ABC Cooking Studio Singapore – Part 19

2020 has come to an end and and it is the end of a decade and coincidentally, this is my 20th post about my review of ABC Cooking! Recapping my ABC Cooking milestones this year, I…

  • Completed Bread Master
  • Completed Cake Master
  • Completed all 12 Japanese Home Cooking (JHC)
  • Took virtual lessons
  • Recreated 11 out of 12 JHC meals at home
  • Got a bread machine and made lots of bread at home
  • Finished the first 12 Bread Riche and is onto my next 12

In 2021 there would be a new Bread Master menu and I would be attending those class as well. There will also be an all new Japanese Home Cooking menu which I am also looking forward to attend. Hopefully they would renew Cake Master as well so I can continue attending classes at the studio!


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


Regular Lessons

November Cake Basic – Matcha Terrine & Houjicha Pudding

I noticed this recipe first being as a seasonal in Japan in May 2019 and my wish came true when this was offered during the recent Semi Renewal of Cake Basic a few months back. Admittedly, I was only interested in it because it’s been some time since a matcha flavour cake was offered in the Cake course (which is ironic isn’t it? Most would expect matcha flavour to appear often in Japanese recipes which is what ABC is all about). This cake isn’t really like a normal cake because it is actually a chocolate terrine using white chocolate as the base. I did not have experience eating chocolate terrine so I did not know what to expect from the taste and texture. The method for making this was very easy and it was steam baked in a water bath. 

No hand mixer was involved in making the terrine and it was slowly combined using a hand whisk. Trying to make sure the terrine look nice and smooth was a challenge as I noticed many other members’ terrine had unsightly wrinkles on the outside, including the other participant in my lesson. I heaved a sigh of relief when mine emerged smooth looking.

As the terrine was a very easy cake to prepare, Houjicha pudding was made on the side. The pudding was even easier than the terrine, with the pudding recipe being exactly like the previous caramel pudding which was part of the Orange Chiffon class except for the additional step of infusing Houjicha to the milk.

Both items tasted decent but it wasn’t anything out of expectations to be honest. The recipe method and skills taught in making terrine is also not something you’d apply to making other sorts of cakes, so it is not a very value added lesson if you only bought a few lessons and would like to attend the most useful ones out of them.

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

December Cake Basic – Ruby Rouge

This cake was also a seasonal regular lesson in Japan, being offered in December 2019 and was described as a Christmas cake. From how red and jolly it looks, it is definitely most suitable for the festive season. The value of this cake lies in the main ingredient – Callebaut Ruby Chocolate. Ruby Chocolate is the 4th type of chocolate in the market (aside from milk, white and dark) and currently is patented by Callebaut. It is derived from ruby cocoa beans which gives it the natural pink hue and slightly sour, berry flavour. Even before trying Ruby Chocolate, I knew I would love it because I love pink!

This cake was actually one of the easiest cakes to make on the menu, because no baking is involve. The base is made of digestive biscuits crushed and combined with melted ruby chocolate. The main body is chocolate mousse using Ruby Chocolate and berry puree, and a pre-made chocolate sponge brushed with Strawberry liqueur and syrup was placed in the middle. The cake was super easy to put together but the tricky part was making the red glaçage coat on nicely as the final layer.

The whole cake was very rich because it contains a lot of chocolate but I absolutely loved the taste of it! Among the current 18 Cake Basic recipes now, there are actually 4 mousse cakes in total and the most similar recipe to this one is Mousse au Chocolat which is also a no-bake class and involves coating the mousse entremets with glaçage. If you don’t want to learn repetitive techniques and not take so many mousse class, I would recommend Ruby Rouge over Mousse au Chocolat.

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

November Cake Master – Anniversary Cake

Firstly I would like to say this is absolutely the prettiest cake I’ve ever made and it is also the most challenging class in all of ABC!

The recipe is that of a simple genoise sponge cake and is the same as Shortcake, but the challenge lies in the decoration – frosting a square cake and making rolled fondant decor.

It was my first time playing with fondant and I now realise it is not as easy as it looks. Fondant also needs 24hrs to dry, so to use it within 2 hours is a big gamble. I assembled everything only the next day at home.

Frosting of this cake is a challenge because the shape is square and this is so much harder than typical round cakes as you cannot rely on using the turntable. The cream used in this class is Elle et Vire which is a pure dairy cream it is more difficult to use than Millac Gold (non-dairy blend). However, the taste of pure dairy cream was of course much nicer and I have no regrets! This cake was tasty and really beautiful and it is my favourite work to date.

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

December Cake Master – Gingerbread House

In the blink of an eye, I have come to my final Cake Master lesson. It wasn’t intentional to leave this for the last but of course Christmas is the time of the year to make Gingerbread House so now is the right time. 

It is definitely the cutest thing I’ve ever baked and this lesson was the longest class ever, taking 5-6hrs in total, because we made EVERYTHING from scratch! The gingerbread dough was made from cutting butter method, and then we painstakingly cut it into the house shape and embossed brick print into the walls and chimney. To give it a nice sheen, the walls had to be carefully glazed as well. Then we had to make the icing and icing glue from scratch which was royal icing based – in various textures and colours, to make the whole house come together.

The final product was very cute and I couldn’t bear to eat it but at the same time, the gingerbread cookie was very delicious because it was made with good quality ingredients! We made cookies with the excess dough and could take them home too. It was a pity for the house to only be for display so I had to demolish it eventually so it could be eaten. At the point in time when making this house at the studio, I was aching all over and never wanted to do it again but now looking back, I am already looking forward to making it next year!

Hungry Bird rating: 5/5

November Bread Riche – Calzone

Observing the riche course lessons in Japan, I noticed Calzone stuck through several rounds of renewal so I decided to attend it first but I soon realised it was actually another version of Calzone with vegetable fillings. This one had a meat sauce filling which was made by cooking over the stove. This is probably the only Bread lesson at ABC which requires stove cooking of the fillings. The taste was nice as expected but overall this bread wasn’t anything interesting.

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

November Bread Riche – Golden Custard

I was reluctant to take this lesson because super instant custard was added to the dough and I don’t like that stuff, but went ahead anyway because I wanted to try make square shokupan (角食パン). The bread was alright and the shape I wanted was achieved but perhaps I would change the custard to real custard instead when making this bread at home.

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

December Bread Riche – Brioche

Brioche was one of the recipes which got me interested in Riche course in the first place. I like learning new types of dough and Brioche is a famous type of bread in France which has high egg and butter content. This bread really tastes different from most other breads because of the enriched dough which gave it a light texture and buttery taste. It can be made into various shapes but one of the most classically recognised forms is Brioche à Tête which has a small ball of dough over a larger ball of dough, baked in a fluted round flared tin. It can also be baked in a standard loaf pan as Brioche Nanterre, another common shape of Brioche. I found the bread really tasty and it can be easily kept in the freezer retaining the taste and texture. 

Hungry Bird rating: 4/5

November Best Selection Cooking – Deli-styled Hors d’oeuvres Party

In this class I prepred several small bites suitable for a home party.

  • Cripsy fried chicken coated with potato chips
  • Shrimp & onion paper baked rice
  • Pinchos de tortilla
  • Salad spring rolls with smoked salmon
  • Caramel apple mille-feuille

Everything was quite nice and I like having small bites of everything. My favourite was the cripsy fried chicken coated with potato chips which was addictively good! My next favourite was the shrimp & onion paper baked rice. I think I would be satisfied just having just the chicken and the rice.

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5


Virtual Lessons

November Cake Virtual – Pear Marron Roll

I recognized that this cake was a seasonal regular cake lesson in Japan for September this year and I was pleasantly surprised that it was offered as virtual lesson because it looked like a challenging class. The roll cake is made from chestnut chiffon sheet cake, brushed generously with syrup and rum, filled with a layer of chestnut cream (with more rum!), Chantilly cream and pear pieces. After rolling, the outside was frosted with more Chantilly cream and it was decorated with chocolate shavings, pear and marrons glacés.

This is the best virtual lesson from I’ve had so far and in fact, I’d say this is one of the best cakes recipes I’ve from ABC Cooking Singapore! The cake texture was super nice and moist (thanks to the syrup and rum) and the overall flavour was like Mont Blanc but better because it was lighter and less sweet! Not only was this cake really delicious, the value of ingredients was pretty high as well, making this lesson really worth it because we get 2 sets of ingredients! I was particularly pleased that they provided marrons glacés because it is an ingredient which can only be bought from wholesale supplier and was not available anyway else. I used the second set of ingredients from this class to make the Mont Blanc cake that I’ve been wanting to make for the longest time but wasn’t able to get ingredients for.

Hungry Bird rating: 5/5

November Cake Virtual – Assorted Tartlets

These 5 types of tartlets was made from the same tart base and creme d’amande fragipane filling but with clever use of different toppings, you can end up with 5 very different tarts.

I love how it was actually much simpler than it looks to prepare all of these!

Hungry Bird rating: 4/5

November Bread Virtual – Fruits & Earl Grey Chocolate Stollen

I really liked the Luxury Stollen from the regular Bread Basic course so I was happy to learn a new type of Stollen from their virtual class. Instead of just one whole bread, the dough was split into two to make 2 flavours:

  • Mixed candied fruits and almond flakes in plain stollen dough, coated with icing sugar
  • Orange peel, cranberry and chocolate chips in earl grey chocolate dough, coated with cocoa powder

I was enticed by the chocolate earl grey one but I ended up liking the plain one more. The chocolate one was too bitter and I could barely taste the earl grey. Coating the bread with cocoa powder was a bad idea as well because it was too bitter and it dissolves easily which means we would just coat on more to fit aesthetics but the powder will choke you as you eat it. I do like the plain dough stollen though!

Hungry Bird rating: 3/5


Events

Tochigi Nikkori Pear Virtual 栃木県にっこり梨

I received this huge Nikkori pear as part of a virtual lesson in collaboration with Tochigi prefecture. They sent over conveniently portioned out ingredients needed for the baking, including a huge, juicy Nikkori pear which weight almost 700g!

The virtual event started off with an introduction of Nikkori pear from Tochigi prefecture, followed by the virtual baking session. We made a the tart with fillings of almond cream baked on frozen puff pastry, topped with red wine poached pear. This was simple to make but so absolutely delicious! The pear was a perfect match with red wine and it was so fragrant.

It was pear season in Japan and I’m glad I get to enjoy pear even though travel is not allowed!

Tonkatsu Onigirazu

I received a 2kg pack of Iwate Hitomebore rinse-free rice as part of this member’s activity to recreate a recipe posted on ABC Cooking’s social media for Tonkatsu Onigirazu.

I love tonkatsu and I also love onigiri but I never thought it could come together as a dish! It was like a katsu sando and onigiri hybrid, with a piece of freshly fried tonkatsu sandwiched between rice, wrapped in nori. Using the rinse-free rice really made the whole process less daunting (to me, having to deep fry at home is always nerve wrecking and I am still a little scared!) because it eliminates the need to rinse and rub the rice before soaking. I personally find washing rice such an unnecessary chore which I dislike doing and rinse-free rice is the next best food innovation since sliced bread.


Home Baking/ Cooking

Cake Home Baking Kit – Orange Butter Cookie Sandwich​

I made these orange flavoured butter cookie sandwich with orange slice appearance, from ABC Cooking’s baking kit recipe. It was the final recipe from the 3 baking kits and to be honest, I wasn’t very interested in making these cookies because it sounded very basic and I procrastinated for months before finally finding a day to do it.

Making the orange pattern ice box cookies was challenging because the dough was too soft to handle in my non-air conditioned kitchen, and I swore never to make this pattern again. But after assembling it up and seeing how cute it looked, everything made sense and was so worth the effort!

I was also pleasantly surprised by how crunchy and delicious the cookies were even on their own and it was even tastier when filled with orange buttercream. I’m already looking forward to making these again for Chinese New Year next year!

Hungry Bird rating: 5/5

Cake Basic – Mont Blanc

It was chestnut season and it was the time of the year to enjoy Mont Blanc! This Mont Blanc cake was my all time favourite from the old Cake Basic menu and I always wanted to recreate it at home but the ingredients were hard to get, especially marrons glacés.

After doing the Marron and Pear Roll Cake virtual class and realising it has all the ingredients required for this Mont Blanc recipe, I seized the chance to finally make Mont Blanc at home using the 2nd set of ingredients given to us! I’m glad it turned out successful!

Cake Basic – Japanese Cheesetart

Cake Basic (Japan) – Cake au Chocolat

Back in 2017 when I first signed up as a member, the ABC Passport programme just started and the first destination I redeemed a class at was Japan. I attended a regular cake class taught in Japanese and it was for this chocolate butter cake baked in Brioche moulds. I was never a fan of butter/ pound cakes but this one was different and super delicious!

Bread Basic Virtual – Baguette Assortment

I made this again using the second set of ingredients from virtual lesson. This time when eaten fresh, the chocolate berry flavour tasted better than before!

Bread Basic – Luxury Stollen

Christmas was right around the corner and it’s finally the time of the year to have Stollen! I learnt how to bake this German Christmas tradition last year on Christmas day last year and waited a whole year before I can finally make this again. This time I used mixed candied fruits that has been macerated in rum for over a week for better flavour.

Bread Riche – Cream Loaf

With leftover whipping cream, I decided to try making this bread. It was soft and fluffy.

Bread Riche – Pannetone

It’s the time of the year to have Panettone and I made this Italian festive bread today with the Riche course recipe. It’s not really like traditional Panetonne but a simpler version, doable within 2hrs! It is filled with rum soaked raisins, cranberries, citrus peel and pearl sugar.


Trial Lessons

November Seasonal Trial – Manhattan Breadway

We made both soup and bread in the trial class and this combination served as a filling and satisfying meal. The Manhattan Clam Chowder was easy yet delicious and it is something I would make again at home!

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

November Seasonal Trial – Who Burnt My Cheese

This is my 4th time doing this popular trial lesson at ABC Cooking Studio and an interesting observation is that each time I get really different results. The first time the cake was probably overbaked because it had the same moussey texture throughout. The second time it was underbaked and runny throughout the middle – it just collapses when cut open. The third time was better and was thick and creamy but it was solid throughout rather than having a different texture in the middle.

This time, a different brand of cream cheese (Liberty Lane) and whipping cream (Elle et Vire) was used and I was curious to see how different it would taste! And for the first time after 4 tries, I finally got the texture of Burnt Cheesecake I wanted which was a little oozey only in the center after chilling thoroughly! It does not flow out but when gently pressed, the middle oozes out a bit, like custard consistency, while the rest of the cheesecake was solid enough to hold shape. Other than finally nailing the perfect texture, this cake was also better than previous versions in terms of taste! This proves that the same recipe can produce different results if you use different brands of ingredients.

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

December Seasonal Trial – Stumped by Santa

This vertical logcake from was just right for the occasion – chocolate chiffon cake rolled with chocolate chantilly cream and dark chocolate ganache slathered on the outside. 

It was actually much simpler than it looks and was very easy to look beautiful. However, I felt it has potential to taste better. The sponge was on the dry side and it could be fixed with brushing sugar syrup. Some crunch ingredients like nuts, feuilletine, or chocolate pearls could be added to the filling too to give it more texture. Otherwise, it was simply a plain cake with cream and the only interesting area was the chocolate ganache on the outside.

Hungry Bird rating: 4/5


January Seasonal  Trial

Cake Seasonal Trial – Oriental Violetta

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 melissa@hungrybird.sg or IG DM me @hungrybird.sg

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 
Singapore 238873

3 Gateway Drive, #03-01
Westgate
Singapore 608532

107 North Bridge Road, #02-29
Funan Mall
Singapore 179105

2 thoughts on “ABC Cooking Studio Singapore – Part 19

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