Frozen themed chocolate cupcakes

Frozen is still very much a popular theme for birthday cakes! Just recently, I did some Frozen toppers for the cupcakes at the requests of my friend and I’m still wondering when this craze will be over.

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A few days before the collection day, I made the toppers and it took me about 1.5 hours to do just the Olaf and the snowflakes! I must be taking my own sweet time! How frustrating!

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I baked some some vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for this batch and top each cupcakes with Italian meringue buttercream. Would love to add in a scoop of jam or ganache in the cupcakes but decided against anything too fanciful for the time being.

Chocolate cupcakes ( yields about 18 cupcakes)

80g unsalted butter, at room temperature

250g caster sugar

200g plain flour, sifted

40g Cocoa powder, sifted

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

240ml buttermilk (I add 1tbsp of vinegar to 240ml of milk and let stand for 5 minutes)

2 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the cupcake tin with cases

2. In a mixer bowl, place the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed until all are fully mixed and the texture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. In a bowl, pour the milk and add in the eggs. Then whisk the two together until properly mixed.

4. Pour 3/4 of the milk-egg mixture into the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.

5. Raise the speed to medium and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and thickens. Scrap down the sides of the mixer bowl regularly to ensure proper mixing.

6. Pour the remaining 1/4 milk-egg mixture into the batter and continue to beat on medium, until all the ingredients are fully mixed and the batter is smooth.

7. Spoon the batter into the cases until 2/3 full and bake for about 20 minutes, until the batter is risen and spring back when touched.

8. Leave the cupcakes to cool a little before removing them from the tin.

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I pipe roses onto the cupcakes using tip 1M.

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For a few of the cupcakes that are to be decorated with the snowflakes, I sprinkled some sugar on it. The sprinklers are just brown sugar + a little royal blue colouring.

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And that’s it! Of the three characters, I think Olaf looks more like himself whereas the other two characters look like erm… ordinary girls?

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Strawberry butter cupcakes

This week had been rather relaxing in the sense that I could bake in peace during the three hours that I have when the little one was in school. Since I had guests coming over, I decided to make some cupcakes andfrost them using dual colors/tones.

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This is a simple butter cupcakes which I have added strawberry paste to. After they were baked, I inserted a little strawberry jam into the cupcakes before frosting them with Italian meringue buttercream, the one buttercream I would use because it can withstand our tropical heat. 🙂

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To create the dual colors, I filled one piping bag with the buttercream and the other bag with buttercream that has red added to it. I didn’t really want red and pink suits me fine. Place the two piping bags into another bigger piping bag with Wilton piping tip 1A and squeeze. The colors will come out well.

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Strawberry butter cupcakes (yields 20 regular cupcakes)

6 egg yolks

5 egg whites

250g unsalted butter

230g self-raising flour

180g caster sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2tsp to 1tsp strawberry paste

:: Preheat oven to 170C.

:: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and add in the strawberry paste. Cream and then set aside.

:: In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed. Then add in the egg yolks one at a time. Continue beating for another 3 minutes on medium-high.

:: Reduce the speed to medium and add in the butter mixture. Beat until well combined.

:: Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour and baking powder. Beat until well-combined. Don’t over eat.

:: Fill each each cupcake liner till 2/3 full and bake for about 18-20 minutes (depending on your oven).

:: The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean or when the cupcake springs back when you use your finger to press it lightly.

:: Allow the cupcakes to stay in the cupcake tray for a few minutes before taking them out onto the cooling rack .

No frosting on cupcakes?

A friend asked me to bake cupcakes for his son’s 3rd birthday celebration in school. Initially, chocolate cupcakes were called for and it’s up to me to come up with the designs. A few days earlier, he called and asked to change them to simple vanilla cupcakes with no frosting since the school has requested for minimal mess. Just the alphabet letters will do.

In my mind, I was thinking, “What? No frosting?!”

How can cake go without frosting. It’s not nice (aesthetically and taste-wise) anymore!

So I defied him and went ahead to put A LITTLE frosting.

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Using Wilton’s method of royal icing, I made the alphabets a day in advance since they need to be dried. What you need to do is to print out the letters on paper. Then place a parchment paper over and stick both papers using tapes on plain, smooth surface before using a piping tip (Wilton tip #4) to pipe dots for each alphabet.

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Once they are dried, using an offset spatula and carefully lift the alphabets off the parchment paper.

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 Place each alphabet on each cupcakes and you have a simple design. Easy enough?

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Packed and ready to go!

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🙂

Christmas wreath pull-apart cupcakes

Often, when we bake cupcakes, we will lay them out on trays or cupcake stands. How about a different way of presenting them?

I did a pull-apart version for the Christmas wreath. This is made for a celebration for the SAHMs!

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I made these vanilla cupcakes first and lay them out in the shape I want.

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Then, I apply mint frosting using a star tip, making sure that the frosting of each cupcake touches the next one.

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I thought this is actually good enough after putting some Christmas sprinkles. But since I have made some figurines and decoration using fondant, I put them up when I reach the site.

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There you have it. The completed version.

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And this is how you eat it, just pull each one apart and pop it into your mouth!

😉

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

The weekend saw us busy ourselves with the decorating of a ….Christmas tree!

It’s our first time having a real tree, courtesy of the sister-in-law who wanted to bring on some cheer to the folks. It’s rather fun, I must say!

On reflection, I’m thankful that the SIL bothered to do such things. In our busy and practical society, many of us tend to forgo such activities and would rather rest during this season. After all, we have worked hard throughout the year, so why do this? Gimme a break, you might say. But, it does lift the spirit, in my case, at least. I guess it all boils down to the heart attitude. If you decide that all these are unnecessary, and is a total waste of time, then perhaps you will go to the event with a hardened heart, a downcast spirit and a grim face. And this does affect the company you are with.

The Christmas season should be welcome with wide open arms. It’s a time that we remember that Christ came, to bring hope to the fallen world. It’s a season of giving, not just of material goods but of ourselves. He came so that we might have life, life abundant (John 10:10).

So, peeps, let’s bring on the Christmas cheer… 😉

The little one was involved as well!

The little one was involved as well!

Faith was intrigued by the baubles and stayed entertained by them throughout the session.

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Step-by-step, we’ll make it. The guys setting up the lights.

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And then, the star!

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We dressed Faith up in santa’s clothing which a friend sent over to us. How apt! But the little one wasn’t very comfortable in it!

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I sent some cheer by baking an adaptation of the peppermint mocha cupcakes.

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And so, the Christmas spirit is definitely here to stay…for a while, at least. 😉

Hello Kitty Cupcakes

I had another order – 20 Hello Kitty cupcakes – over the weekend and I thought I should just post the process of making them.

I made the toppers a few days in advance so that they can be dried and stored before the actual day of assembling.  They are rather easy to make as long as you have the mould which you can purchased from baking stores like Phoon Huat, Sunlik and Bake King. However, it can be time consuming too. 😉

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After the faces have been cut out and dried, I applied yellow fondant as the nose.

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The next step is to do the ribbons. I had made them using the mould but it was way too time-consuming to do that. This time round, I just mould them using freehand. Stick to the ears and dry them.

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Then, ‘paste’ the face to the pink background – circles – which were made beforehand. Dry them.

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Apply black icing as whiskers. I only applied light strokes as I don’t like them too dark. Dry them again.

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Assembling time! The cupcakes are baked and buttercream applied so that the toppers can stick to them.

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My place is rather warm and you can see that sweating happens very soon!

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Since the customer is going to place these cupcakes in the fridge, I cling-wrapped them to minimise sudden change in temperature after they are taken out of the fridge. This is to prevent sweating. Not a very pretty and inviting sight to behold, ya know? ;p

Earl Grey Lavender Tea Cupcakes

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These days, I would consider it a luxury if I could squeeze in some time to bake. Faith is more needy than before and wants me to carry her or be beside her while she is playing. My arms are sore since she is no longer light and I really need her to be independent!

Ok, complaints aside, she is still my precious girl. It’s random but I have the mood to bake some cupcakes and decided on Earl Grey Lavender Tea Cupcakes.

The recipe that I used is originally from Hummingbird Bakery but I have adapted it by adjusting the sugar level and also using a different tea flavour. After giving some to my cake designing coursemates, they stated that they would prefer a less sweet version of the frosting. So, it’s back to experimenting!

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Makes about 12 standard cupcakes

For the sponge:

3 Earl Grey Lavender teabags ( I used Gryphon)
3tbsp just-boiled water
80g unsalted butter, softened
260g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
200ml whole milk
2 large eggs

For the frosting:

50ml whole milk
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, softened

Two 6-hole muffin tins

Place the teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water, then leave to brew for 30 minutes. I used Gryphon tea. 🙂

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Preheat the oven to 190°C and line 2 muffin tins with muffin cases. Use a hand-held electric whisk or freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the texture of fine breadcrumbs.

Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand. Add the brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from the teabags into the milk mixture, then set the teabags aside for the frosting.

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Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Then mix on a medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. If there is batter left over, spoon it into more cases in a separate tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.

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While the cupcakes are cooking, place the used teabags in a small bowl with the milk for the frosting and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and give them a good squeeze to extract maximum flavour.

Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is still powdery. Pour in the tea-infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy.

Divide the frosting between the cold cupcakes, smoothing the tops and swirling with a palette knife or like me, using a piping tip!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

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My brother-in-law bought us a tub of Ben & Jerry’s strawberry cheesecake ice-cream for dessert when they came back earlier this month and I was hooked. So, I thought I should bake the cupcake version and boy, do I love them! Pieces of fresh strawberries are used in this recipe and when baked, they moisten the cake and texture of the cupcakes. The crumbled digestive biscuits sprinkled on top add to the flavour of a cheesecake base. This is really an easy bake – no fuss and so straightforward – and I recommend you make them for tea! Another winner from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook!

*If you have silicon cupcake cases, it may be better to use them as the strawberries at the bottom can make the paper ones go soggy but I’m not too bothered with that.

You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
a scant 3/4 cup caster sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
12 large strawberries, chopped into small pieces (depending on how big your strawberries are. I used about 6 and others for garnishing)
180g digestive biscuits
12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

For the frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and the unsalted butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

2. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients are well mixed (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Add the egg and beat well for a few minutes to ensure the ingredients are well incorporated.

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3. Divide the chopped strawberries between the paper cases. Spoon the cupcake mixture on top until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

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4. Meanwhile, make the frosting by beating the icing sugar and the unsalted butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least five minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

5. Roughly break up the digestive biscuits and put them in a food processor (alternatively, you can just pound them). Process until finely ground. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the cream cheese frosting on top and finish with a sprinkling of finely ground biscuits. You can decorate it with half of a strawberry.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Ever wonder how these cupcakes get their red?
I once had that thought and was wondering how the taste would be like. So I purchase one at a cupcake store, took a bite and was curious – it had a mild chocolatey taste. So, what cause the colour? And obviously, the answer lies in the red colouring that is added in the making of red velvet cupcakes.

If you look through the ingredients of cupcakes, you might find that the ones that red velvet cupcakes need are a tad different from the other common ones. For example, instead of baking powder, baking soda is used. Also, buttermilk and distilled white vinegar are used instead of whole milk. It is said that the reaction between cocoa powder and baking soda gives a tinge of red to the batter, but it is definitely insufficient to result in a good red. So, red food colouring has to be added. The recipe I followed calls for 2 tablespoon of it but I only used about a teaspoon of my wilton’s christmas red colouring gel. So, I guess it very much depends on how ‘powerful’ your colouring paste/gel is.

Recipes for red velvet cupcakes are more or less the same. For this batch, the recipe I used is from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Vanilla cupcakes with ribena frosting

This week’s bake for the CG. A simple cupcake. Suitable for the kids.

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Friday bakes

This weekend is packed to the core. While we do not have any halloween party, we do have invitations of various kinds and this provides a good opportunity to bake since there would be people who could possibly polish the food off. Yay! And since I have only about a month more to go before I let go of my beloved standmixer, I need to maximise the use of it.

First up is Joanne Chang’s Apple Snacking Spice Cake which is easy to bake and delicious for munching. I have been attempting some of her recipes and thus far, they turn out good!

Somehow, the combination of apple, raisins and pecan nuts won’t get you nowhere.

Next up is banoffee macarons, one that Yumi chose to bake from the Macarons book that she gave me months ago. Since I had just attended the French Macarons class, I’m ready to apply what I’ve learnt. Having to eyeball the whipped egg whites to a shiny, smooth consistency is key to having a sexy looking macaron shell and I’m nervous about it. We do have feet this time but the shells are a tad hollow. What is wrong again??

Last but not least, we baked Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes. Baking them made me think of the reason why I started baking in the first place – that I was captivated by the many many cupcakes that I saw online and was thus enticed to bake them. Cupcakes are easy to bake and they are absolutely not as finicky as macarons. I got the idea to bake these cupcakes from the blog – Love & Olive Oil – but adapted a little using the Chai Latte teabags instead of the black ones. Thus, I also adjusted the amount of spices used – half of the amount indicated. The frosting is just amazing! It’s so delicious and not as heavy as the usual (American) buttercream. The cupcakes turn out moist and the whole combination is just heavenly! This cupcake recipe is for keeps.

Happy baking!

Chocolate cupcakes with crispy magic frosting

This morning, Yumi and I got together to prepare cupcakes for Annie’s bridal shower. It’s such a joyous occasion and the ‘hard work’ of baking cupcakes must be shared. Nah. It’s actually easy to bake cupcakes. All you need is to spend time on mise en place, read the recipe carefully (yes, I do follow) and execute well. Most of all, have fun!

The recipe is taken from Flour’s Baking Book which I absolutely adore.

Note: You need to prepare the batter at least an hour in advance.

Being a first-timer in baking, I absolutely think Yumi did well in her attempt today! More to come? =p


Poppyseed Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

A friend asked me recently where she could find good basic cupcakes recipes which led me to think about the cupcakes that I have baked and their creators.

There are many bloggers out there who do an excellent job in this area. Just look at the nominated list of bloggers in my previous entry; I spent quite some time deciding who to vote for in the various categories!

So, this cupcake is from one of the nominees. I like the crunchy feel of the poppy seeds when you take a bite. I’m fond of cream cheese but quite detest icing sugar and just used a portion of it, about 3/4 cup instead of the suggested 1.5 to 3 cups. Taste for yourself the degree of sweetness that you want. For me, I want the cream cheese and butter flavour to stand out.

And then, of all times, the multi-card reader failed on me and I have to take the pictures using my Lumix. Sigh…

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Vanilla red bean cupcakes with matcha cream cheese frosting

It’s time to bake cupcakes again! This is mostly prompted by the existence of 4 egg whites in the freezer, waiting to be used. I thought of baking macarons but inadequate research was made and thus have to shelve the attempt, yet again. Cupcakes seem like the way to go since it hardly ever goes wrong.

Well, I won’t say I like this particular flavour – the vanilla is too strong for my liking – and the next time I make the frosting, I would make sure I put in more matcha to increase the flavour. Right now, the cream cheese and matcha are being masked by the icing sugar taste.

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Chocolate Cupcakes Stuffed With Strawberry Chocolate Ganache And Frosted With Chocolate Glaze And Buttercream

My sketch

So, this begins my goal of baking 10 different types of cupcakes in terms of the flavour. Normally, I love working with chocolates because most people love it and using it is a ‘safe’ choice. Having tasted cupcakes with filling inside, I now prefer this type to plain ones with just frosting on top. It’s a bit of a chore but it gives more taste to it than just the overpowering frosting.

These cupcakes are taken from the website Cupcake Bakeshop which I’m very fond of. Her pictures made me drool and she has a wonderful variety of cupcakes. Pick and choose what you like to bake. I settled for Chocolate Cupcakes Stuffed With Strawberry Chocolate Ganache And Frosted With Chocolate Glaze And Buttercream. To be a little creative, I topped some of the cupcakes with chocolate discs and sliced almonds. I’m baking these for a birthday gal. I certainly hope she will like it.

Notice the difference in lighting when the pics are taken in the night (first pic) and the in the day time (above). Natural lighting is so important!

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Chocolate-chocolate cupcakes

Goodness! It’s been so long since I last baked cupcakes. Where have I been?

This week is the recess for public schools and that means I would be relatively free! Yipee! And that also means more baking!

Mondays are usually a day that I have to bake some desserts so that Ken could bring some munchies for dinner as he goes for his lessons. There is no microwave oven available for him to use and thus baked goods are the way to go. And I decided on something about chocolates again and to play with some designs – Chocolate-chocolate cupcakes.

This is once again a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup buttermilk but I replaced it with 1/4 cup heavy cream since I don’t have the former. The cake came out dense and reminded me of brownies and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be that way since I have made a slight adjustment. But I’m enjoying these cupcakes even as I’m writing this post!

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=(

I’m not sure if the weather has anything to do with my mood. It gets dark so early that I am reluctant to go out when the clock strikes 4pm.

I was supposed to go for the volunteer support meeting and I was dragging my feet as the hour approached. I wanted to stay home, in my warm abode. When the train came, I reached into my pocket and realised that I did not bring along my T-card and I turned back, not to go home to get the card but to stay at home for the evening.

I dislike the cold weather and definitely darkness. Since we are going to be here for the next one year, I guess I would have to think positively.

I think I should set myself some goals (random thought); it’s time to think about goals for 2011!

Cutting hubs' hair...

maybe nutella cupcakes can cheer me up?

Magnolia cupcakes

During our recent visit to New York, one of the essential stops that we had made was to Magnolia Bakery. We went to the one at Rockefeller Center and there was already a long queue for the cupcakes; It seems like one of the tourist attractions! Being a tourist too, I must get hold of one of the cupcakes and I chose Devil’s Food cupcakes with buttercream. Thankfully, there was a neat system in place and we did not have to wait too long in the queue.

I tell you, when I had my first bite of it, it seemed like the whole world stood still and the cupcake just melt in your mouth, giving you full satisfaction for a hard day’s work. I love it and I’m gonna make them myself in time to come. Promise!

Cupcakes @ Marmalade Pantry

Some said that they had one of the best cupcakes in Singapore and for some time, I have been wanting to try them. A few months ago, my colleague, Dorine, bought two for us to try and today, I decided to return the favour.

We bought three – Red Velvet, Chocolate Deluxe and Elvis (peanut butter). Somehow, with the cupcakes in hand, one felt happier. Cupcakes do have some effects on me.

So, the colleagues came together and tasted them. I was more impressed by Chocolate Deluxe and unfazed by Red Velvet. Chocolates won’t go wrong and won the hearts of many in the kitchen.

So, cupcakes remain dear in my heart and they shall be part of the curriculum that I am setting for myself in Boston!

                                

Tea with gals

Meeting up with the gals, the full strength today and I thought I should bake since they have not tasted my cupcakes before!

I made chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream icing. So mocha we had for tea today! I cut the amount of sugar for the cupcakes since I intended to add the chocolate ganache in it. Overall, I like the espresso smell! and thank you, dear hubs for washing up so that I could go out with the gals!

Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Makes 12-15 cupcakes

400g carrot, peeled and grated (not too fine nor coarse)
150ml whole milk
150ml canola oil/ vegetable oil
3 whole eggs
240g caster sugar
300g plain (all-purpose) flour
20g baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees
2. Set aside cupcake casings on a baking tray.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated carrot, nilk, oil and eggs.
5. Mix with a whisk to combine.
6. Add in the sugar and nix briefly.
7. Add in the flour mixture and mix well.
8. Scoop the mixture into the cupcake casing up to about 3/4 full.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 – 20 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
10. Remove from the oven, place it on a cooling rack and let it cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

250g cream cheese at room temperature
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g icing sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
2. Spread frosting on the cupcakes as desired.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12-15 cupcakes

100g unsalted butter
180g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
200g cake flour
60g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
220ml whole milk

Steps
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Set aside 12 cupcake casings on a baking tray.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy at medium speed. Scrape down the batter in the bowl once in a while if necessary.
5. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated.
6. At a slow speed, alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk. Stop the mixing process.
7. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cupcake casing no more than 3/4 full.
8. Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rck for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

250g dark chocolate couverture
250g freshing whipping cream

1. Simmer the fresh whipping cream until it begins to start a boil.
2. Remove from the heat and pour the hot content into the bowl of dark chocolate couverture.
3. With a spatula, slowly stir the hot mixture until well combined.
4. Leave it aside to cool completely before using.

* To put the chocolate ganache filling in the cupcake, use a small knife and cut out a small circle int he centre of the cupcake. Fill the cupcake with ganache and cover back the cap of the cut out piece to the centre. Frost the cupcake with the buttercream recipe as below.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

250g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
90g dark chocolate couverture
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Melt the dark chocolate couverture in the microwave or under hot water bath. Set aside.
2. In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl once in a while, if necessary.
3. Add in the melted dark chocolate couverture (make sure it’s not hot) and continue to beat until just well combined.
4. Buttercream is ready to use.

Coffee Buttercream Icing

150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
2 tsp instant espresso powder, dissolved in a small amount of hot water
350g icing sugar, sifted

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, milk, espresso mixture and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar to produce a buttercream of a creamy and smooth consistency.

C…You made me cry.

I never fail to cry when a film depicted the hardships of the people during the Communist rule and how many of them struggled to break free.

My first encounter was through watching this E. film called China Cry and the story had stuck with me since and when I saw the trailer for Mao’s Last Dance, I knew I must watch it.

I cried, not just once but a few times (pls remember to bring kleenex when you intend to watch). It was an inspirational story of a boy from a povery-stricken family who was picked by a delegation from Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy to study ballet and how he ended up in America through a series of fortunate/unfortunate events (but in the end, it turned out to be good for this man, Li Cunxin)

C, how you have grown! …………….

During service, I was brought to mind about this country by Ps Andrew when he mentioned the song Take my Hand, Precious Lord by Thomas Andrew Dorsey. I first learnt of this song at Newton Life Church when it was the closing song during a rally by Rev Stephen Tong. I dedicated my life then to the Lord and then in 1997, the song was sung in a Church I was worshipping in in China. I thought it was a Chinese song and today I realised it was a translated version. This day, he reminded me about this nation again.

PM: Bored so went to bake chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

Our tropical climate really does not help when preparing the frosting. It actually was about to melt when I tired to pipe the cupcakes. =( But otherwise, they should be ok.

The cupcake class.

I was among the first few to arrive. Kiasu mah..I must grab a good seat since I am short ;p.
It was a new kitchen at Shermay’s Cooking School and I had the privilege of attending one in the newly renovated kitchen. Participants were treated to Illy coffee and cold water.

The new kitchen

Since this was a demo class, we just sat back and relax and let the chef do the baking. Audrey Tan, Head chef and chef-owner of Freshly Baked was the trainer and with her were two assistants. Oh, by the way, all participants were given a box of freshly baked cupcakes to bring home!

Cupcakes for the folks!

Chef Tan demo 6 types of cupcakes with 6 different types of frosting. Since I was there for the frosting, the different cupcakes flavour was a bonus. I had a better understanding of the variation and through the Q&A, I learnt more. It was a non-intimidating environment and Shermay herself was there to give her inputs for questions posed by the participants. Enriching, I must say. Oh! This question of hers always stuck with me, “Everyone has a KitchenAid hor?” Ok, that’s it! I can’t wait for the arrival of mine! About 2 years later 😦

Before the start of the lesson, I popped by Pantry Magic and bought Appetite (magazine) and Chef Tan was featured! She was part of the flight attendant crew before giving it up to pursue her next goal – to be a chef. And she enrolled herself in the Culinary Institute of America. Woo hoo!

I enjoyed the session but sitting there for3 hours is really quite painful to the back. Nonetheless, it was really a good session! Thumbs up!

vanilla cupcakes with cream chantilly

Chocolate cupcakes

Pineapple upside down cupcakes

carrot cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes with berries

photo-taking session!

I got a little emotional when K & I went down to OSIM Tri to see see look look. I missed the sports, the training and the race. I signed up for it but decided that it would be unwise and irresponsible of me to attempt without training. With the recent near-fainting incident, I had better not try anything funny.

The thing is, I signed up for 4 events this year and did not participate in 2 of them already – biathlon & triathlon. I didn’t attempt because I was busy with the wedding preparation and other commitments and training had to take a step back. In the end, I didn’t go for them because I believe that one has to train for an event. You cannot ‘suka suka’ go for any race without adequate preparation.

I have 2 more to go. Both are runs – one in May which I really hope to run with my gfs and of course the ONE important run which really kind of determine what I would be doing in Boston. So now, it’s time to dig out my marathon notes and my diary to plan for the training.

Well, sad is one thing but I’m glad that my friends who were not into such thing are now participating!

I made White Chocolate Chip cupcakes with a heavy heart because I also lost my NIKE wristband! (CRY). Cutting the amount of sugar and chocolate chips, they seemed ok. I think I would add more chips to them because they taste like the ordinary vanilla cupcakes now.

Happy Easter!

Because He rose again, just as He had said, just as it was prophesied about Him from of old, we had the victory and our faith is not futile.  

Thank you Jesus! 

So, to continue from yesterday’s attempt at cupcake decorating, I followed buttercream recipe from Okashi. The steps were easy and the result was good! I mean, of course, I did not follow strictly (cut corners…don’t follow!).  

Unsalted butter 200g, softened
Egg whites 70g
Icing sugar 70g
Orange or cherry liqueue 1/2 tbsp 

1. Beat butter until pale and creamy.
2. Using a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add hald the sugar and continue beating. When egg whites have achieved some volume, add remaining sugar and continue to beat until egg whites are glosy and soft peaks form.
3. Add meringue to butter and mix thoroughly. Add orange or cherry liqueur and fold in well. 

  

Vanilla cupcake with buttercream

with chocolate rice & decorators

  

I like the taste of the buttercream; it’s just nice. However, today, I made a mistake of baking the cupcakes a few minutes too long. They came out harder. Sad… I don’t know what came over me. Today, those cupcake cases were smaller and I should have baked for a shorter period but I did the opposite.  

As usual, I was not that proficient when it comes to decoration. Perhaps, the piping tip that I used was too small, resulting in a less-than-okay sight. But at least, progress was made. =)  

And thank you Bao for always helping to wash up the equipment and willing to go for a jog even when your knees were not in good condition.    

Mood: Blessed by Jesus and Ken!

Cupcake attempt #2

Weekends’ here and it’s baking time again. 

I resolve to continue with practising decorating with the cookies that I’ve baked. Because I was not baking bulk, I halved the portion of ingredients and missed out some of them, thinking that it didn’t matter. 

But it DID matter. Because the royal icing did not turn out well. Discouraged, I wanted to dispose of the product that I have made but Ken’s continual encouragement made me think of ways to go about making it look ok. 

Anyway, I followed Magnolia’s Vanilla cupcakes. They turned out well, moist and soft! Love it! 

Today, I tried to make improvement to the icing again but in vain. Somewhere, somehow it has gone wrong…SIL helped me look up some buttercream recipes and gave me words of encouragement. So comforting! 

I will attempt again! Oh, come on! 

moist cupcakes! SWEET cupcakes!

  

SWEET Cupcakes

 

  

Good Friday's bake

  


  

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Choca-Mocha Cupcakes

100g dark chocolate, chopped
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100g self-raising flour
2 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
40g chocolate-covered coffee beans

to decorate
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp in instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
dark chocolate, grated

makes 12

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Leave until almost melted, then set aside to cool slightly.

3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Sift the flour into the mixture and stir in, then stir in the coffee, followed by the coffee beans.

4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

5. To decorate, beat the butter, sugar and coffee together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Spread the mixture smoothly over the cakes and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Source: Susannah Blake’s Cupcake Heaven.

cookies & cream cupcakes

It’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow and I thought I should make a cake for him since he’s always the one who supplies the group with dessert. This time round, I’m going to start my little interest in cupcakes and I thought the cookies & cream cupcakes are appropriate.

Ingredients (makes 24 cupcakes)

for the cupcakes
225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
crushed cream-filled chocolate cookies

for the icing
375 icing sugar, sieved
225g unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
chopped cream-filled chocolate cookies

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Combine all the cupcake ingredients, except the cookies, in a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cookies.

Spoon the batter into the cases (3/4 full). Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove tins from the oven and cooled for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the icing sugar, butter and salt using an electric whisk. Spread the icing onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle the chopped cookies on top.

Store without icing in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

* I thought the normal sized cupcakes are a tad too much for one to enjoy. Maybe I should try a bite-sized ones the next round.

Pistachio Cupcakes with Cranberries

I had problems with cupcakes for a very long time. Something has to be wrong. I tried making these cupcakes today. Could be better, I feel.

Ingredients:

1 cup pistachios & 1/4 cup chopped
1.5 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs (I use 2 eggs)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cranberries

I got this recipe from Martha Steward but was rather confused by the instructions and the amount of ingredients stated. In the end, I changed the method and the amount a little. The cranberries wer rather roasted by the time I took out the cupcakes.