November 28, 2014

Loy Krathong Celebration 2014

Krathongs

My recent trip to Bangkok to visit my family was so timely. I arrived just in time to see the 'festival of lights' celebration at the school where my sister works.  The festivities include ceremony, games and of course food fair! Faculty, staff, students and their parents wore a Thai traditional costume to mark the occasion. Here are the highlights of this year's Loy Krathong Festival at Niva International School.

November 25, 2014

Chocolate-Coated Macaron Shell



My recent adventures with the macarons has left me with considerable amount of rejects.  I would hate it if they end up in the trash so I kept all. I sort out the acceptable  from the bad ones. The macarons that were pointed and had small cracks and little feet could be used for our nightly turn down service. That would give our  guests something new to enjoy.

For the first batch, I decided to coat the top with melted dark chocolate. Same thing with what I do with profiteroles. When I saw the macarons, I was surprised to see how cute they turned out even without the filling. Not only did  the chocolate conceal the defects, it also added a nice contrast to the flavor. I still have to figure out what to do with the rest. As for the bad macarons, well, they were happily devoured  by my hungry colleagues.

November 22, 2014

Macaron Wedding Favors



Macarons  which are  beautifully presented  in a transparent treat bag,  adorned with ribbon and bows and a cute gift tag can be the perfect wedding party favors. I packed these delicious cookies according to the bride's instructions. There were 29 guests attending.  She specifically asked that I make 29 macarons in mint green and 29 in pink, She wanted one mint green and one pink to be given to  each guests.

Making the cookie may sound as an easy task but I was overwhelmed with the whole process from start to finish. I failed several times before I was able to make decent cookies. First, I tried to bake from scratch. The cookies came out with a cracked top and no feet. Then I tried to use macaron mix. The result was the same. It took me days until I got it right.Well, sort of. The final macarons had very small feet. I couldn't afford to  start all over again as I had a wedding cake to make and my daily work load. The macaron making took me too much time and effort. Up til now, I still couldn't figure out what went wrong. Perhaps the quality of my almond meal was the reason. Or was it because I  over grind it. Another reason could be because I didn't dry them out in the oven? I am not an expert. I believe I will have the answer over time.

November 18, 2014

Last Wedding Cake Of 2014



I'd never expected another wedding to happen when it's almost the end of the year. November is low season. I supposed to take things easy and yet I found myself overwhelmed with the work assigned to me. Besides my daily work load, I was commissioned to make the wedding cake and the party favors which I will talk about in another post. For now, I want to talk about how I pulled this off unbelievably fast and  without much hassle. I guess it's due to the fact that I make this cake so often that I have gotten so familiar with  the methods.

November 15, 2014

My First Attempt At Ruffled Cake





I am not a trained cake decorator. I learn to decorate cakes on my own. I have been doing it occasionally for the past three years now  and I still am learning. I just wish that one day I can decorate cakes like a pro.

You may have noticed that most of my posts  are about  birthday cakes. The wedding season craziness has ended giving me opportunities to squeeze cake making in to my busy schedule.  A few days ago, I got another request for a birthday cake, There's a design which I'd been itching to try and I got the chance  to try it for myself.  The tween's father requested any cake in either  pink, blue or purple. I baked a vanilla chiffon cake and  sliced it in three layers.I layered them with vanilla butter cream icing and crumb coated it before I put it in the fridge to chill. Once chilled, I covered the cake in ruffles!

November 11, 2014

Easy Birthday Cake Design For Kids



Want to make your plain looking chocolate cake more appealing to kids? Easy. Just  add M & Ms to enhance its look. This cake was for a young boy who asked that I make a chocolate cake for his birthday.  Except for the border around the edge and  base and the "Happy Birthday " inscription in which I used vanilla frosting to achieve a nice contrast, the cake was layered and covered with chocolate butter cream frosting . I wanted to make it look more attractive to the birthday boy and his friends and I figured the colorful candies would do the trick. I arranged the candies on top of the white border to conceal it. It looked so much prettier with all the colorful M & Ms. The boy was all smiles when the cake was served.


November 8, 2014

Rosette Cake Decoration



Since the wedding season ended, the request for birthday cakes is staggering. I have been catering for it for the last couple of months.  Thanks to  video tutorials on  youtube, my trusted source of ideas and inspiration, cake decorating becomes fun, easy and satisfying.

The newest decorating technique I have learned recently is this  rosette design. I have not perfected my piping skills even after years of doing it but I managed to pull it off at my first attempt.   I know I still have a lot to learn and I can't wait to try them all.

November 5, 2014

Chocolate And Vanilla Cake



Whenever I am given the liberty to decide on the color and flavor of the cake, I always opt for the chocolate and vanilla combo. It's an easy recipe and doesn't require too much of my time. I also love the contrast between the two.

This vanilla chiffon cake is layered with chocolate butter cream and frosted with vanilla icing. I wanted to top it off with two tone butter cream icing but failed to do so. I nearly got it right, I tell you, but as I was getting to the final stage of frosting,  I smudged the white icing with the brown. I couldn't afford to spend extra time to redo it so I decided to mix the two. It worked pretty well I think. I added a nice contour effect on the cake by running a serrated triangle scraper on the side. The top is decorated using star piping tip. I used a small round piping tip to add a little enhancement at the bottom

November 2, 2014

Meringue Cookie Topped With Sprinkles



As a baker, I am often left with too many egg whites. I don't throw them out. I use them to make treats like these meringue cookies. They're so simple  yet delicious. They are crispy on the outside but chewy and fudgy on the inside just the way I like it.  The few ingredients needed yield a big batch. I can make these often and still  keep my costs down. How good is that?

 I ditched chocolate chips the recipe called for. I wanted them plain and simple. I opted to  garnish the cookies with sprinkles instead. They definitely added a nice touch.