Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to Make Self Raising Flour

There will be moments in every baker's experience when they realise they are lacking one crucial ingredient just when s/he is about to start baking. This has happened to me when it came to... flour. It's incredibly hard to find self raising flour here in Korea. Either that or I just don't know enough Korean to distinguish which is the right flour to buy. I can distinguish Cake Flour, Plain Flour and those specially for making Bread. I can get it at a foreign supermarket but just can't justify paying the premium for such a basic ingredient as flour.

So, here's a way to make your own. For every 1 cup of plain flour add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk the mixture together until well combined and then sift it at least once (twice will be better) and there you go... there's your self raising flour.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bridal Shower Cupcakes

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I got this order! It was almost as exciting as getting my first Barbie. When I heard Bridal Shower, I was like 'EEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' happily waving my hands in the air. Luckily no one was around to really witness that but now you know.

What's so great about bridal shower cupcakes? Well now first of all, I was thinking pretty and I was thinking pastels! It is sooooo much easier to mix pastel colours than strong primary colours like you need for kids cupcakes. Secondly, I had quite a few ideas and an opportunity to test them out.

The order came from S who ordered the Frogs in Pond cupcakes a few months ago and she once again let me loose on the ideas department. After I gave her a choice of 4 flavours and frostings (based on her budget) to choose one, she and her co-conspirators (the party was a surprise) decided on a White Chocolate + Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

I decided on 3 designs so it won't be too colourful on the dessert stand. The first is The Bouquet. I piped 3 different types of flowers in Mint Green, Ivory and Coral with the Open Star and Closed Star tips. The stalks were piped with Round Tip #3 and the ribbon with Round Tip #1. To complete the bouquet, I added sugar pearls from Donna Hay for the centres.

One of the most important things when getting ready for a wedding is choosing the rings, this gave me the idea to create 2 intertwined rings using silver cachous/dragees and using pink ones to do the stone. I was up till 4.30am putting them on with craft tweezers. By 4am my thumb and fingers were cramping up. A good thing they looked pretty so that at least numbed the cramps a bit.

Finally I drew a heart shape with a Closed Star Tip. Originally I was just going to keep it simple like that but thought it needed something extra. So I made the couple's monograms in White Chocolate and added a bit of bling with the gold cachous. To see how to make the monograms see the post before.

The White Chocolate cupcakes are dense and have an intense flavour which is nicely complimented by the slightly less sweet but oh-so-smooth SMB. I was told the guests really enjoyed the cupcakes. ; )

I am looking forward to making more of these, so if you are throwing a bridal shower or looking for wedding cupcakes, contact me at

The flowers are so summery and pretty I couldn't resist adding another picture.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Make Chocolate Monograms

I had an order for cupcakes for a Bridal Shower for today and was really excited to design the cupcakes when I got the order. I will post about the Bridal Shower cupcakes later but here I'd like to show how easy it is to make your own Chocolate Monograms.

The Bridal Shower cupcakes had 3 designs and one of them I decided to use the couple's initials. The cupcakes were White Chocolate Mud Cakes so I chose white chocolate to make the monograms to compliment the flavour.

Here are the ingredients and tools you will need:
(Makes 15 monograms)
100g White Chocolate finely chopped
Gold Cachous/Dragees
Piping Bag
#6 Round Tip
Wax Paper
Template with Font of your choice
Craft Tweezers
Cellophane Tape

Get started
1. First decide on the type of font you want and then print them out to the desired size. Try to fit max 6 on an A4 paper so it gives you room to pipe without accidentally touching a finished one and messing it up.

2. Print out the template and cut out a wax paper in the same size. Place the wax paper over the template and tape it on the table so it doesn't move.

3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Make sure the water is just simmering and don't get any water into the chocolate otherwise the chocolate will seize. If that happens, you better have some extra chocolate handy 'cos you will have to start all over again.

4. Gently stir the chocolate to ensure that all the bits are melted then take it off the boiler. Stir again to smoothen it out then let it cool for about 3-5 minutes (depending on the room temperature). You want it cool enough so it doesn't burn when you put it into the piping bag but it is ok if it is just warm. You don't want to leave it out for too long because the chocolate will harden quite quickly once it cools to a certain temperature.

5. Insert the tip into the bag and fill it with the chocolate. Gently ease the chocolate down to the end with you fingers trying to massage a bit to get all the air pockets out. Air pockets are nasty things when you are piping. It could ruin a nice line that you are trying to achieve. Once that's done, twist the top a bit so the bag is taut and tie it with a rubber band or a sealing clip/peg (I get my clips from Ikea and they are really handy).

6. Depending on where you start on the letter, gently squeeze the chocolate out at a 45 degree angle to the paper. Now depending on how thick you want the letters, control the flow of the chocolate by how hard you are squeezing against how quickly you draw the chocolate. You don't want the chocolate to be too thin because it will be prone to cracking if it is not handled delicately. Add a bit of volume and it will make it a lot easier to handle.

7. After you finish drawing one sheet, then remove the tape that secures it to the table. Quickly slide it onto a flat plate or chopping board and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes for it to set. Then start on your next set with another wax paper.

8. Remove the monogram fromt the freezer after 10 minutes. To take it off the wax paper, slide the wax paper to the edge of the table and pull the wax paper downwards so it peels off the chocolate. Using a flat spatula, place it under the chocolate as you are pulling the wax paper down to support it. You should be able to remove the chocolate very easily.

9. Line a tupperware with a layer of wax paper and place the chocolate monogram in there and use wax paper to sandwich the chocolate monograms so they don't have a chance to stick together. You can keep the chocolate monograms in the fridge until they are ready to be used.

For my cupcakes, I covered the cupcake with pink frosting then drew a darker pink heart on the top to give the monograms a bit of a pedestal then placed it on top.

Easy peasy. Just be sure to keep them refrigerated until the last minute when you need to serve or display as the chocolate can melt quite quickly and just *blerb* lose its shape (see below) if it's hot out like it is now. Keeping it in an air conditioned room should keep its shape.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cherry Blossom Cake

A few months ago it was a good friend's birthday and I offered to make her birthday cake. She was really my guinea pig, I wanted to try to decorate a cake for the first time instead of just cupcakes. I kept it simple and as it was spring, decided on a Cherry Blossom cake.

She said she liked vanilla cakes so I made her a 2 layered sponge cake and to add a bit of depth to the flavour, I put chocolate ganache in between the layers and on the top before I iced it.

I made Swiss Meringue buttercream for the icing which made smoothing the cake a lot easier but it still took a long time to get it to look half decent. There is probably a technique to get it done better and quicker so I need to start taking lessons. So when I do it, it takes a lot of smooth and getting the nicks filled. I hate seeing a little dink in it.

After that it was time to draw the trunk and branches with icing that I tinted brown. I just used a #6 round tip to do the trunk and fill it in. After that I ran a warm teaspoon (using the handle end) to run over it to smooth it out. It turned out quite well this way, it made the trunk look grooved. Next I used a smaller round tip to draw the branches and worked some leaves onto them so the flowers will sit nicely above them.

I tinted the icing pink and piped the flowers all over the branches going for a full but not overwhelming blossoming tree.

As a final touch, I randomly piped tiny dots on the flowers in a darker pink tone. I used a #2 tip here.

The chocolate ganache had hardened a bit while in the fridge and hadn't softened enough by the time we cut the cake but all in all it was a good dessert. My friend was very happy with her cake.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why are There Only 24 Hours in a Day?

I have decided to make this blog more... personal. I think that's the point of blogging. So here goes.

It's a beautiful day today in Seoul. We had some threats of rain with some looming black clouds reminding me of scenes when Frodo was nearing Mount Doom, but they soon passed. Now the sun is out in full, bathing everything is a beautiful early evening light. I want to be outside and I want to do a million other things like respond to some emails, design a flyer, read a magazine (the US July Vogue is calling out to me) and take the kids for a walk. But here I am in bed, knackered as anything and wanting to take a nap. I've developed a bit of a cough and the cough syrup I took half and hour ago has kicked in and making me feel like I've just climbed Soeraksan.

It doesn't help that I had friends over yesterday and I cooked Roast Pork which took awhile and this morning I had a playgroup so I got up early, baked Magic Pudding (oh this was sinful) and a couple of lunch-friendly dishes for the Moms. I didn't really know what to do for the kids so I cheated and made a run to the Grand Hyatt's bakery (next to The Terrace restaurant) and got some of their freshly baked chicken pies (KRW4,000 - they are baked at 10am) and pizzas.

It's also not easy to get some shut eye when the kids are whining or complaining about something beyond the bedroom door. Thank goodness for my Nanny (no, I am not going to apologise for having one, people say they don't know what they would do without theirs and I am fully of the same club) who is currently looking after the two Koalas. Without her, this blog and my cupcake baking venture won't be happening.

It's also not easy to get things done in the speed that I want to when one of the kids always needs some attention. And... time management, what's that?? You're probably wondering why I'm blogging if I am complaining (yes complaining) that I need some shut eye? Well it's 'cos my brain won't rest. It's just churning and churning away. I can think of 5 posts I can do right now!

I am also quite excited about 2 new orders that I have. One's for a bridal shower and the other is for a doljanchi or dol for short. A Dol is a Korean tradition that celebrates a baby's 1st year birthday. The order for the 1 year old's party could have an added interesting element. I need to plan a bit with the mother first and see how special we can make it. I really should write down the ideas I'm coming up with for both these designs.

Alright, I am going to try to those yoga breathing techniques that I learned and see if they are going to work. Till later...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Make Caster Sugar from Granulated Sugar

This is the first of my Handy Tips posts and I'm going to focus on sugar. Sometimes a recipe (eg. meringue, caramel) requires you to use Castor or Superfine sugar and if you are like me who lives in a country where caster sugar is not commonly stocked in your supermarket then you just have to make your own.

The sugar I find in Lotte Mart or E-Mart are granulated sugar. The other option is powdered sugar or icing sugar which is not the same. The former is too coarse and the latter is too fine. Recipes like meringue and caramel use caster so that the sugar to melts quicker as there is little or no heating involved.

You will need:
Granulated Sugar (whatever amount you want, you can even make some to store in a jar)
Blender/Food Processor

First of all, ensure that the blender is dry as water will cause the sugar to stick together. I'm sure you know that but I just thought I'd say it anyway. ; P Put the granulated sugar into the blender or food processor and whizz it in short bursts. Remember, we are going for fine crystals here not the powdery white stuff so don't over whizz. Depending on how powerful your blender is, this should be over in seconds. Then voila! Caster sugar. On with your recipe then.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kids Birthday Mini Cakes Now Available to Order in Seoul

Not so long ago, at my wedding, I had a fantabulous Cupcake Tower as my wedding cake. I noticed that sometimes even adults don't finish an entire cupcake so arranged a batch of mini cupcakes made especially for the kids at the wedding (there were a few!). They were such a big hit! Big MWUAHs to Alex and Angela at The Cupcake Bakery at Paddington in Sydney who rolled out some of the best cupcakes I've ever had.

This is the cupcake tower which was my wedding cake. Simple but rich swirled buttercream with pink sugar sprinkles and topped by a flower. The mini tower of mini cupcakes sits prettily next to it.

Now you can get it here in Seoul too! Vanilla or Chocolate mini cupcakes with buttercream frosting piped with sprinkles on top. Choice of 3 buttercream frosting colours.

Mini Cupcakes by Gerry

KRW65,000 for 3 dozen (minimum order)
KRW1,500 for every additional mini cupcake

If you are interested to place an order or would like to customise the mini cupcakes, do drop me an email at

Please indicate:
Preferred Flavour

Frosting Colours (up to 3)


Piped and Sprinkled. These mini bite delights will disappear in a flash

As a guide, a child (age 2 and above) on average eats 2 cupcakes or more. Adults can just keep gobbling these down.

* Cupcake cases/liners used may vary in colour. ** Stuffed bear does not come with the cupcakes, he was just helping me with the picture.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cupcake Flavours: Frutti

Cupcakes come in all sorts of flavours but some of my favourite are those with fruit mixed in. The natural sweetness of fruits create a wonderful balance to the richness of the cake and frosting. Here are some of my favourites:

Blueberry & Cream Cupcakes

Bananarama - Banana is great on it's own, even better as a cake/bread, so it's natural that as a cupcake it rocks. Best eaten with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Strawberry Sweetheart - Chopped fresh strawberries are used in this cupcake so there are strawberries in every bite. This cupcake makes a pretty-in-pink treat when paired with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream made with strawberry puree. You will be able to smell the strawberries before you even bite into it.

Strawberry Filled - Another tasty option is a Butter/Vanilla cupcake with strawberry jam filling.
*Strawberries are seasonal, so will depend on the seasons.

Lemon Demon - Fresh lemon peel folded into the cupcake batter that gives you images of summer with every bite.

Lemon Meringue - Who can resist tender lemon buttermilk cupcake with a goey lemon curd filling topped with marshmallowy meringue? No one!

Blueberry - Slightly lighter than their muffin cousins, these fruity cupcakes are reminiscent of summer. They can be paired with whipped cream topping or for more packed flavour, cream cheese frosting.

Raspberry Ripple - Raspberries are folded into this Buttermilk batter to create a flavourful and slightly tangy cupcake. The buttermilk cake yields a wonderful crumb to this cupcake. Shown below with Raspberry buttercream. One bite and it will catapult you back to the last time you had it's inspiration - Raspberry Ripple ice cream.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cupcake Flavours: Classic

Cupcakes can be enjoyed even if it's not for a special occassion. They can be a simple morning treat, to be enjoyed with an afternoon cuppa or a sweet ending to dinner. To begin the flavour selection, we have to start with the classics which are general crowd pleasers.

This is the le grande dame of cupcakes. It's subtle flavour goes well with any frosting.

This is pop classic is a crowd pleaser. Especially popular with kids, they will even tease a smile out of a non-chocolate lover.

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Yellow Buttermilk
Sunshine never tasted better. Yellow buttermilk cupcakes have a delicate crumb and are the best choice if you have a crowd who aren't keen on vanilla or chocolate.

I will gradually be adding more flavours, however if you don't see what you have in mind here, speak to me and let's see what I can whip up.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Customised Cupcakes and Cakes Made to Order in Seoul

As the profile description on Blogspot is a little limited in terms of space, I decided to post a little more about me and why I started this blog.

I moved to Seoul in 2008 where I rediscovered my passion for baking. It started because I couldn't find the kind of baked goods that I love that I used to be able to get easily in Singapore and Malaysia. So after a few bottles of vanilla extract, a spring form pan... or two and a cast iron bundt pan, things started to get interesting.

I really enjoy baking, from the aroma of the cake in the oven to the eating of it. But what I realised is that I enjoyed decorating even more! I use the best ingredients I can get to pass on that homemade goodness to my friends and customers.

I hope you enjoy my blog where you will find cupcakes and cakes with a variety of flavours and frosting to order in Seoul. Along the way will be some of my favourite recipes and baking tips that I’ve picked up along the way. Please feel free to drop a comment and suggestions.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vegetable Garden Party Cupcakes

The weekend before last, a good friend of mine MamaSeoul threw a Blessingway (a mother-focussed Baby Shower) for her friend A. MamaSeoul was a bit busy that week and so enlisted my help to decorate some Garden themed cupcakes for the occassion. A likes to garden you see, so she found some ideas for Vegetable Garden themed cupcakes.

They were a lovely compliment to the earthly tones of the batik designed tablecloth she laid out which in turn complimented to the lovely birds that she sewed as part of the Blessingway. The whole occassion was so tastefully done and was made even more special with the personal touches that MamaSeoul added.

The recipe she found uses mainly candy to create the peas, radishes, carrots and lettuce. However, as I have not tried using candy like Airheads, Starburst or Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews before, I thought I'd play safe for some of the veg. I didn't want to start trying to mould the candy and then freak out when I realised that it was impossible as I had only a few hours to get it done!

The peas were Green M&M's (this part I stuck to the recipe) but the pod was made of gumpaste. I must say the peas were my favourite. They looked so cute! Definitely edible too. The lettuce centre were green sugar jelly candy drops and I made the leaves with piped green buttercream as are the radish leaves.

The radishes were a little more challenging with the white pointed bottoms. To make them, I stuck together red sugar jelly candy drops with some vanilla air heads then rolled them together to get the right shape. The leaves were then piped in last with the green buttercream. The carrots were all made by gumpaste. They were adorable. If I had more time, I would have tried to make a rabbit appear to pop out of one of the cupcakes! That would be fun.

* Photos are courtesy of Chalica Pack. She's a photographer with a good eye for detais and does some wonderful shots of her subjects in outdoor environments. Her photos are all warm and natural. Check them out at