Fondant Art

Fondant is a common ingredient when it comes to beautifying the appearance of cakes and desserts. It’s the baker’s “play dough” that allows room for creativity when it comes to decorations.

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of making a cupcake for my friend’s cadets age-out. An age-out is basically the “graduation” of a cadet from the cadet program. Unfortunately, it happens to everyone on the day they turn 19…my turn is soon 😦

So in order to make the cupcake extra special, I tried to make a fondant figure of him! It was really fun to make because fondant is so flexible. You can buy white fondant from the store and colour it with any colour you want too.

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The following are just a couple pictures that outlines the steps I took into making a figure of my friend and also, Olaf! Enjoy, and please let me know about your own fondant adventures!

Tips and Tricks for Colouring:

1. Always use colouring gel for fondant! Liquid colouring makes a runny mess, and is always too thin to get the colour that you want

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2. To colour, roll white fondant into a ball

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3. Dip a toothpick into the colour, stab it into the fondant ball, and then pull it out

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4. In order to minimize the amount of colouring that gets on your hands, follow these steps:

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5. Keep on folding the fondant until you end up with an evenly coloured ball

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Tips and Tricks for Making Figures:

1. Roll fondant into balls to start

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2. Make your shapes! Use your fingers, palms, or any tools you can find, such as forks, knives, and fondant tools

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3. To hold together the shapes, use 3 toothpicks for more traction

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Here’s some shots from when I made Gloria’s birthday cake.

*Sorry for the mediocre camera quality, I didn’t have a good camera back then!

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Duotone Frosting

Hello everyone, I hope you are enjoying this wonderful sunny weather we’re having!

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A lot of people were asking about how I made my latest cupcake, the KitKat Cupcake with duotone frosting. It’s actually quite easy! Here are the steps:

1. Make 2 different batches of frosting that are different colours

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2. Spoon 1 colour of icing and place it in the bag, with the icing facing towards the plastic so that it sticks. Do the same with the other spoon. (This step is really hard to explain so just look at the picture). By having the spoons back to back, you can prevent the two colours of icing from mixing

3. Scrape the icing off of the spoon by pressing on the outside of the piping bag while pulling the spoon out

4. Squeeze out the air bubbles by lightly pressing on the bag to even out the icing distribution

5. When the icing looks tightly packed in the icing bag, you’re ready to pipe! Before you start piping on a cupcake, grab a plate and pipe some frosting out first. This will eliminate the uneven distribution of the two colours of icing. Stop piping on the plate when the icing comes out with an even distribution of both colours. Here’s a picture of what uneven distribution looks like:

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6. Pipe on the cupcake using your favourite technique, and voila! You have your duotones frosting that is sure to wow everyone!

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*If you want to do rosettes, here’s a step by step diagram of what I did for my MRE Cupcakes!

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No Need to Go to T&T Anymore: Asian Chiffon Cakes

Hello everyone, sorry it’s been so long I posted. I’ve been quite busy with school lately, and I’m glad I can finally take a break today!

Today I’ll be letting you guys know how I made my green tea chiffon cupcakes and chiffon cakes. I LOVE this type of cake. They can be found in all Asian bakeries, including T&T and ones at Crystal Mall.

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The reason why I love this cake is that it’s SO LIGHT AND FLUFFY! You don’t have to force it down your throat because the inside is very airy; it almost feels like the cake is a sponge. Not only is the texture light, but this recipe also calls for half the sugar that most American cake recipes ask for. Not only is this recipe HEALTHY, but it also TASTES GOOD. There’s not that much desserts out there that have both qualities.

This cake is also very versatile. I use it to bake both cakes and cupcakes.

*The only downside to making it into cupcakes is that the cake shrinks, which means that it will cave in towards the centre. This creates a wrinkled surface and the absence of a nice, round top. Use a funnel cake pan or one with removable parchment paper to prevent the cake from pulling on the sides while it’s shrinking!

IMG_4639IMG_4726So here is the recipe! I found it online, but I altered a lot of the elements. ITS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY! If you don’t and just mix everything together, your cake will not rise properly.

Enjoy!

Ingredients: (Makes 12 cupcakes or 1 6-inch cake)

75g White Flour

1 Tbsp Matcha Powder

1 Tsp Baking Powder

3 Egg Yolks

3 Tbsp Oil

4 Tbsp Water

3 Egg Whites

85g White Sugar

Procedure:

Flour Base

1. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit

2. Whisk the egg yolks, oil, water and 1/3 of the sugar together

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3. Sift together the flour, matcha powder and baking powder

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4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Set aside

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Meringue

1. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until they are foamy

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2. Add 1/3 of the sugar into the egg whites and mix on low speed for 30 seconds

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3. Add in the rest of the sugar into the egg whites and mix on high speed for around 1.5-2 minutes. The mixture should turn whiter and grow in size. It should be ready when stiff peaks form after you take out the mixer handles


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Combining

1. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the cake base using a plastic spatula. Do not mix it in with a mixer or else you will lose the airiness that you want in your finished cake. Once well incorporates, keep folding 1/3 of the meringue until all of it is used

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2. Pour the batter into either a cake pan or cupcake liners

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

4. Top it off with some light whipped cream and you’re in for a real treat!

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IMG_4789TIPS:

Here are a couple thing I encountered while making this cake that might help you have a higher chance of success:

1. Make sure to separate the egg whites carefully! Any trace of water, oil, or egg yolk will contaminate the egg whites and will prevent it from expanding to its full potential

2. Tilt the bowl by 45 degrees to gain more leverage when whisking egg whites

3. To prevent the cake from shrinking too much, turn off the oven when it’s done baking, but don’t remove it. Wait at least 20 minute and then bring it out so that the temperature difference isn’t too much for the cake

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4. Remove the cake from the pan immediately and pull off the parchment paper. If the cake shrinks, it will shrink evenly instead of pulling on the sides and caving into the middle.

5. If you’re making a cake, peel off the brown skin so that it is easier to frost the cake

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Congratulations MAJOR Wong!

If you’re an air cadet, you know that there are 8 ranks in total:

1. Air Cadet (AC)

2. Leading Air Cadet (LAC)

3. Corporal (Cpl)

4. Flight Corporal (FCpl)

5. Sergeant (Sgt)

6. Flight Sergeant (FSgt)

7. Warrant Officer Second Class (WO2)

8. Warrant Officer First Class (WO1)

We got it pretty easy in Canada because the first four ranks are automatic promotions based on the years of service in the cadet program. In New Zealand, every rank is earned. They have to apply to go to special courses in order to acquire the skills needed for the next rank, even if it is just getting promoted to a Cpl.

Well yesterday night was a special night, not only because the first years got promoted to their first rank of LAC, but also because our Commanding Officer, Capt Wong, got promoted to a Major! This is one of the higher ranks an officer can achieve.

To celebrate this special occasion, the Parent Sponsoring Committee decided to have a refreshment table after closing parade.

For all the recipes I’ve made this far, I’ve made them in fairly small batches, the minimum being 2 cupcakes, and the maximum being 15 cupcakes. I wanted to make use of this opportunity to make something for a purpose. I usually just bake for fun and come up with random ideas, but this time, I wanted to create a batch of cupcakes for people to celebrate with in a special setting.

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So, I decided to make something personalized for my CO’s promotion, and I wanted to make lots of it. I felt like I was an actual baker for a moment because I was baking so much at a time, and filling a huge piping back with lots of icing because there were so many tops to ice! I was also working under a time constraint because I only had 2 hours to bake a bunch of cupcakes and perfect my entire uniform.

This time, I played around with making chocolate figures, such as backgrounds and letters. I was very glad they turned out exactly as I planned!

I was quite happy to see the cupcakes go away so quickly after closing parade – The plate was swept clean 15 minutes in! Unfortunately, someone ate the “A” before I could take a decent picture, but here it is anyway!

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So have fun with what I learned about making chocolate pieces 🙂

STEPS:

1. Melt the chocolate using proper chocolate melting techniques

2. While the chocolate is melting, place a piece of parchment paper on a tray that will fit into your freezer

3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper, and use a straight edge to spread it out so that it is at least 4 mm thick

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*Too thin is not good because the whole sheet will crack while it is contracting in the freezer. *Too thick is not good because it will be hard to cut up after it freezes

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4. After 5 minutes, bring the sheet of chocolate out of the freezer. Using a sharp knife, cut down the middle of the chocolate to release tension

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5. Cut the sheet into slices lengthwise, and then widthwise

6. Pop them off of the parchment paper gently by putting your hand under the parchment paper

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7. Place the piece of chocolate upside down so that the smoother side (side that was touching the parchment paper) faces up

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8. Decorate the top of the chocolate slices with icing or a different tone of chocolate. Enjoy! 🙂

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On Wednesday, WE WEAR PINK.

February 26th – Pink Shirt & Anti-Bullying Day

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The world has over 7 billion people, spread across nearly 200 countries. Every country has it’s own culture, and every culture has it’s own traditions, beliefs, and values.

On February 26th, we wear pink because we want to recognize the vast diversity we have in this world. Not only are we celebrating the hundreds of nationalities that inhabit this world, but we are also admiring the people themselves; whether short or tall, old or young, and man or woman. We call it anti-bullying day because we want to emphasize our differences and tell the world that there should be celebration for our differences, not hatred.

I have been challenging myself to bake at least once a week, and bake not just ordinary cupcakes, but cupcakes that have some significance to them. I really wanted to capture the essence of  “diversity in a cupcake.” It was 12AM at night when I finally had the time to bake, so instead of doing something really complex like making a 7 layered rainbow cake, I decided to just go with a Neapolitan Cake design.

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The split batter illustrates the point that there are differences in the world, and that we can see them. However, even if they exist in the same country (like Canada), they don’t mix. You can still see the distinct differences on the outside. What I wanted to capture was how even though we look different on the outside, we’re still quite sweet on the inside. It’s the different colours that add complexity to a simple cupcake, and no matter the colour, it takes all of us to make a complete figure.

So that’s the inspiration to this design. It actually takes a bit of practice to make the split batter cupcake, but in the end, they all turned out great! It’s funny because it’s really the only cupcake where the bottom of the cupcake looks just as good as the top ;). Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

1. Prepare a vanilla batter and a chocolate batter. Make sure that your batter is not too runny, otherwise, it will be very difficult to split the batter in the cups since the batter will come out faster than you can control it

2. Start with a spoonful of vanilla and drop it on one side of the cupcake liner so that it fills 1/4 of the liner

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3. Very quickly, grab a spoonful of the chocolate batter and drop it in so that it also fills 1/4 of the other side of the liner

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4. Get another spoonful of the vanilla batter, and drop it on the first side so that it fills to approximately 3/4 of the liner. Do the same with the chocolate batter

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The reason why I poured the batter 4 different times is because if I filled the cupcake liner with one type of batter to 3/4 on the first spoon drop, the batter would be too heavy, and would not stay on its side. Instead, it would just fill the entire bottom of the liner, and then you wouldn’t be able to split the batter.

The cupcakes looked so good when they were baking! It was very cool to see the two colours bake at the same time, but not mix with each other.

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IMG_4237The bottoms of the cupcakes turned out beautiful! I would love to try mixing batter again 🙂

6. I topped it with some pink butter cream, and voila! I had my Pink T-shirt Day Cupcake to celebrate the fact that diversity can appear even in the littlest of cakes!

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Tip & Tricks for Using Greek Yogurt

I must say, Greek yogurt is THE BEST YOGURT IN THE WORLD. The texture is brilliantly thick, and it is quite versatile! Dips, sauces, and even desserts! It never loses it’s charm. However, there are a couple things you need to keep in mind in order to end up with a successful recipe.

What not to do:

  • When I tried making a greek yogurt frosting to top my greek yogurt cupcakes, I thought it would be okay to mix the yogurt just a little bit in order to combine some powdered sugar into the yogurt. However, the mixture turned very liquid. and I could no longer pipe it

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What to do: 

  • Take huge chunks of yogurt right from the container and place it directly into the piping bag. This way, the yogurt will still be firm when you pipe it through your piping tip.

IMG_4071 IMG_4072Since I now had a bowl of liquid greek yogurt that I couldn’t pipe, I tried to brainstorm ways I could use it without having to throw it all away.

This is where the many uses of greek yogurt comes in. 

1. Dips: You can use it as a dip for your favourite fruits

2. Sauces/Dressings: Drizzle it over your vegetable or fruit salad

3. FROYO POPS!: Just pour it into an ice cube container and stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Take it out and then put mini sticks in them. Place it back into the freezer, and it should be all ready in 30 minutes!

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*OPTIONAL: You can also mix in your favourite dried fruit so that the pops have a bit of texture within them

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Chocolate Dipped Strawberries: Melting & Decorating Techniques

So a few people have asked me about some tips on chocolate melting, dipping, and drizzling. Here are some tips that will save you from hours of frustration 🙂

MICROWAVE METHOD:

1. Instead of melting a whole bar of chocolate, I recommend that you buy chocolate chips or wafers. The smaller size not only helps you control how much of it you want to melt, but it also allows for even heating, which prevents the chocolate from burning.

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2. Place it in the microwave. *PayAttention!* This is the step where people get too excited and end up putting it in for too long and burning the chocolate.

STICK TO THE 40-30-30 RULE!

The 1st time you put it in the microwave, put it in for 40 seconds. Then, take the bowl out and stir it even though none of the chips seem to have melted yet. Place the bowl in for another 30 seconds. Take it out and stir again. Keep on repeating this process until you are able to stir without resistance.

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Melting chocolate takes patienceDon’t EVER stick it in the microwave for more than 60 seconds, or else it will burn and turn out like this.

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3. IF your chocolate turns out like this, NO WORRIES! Shortening is here to save the day! Just put around 1/4 tsp of shortening into the burnt chocolate, and stir it for a while. The chocolate should start loosening up. If the chocolate does not turn smooth, keep adding little amounts of shortening at a time.

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Voila! Now you have a bowl of smooth, melted chocolate that you can use for fondue, or place in a piping bag to pipe!

DOUBLE-BOILING METHOD:

I don’t use this method because it takes double the time to melt your chocolate. However, it does guarantee that your chocolate will not burn

1. Place a bowl of chocolate on a saucepan

2. Fill the saucepan with hot water so that it is halfway up the bowl of chocolate

3. Set the heat on high and continue stirring the chocolate until the chocolate has melted completed

DIPPING the strawberry:

1. Hold the strawberry by the grassy part. If you don’t want the grassy part, you can cut it off and stick a toothpick in the top of the strawberry instead

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DRIZZLING the chocolate:

1. This is where the artistic magic happens. I used a #1 Wilton round tip to drizzle over the strawberries.

IMG_39652. Go back and forth quickly so that the chocolate comes out thin. For best effect, drizzle over one strawberry  at a time.

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Happy strawberry dipping! Check out my Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake recipe to see how I applied these strawberries 🙂

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries