Friday, March 1, 2013

Carousel Cake

Kids just love carousel rides and I just cannot understand why.  I don't enjoy rides going round and round, makes me giddy all the time.  I'll rather go for more exciting rides, give me roller coaster anytime.
The first time I saw a carousel cake was in Wendy's blog.  I never knew such a cake exist.  I told myself, one day I'll make this cake, one day....  To my own surprise, I decide to make it for DD3 this year.  All my children are unique but DD3 is exceptionally special as her birthday falls on 29 Feb.  I mean, how many of us can plan our birthdate to be on this date?
To celebrate her very special day, I decided on a carousel cake for her school celebration.  But this decision got me really busy.  I want the cake with mostly edible items/decorations, and not simply relying on some plastic materials/toys.  Everything must be handmade, from scratch.
Wendy made her horses using chocolate, I'm no good in handling chocolates so this option is out.  After a few sleepless nights, I decided on a gingerbread cookie.  I didn't want butter cookies as I'm not a butter person.  Moreover, this gingerbread cookie is a chewy cookie, relatively light (ie weight) if you compare with other cookies.  I made the cookies 3 days ahead, at 1am.  By the time I was done washing and packing up, it was already 3 in the morning.  The next few nights weren't any better.  I had to pipe the outline, leave to dry before I could flood the cookie and start piping the colours.  A lot of time was spent on the cookies.
For the cake base, I made an orange chiffon cake with 6 eggs.  I only like chiffon cakes in layered cakes, they are so light and soft.  However, that's where my fear comes in.  Can the chiffon cake support another cake on top?  I read through Wendy's entry again and again, it seems that it is doable to just stack the cake with a middle support and some straws.

I wanted to make my own candles too upon seeing NC's pictures but she told me she has extras and offered me one!  Yippy, now I don't have to make my own.

Looks like I'm all done?  Wrong.  I made 2 portions of SMBC (black raspberry powder) but they don't look like it is enough for the fillings, crumb coat and frosting of both cakes.  I suspect it's probably enough for 1.5 cakes.  I do not have enough time to make another batch so did a quick check with my neighbor, NC, to see if she has any frozen stash.  Thankfully I have this neighbor who bakes.  She did a few trials for her daughter's birthday cake just 2 weeks ago and there were leftover IMBC (red raspberry powder) in her freezer.  I don't care, I don't mind, I just grabbed her offer and frosted the bottom cake with her IMBC and the top cake with my own SMBC.  I believe I could have done a better decorating job if I had sufficient buttercream.

Enough said, let the pictures do the talking.

And these are all you need to stack the cakes.

Besides the carousel cake, DD3 requested for a butterfly cake.  That's another long story behind and I won't bore my readers here.

Not the perfect looking cake but my birthday girl is happy, so who cares if it looks horrendous?  Hahaha!

 Chocolate chiffon cake with pitted cherries and dairy whipped cream.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Homemade Bak Kwa

My apologies for disappearing for the past 3 months.  We were busy traveling during the school holidays, made a trip to Taiwan in Nov and 2 road trips to Malacca in Dec.  When we finally returned, it was time to prepare kids for school.

I made bak kwa some years ago but didn't get a chance to blog about it.  And since CNY is just round the corner, here's the recipe for those interested to make them at home.

Homemade Bak Kwa
Recipe adapted from Gan55
1 kg minced meat
2.5 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1.5 tbsp lee kum kee char siew sauce (I replaced with oyster sauce)
2 tbsp cooking wine
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 small drop 玫瑰露 rice wine (I  omitted)

Mix all of the above and stir in 1 direciton.

Mix till the meat becomes gooey.

On a baking tray lined with parchment baking paper, spread out meat with a spoon.

Put another piece of baking paper (I used plastic sheet) on top and roll it thin (around 3mm) with a rolling pin.

Try to keep the edges as straight as you can so you can cut into neat squares.  After rolling, remove the baking paper/plastic sheet on top.

Bake in a preheated oven on 125C for 25-30 mins.  The bak kwa is ready when the entire top surface is dry to the touch and is holding together without breaking.  The underneath of the bak kwa will be moist but it is ok.  When slightly cool, use a kitchen scissors to cut the bak kwa into squares or any shapes/size you like.

Cool completely.  Place sheets of of baking paper between each slice of bak kwa.  Wrap with clingwrap and keep in a container to chill/freeze.  When needed, reheat in grill/microwave/toaster oven/oven.