Thursday, 16 October 2008

Another year, another attempt

How time flies! It is still fresh in my memory how I had a difficult time struggling away to make a Cinnamoroll cake for my niece's birthday last year ;)

This year, instead of the usual sponge-layered cake, I made her a rich and dense chocolate cake, just like the one I did for my own birthday (recipe posted here).


I wasn't quite sure how to go about decorating the cake, since I do not have much creative juices in me. I bought some mini m&ms and thought I could just pour them all over the top after coating the cake with chocolate ganache. The plan didn't work out as I realised that I need a lot more m&ms than what was in the small little plastic container. So, I just studded a few m&ms on the sides of the cake and sat there staring at the cake. With the leftover ganache I decided to pipe little stars (the only thing I can pipe!) around the circumference. I had so much fun piping that I made another round on the cake board ;)


I didn't know what was wrong with me, but after feeling very satisfied with the little stars, I came up with this 'brilliant idea' of arranging the m&ms on top of each little piped stars. That was a wrong decision to make. Oh boy, I didn't know it was such a delicate task to place one tiny candy on each of those closely piped stars! You need very steady and yet gentle fingers to complete the job. To make sure the stars wouldn't sink upon the weight of the m&ms, I chilled the cake in the freezer for a couple of minutes just to firm up the chocolate ganache...it was yet another wrong move! I believe, the consequence of this silly action of mine had caused the m&ms to absorb moisture from the cold ganache and they started to melt away while I was taking pictures of the finished cake. Lesson learned, next time I will use baking m&ms instead, maybe they won't melt away so easily?

I sprinkled lots of chocolate rice to fill up the empty space in the middle...it was the easiest and a fool proof way to jazz up the cake a little.


I wasn't very satisfied with how the decoration was done, but it was the best I could manage. I just hoped that my niece would find it appealing!

It turned out that she loved the cake! In fact, when she came over for dinner at my place, my sis has actually brought along an 'over-the-counter' chocolate cake. Upon seeing the cake I made, both told me immediately that they would prefer to have my cake to celebrate the occasion. All of us like the delicious and chocolaty taste of the cake. Although I have mixed a tablespoon of Baileys Irish Cream in the chocolate ganache, I couldn't taste it at all. Either the amount was too little, or I would have to use other types of liquor in order for the flavour to be noticeable.


Over the weekend, my boys and I made a batch of cookies for their cousin to bring home. I used my newly acquired Cinnamoroll cookie cutters since she's also an avid fan of this cute Sanrio character. I followed the same recipe as the one I made using the Pooh cutters. I divided the dough into two portions and kneaded in some cocoa powder for one of the portions, to make Mocha'. I love how the cookies turned out, aren't they adorable?!



and here's a slice of the cake for you...

I hope this will prompt you to reach out for your whisk to give this recipe a go :)

35 comments:

  1. Any kid would love this chocolate cake! Well-done!

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  2. Great job! It's beautiful! Working with m&ms or smarties are a pain, my hands are warm and then they start "melting" in my fingers before even being placed onto the cake! Then you have to keep wiping your hands, and the cake ganache is melting! Sometimes you know why people buy instead of baking!

    But the difference is you know your ingredients and the love & care put into the cake, it's not from a factory. That being said, my kids would eat ice cream cake over my home baked stuff. Sigh, what to do?

    Cheers
    CY

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  3. HHB, you cake made me drool!
    I dun think I can ever bake a cake!

    Bread baking was a breakthru for me already.
    Oh yes, I tried the yoghurt bread, but the skin is very chewy! The texture is soft and springy not cottony like yours. I wonder what went wrong!

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  4. Hi HHB,
    You never fail to amaze me with your bakings and photos. :) Yummy chocolate gateau!

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  5. Hello!! Not to sound pompous but the trick is to pipe your ganache when it is semi-firm but not set yet. That way, you have much better control of the M&Ms and the ganache won't droop from the weight of the M&Ms. Also, don't fill your piping bag with too much ganache at one go cos the heat from your hand will melt the ganache causing the last few 'stars' you pipe to be really soft. Just my 2 cents. Hope no one got offended!

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  6. THanks Anh!

    Hi CY, yes I have warm hands too! I almost wanted to use a pair of chopsticks to pick up the m&ms!
    I am sure your kids will appreciate what you have baked for them.

    Hi Fion, if you can bake a bread, I am sure you can bake a cake, it is much easier as there are not so many 'variables' as compared to bread making. I am sorry I can't comment on your yoghurt bread...maybe it could be the proofing of the dough(either under proof or over proof) that has caused the undersired texture?

    Passionate About Baking, thanks for your kind words, but I really didnt do a good job on this. I hope I can do better ;)

    dear The Pink Chief, thanks so much for your generous tips! I will bear that in mind when I next work on ganache. After I filled the ganache in the piping bag (only about half filled), I placed it in the freezer for 5mins to firm it a bit before piping. The first few stars were easy, but like you mentioned, it got softer towards the end!

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  7. Thanks HHB & The Pink Chief,

    I have been wondering how to pipe the soft ganache!!

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  8. What a beautiful cake this is!! you did a wonderful job! Im so envious that you have those cookie cutters! I wish they would get something like that here.

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  9. Happy birthday to your niece and congratulations to you for this masterpiece.

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  10. Dear HHB,

    May I know where did you get the cinnamoroll cookie cutter? I have been looking for it for that past few months?

    Thank you.

    lynn

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  11. 1T Baileys definately TOO LITTLE! Trust the alcoholic here!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Hi Lynn, I bought the cutters from Takashimaya, the Sanrio section at the toys department.

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  14. You always said you are not creative, but all your cakes are decorated perfectly. In this, the M&M gives color to the cake but of cos, the not so perfect part is, it cover your lovely piped stars lor.

    Can I find out, baking this cake with ground almond ... did it have a strong almond taste?

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  15. Hi Sherlyn, thanks for your kind words :)
    No, there's no strong taste of the almond, but I could detect the tiny bits of ground almond.

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  16. Trust me, after seeing this post, I'll definitely give the recipe a go! The cake looks stunning; I love the idea of filling up the middle with chocolate rice :)

    Oh btw, happy birthday to your niece!

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  17. Looks delicious- love the photos!

    Just wanted to let you know I linked you!

    http://ovenlove.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-favorites-food-blogs-and-websites.html

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  18. Dear Happy Home Baking

    The Chocolate cake is so creative and beautiful.

    May I know for the ganache, which brand of heavy cream should I use or can I use the Nestle cream (in tin) This will be my first attempt making cake with icing.

    Thank you.

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  19. Oh wow, that cake is just gorgeous! Even at my age, i would have been delighted if someone made me a cake like that for my birthday :)

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  20. Hi,

    Can you tell me where to buy cookie cutter. Is there any maket or supermaket especilly sells cake tooks, cake ingridients in Singapore, I am going to travel to Singapore tomoorow morning and stay there for 2 days only. Thank you very much for your advice.

    Wendy Tran.

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  21. Hi ovenhaven, hope you will like this cake as well :)

    I Natalie, thanks so much for linking me up, I feel so honoured :D

    Hi Anonymous, for this cake, I used Nestle cream (in tin) to make the ganache. (Melt 100g dark chocolate, chopped, with 1 tin of Nestle cream in a bowl, set over a pot of simmering water). Most recipes will use heavy cream, but I followed Donnay Hay's recipe which uses single cream or pouring cream (like Nestle). You can check this site for details on chocolate ganache - http://www.joyofbaking.com/ganache.html
    Hope this helps :)

    Hi thecoffeesnob, I didnt have enough m&ms otherwise I would have done something like yours!

    Hi Wendy Tran,
    You can try 'Pantry Magic' although I have not been to this shop. For me I always visit this local baking supply store by the name of Phoon Huat. You can check the locations from their website : http://www.phoonhuat.com

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  22. Hi HHB,

    I chanced upon your blog when i was searching for different receipes on cookies. Throughout my 1-yr baking journey, I only tried cookies and muffins, never imagine myself to breadmaking. For the past week, I had tried 2 of your bread receipes and my hubby loves them!
    Thank you for sharing=)

    Shermin

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  23. So pretty! I am tempted to try something similar.

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  24. Hi Happy,
    I hv tried out some of ya recipes.. they are great!(really envy ya families!!) May I know how much strawberries did ya used for the strawberry yogurt?? 'cos mine turn out kind of wet..maybe I'm too greedy abt the berries..haha by the way.. where did ya get the cute cutters for the most recent cookies ya made??

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  25. Hi Shermin, great to hear that you have started bread making too :)

    Thanks A Baker!

    Hi Ling, are you referring to the strawberry yogurt cake? I didn't use a lot...slighlty less than 1 cup of diced strawberries. Do remember to drain the strawberries before using.
    Are you referring to the Cinnamoroll cutters? I got them at Takashimaya, children's department.

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  26. May I have a glass a milk to go with my slice? :)

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  27. like your blog alot.. must be spending alot of effort...

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  28. Hi HHB,

    How many tablespoon of coco powder did you add in for the Cinnamoroll cookie ?

    I would like to try the chocolate cookie this weekend.

    Thanks !

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  29. Hi Anonymous, I used about 2 teaspoons. You can add more if you prefer darker cookies.

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  30. Hi,

    You mean two teaspoons per recipe ? Can I mix together with the flour first instead of kneading.

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  31. Hi Anonymous, I used 2 teaspoons for half the dough. If you are making the full recipe with chocolate flavour, you will need to use more, and you can mix the cocoa powder with the flour insteading of kneading into the dough. I am sorry I do not know the exact amount to use as I was just experimenting with it.

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  32. hey! just wanted to know, where did you get those lovely cinnamoroll and mocha cookie molds? I'd love to have some so I could start a kawaii bakery business, please. Thank you! n___n

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  33. Hi Luzinda, I bought the cutters from Takashimaya.

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  34. Hey,
    I was just wondering where did you purchase the cinnamoroll cookie cutter? Do you know where I can buy it online?

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  35. Hi, I bought the cutters from Takashimaya but that was several years ago.

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