R2 - Where it all began

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This is probably one of my first attempts at making a 3D novelty cake. I was still coming to grips with how much icing to use etc, so the appearance of this cake is a little bit bumpy and patchy. It was made for my daughter who is a big Star Wars fan, and so the 3D R2-D2 cake was requested.

R2-D2 cake

I used 4 layers of a 20cm round cake, and a cake baked in a mixing bowl for R2's head. Everything else was coloured and cut out of plastic icing, except for the light on his head, it's half a red jellybean. (I think it was a cherry flavoured JellyBelly...mmmm). The photo of the leftover cake shows the layers inside. This cake fed over 25 kids and their attendant parents, plus as you can see, we had lots to spare...I didn't feel like cake again for at least a few weeks after that :)

Side view:


The Upsy Daisy Cake

Monday, January 19, 2009

upsy daisy cake

Upsy Daisy is a character from the kids television show, The Night Garden. I made this one for a 4 year old's birthday. I made layers of vanilla and chocolate cake from recipes in Rose Beranbaum's The Cake Bible (absolutely the best cake baking book ever!). The "skirt" had a 20cm round cake as a base, then a mound shaped cake baked in a stainless steel mixing bowl.

The body was a smaller round cut from a square cake (I think it was a 15cm square), and another mound baked in a smaller mixing bowl. (I greased and lined the mixing bowls with baking paper and the cakes turned out beautifully. I did have to bake them a bit longer than stated in the recipe as it was so deep, and I covered the tops of the cake with foil to prevent burning). The head was circle baked in a 10cm round cake tin. The legs were bits of leftover cake from the square, and the feet were cupcakes.

The various layers were held together with chocolate buttercream and for added strength I put plastic drinking straws in as "scaffolding" - a technique recommended in The Cake Bible.

Because the character is so colourful, I covered each part of the body separately. Using ready bought red plastic icing, I covered the skirt first. (I tried coluring my own icing once, it took nearly a whole jar of paste colour to get the icing a passable red, so now I buy the red and black ready-made). Then I put the body on top of the skirt and covered that with orange icing, smoothing with my hands as I went. I wrapped the head in chocolate coloured icing before I popped it onto the top of the cake. Then I added legs and covered them with yellow coloured icing.

Then I added on the details like the white petal layer for the skirt, the tiny flowers on the body and the bands on the legs. I also rolled out icing arms and hands and added that on. I used a little bit of cake decorators glue to make sure the arms didn't fall off during transport. After that, it was on with the facial features and finally the hair!! I had made the hair a few days in advance but they still hadn't dried enough by the time I put them on (with cake decorators glue), so I was a bit disappointed that they couldn't stand up straight and had to be supported on the face. But live and learn, as they say...

Interesting Ingredients + EOWTTA

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I like cooking with seasonal produce and I love trying new things. Here are some recipes using ingredients that may not always be common but I hope you find them informative anyway. I've also included the EOWTTA series here.


Persimmon - a cupcake recipe
Quince-a tart recipe
Custard Apple - a panna cotta recipe

Other ingredients

Agar Agar - with kiwifruit and pineapple
Jasmine flowers - a granita/drink recipe
Saffron - saffron cupcakes with pistachio marzipan

EOWTTA (Eating Our Way through the Alphabet) 
A is for Avocado
B is for Beetroot
C is for Cucumber
D is for Durian
E is for Eggs
F is for Fennel
G is for Ginger
H is for Honey
I is for Ipomoea batatas
J is for Jackfruit
K is for Kiwifruit
L is for Lychee
M is for Mangosteen
N is for Noisette

Muhibbah Malaysian Monday Blog Event

(Unfortunately, this event is now on hold indefinitely because both hosts have been sidetracked by life. Thank you for all your support and participation, and hopefully one day we'll meet again in a Muhibbah round-up)

Please feel free to join us in this blog event open to EVERYONE!

It's all explained here, and the summary of the rules are:

1) ANYONE can join in – you don’t have to be Malaysian.

2) Post anything related to food and Malaysia, on a Monday (you can do a one-off, every week, or anywhere in between). It could be about food, drink, a restaurant review, a cookbook, an interesting ingredient, etc, etc.
(Edit: Please link back to either Test With Skewer or 3 Hungry Tummies in your entry, and also include the words "Muhibbah Monday" somewhere in the post. Thank you :) )

3) Send us your name, your post(s) name and post URL by the LAST Wednesday of the month. Please write Muhibbah Monday #X in the subject line. We will pull a photo off your post to use in our round-up. (edit: Occasionally, other people may be hosting, so check back with either of us if you're not sure where to send entries to. There should be a mention on the first Malaysian Monday post of that particular month letting you know where to send entries)

4) Suresh (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) and I (its[dot]sharon[at]gmail[dot]com) will take turns to host, and we will let you know where to send each month’s entry. If you would like to take a turn at hosting, do send us an email. (check first though, see no. 3)

5) On the first Monday of every month, a round up of all the entries will be posted on the host’s blog.

That’s about it.
Mari masak, minum, main bersama-sama! (Let’s cook, eat, drink and play together).
Muhibbbah = Goodwill

Malaysian Monday Recipes and Muhibbah Malaysian Monday Round-Ups

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I started my Malaysian Monday posts as a quest to convert Mr. Kitchen Hand to the joys of Malaysian desserts. He hates them because "they contain vegetables!", and he's put off by the texture of most of these desserts.

Since then, I've discovered that Malaysian Monday was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots and introduce the mini-critics to a bit of their heritage.
The MC's are quite game to try most things, while Mr. KH still rejects kuih.

Then I teamed up with Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies and we started our Muhubbah Malaysian Monday blog event. Anyone can join, and we post a round-up once a month. Learn more here

Malaysian Monday Posts:
Malaysian Monday No 1, Serimuka . Includes step by step info on how to deflesh a coconut.
Malaysian Monday No 2, Bubur Chacha
Malaysian Monday No 3, Kuih Ketayap
Malaysian Monday No. 4, Sago Gula Melaka
Malaysian Monday No. 5, Kuih Lapis (Merdeka edition)
Malaysian Monday 6: Onde-onde
Malaysian Monday 7: Cekodok
Malaysian Monday 8: Mama Carries
Malaysian Monday 9: Malaysia Fest (an event in Darling Harbour)
Malaysian Monday 10: Teh O Ais Limau and Teh Tarik
Malaysian Monday 11: Roti Jala
Malaysian Monday 12: Kerabu Nenas
Malaysian Monday 13: Air Sirap Selasih and bonus agar-agar (Halloween post)
Malaysian Monday 14: Sambal Belacan
Malaysian Monday 15:Pulut panggang
Malaysian Monday 16: Cendol
Malaysian Monday 17: Acar
Malaysian Monday 18: Kuah Kacang
Malaysian Monday 19: Kuih Keria
Malaysian Monday 20: Coconut Candy
Malaysian Monday 21=Ais Kacang
Malaysian Monday 22: Kuih Bangkit
Malaysian MOnday 23: Pineapple Tarts
Malaysian Monday 24: Kuih Bakul
Malaysian Monday 25: Peanut Biscuits
Malaysian MOnday 26: Fried Kuih Bakul
Malaysian MOnday 27:Apam Balik
Malaysian Monday 28: Puding Jagun
Malaysian Monday 29: Nasi Lemak
Malaysian Monday 30: Yam abacus noodles (Or ee)
Malaysian Monday 31: Barley Water
Malaysian MOnday 32: Mee Hoon Kueh
Malaysian MOnday 33: Sardine Sandwiches
Malaysian Monday 34: Red Bean Soup
Malaysian Monday 35: Fatt Kueh/Apam beras/Steamed Rice Cake
Malaysian Monday 36: Glutinous Rice Ball/Muah Chee
Malaysian Monday 37: Kuih Bom / Sweet Potato adn Sesame Balls
Malaysian Monday 38: Chinese Wedding Banquet
Malaysian Monday 39: Chang / Rice Dumplings in Bamboo Leaves
Malaysian MOnday 40: Roti, roti everywhere
Malaysian Monday 41: Kuih Bahulu and the launch of Muhibbah Monday
Malaysian Monday 42: A hawker centre experience
Malaysian Monday 43: Beehive Cake/ Kuih Sarang Semut
Malaysian Monday 44: Banana Leaf at Kavitha's
Malaysain Monday 45: Kuih Talam
Malaysian Monday 46: Snackety-snack
Malaysian Monday 47: A simple payasam
Malaysian Monday 48: Kuih Sago (Merdeka Edition)

Muhibbah Malaysian Monday Round-Ups
Muhibbah Malaysian Monday Round-Up 1
Muhibbah Malaysian Monday ROund Up 2

Recipe Index

Saturday, January 3, 2009

(These are a small selection of recipes, if you are looking for something specific, try the search function on the main page)

Rosewater and Pashmak cupcakes

Chestnut Boat Cupcakes

Peanut butter,coconut and caramel cupcake

Vanilla bean and strawberry cupcakes

Coconut cupcakes with lime curd filling, White chocolate mudcake with raspberries,
Chocolate orange cupcakes

Mont Blanc Cupcakes

Persimmon Cupcakes

Cherry cupcakes with white chocolate cinnamon ganache

Elvis cupcakes (banana, chocolate, peanut butter)

Daring Bakers
Marshmallow CookiesJuly 2009

Dobos TorteAug 2009

Vol au Vent/Puff PastrySept 2009

Macaron(s)-lots Oct 2009

Cannoli Nov 2009

Gingerbread (opera) House Dec 2009

Pastry based
Sable pastry with mandarin mousse

Quince and brown sugar tarts

Coconut soufflé with stewed cherries

Reinventing the lamington

Pistachio tuiles with cinnamon mascarpone cream and candied cumquats

Greek Yoghurt "Panna Cotta" with Rhubarb

Rhubarb Crumble/Crisp

Caramel Oranges and Pistachio Ice cream

Meringue kisses

Pecan Pie and Sweet Potato Crumble Macarons

Christmas pudding macarons

Quinoa Salad

Chinese Flaky Pastry (for currypuff and coconut patty)
Pineapple and Kiwifruit Agr Agar
Kuih Serimuka(The inaugural Malaysian Monday post. Also contains info on defleshing a real live coconut.)

Misc. Musings
I heart Koko Black
Of patisseries and pears
Eating out in Byron Bay
Camping fun
Of thankfullness

Cake Decorating Index

Friday, January 2, 2009

I love cake decorating and took a short course in 2008 at the Crow's Nest TAFE. The course ran over 6 Saturdays and covered all the basics - I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in cake decorating.

Decorated novelty cakes
(Other cake and cupcake recipes can be found in the recipe index)

Characters/ Movies

R2-D2 Robot 3D
Upsy Daisy3D
Rainbow Pony
Ghostbusters meets the Breakfast Club
High School Musical

Surfing/Hula Party
Chinese noodles
Magical birthday
Fairy Castle
Teddy Bears Picnic
Autumn Cake
Fairytale Cake with Unicorns
Another fairy

Animals/Objects/Vehicles etc
The Chook chicken
Cruise Ship (Farewell)

About Me

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hi, I’m Sharon, thanks for visiting my blog.

About four years ago,  I started Test With Skewer as a place to upload some photos of novelty cakes I’d created.

What started as a whim grew into a mild obsession. Suddenly, I was part of a not-so-secret society of people who like talking about food, eating food, cooking food, and most of all taking pictures of food!

Often, I've wondered what keeps me blogging.  After all, there are so many amazing food blogs out there.  This whole blogging caper takes up so much time and effort. Imagine the hours I could have spent reading or chilling out instead of balancing plates and cutlery while struggling to take photos.

But then I'll stumble across an interesting ingredient, or find a really cool restaurant, or make a ridiculously silly dessert, and I think: "I'll have to post this on the blog".  And I realise  - blogging keeps me excited. As long as there is something to learn, new connections to make and interesting food to try, I'll keep going.

 Join me?

I have taken all the photos on this site using a Canon Powershot G10 (unless credited otherwise). I'm not a "natural" camera person and I sweated these photos, so please don't steal them. Please ask nicely if you'd like to use them. Feel free to contact me on its[dot]sharon[at]gmail[dot]com, or leave a comment. I love hearing from you ☺.

Thank you to all the food bloggers out there who are a constant source of inspiration!

PS - Please ignore the date at the top of this post. This is the quickest way for me to have an "About" page without having to grapple with HTML. And if you're looking for the old "About Me" info, uh...sorry, I deleted it.