From Hobby to “Part-Time Job”

So this baking thing has kind of turned itself from a hobby to a “part-time job.” It all started with posting a few pictures here and there on my Instagram or Facebook, accounts…and then I started to get messages from friends and family asking if I could make a cake or cater for their next event…and now my calendar is packed with at least 3 orders every week! I started a new calendar just for my baking because it was getting a bit hectic, haha.

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 2.52.22 PMI must say, it does feel great doing what I love for a little reward. I even revamped one of the business card designs I did in my graphic design class at SFU (IAT 102) to fit my RhythmNoms brand.

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I apologize for not having posted for a while, but I’ve been working on perfecting a couple recipes so that I can have a few signature treats that make RhyhmNoms stand out from the crowd. Specifically, I’ve decided to explore the art of MACARON MAKING. However, that’s a topic for another post. Let’s keep the suspense for the upcoming week shall we? 😉

So my first ever order to be invoiced is from AIESEC SFU. AIESEC is student organization recognized worldwide for its well-established exchange program for university students. Not only do students receive the opportunity to volunteer or work abroad, but they are also invited to many international leadership conferences as well.

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On Wednesday June 18th, AIESEC SFU will be hosting a drop-in event called the “Global Impact Fair” in the Academic Quadrangle. You’ll be able to learn how to secure an international exchange in the future, listen to other students’ testimonials about their exchange experiences, and most importantly, grab a RhythmNoms cupcake while you’re at it!

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For more info, visit their Facebook event. If you can’t attend that day, that’s okay because you can sign up for more info on their website as well!

I’ve been on several international exchanges myself, and I must admit, you learn SO MUCH MORE just by being in a foreign environment than by sitting in a lecture hall. My cupcakes and I are ready to see you on Wednesday! 😀

Band Competition 2014

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The past few weekends have been VERY busy. I’m part of my air cadet squadron’s marching band, and we’ve been practicing every weekend for hours on end trying to perfect our routine for the Lower Mainland Band Competition.

Music has always been a big part of my life (well, my name IS Rhythm after all). Without band, I would’ve never had any interest at all to join cadets. Every year, around 15-20 sea, army, and air cadet bands compete for the much coveted, “A” Division trophy. I was privileged enough to be chosen as the parade commander for the awards ceremony, which basically meant that I had to deliver commands to 1000 cadets…talk about losing my voice!

After *500 HUNDRED 25 THOUSAND 6 HUNDRED MINUTTEESESS* (haha you see what I did there? ;)) of extremely hard work by the cadets of the band, I’m proud to say that WE WON BAND COMPETITION THIS YEAR WOOHOO! and EVERYONE knows that when there is celebration, there’s always CAKE! I went a little crazy today, but after 5 hours, I have finally baked enough for everyone in the band, which is around 70 cupcakes!

IMG_0638I only realized how big my squadron’s band actually was when I got the chance to see the replay of our band competition routine. Just look at that beautiful trophy :’)

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If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do! It’s worth every minute, trust me 😉

http://youtu.be/e5PQQjPY_2A

Song/Drill Selections:
1. Mission Theme 
2. Howl’s Moving Castle – Waltzing in circles

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3. A Bridge Too Far
4. Across The Stars (From Star Wars) – Wifi
5. Seasons of Love (From Rent) – Circle bursting and forming into “759”

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Thank you cadets of 759 for leaving me with such a wonderful gift in my last year as an air cadet! I can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for next year 🙂

Cheers!

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*Band photo and video credits to Mr. Eugenio Cordeiro

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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MRE Cupcakes…Say What?

Today, I introduce my newest creation: The MRE Cocoa Powder Smore’s Cupcake.

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Yes. I did it. I turned a field meal into a delicious cupcake. I can go anywhere as long as I have the imagination 😉

For those of you who don’t know, MREs stand for “Meals Ready To Eat.” It’s what military personnel (and cadets) eat when they go on exercises, such as the Field Training Exercise that I went on with my air cadet squadron.

IMG_5811Me lookin’ spiffy in my combats.

These meal packs look almost like the meals that astronauts eat. Each pack contains 1 meal, 1 side, 1 snack, and a couple drink mixes. Everything is vacuum sealed “for freshness.”

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Meals: Apple maple oatmeal, spaghetti, lasagna, chili with beans, sloppy joes

Sides: Fried rice, hash browns with bacon, apple sauce

Snacks: Pop tarts, cookies, crackers, wheat snack bread*

     *The wheat snack bread is literally half a loaf of bread crammed into one slice.

Condiments: Tabasco sauce, jam, cheese spread

Drinks: Cocoa, electrolyte drinks, pudding, milkshakes

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This FTX was aimed to be for level ones, which are cadets aged 12-13. They get to build their own shelters and experience what it is to live out in the woods for 3 days and 2 nights. There are also senior cadet instructors (like me) who teach them about survival skills, such as how to filter water, respect the environment, and make fires.

This was the FIRST TIME in my entire cadet career that it was NOT RAINING FOR 72 HOURS STRAIGHT. I was so happy to finally see the sun, I even got a little bit tanned!

Me and another senior cadet were designated the “cooks” for the weekend, meaning we had to cut and prepare 100+ MRE meals for every meal…it was killer on the hands.

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It was very cute to see them have their first MRE though. It’d only be 2 meals and they already knew the “most wanted” and “least wanted” meals that MREs had to offer.

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Another thing is when some of them came up to me to grab their meal, they said “YAY, we finally get to try some RhythmNoms!” I was so surprised to hear that because I don’t have any of them on Facebook, but somehow they’ve managed to find that hashtag and use it. I’m glad my brand is spreading so far!

Anyways, back to the cupcake itself, I was sad that it didn’t turn out that well. The cupcake was edible, but it was just too soft (I know, the only time I complain about a cake being too soft)! You could literally just take the muffin top off by pulling on it.

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On the other hand, I MADE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING EVER. I will post the recipe soon, but I am so convinced that it is the best frosting I will ever make. It looked BEAUTIFUL when I piped it on, and it wan’t too sweet either.

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I had extra graham crackers left over from the FTX so I just topped them on like S’mores.

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Anyways, I need to get back to studying now. Thank you for stopping by and reading about my FTX adventures! I’ll be posting more recipes once my exams are done. 3 down, 1 more too go!

Cheers 🙂

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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BC Cadet Honour Band: Where the Leprechaun Lives

This is a post dedicated to all of the cadets who went to Honour Band in 2012.

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St. Patrick’s Day isn’t really a big thing here in North Burnaby. Sure, the local bakeries sell a couple green-themed pastries and the dollar store stocks up with decorations, but I’ve never really seen anyone going full out celebrating it…until I went to Honour Band.

For those of you who are familiar with my cadet past, you’ll know that Honour Band was my first real cadet activity that I went to. I’d never went to camp before, so I wasn’t prepared for the wake-up call in the morning.

My first impression of a cadet “camp”? Annoying. Loud. Obnoxious. LEPRECHAUNS.

Cadets from 2012, I think you’ll remember this. The first morning in Victoria happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, and coincidentally, one of the officers was Irish. So this is how we were woken up at 6AM. Not only was the Irish officer shouting out at the top of his lungs, “HAPPY SAINT PATTY’S DAY” in his acted Irish accent, but he also came to all of our doors and kept slamming it with his ring finger.

IT WAS THE LOUDEST NOISE EVER.

I never knew a ring could make so much racket! Well if you ever need a loud alarm in the morning, tell your parents to wake you up by slamming their ring hand at your door, because it will be so unpleasant that you’ll never want to go to sleep again.

It was quite hilarious to see him at rehearsal during the day though. He was dressed as a full on leprechaun, with green velvet clothes, curly red hair, and he purposely grew a red beard to fit the occasion. He actually looked like a more Irish version of Lucky from Lucky Charms!

He really showed me the true side of officers. I had always been scared of them at my squadron because they were always so uptight and always seemed to be mad at something. The officers at Honour Band are truly the best, and I was so glad to meet such “dynamic” music instructors!

Anyways, I’m sharing this out of my sorrows that I was not able to go to Honour Band this year because it’s midterm season for universities. I couldn’t afford to miss any more school days because I’d already missed a lot for my New Zealand Trip. Seeing cadets who are on tour right now post pictures on Instagram and Facebook is making me a little teary eyed – I’m beyond jealous!

To those bandies out there who are still young and still have a few years left in cadets, work on your music levels so that you can get in to Honour Band! It was definitely one of the greatest and most memorable experiences in my LIFE, and I was so glad that I had the opportunity to meet so many great and young musicians from all over BC who later on became the best friends I’ve ever made.

To the cadets who are at Honour Band right now, I can’t wait to watch the concert on Thursday night! I’ll definitely bring some cookies for you guys to nom on while you guys are en route to Vernon. I hope you guys are having fun, and remember to bring back awesome stories of your experiences to spread the music love at your home units!

See you guys tomorrow night! 🙂

Honour Band 2012:

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