22 February 2011

Lost my way

I seem to have lost my way in the world of blogging. I'm still baking, just not blogging. Have been so busy with day-to-day chores since school term starts this year that I hardly had any mood to blog. I was reminded of my dear blog when one of my friends told me she had tried out some recipe from the blog and love it.

The last Chinese New Year has been hectic. Endless baking of pineapple tarts as gifts, to the point that I almost dread doing it. As such, I have not even tried a new pineapple tart recipe which I was supposed to after CNY. I guess the mood to bake CNY goodies is just not there once the festive season is over. The remaining pineapple jam is still sitting in a corner in my fridge and will probably sit there for a while longer.

Ever since 3 years ago, it has become a habit to do the Poon Choy (盆菜) for my mum every CNY. As age catches up with her, she can no longer rush through the preparation of multiple dishes for our yearly reunion affair. In the recent years, we no longer go back for reunion on the eve, but change it to the second day of the lunar new year instead. I will bring the Poon Choy over to her before the eve so that she can have a mini reunion dinner with my dad and brother on the eve. Hopefully that lightens her burden a little so that she does not need to prepare too much food.

Besides the CNY goodies and Poon Choy, I have one additional task every CNY, to bake my girl's birthday cake. Her birthday always coincide with the CNY, which explains why I am exceptionally busy during this period.

This year, she wanted a Castle cake. Although my girl is already 7, she has not outgrown from her princess dreams. Last year she had a Barbie doll cake and now, another Fairytale request. My first fondant cake was also a castle cake, for her 4th birthday. How time flies!

I didn't really do a good job for this one. Tried a new recipe and the cake turned out unsatisfactory. It was dry and flat. I never seem to learn my lesson. I keep forgetting not to use new recipe for big projects like this. I ended up having to bake another cake to have that required height. Sigh......

As usual, the decoration took me almost 14 hours to complete. Only managed to sleep for an hour as I needed to wake the kids up for school. Although I had drafted a plan before starting, my end product deviated much from the plan. What's new, right?

This year I used some fondant pattern sheets for the wall and towers. But the effect didn't turn out that prominent. I suspect it was because my fondant was rolled too thin. It didn't help to have a cool weather that day. The fondant was sweating and couldn't hold the design well. Part of the design was thinned till the cake could be seen! Next time I must remember to use a thicker layer to cover the cake.

I wanted to create a garden effect for the castle, but didn't do great for that. It still had that empty look.

I had fun doing the flowers and leaves though. They were easy to make and add a bit of color to the otherwise, plain castle.

My girl was happy with her cake. So I guess it has made all the sleepless night worthwhile. But I was so tired that I practically knocked out at my in law's after reunion dinner.

With the festive season over, we're left with lots of Mandarin Oranges. I had to use some for baking. Choose to make a chiffon cake since I haven't done one for ages.

The cake was moist, but the Mandarin Oranges were not really prominent though you can taste bits of them. Perhaps next round I should use the tangy ones to get a better effect.

Mandarin Orange Chiffon

5 egg yolks
30g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
50g corn oil
130g Mandarin orange pulp (can include a bit of juice)

Sift together
120g cake flour
1.5 tsp baking powder

5 egg whites
50g sugar

1. Cream egg yolk and sugar with a hand whisk until sugar dissolve. Add salt and mix well.
2. Add corn oil. Mix well.
3. Add Mandarin orange pulps. Mix well.
4. Fold in sifted flour mixture with a hand whisk.
5. In a clean bowl, beat egg white till soft peak. Add in sugar in 2 additions and beat till stiff peak.
6. Add 1/3 of the egg white into the yolk mixture to loosen it.
7. Fold in the remaining egg white in two rounds until well incorporated.
8. Pour into 21cm tube pan. Knock pan on table top to remove trapped bubbles.
9. Bake at 170C for 45-55 mins. Tent top if it gets too brown.
10. Invert cake to cool once out of the oven.


Bakericious said...

the castle cake is very pretty and the mandarin chiffon cake looks soft and fluffy.

Janine said...

you are too critical of yourself - the castle cake looks fantastically designed!

Teddy Bento said...

I was thinking of baking a mandarin orange chiffon like you , same reason cos left with too many oranges. Ha.... Your castle cake looks beautiful. Thumb up for your effort! Super mummy !!