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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Daring Bakers' Panacotta and Florentines

It is fifteen minutes past midnight and well in Bangkok it is officially three hours and fifteen minutes on a 27th February. So I might just get this challenge posted since I have got plenty of errands to run tomorrow... Hope you all don't mind :-)

What have I been doing these past few weeks? Pretty much frantically dealing with fondant. First of all I need to get the cakes perfect in terms of shape and texture, I have had so many unleveled cakes that at one point I thought that was all I could deal with, but then I was introduced to cake strips, the magical belt used to wrap around the side of a cake tin while baking and somehow helps to slow down the heat penetrating the sides of the cake and result in a level cake. Thanks God, I have this way out, even though the strips are still on their way, thanks to Kate of Artisan Sweets By Kate .

Then I still have to deal with icing the cake before rolling with fondant. Due to hot weather in Bangkok, should I use butter buttercream? shortening buttercream? meringue buttercream? I haven't figured it out, that is the reason why I haven't got into practice of rolling the fondant and covering my very first fondant cake.

Okay, take it easy... one step at a time... Let's get this challenge out, and later get back to fondant all over again. Hopefully everything will go smoothly. Meanwhile, thanks to Kate of Artisan Sweets By Kate for being such a great source of information and inspiration!

Okay, let's switch to the challenge a bit here...... This months's Panacotta and Florentines are truly fun to deal with. Colorful layers, bring it on :-) I decided to work with Chocolate Panacotta layered with Papaya Gelée and Peach Milk Gelée.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My 3 Hour Baby Step

Thank you all for the comforting words and mental support for my taking the introductory journey into the fondant world!

It was not an easy start I must say. After a long wait and obviously almost everything was idle during Chinese New Year Festive in Singapore, I out of good fortune, could finally make it to the basic fondant class just one day before I left. Amidst a compact 3 hour class in the group of eight students, I learnt or struggled to learn a few things including sugarpaste for flowers and forming roses, fondant and rolling, covering cake and decorating. And without any break or a refreshing sip of water, 3 hours flew like nobody’s business, the class was over and the fondant cake was right in front of me rushing to be captured in a photograph.

Everyone was posing in front of his or her cake, took some photographs, and made sure that it was a moment to be remembered since afterwards everyone of us had to go home, replay our memory and hopefully be able to make the fondant cake all over again on our own. That was another challenge by itself!

As I said good bye to the class instructor and new friends I just met, I had wondered whether everything hereafter would be fine. Firm cakes, pliable fondant, natural-looking sugarpaste flowers, tools and rolling pin, smooth fondant rolling were all occupying my mind. And right then, I couldn’t wait to have the taste of the cake.

I had my friend V come over that night so he could grasp the appearance of the cake I was trying to describe to him about a few days before and enjoy the cake with me. So there we had the first cut and to our surprise, it was very smooth. We had not expected that such firm and tough looking fondant was just so obedient to the rim of our plastic birthday cake cutter. However, just right on the first bite, we both paused and stared at each other. We shared the agreement that the cake was just unbearably sweet. We did finish our slices though, but I had V take the rest back to his house to share with his family members. I remember telling him “If they find it too sweet, ask them to remove the fondant and eat the cake only!” And I had hoped everything would be just fine.