Category Archives: Recipes

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.

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

Earl Grey & Strawberry Cupcakes

I just realised that Narwhals are real. I can almost hear Homer going ‘D’OH!’ in my head. Since I’ve long associated these one-horned creatures with unicorns, it was pretty much a natural assumption to make.

Again, D’OH!

Now I can’t decide if they’re as magical.

Today was catch up with mom and little sister day. So we tried our best to eat enjoy a leisurely lunch. Sounds like a chore; but it really is especially when we’re a family of gobble-gobble eaters. Blame it on not wanting to eat cold food, or rushing to catch the next next cartoon on tele, we just don’t do slow very well. In fact, I’d say you were silly if you tried. But then someone caught our eye and our conversation slowed, the chopsticks didn’t snap the food as quickly and the tea started to get cold. He walked in, big smile, the waitresses greeted him warmly like they knew who he was. So, who was he? Soon he was joined by a younger lady and another gentleman of a similar age. And it felt slightly rude to stare but he reminded us so much of our grandfather.

My grandfather was a force to be reckoned with; he clean out an entire fish in the amount of time it took to for us to reach the dinner table. His jokes were so funny we still make reference to them now. He could clear out a whole room full of people with his…farts.

That’s my grandfather.

Needless to say, my little sister and I thought of all sorts of lines to get us a hug from that cute old man, but decided we didn’t want to interrupt his lunch. Considerate much.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (cupcake adapted from Primrose Bakery’s book)

Cake
125ml milk
4 earl grey teabags
2 eggs
120g butter
120g sugar
250g GF flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

1) In a small saucepan, heat the milk until almost boiling. Remove from heat and steep the teabags for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170°C, fanforced. Line mini cupcake tins with paper liners or if not using liner, grease well.

2) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until lightened in colour. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.

4) Add in the vanilla. beat well.

5) Add the flour and milk alternately to the egg mixture and beat until just combined. Divide equally between prepare cupcake tins. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

6) Allow to cool completely before removing from tins. Frost with strawberry cream cheese.

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{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.

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Filed under Cakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes, Uncategorized

{The Fudgier, The Better} Brookies

I must’ve missed out on a lot, especially since I haven’t written in awhile. Have you started taking sugar with your tea? Have the flowers in the garden, blossomed? When did you get your haircut? I like the new streaks in your hair. Glad you went with the maxi dress for that party.

Things have been shifting around here. Some of the dresses I hardly wear have made it into the other wardrobe (the one filled with everyone’s other things); the weather seems to be going bi-polar; relationships have been moving forward (in a great way), I’ve shifted from scaredy cat to daredevil rollercoaster rider. Yeah sure it took a whole lot of convincing together with an insane amount of screaming and cussing but I made it.

So what’s new with you? Some days I figure there’s nothing quite new with me and it’s actually rather comforting. Plus I figure I’m too lazy to think about what’s really ‘new’ since I go through things everyday and it’s not particularly newsworthy. Maybe one day we’ll run out of things to talk about.

When that happens, we can stick to topics about the weather, food and shopping. And you’ll tell me how your day’s been, we’ll spend the afternoon with tea (or coffee, you pick) and something freshly baked. I reckon people always prefer it that way, you know, homemade with love and all that warm fuzzy feelings sort of thing. And if we realllyy end up with nothing but dry words, these Brookies are so fudgey (with a hint of cookie; brookie = brownie + cookie) that it’s almost impossible to talk with them in your mouth.

(non)Conversation sorted. You’re welcome.

Brookies (adapted from Clinton St Bakery)

2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup GF flour blend
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups couverture chocolate (55%)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter

1) Preheat oven to 170°C, fan forced. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment (or Silpat).

2) In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate, oil and butter in the microwave using 40 second bursts on med-high heat until melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

3) In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.

4) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Slowly add in the melted chocolate and fold as you go. Fold in the flour mixture until no streaks of white are visible.

5) Place the batter on a shallow tray, such as a pie plate, and chill in the freezer for 6-8 minutes or until it firms up slightly.

6) Drop the batter in tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking tray and bake for 11 minutes or until the tops are crackly andslightly firm to touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from baking paper. Cookies will be fudgy and chewy. Milk isn’t mandatory but highly recommended for maximum pleasure.

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Walnut & Dark Chocolate Scones

One day I might get sick of Foster the People.

One day I will find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

One day I’ll definitely have cereal for dinner.

One day I could get to see Orcas in real life.

One day I’m going to go shopping with wild abandonment.

One day I shall make my way to Vienna and Germany.

One day I hope to take my mom on a holiday.

Today though, I shall smell like walnut and dark chocolate scones, have lunch with some of my favourite people, then dinner with more favourite people, talk about everything over brownies, listen to more Foster the People, figure out how to do my hair and then change my mind all over again.

It’s really a lot easier focusing on all the things that keep you happy. Some days, the annoyingly optimistic kid in me reminds me that the best things about a crummy day is that it’ll eventually end. And when it does, you better be prepared to embrace the good stuff. There’s no waiting around for it to come back again; think about it…would you sit around while some random stranger comes and takes away the perfect dress?! Thought so.

Wait, is this me being smarter than usual?

I kid. The truth of the matter is, my dad came home for a surprise visit yesterday. My man bought me a cookbook just because. The cutest little boy loved the cake I baked so much that he gave me two thumbs up; twice, and wouldn’t share it with anyone else. My mom did a massive grocery shop up for me. My sister’s coming to dinner tonight. The other one’s thinking about us all the way in London.

It’s all love here!

Walnut and Dark Chocolate Scones [adapted from Gluten-free Gourmand]

1 3/4 cups GF flour blend
1/4 cup oat/sorghum flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate, chopped
50g walnuts, roughly chopped

1) Preheat oven to 210°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or Silpat mat.

2) Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3) Whisk the cream, vanilla and egg together.

4) Cut the butter into the flour mix, either by hand, food processor or stand mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs.

5) Mix in the liquids until combined. Stir in the chocolate and walnuts.

6) Tip the scone batter onto the prepared tray and shape into a large rectangle, about 1.5 inches tall. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently cut into 9 pieces. Bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Filed under Breakfast, Chocolate, Nuts, Recipes

[Heart Throb] Dark Cocoa Brownies

A few things have turned dark recently. For one, I look in the mirror now and see the darkest hair I’ve ever had. I haven’t decided if it’s because of my recent quest to complete the entire Underworld series or if it’s me deciding that I would much rather spend more time doing other things as opposed to sitting in a chair at the salon, waiting. [natural hair colour = black hence, no more having to re-colour it]. Don’t you just love it when your hairdresser does exactly as you want and not suggest you have flaming red hair instead.

Then there’s also my new favourite dark cocoa brownie recipe. Well, technically it isn’t new; it’s just a renewed love for it. Challenging my idea that brownies made with melted chocolate are richer (therefore, better, duh!), a damn fine cocoa makes for a wicked brownie. I think I’ve met my soul mate equivalent. Now, only to find the perfect excuse to bake it all the time.

On a completely random note, try saying dark 10 times in a row, stressing on the ‘arrrkk’ part. Bet you’ll start finding it a rather bizarre word.

In other non-related news, I chanced upon a book yesterday ‘Perfect Kids Names’. Don’t give me that look, it was right next to the cookbook section. But my point is…what in the world is a perfect child’s name?! Are we not seeking perfection in pretty much everything already? Now we’re even trying to control what other people name their kids? Will people be telling me when’s the best time to eat chicken soon? Actually, they’ll probably tell me how much carbon eating meat causes and make me feel guilty. And I can repent for my sins by hugging trees.

I love vegetarians, just not the hemp wearing, yoga posing, meat-is-the-spawn-of-the-devil ones.

Brownies are vegetarian. So I guess we can all just get along now?

Dark Cocoa Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1 cup natural cocoa powder (it’s worth seeking out the best; I use Varlhona)
pinch of salt
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp hot water
2 large eggs
2 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt together. Add in the caster and brown sugar. Toss to mix.

3) Add in the melted butter and stir well.

4) In another bowl, mix the eggs, water, vanilla and cream together. Add this to the cocoa mixture. Stir to combine.

5) Fold in the walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 27 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few crumbs/is moist.

6) Allow to cool before slicing! :)

 

 

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[Kawaii] Love & Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

I spent the last part of my work day meeting a Japanese magazine editor who’s here on a visit. With the help of the tour guide, I tried my hardest to speak to her. But it wasn’t the same as conversing with her directly, sans third party. So through my widest smile, hand gestures and head nods, we became friends, language barriers aside, I knew she liked Singapore, she knew I was excited to show her around. We had ice cream, with gula melaka (palm sugar) and adzuki beans. Talk about an appropriate coincidence.

I then really wished I could upload an intersect into my brain and be multilingual. Lost? You need to watch an episode of Chuck pronto.

Seriously though, is there a brain capacity on the number of languages one can learn without scrambling your brain? It’s hard enough for me to wrap my tongue around the different Chinese dialects, let alone a whole new foreign language. I spent a long time referring to a head as coconut and vice versa in Malay. Suppose they are the same shape… And they’re both gooey inside.

I’m in the midst of confirming a trip to Japan this Summer. Perhaps it shall present itself as a golden opportunity to pick up some touristy Japanese. My new Japanese friend has kindly offered to show me around, so maybe I’ll astound her with how adept I’ve become with the language…or just be really, really, really good at smiling and reading hand gestures.

Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

1 x Sponge Roll
1 x Creme Chantilly

To Assemble

1) Trim off 2cm of the the sponge from each of the four sides. Eat.Mix3 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Brush over the sponge.

2) Spread all the creme chantilly on the remaining sponge until it’s 1cm from the edge.

3) Pick up the side of the baking paper closest to you and roll it in, towards you. Using the paper as a guide, keep rolling the sponge until you reach the end. Put it straight into the fridge to set. Enjoy!

Sponge Roll

For a 25cm x 25cm tray…

4.5 egg yolks
4.5 egg whites + 1.5 egg whites (separate bowls)
120g GF flour blend, rice-flour based
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (separate)
90g icing sugar
90ml water
60ml oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Line a 25cm x 25cm baking tray with parchment. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg yolks and 50g of the icing sugar until thick and lightened in colour. Add in the vanilla and water. Beat until well mixed.

3) Add in the oil and mix well until emulsified. Add in the flour and whisk until fully incorporated.

4) Spoon 3 tsp of the egg yolk mixture into the a separate bowl. Repeat so you have 2 bowls of egg yolk mixture. Add in 1/2 tsp of GF flour blend and 1 drop of desired food colouring (I used pink and red) into each bowl and mix well.

5) In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the 1.5 egg whites with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Divide the egg whites evenly between the two bowls of egg yolk mixture. Gently fold to incorporate. Using two teaspoons, create heart shapes on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 1 minute. Remove from oven while you prepared rest of sponge roll.

6) In the same clean, grease-free bowl, beat the remaining 4.5 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the remaining 40g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat until stiff and opaque. Fold gently into remaining egg yolk mixture. Pour over the heart shapes and level the batter to ensure it bakes evenly. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling with creme chantilly.

Creme Chantilly

1 3/4 cup whipping cream, very well chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until thickened and holds it’s peak. Do not overwhip of the cream will split. Either use immediately or chill in fridge to firm up before using.

 

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