29.10.10

A Floral 21st Birthday Cake

One of the major things that i was doing during the month of October was planning, designing, doing taste-trials for my friend's 21st birthday cake. Gladly, i wasn't doing all of these by myself; i had J to share the load and keep me company (since it was a shared project). The whole process was a fun and worthy experience, even though it took away some of our sleep time and energy. Despite being faced with some uncertainties and failures on the way, those 31 hours of hard work definitely paid off. The cake turned out very pretty (both of us couldn't stop saying '...so pretty, so pretty') and the birthday girl really liked it too.
I also decided to submit this blog post as part of The Nuffnang October Blogger Challenge because i thought that the cake & cupcakes were so pretty that i would totally take them to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. The cupcakes have beautiful pastel colours and delicate flower decorations that especially suits a spring season tea party.
The journey started when we accepted the birthday girl's request to make her 21st birthday cake. At first, it sounded cool and fun but when we actually stopped to think about it we were like "Wait...it's her 21st birthday cake, not any other cake that we usually make". The birthday girl was going to hold a sit-down dinner for 50 or so guests, so we couldn't just make any Michel-Patisserie-like cake. It had to be displayed during the dinner, pretty, tasty and something that would feed 50+ guests. I immediately knew what we were dealing with...Fondant Cakes! Neither J or myself had ever made a fondant cake before, so we started to do heaps of research and watch Youtube videos about fondant cakes.
The birthday girl wanted green tea-flavoured cakes so we ended up making a White Chocolate Green Tea Mud Cake (main cake) and Green Tea cupcakes. We adapted the recipes from the book Planet Cake - A beginner's guide to decorating incredible cakes by Paris Cutler. We basically just added green tea powder to the recipes and reduced the amount of sugar needed in them. It's definitely a great book for beginners (like us) who are interested in cake decorating!
With everything ready and set to go, it took us 3 days to finish our little work of art! Let the journey begin...

Day One
We made the mud cake (as it can be stored longer) and coloured 6kgs of fondant to the colours needed: pale green and four shades of pink. That was a lot of muscle work involved! We were both pretty exhausted by the end of day...
Mud Cake Batter
The different coloured fondants
Day Two
That's when we made 6 batches of cupcakes (86 cupcakes in total), brushed them with syrup and covered all of them with white chocolate ganache.
Testing the batch of green tea cupcakes
Brushing the green tea cupcakes with syrup before ganaching them
Day Three
This day was entirely dedicated for decorating the mud cake and the cupcakes. We rolled out some pale green fondant and cut them into circles to cover the cupcakes. We also rolled out a massive 'sheet' of pale green fondant to cover the main cake and then, we put edible pale gold ribbon around the bottom rim of the mud cake. 
Cupcakes covered by pale green fondant
Covering the White Chocolate Green Tea Mudcake with Fondant. It wasn't as daunting as we thought afterall...
Covered mud cake with edible pale gold ribbon

We cut out a few hundreds of flower-shaped decorations to be used on cupcakes and the mud cake. All flowers were brushed with white shimmering glitter for a prettier finish and some flowers were decorated with metallic cachous.
Cutting flower-shaped decorations
More pretty flower decorations
In process of decorating the main cake
Finished cupcakes! I think it was past midnight when we finished all  them...

Day Three was probably the most fun and rewarding day for both of us as we got to see the final product! Yey!
It was such an accomplishment for us, i have to say. *tears...J also tears...

More photos of the finishing product...

Sorry for the long post, just felt like a proud mum!

23.10.10

The Lobby - Wedding Reception (Lunch)

As most of you might know from the previous post that i haven't been updating this blog in ages! I do apologize for that but October has definitely been a hectic month for me. Things are getting better since i have just submitted my book as part of the Nuffnang August Competition and finished my friend's 21st birthday cake (a post coming soon)
During the busy month of October, i had been able to witness a beautiful wedding that took place at the Gold Creek Chapel followed by a lovely lunch reception at The Lobby (King George Terrace, Parkes). It was such a marvelous day that everything was just so perfect - beautiful day, beautiful chapel, stunning bride and groom, nice restaurant and food! I haven't been to a great deal of weddings but i reckon that The Lobby serves great (wedding) food, if not the best so far, of all the weddings that i've been to.
They had an alternate service menu but i still managed to taste almost all the dishes. We started with a round of entrees which were the Togarashi tiger prawns with a citrus and summer berry salad and Beetroot cured ocean trout with snow pea and caper puree, potato crisps with orange sabayon. I got the ocean trout entree and it was simply beautiful. The skin was crispy and the fish was cooked just the way i like it - simple but still moist and flavoursome. The beetroot added a subtle sweetness to the fish and the puree enhanced the ocean trout's delicate flavours. The prawn was cooked nicely but i think the togarashi overpowered it.
Togarashi tiger prawns with a citrus and summer berry salad
Beetroot cured ocean trout with snowpea and caper puree, potato crisps with orange sabayon

After some touching speeches we started having our mains which were: Herb crumbed eye fillet with a panache of vegetable, caramelized onion vol au vent & mustard cream and Gingered pork cutlet with sweet potato puree, apple sage compote & English spinach. I had the eye fillet and it was nice and lovely with the mustard cream and the vol au vent was alright. In regards to the pork dish, I have to say that it was very delicious and the portion was very generous. The pork cutlet itself was tender and moist, and every component of the dish complimented each other well.
Herb crumbed eye fillet with a panache of vegetable, caramelized onion vol au vent & mustard cream

 Gingered pork cutlet with sweet potato puree, apple sage compote & English spinach
After our mains, we were greeted with some beautiful desserts: Lemon curd tartlet with warm nectarine salsa, vanilla marshmallow & mint syrup and Espresso and Tia Maria semi freddo with baby macarons & choc mint slice. I didn't try the latter one as it contained alcohol (at least it seemed to from the name), so i had the lemon curd tartlet dessert. I immediately loved the colours of the dessert, the yellow colour from the lemon curd looked lovely next to the white marshmallow and pink-ish nectarine salsa - such a pretty spring dessert. The tartlet was good and not too sweet, and marshmallow was very light and fluffy. The sweetness and acidity of the nectarine salsa together with the minty syrup held the entire dish well, making it deliciously refreshing. I didn't try the semi freddo but i heard that it was delicious too!
 Espresso and Tia Maria semi freddo with baby macarons & choc mint slice
Lemon curd tartlet with warm nectarine salsa, vanilla marshmallow & mint syrup

What is a wedding without the wedding cake? Of course they had one!
The wedding cake looked very cute and fun with two little teddy bears and hearts on the top tier. The cake was dense but moist and i especially liked the base!
The pretty and cute wedding cake


Forgot to mention about the restaurant but it is lovely and elegant place with tall glass windows all around and stunning views to the beautiful gardens. The meal was lovely, the speeches were touching, the dancing was sweet and most importantly, the bride and the groom were both gorgeous. SMB wishes the best to the both of you and may you two live a happily ever after life, just like in fairy tales!

Lobby on Urbanspoon

9.10.10

Earl Grey Chiffon Cake

Sorry for being a tad slack about the posts here but October has been and will continue to be a busy month for me. Despite of all that i still managed to bake a Mini Earl Grey Chiffon Cake as part of my friend's birthday present. I've been wanting to make something with Earl Grey for a while and when i remembered that she mentioned about wanting to have Earl Grey Chiffon Cake, i decided to go ahead with it.
I tried looking for some Earl Grey powder but having failed to find any, i ended up settling for some Earl Grey Tea Leaves from T2 - they were so kind to provide me with some samples for Earl Grey and Earl Grey Royale. I used the latter one as it has a stronger flavour.
It was my first time making this cake and i think it turned out alright even though the Earl Grey flavour was quite subtle. It's best eaten on the same day because it loses a bit of that softness if left for a few days. It's a great treat for an afternoon snack as it's light and not too sweet =) Don't forget to have it with a cup of tea!

Mini Earl Grey Chiffon Cake

Ingredients

4 egg, separated100g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
50ml strong earl grey tea
30ml milk
¼ tsp salt
100g cake flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp earl grey tea leaves

Method

1. Preheat oven to 170 degree C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 20g of caster sugar, butter, earl grey tea, milk and salt until combined.
3. Sift together cake flour and baking powder, then add into (2) and mix well. Set aside for later use.
4. In another large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks. Add in the remainder of the caster sugar and cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff.
5. Take ¼ of the meringue and mix with (3) until well mixed. Gradually add in remaining meringue, and lastly stir in tea leaves. Stir until just combined.
6. Transfer batter into 2 mini chiffon pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
7. Invert the cake immediately after taking out from oven, and cool on rack completely before turning out from mould. Bon Appetit~

2.10.10

Okonomiyaki

After having a bad Okonomiyaki during the Nara Festival (a post about it coming soon!), i had the urge of making one myself. I've never made one before but i was convinced that as long as i didn't end up burning it, the results would better than the one i had at the festival. I looked up for some recipes online and found one that turned out quite well...i ended up making a Banana Prawn Okonomiyaki, Beef Okonomiyaki and Marinara Mix Okonomiyaki.
Out of all the Okonomiyakis that i made, my favorite one was the Banana Prawn Okonomiyaki. The beef one and the marinara one didn't have as much taste. So i do suggest that you season them before making your Okonomiyaki.
A small tip: adding slices of bacon does make the Okonomiyaki taste better.

Okonomiyaki Recipe
Ingredients
- 1 cup of Plain Flour (or Okonomiyaki Flour, if possible)
- 160ml of Water 
- 2 Eggs
- 4 cups of Cabbage, cut into strips
- 2 stalks of Green Onions, thinly sliced diagonally
- 3 strips of Bacon, cut into 6cm pieces

Optional
For Prawn Okonomiyaki:
- 10 Fresh Prawns cut into approx 1cm chunks

For Beef Okonomiyaki:
- 10 Thin Slices of Beef

For Marinara Okonomiyaki:
- 300g of Marinara mix, cut into small chunks

Toppings
- Kewpie Mayonnaise
- Okonomi Sauce (if you don't have the store bought one, you can simply make the sauce by mixing 3 tbsp of ketchup, 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp of Soy Sauce together)
- Katsuobushi (Bonito Flakes)

Preparation:
1.In a large bowl, whisk together the plain flour and water until smooth
2. Add Eggs, Cabbage, Onions, Shrimp (Beef or Marinara mix) and mix, but don't over mix.
3. Oil a frying pan and add 3 pieces of bacon. Then, add Okonomiyaki mixture into the frying pan.
4. Using a spatula flatten and form pancakes until around 1.5cm thick and approximately 20cm
5. After about 3 minutes, flip over pancake and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
6. Flip pancake again and cook for another 3 minutes or until firm and well browned.

7. Remove the pancake into a plate and drizzle with Kewpie mayonnaise, okonomi sauce and sprinkle with some Katsuobushi. READY TO SERVE!
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