I’ve been so SO busy the last couple weeks and this week but no complaints! Apart from making a huge mess in the kitchen and making the kitchen floor feel as though there’s a layer of flour covering it (probably does). That’s the thing about my work. I love the entire process of baking and putting cakes together but the relentless washing I have to do thereafter and having to mop up my floor at the end of the day are probably the two things that zap whatever life there is left right out of me.
I’ve been getting more orders lately for more specifically designed cakes. They have proved challenging for me but oh-so-satisfying. Even more so when customers feedback and share with me about how delighted they are with my cakes in terms of both looks and yum-factor.
One of my recent cakes was this White Wine Lychee Cake. The birthday girl is going through a Sommelier course and has a great appreciation for wine. As such, her boyfriend thoughtfully requested for a cake that would go in hand with her interest in wines as well as her preference for something more fruity rather than chocolatey.
I made a Light White Wine Sponge, brushed with a White Wine Lychee soaking syrup and layered with a delicate Mascarpone Cream Filling as well as Lychees. It was finished with White Wine Italian Buttercream since white wine tends to be quite light in flavour so the more wine the merrier.
I garnished the cake with some fresh grapes, handmade fondant vines and leaves, and a single fondant rose to match the baby bottle of Rosé Moscato. I really wanted to use a miniature bottle of white wine but just couldn’t for the life of me get my hands on one this time around. So Moscato had to do. I think it ended up being complemented very well by the fondant rose so it worked out very nicely!
Another order I had was for a little boy’s first birthday. His mother requested for something ‘star’ themed and we decided to go with a Blue Ombre Buttercream-frosted cake decorated with stars galore.
The cake within was an Apple Walnut Cinnamon Cake with a Honey Mascarpone Cream Filling. I was told that the cake was the perfect fit to the birthday boy who was undoubtedly the star of the party. I just had goosebumps typing that! It reminds me so much of why I wanted to go into making cakes in the first place – to make memories.
Like when I made my first 3D cake, and F1 Ferrari Car cake for my brother’s colleague’s son, he loved the car so much he refused to let anyone eat the car part of the cake but they were allowed to eat around it where the ‘track’ was. Hopefully that will be a cake he will look back at in fondness and laugh about with his parents for years to come. Similarly, I hope that this Star themed cake will be one that at least Rui Yi’s parents will remind him of for years to come.
This Black Forest Cake was ordered by an old schoolmate of mine which I thought was really sweet. I love it when friends from half my lifetime ago look for me after years being out of touch. The cherry on top of course, is if they order cake but really, I enjoy being able to catch up a little on how they are because no matter how long ago it was, I still care about them.
So initially, CR wanted to order a Lychee Passionfruit Cake in celebration of her brother-in-law’s engagement. However, her mother-in-law wasn’t too sure whether she’d like the contemporary flavours of the cake and asked for the more classic Black Forest. So Black Forest it was!
I was tempted to go with a Buttercream frosting since it’s so much more stable but since CR’s Mum-in-law sounded like quite the traditionalist, I kept to tradition and stuck with a light Chantilly Cream to fill the light, fluffy, chocolate sponge layers. I did try to update its look though, swopping the usual chocolate flakes to a drippy ganache.
One more cake that I just have to share with you before we get to the Recipe of the Day! This was more of my own project because I wanted to experiment a little more with painting on buttercream cakes. So I had myself a little sponge left from a cake order and filled it with Banana Curd. Yup! You read that right – banana curd, not puree. It actually stayed a lovely yellow with a good squeeze of lemon juice added to it. If anyone asks, I’ll be more than happy to whip up another batch some time to show you how it looks and share the recipe with you as well.
I like how this attempt turned out. I did a black and gold on the first time because I worried about ‘painting’ with colours but I think this turned out far better than I could have hoped. Also, it was a lot easier than I initially anticipated so now I cannot wait to practice more and try ‘painting’ different kinds of flowers when I have extra cake and some time at hand.
Now, Reverend Dr P aka Grandpa P, who has been with our church since before we had a proper church passed on late last week. I remember doing his 85th birthday cake, and his 86th, and I remember one year he celebrated with 3 cakes, all of which I had the honour to bake. And some Sundays, or Tuesdays when Mum and Dad went for his evening Bible Classes, they would bring some of the cakes I baked to him to eat after service.
Today, I baked him one for those attending the service to see him off. Dr P was a simple man whose life was dedicated to serving God. The last Tuesday evening he saw, he taught and finished the final part of the series he was sharing. And just a couple days after, he went Home. He was rich in his knowledge and love for God, and that, he shared generously. Similarly, this cake may not look outstanding, in fact, it looks plain, but in reality, it is rich and bold in character; it is sturdy and uncompromising; it is not indulgent but it will feed the hungry and keep them satiated. It is one definitely to be remembered, just as Dr P will be remembered always, in the hearts of the many whose lives he has touched.
Orange Cranberry Yoghurt Cake (Makes 1 10″ Round)
250g Greek Yoghurt
7.5g Baking Powder
2.5g Baking Soda
2 Oranges, Zested and Juiced
40g Dried Cranberries
Pumpkin Seeds (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 170 deg C and line a 10″ round baking tin.
- In a clean bowl, mix yoghurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil together.
- In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest together. Make a well in the middle and add in yoghurt mixture.
- Mix until just incorporated before filing in cranberries.
- Pour mixture into prepared tin and spread out evenly. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top and bake for about 30-35min until golden brown and springy to touch, or a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- While cake is baking, mix orange juice with 10% of its weight in sugar (i.e. if you have 80ml of orange juice, add 8g of icing sugar in, a little more if our oranges are more tart than sweet. Stir to dissolve).
- Once cake is baked, remove from oven and pour the juice over to soak in.
Serve with a dusting of icing sugar if you like.
It’s a piece of heaven in a bite. Although I’m sure that right now, Grandpa P is making himself at home up in real heaven, perhaps digging into a slice of his favourite chocolate cake and asking God all the questions he never had answers to while here on Earth. You’ll be missed Grandpa P. You are missed.