27 July 2008

Summer Treats Workshop: Layer Cakes, Cupcakes & Ice Creams

Chef Joycelyn has introduced yet another tantalising class at Shermay's Cooking School: Summer Treats, Layer Cakes, Cupcakes and Ice Creams!

Have been making cupcakes for most part of 2007. Hence interested to find out how exactly a layer cake is put together. And after attending the class, all I can say is, I can never look at layer cakes the same way again. For every beautifully presented cake in the display case of a patisserie, much tedious amount of meticulous work and effort is actually put in by the baker.
For this class, Joycelyn showed us how to put together a luxury 4-layer cake, coconut-flavoured; most apt for a Hawaiian-inspired summer treat. Many useful tips were given in the comprehensive recipe pack including a step-by-step guide to levelling, splitting, filling, assembling and icing the cake with even a hand-drawn illustration!

The cake may look simple enough, but it certainly takes a lot more. With the comprehensive guide, I hope I can proudly present such a cake one of these days.
A hot and humid summer makes one crave for food and drinks citrus and tangy. Hence this Lemon Grove Cupcake.
Topped with a swirl of whipped white chocolate and lemon ganache, the lemon grove cupcakes look kind of classic and retro even.
Using a leave tip and some Valrhona chocolate pearls, a simple lemon grove cupcake turns into a blooming sunflower - this one certainly looks too pretty to eat!
What is summer without ice cream? I don't have the luxury of owning an ice cream machine and hence Joycelyn's instant ice cream is indeed a godsend. Simply mix ingredients in a mixer, send into a freezer and 4 hours later, viola - ice cream! No churning, no machine. We tasted the lemon ice cream and it was yummy! Although this instant ice cream is not as smooth as ice cream that is churned from an ice cream machine, I'm satisfied. Especially when the recipe still allows some room for flavours experimenting.
We also tasted a custard-based ice cream that requires the work of an ice cream machine. Using Valrhona Equatoriale 55% dark chocolate discs and Nielson-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract, this peppermint chocolate chip ice cream tasted smooth and silky, absolutely delicious. I never knew peppermint chocolate chip ice cream can taste this good. If I own an ice cream machine, I don't need to buy Ben's & Jerry or Haagen Dazs anymore! An excuse to take the plunge? ;p Well, maybe I'll stick to the instant ice cream for now.

Each participant took home a coconut cupcake and lemon grove cupcake. I'm not a fan of coconut nor lemon cake actually but I'm bought over by these two. The coconut cake smells fragrant and taste subtle, not overpowering. The lemon grove cake is tangy but not too tart.
Have not baked for quite some time, I'm inspired to bake soon! Looking forward to Chef Keiko's class the coming weekend where I can learn Swiss Roll and my favourite pastry, the almond financier!

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