Monday, 30 September 2013

"Let's Go Bowling"

Last Saturday, one of my good friends from my Jakarta days, Hanie, threw a birthday party for her son, Danish's 9th birthday. The theme of the party was bowling. So, Danish wanted a birthday cake that has the bowling theme. Hanie actually sent me a sample photo of a cake that she would like to have for her son. I played around with the original cake design and came out with a cake that has the bowling elements mixed with some of the colours used in the party invitation. The cake was 3 tier with only the top and middle tier being real cakes. The middle tier is chocolate and top tier is vanilla.
It was quite a smooth process making this cake even though the cake was 3 tiers. Way much smoother than the Harry Potter cake!! I had the cakes bake on Friday morning and frosted Friday evening when I got back from work. Since only 2 tiers were made of cakes, I only had to bake 2 types of cake. I  covered all 3 tiers and had the cake airbrushed to a deep black with a tinge of silver in the colour. I can't get this lovely shade using just regular icing colours. Airbrushing a cake always make the cake look better and the colours are more vibrant.
I had the template of my bowling pins all cut out and ready. I used these templates for my gumpaste and I loved how they turned out. I actually managed to sleep at midnight on Friday and continued my cake the next morning. I was very surprised with how smooth things were with this cake. Syukur!! The only difficult part was actually driving the cake all the way from Shah Alam to Bukit Kiara and I managed to arrive at the destination with my cake in one piece!!
My 3-tiered bowling cake for Danish

The 2D bowling ball and pins

The bowling pins from the middle tier

The cake was decorated with the 5 colour circles that was part of the party 

The party invitation

More bowling pins

Danish and his friends (my kids included) at his bowling party

Happy Birthday Danish!! Thanks for having us at your party!

"Harry Potter"

One of my clients, Eliena, introduced her friend, Beverly to me as she was looking for someone to make a cake for her son's 11th birthday celebration. After discussing with Beverly on the cake theme, her son, Max decided on a Harry Potter theme. She also wanted a lemon flavoured cake. I topped off the cake with vanilla frosting. Her budget was not that much but since she was trying out my cakes for the first time, I decided to accept the order based on her budget as an introductiory price.
Instead of giving her the 8' diameter cake I agreed, I actually made her a 9' diameter cake as she was worried the cake won't be enough to feed 20 or so people attending Max's birthday party. Max only wanted 4 things on the cake: the scarf, the wand, the broom and the train station no sign. I thought the cake would be relatively easy to make as there are not that many sugar modelling involved. I was so wrong! I just couldn't get the modelling right the first time. I had to spend more time than I had anticipated on this cake. Max wanted Harry Potter's broom on the cake, which I didn't really agree as the broom is not in proportion to the other things on the cake. But I still made one. Bigger than the one I agreed as I just felt that it was wrong to make such a small broom.
All in, this cake turned out to be a difficult cake due to also the humidity in KL. The sugar was starting to go soft and I worried that it wouldn't last before the party. I had to actually make last minute adjustments on the cake prior to cake collection as the train station sign was starting to fall off the cake. In the end, I used up more fondant than I intially anticipated. I am glad though that the cake turned out alright and Beverly was happy with it.
The whole view of the cake from the front

The train station no signage

The wand and scarf

My version of the Harry Potter broom! LOL!
I actually used a pasta maker to make the long strands in the broom to get the effect. I also airbrushed the broom and wand to get the colours to stand out and make them look realistic.

"Another Minecraft Cake"

I made another minecraft themed cake for my friend, Ila's youngest son, Shane. The cake is actually a simple cake to execute but its quite tedious because of the many squares that I needed to use to decorate around the cake. The first minecraft themed cake I did was in the form of cupcakes and it was even more detailed than the bigger cake as the sugar modelling had to be scaled down and I had to do more sugar work, hence the more expensive charges for the cupcakes.
For this cake, however, I planned my time better (to anticipate should there be any mishaps!) and I actually managed to finish my cake on time and I wasn't even frazzled! The last minecraft cake took me ages to finish due to the detailed modelling and I actually stayed up the whole night to finish the cupcakes. I am so glad that this time around that didn't happen.
I started decorating the cake with the square fondant tiles first before I attempted the figure and animal modelling. This way, I wouldn't have to rush on my cake, if any mishaps were to happen to my modelling! Its no joke making a cake when you've already put in about 8 hours of working time in the office during the day! But I work better at night plus its always cooler to do my cakes at night.
I had the cake airbrushed green and bronze and I was very happy with how the tiles on the cake turned out. For the top of the cake, I made a boy with the sheep and the TNT. The cake was vanilla flavoured with chocolate frosting.
The whole view of the cake
The minecraft boy with his very square sheep

Side angle of the cake

The mini fondant suqares in different shades of green and brown
Happy Belated Birthday, Shane! I sure had fun making this cake and I hope you enjoyed the cake with your friends!

Monday, 9 September 2013

"Of Stripes & Spots"

One of Hannah's besties, Azra Alya, celebrated her 9th birthday yesterday. To mark the occasion, her mom, Roszhita ordered a zebra stripes and leopard spots theme cupcakes from me. I never liked the animal prints design, be it on a fabric, on a person or even on accessories. After making this order, I changed my mind. I actually love how these mismatched sprints could create such a great effect. Maybe now I'll be a bit brave and try out a piece of clothing that has these prints on them!

When I first heard about this order, I was quite skeptical on how the cupcakes would turned out especially when I had to decorate the cupcakes with two of Azra's fave colours of pink and purple. My first thought was how am I going to make the colour pink and purple work on top of the zebra stripes and leopard prints?

So, I came up with the design to make all the fondant decoration on the cupcakes in pink. That way, not too many colours on one cupcake display. I only added the purple and silver (to tone down the dark purple) as ribbons on the cupcake casings. For the top of the cupcakes, I made Azra's initial A, a bow and a flower as the main element on the cupcakes. I always believe in the term, "less is more" and I'm glad I did. The cupcakes turned out really nice and Roszhita was really thrilled when she collected the cupcakes from me.

I love how vibrant the colours look when all the cupcakes are arranged together

The details on the cupcakes

Another close-up view of the cupcakes

I chose purple and silver organza ribbons to dress up the casings
Happy 9th Birthday, sweet Azra... May you have more wonderful years ahead to celebrate all the joys of life... Thanks for being such a wonderful friend to Hannah... 

Auntie Elinna

"Minced Beef Pie"

Last week, I decided to make minced beef pie with mushroom soup for dinner instead of having our usual dinner meal of steamed rice and the accompanying dishes. Actually, am trying to make my son, Haziq, enjoy his dinner. He usually hates having rice and since he'll be sitting for his Upper Primary School Examination or better known as UPSR from the 10th to 12th September, I am trying my best to feed him his favourite food for dinner. Hence, the minced beef pie. I want him to eat properly and have enough energy so that he can study well.

I took a short cut with making this pie by buying the pre-made puff pastry sheets as my pie base. I didn't have the time to make my own short crust pastry that day. The pastry I used is really good and I would recommend anyone this brand called Pampas. They have a few variety of pastry sheets you can choose from. I chose the puff pastry.

The base of the pie
I basically made the filling with 3 main ingredients, which are minced beef, potato and tomatoes. I had the potatoes cubed and par-boiled first. Then, I sauteed the minced beef together with the onions in a bit of olive oil.  After that I added tomato sauce and a bit curry powder to spice up the filling. I had the filling seasoned with salt & pepper then added some italian parsley for more flavour.

I drained the filling from excess oil to prevent the pie base from getting soggy

I added shredded cheese to the pie filling for extra ummph!

I covered the pie and coated the top with egg wash
The minced beef pie is so easy to make and my son loved it so much. he finished every single crumb on his plate!! As a mom, that's a great achievement especially when your child is a fussy eater!

The pies straight from the oven
A cross-section of my minced beef pie

The pie is delicious eaten hot with a bowl of homemade mushroom soup. Really good comfort food!!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

"Crumble Me Apples"

I had to blog about my apple crumble pie because I tried a new recipe last weekend and the pie crust and crumb topping turned out fantastic. Before I continue, the reason why I made the apple crumble pie was because I had guests over for barbeque on Merdeka Day, which was on Saturday, the 31st August. When I was grocery shopping for the barbeque, I saw these lovely green apples and the first thought that came to my mind was, I have to make an apple pie with these apples. If the apples look so good, so they must taste good too!! 

I was happy as I had my second dessert sorted out especially when I know my cousin, Amy, who loves apple crumble pie and has been wanting me to make one for her for ages already. The other dessert I made  for the barbeque was chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. The frosting is topped with Hershey's chocolate syrup and roasted almond and walnuts. 

Back to my apple crumble pie, the pie crust was a sweet shortcrust pastry. The only difference was that I added some ground almonds to the basic pastry recipe. The texture of the crust was good and not grainy. For the filling, I sliced 8 green apples and cooked these sliced apples in butter, sugar, cinnamon powder and a pinch of nutmeg. I only simmered these apples on the stove for a short time as I don't want the apples too soft. After cooling the apples and I've filled them in the base crust (I had the base blind baked in the oven for 20 mins), I proceeded to make the crumble for the top. The crumble is made of flour, icing sugar, a pinch of salt  and yes I added a bit more ground almonds and cold butter. Its very easy to make. I mixed all the dry ingredients together and slowly added the cold butter until it became the crumble texture that I wanted. Then, I baked the pie for another 30 to 40 minutes. 

My apple crumble pie
I served the pie with vanilla ice-cream and of course Amy loved it. She even thanked me for making her the pie :) BTW, she took what little left of the pie home and I was very happy, I made someone happy :)

The apple pie eaten with vanilla ice-cream. This was Amy's plate :)
The other dessert was my sinful chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

Simply sinful and calories overload but taste oh so good!!
Thanks to all my wonderful cousins for coming over and I had such a wonderful time! We should have these meets once a month. Its really fun catching up :)

My lovely cuzzies : From left - Liza, Azura, Hazrene, Me, Evelyne (SIL),Ezel and Amy
Until the next meet gals :) Love you lots, lots and lots...


"Joey's 33rd"

Last week, I had a last minute order from Jess (Raja Jesrina Raja Arshad), who is one of my best customers. She wanted to surprise her fiance, Joey for his 33rd birthday party. She contacted me on Monday for a cake on Thursday. I usually don't accept last mniute orders and if you've been following my blog, you would've realised that I've slowed down quite a bit from taking cake orders this year. The reason being my son will be sitting for his national Malaysian Upper Primary examinations or better known as UPSR here. I have been very busy being the driver to my son as he has extra classes almost every day since the beginning of the year. Now, I only have to survive another 8 days and his exams will be over!! Am sure I'll be more relieved than him!! I will get my life and normal routine back!!! Can't wait actually!!!

Well, back to Jess' request, I told her the truth and that I couldn't really make elaborate cakes as the time given to me for planning and executing the cake was only 2 days! I work full time, so I had a bit of time constraint. Nevertheless, I still accepted the order on the condition that the cake is not that dificult to execute. The theme of the cake was golf and Joey's favourite colour is orange. He's a fan of Rickie Fowler's golf accessories. After looking at different options, I decided to make a cake that has a sugar figure of Joey on a golf course with his orange golf bag. This was how my cake looked like:

The overall view of the cake

The sides of the cake was decorated with fondant circles and airbrushed with green and silver

Doesn't really look like Joey but the closest I could make with the time constraint I had

The sugar figure us quite cute actually, and I was quite happy with how it turned out
The orange PUMA cap, which I hand painted and the orange PUMA golf bag
The cake was vanilla bean flavoured with vanilla frosting. This was what Jess had to say when she saw the cake, "Hi Elinna I love the cake! Thanks for pulling it together in such short notice :)" I was very happy to see that message and makes all the hard work really worth it! Thanks again for the order Jess and Happy Belated Birthday, Joey :)