the asian cake

I don’t know if there’s an actual name for this kind of cake – we call it the Asian cake or the T&T cake. It’s a sponge cake with a stabilized whipped cream, filled and topped with fruits. There’s probably a name for it…

When I was working out of province, I got a few requests to make Asian cake. After a failed attempt, I found a recipe that worked out in my favour. Also, it happened to be a friend I knew from university’s birthday, so I gave her this cake when we went out to sing k and drink. I’ve snuck in a number of cakes when going to sing k; the trick is to disguise the box as a present 😉

'Asian Cake' Sponge cake with a stabilized whipped cream, filled and topped with fruits.

‘Asian Cake’
Sponge cake with a stabilized whipped cream, filled and topped with fruits.

Unfortunately I was rushing and forgot to take a picture beforehand for my “portfolio”. I had to take one in the room, which was dark, but it survived the trip across downtown! I was afraid it was too hot outside for the whipped cream to survive, but surprisingly it held up. The fact that there was no humidity probably helped…

(May 2014)

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the cutest of mini cakes

I love the concept of mini cakes. They’re small and adorable, yet sizable enough to share. I bought four 3.5″ Ateco ring molds from Amazon and they are my favourite bakeware to use. However, I haven’t found many recipes specifically for mini cakes – I have been using regular cake recipes and guestimating the timing. Of the recipes I have found, this is one is my favourite. I usually do 1/3 of the recipe, which fills three 3.5″ ring molds. In a previous post, I tested them out with the above recipe. But I have continued to play with them to see what else I can do!

This is a combination post of a number of mini cakes I’ve done!

BUTTERFLIES ON MATCHA CHEESECAKES

Purple and silver chocolate butterflies on mini matcha cheesecakes

Silver chocolate butterfly on a mini matcha cheesecake

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Purple chocolate butterfly on a mini matcha cheesecake

The matcha cheesecake recipe I used was the first mini cake recipe I found, and it looked like something my friends would really enjoy. I actually don’t care much for cheesecake, but my friends do, and matcha is a well-liked flavour amongst them. I made the butterflies out of white chocolate and orange oil, and piped them a day in advance. I made several sets because I knew I was going to break some. During assembly, I put a merkins white chocolate disk in the centre, used more of the orange white chocolate to pipe a head and body, and then attached the wings to the body. I added three coloured dragees for extra sparkle. Picture above are two of the three cakes I made. I pearl dusted the wings – purple, silver, and green – to differentiate who gets which cake. Two of them served as birthday cakes, while the third went to one of my best friends, just because.

(November 2013)

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Strawberry shortcake

Strawberry shortcake

Now this is one of two mini strawberry shortcakes I made. The one pictured above was an extra leftover from two other shortcakes I was making for a friend’s birthday (which is in the background). It’s a standard strawberry shortcake, but I kept the cake in the ring mold for the same length of time as my 6″ pan. It turned out well and it was surprisingly easy to cut the mini cake into layers.

(January 2014)

CHEESECAKE REPRISE

Strawberry cheesecake

Strawberry cheesecake – it’s a mini cake, not a freakishly large strawberry

Chocolate espresso cheesecake

Chocolate espresso cheesecake

I made these cheesecakes again, from the recipe I linked above, and they’ve been coming out really nicely. The strawberry cheesecake was for done for a friend’s birthday. I’ve been giving cakes in lieu of buying things, and this was no exception, because cake tastes better (and I usually don’t know what to buy people…). The espresso chocolate cheesecake was done for another friend’s birthday – he ate one of the test ones and liked it enough to request it for his birthday. Because I only needed one of each cake at those times, there were extras that I gave away – both to first time tasters of my cake, and fortunately both loved them 🙂

(January, April 2014)

Now that I’m living at home with my lactose intolerant family, mini cheesecakes and strawberry shortcakes are no longer things I can make. Of course, I can still make regular cakes smaller, but for now, I’m working on some other desserts first. When I get a chance to though, I have a number of ideas to I want to incorporate on my upcoming mini cakes.

it’s not bribery if it’s cake….

A year ago today, the group I was working in was getting audited by internal audit. Being the newest to the team, I was exempt from the audit, but also no one had told me there was going to be one. I had found out a week earlier, I was invited to lunch with a senior internal auditor and it turns out he and his team were coming over to audit. Somewhere along our conversation, the topic of cake came up. He told me that one of his team members had a cheesecake recipe and he’d love if I made it for him when he came over for the audit.

So I did, though I did wonder if this would be considered bribery…. The cake was a no-bake peanut butter toblerone cheesecake, which I challenged myself to decorate – because who decorates a cheesecake?

No-bake peanut butter toblerone cheesecake

No-bake peanut butter toblerone cheesecake

I did a double layer of graham cracker crumbs. The outer layer was regular graham cracker crumbs dyed green, and the inner layer was oreo crumbs. I added blue food gel to the filling, and then I let it set. While it was setting in the fridge, I made waterlilies and lily pads out of gumpaste. Once the cake was set, I spread blue piping gel over top to make the ‘water’ look, something I had seen on Cake Boss. After letting it set overnight, I added the waterlilies and lily pads in the morning before I brought it to work.

I arrived only to find out the audit had been moved to later in the year. However, my team loved the cake and was blown away by the fact that it was a cheesecake. Despite the fact that I am obviously not a photographer, I do use pictures of this cake to show off what I can do.

(June 2013)

the cake I said I’d never make

I don’t know why but I never wanted to make a minion cake. Once Despicable Me 2 had come out, making minion cakes was trending and I just didn’t want to be a part of that (similarly, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to make a Frozen cake). However, when a friend asked me to make a cake for her as a minion, I just went along with it. Though at first, I though she wanted a stacked cake, but fortunately she wanted a regular 8″ cake. It was for her boyfriend (at the time)’s birthday. She wanted matcha-flavoured cake, which is something I had done the year before.

Matcha cake filled with chocolate ganache and strawberries

Matcha cake filled with chocolate ganache and strawberries

Day 1: We baked the matcha-cakes. We had a few technical difficulties with cake consistency because she added a ton of matcha (because she wanted a stronger taste….) but I fixed it with milk. We also cut out the fondant pieces for the face and lettering. We stacked and filled the cakes with ganache and strawberries, and then let it set in the fridge

Day 2: We rolled out the yellow fondant and assembled the cutout pieces. We added pearl dust for sparkle and then steamed the cake for shine. She had never done a cake like this before, and I had never been assisted on a cake, so it was a bit of an experience for both of us. I heard that the guy liked his cake and all of their friends thought the minion was cool, so that’s always awesome to hear. (March 2014)

holiday baking

Holiday time is equivalent to baking time. Lots of get togethers requiring baked goods and all.

But before the holidays, it was exam time. Though there was essentially no time to bake, it was one of my best friend’s birthday and she threw the theme “nostalgia” at me. Earlier in the year, I was like, what am I going to do with that??? After bouncing ideas off another mutual friend, I came to the idea that I’d do a cake I used to do in high school. I used to make a NY style cherry-topped cheesecake for school, and it was super popular. But once I went off to university, I stopped making it. So for her birthday, I decided to make one more cheesecake like I used to. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures, but it looks like a stereotypical cheesecake. 🙂

Also with the lack of time due to exams and the need for Christmas presents, I chose to make chocolates and give those out.

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Assortment of chocolates; made for excellent Christmas presents!

Once exams ended, I wanted to do like a 24-hr non-stop baking thing. I stayed an extra two days to bake and pack, and go to a friend’s dinner party. A number of my friends who were at the dinner party had requested cookies, so I decided on cinnamon sugar cookies and meringue cookies. I brought those in addition to the leftover chocolates.

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Cinnamon sugar cookies

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Peppermint meringue cookies

The day after I went home for the holidays, my sister proposed we do a fun activity together – decorating cookies. Her “specialty” is cookies (whereas mine is cakes). She had already baked them and wanted me to decorate them with me, since I have decorating  experience. I taught her how to use the grass tip and leaf tip, and that was enough to keep her entertained.

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“Obese gingerbread men” almond sugar cookies

Lastly, I got to make a birthday cake for my Grandma! Usually my dad buys her a costco cake, but this year he let me do it. My process was a lot messier and time consuming than they expected, but nonetheless they enjoyed the finished product. I did a vanilla-almond sponge with orange-almond buttercream. When I was learning cake decorating, I was told that for every flower needed, I should make 3 extras (though this may have been concerning transporting royal icing flowers). I had a bunch of extra flowers that I was going to discard, but my mom insisted I stick more on, hence the two around “GRANDMA” – my sister picked those places, I thought they were unnecessary. However, my grandma was very impressed and happy. 🙂

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Vanilla-almond cake with an orange-almond buttercream

This was my first non-round cake, and I learned that corners are a lot harder to ice than I expected! I need to work on that…

(December 2013 – January 2014)

testing out ring molds

A few months ago, I came across another blog featuring a recipe for mini cakes. From that, the notion of mini cakes popped into my head. I bought four 3.5″ Ateco ring molds from Amazon so I could test it out.

A month later, in October, my friend and I were talking about cakes (I had brought one to the nabe party we were at) and she asked for a small one for her birthday. I thought this would be a good opportunity to test out those ring molds.

She had a birthday celebration last week, but I couldn’t attend becuase of gradball. But, the day before we did a dinner with her friend from high school and another friend of ours. That’s when I gave her her birthday cakes!

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Chocolate espresso and orange-strawberry cheesecakes

The graham cracker crust didnt look as good on the chocolate espresso cakes. I might try oreo crumb crust next time instead, it might look better.

I arrived to the party after gradball, and by then they had already eaten the cakes. Two of them said they liked the chocolate espresso ones and one person preferred the orange-strawberry ones. My friend really liked both, which made me happy to hear.

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とにかく、誕生日おめでとうのぞみさん!来年カナダで勉強しなら、またケーキを作ったい ~

(11月29日)

this is “fierce” on a cake.

Let’s start this blog with one of my favourite cakes to show off!

When I first started doing cake decorating, I only told a handful of people, one of them being my super good friend, Sachin. Because I was out of province at the time, the only way I could share my creations with people at home was through pictures. After sending some to Sachin, he wanted me to do a cake for his birthday. Me, being a good friend, decided to take on the challenge.

Should’ve been easy enough, right? No. He only gave two things to work with: he wanted a chocolate chip cookie cake and it had to be fierce. Yeah, no idea what to do at the time.

While I was working out of province, Sachin and I talked about pretty much everything. One day, he decided to get a gameboy emulator on his phone and play pokemon gold (I too am a fan of the first two generations of pokemon – but that’s it). He started with a cyndaquil (named it a rather juvenile but hilarious name, and we made inappropriate jokes about it). Basically, he really liked cyndaquil, which is how I got to the idea.

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Chocolate chip cookie cake (vanilla sponge with chocolate chips); filled with raw cookie dough and a vanilla buttercream

I drew the cyndaquil in royal icing on parchment paper. Unfortunately, it was my first time doing this technique (I knew the theory behind it) and I was super impatient. I broke the original cyndaquil 😦

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It broke shortly after I took this picture.

Also, the colours bled. I took whatever was salvagable (basically just the flames), positioned it on the cake, and then used it to redraw the rest of cyndaquil directly on the cake. It was tough, as i often question my artistic abilities, but managed to do it.

I had some leftover red and yellow royal icing, so i “threw” it onto the sides with my spatula and tried to not mix the red and yellow. I mean, orange was going to be an inevitable byproduct, but I wanted people to also see the reds and yellows.

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I like to think the sides added to the fierceness.

In hindsight, piping “happy birthday Sachin” in cookie dough was probably not as good of an idea as i thought it was. I also didn’t colour it, so it was in the default cookie dough shade of brown.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Sachin’s birthday party, so I delivered this to him after his tax class. He was so ecstatic about it – I’ve never seen anyone so happy to receive cake. We did have a mini celebration though to commemorate his birthdy: chocolate ice cream and lunch.

After the party, Sachin and other mutual friends told me they really liked the cake, which made me super happy. However, now everyone knew what I could do… I did get another cake order after that. I know I planned to only do 2 cakes this turn, but she’s my first friend here in university and we’re still pretty good friends to this day, so I couldn’t say no. Her cake will be the topic of a future blog post.

I’m just happy that I was able to pull off a badass looking cake, and it is now a birthday cake Sachin will always remember!

(Cake completed Sept 20, 2013)