Monday, January 21, 2013

Mini Milestone - Birthday Cupcakes


I'm not sure if it's appropriate to call this a milestone. *^^* but i just completed my very first cupcake order yesterday and i was feeling super mega happy because i was initially unsure of how it would turn out. but i was seriously mega pleased with them and after realising how pretty it looks i did a little dance in the kitchen and my dad was amused. lol. i really felt like a proud mom or something. they are sooo simple and pretty!!

btw, these are dark chocolate fudge cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and dark chocolate letterings (:

so i really have to thank Mel for giving me this opportunity to attempt this.
(Hi Mel if you're reading this, thank you for believing in me lol. and i'm really glad that your friends enjoyed them!)

honestly i never intended to sell cupcakes or do anything else other than Kueh Lapis during Chinese New Year. i never really thought i would take on anything else because i am aware that there are many other alternatives out there. but i love baking and was honestly excited to be able to attempt decorating (on top of frosting). so when she texted me one day asking if i could do this specific design, i was thrilled yet a little unsure. i had the steps and idea of how to get around doing it in my head but actualisation was another thing ^^'. thank goodness it turned out exactly how i imagined it to be, better actually. and i feel much more prepared to take on any other baking challenges that come my way!

i had courageously tweaked the recipe a little and made my own frosting concoction to reduce the sweetness drastically (as compared to the previous frostings). i was initially afraid that the frosting won't hold without sufficient icing sugar but it turned out fine and i really love how evident the cream cheese taste is. the cupcake was awfully fudge-y out of the fridge and still light and fluffy at the same time.

(on a side note, such cupcakes taste a lot better cold because chilling actually brings the cupcake together, make them slightly firmer (less crumbly) and i believe it allows the flavor to infuse within the cake. which is why i always chill them, or sometimes, freeze them even.)

and i was mad glad to hear that everyone loved the cupcakes and had second helpings :').
i was really touched and it honestly made my day to know that people actually enjoy what i made. :') :')


so these are the extras from yesterday. i couldn't help myself and had two yesterday and one today. since i made extra chocolate letters as backups yesterday, i used them as well. and for fun i did mini hearts. hehe. shared some with PC people, kept the rest for the parents and myself and i had one for breakfast this morning and i know it sounds incredulous and a tad BYL but i had wanted a second one for myself. ^^'

will definitely be making these more often for my own indulgence hehe (:

oh and, yes - these are now open for customisation and orders along with pineapple tarts and Kueh Lapis this coming CNY. just drop me an email!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cupcake



i was not in the best of moods yesterday, and my cookies turned out as flat as my mood. it reflects in what you bake. it's true. anyhow. here's one i did a couple of days ago..

yet another cupcake post~ the main reason for baking more cupcakes is the leftover frosting from baking the Salted Caramel Cupcake. i had already reduced the frosting recipe but had a whole bag left :S and the frosting was really a little too sweet so i decided to bake a dark chocolate cupcake that was naturally more on the bitter side to offset the sweetness. also picked up a block of cream cheese with the intention to mix it with the remaining frosting to hopefully it will be less sweet altogether. this recipe was again picked up from Brown Eyed Baker (yes i'm in love with her site). and i read somewhere in the comments that the cupcake base alone was actually bitter. which was really awesome to match with the sweet frosting in the fridge.

prep time for this was a lot shorter than the previous one. and it was a lot more straightforward which made it more or less a breeze to make. the tops are probably not as aesthetically pleasing as the other recipe, but i actually think that such cracked tops are artistically pretty too :D i did a quick taste test and i would say the cupcakes are not dark enough~ maybe reduce the sugar by another 10g and it'll be perfect. and i really love how the tops are crispy and moist the insides are. really thanks to the sour cream. apparently yoghurt and any other cream won't do the trick. i had used light sour cream for the previous recipe but tried the premium sour cream this time round.

also, i tried freezing these but instead of being extremely cakey (if you realise, cupcakes can be rather crumbly, so i love freezing them to hold them together.) but these turned out with an almost biscuit texture after freezing. so they are better eaten right from the fridge. i had rebeaten the sweet frosting from the caramel cupcakes with more cream cheese to reduce the sweetness and piped them in a simple pattern. i really do love these, a little more than the salted caramel ones mainly due to the more fudgey-cakey texture (: just my personal preference.

Dark Chocolate Cupcake (Yielded 16 Cupcakes) (Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Ingredients:

120g unsalted butter
60g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
40g cocoa powder
94g flour (i used cake flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 160ºc. Line standard-size muffin pan with baking cup liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine
  4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about 1/3 of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.
  5. Fill cupcake liners till about 1/2 full. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean. 20 to 22 minutes.
  6. Cool cupcakes on wire rack to room temperature before icing.
The original recipe at Brown Eyed Baker's paired this with Peanut Butter Frosting which honestly sounds divine! But imma finish up the salted caramel frosting in the fridge first. (:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake


i've never really been a fan of fancy cupcakes or such and have always thought them to be overrated. but recently i tried a couple of PHENOMENAL cupcakes that actually got me craving for them. They were from Marmalade Pantry (Ion Shopping Mall Singapore) costing about SGD$4.50+ each. pretty pricey it may seem but in my very honest opinion. a good cupcake does require a lot of work. probably less for commercially made cupcakes since things are done in masses but doing it at home demands for a lot more effort than imagined. NONETHELESS, there is immense satisfaction from achieving a moist, soft chocolatey cupcake and frosting it with the most yummylishess goodness in the world like a light and fluffy blend of cream cheese, butter, salted caramel and icing sugar. and then drizzle with more salted caramel and top that with some flakes of Fleur de Sel. ah delish! just look at that! it almost looks like a Caramel Frapp order from Starbucks and it makes me feel happy (:

i'm a huge fan of Brown Eyed Baker and was looking for a recipe to use up the salted caramel i made a while ago for macarons. so i was browsing her site for some inspiration and came across her Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake which simply looks divine~ she has really pretty pictures so hop over to take a look! her cupcakes are really gorgeous. :O 

the method involves cooking butter and sugar over heat which supposedly gives the cupcake a caramelized and nutty hint to it. indeed when i cooked the butter and sugar, there was a slight hint of caramel aroma but i was quite disappointed that it didn't reflect strong enough in the cupcake. maybe it was the way i cooked it. also, the recipe says to cook till mixture is smooth and butter is completely melted. as of melting butter, more often than not you'd notice the butter divides into a layer of transparent liquid (oil?) and a bottom layer of butter stuff? i'm not sure what it is. but after cooking for awhile with the sugar, they actually did manage to combine into a thick pale yellow smooth paste and i'm not sure it it's meant to be like that or i may have over heated it which killed the caramel flavor? i'm not sure but it didn't affect the texture of the cake i would think and it was still mad yumz. and i must say that if your'e a huge salted caramel fan, it is IMPERATIVE to top the cakes with Fleur de Sel (that is sea salt if you're not Spanish) to truly get the salted caramel kick. 

i converted her recipe from cups to grams and modified the recipe very slightly. also, i reduced the frosting amount - i wanted to 1/2 the amount but was afraid that it would be insufficient. so i did 3/4 the recipe amount which was honestly a lot more than enough considering i have a whole bag of leftover frosting now ._. should have just halved the recipe. and... on a side note, if it weren't for the salted caramel flavour, i actually prefer the frosting from my cinnamon rolls (which i will eventually post soon i hope haha) simply because it's not as sweet and i appreciate the stronger flavour of tangy-ness from the cream cheese rather than a sweet frosting. but that's just my personal preference (: Also, this recipe actually demanded a lot of resources. one whole block of butter and over 300g of sugar. quite a big recipe and i didn't halve it as i intended to give them away as gifts. for own consumption i recommend halving the recipe.

So here's my version of Brown Eyed Baker's Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake (:

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes (Yielded 27) (Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Ingredients:
75g cocoa powder
135ml hot water
170g all purpose flour + 110g cake flour 
(alternatively use 280g all purpose flour)^
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
240g unsalted butter
370g sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
170g sour cream (i used light sour cream)

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC. Line standard-size muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth, and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4 to 5 minutes.  
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture, beating until smooth.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix each addition until just incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each a little more than half full*. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
^i used a mix of APF and cake flour simply because i was trying to use up the cake flour at home (:

*original recipe states to fill 3/4 full but my cupcakes overflowed slightly in the oven and 1/2 turned out more ideal. also, it might be due to my Rowenta oven which has uneven heat distribution for the conventional mode (top bottom heat) where the left side of the oven is hotter resulting in the batch of cupcakes on the left rising faster and taller and more uneven than the ones on the right. so subsequently i tried turning them halfway but the cupcakes were a little too delicate to be turned. maybe i should have turned earlier. 

Salted Caramel Frosting

Ingredients:
6 oz unsalted butter
6 oz cream cheese
90g salted caramel sauce
370g icing sugar

Instructions:
  1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes (i used my whisk attachment for my Kenwood Chef KM300 Stand Mixer but use any mixer). Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, drizzle with some additional salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de del.

Apple Cinnamon Macarons



(very overdue post)

as i type, there's a last batch of my cinnamon macaron cookies in the oven. but there were too many observations so far and i need to write them down before i forget.

before i go on, I SHALL DEDICATE THIS POST... to my fellow baker/ avid ice-cream maker friend who is a huge fruit person and has been asking me to try fruity flavors in my macarons for the longest time. i hereby promise that if the macarons mature well, i will deliver. ^^

although he.. and many other of my friends probably don't know of this place... lol.. BUT IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS NO? :)

ok so. i under folded my macaronage today and realized my mistake after pipping half the batter. so i actually fixed the second half.

the first half of the macaronage was clearly more stiff and held it's piped shape after piping rather than settling down into a nice, flat round shape, even after resting. after baking, it also rose a lot more than usual, resulting in a puffed appearance. it still had feet, but a lot less than the batch after.

the second half of the macaronage settled into a nice flat round shape during resting. it rose as well but was a lot less domed than the first half - not completely flat and still had a little roundness to it.

the last batch in the oven now, having rested the most and probably deflated the most (they were the last bit from the piping bag and subject to more torment before being piped), have a more even surface, still round and have nice evident feet. very nice and round.

now. my question is - which should we be aiming to achieve?

(will only update with recipe if i attempt this again.)

i referred to my past few macaron posts and it seems that it's the last batch that should be the ideal shape. looks prettier too i guess.