Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I've been on a sable kick lately. In its simplest form, a sable is essentially a shortbread cookie delightfully crisp and crumbly. I've tried quite a few recipes but this is my favorite - from Michel Roux's Book of Pastry. I like how the addition of egg yolks contribute to an enriched flavour. And of course, the possibilities are endless - I've used some orange zest here, a vanilla bean, cranberries and macadamia nuts here but it would be equally good with coffee, chocolate chunks, rose petals etc.. For my next attempt, I will try some matcha tea with lemon - I adore this combination!

Recipe: (slightly adapted)

250 g plain flour
200 g butter, slightly softened.
110 g icing sugar
2 small egg yolks
zest of two oranges
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup macadamias
scraping from one vanilla bean

In a large bowl, put together first 4 ingredients stir with a wooden spoon, when dough starts to come together, use the heel of your hands to knead the mixture until it comes in a uniform mass. if it's too sticky, add a little extra flour. Toss in remaining ingredients. Shape into 2 logs, roll each log in parchment paper. Chill for a hour. Slice into 1/2 cm rounds with a sharp knife. Bake at 160 C for 15 min. If you like them crisper, bake for a little longer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart.

I've been meaning to make a salted caramel dessert sometime lately but just didn't have the guts because making caramel involves cooking sugar and I don't have a candy thermometer and the last few attempts I had at making fudge and praline burned badly on the stove and the kitchen smelled a real mess.
I've been meaning to get a Thermopen thermometer said to be the most accurate on the market, but it's US$96 .. eek. Anyone who wants to send me a Christmas pressie is most welcome ;)
Anyway, back to this tart. I adapted the recipe briefly from saveur.com. I used a pate brisee base with a little cocoa powder; that was simpler to do. As for the sugar, I cooked it extremely slowly and watched it until it turned a light red-brown (as a cook suggested doing) before adding the butter and cream mixture. There was supposed to be only 3 g of salt in the recipe but by mistake, I added 15 g of salt! So my first batch of salted caramel was tossed into the bin.
This is a really divine tart, a great combination of flavors and definitely a keeper! If you've not tried salted caramel before, let me tell you it's one of those things I can eat any minute of the day hehe..

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Strawberry ShortCake.

This Japanese version of Strawberry Shortcake is different from the American version of scone and whipped cream. I used chiffon cake layers and spread each layer with a little pastry cream and vanilla whipped cream.
I don't think I've ever come across sweet strawberries on the supermarket shelves in Brunei, the ones here are so dreadfully sour and the last thing you want is sour berries in a cake. But not too worry - I poached the berries in a simple sugar syrup and they came out fine.
I actually did a shortbread cookie base cos I thought it would add more textural interest to the cake, but I forgot that it was cooling on the counter and the cake was already half frosted, ah well! I crushed the shortbread instead and pressed it up the side of the cake, but it would have been delicious as the base!
I'm not a fan of frosting with whipped cream; my cakes never look as elegant as those outside hmm... I wonder if it would be easier just pouring the cream into a mousse ring?

And here are some macarons I made last weekend... They look deceptively beautiful but sigh... big air pockets again. I don't know what else to do.. may try the italian meringue method soon, maybe it will give me better results?

Friday, October 29, 2010

This was for a recent order for my friend's sister's son birthday. This is one of my favorite cakes. I pleaded for a small bite and I was lucky to get one.. haha.
This Death by Chocolate Cake is initially made with dark chocolate ganache, but knowing kids' dislike of dark chocolate, I've opted for a milk chocolate ganache instead. I used Nick Malgieri's recipe for both the cake and frosting and I can understand why he says it's one of his favorites. This is a cake meant to be savored in small bites and self professed, die-hard chocoholics like myself will enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Updated Menu.

By request, this is my updated menu. I wasn't even aware that anyone read this blog.. it's nice to know I have readers out there!

The Cakes (All cakes come in either 7 inch or 9 inch rounds. Prices are listed accordingly. Items denoted * are my personal favorites. Cakes intended for gifts will be beautifully boxed and ribboned in a transparent box at an extra charge.

1. Ferrero Rocher* - hazelnut sponge layers, brushed with vanilla syrup, layered with chocolate whipped cream and crushed ferrero rochers.($50/$70)

2. Death by Chocolate* - Devil's food cake layers, layered with your choice of dark chocolate or milk chocolate ganache. ($50/$70)

3. Tiramisu* - Italian sponge cake, soaked in strong brewed expresso, layered with mascarpone mousse. ($45/$65)

4. New York CheeseCake* - Sour Cream contributes to the creaminess and softness of this traditional style Cheesecake, with a coconut cookie base, topped with strawberries and peaches. ($30/$60)

5. Carrot Cake - A supertall 4 layer moist carrot cake, layered with traditional cream cheese frosting and candied carrot discs. ($45/$65)

6. Orangette* - Sponge cake layers, hazelnut dacquoise layers with orange mousse and milk chocolate mousse. ($45/$65)

7. Gateau Des Iles - Coconut white cake layers soaked in pineapple juice, layered with coconut mousse and banana slices. ($40/$60)

8. Jasmine Green Tea - Green Tea Chiffon, Almond Japonaise layers, Jasmine and Vanilla Bean Mousse. ($45/$65)

9. Strawberries and Cream - Shortbread cookie base, chiffon layers, vanilla pastry cream, whipped cream layered with strawberries, coated with caramelised almond flakes. ($45/$65)

10. Queen Coconut - A classic Southern favourite. Tall stacks of rich, luscious coconut cake frosted and layered with coconut cream and white chocolate ganache. ($50/$70)

11. Concorde - invented by a French pastry chef in the early 1970's in celebration of the plane Concorde, this cake is composed exclusively of chocolate meringue layers layered with chocolate mousse and broken cylinders of meringue. ($40/$60)

12. Chubby Monkey - Layers of moist banana cake layered with peanut butter frosting, frosted with dark chocolate ganache and caramelised peanuts. ($45/$65)

Cookies, Pastries and Miscellaneous.

1. Baklava - Greek Style Pastry consisting of filo pastry layers, interspersed with pistachios and walnuts and soaked in a honey and orange syrup ($40 per tray)

2. Pecan Pie - The classic pecan pie. Sweet gooey pecan filling on top of a buttery crust ($25 for a 9 inch tart, $20 for six 3 inch tartelettes)

3. Strawberry Tart - Delicate Sugar Crust filled with pastry cream and strawberries. ($30 for a 9 inch tart, $25 for six 3 inch tartelettes)

4. Baked Chocolate Mousse Tart ($35 for a 9 inch tart, $28 for six 3 inch tartelettes)

5. Salted Caramel and Chocolate Ganache Tart ($35 for a 9 inch tart, $28 for six 3 inch tartelettes)

5. Pumpkin Pie/ Sweet Potato Pie - Classic American favourite with sweet pumpkin/sweet potato custard and gingersnap cookie crust ($18 for a 9 inch tart, $15 for six 3 inch tartelettes)

7. Classic Chocolate Chunk Cookies - with semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate Chunks)

8. Dark Sin Cookies - incredibly soft and indulgent fudge like cookies, with chili* (optional) and pecan pieces

9. Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies - with chunks of white, milk and dark chocolate.

10. White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Sea Salt and Macadamias.

11. Orange Cranberry Macadamia Cookies.

12. Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Cookies.

13. Toffee Praline Cookies.

All cookies retail for 2.20 a piece (with the exception of Dark Sin at 2.40), with a minimum order of 10 pieces. All cookies are the big and soft kind. I used to do the crisp ones but not anymore.

Macarons ($1.60 each - minimum of 6 of one flavor per order) - currently unavailable.

*Milk Chocolate Orange *Hazelnut-nutella *pistachio-rose *rose-lychee *pandan *coconut *cassis *strawberry *Lemon pie *vanilla *teh tarik *dark chocolate *jasmine tea *matcha tea *coffee

Financiers - (classic/hazelnut/pistachio) Classic French tea cakes in the shapes of gold ingots. Minimum 8 per order - $2 each.


NB: Only high quality ingredients are used. That means full dairy cream (not the vegetable fat kind), liberal lashings of nuts, 100% butter, and quality chocolate (I don't use the cheap compound kind, which is really a pet peeve of mine in bakeries, you get elaborate beautiful cakes concocted out of this really nasty chocolate.. ugh).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cake.

I've always found the combination of tangy citrus and sweet billowy meringue a marriage made in heaven.
To be honest, I'm not a big fan of far too much meringue - there's something about egg whites as a frosting which puts me off - salmonella anyone? That is why I heat the egg whites slightly in a double boiler before whipping and only use a small amount of frosting as opposed to covering the whole pie or cake with huge glops.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh Macaron.

Come to think of it - a macaron is the most ingenious piece of pastry there is. It's hard to think how just 3 ingredients - egg whites, almond flour and icing sugar can produce this perfectly delicate confection.
To be perfectly honest, I never had a macaron before until late 2008. I was walking past a pastry shop at ION Orchard when I saw these gems for $1.80 each. I thought maybe I'll give it a try and see what the hoo-ha about macarons were all about.
well - I guess I was converted. Upon first bite, the crust of the cookie delicately snapped and my teeth made their way in this delightfully soft and moist interior.
It wasn't till much later on when I attempted to make my own macarons that I heard all the horror stories about them and how notoriously finicky and challenging they're to make, which explains why they're quite expensive to buy.
More than 40 attempts later, these are what I've come up with. No, they're not perfect but I'm glad I'm on the right track as last.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ferrero Rocher Cake.

Years back when I was in Sydney, I came across this absolutely divine cake composed of hazelnuts and Nutella, where every esctatic bite was like a divine revelation. And then, I wondered whether it was possible to recreate a similar flavor?
Picture 4 layers of hazelnut cake, brushed with vanilla syrup, filled with fresh chocolate cream and crushed ferrero rochers and wafers, glazed with an indulgent rich nutella and cream frosting.
I did this cake for my sis' birthday and added far too much cream to the nutella so my frosting was literally dripping off the cake and that happened when i was coating the sides of the cake with white chocolate bits. I had to scrape off the drippy mess and I decided to press crushed saviordi biscuits to the sides to stabilise the already very soft cake... hmmm.. remind me not to add too much cream next time.
I wanted to do some white chocolate plastique but for some reason, the chocolate seized up tonight... well, well sometimes the stars are all aligned against you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ispahan Cake.


Ispahan refers to the combination of flavours (lychee, raspberry and rose) that was invented by French pastry great, Pierre Herme.
Making this cake was not too difficult but time-comsuming as the raspberry and lychee gel layers and the rose mousse has to be made separately and assembled. I wish I could get rosewater in Brunei; the ones in the shops here are the artificial type and the last one I bought had such a dreadful synthetic taste that I promptly chucked it in the bin! I should have bought more rosewater when I was in Melbourne.
The buds you see are dried rosebuds. Now you really want to get the ones which are organic and can be eaten; health food shops should carry them and no, don't use the ones in potpourri.. ick.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Simple pleasures.

I've always love how a simple tart can be used to showcase a lovely berry. It's really hard to get sweet berries in Brunei - most of the ones in the shops here are export quality and they can be too sour at times! But not to worry - the sweetened mascarpone filling I whipped up balanced out the tart berries nicely.
I must confess I am not a big fan of doing pastry. The weather in Brunei is so humid and the last few attempts I had with croissant dough and puff pastry turned a soggy mess on me. But this shortcrust pastry is pretty forgiveable - you just have to work in a not-so-hot place.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I remember many years ago my first encounter with tiramisu. At that time, I did not know what it was - I thought it was something Japanese, something alcoholic like sake. How wrong I was!
Tiramisu now for sale - $60 for a 10 inch cake.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gateau Des Iles - Island Cake.

This delicious cake, reminiscent of the tropics, combines the flavors of coconut and banana.
$50 for a 9 inch cake.

individual cheesecakes.

These entremet rings that I got in Melbourne come in so handy for making these cute individual cheesecakes.

Mini cheeseCakes - $5.50 each.


There are chocolate cakes. And then there are CHOCOLATE cakes where just one tinny bite is guaranteed to make any chocoholic drop to their knees in a faint.
This cake features layers of moist devils' food cake frosted with dark chocolate ganache. When working with chocolate, always go for the most expensive one you can afford as it really does make a difference to the taste.
Death by Chocolate now for sale at $65 for a nine inch cake.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I see red.

I've always loved how a red velvet cake looks; dramatic red layers contrasted by a white frosting.

This cake has a long and romantic history and is believed to have originated from the Southern United States.

This decadent cake is made from buttermilk and vinegar which ensures absolutely gorgeous and moist cake layers, frosted with a billowy white frosting that is a combination of two different types of cheese and fresh whipped cream. The version I'm selling will comprise 5 layers. The price for an 8 inch round cake is $40.