Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dessert Table for a Baby Shower

      When my cousin asked me a few months ago to make a cake and maybe some macarons to go on a dessert table for her baby shower, little did I know I would end up doing the whole dessert table. I'm a control freak and am usually very organised when it comes to things like this. When I asked my cousin if she had any idea of what she wanted for the dessert table and if she was going to buy any desserts to supplement my contributions, the conversation somehow steered towards me taking charge of the whole thing. It couldn't be that hard, could it? I'd never done a dessert table before but I love baking and it's just a whole bunch of desserts on a table... right?
      Knowing me, I wanted to make everything and was very reluctant to buy in any desserts though the thought did cross my mind. I was reluctant to have store bought desserts only because I didn't want mediocre tasting desserts and it can get quite costly buying the good quality stuff. My cousin was expecting about 50 people for the baby shower. And yes, crazy little me decided she would make all the desserts to feed them all!

      We had discussed the idea of a large cake as a centre piece but I thought that for a dessert table it would be nice to have cupcakes with a feature 'cutting' cake and they were easier to package up for people to take home if they didn't want to eat it then and there. I also had to consider that it was a bbq feast so some people may not have room for dessert. (Though I think once people walked past the dessert table they were all saving room and waiting to pounce as soon as they were given the go ahead).
      My other star items would be macarons (at my cousin's request) and I liked the idea of the baby themed decorated gingerbread cookies. To supplement all that I put down some ideas for other items that were suitable to go into take away bags. I was thinking marshmallows, brownies, popcorn bags, and maybe even some Madeleines or profiteroles, all items I was comfortable making (apart from the marshmallows as I hadn't made them before).
      As I was so busy I didn't really finalise my plans for the dessert table items until the weekend before. And then it was a mad crazy schedule for the week leading up to the baby shower to get everything done. I started on Monday night and worked every single night all the way up until Saturday morning (as well as still going to work every day though I did take Friday off so I could bake).
      So this is what I ended up making:

      Baby faced chocolate mud cupcakes with a 6 inch 'cutting cake'.
       I could not resist this idea and really wanted to make some baby faced cupcakes as soon as I saw these when I was googling baby shower dessert table ideas. I was instantly in love when I sat back at 2am on Thursday night and looked at my army of babies. They were the cutest little cupcakes I had ever made. I couldn't wait for my cousin to see them.
      I also wanted to make a really cute cake topper of some baby Converse shoes but I was so busy the weeks before hand I simply ran out of time to make them and let them set. My cousin really liked a button and bows themed cake that we found online so this was at the back of my mind when making the 6 inch cake. It ended up untouched though as there were just so many other desserts. I told my cousin to take it to work for morning tea.

       Cute as a button! Cute enough to eat? I had so many comments that they were just too cute to eat! And I think they were slow to disappear because of that. The take away boxes came in handy and were popular. I am sure after looking at them for so long the smell of chocolate should be alluring enough to take a bite :D.  Maybe next time I should keep the designs on the cupcakes more 'simple'. They were worth the back pain though from all the reactions I received from people. I made about 30 cupcakes to go with the 6 inch cake.

Macarons - apple & cinnamon (green), earl grey & milk chocolate (blue)
and popcorn & salted caramel (beige).
      The original macaron flavours I was going to do were lime (green), lemon (yellow) and vanilla or salted caramel (blue). In the end I ended up making the flavours above as I thought they might be better received (plus I wanted to use up the last of the green apple & white chocolate ganache I had in the freezer).
      Sydney copped a dumping of rain last week which did not help the fact that macaron baking is already cumbersome for me in the colder months. The shells take forever to dry and when I am baking after coming home for work, time is not exactly on my side. Add on high moisture in the air and it was enough for me to call a rain out for the next few days. I had to rearrange my baking schedule and left baking my macarons until the Friday where they had all day to dry and set for baking if they needed to. 3 batches of macarons I pumped out that day which gave me approximately 70 to 80 macarons.
       I knew that these would be a major hit with the guests. Who doesn't love a macarons? From feedback, the popular flavour was the popcorn and salted caramel though the popcorn flavour was a little weak on this batch.

Baby themed decorated gingerbread cookies.
      My gingerbread cookies are a winner with friends and work colleagues so I wanted to make them to fit the baby theme. I had some issues with the icing taking on a funny white tinge the day after - totally blaming the wet weather for that. I also made a batch and a half of these and they weren't as popular as some other items on the table. Next time a single batch would be plenty. It was also my first go at the 'flooding' method of decorating the cookies and I found that I just didn't have the time or patience for this (on top of everything else I was doing). I probably just need a lot more practice. I ended up with about 40 to 50 cookies.

Mini Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tarts.
      These were a bit of a last minute decision. I had a couple of jars of caramel sitting around which were a touch on the dark side and were too bitter to be used for the purpose I originally made them for. I didn't want to throw the dark caramel out and thought that perhaps if I added some sea salt to the caramel it would somehow balance out the slight bitter undertone of the caramel. I decided that the most effective way of using up this salted caramel would be to turn them into some little tarts. I tasted some of the salted caramel with the dark chocolate ganache I had made for the cupcakes and thought it tasted pretty good. Ryan suggested that I needed a sweeter element and thought that milk chocolate or half and half would be a better pairing to take away the bitter undertone.
      I ended up just adding milk chocolate to my dark chocolate ganache and reheating it but should have added a bit more cream too as when the ganache set it was very firm when you bit into the tart. A bit too firm in contrast to the soft gooey caramel underneath. I found that these were very slow to go. I had managed to make about 30 of these little tarts (with home made pastry). My brother actually told me he could taste the 'burnt' caramel but my cousin said she absolutely loved them. I think these tarts are one of those items where you either love them or hate them. Even dusting them in some gold petal dust to make them a bit more visually appealing didn't make them go any faster. I guess salted caramel and chocolate tarts are not to everyone's taste.

Spicy Caramel Popcorn (Cayenne Pepper & Chilli).
      I knew that caramel popcorn would be an instant hit and was actually inspired to make a spicy caramel popcorn after a dessert we had from Mexico Food and Liquor in Surry Hills. I thought I had to scratch the idea come Friday night though as I had run out of time to make it and was still cake decorating up until 1am. 
      Ryan had made a huge bowl of popcorn for me to use a handful for my macarons and even though we had made a bit of a dent snacking on the popcorn there was still a fair bit left on Saturday morning so I quickly threw some ingredients into a pot and made the caramel for the popcorn. For the spicy kick I added some cayenne pepper and chilli powder to the caramel while it was cooking but decided it needed some more heat so just sprinkled chilli powder straight over the caramel popcorn and mixed it up a bit to coat. The caramel was a touch on the grainy side which means I probably needed to cook it a touch more (and not stir it so much next time).
      There was not enough popcorn to fill bags but these cute little cupcake cups were the perfect size for everyone to be able to have a taster. Managed to fill about two dozen little cups in the end. The popcorn turned out to be the most favourite item on the table from all the feedback I was getting. Popcorn is such a fun thing to eat though and when you add interesting flavour combinations, it's always a winner.

Vanilla Creme Caramels.
     To use up the egg yolks from my macarons I whipped together a couple of dozen creme caramels, Vietnamese style, as a 'filler'. To my surprise, something that I thought was a very pedestrian dessert disappeared so quickly off the table that I was constantly refilling the tray. They turned out to be the second most popular item if not on par with the spicy caramel popcorn.

      All the decorations and serve ware for the table I had sourced from various discount stores and my cousins helped make the paper pom poms from sheets of tissue paper I had bought (we youtubed a 'how to'). The cupcake tower and macaron stand I had bought online especially for the dessert table.
      I was completely and utterly exhausted by the end of the baby shower but it was worth it seeing everything come together and seeing everyone enjoy all the desserts I had made. There were definitely some learnings to take away from this and I am glad that my first ever dessert table was made for family. Next time, one or two star items and a lot of supplementing 'fillers' like brownies and slices. The things you do for love... Congratulations again cuz! Can't wait to meet little bubba.

       Oh and P.S - Thank you Ryan for putting up with my insanity taking on this challenge. As with every single insane project I take on, you're right there helping me, even staying up past midnight in the kitchen. Whether it be helping me fill my macarons, save my almost ruined caramel, making my popcorn, helping with all the washing up and couriering all my finished products. I know you say I would be perfectly capable without you, but I think you keep me that little bit grounded when I get a little insane and crazy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rosewater Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream, and road testing some Queen Soft Sugar Pearls

      Have you bought your mum a Mother's Day present yet? Or will you be baking her something? How about a  bunch of rose cupcakes for the special person in your life?
       There's something about cupcakes that just make my eyes light up. Dainty little cakes, the perfect size for a little treat. Usually adorned with pretty swirls of frosting and sometimes adorned with pretty little decorations. Unfortunately a lot of cupcakes on offer at shops and cafes are pretty mediocre. Dry, crumbling cake, mass produced, generic taste of premix. Sometimes the frosting is just overly too sweet and not worth eating at all. To be honest, I can't quite remember the last time I've paid for a cupcake. I've always been very wary to try them fearing great disappointment. They're not the cheapest little treats and I expect to get what I pay for. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to venture out into cup cake world again but for now, I'm happy to bake my own little treats and share them with the people I love.

      Magnolia Bakery is one name that is known all over the world for their cupcakes, they did start the cupcake craze after all and were made famous by Sex and The City. I think they are one of the benchmarks for the best cupcakes. I myself have never personally had a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery but a recipe for their buttery vanilla cupcakes is sufficient enough for me until I eventually step foot in New York (or anywhere near one of their many stores now). I really like making cupcakes with their recipe (with some minor adaptions) so I hope when I finally do visit one of their stores that I am not disappointed.
       I've made rosewater cupcakes with lemon royal icing before but this time I've decided to use the Magnolia recipe as a base for my rosewater cupcakes. And instead of cupcakes I wanted to make baby cakes, a lot of baby cakes. Just adjusted the baking time as the cakes are smaller.

Recipe - Rosewater Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes (Or in my case, about 84 baby cakes)

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line your cupcake tins with baking cups.
  2. Sift together the flours and set aside.
  3. Add the rosewater to the milk.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and a pale creamy colour.
  5. Beat the eggs in, one at a time.
  6. Add one third of the flours and beat until combined.
  7. Add one third of the milk and beat until combined.
  8. Repeat 6 and 7 until all the flour and milk is mixed through.
  9. Spoon or pipe the batter into the baking cups.
  10. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden. (For baby cakes reduce baking time to 15 - 20 minutes, until golden).
*The trick to getting nice flat tops on your cupcakes instead of tall domes is to cook at a lower temperature, low and slow. The higher the temperature, the higher your cakes will rise which makes it tricky to frost and decorate. Remember that they will also take less time to bake if you put the temperature up*

Butter cream

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (add more if needed)
  • Food colouring of your choice
  1. Sift the icing sugar and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter until it is soft and fluffy.
  3. Add about half of the icing sugar and beat until it is combined. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until all the sugar has combined. Keep beating until the butter is very pale in colour and is very soft and fluffy.
  4. Add the milk and beat until combined. Add the lemon juice and beat until combined.
  5. Add your choice of food colouring and beat until there are no streaks left.

      I was recently sent some Queen Soft Sugar Pearls from Beyond the Square Communications to try out and thought that they would be a nice touch for the top of my dainty little rose baby cakes. I normally use cashous (sugar pearls) anyway but find that they are not very pleasant to eat even though they can just add that finishing touch to a cake. I was actually very happy to find out that these ones made by Queen are not hard at all which means that they are not bad for your teeth (and children!). When it says 'soft sugar pearls' they are not actually soft as such but they give way when you bite into them. Not only do these sugar pearls look pretty, they're safe (for your teeth) to eat too. I haven't quite got the famous Magnolia butter cream swirl mastered yet so was happy to pipe pretty little roses for the top of my baby cakes  You just need a star piping tip and a lot of practice to get perfect roses. And I still need lots of practice.

    The Queen Soft Sugar Pearls come in white, rainbow and silver. They should be available at all Woolworths stores now.

      Happy Mother's Day Mumma! Thank you for all the delicious food that you are always serving up to us kids and thank you for instilling the love of food and cooking in me. Have you made any plans to spoil your mum/special motherly figure in your life yet?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

[Angie Travels] Last few days in Israel - Jerusalem and Bethlehem

       So this continues our journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Unfortunately we don't have many photos from this point onwards. As I mentioned in my last post, Ryan had his camera stolen when we got to Madrid and he had not backed up the photos from this part of our trip yet. I was a little 'churched out' so was relying on Ryan to take photos for us.
       Also a warning to my food loving readers, there aren't many food photos in this blog post. There are only so many photos of falafel and shawarma that I can take (and eat) which seemed to be our staple diet while we were in Israel. I know that there's more to Israeli food but well, it seemed to be the cheapest and fastest option when you're feeding 100 plus hungry young people at the same time. Don't get me wrong, the falafel and shawarma in Israel is fantastic, but it does get a little boring. The main reason for this trip was a spiritual pilgrimage after all so it wasn't about the food. We do get a bit more culinary freedom in Madrid but Paris is where Ryan and I go crazy eating. Blog posts to come eventually...

     We start our day with a visit to Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist and site of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:43). The Church of the Visitation is quite beautiful inside...

     We then cross over into Palestinian territory into Bethlehem to visit Jesus' birthplace, at the Church of the Nativity.

     The Church of the Nativity is built over the stable where Jesus was born, now known as the Grotto of the Holy Manger. There are actually two churches on this site. The Orthodox church and the Catholic church. The Grotto lies beneath the Orthodox church. Mass for the day is held here.

     It's a huge contrast between the two churches. The Orthodox church is quite extravagant with their embelishments and icons throughout the church. They love their candle holders and lanterns, and bling.

     We queue up with the crowds to go down into the grotto. It is very cramped down there and there is a lot of pushing and shoving to get down. It's nuts. You don't really get a lot of time down there either, a couple of seconds and then you are pushed on. Not very much time at all to reflect on the significance of this site. There is a star which marks the spot where Jesus' crib was supposedly placed.

Gloria in excelsis deo - Glory to God in the highest.

     Our next stop is the Shepherd's field to remember the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas night.

City landscape of Jerusalem from the field.

     It's lunchtime! We head to Sababa Restaurant for more falafels! These were actually quite tasty. Nice and fluffy and not at all dry. We also had chicken shawarmas (again) and a whole heap of delicious sides. And yes, that says Manger Street, we are in Bethlehem after all.

     After lunch it's back into Jerusalem and we visit a scale model of Jerusalem as it was back in the time of Jesus.

     The top photo is taken from the coach of one of the streets we pass by that is full of street vendors. The bottom photo is one of the entrances into one of the quarters of Old Jerusalem city within the walls. It's quite a journey to get through the walls into the old city.

     We head to the Mt of Olives to visit the Church of the Pater Noster (meaning Our Father). This is the site where Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer, as a group we pray the Lord's prayer together.

View over Jerusalem from the Mt of Olives. The golden domed building is an Orthodox church.

     Our last stop for the day is the garden of Gethsemane. These old olive trees are believed to have been from the time of Jesus so are thousands of years old. It's possible that they were witnesses to the events that unfolded when Jesus was captured. We also spend a little bit of time in the Church of Agony on the site of the garden.
     We then head back to our accommodation to rest up and have dinner before a small group of us return to the Church of Agony for some silent prayer time. It had been one crazy week and a half in Israel, especially Jerusalem where our days seemed to be even busier than before. This time out gave us a chance to reflect on all the things we had seen and experienced on our journey thus far and to have some spiritual time out.

     Our last day in Israel seems to be a blur now (and even blurrier without photos) as it was just absolutely jam packed with activities. By this time of the trip, I was struggling to remember and truly reflect on the significance of all the sites we were visiting which is quite unfortunate but I do remember the main ones. I also remember the Church of St Anne, the amazing acoustics of the architecture of the church. Instead of praying we sung inside the church and it sounded amazing. Next to the church is the site of the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralysed man (Jn 5:2-9).

       Mt Zion is where King David's tomb is, and  also where the Room of the Last Supper is. The site of King David's tomb is a Jewish site which means that the men and women have to go through two different entrances, it was quite large from what I remember.

      I saw some street vendors which caught my attention (I know, my mind is always on food). Looking at the photo now I'm wishing I stopped to try some. I think I was still wary about health and hygiene even though we were told Israel was pretty safe compared to Egypt.
      We participate in the Via Dolorosa - the 'Way of Grief' or 'Way of Suffering'. This is the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross on his way to the site where he will be crucified. There are 14 stations where we stop for prayer, commemorating each event that happened leading up to Jesus' death. It was quite a tough journey walking through the narrow crowded streets of the Old City following the path which lead us to the Church of the Holy Sepulchure where Jesus' tomb is. Taking photos was the last thing on my mind during this time.

     The Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was our meeting point and where we will be having mass for the night. We also get a chance to have a proper look around the church. The site of Golgotha (the Hill of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified) is also in this church. It is a very large church, built up around the site of the tomb and encompassing the site of the crucifixion.
    Our final night in Israel is a very moving one, with mass held in the Chapel of the Apparition inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Not many words can describe the emotions moving through the chapel that night, it truly was special.
    The next day we depart our home away from home in Israel and head off to have Mass one last time at the Church of St John The Baptist before we make our way to Tel Aviv airport. Then it's onward to Madrid for a week of festivities and activities in the lead up to World Youth Day 2011.

      Oh and just a parting photo of our last meal in Israel - a McFalafel and a Big Texas meal from McDonalds at Tel Aviv Airport. The coke was HUGE and so was the burger and the falafel wrap. But it didn't taste too bad for fast food. Just goes to show we couldn't escape the falafel. They're just not the same back home in Sydney though.
      We stumbled across this website which has some fantastic photos of Jerusalem, go and have a look. All the photos just take me back our journey, as if it was yesterday. Great memories.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pandan Chiffon Cake

      If you've never had a taste of chiffon cake, you are so missing out. It's the most lusciously light and airy cake that you could ever eat. You could easily devour a whole cake in one sitting because it's so light. Growing up in an Asian family, most desserts I've been introduced to are flavoured with pandan or coconut or both. It's quintessentially the South East Asian equivalent to Vanilla. Remember my pandan waffles? Hence why my very first chiffon cake I learn to bake is of course a pandan one. And everytime I've baked one, it just disappears so quickly. I've also tried a couple of variations from Pandan but the classic childhood favourite always reigns supreme. I think they call that nostalgia.

      The chiffon cake is something that I have always feared until recently. I have always marvelled at those who are able to bake perfectly straight standing chiffon cakes at home but never thought I could ever master it. The chiffon cake's airy texture comes from whipped egg whites, pretty much similar to that of the souffle. I've been able to churn out some stunning souffles (and also befriended the fickle macaron recipe) so my twitter friend  (and talented photographer) Mr Dexter Kewpie said I should be able to easily master the chiffon. He shared a couple of recipes with me which I sat on for a while because I was too chicken, and feared failure.

      One day I decided to buy myself an angel cake tin (or bundt/tube pan) and some cake flour and thought I would tackle it head on. One of the blogs I was referred to had a lot of details on what you should and should not do and that was all so overwhelming at first but I kept going over the recipe again and again in my head until it was all clear to me. A few tips from Mr Kewpie also helped.

Recipe - Pandan Chiffon Cake
12 - 16 serves (approximately)
Adapted from the blog I Eat I Shoot

Part A
  • 150ml coconut cream
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pandan extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
Part B
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
Part C
  • 190g cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Part D
  • 9 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 75g caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. You need a 25cm angel food/straight edged bundt cake pan with a detachable base. DO NOT grease it.
  2. Combine all the ingredients of Part A together in a bowl or jug.
  3. Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar until it is a pale creamy colour and has tripled in volume, approximately 5 minutes on medium to high speed. (Part B)
  4. Gently beat Part A into Part B.
  5. Sift ingredients of Part C into the egg yolk mixture and mix through.
  6. In another clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites together with the cream of tartar until foamy. Add all the sugar and beat until firm peaks form. (Part D)
  7. Fold one quarter of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to loosen the batter.
  8. Gently fold the rest of the egg white into the cake batter until it is thoroughly mixed through.
  9. Pour into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf for about 45 minutes and then turn off the fan and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  10. Take the cake pan out of the oven and invert it over an upside down funnel or narrow necked weighted bottle (e.g wine bottle). Leave it to 'hang' and cool completely before removing from the pan. Run a knife around the middle tube and then around the outside edge of the pan to release the sides and middle of the cake. Push the base out of the pan and invert the cake onto a plate and then run the knife between the base and the cake to release it.
  11. Enjoy your chiffon cake with a cup of tea, just don't eat it all in one sitting.

  • Cake flour is available at Asian grocers however I buy mine from Woolworths - I use the Lighthouse brand which comes in a red and white box. It is a lower protien flour that gives the cake it's light as air texture. The flour already has a raising agent but I still add the additonal baking powder - it gives extra lift to the cake.
  • Coconut cream is all I had when I made my first pandan chiffon but I like using it now because it gives a nice rich flavour. You can use coconut milk which is what the original recipe calls for.
  • I have not given a time or speed for the beating of the egg yolks and whites as every mixer is different. The best way to judge when it is ready is by looking at it. It also helps if you have previously made meringues and creamed egg yolks.
  • If you are using a stand mixer and only have one mixing bowl, transfer the egg yolk mixture to a separate bowl before beating the egg whites, make sure the bowl and beaters are squeaky clean.
  • I used a 25cm non stick angel food cake pan with removable base, this recipe yields a very large cake. It is preferable that the cake pan is not non-stick as this may effect the cakes rising ability as the batter does not have a non slippery surface to 'grip' to as it rises. However, after many uses the non stick cake pan will have been conditioned enough that it will provide more grip for the cake batter.
  • I don't really recommend baking your chiffon in a regular cake pan. I had trouble with my cake gripping to the bottom of the pan as I lined mine with baking paper so that I could turn the cake out easily. You could bake without the baking paper lining the bottom of the pan but it is a little trickier to remove the cake.
  • Your oven may work differently to mine so always monitor your cake. It will need at least the 45 minutes to cook.
  • As great as the temptation is to turn the cake out before it is cold, DO NOT touch it before it has completely cooled down. It is also important to invert the cake pan as the cake 'stretches' down as it cools. This helps to stabilise the cake and minimise the chance of it collapsing on you. I've had my fair share of sinking cakes the first few times I made chiffon. The excitement is just so great you want to see what it looks like out of the pan. Still tasty though ;)
  • There are many different recipes out there and at the end of the day, sometimes it just comes down to personal preference and experience. I started with this recipe and am so happy with it, I won't try and 'fix what isn't broken'.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Every chiffon cake I make gets better and better and better, until I was recently brave enough to let a pastry chef try it and he declared it a 'perfectly baked chiffon cake'. Thanks Simon! ;)
Earl Grey: Omit the pandan extract and replace the coconut cream with some warm milk. Infuse the milk with 3 earl grey tea bags before added the rest of the ingredients in Part A. Break open an extra earl grey tea bag and mix the contents through the egg yolk mixture after the flour is mixed in.

Ube: Omit the pandan extract and replace the coconut cream with milk. Add 1 cup of ube mash with the milk and mix into the egg yolk mixture before adding in the flour.
*Ube is available from Filipino grocers, it comes cooked and grated in a frozen pack. Defrost before using.*

      Pandan extract is available is most Asian grocers. My Mum buys it by the litre so we always have it at home.

      Ube Macapuno Chiffon Cake for Ryan's mum's birthday. She loved it so much she even dared to say my version of the ube macapuno cake was even better than the traditional Filipino ones. Ube is a purple yam that is popular with Filipino desserts, similar to how taro is popular with other South East Asian countries.
Macapuno is a young coconut fibre (or sport) that comes from a mutilated coconut. I sandwiched layers of ube chiffon cake with ube cream cheese frosting and macapuno strips and then covered the cake in some more ube cream cheese frosting and then decorated it with some dessicated coconut.

      For my uncle's 50th birthday I made a pandan chiffon cake with a luscious coconut butter cream made with coconut cream and covered it in some hazelnut praline I had sitting around leftover from another cake. Topped the cake with some Ferrero Rafaello balls.

      This is the 'perfectly baked' earl grey chiffon which I made for our pop up DESSERTed Dinner Party which we held last month.

      The latest pandan chiffon cake that I baked was even more perfect then perfect. They do say, practice makes perfect! Good luck if you will be attempting a chiffon cake for the first time.