MAKE IT YOURSELF: SINGAPORE FLAG SURPRISE CAKE
For the stars and crescent-shaped cake cut-outs:
8 egg whites 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
55g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120g cake flour, sifted
200g caster sugar, sifted
For strawberry mousse:
37g plain gelatin powder
155g cold water
8 egg yolks
105g caster sugar
385g store-bought strawberry puree from baking supplies shops
440g whipping cream
346g white couverture chocolate from baking supplies shops
25 drops red food colouring
133g whipping cream
1.8 litre vanilla ice cream
For the stars and crescent cut-outs:
1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C. Line a 40cm by 30cm baking tray with baking paper.
2. Add egg whites, cream of tartar and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on high speed until mixture turns foamy. Add icing sugar 1 Tbs at a time, whisking on high speed till stiff peaks form.
3. Add vanilla extract to the mixture and whisk for five to 10 seconds.
4. Add the sifted flour and caster sugar into the egg whites in three batches, folding them into the batter with a spatula after each addition.
5. Pour batter into the baking tray. Gently tap the tray on the countertop and bake for 20 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean, it is ready.
6. Place a sheet of clean baking paper over the baking tray before inverting the tray onto a cooling rack. Remove the top layer of baking paper and let the sheet cake cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
7. Use a 7cm round cutter to make a circular cut-out. Move cutter about 1.5cm to the right and press it down to form a crescent-shaped cake (above). Repeat these steps to create 12 to 13 crescent-shaped cake cut-outs, line them up and pierce through with a 20cm skewer. Place them close together and ensure at least 2.5cm of the skewer is exposed at each end.
8. Using a 1.5cm star-shaped cutter, cut out 100 to 125 star shapes from the remaining cake. Line them up and pierce through with a 20cm skewer. Make five sets of this, with 20 to 25 stars for each set.
9. Freeze the skewered cake cut-outs for at least three hours.
For the strawberry mousse:
1. Stir gelatin powder into the cold water until it turns into a gel-like mixture. Set aside.
2. In a clean mixing bowl, mix egg yolks with caster sugar, add cornstarch, mix and set aside.
3. Pour the strawberry puree and whipping cream into a saucepan set over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add in egg yolk mixture and stir continuously.
4. Place saucepan back on the stove and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Let it boil for at least one minute to thicken. Turn off the heat and stir gelatin mixture into the mixture.
5. Quickly pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl containing the white couverture chocolate. Mix until all the chocolate has melted. Add red food colouring and leave mixture to cool at room temperature.
6. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the 133g of whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the cooled red-coloured mixture.
To assemble the cake:
1. Cut out two 15.3 by 7.7cm cardboard dividers. Place a miniature version of the Singapore flag that is made of cloth on top of them. The flag can be bought from book shops, and the red portion of the flag should be the same size as the cardboard divider.
2. Push a needle through the flag and the two cardboard dividers to mark the centre of the crescent and five stars on the cardboard. Remove the flag and pass a 20cm skewer through the holes.
3. Wrap the cardboard dividers separately in cling wrap, and run a skewer through these holes.
4. Line a 23cm by 15cm baking pan with baking paper. Ensure there is a 7cm overhang of paper at each of the shorter sides of the pan to make it easier to unmould the cake.
5. Take the skewered crescent and star-shaped cake cut-outs out of the freezer. Place the skewers in between the two cardboard dividers according to the positions of the holes traced from the Singapore flag earlier. Place the entire contraption into the baking pan.
6. Pour the mousse into the cake pan in three batches. After each addition, tilt the pan at the sides to ensure that the mousse fills the gaps in between the skewers. Freeze the baking pan overnight.
7. Scoop out vanilla ice cream and pack it into a 15cm by 15cm baking pan that is lined with baking paper. Ensure a 7cm overhang of paper at both of the shorter sides of the pan. Freeze the baking pan of ice cream overnight.
8. Run a knife around the sides of the baking pan containing ice cream, place a cake board on top of it and invert the ice cream block onto the board.
9. Remove frozen mousse from the freezer and place the pan in a tray of warm water for about 30 seconds to loosen the mousse from the sides of the pan. Remove the mousse from the pan using the paper overhang and transfer to a flat surface.
10. Pull the skewers out from the frozen mousse. Use cake servers to transfer the mousse block onto the ice cream block.
11. Place the whole cake in the freezer for 30 minutes for both layers to set.
12. Remove the cake from the freezer. Dip a long knife in warm water and wipe it dry before cutting the cake.
Serves six to eight
Place the skewers with the star-shaped and crescent cut-outs in between two cardboard dividers and place the entire contraption into a baking pan.