Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Holiday madness

This was my first December as an "established" pastry artist. I was pleased to have gotten 6 orders for the holidays... spanning 5 days! Not an easy feat. I was so anxious that I would be missing my family dinner in Ottawa! Alas, 4 full days of baking and decorating later, I was able to put down my tools and enjoy the holidays for a few hours. Here are my holiday (and a birthday) creations :)


Pâte à choux with a praline mousseline for an office Christmas party. Apparently it was a huge hit! 

50th birthday

Used my Cricut Cake for the first time! I was very happy with the results- there is no way
I could have ever cut out that shape with such precision

Vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream for a surprise 50th birthday party

Christmas cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes with English vanilla buttercream

Holly on a mountain of snow

Snowflakes and pearls

SO cute- love this one

Chocolate overdose

Vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream and lots of dark chocolate curls

Christmas logs

Chocolate cake with English vanilla buttercream, covered in a chocolate glaze,
decorated with fondant holly and meringue mushrooms
Stay tuned for my last cake of 2011, and a few NYE desserts :) Happy holidays everyone!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

the cupcakes I couldn't eat

This year for my boyfriend's birthday, I wanted to switch up his regular favourites (carrot cake and cheesecake) and do something completely different. I found a recipe for maple bacon cupcakes (yup.. bacon) and just had to try them.  Like a typical guy, he loves meat and so would probably freak out over bacon in his cupcakes! I used a recipe I found online but made many changes to it- the batter as is just wasn't right.  My baking skills proved to be sharp when the cupcakes came out of the oven all risen, spongy and moist :) I made a maple buttercream that is to die for, and decorated with a few grains of flour de sel and a piece of bacon. Since I'm a veggie, I couldn't taste them, but they sure did smell good! I got great feedback about them at the party, people telling me it was a surprisingly great combination of salty and sweet. I'd definitely say success for a first time recipe :)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Weddings and thank you's

Here are a couple of my most recent cakes. The first is a wedding cake that I made at school in my decorating class. I made the sketch last semester in my drawing class and had to bring the cake to life last week. It was very simple, but my goal was to make it so, with clean lines and sparse decorations. I was very pleased with the final result, including the look it gave with the columns (it was my first cake using them!). Due to some unfortunate circumstances at school, I was unable to bring it home to share with my family and friends, but at least I snapped a few good pics while I could! Enjoy :)

The product of 6 hours of work!
Also last week, I made a cake for one of my old high school teachers, and the coordinator of Student Council. The kids in Student Council came up with some ideas for the cake and I designed the rest. The cake was pretty big, feeding about 60 people. I received many compliments as I delivered it, and I think some of the teachers were surprised to find out I now study in this field! :)

Various SC committees and events piped in different fonts

SC logo cut out from fondant and outlined in royal icing 
The final product :)

Mo Cupcakes, please!

This year I participated in Movember, a fundraising and awareness campaign for prostate cancer. No, I did not grow a moustache :P Instead, I raised money by soliciting donations and organizing a Mo Cupcake bake sale! As soon as I posted this idea on Facebook, people immediately responded with their orders. It was so popular that I had to stop accepting orders 3 days after I initially posted the event! With a whooping 234 cupcakes ordered, I had A LOT to organize. Timing, ingredient requirements, freezer space, pick-ups, etc. It was manageable but I definitely had to stay organized along the way. Overall, the sale went great! I didn't lose my mind baking for an entire day, nor while making 5 kg of buttercream :) All the cupcake orders were picked up last Sunday, without a hitch. I am proud to announce that I raised a total of $598 from Mo Cupcakes!!! Knowing the positive response I got with this fundraiser, I will definitely use my baking skills to raise money for other charitable causes in the future :)

Here are a few pictures of the process!

I had 7 cupcake carriers FULL of cupcakes! 
A portion of the chaos that was pick-up day 

Dark chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and fondant moustaches!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

As if desserts weren't enough... pre-desserts!

This semester at school is very different in how it's set up as compared to first semester. In first semester, we mostly worked individually, so as to practice our skills and learn to organize ourselves. This semester is quite the contrast; always working in teams, we have more of a business perspective in our baking projects. Our first group presentation was "petits fours", bite-sized desserts that are typically served in assortments for dessert, a fancy luncheon, or a tea. Unfortunately I did not have my camera on the day of the presentation so I will post the pictures as soon as they are sent to me.
[This is where I got the name for my blog obviously :) Translated to Emily's little oven.. I guess it is little when you compare it to industrial sized ovens!]

Our second presentation was "pre-desserts". Yep, literally desserts served before the actual dessert, in order to allow the client to taste a variety of the chef's specialties or seasonal items. Honestly, I've never been to a restaurant that serves pre-desserts. They're usually found in really trendy, expensive restaurants, as they are gratis! Pre-desserts are typically served in "verrines", small glass cups that allow you to see all of its individual components. This being the first time I had worked on verrines, I was pretty pleased with our results.

left: rhubarb-strawberry compoté with a shortbread crumble and milk
chocolate mousse with a chocolate-dipped strawberry
lemon poundcake with raspberry compoté and lemon mousse

white chocolate panna cotta, cherry gelée and pistachio mousse with
a white chocolate and pistachio biscotti

my fave! candied ginger pudding with lemon madeleines and caramel decorations 

coconut rice pudding and lychee "spring rolls" with a honey ginger sauce

mascarpone cream with honey-caramelized pears and pecans with
dark chocolate decorations

Algerian sweet couscous, cooked in honey and mixed with dried dates, dried
apricots and roasted pistachios

our table presentation! 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Emily Chin Cakes is going international!

...well not exactly! hahah i did however, receive a cake order all the way from Amsterdam! a friend's family noticed my cakes on Facebook and contacted me to make their daughter's birthday cake (who lives in montreal of course). we decided on a chocolate and vanilla marbled cake with marzipan decorations. i delivered the cake on the afternoon of her birthday and she was totally surprised! and very, very happy :)

"van <3e" is the slang way to say happy birthday in dutch!

modelled after the birthday girl's pet bunny

Sunday, 6 November 2011


this week I had 2 orders for 50th birthday cakes- both of which were for surprise parties! the first one was a tropical- themed 2 tier vanilla and dark chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. it was a lot of fun to do since i was given practically carte blanche for the design. i made a sketch to start but found myself coming up with new ideas as the cake came together! i was very pleased with the final result :)

the next cake was for my "uncle's" 50th birthday. he is a huge habs fan so i made the cake red and blue and hockey all over! i was instructed to make it a little humorous, and replace the hockey stick with a cane :P i also steamed this cake to give it a nice, shiny finish. it was my first attempt doing so, and i really liked the result it gave.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

chocolate chocolate chocolate!

as a student at ithq, i am very fortunate to have access to top quality ingredients, and large quantities of them! during our last two chocolate classes, we worked on a sculpture which could include chocolate, sugar and almond paste- everything had to be edible.  i used Cacao Barry dark chocolate to make my piece... let's just say i would never have been able to afford this project if it weren't for school (for those interested, our class used about 12 boxes of chocolate at $85 a pop.. you do the math!)

our common theme was legends & fairytales. although i'm not quite sure if it's either, i decided to sculpt pinocchio! i used moulds to make his body and head, plastic tubes to make his limbs, and modelling chocolate to sculpt his hands, feet, clothes and face. it was harder than i imagined but i am pleased with the final result :)

my initial sketch

nakey pinocchio!
Drumroll please! TA-DAAAA voila my chocolate pinocchio, accented with 24k gold dust! (did i mention i <3 ithq?!) a little disappointed with the face, but not bad for a first edible sculpture, i'd say :)

Monday, 31 October 2011

halloween cuppies!

"healthy" halloween cupcakes?... yep, that was the order! i used a vegan chocolate cake recipe and reduced the sugar, and they still came out very moist and yummy! i reduced the butter in my buttercream and tried to use it sparsely... not so easy when one has a cute design idea in mind! hope the teachers at felix leclerc enjoyed them :)

vegan chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream and fondant pumpkin
photocred: Carolyn Chin

photocred: Carolyn Chin

Thursday, 20 October 2011

baking nerd

hi all :) sorry it's been a while since my last post, i've been busy re-doing my bedroom! as i didn't have any cake orders in the last week, i've used this time to do some pastry (and cooking) reading. i absolutely LOVE cookbooks. i'd take them over a novel any day; add pictures and i will read that baby cover to cover! discovering new flavour combinations and presentation ideas is invaluable to a chef. recently i've gone a bit overboard book shopping. i hit the jackpot at winners in the book section- found 3 cookbooks i had been on the lookout for, for over half off! i couldn't not buy them! i've gone through a good chunk of each one already, and was impressed by "the art of the dessert" by ann amernick (she worked in the white house!). each recipe is founded on multiple simple, good recipes, and is clearly written and organized. love it!

[on another note, "bon appetit: fast, easy, fresh" by barbara fairchild is going to be my new dinnertime/ anytime bible... amazing]

sooo i love cookbooks. i'm also a sucker for a good deal. when the mediatheque at my school had their used book sale, guess who was first in line to get in? (actually though.. thanks for letting us out of class, chef!) i bought an old school "larousse gastronomique" from '67, i figured it was one of those staples that every chef should have. and yes, it is literally a dictionary for cooking terms. nerdy much?
i also was lucky enough to spot the only copy of "baking and pastry" by the culinary institute of america.. for a whopping $4! that actually made my day :) ahh so i now go to bed reading my new cookbooks... heaven.

just a portion of my ever-growing cookbook collection :)

UP NEXT: halloween cupcakes, a bunny birthday cake and a tropical surprise birthday cake... stay tuned :)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

cheesecake converts

this weekend was my friend chris's birthday, and his wonderful girlfriend jess managed to pull off a spectacular surprise party for him! knowing that there would be a big crowd, i bought a few desserts from school and saved them for the occasion. for the piece de resistance, i decided to go for a classic new york style cheesecake, chris's favourite. i went all out and bought a 1.5 kg package of philadelphia cream cheese (nothing else compares!)... which meant i would use ALL of it in the recipe :) i had so much batter that i was able to make a 2 tier cheesecake and 12 cheese-cupcakes for my family to enjoy.

btw... minor problems as i was baking the cheesecake. i've heard and read of many methods of baking in order to achieve a perfect cheesecake: baking in a water bath, heating the oven then turning it off and letting the remaining heat cook the cake, greasing the sides of your springform pan so the cake doesn't retract and crack, etc... it seems that every baker on the web has their own method of baking, and they swear by that one only! i was a bit torn as to what to try so i simply did it the "regular" way of baking, in a 350F oven until it was almost done then removing it so it can finish baking with the heat already absorbed in the cake. let's just let the picture speak for itself (try not to laugh)...

cheesecake faillll
alas, i was able to salvage the cake. it tasted great despite the grand canyon-sized crack running through it. i think the crack may have been due to overbeating the batter but i could be mistaken, as i found the texture of the finished cake very smooth and light, which i liked! i'll have to keep testing different baking methods. i slathered it with lots of raspberry jam, applied praligrain on the sides and then assembled the 2 tiers (thank goodness the top one turned out nicely!). to finish, i topped it with fresh strawberries and raspberries. ta daaaa, no one even noticed the uneven-ness in the bottom tier. i got such great reviews from everyone at the party! four people even told me that they aren't cheesecake fans, but they loved this one! made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, and it reminded me of why i love this profession :)

happy birthday chris!! 

Monday, 19 September 2011

yummy birthday presents!

the great thing about being "the baker" in a group of friends, is that you already know what you have to bring to a birthday party. and it takes away the need to go shopping for a gift! my wonderful friend Kristyn turned 21 recently, so i decided to make her a fraisier cake to celebrate :) it turned out a lot larger than i had envisioned, and was big enough to feed 25 people with a huge chunk leftover.

A cross section of the cake- vanilla genoise, buttercream, strawberries and
creme mousseline, vanilla genoise and marzipan for decoration
i was also asked to make some French macarons as a gift from another friend. thanks a million to my classmate and friend marianne for the most awesome macaron recipe EVER! the recipe was so easy, and the shells came out perfectly baked :) i made apple-cinnamon macarons and caramel-fleur de sel macarons- drooollll.

Rear- caramel-fleur de sel macarons, front- apple-cinnamon macarons
Photocred: Kevin Fong