happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday month! Been wanting to bake a cake for myself this year but had no special cravings for any cake flavor. On a side note, (that may not be of any importance but just trivial fact) I’ve been playing too much with my best friend lately. Number 1, it made me so so so broke. Number 2, I’m need to catch-up with my school work! So perhaps, a break this week onwards would be good? ;)

And I really had to get my hands flour-ed and butter-ed before I get back to work.

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Been scrolling desperately through food gallery sites and ta-dah! Decided to make black sesame cake with cream cheese frosting. And I’ve always wanted flowers on my cake. So yeah!

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Till then.
Jeul

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Matcha Cupcake

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Hello! I’m back from a very long hiatus, and a wonderful exchange trip at South Korea, Seoul.
I shall quit being cliche to repeat what many would have say about their exchange trips – things like exciting / crazy / fun, etc. Because it is true and if i’m to repeat it all over again, it’s going to be boring.

It’s soooo hard to get a decent green tea / matcha powder in Singapore that when I landed foot steps in Japan, I promise to bring home authentic decent green tea powder. and of course, I did. *beams*

20130718-203248.jpgOn the flipside, I’m pretty much struggling to adapt to my life back in Singapore. And the embarrassing fact that I’m still digging out clothes from my luggage. Oops!

20130718-203325.jpgAnother part of me couldn’t wait to bake for the awesome friends that I’ve made while I was overseas. Those nights that we watch one another got into our drunkest state and all. How could they enter my life and not have a little something from me? And guess what? It’s also my best friend’s commencement day and green is her favorite color! I have no reasons not to bake despite the mess in my room right now that seemingly look like the aftermath of a passing hurricane.

As a green tea lover myself, I personally feel that I could have added more matcha powder to this recipe. (That greed inside me, it does taste fine but you know…… good things are never enough. Bahahaha)

Enough said.

Matcha Cupcakes
yield 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcake

  • 350g all-purpose flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 350ml vegetable oil
  • 290ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp matcha powder

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 400g cream cheese
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Method
Cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Prepare muffin pans and line them with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, matcha powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Whisk until the dry ingredients are combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. Fill up liners to ⅔ full and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat butter  and cream cheese until well combined.
  2. At low speed, mix in powdered sugar and matcha powder.  Then add vanilla extract and mix.
  3. Keep the frosting in the refrigerator to allow it to set for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Frosting
I used Wilton 1M Piping tip to make the rossette.

Hope you like them as much as my friends!

Enjoy.
Jeul

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

Finally! My girlfriends and I have a common slot to bake together ever since donkey years ago. We tried to arrange one and couldnt have a date with full attendance. Despite the rainy weather, we had a great time baking. This recipe is so awesome! The chocolate mocha cupcake base is da bomb! It’s soft and moist and best part is it’s chocolaty rich with a hint of espresso. LOVE IT.

It’s my first time making caramel and I need to get a saucepan with higher depth to get a better caramel sauce! so if you’re attempting this recipe, please please get a saucepan with depth, the caramel get lots of bubble and may overflow if you use a shallow saucepan. Do not worry when you see the massive amount of bubbles, continue cooking your caramel over the heat till you get it right.

This recipe is adapted from here.

There’s three parts to this recipe, the cupcake base, the caramel sauce and the frosting. Don’t be overwhelmed by it! And I’ve tuned this recipe slightly to suit Singaporean bakers since we hardly measure by butter by cups or sticks!

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes
yield 24 ~ 30 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcake

  • 1¾  cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾  cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1½  cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 113g chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Salted caramel buttercream

  • 340g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup salted caramel sauce, cooled

Method
Cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Prepare muffin pans and line them with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Whisk until the dry ingredients are combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. With mixer still on low speed, slowly add the brewed coffee and mix to just combined. Note: Batter will be very thin.
  5. Fill up liners to ⅔ full and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Place cream in small bowl, add vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Stir sugar, corn syrup and water in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush. Mix will thicken and turn to a deeper color.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and gradually add vanilla cream while continuously whisking. Mixture will bubble vigorously.
  4. Put saucepan back onto the stove over medium heat, whisk until smooth and thick.
  5. Finally, remove saucepan from heat and whisk in butter and salt. Strain into heatproof bowl and place in refrigerator to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. Beat butter until creamy. At low speed, beat in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Then beat in cream and vanilla. Gradually add in cooled salted caramel sauce and beat till light.

Frosting
I used Wilton 1M Piping tip to make the swirls. Swirls are then topped with the remaining salted caramel sauce and sprinkled with some salt.

If you are not serving them immediately, keep them in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Remove them from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving.

Enjoy!
Jeul

Donut Muffins?

Been baking insanely these days, cherishing my days left in Singapore before I part for my exchange term in South Korea. I will miss baking so so much! Can’t imagine not having a kitchen in my dorm :( Sigh.

Oh well! School term in my local university have started, so I decided to share some joy with my friends and made these cute little ones! They are so awesome! If you’re a fan of churros, you’ll get what I mean. These mini muffins are flavored with slight ground nutmeg and then coated with cinnamon sugar!

My mom who caught me baking when she just returned from work came into the kitchen and “stole” 3 pieces of them while I’m coating the rest! Funny how our roles switched, where my brother and I were the ones who sneak into the kitchen to “steal” the food she was cooking. Anyway, why is it called donut muffins then? The first bite will definitely remind you of the mini donuts you see in local bakeries, and when you continue with the next bite, it resembles muffins! It’s really that awesome! My friends loved it! I’m sharing with the recipe that I’ve halfed, if you are intending to make standard muffin size, just double the recipe below.

Donut Muffins

Donut Muffins
yield 28 – 32 mini muffins

Ingredients
Batter

  • 227g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp + ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup + ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅛ cup buttermilk

Coat

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Put rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 180° C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Combine milk and buttermilk in a separate bowl or pyrex container, whichever is possible.
  4. With a wooden spoon, mix ¼ dry ingredients to butter mix then mix ⅓ milk mixture. Continue mixing in alternate sequence, ending with dry ingredients. Do not overmix, mix until just combined & smooth.
  5. Grease and flour muffin tin, scoop till batter is even with the rim of the cup.
  6. Bake muffins until firm to touch, about 17 to 18 minutes (I started checking at 14 min).
  7. Melt butter for brushing.
  8. In a bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. When muffins are cool enough to hold, brush with butter and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Yeah! And there you go!
Jeul

Meringue Kisses

I’ve recently purchased a new digital camera with the help of my awesome friend, Liu. He’s such a great person and I’ve decided to make him some meringue cookies to thank him for helping me to run the errands.

Meringue Kisses

Okay, one thing about meringue is that you gotta be really free that whole day/night or you have plenty time to spare. My puny oven couldn’t hold large trays that I had to do batch by batch and each batch takes about 1 hr 40 min to bake and about 1 hour to cool completely in the oven. And this recipe yield 6 – 8 dozens of meringue kisses. Can you imagine how much time is required? Or is there anyone who could share a tip or two? That would definitely be very helpful to me. The long waiting caused my meringue to lose its shape and stiffness and collapsed. I’m not sure if I should store it in the refrigerator while baking or… ? And advice?

Just like what I’ve mentioned, this recipe yield 6 – 8 dozens of meringue kisses depending on the size of meringue kisses you want to have.

Meringue Kisses

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • Food coloring if any

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 100° C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar. Place bowl on top of medium saucepan filled with barely simmering water.
  3. Gently whisk the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Roughly 10 minutes.
  4. Either transfer bowl to stand mixer or remove bowl from saucepan and whisk the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  5. Gently stir in the food coloring.
  6. Fit a pastry bag and pipe small star shapes. (I used Wilton 1M Piping tip)
  7. Bake cookies until crips not brown for 1 hr 40 min.

It’s yet another simple recipe. Hope you enjoy!
Jeul

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Alright! And I made a quick and simple cake for my best friend’s birthday, which is totally perfect for a chocolate lover like her. We decorated a corner of the house a little and made it like a christmas celebration and she really bought the idea that the cake were in replacement of the christmas log cake.

The party was a small and cosy one. And I’m glad that she’s surprised. Boyf helped us so much by making a whole lot of yummy food! Everyone lovesssss his salad, it’s so so so good!

Okay, salad is not the where we want to go today.

Back to our chocolate cake.

For all the chocolate lovers out there, make this gluten-free cake!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake (8 inch)

Ingredients

  • 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 200g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190° C. Butter and dust the cake pan with flour.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler. Make sure that water is simmering (not boiling).
  3. Combine the yolks and ⅓ cup sugar until pale and thick.
  4. Beat whites until it reaches soft peak, then add the remaining ⅓ cup sugar to the whites and continue beating till stiff peak.
  5. Stir a spoonful of whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour the chocolate mix over the whites and fold gently until just combine.
  6. Pour batter to the pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes.
  7. Run a knife at the side and remove the cake. Serve it with ice cream or just on its own!

Notes:
You must use 70% dark chocolate or the batter will be too sweet.

Hurry! Make your chocolate cake now! :D

Enjoy.
Jeul

The last of 2012

Yay to surviving apocalypse! The world gave us another day to live, love & laugh. Some may think that the world won’t end. I honestly do believe it will, but we aren’t sure when would that happen. The Earth has been staying strong to withstand all our human greeds. Our greed to profit that cause the ozone layer to tear and many more.

Nonetheless, let us keep our hopes high and hope that we could help mother earth live another day :D

Even when 2012 is ending, I am so shameful for not completing most of my 2012 resolutions. Probably achieved one which is to bake more. haha!

SO…….. for chocolate lovers out there, keep a lookout! I have a few chocolate recipes to share! And I’ll start with the chocolate cupcakes that I baked for the party. The actual name of this cupcake is pretty long (that is Chocolate cupcake with Nutella cloud frosting,  adapted from Sweetapolita), in short I’ll just call it, “The chocolate cupcake”. Do refer to her site for original recipe, cos I’ve made few modifications for a less sweet cupcake which could have been sweeter. If you get what I mean.

thechocolatecupcake

The Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients
Cupcake

  • 95g all-purpose flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 30g dark cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup brewed coffee or espresso (hot)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg (room temperature, lightly beaten)
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 227g unsalted butter (softened but cool)
  • 190g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g bittersweet chocolate (chopped, melted and slightly cooled)
  • 2 tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

Method
Cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 180° C and line a muffin/cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer), fill up liners to ⅔ full (a little more than half). Batter will be liquidy, and cupcakes will rise.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to over-bake. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately, and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.

Frosting

  1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
  2. Add vanilla, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed.
  3. Add the Nutella, milk and pinch of salt, and beat on med-high speed for another minute.

Here’s a review from my culinary student boyfriend:

The cupcake is not too sweet which is good. The creaminess of the frosting was not overpowering. I like it! 8/10, it’s above average.

Haha! I promise there’s not even one cent of bias. We are very honest when it comes to tasting each other’s cooking/baking. For those of my friends who tasted it, I hope you enjoyed the cupcakes!

Ending this post with a song that I’ve been looping.

Merry X’mas & Happy New Year!
And I hope you know where to for the upcoming year.
Jeul