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Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Mom suggested baking a cake for the doctor who operated on dad. The doc painstakingly took the trouble and time to explain the surgical procedure to us repeatedly. Giving us the assurance to quell our anxieties. But what to bake for a doc who doesn't have a sweet tooth? I did ask what flavour he preferred. All I got was, 'Bake me whatever you are good at'. Seriously, I am still unsure of what cakes I am good at baking.

So after much deliberation, I conclude that chocolate would be the safest choice and few could resist the velvety texture of chocolate mousse. If in any case, the doc didn't like chocolate, doc's missus, daughter and female staff could finish off the cake. Ahah. I went to Sun Lik to get some Valrhona chocolates for the cake. I spotted some chocolate transfer sheet. I have always wanted to test it out so I thought this would be a good time for me to do so. Besides making the cake look polished, I could use it to hide the shortcomings.

I used my chocolate chiffon recipe for the cake base. For the mousse, I turned to one of my favourite bloggers, Florence. I did not try out alot of her recipes but I do find her taste quite similar to mine (in terms of sweetness). Like E said, Florence's recipes are truly trusty ones. I would love to try out her 老婆饼 one of these days.

Adapted from original recipe. Too lazy to type out recipe. Perhaps later.

Thank you Doc. Ong, our heartfelt thanks with a home baked cake. Now, I have to plan to bake for another doc., as decreed by my mom.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mahjong Cupcakes, Anyone?

Mahjong goes way back in history but I won't go into that. Someone else has already done it in Wikipedia. I first came into contact with mahjong was when I was still in Primary School. I used to watch my dad play with his friends. I got all excited with all that '碰' (peng), '吃' (chi), '扛' (gang) and '糊' (hu). It was till later, during tetiary education that me and my mates went crazy about mahjong. We made 'calculated' risk to skip certain classes (calculated because we have a certain quota for non attendance) and semester orientation to play the game. We would also play into wee hours in the morning. These days, due to work and family, mahjong kakis are so hard to come by.

Just a brief introduction to mahjong. It is hailed as 国萃 by the Chinese. The mahjong set consists of 3 suits (筒子, 索子, 万子), from 1 to 9, 4 tiles of each. 3 dragons (红中, 青发, 白板), 4 tiles of each. 4 winds (东,南, 西,北), 4 tiles of each. 4 seasons (春, 夏, 秋, 冬), 4 flowers (梅, 兰, 竹, 菊), 4 animals (鸡, 蜈蚣, 猫, 老鼠), 1 tile of each. If you '碰' (peng) all 3 dragons and some other combination, you will get 大三元. If you '碰' (peng) all 4 winds and some other combination, you will get 大四喜. There are many winning combinations like; 清一色, 一条龙, 么九, 平糊, 对对糊, etc. But ask any mahjong player, the ultimate winning combo is getting 十三么; that is to get 1 tile of 么 (1) and 九 (9) from each suit, 1 tile each from 4 winds and 3 dragons. Total, you will have 13 tiles on hand. However, to win, you need an extra tile (any 1 tile that is similar to what you have on hand) for the eye (眼). I have only encountered getting 十三么 thrice in my mahjong playing career. But each time, I didn't have the luck to win it. I think I have to stop here for now. I'm talking in mahjong and this is a food blog.

Friend A ordered Mahjong 十三么 cupcake theme for her mom and aunt's birthday. Both are diehard mahjong kakis (fans). Cupcakes are in mocha flavour with coffee swiss meringue buttercream. That makes them mahjong and coffee kakis. Makes perfect sense as playing mahjong through the unearthly hours, besides the adrenaline, you need some additional caffeine to keep you going.

All toppings are made with marshmallow fondant. Painstakingly 'engraved' and coloured with edible food colouring. I wanted to draw the tiles with edible food pen writer, but I crumpled the end product like I would with paper. Simply not realistic enough. I thought that 么索 (the bird), would be the most dificult part. That is before drawing the 白板 and 九筒.

I have a couple more pics, closed up ones but I figured posting them all would take too long to load. I'll pass. I'm glad I jumped to the opportunity to make these when A enquired. I finally had a chance to touch my dear mahjong tiles after so many years.

*Note : No tiles were being harmed in the process.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Castle Cake Ver. 2.0

A neighbour's 2 kids were celebrating their birthdays together. The girl was smittened when she saw Ah Girl's castle cake last year. I guess every girl wants to be a princess. She is determined to have 1 for her birthday. Thus, through tears and arguments, she got her way. Partly because she is daddy's favourite girl. The poor boy had to make do and share a 'girly' cake for his birthday as his request of having another cake was turned down. I hope he likes the taste of the cake even though the deco isn't his 'type'.

Details on the crown.

More experienced dealing with fondant now so the decoration took me less time than my previous attempt. But still, I ended up awake, doing this cake till 4 a.m. because I reached home late after work.

My neighbours named their 4 kids with names starting with letter 'E'. They are Filipinos and like I mentioned previously, Filipinos love chocolates and it is the one and only flavour they would choose. I just discovered that they preferred a soft-textured cake like sponge cake. However, I explained that sponge cakes will not be able to handle the fondant's weight well. This is a chocolate pound cake. I cut them into 3 layers and sandwiched chocolate ganache in between. The cake is then covered with homemade marshmallow fondant and further decorated with royal icing. I think although most people like what fondant does to the cake, they do not consume it in general. I was told that the fondant was peeled off and discarded. Though I understand that fondant is too sweet for some but as a creator of this cake, I could feel the heartache.

I am quite happy with the outcome. Ah girl has been asking me what cake am I going to bake for her this year. Uh-oh.