The months of March and April were quite happening at ABC Cooking Studio for me! In March, I won a lucky draw with ABC Cooking that brought me to Japan. Read all about my experience in West Japan here. In April, ABC Cooking Singapore celebrated their 3rd Anniversary and all members were in for a treat with celebration parties held at the studios.
Check out my previous posts about ABC Cooking Studio Singapore here:
Hungry Bird rating
– Must learn! Recipe really good/ useful to recreate often.
– Good, met expectations
– Ok… optional to learn
– Lower standard in taste than expected / looks better than it tastes/ not as good as store bought versions
– Waste of time
March – Caramel Marron Gugelhupf
The true definition of Gugelhupf actually doesn’t refer to any sort of cake in particular; it actually refers to the metal mould of this fancy looking shape – similar to a Bundt mold. This Gugelhupf mould can be used to bake cake or breads and it the products has this rustic feel to it due to the shape.
This cake had caramel and chestnut added in it, but otherwise the cake batter was somewhat like a pound cake. The fragrance and flavour from caramel, butter and rum was nice and I can imagine the smell once again just looking at this picture, but generally pound/ butter cakes are not my thing. I prefer lighter cakes with sponge or chiffon texture over rich and dense cakes likes this, but I’m always open to trying new things to break away from routine. Moreover, a good baker (not that I am one yet) should be exposed to all techniques of cake, so learning this was good!
This cake paired well with a rich tea like Earl Grey and a little slice at a time is enough. The texture is best when fresh or when kept at room temperature. In the chiller it gets dry and hard and I will not recommend chilling this cake. I guess I may attempt this recipe again but with a simple loaf tin since I don’t have the fancy Gugelhupf.
Hungry Bird rating: 3/5
April – Financiers & Cookies
I tried my first financier in Kyoto earlier in the month and fell in love with it. Hence I wasted no time and booked a Financier & Cookies class at ABC Cooking! I won’t be surprised if many of you have never tried this French pastry before, because let’s admit it – we probably didn’t grow up being exposed to traditional French pastries and when at a patisserie, consumers are more inclined to pick fancier looking pastries. The madeleines, financiers and pound cakes (usually wrapped up as gift items) always seem like sad outcastes placed on the shelves and you won’t take a second look. As simple as it looks, do not judge these by it’s plain looks. Simple pastries can tastes really good and you’ll be surprised. For those who’ve never tried Financiers before, you’ll probably get pleasantly surprised upon your first bite and wonder “What are these???!”. I’ll give you a clue: the secret lies in beurre noisette aka browned butter. I’m currently in Financier crazy phase and am trying as many as I can from all over Singapore. I will do a detailed post about this next time.
Well, mine was unintentionally burnt. I was really disappointed at first because it looked nothing like it should be. However, it tasted SO SO SO good. The burning made the sugars caramelize and the texture and taste was sublime. It was like half cookie half cake and I would intentionally fire up my oven and burn my financiers next time.
The cookies are worth a mention too! These are sable cookies using French like recipe of Galette Bretonne. It’s essentially a French style butter cookie which is not hard to like. I can’t deny though, the financiers stole the show.
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
April – Shortcake
Japanese style strawberry shortcake is usually one of my favourite cakes. The recipe was very simple and I’ve actually made it at home myself before! The cake base is a simple sponge cake. The difficulty however, lies in the decoration. Making the cake look clean and smooth is more challenging than it looks!
Taste wise, it was as expected. As long as it’s fresh it’ll be a certain extent of delicious and that’s how it was for this cake.I would say this lesson was more about the aesthetics than the taste. The bar for good shortcake is raised pretty high since there are several good ones available in Singapore and this one paled in comparison, taste wise.
Hungry Bird rating: 2/5
March 2018 – Matcha Tiramisu
I’m glad that the seasonal trial class for March was cake once again, and this one was destined to be a crowd favourite – matcha!
It may be called “Tiramisu” but this is nothing like Tiramisu at all. And I’m not nitpicking on the flavour – yes tiramisu should be espresso not matcha, but that’s not the point I’m driving at.
- The sponge wasn’t soaked – we simply brushed it with matcha syrup
- The sponge was a simple sponge cake, not sponge finger
- Only the top layer cream was mascarpone, the bottom later was adzuki cream
- No alcohol
Casting aside from the fact that it’s not Tiramisu, this actually makes a really good matcha adzuki cake and I loved it as an actual cake. I wish I could have it all by myself.
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
For the month of April there was no seasonal trial but I’m glad that for May, they launched a pretty interesting one – Berry Herby Shortcake!
If you’re interested to do this class for $28 instead of the online price of $35, do drop me an email. Scroll down to find out more!
I wasted no time again, and got down to trying the recipe at home while the memory of my lesson is still fresh in my head. In fact, I did this at home just 2 days after learning at it ABC! I bought the mental financier pans from ABC’s retail section. It cost $29 for 6 pieces but members enjoy 10% off everything so I got this for $26. These are not easy to find in Singapore (no surprise, considering how relatively unknown Financiers are to local Singaporeans), so I decided to get them at the studio since I probably won’t see them anywhere else. Baking stores like Phoon Huat do carry Silikomart silicone financier moulds at $11 for around 7 cavities of this size, or 20 cavities of mini size, but I feel that baking in metal will make it crispier. I could be wrong about this since I’ve never personally tried the silicone mould, but if you have tried do let me know in the comments section!
My financiers turned out perfect in my own attempts at home, looking smooth and like little bars of gold. The texture was best when eaten very fresh and as time passes it would soften to be more cake-like.
April is still ichigo and sakura season so I decided to make my own variations! I’ve seen such financiers in Japanese patisseries and they’re beautiful. I just had to.
I used Japanese strawberries (Sachinoka from Nagasaki, $9.90 from Donki) and no regrets – the flavour was so good. The base recipe is the same as the studio’s recipe with some simple modifications on my own.
Strawberry🍓: using 4 ripe strawberries, slice 3 pieces from the center of each 🍓 to have 12 slices. Puree the remaining edges of strawberry and add it to the financier batter. Put 2 sliced strawberries on each financier before baking.
Sakura 🌸: substitute honey with sakura honey syrup (from Japan). Soak 6 picked sakura flowers for 30mins and pat dry and place one flower on each financier before baking.
ABC Cooking Japan Cooking Traveler Ticket
(One Day English Lesson in Japan)
If you’ve read my Tokyo 2017 post, you’ll know I booked a One Day English Lesson in Tokyo. The One Day English lessons operates basically like every other One Day Lesson at ABC Cooking – you do not use your pre-paid class credits to attend. You also do not need to buy a series of classes – it’s simply a one off class where you only pay for that one lesson you attend.
For One Day English lessons in Japan, the lesson menu is entirely different from the regular classes. They are usually more simple and is accessible by people of all cooking backgrounds. It is also offered at only a few studios – currently 3 in Tokyo, 1 in Yokohama, 1 in Osaka, and 1 in Kyoto. Prices also varies depending on which menu you choose. For more details of lesson availability please refer to their website.
Back then in November 2017, the ABC Passport launched, but the classes valid to be redeemed using Passport was restricted to only regular lessons conducted in Japanese and the participant must be able to understand the language in order to attend. Despite attending a regular class using my passport, I also wanted to attend a One Day English Lesson during my Tokyo trip so I booked online and paid ¥6000 (~S$72) at the studio. I was really happy that the Nerikiri wagashi class was offered during the very limited time I had in Tokyo (and it was exactly the class I was most interested in)!
However, they have now changed the rules! ABC Passport holders can now attend a One Day English Lesson instead of regular Japanese lessons in Japan! If you understand Japanese language and wish to take a regular lessons instead, by all means you can choose that.
To attend One Day English Lessons without using the ABC Passport, you can also choose to get a Japan Cooking Traveler Ticket. This is newly launched from April 2018 onward and is sold at Singapore studio for only S$60! This is quite a steal considering how most of the One Day English Lessons cost more should you pay with cash in Japan. Validity is 1 year from date of issue.
In addition, the use of the Japan Cooking Traveler Ticket is transferable to anyone so you can pass it on to someone else should you change your plans. This is really simple because the tickets do not have names and there’s no records as to who each tickets belongs too. You just physically pass over the ticket! You also do not need to be an existing member to utilize the ticket! That means that you can bring non-member companions along with you while you cook in Japan.
As mentioned in earlier posts, I was very lucky and won the lucky draw trip to Japan sponsored by ABC Cooking Studio and JR West in March. As part of the trip itinerary, I attended a One Day English Lesson in Osaka. I was happy that it was wagashi once again! This menu of Kabocha Nerikiri isn’t available on their regular options though – you can always check out their website to find out more.
I had another Osaka trip of my own during the following month of April, and I had a Japan Cooking Traveler Ticket because my friend transferred it to me since she did not intend to visit Japan within the year.
I used the ticket for Snow Rabbits wagashi class at the very same studio in Osaka! I happened to be the only one attending so it was as good as a private class.
ABC Cooking Studio Singapore’s 3rd Anniversary
ABC Cooking Studio Singapore turns 3 years old in April! It sure feels as if they’ve been around much longer than 3 years, no? But of course there’ll be many more years ahead, for sure.
Two full days were blocked out in order to hold the Anniversary party. Currently there are about 9000 members at ABC Cooking Studio Singapore so of course they can’t host everyone at all once, hence 5 sessions for members to attend!
There were lots of food, drinks and some products from partners for sale. For members who top-up or new sign ups on the day, they could participate lucky draw as well and the prizes were great.
On hindsight I regret not having more Takoyaki. These of course were not Osaka standard but close enough, the closest I could get in Singapore.
Did you know that almost all Takoyaki chains in Singapore has closed??? The current remaining ones in a few malls are all the same chain and they terribly suck and tastes nothing like those from Osaka. I won’t even try to be tactful about it, but you simply can’t find decent Takoyaki in Singapore anymore, unless you make it yourself.
Sakura cocktail, sakura mousse and hanami dango for a sakura themed picnic. I love sakura.
I am intending get this beautiful sakura pink Zojirushi food jar and Hitachi oven for my new home. Aim first.
The goodie bag was quite generous and even friends of members who attended gets to walk home with one!
Digressing, I’m convinced that this sort of Microwave Steam Oven is the way to go! That’s 3 functions in one (microwave, steamer and electric oven) and I love how Japanese home cooking has been modernized and simplified (in terms of execution of cooking, space usage and the cleaning up). I definitely rather cook my meals with machines and make life easier. I am not keen on the old fashioned style of (Chinese) cooking, like to not use any machines or tools for food prep with everything cooked only on the stove. Just no.
If you’re interested to take a trial class and want to do so at the discounted rate of $28, do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Again I will emphasize, this is not a sponsored review or anything. I paid for my lessons and just wish to share all I know about it so far!
ABC Cooking Studio
Takashimaya S.C., #03-12/12A
391A Orchard Rd