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

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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 🙂

Greek Yogurt & Honeydew Cupcakes

Good morning everyone! I hope you are enjoying the nice bed of snow outside from last night. Good thing I made these yesterday or else it would’ve been too cold 🙂

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This recipe was inspired by my best friend, Sammie Chan, who has a never-ending love for greek yogurt. I also thought that it would be nice to finally experiment with a “healthy” recipe so that I wouldn’t feel as bad for test tasting so much.

I LOVE Greek Yogurt. The texture is brilliantly thick, and it is quite versatile! Dips, sauces, and even desserts! It never loses it’s charm, and that’s why I decided to feature it in my new cupcake.

These cupcakes took me the WHOLE DAY to make because of so many experimental errors.

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Batch #1: I tried incorporating honeydew puree into the cupcakes so that it would give off a greener colour, as well as the sweetness of honeydew.

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     Error: The consistency of the cupcakes turned out like a rock, just like the time I tried using durian puree for my durian cupcakes. Not only was the cake too dense to swallow, but it also turned salty because of the amount of honeydew I put in there. Honeydew is actually not as sweet as I imagined…

Batch #2: I made vanilla cupcakes and wanted to make a “honeydew jam” to fill the cupcakes. I did this by combining sugar with the honeydew puree, adding a little bit of thickener

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     Error: It looked clear and terrific, until I tried it. The taste was so weird that I can’t describe it. It sort of tasted like kiwi mixed with oatmeal…just something not pleasant

Batch #3: I finally resolved to making normal greek yogurt cupcakes, which is just substituting the milk portion of a vanilla cupcake recipe with greek yogurt. I was so happy because they turned out BEAUTIFUL! They were so round and white, I just wanted to decorate them right away!

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Baking takes a lot of patience. I got frustrated every time my experiment failed on me, but I also felt a huge surge of accomplishment when something finally worked!

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This leads to the greek yogurt “frosting.” I say it in quotes because it really is just greek yogurt piped onto the cake! But here’s what happened before this:

Batch #1: I wanted to incorporate powdered sugar and vanilla into the greek yogurt like a normal icing so that it would be a tad sweeter

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     Error: I tried my best to fold it in, but after the 2nd fold, the yogurt already started separating and it turned into a drippy mess

***Because I didn’t know what to do with the now liquified greek yogurt because it wouldn’t stiffen up when I put it in the fridge, I made them into Froyo pops! Always have a back-up plan when baking 😉

Batch #2: I didn’t want to waste anymore yogurt, so I just scooped a huge chunk of greek yogurt right from the container into the piping bag. The yogurt kept it’s stiff texture and it worked out perfectly!

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Greek yogurt “frosting” tastes almost exactly the same as cream cheese frosting. Not only is there no mixing involved, but it’s also a lot healthier!

I hope all of you try out using greek yogurt as a substitute because you won’t be disappointed! However, I highly recommend that you check out my other post about “Tip & Tricks for Using Greek Yogurt” before you head off, so that you don’t waste your time making the same mistakes that I did.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your day! 🙂

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

To bring back the old memories of handing out Valentine’s Day card in elementary school, I decided to make edible Valentines this year. It worked out well because most of my friends had midterms yesterday night, so hopefully my cupcakes brightened up their day 🙂

This cupcake had a lot of components to it:

  1. Graham cracker crust bottom
  2. Vanilla Cake
  3. Strawberry cheesecake center
  4. Cream cheese icing
  5. Chocolate-dipped strawberry
  6. Edible personalized chocolate heart

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This was my first time experimenting with baking a filled cupcake, and I’m so glad it worked out right the first time! I’ve been experimenting a lot over the past week, and I’m starting to bloat up with a spoon here and a test-taste there :S

The edible chocolate heart was the hardest component of this cupcake to make because they were so fragile and kept on breaking! But other than that, this recipe is very easy, and a very delightful treat too!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and share with me your experience! 🙂

CUPCAKE:

1. Line the bottom of your cupcake liner with 1 tsp of graham cracker crust. Use the teaspoon to press down on the crust so that it coats the bottom evenly

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2. Fill the liner halfway with cupcake batter

3. Place a piece of cheesecake in the centre of the liner

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4. Add cupcake batter onto the cheesecake so that when the cupcake bakes, there’s cake on top of the cheesecake. Your liner should now be 3/4 full

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DECORATIONS:

1. Pipe cream cheese frosting on top of the cupcake and place a chocolate-dipped strawberry on top of it

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2. Melt chocolate and pipe hearts onto wax paper. Make sure that the heart has a long tail so that it can be inserted into the cupcake. Place the hearts into the freezer for 3 minutes

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3. Melt milk or dark chocolate to pipe your Valentine’s name. Ensure that the letters touch the outline of the heart as much as possible so that when the complete figure dries, it will come off as one figure. Place the figures into the freezer for 3 minutes

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4. Using a knife, slit a hole where you want the figure to be inserted

5. Insert the figure by holding on to the tail. If you hold the heart itself, it will break

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…and now you have edible Valentines ready to be delivered! Happy baking 🙂