Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Trixilini Loves Baking With Strictly Pastry - The Full Story

Happy New Year, ladies!

As you know, we turned 10 (& Fabulously Pink!) last November and you might not have known this, but, while we were racking our brains for ideas to celebrate you with, one awesome thought never left our minds - 'we will have our cake and bake it too!'

So, we hooked up with Hannah Wong from Strictly Pastry who so generously agreed for us to invade her little atelier where all her edible masterpieces were conceived and created. With her kind help, we were going to celebrate and 'wow' you with the best-est, prettiest, most fabulous birthday cake ever! We couldn't wait! 

And, so... day 1 begins...

The master-plan...
We were pretty happy with it!

And it's to work we go!

First, metal rings of different diameters to make the cake-tiers were picked. Then aluminium foil goes under and around each one of them to prevent the batter-mix from leaking later on.
Kim (in Aijek's Square-neck top in navy) poses for the (Canon M) camera from Click!

Once the batter was thoroughly mixed (it took quite a while), it was divided and poured into the rings that have now been greased and lined with paper to ensure smooth dislodge when baked. See you later, guys!

Now, for the decorations, and it's all about fondant!

After we'd kneaded the fondant, 'moisturised' it with a special product, before kneading it again, we rolled it out into a thin layer and attacked it with a flower-shape cutter.
Next, we used a pen (or a special plastic stick with a ball-shaped end which we'd forgotten to take a picture of in our focused-state. Boohoo!) to press along the edges of the flowers to breathe life into them by creating frills!
Finally, we leave them in little metal-bowls to harden.

Some tools we needed to create pretty hydrangeas in shades of pink. Check out the pink hydrangea-mould! Simply sandwich a thin piece of fondant, release, and a pretty hydrangea is yours!
Trust us. It was NOT easy! Grace had to mix-and-knead several times before the right shade was created!
We created 3 pink's!
This had to be repeated a few rounds because we could only use limited fondant each time as it stiffened rather quickly and wouldn't have allowed us to shape them too well.
Bakers, you have our utmost admiration!!

Hello, Bailey's! She was such a darling! Made our baking sessions even more fun than they already were!

You look (and smell) so fine...

Day 2:

Hannah had everything all prepared and sorted by the time we'd arrived. How nice of her.

Kim (in Lulu Bare's grey bat-wing jersey dress) says 'bring it on!' with a smile! Check out Grace looking the part in a borrowed chef's coat as she whisks the raspberry-mixture. In goes the frozen berries. Ooh!! Can't wait to eat them!

Kim whisks away happily until the chocolate-mixture is ready to be poured into the cups. And, in they go!

So, remember the cake-tiers we'd baked earlier? They've firmed up in the fridge after being baked, and are now ready to be worked on!

If you're wondering how we got the little dome, we stacked and creamed (to 'glue') one of the smallest (remember we had two smallest metal-rings?) cake-tier on top of the other (after leveling its top), and, voila! First, we had to apply some cream over one section before spreading it all over evenly (without being too thick or thin) with a palette-knife. Wasn't easy, but we made it!

Here's a step-by-step guide on how we layered our creamed cakes with marzipan (essentially a mixture of ground almonds, sugar, and egg-white).
Once we'd kneaded the paste to a perfect thickness, rulers were brought in to assist us in cutting them into strips with widths that would match the heights of the different tiers!
See that white contraption? It's used to smoothen the marzipan against the cake and had one flat edge so it's held at a right-angle to the base of which the cake stands, ensuring the strip went on with equal pressure.
"So much more thought and effort go into making cakes", you say? Don't we know it now?!
Finally, all three tiers are done! With the marzipan, at least...

Time to check in on the cupcakes! We used a small knife to see if they've been baked through.
Hmm... Maybe just a wee-bit longer..

And... they're out! Fresh from the oven!
Mmm...  If only you could smell them through the screen...

Alright! It's back to kneading and rolling!

Looking so innocent and harmless.. but we knew better.!

Once the perfect pink was achieved (phew!), there were more kneading and rolling of more fondant... Then, water (acting as 'glue') was brushed over the marzipan-coated tiers and finally, it was laid over the marzipan and again the white 'smoother' was put to work.
You can't argue that Kim (in Lulu Bare's super comfy Batwing Jersey Dress) did look like she was ironing her laundry there in the kitchen.
Trim the excess and the smoother reappears to make everything seamless.

Grace rolls furiously with her last might when she heard it was the last of it!
Notice how we chose white for the dome-top because we wanted a subtle colour-contrast (Thank God! No more colour-mixing! Or, so I thought...).


Hannah slides the base tier with ease onto the cake-board. A cut-out of the fondant was done and sticks were cut to length before being inserted to add structure and hold.
Next tier! It's Kim's turn.. She does it with caution..
Grace crowned it with the dome and....

... they're all stacked up! We're finally getting there!!

Day 3! This is it!! It's make, or break!!

Grace realised she had been had when she heard there was more kneading! It's up to Kim to save the day! 

Soon as the fondant was of perfect thickness, we pressed it firmly into the lace mould we'd picked. The excess had to be pulled off. Then, release the lace and trim off any more excess and strays with a little knife.


Icing goes on. This, dear friends, is so much tougher than it looks! It took much precision and skill that we hadn't quite possessed, so after a few tries, we decided it was better for Hannah to take over. Of course, it was over in about half a minute. She's good! 

More cutting after we got the right hue of silver-grey as we made the bars of our bird-cage-top!! Lots of measuring was involved to ensure we created the right number of bars and that they were evenly-spaced.
Roll some fondant into a strip, create a loop, and we have a handle for the top of the cage! Pierced a stick in and stuck it right down! Yay!!

Let's not forget the cupcakes in our joy!! No, we're not done just yet!

We conceptualised 3 designs - a quilted design in pink studded with pearls, a pink cameo encircled by pearls against a silver-grey background, and flowers nestled on a generous swirl of pink vanilla butter-cream. Ooh!!

After 'quilting' the top, we used edible glue to stick pearls on the intersections of the pink cupcakes. As for the silver-grey ones, the cameos were stuck on the centre before pearls went around it.

Dotted little pink icing onto the centre of the white flowers and white ones on the little pink hydrangeas and they looked even more fabulous!! Love the way they turned out!

Back to the cake!

Instead of doing what we did on the base-tier, we decided to be playful with little pieces of laces randomly-stuck onto the middle and top tiers. 

We're getting there!! Just got to stick these edible pearls between the laces!

Sounds like a ton of work? It so... was!!! And, we couldn't have done it without the wonderful Hannah from Strictly Pastry!!! *round of deafening applause* And, of course, imagining your happy faces when you saw what we'd done for you kept us kneading, rolling, cutting, kneading, creaming, rolling, measuring, sticking, rolling, kneading... you get the idea..

Alright! This is it!!


Ta-da!! Our proud masterpieces with the master-chef herself, Hannah!
Happy 10th anniversary to us!!
Thank you so much, Hannah!! You're the best!!
And, check out the awesome colour on her hair!

It was so much fun, but, alas, it was time to say goodbye. Bye, Bailey's! We'll miss you!! XOXO

So, we hope we'd indeed celebrated and 'wow'-ed you with the best-est, prettiest, most fabulous birthday cake ever! Because you're worth every bit of crumb and cream!

And we could not have brought to you all these pretty pictures unless it was powered by:

the most modern and awesome camera store in Singapore.

using Canon's latest EOS-M in black

Click me to find out more!

Team Trixilini

Celebrating being 10 & Fabulously Pink!

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