When a food critic turns the poison pen on herself

J&H’s polka dot wedding cake October 29, 2008

Filed under: Wedding cakes — crummb @ 12:50 am
Tags: , , ,

IT can be done. A tall 4-inch cake can be covered with fondant and the secret is – *cymbal clash* – buy it pre-made! Two weeks ago, after my attempt using my own home-made fondant failed miserably (as detailed here), I spent a few days panicking. I won’t be able to give Jess what she wants for her wedding cake. How!

Then I remembered – ask Yoda. Every apprentice has a mentor and mine – even though he doesn’t know it – is Andy Foo, executive pastry chef of the Grand Hyatt. I interviewed him a few years ago and had turned to him to make a four-tier dummy cake for my wedding in 2006. Since then, he has been the person to call when I hit a life-threatening baking crisis.

So I email-ed him about my fondant predicament and this is what I learnt. All baking professionals buy their fondant pre-made. And the brand that Yoda, and all the top hotels and bakeries in Singapore use, is Massa Ticino from Switzerland.  It’ll have no problems covering a 4-inch tall cake, Yoda said. So I promptly drove all the way to its distributor in Defu Lane in Hougang to get a 7-kg tub.

When I cut out a slab and rolled it out, I almost wept with joy. The fondant is not sticky, and miraculously elastic and malleable. When it is thrown over a 4-inch cake, the “waves” that form around the sides can somehow stretch and contract at all the right places, wrapping the cake seamlessly. It was almost too good to be true.

What’s their secret ingredient? I don’t know. Whatever it is – even if it’s melamine – I’m their biggest fan.

Anyway, big big hugs and thanks to Chris and Sooch who offered some ideas when I sent out an SOS two weeks ago. I feel like a problem-child-made-good when I say to them (with tears welling up in eyes), “Pa, Ma, I did it!”

It never rains but it pours. For a good half a year, no one gets married and I don’t get to make any wedding cakes. Then two friends decided to get married this month – over the same weekend.  But hey, no sweat. Jess & Han Ee is on Saturday, and Charmayne & Alvin is on Sunday. There’s nothing a little military-precision planning can’t do. Just start early.  

Jess wanted a three-tier cake with polka dots in two shades of purple, shocking pink and aqua. Since I had to work on Wednesday and Thursday, I started making the polka dots a week earlier on a Saturday. The dots were made of home-made pastillage (icing sugar, gelatin, cornflour), rolled out and cut out using round icing tips. But some of the colours didn’t turn out right, while others – waddahekk! –  lightened drastically after a few days. So I had to redo them on Monday and Wednesday. I am Miss Conscientious-lity.


I baked the cakes – chocolate sponge for J&H; butter sponge for C&A – on Tuesday. It took an entire day because my little rinky-dink oven can only bake one cake at a time. (Put two in there and the bottom one just won’t cook.) When they were done, I wrapped each one in cling film, stacked them in the fridge, and hoped that my copious use of plastic wouldn’t raise sea levels somewhere. I also forced my mum and husband to consume all leftovers to make room for my babies.


I took leave on Friday to decorate Jess’ cake. The chocolate cakes were split and filled with whipped chocolate ganache (Jess wanted a full-on chocolate experience). Then I covered the cakes with the amazing Massa Ticino fondant and stuck on the polka dots with dabs of water. It took a few hours and my back got a beating. I suffer for my craft.


Once completed, the cakes spent the entire afternoon and night in my air-conditioned bedroom so the fondant and dots wouldn’t melt. The supporting dowels were sturdy drinking straws – in purple, of course, Jess’ favourite colour. You can bet that there were no wild movements in my bedroom that night. My cakes gotta sleep!


When the cake was assembled at White Rabbit, the gorgeous church-turned-restaurant venue where the wedding was held, it didn’t melt, topple, or do anything to damage my heart. I got the best compliment of the day when my lurves, S and L, raved about how it looked, then raved some more when they tucked in. L even had a second helping. Girlfriends are the best!

Ultimately, I’m pleased as punch that I contributed something to Jess’ big day. Jess, an ex-colleague  from a very special time in my life when work was play, is forever the sunshine girl (who threw up Lana cake and swore never to drink tequila again. But did). And she shone none brighter than on her wedding day, looking impossibly romantic with a flower garland in her hair. Here’s to you, Jess, and your dashing new man. You’re gonna make some really cute babies 🙂


20 Responses to “J&H’s polka dot wedding cake”

  1. Wow it looks fantastic. Great job! Looks like you’re well on your way to single handedly conquering the wedding cake industry in Singapore 😉

  2. sooch Says:

    Congratulations!!! Well done!!! 🙂
    Never knew that about the commercial fondant. I thought these chefs all had ‘ka gias’ (ie slaves) who did nothing whole day but knead fondant, make pastillage, boil syrup, etc etc etc. Ha.

  3. chris Says:

    Well done Ah Ger! Ma and Pa are so proud of you!! 😀
    I must say your appliqued spots are AMAZINGLY even – like Paperchase wrapping paper pattern!

  4. wordsmith Says:

    nice! do u know the pix of ur scoop cake wedding cake has been taken off the tampopo deli walls? I actually made charles walk all the way there just to show him the pix! And i STILL haven’t had the chance to taste the famous scoop cake!

  5. Stephie Says:

    i really love reading about your cooking/baking adventures… it’s as though I was the one facing a baking crisis too!

  6. crummb Says:

    awwww. five big wet kisses – one for each of you! 🙂

    jenny: what? they took down my picture?!! aiya, just get charles to read my blog! the photo will always be here. i’m devastated that they don’t make the scoop cake anymore. better learn how to make it myself!

  7. j Says:

    could you give me the address of the fondant place please? 🙂

  8. crummb Says:

    hi j, here’s the contact:
    Focus Network Agencies
    87 Defu Lane 10
    #02-03 MEC Technocentre
    Tel: 6858-1800 (best to call beforehand to order – a 7kg tub costs $63)

    • Insomniac Says:

      Hi, sorry to bother you at this time, you must be having your hands full with a new baby. If you have some time, can you please share with us where you get your supply of the massa ticino since the shop in defu lane does not carry it anymore, and the other brands of fondant have got a oily sheen on sitting that is quite off-putting. thanks.

      • crummb Says:

        hi there! surprisingly, baby is here and i still manage to find time to bake! 🙂 massa ticino is now distributed by Bakery Laboratory. contact as follows:

        Bakery Laboratory 23 Tagore Lane Tel: 6454 0500

        it’s a little more expensive now. around $70 per 7kg pail. but i swear by it! take care.

  9. Insomniac Says:

    Thanks! looks like you will be back blogging soon, seeing how you manage to find time to bake during your confinement. Super! take care too.

  10. Lynnette Says:


    Thanks for the heads up on the fondant. I should be getting that to make a wedding cake for my cousin. The other brand of commonly found fondant is too soft and I have to add icing sugar to firm it up! My cousin is having a wedding outdoors and I’m so afraid the cake will just melt in the heat!

    Anyway I was wondering if it’s possible to share how you make pastillage. Is it mainly used for smaller decorative pieces on the cake? Do it crack or melt easily in the heat?

    I appreciate your help! And congrats on the new addition to your family! 🙂

    • crummb Says:

      hi! i use rose levy beranbaum’s recipe in The Cake Bible. it handles like fondant but once dried, it is bone-hard and will not melt. it can be rolled out very thinly to make intricate pieces. hope this helps! 🙂

      • Lynnette Says:


        Thanks for the recipe. I will look it up. 🙂
        Must the pieces be kept in airtight containers before application? How long can they last in the open with Singapore’s humidity?

  11. Ann Neal Says:

    Where can I purchase the Massa Ticino fondant?

  12. Rabia Omar Says:

    Hi, firstly… I am in loooovvvveeeeee with your work… Like head over heels… It’s funky elegant and fun at the same time… So bravo:) and secondly… I am in desperate need of some fondant… My baby girl’s birthday is coming up and I wanna surprise her… So I wanted to check that you mentioned Bakery Laboratory. Do you know if they deliver? And how much fondant will be enough to cover a 9inch cake?

    Any kind of help will be very appreciated:)

    Thanks. Best regards

    Rabia Omar.

  13. Crissa Says:

    Thanks for this post! Lovely read. Would u be able to let me know the address and company in Hougang that distributes the Massa Ticino fondant? I’m interested to try it out too! Thanks in advance.

    • Crissa Says:

      Ohh sorry just saw the answer to my question in the comments above! Didn’t read through bevire commenting Cuz I was too excited 😆 thanks.

  14. Tommy Garguilo Says:

    Hello ,
    If you dont mind me asking what type of fridge is that in the picture ?
    Tom Da Baker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s