Thursday, 25 July 2013

"Jelly Challenge"

This week I tried my luck in making jelly based desserts. I couldn't challenge myself to make the more complicated malay kuih as my house is currently under renovation and my kitchen area is a mess!! I can't work in a messy environment, too stressful! 

Anyways, I made these two desserts for "buka puasa" or "iftar" and really enjoyed the jelly texture and because it has been chilled in the refrigerator, the jelly feels so good to bite into after a whole day of fasting.

The first one was "Agar-Agar Koko" or "Cocoa Jelly". Fairly simple recipe and very, very easy and quick to make. I used these measurements:

1 litre of water
1 packet of jelly powder
3 tbl spoon of Milo
2 tbl spoon of imported cocoa powder
2 tbl spoon of condensed milk
1/4 cup of sugar
A pinch of salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips for jelly filling

Mix all the indgredients and bring to a boil. Pour mixture into jelly moulds. I added the chocolate chips into the jelly after putting it into the moulds. That way, when you get a bit of texture when you bite into the jelly. Leave it to cool for a while before transferring the jelly into the refrigerator and let the jelly chill for at least 1/2 hour.

The cocoa jelly all chilled and ready to be eaten

The mixture of coco powder makes the jelly a darker brown

My kids absolutely loves this jelly

The other jelly or agar-agar that I made this week was "Agar-Agar Krim Jagung" or "Creamed Corn Jelly". Also, quite easy to make but takes more time for the jelly to harden. Therefore, it needs to be chilled a bit longer. The recipe is also fairly simple and very easy to make.

500 ml water
500 ml evaporated milk
1 1/2 packet of jelly powder
1 can of creamed sweet corn
1/4 cup sugar (you may add more if you want it sweeter)
1 tsp of vanilla essence
A pinch of salt

Mix all the indgredients and bring to a boil. Make sure the mixture is stirred constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking at the bottom of the pot. Pour mixture into separate jelly moulds or a square tin.  Leave it to cool for a while before transferring the jelly into the refrigerator and let the jelly chill for at least 1 hour.

I love the taste of this jelly

The creaminess of the milk and sweet corn makes the jelly very rich

The corn can be tasted in every bite of the jelly

Agar-agar or jelly is very easy to make and doesn't really need much effort. Am on to my next jelly mission. Only I haven't figured out which jelly I would like to make next or maybe I should start on my kuih melayu challenge again??? Until later....


Monday, 22 July 2013

"Kuih Melayu Challenge"

I've always wanted to learn to make the traditional malay kuih or "kuih melayu". These kuih melayu are usually sweets and most suitable eaten for tea or breaking fast during Ramadhan. I have tried a few before but it has always been trial and error for me. Never quite had the chance to master these sweets like how I make my cakes. To me, making cakes are so much easier and I never face much difficulty when making English desserts such as pies, choux pastries, puddings, cakes and so on.

However, sad to say, with the traditional malay kuih, I have not been very successful. My usual problem is the texture of my malay kuih is always too soft. It is really unfortunate for me that I never got the chance to attend any classes to learn the correct way of making these tradisional kuih such as kuih kasui, kuih talam, kuih lapis, kuih koci and so on. But I do try and I won't give up until I'm satisfied with the results.

So, every year during Ramadhan, I try to challenge myself to this task. Today is day 13 of Ramadhan and I'm glad to say that I've succeeded a few but I have also failed a few!!! Hehehe...

Let me recap: 
1) Kuih lompang or kasui  - texture was too soft and also the gula melaka taste was too overwhelming!!
2) Kuih tepung talam - tasted good but texture was too soft and my top layer ratio to the bottom layer ratio was off
3) Kuih lapis - tasted good but again the kuih was too soft even though I followed the measurement as per the recipe
The first layer of the kuih lapis
Pouring the second layer... so far so good...
How unfortunate that it didn't turn out alright and texture was too soft


I was successful in a few first attempts! Maybe its beginner's luck but hey, I'm happy!!
1) Kuih Apam - Yeay!! The apam came out beautiful and I'm happy to say I've made these kuih twice and both times were success

The apam batter must be rested for at least 3 hours
This is how the batter will look like after 3 hours
My kuih apam ready for "breaking fast"
Up close... Gorgeous aint it? Hehehe
2) Kuih Cara Berlauk - the batter turned out a very nice shade of yellow and the texture was just right. The topping of mince beef was a curry recipe I created to my taste. I only followed the batter recipe from Marina Mustapha's blog (thank you!).

The batter
The topping for the kuih cara berlauk - mince beef stir-fried with curry spices, cut red chillies and chopped chinese celery

The mould used for the kuih. To be cooked on the stove
Kuih cara berlauk in the making on the stove...
The outcome...
Ta daa... Looks good!!
3) Lepat Pisang - this kuih was successful in terms of its texture and taste. Was very happy with the results. I forgot to take the photos!!

4) Roti Jala - I've made this a few times, so its really not a challenge!! Very easy to make and really good eaten with chicken curry!

My version of roti jala
Well, let's hope I make more success in the coming weeks instead of failures!! Wish me luck, peeps!!!


Monday, 15 July 2013


This cake should have been made for my husband!! He's really into golfing and this cake would have been perfect for him. Instead, I made my first golf themed cake for someone else or to be precise, this cake was ordered by Raja Johanna, who happens to be Raja Jesrina's sister (my blog entry on Jess' 30th birthday). She wanted the cake for her husband's 40th birthday party last month.

Actually this is the second 40th birthday cake I made for Tengku Datuk Zafrul. The other cake I did was the arty cake with his favourite painting collection on the cake (my blog entry "Art Lover"). Johanna wanted a golf course with the hazards, such as the sand bunker and water hazard. She also wanted the buggy and a golf bag as part of the cake. No figures required! Thank goodness for that!! Hehehe... Johanna also wanted the base of the cake to be bigger instead of stacking the cakes in tiers. The cake was lemon flavoured with vanilla frosting. So, this is what I came up with :)

The overall view of my green cake

I so love the green colour of this golf course. I had the base airbrushed in different shades of green to achieve this colour

The golf bag and buggy

Sand bunker

The green and sand bunker at the 1st hole

The green and water hazard at the 2nd hole

The golf buggy I made from gumpaste
Happy 40th Birthday, Tengku Zafrul and I hoped you liked my green cake. May your coming years be blessed and filled with more happiness and joy :) 

I hope I'm able to make for my other half a golf theme cake too when he turns 40 this year...

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

"Turning 30 in Style"

This cake was commissioned by Datuk Raja Arshad's siblings for their sister, Raja Jesrina or fondly called Jess. I've known Jess since she started ordering cakes from me in 2011. Ever since then, she has been my very regular client. Usually she's the one who does the ordering for her family. This time, her family decided to order a cake to surprise her for her 30th birthday bash last month.

It was indeed a very busy week for me as I had many, many cupcake orders (blog entry: "More Cupcakes"), another cake for Jess' sister, Johanna (blog entry: "Art Lover") and of course, Jess' 3 tier cake and 100 cupcakes. A 3 tier cake is always a challenge especially when all 3 tiers are made of cake. Each tier of the cake had different flavours, i.e. bottom tier - vanilla bean cake, middle tier - chocolate cake and top tier - lemon cake.

Jess' siblings wanted to make each tier different and incorporate the silhouettes portraying Jess in three different poses.I was advised to use only the theme colours, which are white, silver and metallic. I decided to stack the cakes in square shapes at the bottom and top with the rectangular shape as the middle tier. I've never baked so much as I did in that 2 days. Loads of butter, sugar, flour and eggs were used and the baking process itself was very exhausting!!

The bottom layer was decorated in round cut-outs and made in the lightest gray and airbrushed a pearly sheen. The middle tier is a rectangular shape cake made to look like a gift box and the top tier had gumpaste flowers with diamente in the centre.

The first version of the cake... A mishap occurred during collection and I had to re-do the bottom part of the cake
View from the side of the cake
Bottom tier with the silhouettes of Jess reading and walking to work
Middle tier shaped like a gift box with Jesrina's name
Top tier with the gumpaste flowers and the silhouette of Jess dancing
The worst thing that could happen to a cake maker is a ruined cake. Well, almost ruined. That's what happened to this cake. When the cake was collected from me, it was fine but the weather was so hot and humid that the cake was getting soft on the inside. Well, I didn't know actually what happened in the car when they collected the cake from me, but when it was returned, the structure of bottom tier was compromised that the cake moved and the cake almost collapsed to the front!!

My heart stopped beating for a while when I saw the cake. I was thinking, how the heck am I gonna fix this! The time is already 6 pm and I thought the cake was for 8 pm. I calmly thought about it and told Jess' brother that he has to give me at least 2 hours to fix the cake. Good thing he told me that the cake was for later that night (around 11.30 pm) as that gave me some time to fix the mess they made on my cake!

I proceeded to take the top two tiers off the bottom tier (thank goodness these two tiers were intact and still looked as good as new!) and took the bottom tier off the board. I took the fondant off the cake and separated the cake two layers. I put these layers in the refrigerator to get the cake firm for easy frosting later. I re-did the board again (took off the old paper wrapping and put in new paper and netting). I also decided to make chocolate ganache to cover my vanilla cake. The buttercream frosting was not strong enough to hold the top two tiers and I didn't want any more mishaps on my cake. After I've covered the cake in ganache, I proceeded to cover the cake and redecorate the whole bottom tier, I did a few adjustments on the design and managed to finish the cake in 3 hours!! This was how the second cake looked like:

This was the final cake and the one Jess had for her birthday
I re-did the bottom tier and the fondant work looks better as the chocolate ganache held the cake together firmly
Middle tier - I change the position of the photo and name
I actually love the second version better than the first, so I guess this mishap was a blessing in disguise! Am so glad that my cake arrived at the party destination in one piece and that Jess loved the cake. Oh, I almost forgot about the matching cupcakes!! I made 100 of them with the silhouettes as the main deco of the cuppies.

The cupcakes were decorated with ribbons in the matching theme colours
The silhouettes were also printed on edible paper

The cupcakes all packed up and ready to be collected

Welcome to the 3 series club, Jess!! Hope you had a great celebration that night :)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

"Art Lover"

Raja Johanna wanted an art themed cake for her husband, Tengku Zafrul's 40th birthday. She had organised an intimate dinner party for him and wanted to surprise him with the cake. Tengku Zafrul loves art and has a great collection of paintings at home. Johanna wanted the cake to be like an art gallery with their private collection of paintings be the star of the cake.

So, she proceeded to take the photos of her husband's favourite paintings and I printed them out in edible form. I had these mini paintings framed in gumpaste and hand painted them gold, silver and black. The cake itself was actually supposed to be simple to showcase the paintings. Johanna chose a painting as the main centerpiece for the cake and I had this painting placed at the top of the cake.

The sides of the cake is decorated in a simple diamond shaped patterns and I airbrushed the cake with pearly white sheen. The cake turned out simple but very classy. As Johanna mentioned to me, her guests especially her husband absolutely loved the cake. So much so, she ordered from me again for another 40th birthday function.

Overall view of the cake

Each of the four sides are decorated with 2 paintings

This was my favourite side!

The centerpiece of the cake
The cake was a vanilla bean cake with vanilla frosting. Thanks so much for the order, Johanna and am so glad the guests loved the cake!!

Monday, 8 July 2013

"More Cupcakes"

I had plenty of cupcakes to make at the end of June. Cupcakes are relatively very simple to make and I could do it without much preparation unless if its a fondant cupcake that requires sugar modelling!

Long story short, the Petronas Chemical Group or PCG ordered from me a day before their meeting, 75 cupcakes with 3 different flavours. For most bakers, this is quite an easy order and not complicated at all. Most bakers don't work during the day and most bakers could take their time as they have the whole day to do it. This baker, me, work from 8 to 5 pm and is the designated driver for the kids in the evening for their tutorials. So, am only able to start my baking at 8 pm. By the time I was done, I was exhausted and I sometimes wonder if its really worth it! Come to think of it, lately I've been contemplating on actually retiring from making cakes.

Time is so precious and I don't even have time for myself anymore! Well back to the cupcakes, I made sea salt chocolate, red velvet and vanilla bean cupcakes.

Cupcakes for PCG
The sea salt chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream
The red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
My very popular vanilla bean cupcakes
I was very happy with how they looked and even though I was tired, I made sure my cakes were still good in quality and taste! After this order was delivered I had to make another 50+ cupcakes for the weekend. Man, it was just cupcake orders that week. First I had to make cupcakes for my MIL, who happened to be in town that weekend. Then, I had to make for my friend, Mastura, who just had a baby girl. So, its supposed to be a baby shower sort of surprise for her. At the same time, I also had an order from Azlina, who wanted to have the edible images of t-trex on her son's cupcakes for school. 

It wasn't that bad as I had the whole Saturday to plan and bake my cupcakes, or so I thought. I took my time starting those cupcakes and I did my errands first. At the end of the day however, I was still in a rush cause I left it too late to start baking and I started stressing myself out!! I'm glad though that I still managed to finish all of them by the time I left for dinner at my SIL's abode. Alhamdulillah for that :)

Baby Aisyah's Cupcakes
The baby shower cupcakes for my one of my bestie, Mastura

We chose the theme colours of pink and yellow to welcome baby Aisyah
 Dino Cupcakes
Dino cupcakes for Adam's 4th birthday
The t-rex photos were chosen by Azlina and printed into edible form
After this particular weekend was over and all cupcakes safely delivered, I had to make another cake for Raja Johanna, whose husband, Tengku Datuk Zafrul just turned 40. That will be in my next blog entry! I never got to rest that weekend actually!!