All I Have To Know About Buttercream

It was back to ‘school’ on the first week of March. Enrolled myself in Wilton’s courses 1/2/3 at Michaels where I learnt the basics to buttercream, royal icing, fondant and gum paste. It was no turning back – a recurring time, effort & money spending activity in which I fell into an abyss ever since. A lot of time and effort was spent on conceptualising, baking, icing (hated this step the most), decorating and taking photographs of the end products. Not to mention, I had to get all the necessary tools and materials for the courses. To save the hassle, I’d gotten the Ultimate Decorating set and bought those that were lacking.

 

In preparation for the first session of course 1, I baked some cupcakes that were used for practice.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

The first session was an introduction on buttercream and its essentials – icing consistency, correct bag position and pressure control. As you can see, my first attempt wasn’t great..

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

On the second session, I had to bake a cake to class to learn the techniques of levelling, torting, filling and icing a cake. Due to the lack of time, I had to ice and practise image transfers with piping gel as homework on the cake. I didn’t really like those images provided in my kit and decided to decorate my cake my way.

 

Hell yeah, icing the cake worked my triceps so much. I was so frustrated. I can’t seem to smoothen the buttercream and had thoughts of slamming the cake into the bin. After spending hours in front of the turntable, I finally got started on decorating. The end product came with rough edges and pretty fantasy coloured florals/pipings. Well, that was the best I gave on my first attempt.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

Learnt more floral pipings the next couple of sessions and our graduation homework was the complete package – from baking a cake to decorating it. I hadn’t grasp the right techniques for some of the florals and took the chance to practise. I also wanted roses on my cake. I watched many videos and experimented with my life’s first rose. I was extremely satisfied after hours of practice.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

The cake was made with my husband in mind as he was coming back from a month’s long work trip. I wanted to surprise him with my new skill. THAT, gave me a lot of determination and perseverance to complete the cake.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

How’s that for my first floral cake? Honestly, I was impressed.

 

Xoxo, Steph

 

Advertisements

Apricot + Strawberry Jam Cookies

I had recently relocated to the US with the husband and as a stay home wife, I have plans to lead an enriching life picking up new skills and savouring the contentment of doing things that I enjoy doing but couldn’t do so due to other commitments prior to the relocation.

I absolutely have some serious passion about food and enjoy cooking.

I also love baking but almost never bake an item successfully. For all the failed attempts, I blamed the equipment that I used. Back home, I worked with my mum’s table top oven and an old hand mixer, both which she never ever use. Now that my current apartment comes with a conventional oven, I decided to try baking all over again. I was convinced of my former justification.

A KitchenAid stand mixer was what I wanted for the longest time but couldn’t own one due to its exorbitant price tag. From where I come from, it costs $1,018 for one and that is about US$725! I could get 3 of these here! And so, this Valentine’s Day, the husband gifted me a 5qt KA stand mixer in white on white! I was soooo excited to start baking!

 

IMG_3243

 

For a (re)start, I thought I should attempt an easy item. This jam cookie recipe which I used was adapted from one of my favourite instagrammers @mamiaoyagi. I always wanted to try baking these as they looked so pretty and seemed easy to make.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I doubled the recipe and meticulously performed the steps it called for. When the mixture was ready, I got the jitters because I was afraid to see the cookie dough fall apart. Thank god it stayed intact. I heaved a sigh of relief. I could either have the dough shaped the fuss-free way – divided into balls, flattened and then indented. Or I could also cut the dough with a cookie cutter into shapes of my choice and then create the indents. I decided to go with the latter and chose a daisy flower shaped cookie cutter as I saw how pretty the cookies would turn out on @mamiaoyagi’s blog. The dough cut outs were then placed in the refrigerator for just over an hour. I read that refrigerating the dough would give time for the ingredients to get together and produce a more profound taste. It would also be easier to manage the dough. I had filled the indents with my favourite apricot and strawberry jams before popping it into the preheated oven at 320F/160C for about 15 minutes. The cookies were ready just when the edges of the cookies turned light brown.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I was over the moon when I saw how gorgeous the cookies turned out! I was so contented with the results! The aroma of freshly baked cookies filled my kitchen and I am loving it! Finally, I baked something successfully!

Just a point to note, the finished product looked a little different from the ones @mamiaoyagi made. I used almond flour/meal and hence mine had visible specks of brown almond skin and didn’t look as smooth as compared to hers. I would definitely try the recipe again with grounded skinless almond flour.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

When the cookies cooled, I took a bite of it and OH-EM-GEE…! These pretty babies had a crumbly texture and a luscious flavour profile that’s buttery + nutty. The jams added texture and a tarty twist to the aromatic cookie base.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I packed them in bags for few of my friends and they were totally loving them! A few had asked for second bags!

A very encouraging start on my baking journey!

 

Xoxo, Steph