Frozen Themed Cupcakes

Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…..I hear this every day, several times a day, sung by my children. I was just waiting to see which one will ask for the Frozen themed cake first!

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Everything on the cupcake is edible, (except the casing of course ). The pictures were printed on edible rice wafers. I cut outwhite fondant rounds and mounted the wafers on it to give it a sleeker look and to prevent the wafer from being soggy from the buttercream underneath.

Made pure vanilla buttercream with no shortening in it. Cake itself was chocolate cupcake with a ganache centre.

Happy that the children loved it all.

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Matcha (Green Tea) and Azuki Beans Cake

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Another birthday celebration in the family. The month of July has me busy busy busy in the kitchen.

Decided to make use of my earl grey cake recipe but swopped the earl grey tea leaves for matcha powder instead. I like mine strong so I used 2 heaped tablespoons of the powder to steep in the scalded milk.

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See the gorgeous green hue for the cake batter? The green tea aroma doesn’t float during baking. You will begin to doubt whether you are making a green tea cake or vanilla cake (even though it was only 2tsp of vanilla extract!). But fret not, the green tea taste comes across when you eat it.😉

I made the Azuki bean paste from scratch. I boiled about 120g of Azuki beans in water till it is soft. Then mashed it to the thick paste I want, adding sifted icing sugar to taste. This amount is enough to make a layer to cover a 7inch cake.

I made a dam using the green tea buttercream before I spread the red bean paste. This will prevent any “red” infusion in the buttercream.

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For the buttercream I used a standard buttercream recipe but replaced the vanilla with 2 heaped tablespoons of matcha powder.

Cross section of the cake

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Happy baking!

Banana Muffin with Walnut & Cinnamon Streusel

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Bananas. Small handful of walnuts leftover from a previous bake. Muffin craving. Put it all together, you get this lovely muffin that tempts you just to have 1 more.

I decided to do mini muffins this round. I didn’t have mini cupcake cases at home, only these mini soufflĂ© cups which work as well.

I love muffins that dome so from past experience, I tend to fill my cups all the way up. For this recipe, I didn’t anticipate that it would rise that much in the soufflĂ© cup. Good thing was it didn’t spill over but rose up tall, like a soufflĂ©. I would think it would dome if you use the normal cases. Nonetheless, I am not complaining about the rise. Love it.

I didn’t have enough walnuts to incorporate it into the muffin batter. So I decided to do a streusel topping with it instead. The streusel does add a nice dimension to the taste of the muffin.

Chocolate-chocolate Muffin

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When you are an avid baker and only puts in real, natural ingredients into your bakes, you are going to find it hard buying most generic mass produced bakes off the shelf. By the time I get through reading the ingredients list, I usually return the nicely packed item back to the shelf.

If I do buy something from a local bakery, I tend to want to try and identify each ingredient they have added with each bite that I take. It’s not only about the taste but what goes in it that matters most to me.

I have been eyeing this recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker the past week. Finally I got my chance to test it out this afternoon. The pics on her website looked so promising and the comments were most flattering. So I set out with much expectation. It did not disappoint.

I did tweak the recipe though. I don’t like my stuff too sweet so I reduced the sugar, upped the butter and chocolate slightly. This is the ingredients list in metric measurements with the quantity being tweaked to my liking. If you want the original recipe, do follow the link above. Apart from tweaking the ingredients, all the steps from the original recipe were followed to a tee.

Ingredients
250g plain flour
50g fine caster sugar
60g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 large egg
11/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
60g chopped dark couverture chocolate
85g unsalted butter
70g mini bittersweet choc chips or bittersweet/dark choc chunks (or as much as you desire but no more than 100g)

I didn’t have buttermilk at home so I made my own – I added 1 tablespoon of vinegar to fresh milk. You can add lemon juice instead of vinegar too.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Butter or spray the 12 moulds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

2. Melt the butter and the chopped couverture chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat. (If you don’t want couverture chocs, any other dark chocolate with at least 55% cacao will do)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Do not overmix the batter. (It should be a fairly thick batter, not too smooth but no visible flour either. Don’t bother to smooth out the lumps in the batter) Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. (I filled my muffin cups right up as I like it to dome. Do not attempt to smoothen out the batter as it will cause it to flatten out instead of dome)

4. Place baking tray on the top shelf. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mould.

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Another Earl Grey Cake

Tropical heat and buttercream aren’t very good friends. Tropical heat and cream cheese frosting……suicidal.

Many tell me the only way to keep it stiff is to either use shortening or up the icing sugar. I don’t like both. Other alternative is to work in an air-conditioned room. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury……yet.

I took up the challenge. With many breaks in between frosting to allow the frosting to set in the fridge/freezer, this is the final outcome……pretty good I might say. I wanted to pipe roses but it could hardly withstand the heat, so I had to make do with rosettes.

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Earl grey cake with maple cream cheese frosting and almond pralines. You can find the earl grey cake recipe from an earlier post recipe

Orange Scones with Orange Drizzle

My eldest asked to make scones today. So I took out my trusted book of scones and asked her to pick one. She chose this. 20140610-211329-76409003.jpg

My recipe is from The Little Book of Scones. the original recipe calls for cardamom to be added but I omitted that as (i) I don’t really like cardamon and (ii) I didn’t have any at home.

Love love love the bite of this. Biscuity on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. And the orange drizzle adds a little sweetness to the scone. Perfect pairing. I couldn’t resist eating it by itself. I can imagine that this will go well with an afternoon cuppa in the summer (or spring or autumn or heck, just bring it on in any weather!)

Captain America Cupcakes

It was a last minute request by a dear friend to make something with Captain America as the theme for her godson. Seems like the retail cake shops here don’t do CA cuppies or require certain quantities(and they ain’t cheap).

When the kids were in bed, the mice (aka mum) came out to play. As I googled for inspiration, I thought the shields should be easy to make and I could do so in a jiffy. But boy oh boy was I wrong. Getting the right size for each colour, making sure the star fits just nice into the bulls eye, letting it dry. And all these time my fingers and toes were kept crossed that the cupcake turns out well and the end presentation will make it a sweet birthday for a sweet little boy.

I tried out a new cupcake recipe for this one. I got the vanilla cupcake recipe fromThe Brown Eyed Baker. The only change I did to the recipe was to reduce the sugar in the cupcake recipe by 60g. See below for the ingredients in metric measurements.

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients
180g all purpose flour
140-150g fine caster sugar
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream (I used home made buttermilk)
1 large egg @ room temperature
2 large yolks @ room temperature
11/2 tsp vanilla (I was very liberal with my vanilla. I think I poured in about 1.5 tbsp! After all, who can have enough of a good vanilla)20140603-214030-78030388.jpg

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Earl Grey Sponge Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

To be paired with the following:

Music: Smooth jazz

Weather: doesn’t matter, it could be scorching hot outside, raining hail storms or a perfect storm

Recommended brew: Earl grey, Lady Grey or good ole English Breakfast

You get the drift…it’s one of those comforting and uplifting cake that is perfectly calming.

Made this for a dear friend of mine. Whatchamacallit – one of my BFFs. A double celebration of both her earthly and heavenly birthdays (she just got water baptized! Hallelujah!) She loves earl grey anything and her current fav character is the Line Bear.

I did some research and came up with this recipe using quality Earl Grey tea from T2 Tea. My recipe was adapted from The Gingered Whisk. Quite quite pleased with my first attempt at this recipe. It was a hit with both the young and the more mature (no we are not old…denial? Nah!)

Ingredients
Yields a 7inch cake, single layer of about 2.5 inches thick. You could separate into two 7inch or 9inch round tins to get 2 layers.

227g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
170g fine caster sugar
3 eggs
375g all purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup of milk
4 tea bags of earl grey tea leaves
1 tsp vanilla

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Pour out the tea leaves and grind it into smaller bits in a pestle and mortar or a food processor. It doesn’t need to be powdered. But you don’t want to be chomping on large chunks of tea leaves either.
Bring the milk to a scald (but not boiling) then add the grounded tea leaves and leave it aside to infuse.
In a medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time until just incorporated.
Add half the flour mixture at low speed (if using an electric mixer) till just combined.
Add all the milk and mix till just combined.
Add the remaining flour mixture and vanilla. Again, mix till just combined. Do not over mix.
Pour out into a well greased tin and bake for around 40-45min or when a skewer inserted comes out clean. I started checking around 35min. When you notice that the cake starts to pull away a little from the sides of the tin, it is time to turn off the heat and take it out of the oven. Let it sit in the tin for another 10min before turning it out and letting it cool off on a wire rack.

Cream cheese frosting
500g cream cheese, straight out of the fridge, cut into cubes
125g unsalted butter, straight out of the fridge, cut into cubes
200g icing sugar, sieved
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Just blitz everything together with a cake mixer, starting at low speed and gradually bring it to high. Allow it to whack the frosting for 2-3min.
This should make enough frosting to ice 2 layers of cake and cover the whole cake.

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A Classic Butter Cake

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I don’t know about you, but where I live, it is getting difficult to find a good ole classic cake these days….and those without artificial flavouring nor colouring is even more rare.

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy the fancy stuff, with the different layers of flavours and textures. Not to mention the visual treat these modern sweet treats offer (and the big hole they burn in your pocket too!)

So it is Mother’s Day tomorrow where we live and our little angel has summoned mummy dearest to bake a cake for her godma. With the little one running a fever then, I am not gonna get very far with my baking materials. One look into my pantry and I can only think of whipping up a good old classic – butter cake. Considering that godma loves a good cake paired with equally good tea on a Mothering Sunday, this should seal the deal.

It’s a recipe that I have picked up from The Little Teochew and tweaked it a little. I reduced the sugar to 170g and upped the butter by another 25g. This time round I made it into little loaves using my Wilton loaf pan.

When I was done making the batter, I decided to take out half to make an earl grey butter loaf instead. I infused 1 tbsp earl grey tea leaves ( these should be grinded but not too fine. You don’t wanna be chomping on large tea leaves) in just scalded milk (about 2tbsp) for about 10min. I added this mix (tea leaves and milk all in) and stirred into the batter until just mixed. Don’t over stir.

This recipe can yield about 5-6 mini loaves, depending on how full you fill each loaf compartment. I recommend no more than 3/4 full to allow some room for the cake to rise.

As I was taking pictures, my kids kept asking “mummy are you done taking pictures yet? Can we eat it now?”. Enjoy! And a blessed Mother’s Day to all the mummies out there.

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Muffins

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I had just an hour to spare before the kids are home from school.

I decided to make a batch of muffins, split the batter into 2 to get two different flavours – lemon (for me and hubs) and choc chips (for the kiddos).

– baking urge satisfied (checked)
– sweet craving satisfied (checked)
– tea time snack for kiddos (checked)
– chase the rainy day blues away (checked)
Many birds killed with one stone indeed. Pleased. Very pleased with myself indeed.

Still need a little tweaking to do. Not too pleased with the texture of the top though the insides are great. Shall post the recipe when I m happy with the result.