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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.


Starningblue said...

Hi Rei,

Just dropping by to say hi!

You draw the bird on the mahjong tile so well! Looks great :)


Cuisine Paradise said...

Oh my!!! This is so fantastic!!!! The mahjong on the cupcakes are so REAL... you ahve done a great job on this :)

Edith said...

Rei, you are really artistic. These takes a good and steady hand to create and you have done so well.

Passionate About Baking said...

OMG Rei! That's a replica of the real one! Now, for the last pic of the "bird", you should've put them side by side before you topped it up on the cupcake. Nobody would have guessed which is the real one! You're just soooooo good and talented! You should be doing full time baking & selling wor! Btw, do you need assistant to cut out the edible tiles? I volunteer my service for you free of charge (just so I can 偷师! );)

Emily said...

These are awesome! Very talented!

KIKILALA said...

That's really amazing!! You have outdone yourself again!!

iwhip.iwok.icraft said...

Wah these are amazing and very well painted!

Yuri said...

Dear Rei, I am in total awe, speechless :D

Anonymous said...

HI Rei

wow, that bird you drew really looks like the real one! you are not just a talented baker but also a talented artist as well!

quizzine said...

Very impressive! Did you do it free-hand or is there any special tools to do this exact replica?

Noob Cook said...

nothing short of amazing. You are so talented girl!

Art of Eating said...

This is really impressive ! The workmanship so fine.

Family First said...

Walau! Impressive man! You are really getting so good in this lar! And yes, thanks for the crash course in playing mahjong!

Rei said...

Thank you all for your kind words.

E : I seldom eat chicken feet, guess that's why my hands are steady? :D

PAB : As usual, your humour tickles me. And I'm flattered by your comment.

Quizzine : It is hand painted free hand, no special tools, well, if you consider toothpicks as one. :D

Becky said...

Oh dear Rei, they looks so real. I'm totally impressed. You are so talented!

Jackie said...

Wah, u r so talented ! Even mahjong tiles also can become your design for cake.

terri@adailyobsession said...

rei, u deserve an award! i have never seen any fondant mahjong b4, n urs are so real, even the bird is carved into the fondant, not drawn!n how did u get the color exactly like the real thing? i thot at first tt u used real mahjong. this is truly amazing, suyin better watch out!

n i think u need a lot of intellect to play mahjong...i don't think i can learn it.

KWF said...

Rei, I thought you've put the real mahjong tiles on your cuppies!

Anonymous said...

Hey! i saw this at kc, so i just drop by here.. ha! i thought u use printer!! wow u are so artistic and cool! congrates with making such nice and real looking tiles!
It's awesome!

wombat said...

Hi Rei,
we play mahjong over here in de the Netherlands all the time!! Its addictive!
A friend has his birthday (mahjong party with 3 tables) on december 5th,so I wanted to make him some cupcakes with tiles. I went the internet to google some more info. Your info is very very helpfull, thank you so much for writing it down en sharing it with the world.
Greeting, Xandra

Christine said...

Hi Rei,

Your mahjong tiles looks just like the real thing. I'm going to try making them for my dad's B'day soon, would you kindly give me some tips on the colouring of the tiles? Many thks.

Best Regards