First things first – on news on the personal front, I’ve finally taken the huge step to enroll myself in patisserie school! :] It will just be for a short while, because I don’t have sufficient funds to complete the entire course which is made up of three certificates, so it’ll just be for three months. The other huge step I’ve taken of course, is to notify my employers that I will be tendering soon. At present, I have yet to resign, mostly because of monetary constraints – I do want to work for as long as possible – in fact, the plan is to work until a day before I’m due to fly off, so that I can earn as much money as possible to support myself. Things are very much in a flux these days, and although “change is the only constant” and I do love variety, I really hate not having visibility as to what the future brings. So this time, I’m really putting my faith where it should be, and hope that everything goes according to His plan, because well, I don’t have and can’t make any concrete plans for now.
I also hope that this also means that I can devote more time to blogging and hopefully expand the commercial baking bit I have on the sidelines a little more. Patisserie school is a huge step, so I definitely want to chronicle the journey as fully as I can!
Now back to the home baking. I had some sort of baking hiatus (unintended but I guess I got sick of all the baking during CNY) and last week, I finally got down to baking some new stuff – cupcakes for Easter, as well as trying out new decorating techniques, inspired by all the lovely Instagram photos I’ve been eyeing, and a new Italian meringue buttercream made out of egg white powder! :] I also made the 5k starter dough bread in two styles, but I was not very impressed with the bread, because it was not softer or fluffier than any bread loaf I had made previously. It felt like just another starter dough-main dough bread to me.
So, I last wrote about Easter and its origins here a year ago, that Easter eggs came about because of the worship of Ishtar, the goddess of sex and fertility, and eggs are obviously a symbol of fertility. The main reason why I made these was because I bought a mega-huge tub of M&Ms from Australia a few weeks back, when the aisles were lined with chocolate bunnies and eggs and all things Easter. These M&Ms are not your usual suspects, but “speckled eggs”, which I thought was cute. I had initially wanted to make chocolate bowls with them, but the thought of tempering chocolate put me off a little, so I opted for option number 2, which was to make Easter-themed cupcakes!
I also had a new recipe to try out, from a male colleague in the office who bakes pretty well. I ate his lemon meringue cupcakes and was suitably impressed, although I thought that the lemon curd had a metallic taste to it, and the cupcake was a tad too sweet. Nevertheless, I asked him for the recipe and he passed it on to me yay! I made vanilla cupcakes with a matcha buttercream. And guess what – I actually mixed the Italian meringue buttercream with half American buttercream which I had frozen about 4 months back – and it still tasted fine! And everyone who had the cupcakes did not complain of a tummyache, so this proves that you can freeze buttercream and it works perfectly after you thaw and beat it up again.
So here they are. There’s just something about piped cupcakes don’t you think, that make them so pretty and photogenic? Aren’t the eggs cute? If you can’t get these speckled eggs from M&Ms, you can probably get the normal large crispy ones, and then using edible food colouring, water and a paintbrush, make specks on them too! I tried out two different “nests” – the grassy looking one is using the grass tip from Wilton, a #233 if I’m not wrong, and the other is a basic swirl using an open star tip. I think I used the 1M, although I’m not too sure.
I won’t be posting the recipe I used here, partly because I haven’t asked for permission to post the recipe, and secondly because I think the recipe still needs some tweaking. I lowered the sugar quantity a little, but found that the cupcake became a little dry, too dry for my liking. So I will probably need to tweak the liquid and sugar quantities until I find a nice equilibrium. The Italian meringue buttercream was okay, but a little too “oily” for my liking. It also ‘melted’ quite quickly, as you can see from the photos above. So while I’m doing more tweaking, I won’t be posting any recipe here as well.
In the meantime, do check back for more updates soon – with my impending resignation and notice period, I’m pretty sure I will have lots of free time on my hands to bake and blog about it Alternatively, catch me on @unpastiche on instagram, I update quite frequently and you probably would have already seen these cupcakes on my feed last week!