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Growing up in a tropical country, a white Christmas was my childhood’s dream. Even though “snow” in many window display in Malaysia’s shopping malls were made from styrofoam, white spray paint and white cotton, I believed that there was something magical in this season of the year.

I experienced my first white Christmas when I was doing a student exchange program in Canada about ten years ago. My friend, Sabrina, invited me to join her family for Christmas in Sudbury.

It was the coldest month, everything was covered by REAL thick white snow. She was surprised that I never had a white Christmas. “You never take a photo with Santa Claus?” I shook my head. So she brought me to Santa and we took a photo. “You don’t know how to make a snow angel?” We lied on the ground and swept our limbs back and forth. And then, holding a shovel in the hand, she said “now the hard task. We need to shovel the snow”. I responded with excitement, “SURE! Show me how to do it!”It must be hard for her to believe that I was truly enjoying doing this painstaking chore. I had certainly spent a memorable Christmas with Sabrina and her family. Her hospitality let me felt warmth at heart, yet during the Christmas Eve dinner, I was missing my family back home.

Now, years have passed, I am back in Kuala Lumpur, running my cake shop, Pastry Union. The complex feeling that I have experienced in Canada inspires me to come up with Winter, the new cake for Pastry Union. On the outside, it captures a serene snowscape made by white chocolate and cream cheese but inside the cake, it’s a flourless chocolate cake with surprising splendour of berries that deliver wonderful flavours of summer. Wish you will enjoy this delightful infusion that brings the best of both seasons, and have a berry, merry Christmas!

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I was in the midst of designing and developing cakes in Pastry Union kitchen. It was one of those dog days. Not only the chocolate was melting, but also the sketches with cake ideas. Nothing seemed to give me the “Eureka a-ha” inspiration. Well, not until the rain falls.

I smell the scents of rain on dry earth. I feel a breeze of freshness thread through the air. It’s a moment to capture and I wish to share this experience through my medium — cake.  I can start sculpting tree, flowers, birds with fondant and coloring, but this cake is about celebrating the beauty of nature. Loading a cake with more sugar and artificial coloring is not the way things work in Pastry Union. More cake sketches, more research, more mock-ups, more trial and errors.

A frequently heard advice is to go with something you love. Chocolate cake (What else?). Cranberries come next. They are simply too good, why should I have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to enjoy them?  So I have chunks of flourless chocolate cake with cranberries-infused chocolate Chantilly, and to the breath of new life: fresh wholesome nuts (seeds) emerge and dot the landscape.

Presenting the Garden – Can you feel the wafts of petrichor?