Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bear Project 1.1 - Teddy Bear

This week has been a tiring week for me. I had to brave the glaring sun and the occasional drizzle, thanks to the fickle weather. After six days of YOG labour at the Tampines Bike Park, I am now overly tanned and my skin colour is charcoal black. Nevertheless, I was glad to be there to contribute and witness this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where Singapore is the host for the Inaugural Youth Olympics Games.

After reaching home each day, I feel that all my energy have been zapped. It was hard to even think about baking. Yesterday was a good opportunity to put my hands to work in the kitchen. I had the sudden impulse to bring out a special baking toy that I have bought a few weeks back - a 3D mini teddy bear mould. The mould did not come cheap. It costs nearly 30 bucks, not to mention that I had to get a coupler set, four Wilton piping tips and a Wilton black icing colour in order to use this new toy of mine.

The teddy bear mould set comes with four clips, two mould halves and a stand. The two mould halves are secured with the four clips and the mould halves are inserted onto the stand upside-down. The batter is then poured into the mould through the opening on top.

The instructions call for one cup of batter, which I referred to my madeira cake recipe, halved the portion and omitted the lemon flavouring.

For the frosting, I did not use the one that is provided - a icing sugar buttercream which I did not fancy. The result is a high sugar content frosting with a gritty mouthfeel. Instead, I referred to the buttercream frosting from Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake.

I tried doing the Perfect Party Cake a total of 3 times but it none of it was near perfect. The white cake simply did not rise and the end result was a dense sponge. Eager to find out what went wrong, I googled and realized that many others had problems with the cake rising as well. After some analysis ( typcial of me ), I suspect that the baking powder was the culprit. That was the only time when I used a single acting baking powder. Ever since then, I dare not use any single acting baking powder again. Despite the poorly turned out sponge, the frosting was a keeper. It was one of the best frosting I had tasted to date - Swiss Meringue Lemon Buttercream. That was my first encounter with a meringue buttercream.

There are many kinds of buttercream. Some buttercream simply ask for softened butter to be beaten with icing sugar. Others call for the use of egg yolks. As the name suggests, meringue buttercream involves using a meringue as a base. A meringue is a mixture of whipped egg whites and sugar. The end result is firm, glossy and pillowy.

In all,  there are four types of meringue buttercream: Swiss, Italian, French and German. Swiss buttercream involves beating the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler until the egg whites are warm. The egg whites are then whipped untill stiff and cool to the touch. Butter is then added to the Swiss meringue and beaten untill fluffy. German buttecream combines pastry cream (creme patisserie) which is a custard in nature, and butter. For the French buttercream, hot sugar syrup is poured onto the whole eggs (sometimes with extra yolks) while they are whipped. Lastly, the Italian buttercream is similar to the French buttercream, with the exception that egg whites are used in place of whole eggs. Buttercream is commonly flavoured with citrus fruits, chocolate, vanilla or liqeuers.


To pipe the details on the bear, I separated my buttercream into 3 main portions. I kept one small portion plain, added cocoa powder to brown the second portion and tinted a small portion black with the Wilton icing colour. Since the recipe yielded quite an amount of buttercream, the remaining were kept for further use.

Piping the stars on the bear's body certainly took me some practice. Some stars ended up tiny while others ended up larger. The overall effect was a spikey brown teddy bear. The front part was packed with stars while the back had some sparse spots, which I noticed only after taking pictures of the finished bear. I am not quite satisfied with the facial features. It made the bear look more like a monkey. The eyes and nose were of a greyish hue rather than black as I did not add enough colouring.

Overall, it was'nt as time consuming was very time consuming considering that the bear is only 11cm tall and 10cm at its widest part, taking me about 3 hours to do the piping alone, not to mention having to spend more time clearing the mess. It sure was fun practicing the piping which is considered a first for me. Give me some time and I should be able to do a more decent decorated bear to present to my friends for their birthdays. I definitely look forward to making good use of my new toy and coming up with bears with different look. No regrets getting this new toy at all ~


  1. ZY, I was wondering how come you MIA for a week so YOG is the "culprit" :P. The bear bear cake is beautiful, I dun think I can do as good as you. You another perfectionist, I trust you can achieve what you want in no time, keep it up. *thumbs up*

    There is still a few mths go to my birthday so you have ample time to practise hahaha...

  2. Hi Bakertan,

    Piping stars was certainly not an easy job for me either. Nevertheless, you still got a cute bear in the end *^_^*

  3. Did you buy your 3D pan from Phoon Huat? I saw it being sold at their city shop. Looks lovely and I bet the star piping must have taken you a while to complete.

  4. Wowwwww.... the effort you put in for a cake is applaudable.

  5. Hi Jess,

    Haha, I miss my oven while I was busy these days.. Thanks.. I still have alot of things I want to learn and bake..


    Hi Cathy,

    I guess it takes some practice to get used to it. Lets jiayou tog =]


    Hi Jo,

    Yeah, I bought mine from the city store. there is the big size bear mould there. Thanks! the touching up is the one that requires more effort actually.


    Hi Ronni,


  6. ZY!!! This is soooo awesome! Keep up the good work!

  7. ZY, you suprised me - didn't expect you to make something like this! Usually people make things like these for kids - curious to know your motivation... :)

  8. What a coincidence!
    It was also my first time piping over the weekend. I bought 2 Wilton tips, 2 couplers and a 100-pc bag of small piping bags. LOL!

    Then spent the whole weekend googling for icing and frosting recipes. First one I tried was cream cheese frosting, which I dyed pink. Fun! Next I'm gonna try royal icing, which sounds similar in texture to meringue icing.

    Anyway, your bear is amazing! What a lot of patience you have for piping the entire bear! And the touch up for the eyes and nose were really good. Looks really cute now :)

  9. Hey Ade,

    Thanks for being so supportive! Look forward to xmas soon then we can meet up and have a great time =]


    Hi Shirley,

    Your question got me stumped...There are quite a number of factors that motivate me..

    1) seeing the grin on the faces of my friends and family when I take the effort to turn an ordinary looking cake into something extraordinary. (I still need more improvement though)
    2) take every baking escapade as a self taught baking lesson. To improve my skills as I bake along and experiment with things that I am unfamiliar with.
    3) my love for cakes and bakes


    Hi Eelin,

    I bet it must be fun doing the piping. I enjoyed the process but the washing up is a chore. Think i will get more coupler sets. I used ziplock bags as my small piping bags.

    I tried using royal icing before. It will dry out and remain very stiff. cream cheese frosting sounds like a good idea!

    Thanks! I am thinking of more ideas to play around.


  10. ZY, after seeing you last night, I think you have got a nice tan now. Macho looking hehehe.

    Yes, I am surprised to see a teddy bear cake here too but I guess it will definitely bring many smiles.

    Nice attempt on the frosting. Practise makes perfect. In no time, I am sure you can cut it down to half hour or so.

    Keep it up and sorry haven't been visiting.


Dear readers, thanks for visiting my humble little blog. Feel free to leave a message so that I can learn and be a better baker. Its a great feeling to share our culinary experience and adventures in the kitchen.

Thank you and have a nice day! Cheers =]

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