Thursday, 17 March 2016

5 things I learnt after conducting my first baking workshop!

9 months since I quit flying!

 I thought that I could concentrate more on baking after flying but being a full time undergrad really does not leave me with as much time as I would think it will? Lol of maybe im just being a procrasti-minah. This sem I only have a 4 days work work and yet time passes wayyyyy to fast!

BUT, i really really really want to get back on track! I want to try more recipes, bake new stuff and blog more! I know I've made some mistakes along the way, made some promises I couldnt fulfil and disappointed/angered many people by just disappearing but really guys, it was so chaotic at that time.

As you all know I wanted to move away from my MinahCrocker identity because I felt like I was giving away tooo much about myself, so I set up a different "brand" Shiny Happy Cakes! Was dead sure about it. Reinvested all the money I made selling kuih into equipment, collaterals etc but kwang kwang kwang- I hit a roadblock in my personal life. (tak habis habis dekni ngn personal life dia tau!) So anyways because of that, I lost access to my kitchen and could not continue with the "brand" anymore. #drama #buttrue.

So at this juncture, I'd like to apologise sincerely but the things I had to abruptly leave. And that if I owe anyone or if anyone is unhappy and wants to sort it out with me, drop me a mail & we'll work things out. Truly sorry, really deeply sorry....

As short lived ShinyHappyCakes was, I actually managed to get two really cool experiences out of that brand name: raya kuih making & conducting a baking workshop!

I'll write more about taking raya kuih orders nearer to the date but today I'll share with you guys my experience on running a baking workshop! Again, I dont mean to sound like a know it all or what la, whatever Im sharing is based on my experience as a rookie baker sharing my knowledge so there's no right or wrong or whatever k!

5 things I learnt about running a workshop

If its anything that I love, its piping with chocolate ganache! I think the texture it damn shiok to pipe cos the piping looks damn gojes u know, shiny and there's nice distinct lines. You can get that too with SMBC but ganache is so much easier to make! two steps only! And I really love this chocolate cake recipe that I use it all the time so I remember it by heart! What a freak! Remember recipe by heart?! But its sooooo easy I swear if you all learn from me you all will remember also!

Anyways yes, I decided my first ever foray into the workshop/class scene will be Chocolate Cake with 3 way Chocolate Ganache! My lovely participants learnt how to bake the chocolate layers, make whipped chocolate ganache, assemble a layered cake and pipe beautiful designs with piping ganache!

I practised the recipe many many times prior to holding the class to time myself and to make sure I the recipes worked out. I practised so much that I had more than 10 chocolate cakes lined up at one point. 

The night before the class I prepared everything nicely, made sure all the equipments required were there, printed handouts at Jurong Point (cos I didnt have a printer) and you guessed it, baked another chocolate cake! Just for the class, I bought 2 handheld mixers, 2 turntables, 4 sets of spatulas (offset & straight) and matching kain lap because I am bo liao like that! bahahaha. Takkan everything do so nicely then I provide those Hello Good Morning towels right?!
(The set up for the class- before my ladies came!)

So this brings me to point one:

Make sure you have enough of the right equipment

I was so glad I got extra turntables and spatulas cos it meant that there was no time wasted waiting in sharing equipments. BUT Of all days for Phoon Huat Clementi to run out of 6" pans, it had to be the day when I was equipment shopping. $%@#^$^@#^ Nasib macam kentang betul! I managed to get 5 but I needed 6 so I had to make do with a removable base one for the last 6" pan. Unfortunately I forgot that this last pan had a removable base so as we were removing it from the oven,  there was a small booboo- I broke the cake layer! Lucky I had extra cake layers (from all the practising!) so we didnt have to re mix a new batter to make up for that broken layer! Hennggg ah! Which leads me to point no. two:

Always prepare extra everything! 

(Aloottt of chocolates involved in this! )

Although I had extra cake layers, I didnt prepare extra ganache beforehand. And jeng jeng jeng I thought I had enough chocolate to prepare the ganache that we needed but I sorely underestimated the amount that we needed for experimentation. Because it was most of my participants first time piping and putting together a cake, we used up a lot more ganache then I usually use for one cake! Oops! I had to keep going back to make more ganache to the point where I ran out of chocolate. Alamak. I so paisey k at that point! This is why I say I want to buy a house super near to Phoon Huat! For times like this! *cough**hint* hahahaha :P I think the girls managed to make do with the amount of ganache we had and created these beauties!

Improve on timing.

Not saying I pro or what la but after baking 10 chocolate cakes within 4-5 days, I think you can bake one out of muscle memory. hahaha so I had initially planned for the class to be 4-5hrs long but I don't know how it dragged on for another 1-2 hrs. So by the time it ended it was really late and everyone was exhausted! I've learned that I should either start the class earlier or overlap certain segments like get the participants to do as I do instead of spending more time by having a demo-try-demo-try sequence!

Get a helping hand to do the backend work

I was quite confident that since it was a small group I could manage everything- the teaching and the clearing. But u'uh, cake making is a messy messy process! I totally overlooked that for all the other courses I've attended outside, the "teacher" never took part in the clearing and they usually had one or more staff on stand by who took care of the clearing/washing of equipments during the whole class! Like for example when you transition from cake baking to ganache, you'll need to wash the mixer attachments and I guess thats where time was wasted cos I had to do the washing myself on top of guidance my ladies! So next time round- helpers on board fo sho

Take every "failure"/ shortcoming positively

Because I cengeng and ALWAYS overthink, I beat myself up quite badly for all the things that went "wrong". I was down for a couple of days hahaha drama gilerrr, but looking back actually they were'nt really baddd mistakes on my part because after all every participant did go home with new knowledge and a pretty cake! It was my first class after all and I should really learn to be kinder and easier of myself! So... yeah, dont get discouraged when things dont go as planned cos thats just life! Pak Murphy once said " what can go wrong will go wrong" so just suck it up and continue the show like a champ! Just remember not to repeat the same mistakes the next time round hor!

Ps: I know you must be thinking wah damn jialat this minah, better not sign up for her future classes cos so many cock-ups (wah this word like very inappropriate when typed out?! lol). I assure you, I have learned my lessons and am continuously improving! Im sharing my lessons for the other bakers out there who wish to run workshops but have no prior experience and are scared to do so! I wish I had this kind of first hand reference when I was doing my class so at least I could avoid some of the shortcomings! :)

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Life on Ground

Its been almost 3 months since I quit my job!

I dont know how to describe it well, but it feels like my old status as a crew is way way way behind me- like I never ever was a crew. Like 8 years worth of life didnt mean anything like that! Whuuuuttt. A positive take on this would be that everything is temporary? That whatever is happening in your life, no matter how disastrous it may seem at the moment will pass! And before long it will cease to exist and its really not a big deal ah.

Also, as contradicting as it may sound, time really really really really flies on ground!!!!!!! Surprisingly days go by in a blink when you have routine. I wake up on a Monday, go to school, socialise, go for extra classes (signed up for a few !) print readings and dont even have time to read them printouts because before I know it I get tired by 10pm and fall asleep soon after. Repeat this over the next few days and its already Saturday?!  And Saturday is just more classes, baking orders, going out and yeah sleep by 10pm again. Im not complaining because I LOVE IT. 

We'll see how long it'll take before I get bored of routine but so far its been uhmaaazzzzinnn' gaissss. I super love going back to my own bed, cuddling up to Dawg before falling asleep. Its the simple things that we take for granted ah. Siao, I sound like a raving lunatic getting so excited over bedtime. lol. But its really trueeeeee. When I was flying, sleep only came about in two ways: 1) recovery after sickening exhausting flights (every flight nowadays is a tiring flight trust me) 2) forced naps before flight , so sleep wasnt exactly a relaxing thing ah.

And eating on ground back in Singapore is bestesterest okay! Halal food/meat all day eeerrrrdaaaayyyy! One of the reasons why I gained so much weight flying was the diet. As in not the "restrict my food intake on purpose to lose weight" diet but realy just basic food intake. All the carbs I was substituting meat for was causing me to pile on the kgs. And the sweets and snacks I ate to mix things up cos carb gets borrrring. Then when Im back for off days, I'd just be a super glutton and eat everrrytthinnggg cos deprieved and takut kumpunan you know! Now that I know that I wont be away and that the shops wont run away, I dont really feel like eating alot! (Except for prata and nasi lemak ah these two I always can eat!)

So yeah! Happy. Happiest I've been in a long time! I dont miss flying, not yet. I dont miss the lifestyle, nope. I dont miss the food, nope. I dont miss the shopping. I dont miss the sightseeing. I'd really rather be Home :)

Friday, 4 September 2015

THE Minahcrocker

Im back on ground and online everybarddehhh!

Before this life was a limbo, neither here nor there but im back!

Minah quit her job and is setting in just nice in her "new" role as a full time student. Yes! Who say minahs all cannot study ha! 

Time passes even faster on ground actualy, and there's just so many things I want to do because I finally can but just so so so little time. 

I'll try my best to juggle this studying for a degree thing, studying what I want to learn, baking, crafting and having enough rest while trying to earn to get by!

Couldnt ask for more, really.

Till next timeeeee :)

Monday, 29 December 2014

Cookie dough Speculoos Cake


Delicious brown, crumbly, nuggets of joy (and calories)

My favourite cookies have to be the ones from Famous Amos.... who could resist the smell of their cookies...!  As a kid, mamacrocker used to bribe me with a bag of Famous Amos every weekend. That 100g bag of cookies would keep me happy and quiet as she spent hours shopping at John Little. Ahh how things have changed. That John Little outlet is now Orchard 313.. I no longer have to be bribed to go shopping heh... and 100g of cookies is definitely not enough yumminess for me!

I had a whole bag of cookies with me that I brought home from work and I had to do something about them before they ended up in my mouth.... and ultimately around my waist. I havent been baking for fun and I missed taking photos of cakes so i decided to try making a cookie dough cake!

The cake layers are made with brown sugar and they really do have a cookie taste! I made the filling as per the original recipe but found it too sweet & didnt really like it. Next time round I'd substitute it with a chocolate frosting or the speculoos cream that I made to cover the entire cake. I kept some cookies whole to decorate the top of the cake but crushed the rest and gave the cake a generous sprinkle of cookie crumbs!

I got the recipe from here! Try it out and share with me your cookie memory!

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