Category Archives: Frostings

Brainchild of Halloween

I feel like I’ve been having the greatest kind of days. You too? Nice.

Each day deviated from the original plans. I met one of my closest friends the other day,with the intention of being all big-girl-like and having a fancy dinner followed by drinks at a swanky new joint. Only thing is we made it to the most cliche old-school dinner place in town (the kind that used to be cool when your mom was your age), cheap manicures, flea markets and a much-deserved foot massage. Oh, and those drinks? Swapped it with bubble tea instead.

And yesterday was meant to be productive, only thing is I spent it watching Harry Potter and baking cupcakes. But it was pretty awesome. And today, the beach was on the agenda, but after a late night of dancing, I think it’s going to be more Harry Potter and eating cupcakes. Probably a horror movie thrown in somewhere all in the spirit of Halloween.

My point is, no matter how you plan things, anticipate the scenarios, draw up a five-year route you’re going to take,it’s really rather amazing to go along with a bit of hope that someone’s got a plan you never thought of, but brings you along anyway. I used to get panicky every time I felt the pressure to come up with something, like I needed to conjure a well-thought of road map, with all my back up plans in place. Plus, the hazard that comes with the work I do requires I think of the worst case scenario in every scenario. But the greatest thing comes when you see that it’s okay to not have a plan, or have a plan different from what people expect you to have. I can deal with different.

I can deal with dancing to the music inside my head. I can deal with laughing at things people don’t find that funny. I can deal with eating ice cream for dinner. I can deal with picnics in the living room. And the best thing is, he can deal with me.

To get started, let’s not make pretty cupcakes. Let’s go all cool and CSI-like. Let’s go with brains.

Brain Cupcakes (Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream)

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes (adapted from The Crabapple Bakery Cookbook)

3 tbsp instant coffee granules
3/4 cup hot water
250g butter, unsalted
300g dark chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups GF flour blend
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder

1) Preheat oven to 160°C. Line three 12-hole cupcake tins with cupcake cases.

2) Dissolve coffee in hot water. Put the butter, chocolate and coffee into a metal bowl, set over a bain marie, and stir gently until butter and chocolate are thoroughly melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and buttermilk until combined. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg mixture and mix until well combined. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until homogenous.

4) Divide evenly between the 28 cupcake cases and bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To Frost:

1) Fit a piping bag with a 6 or 8 mm round piping tip. Fill bag with the buttercream.

2) To get the design, pipe 2 straight lines down the centre of the cupcakefollowed by a repeated swirl on either sides. For the ‘blood’, the consistency of lightly warmed cherry/raspberry jam works well. Ensure the jam has NO seeds.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Events, Frostings, Inspired, Recipes

{Daddy’s Girl} Strawberry Birthday Cake

There are photos. The ones you wish no one took. The ones that make you wish you were young again. The ones that remind you of the good ol’ days. The ones that you had forgotten existed. And then the best sort; the ones that make you smile and if you looked hard enough, takes you back to the exact moment it happened. You know the ones. It’s probably the photos you take out to show anyone who wants a peek into your life. Doesn’t really matter if the dress and glasses you had on looked super dorky. Or that you’re the chubby 4 year old that the other kids poked fun at. The truth is, dad was the best dance partner who had a few groovy boogie moves and mom took a mighty good photo.

Dad woke up in good spirits today, feeling rather smug he made it to 55 and still livin’ it up like the hipster he is. Surely he can’t be that old since we spent the last hour syncing his iPhone full of songs; Above and Beyond, Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi. Plus, the fact that he recognised the importance of having a birthday cake (sort of hinted I should bake him one…) makes him SUPER RAD.

Happy birthday dad!

Birthday Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese

1.5 recipe x GF Genoise; bake in 3 x 6inch round tins. Cool completely.
Strawberry Coulis
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
Creme Chantilly

Strawberry Coulis
250g frozen strawberries (frozen berries ensure consistency in flavour)
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp rose water OR 2 tsp Rose Syrup (I used Royal Rose NY)
1 tsp vanilla

1) Thaw berries in the microwave or overnight.
2) Process berries and its juices in the blender until smooth. Leave the seeds in.
3) Place the liquid berries into a small saucepan. Add in all other ingredients.
4) On medium heat, cook the sauce until it thickens. Allow to cool completely.

Strawberry Cream Cheese
250g cream cheese, room temperature
60g butter, room temperature
1.5 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup strawberry coulis

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth on LOW. Add in the icing sugar and beat well.
2) Slowly add in the strawberry coulis and beat well until combined on LOW. Use immediately or place in the fridge until ready to use.

Creme Chantilly
300ml whipping cream, very chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the cream and icing sugar until medium peaks form. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

To Assemble
1) Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp vanilla. This is your imbibing syrup.
2) Take 1 of the genoise layers and brush with imbibing syrup. This is your bottom later.
3) Top layer with 2 tbsp of strawberry coulis and spread evenly across the layer. Using a piping bag fitted with a 10mm round piping tip, pipe the strawberry cream cheese filling over the coulis in a circular motion. Top with second layer. Repeat with coulis and cream cheese.
4) Top with 3rd layer and brush top with imbibing syrup. Cover cake top and sides with the creme chantilly. Sprinkle rainbow happiness with wild abandonment.

5 Comments

Filed under Cakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes, Uncategorized

Vanilla Bean & Nutella Cupcakes


There’s a photo of my parents on the magnetic board that’s propped on my desk. My dad’s got his hands in the air, mid clap, his mouth wide open, cheering. Mom’s got the biggest smile on, the kind that gives mega-watt a run for her money. This was taken at my sister’s wedding. I must’ve done something right, because that photo was taken right after I gave my bridesmaid speech.

Sitting right above that photo is a gingerbread plushie magnet, you know, the slightly loopy one from Shrek. It was a gift from a very proud boy who congratulated me on riding the roller coaster twice, and even managed to put my hands up in the air. I whined, and begged to turn around, but we all knew I wanted to ride on it. And conquer it twice I did!

Right at the bottom of the board is a piece of paper I’ve been diligently checking off the boxes on. See, I’m on a shopping ban (no shoes, bags, clothes & accessories) and every day I come home without a shopping bag, I get to tick off a box. I’ve got 2 more months on it and I’m still going strong. Let me tell you though, I’m not sure how creative I can get with my wardrobe much longer.

I feel like I need to add a photo of these cupcakes on the board. I’m rather proud of them, especially since vanilla cupcakes haven’t always been particularly cooperative. Sure I’ve had some luck with them, but it’s the one things I bake with trepidation each time. Will they leave the cake liners? Will they be soggy on the bottom? Will they taste like flour?

Buttery, dense but still tender, perfumed with vanilla with a dash of chocolate from the Nutella; they’re actually less scary than I thought they’d be!

And the frosting reminds me of the smoothest vanilla bean ice cream.

Eat and be happy that the weekend is upon us!

Vanilla & Nutella Cupcakes (adapted from the Butch Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups GF flour blend
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
12 tbsp Nutella, room temp

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper liners.

2) Mix flour, baking power, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in 3 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on high for 30 seconds.

4) Divide evenly between prepared cupcake tin and dollop one tablespoon of Nutella into each cupcake.Bake for 22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

5) To frost, fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the vanilla bean buttercream, and pipe rosettes on top of each cupcake!

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1 x Swiss Meringue Buttercream, without the white chocolate
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped. Use the pods for vanilla sugar

1) Beat the buttercream together with the vanilla seeds until mixed through. Use immediately.

3 Comments

Filed under Cupcakes, Frostings, Recipes

[You’re My Favourite] Carrot Cake

You know he’s a keeper when he sees a bakery and thinks of you.

or cake.

or unicorns.

But mostly, you know he’s a keeper when he always lets you have the first bite of dessert. It’s almost better than opening doors and pulling out chairs. And not noticing (or maybe he does, but decides to let you get away with it anyway) you always choose to start eating a cake from the sides because there’s always more frosting there.

Today’s one of those rare days I’m home alone. No one’s doing anything else while I bask in the fact that it’s only Saturday afternoon and already I feel productive. There isn’t anyone on the phone, no one doing the ironing. It’s just me, pigtails, Chrysanthemums in a vase, carrot cake in the oven the murmuring of the fan.

Wait, we were talking about boys. Actually, let’s narrow it down to one specific one. The one who knows movie lines better than I do, writes postcards and thank you notes and understands me even when I’m speaking faster than a train. He sounds better behaved than I do. I can never find my keys, always blast my music way too loud and write letters but never post them. Do you have any idea how many unposted letters I have found in my drawers and bags!? The good news is that so far all the letters to him have made it.

At least I bake. People tend to be more forgiving when you have something sweet to offer. It’s a good decoy. “Hi officer, was I speeding? Wait, here’s some carrot cake, it’s even got frosting!”[cue: innocent smile]

Let me know if it works.

Try it out with this cake recipe. If the line doesn’t work, it’s probably you, definitely not the cake. Or maybe he hates carrots.

Carrot Cake (adapted from Dean Brettschneider)

250g GF flour blend
10g baking soda
10g ground cinnamon
4 eggs
150g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
370ml canola oil (or vegetable oil)
5ml vanilla extract
200g carrots, shredded
135g crushed pineapple, well drained

1) Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 9-inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the eggs and sugars together until light in color and double in volume. Add in the oil and whisk to emulsify.

3) Whisk in the flour in 2 additions until there are no floury streaks. Remove bowl from mixer and using a spatula, fold in the carrots and pineapple until you get an even mixture. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 2-2.5 hours.

4) Remove from oven to cool and frost. Keep refrigerated.

Cream Cheese Frosting

115g cream cheese, softened
65g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
200g icing sugar

1) Mix all together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add more icing sugar for a sweeter frosting or more zest/juice for a tarter one. Note that frosting will be more viscous with extra lemon juice.

Tadah- Now you can bake a Get Out of Jail Free card!

3 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Cakes, Frostings, Recipes

[Do it like a Dude] Chocolate Beer Cupcakes, Ganache & Beer Frosting

Sometimes you forget that it’s important to make a cupcake that involves three procedures. You don’t realise that it’s probably what you needed to get your head screwed on right. To know that whatever happens, stirring warm cream and dark chocolate will work better than any other form of therapy.

There are cupcakes, the sort that lay it all out for you; cake and frosting. Then there are cupcakes; the ones that hold dark secrets. Maybe they’re more like people; we all have secrets, stories we haven’t told, things we can’t share, the very ones that make us who we are. They don’t define us, they merely shape the way we operate. Much like us, these cupcakes aren’t about to bare all. It’s a dark chocolate cake, filled with ganache and topped with beer frosting. Yeah, it looks like chocolate and vanilla; but the beer gives the cake such an edge, it’s worth trekking to your local store for a gluten-free beer just so you can experience this all for yourself.

Things have happened since I last wrote, and with all that’s said and done, I’m glad I’m returning with these cupcakes; familiar, yet different.

Am I starting to trail off? Are we even talking about cake anymore?

Probably. Most definitely.

Cake makes my heart sing. I hope it does the same to yours too.

Happy New Year, a little late, but better than never! :)

I used Guinness for my cupcakes since the lucky guy who’s receiving them isn’t gluten intolerant. Please, PLEASE find a gluten-free version if you’re allergic to it. I’ve seen sorghum beers around and I’d like to suggest that beer/root beer may work as well!

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes (Adapted from The Butch Bakery Cookbook, makes 12 standard)

1 1/2 sticks butter (180g)
1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa powder (or any natural cocoa)
3/4 cup dark stout (Guiness or try a cola or root beer; poured and settled before you measure)
2 large eggs, broken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup + 1 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and stout. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3) Whisk the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a separate bowl.

4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sour cream together. Add in the chocolate-stout mixer and mix well. Add in the flour mixture and mix until no white streaks remain. Divide evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

5) Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from tin to cool completely.

6) To fill, use a small sharp knife to cut a ‘cone’ out of the tops of the cupcakes. Using a melon baller or a small teaspoon, hollow out the hole a little more so it can hold more ganache. Using another teaspoon, fill each cavity with ganache. Top the cupcakes with the cone you just cut out. Press gently so it’s almost flat.

7) Using a palette knife, spread two tablespoons of frosting over the cupcake. Dust with cocoa powder. ENJOY!

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup 55% chocolate chips

1) Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.

2) Heat the cream in a microwave-proof bowl in 30 second bursts until it starts to bubble. Pour over the chocolate.

3) Using a spatula, slowly stir until all chocolate has melted and combined happily with the cream. Allow to stand until it’s of a spreadable consistency.

Beer Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, softened (120g)
2 2/3 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp stout
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 cups of icing sugar together until well combined.

2) Add in the stout, vanilla and salt. Mix well.

3) If icing isn’t stiff enough, add in the icing sugar, 1/3 cup at a time until you get your desired consistency.

1 Comment

Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Frostings, Inspired, Recipes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

POSITIVITY IS…

like a pretty girl; sooner or later it’s bound to attract something. And one of ’em will be good.

like a pair of high heels; it makes you look good no matter how you’re feeling

like getting your nails done; the waiting sucks but it’s worth it

like holding hot coffee on a cold day; may not be the exact thing you need, but at least it makes you feel better

like eating cupcakes; it lifts your spirits no matter the occasion.

I’ve been in this job hunting circus for awhile now. It’s tough, and I’m really not a patient person. That’s usually why I prefer baking mini cupcakes instead of their grown up cousins; it takes far less time. It’s also why I prefer dresses over a pants-suit combo. It’s also why I hate wearing rompers; it’s far too fiddly when I need the loo.

My point is… I hate waiting, especially when I feel that I don’t know what I’m waiting for. And let’s face it; it’s like everytime I hit the ‘send’ button, my resume gets sent into a dark abyss, of which I don’t even know if I’ll hear anything in return. At the very least, baking ensured I get some form of gratification. My waist disagrees but I’m in no mood to argue.

So here I am, still hunting like a loon, but maybe I’ve grown tired of being impatient or perhaps it’s just sunk in that no matter how fretful I get, no employer over the internet is sharing my pain. But I’ve learnt that I can always make waiting a little more bearable by baking mini cupcakes, make chocolate frosting that doesn’t require 2 hours to set and eating cold cupcakes because they don’t dry out in the fridge.

If you’re waiting for something or anything, these will make it slightly less awful than the bleak situation you’re in; promise.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
1 x recipe Double Chocolate Cupcakes
1 x recipe Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

Double Chocolate Cake (adapted from Miette)

1  1/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (I used Varlhona, but feel free to use your favourite)
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 ounces 56% couverture chocolate, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups caster sugar

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 48 mini-muffin tins with paper liners. I had some batter left over so I made 3 regular sized cupcakes extra.

2) In a bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, pour the hot water over the chocolate and mix until it’s homogenised.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs until they are fluffy and triple in volume. Slowly add in the oil, whisking to blend. Add in the vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. Mix in the water + chocolate mixture. Add in the sugar and beat until combined.

4) In three additions, incorporate the flour mix until just combined. Divide evenly into the prepared tins and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin to cool completely. FROST. CONSUME. FEEL BETTER.

3 Comments

Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Cupcakes, Frostings, Recipes

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I like Katy Perry and all the electric bubblegum pop magic she does. She makes me want to boogie.

Okay, she probably won’t say the word boogie. Maybe something a little more down like…party. Yes, that’s it. She makes me wish every night was Friday night.

I like Ke$ha too. Or as the principal in Glee says…. “K dollar sign HA”. Love.

Fred has basically lumped my song choices into the category of trashy pop. He’s just jealous I get to admit I’m the biggest Top 40 freak, grooving to Britney and Christina. Once, I even made a tee that said I heart Britney and Christina. Trust me, when you grow up having to pick a side, it was a big deal to blatantly say hot damn, I love ’em both.

I’m applying this to cream cheese frosting. You need to pick sides; sweet or sour. But do we really need to argue about this? Can’t we all just get along? I’m in Camp Sweet when it comes to my red velvets (no vanilla buttercream for me!) and then hop over to Camp Sour for carrot cake. Then, I’m definitely in Camp Sweet & Sour for banana cake and hummingbird cake. Are you as dead-set on this as I am?

So, two days ago, I was craving cream cheese frosting. And I needed a cake to go along with it. So I made Hummingbird Cupcakes. Only thing is that I think I should’ve added more pineapple because it’s more like a banana cupcake with pineapple. Hummingbird cake is essentially that but, the ratio was a little off. Bottomline: add more pineapple if you’re wanting more hummingbird than banana.

Hummingbird Cupcakes (adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups GF flour blend
1/2 cup GF oat flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 cup caster sugar
270g banana, mashed
100g pineapple rings, chopped into small chunks (add more if desired)
3 eggs
300ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 18 muffin holes with paper liners.

2) In a bowl, mix the flours and baking soda together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high until it’s thick and tripled in volume. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla extract, beat until emulsified.

4) Change the whisk attachment to a paddle attachment and beat in the flour in 3 additions. Add in the mashed banana and mix well. Add in the pineapple chunks, mix to combine.

5) Divide the batter between the muffin holes and bake for 20-23 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

250g cream cheese, softened slightly
80g butter, softened slightly
2-3 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 cups icing sugar together until creamy. Add in the cream cheese and lemon juice. Beat well. Keep adding in the icing sugar if the frosting is too soft. Frost cupcakes!

6 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes