that the lucky participants get to bring back. Anna had specially got these in from our neighbouring country. It's limited edition container, whilst stocks last! Heehee. This picture was contributed by Celestal in my previous workshop. She's really good in her photography. If I get the opportunity, I'll post up her "arty" pictures to share.

3 Chiffons and 1 Brownie

Have I mentioned that I've not been baking cakes for a long long time? The last was like...July? Goodness! Shows how lacking I've been! Anyway, my usual Saturdays were spent at my parents place. Last Saturday was an exception. My spouse was out for a seminar, I went BITC for my bread lesson, and decided to go home to do some baking since my children are home.

Not sure why I had so much egg whites in the fridge. Must be from my Cookie Art Workshops! Anyway, I wanted to do some sweet treats for my cousin, who had invited my family to her daughter's first year. So I decided on Egg White Brownies. As usual, I love this recipe. After baking, I just felt like having a piece, but I had to control myself from cutting it since it was going to be a gift!

Knowing I have enough time for the evening, I proceeded on to do Banana Sesame Seeds Chiffon cake. Most importantly because I saw the bananas hanging in the kitchen. I cannot, simply cannot resist bananas for baking...similarly for oranges! Hahaha... I just can't wait to convert them into something sweeter and nicer! So I made three different sizes of the chiffon cakes-7", 5" & 3", or termed as Do-Re-Mi.

I must have underestimated the timing for the bigger chiffons, they turned out to be slightly moist. However, the taste was really good. I added white and black sesame seeds to the cake. I like the look of black sesames on this chiffon. To me, it looked like ants on the cake...which I found it to be a little pretty! Hahaha...

Egg White Brownies, modified from Zu's Kitchen.

250g Semi-sweet chocolate
100g Unsalted butter
2tsp Vanilla extract
100g Cake flour
220g Egg white
120g Fine sugar
100g Walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted

1. Microwave butter and chocolate. Mix thoroughly until the chocolate melted and incorporated with the butter. Let it cool.
2. Sift flour into chocolate mixture and stir gently till well combined and add vanilla essence, put aside.
3. Beat egg whites till foamly and slowly add sugar bit by bit and whip till stiff peaks.
4. Take 1/3 of the egg white and fold it into the chocolate mixture.
5. Stir in mixture into the balance 2/3 egg white and gently mix till well combined.
6. Pour 1/4 of the mixture into a 8x8 pan lined and greased, and add half the walnuts on the batter.
7. Pour the remainig batter into the pan.
8. Top batter with the remaining walnuts and bake in a 180C preheated oven for about 35mins (depending on your oven) or till a pin inserted into it comes out clean.
9. Once baked, leave brownie in the pan for 5-10mins before removing and cooling it on the rack.

Continential Breads 2

For our breads this week, we made focaccias and ciabatta. Both use exactly the same recipe, same method, except that for focaccia, we add olive oil. That is considered "fats". Ciabatta is actually an Italian sandwich bread. According to Mr Low, it's actually a very cheap bread in Italy, but somehow, when it comes to Singapore, it became expensive! Now I know why it's a cheap bread in Italy, because there are very very few ingredients used, and it's very easy to make too!

I prefer focaccias as the addition of olive oil and rosemary herbs really made it very fragrant. The bread itself is not sweet, it taste really good! We sort of "mass produced" the focaccias!

Mixing the doughs until all leave the side of the bowl. Remember to do the membrane test!

We made so much focaccia dough that it has to be splitted into three containers for it to proof. Remember to grease the bottom with olive oil before putting in the dough to proof.

After proofing, we took out the dough and put it on a "floured" bed. Mr Low said, "floured bed, not your bed!" Hahaha... Who will put bread dough on the bed?? Not me!! Then we even out the dough, cut and put it on the baking tray for a second time proof.

Another two working table of focaccia doughs! After the 2nd proof, we created "dimples" on the dough, adding olive oil and rosemary herbs. Then we baked it in the oven. Look at how high it rose!!

Trays and trays of baked focaccias, awaiting distribution (to us!) The actual internal of the focaccia should contained big holes. That was what Mr Low told us. He said "Singapore" style is very compact, which is not right!

Finally, I brought home two big bags of focaccia and ciabatta. They looked so much alike, don't they? I think they are "cousins"... :p

When we were preparing our dough, Mr Low brought out "stollen bread" for us to eat. He wanted to let us try the bread so that we can sign up for this class if we are interested. I've never thought much of this "stollen" thingy, knowing that it's really sweet. But after trying this, I really like it. He said we have to cut it very very thinly and eat it chilled, which was exactly the way he served us! But I think about it, it's very similar to "hot cross buns"! Maybe I'll just do some internet surfing for "stollen", I should be able to find some very good recipes! Anyone tried baking "stollen" before?


The following day, I made a Ciabatta sandwich with cheese & ham as my lunch before my Cookie Art workshop. I bought kopi to go with it. It's so satisfying. I didn't want to pay a premium for gourmet coffee though I know it goes better! I'm happy just to have (cheap & good) kopi with it! ;)
[Not advertising for YK though...]

Cookie Art Workshop 16 Aug 09

This was the third lesson conducted by me. Every week, I looked forward to this workshop. Why? Because I get to know more people, and get to share my baking experience with them. I'm not one who knows all and do all. I also learnt from the participants. I realised that what they usually don't know and asked me, are those that I've been through. It seemed like a common bakers' problem faced. For example, oven temperature, decorating cakes, baking cakes etc. It just feels good to share what I learn with them, so that they can experience it and will not make the same mistakes in future.

These were the lovely group for that day. They were cutting out the dough for baking.

They were so engrossed decorating their cookies.

As one group wanted to learn the flowers, I taught them using the #104 piping nozzle. And they were really good! Even my first attempt on piping the petals were not as good as what they had produced! Good job!

In Aid of A Friend - Update

I would like to thank all the generous friends and colleagues who were so fast to response to me when I first made my appeal. Some had told me that they cannot consume coconuts. I'm sorry to those of you whom I'm not able to vary my cookies. I just want to standardise them so it's easier for me to buy the ingredients and bake them. Many of you have also donated cash. I'm not rejecting cash by the way. Thanks to all of you, I'm still fulfilling my orders, and the orders so far, have managed to raise >$500. Thank you so much everyone!

This is the latest update from Cally's Facebook on 17 Aug at 10pm Singapore time:
"Today Alan had his tubes removed for draining the fluid out from the chest area. Done a few x-rays to make sure they are all cleared. Had a long discussion with the doctor. He said even if Alan can wake up, he will not be able to talk, feed himself or walk. The best situation, he will be wheelchair bound. Doctor is giving him 6 mths from 21 Jul to see how is his progress. This is really SAD when he is so young."

I really hope you'll all help to pray for Alan, and maybe God can give him another chance to live and be active again.

Continental Breads 1

After last Saturday's workshop for California Style Baking, I just didn't want to stop attending workshops. We discussed with the instructors, and came to an agreement that we wanted to do continental breads. So they customised a 4-weeks workshop for us, just doing continental breads only. Doris, Su, Zainah and myself signed up immediately after last Saturday's workshop. We were really interested in breads after trying so many different types of breads baked by the students in the NITEC bread classes! I also think part of the reason was because we just didn't want to stop seeing one another! Hahaha...so mushy! :p

I felt that attending workshops, like I've mentioned before, can really be addictive, especially hands-on. You get to learn and bring back what you have baked. I simply love those! As I spoke to my cookie art class participants, I realised I'm not alone! They also told me they loved to attend hands-on workshops, hence, the Cookie Art workshop! Phew! I'm so glad there are many people out there who has the same hobby as me too!

Anyway, back to the continental breads workshop. The first workshop was multi-grain and wholemeal.

1. Ingredients for multi-grain bread.
2. Kneading using dough hook.
3. Knead until all are combined into one dough.
4. Feel the elasticity of the ready dough.

After the first floor time doughs.

5. Mr Low showing us how to divide and shape the dough.
6. Ready for intermediate proofing.
7. Slitting the dough before baking.
8. Release the moisture from the steam oven during baking.

Finally, this is our wholemeal and multigrains breads. Half the class did the multigrain and the other did the wholemeal. So at the end of the class, we chose to bring back three breads of our choice. I brought back more multigrains as they were really good! I shall definitely attempt this at home, I just love how healthy this bread recipe is! No butter and no sugar! Yummy!

California Style Bakings 4

It was a backlog post. The last of my California Style Bakings was completed last Saturday, however, there was some other more priority post that superceded this. Finally, I managed to find some time to update this post.

The final workshop for this California style are breads-Cherry Caps and Walnut Plaited Breads.

Cherry Caps.

1. Mr. Teo showing us how to add the ingredients into the dough.
2. Knead in the ingredients.
3. Colourful dough.
4. 1st floor time in the proofer.

5. Mr. Teo demonstrating the method for the "cap" of the bun.
6. Use a cutter to cut out the shape.
7. Flower cut out shape.
8. Cover the dough with the flower cap.

9. Baking the cherry caps in the commercial oven.
10. Baked browned cherry caps.

Mr. Teo was very happy with the nice brown cherry caps that we baked. These were packed into my container. I usually bring my own container to store those bakes. I'm quite an environmental-friendly person.

Walnut Plaited Breads.

1. Folding the dough.
2. Rolled it gently.
3. Shaped it.
4. Plaited it.
5. A plaited bread dough.

Baked Walnut Plaited Bread.

After this workshop, we were given a "Certificate of Attainment in California Style Baking". For that week, I collected two certificates, but I would value the wedding cake certificate more! ;p

More Cookie Art Workshops

We, Anna & myself, have arranged more Cookie Art workshops for the coming weeks. There are also new workshops scheduled for weekdays. Therefore, anyone who is interested, do check out the schedules and the workshops.


Art with a crunch!

Delicious crunchy butter cookies become even more attractive when they are decorated with pretty coloured icing! This workshop features a yummy and versatile Butter Cookie recipe which comes with Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee, Spice and Citrus variations, and a Safe Royal Icing recipe that does not use raw egg whites. You will be guided in mixing and baking your own cookie dough, and decorating a variety of shaped cookies using a 3-step piping technique.

i) Crunchy butter cookie recipe with chocolate, coffee, spice and citrus variations: mixing, rolling, cutting, baking of cookie dough
ii) Preparing royal icing (safe recipe)
iii) Stiff peak, soft peak, writing and flooding consistencies and how to determine them.
iii) 3-step decorating technique: outlining, flooding and overpiping

13 Sep 2009 (Sun) 12-3pm
27 Sep 2009 (Sun) 12-3pm
4 Oct 2009 (Sun) 12-3pm
Class type:
Baking (group) + Hands-on decorating (individual)
Class size:
3 hours
$77 (Includes printed recipes, a box of assorted decorated cookies to take home)
6, Eu Tong Sen St, The Central, B1-43, Singapore 059817. Clarke Quay MRT Exit F. Click here for directions.

To register, please click here.
Check out other baking workshops in Sugar Inc.

In Aid of A Friend

Dear friends,
One of my girlfriend's (Cally) spouse is suffering from stroke and is currently hospitalised in ICU. Being the sole breadwinner of the household, they have utilised their money. They have a young boy, who is currently attending childcare. She has to juggle between the hospital and her son. Below is the extract of updates from her facebook.

In aid of Cally's financial status, I am baking "Almond & Coconut Cookies" to sell at $15 per tub. All the sales proceeds will be given to Cally. She has agreed for me to help her in this. I will borne the cost of the ingredients, time and effort for the cookies.

I seek your generosity to buy the cookies and help her if you can. I am sure they will be very grateful to those that help them indirectly. There are two ways to pick up the cookies:

1) Pick up at Kitchen Capers at Kallang Bahru (strongly encouraged);
2) Meet up during weekdays lunch time at Bt Merah Central only.

Please send me an email @ aloyallyanders@gmail.com to make your orders now. Please note that orders and deliveries will complete by end August. This is solely based on my own initiative. Please note that this is not a coax, purchase is based on voluntarily basis only. Payment is to be made before collection.

I thank you in advance!

Special thanks to Gina for agreeing for me to put the cookies at KC for pickup. Thank you very much Gina!

*Lastest Updates (13 Aug 09)*
To make this worthwhile for any kind donors, Kitchen Capers (KC) aka Gina has decided to throw in some freebies too.

To all who purchase a tub of cookies from me and collect at KC Store, will be given 1 recipe card. If you buy 2 boxes, you will get 2 recipe cards of different recipes. If you buy 3 boxes or more, you will be given a S$10 Training Voucher which is redeemable when you sign up for any classes/courses conducted by Gina (Kitchen Capers).

Click here to visit Kitchen Capers Retail store. Here's how the recipe cards look like. Its printed on quality photo card (4x6 inches) by Ao Mori Silicone ware and copyrighted to Kitchen Capers.

"Thanks Jane for baking cookies for sale. Thanks to all supporters who bought the cookies from Jane. I am Cally whom Jane is helping to raise funds for my family."-Cally Leong, 12 Aug 09, 7.19pm