Tag Archives: Fruit

{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

{Way Too Pink} Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins

I’ve battled with this for ages and as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, the people around me have got it right all along.

I’m a girly girl.

Yeah, I don’t stress too much when I break a nail or if my hair gets unruly but take me to a store and I make a beeline for anything pink, glittery and cute. My compass is dead set on this as a criteria for anything that catches my eye. Rock chick was so 6 years ago, when I was 17 I believe.

So imagine how difficult it was not to have anything too pink in my newly decorated room. I caved, bought myself a set of Lilo and Sitch sheets and another set that’s white with a reversible option of pink. All that girly goodness hidden under a snow white duvet; wait til they lift the covers! But I swear I sleep better on pink, really.

And to explain my recent disappearance (12 days!), I’ve been away in Australia to visit Fred. Last minute decisions are rather exciting, especially when you book your tickets the day before you intend to fly. I may love pink but I’m borderline danger-lover. I arrived home early this morning to discover there was no food for my empty stomach. So I baked, and one hour later, had tall muffins in pink glaze to soothe my sore butt and jet lagged brain. I’ll make it through the day just fine.

Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins (adapted loosely from The Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook)
Makes 6 muffins

60g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or use buckwheat, sorghum or millet)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
100g (a little less than 1/2 cup) plain yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp strawberry jam

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 6-cavity muffin tin with paper liners.

2) Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together in a stand mixer until fluffy. Mix the flours, baking soda and baking powder together.

3) Add the egg into the butter and beat well. It will look rather watery but will come together after you add in 1/4 cup of the flour mix.

4) Add in half the yoghurt and  beat well. Mix in the remaining flour and yoghurt . Stir in the jam until mixed through. Using a spatula, gently fold in the berries. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Top with strawberry glaze.

Strawberry Glaze

2 tbsp strawberry jam
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp warm water, or more if needed

1) Mix the jam, icing sugar and 2 tsp of warm water together until you get a smooth glaze. If glaze is too stiff, add in 1 tsp of water at a time until you reach a slightly runny but still opaque glaze. Use immediately.

 

6 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Muffins, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Bars

Today someone asked me why I didn’t want to be a fashion blogger since I’m obsessed with adding new things to be wardrobe all the time. I didn’t really know how to answer them. Do I like food more than I love pretty things? I love things; especially ones that make the usual me feel like SHAZAAAAMMM!!! me. Like those wide leg, high waisted flare jeans.

I came up with something half decent as she stared at me, waiting for an answer.

I don’t like taking full body photos of me and if I were to be a fashion blogger, that’s the sort I’d be. So see, it’s not that I didn’t want to…I couldn’t. Physical limitations.

Food on the other hand, can also get quite fussy. Thank goodness you can eat them after all the effort. It’s the washing up that realllyyy reeks. And the slaving over a hot stove part. You can’t win it all.

So I found a great way to satisfy my need to dress up and keep this blog going…super cute aprons! Don’t feel bad if you need to wear a string of pearls or have winged eye-liner on while you bake; I totally get what you mean.

Dad went straight for it after the photos

Besides, you never know when company’s coming, especially if you’re going to be baking these succulent, buttery lemon meringe bars. You can’t possibly answer the door looking like that.

Lemon Meringue Bars (adapted from The Essential Baker & The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread)

Base
1 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
156g cold butter, unsalted

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 9 x 13 baking tray with parchment.

2) Dice butter into 2-inch cubes and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes while you gather the remaining ingredients.

3) Mix the flours, icing sugar and salt together.

4) Do this either in a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment: Pour 1/2 of the flour mix and all the cold butter into the mixing bowl and (food processor) pulse on and off until the butter starts mingling with the flour. Add in the remaining flour and pulse until it comes together to form a dough. (Stand mixer) Do the same, but have the motor running on medium-low until you get a dough. Do not over mix. Place the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers, ensuring the dough covers the base of the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides, to prevent filling from flowing over.

5) Place in the freezer for 10 minutes and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and pour filling over the base. Bake for another 20 minutes or until filling has just set. Top with meringue either by dolloping heaping spoonfuls over the lemon filling or piping it in swirls and stuff. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely before slicing. It’s even better when it’s been refrigerated for 3-4 hours.

Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp GF flour blend
145g lemon juice (about 5/8 cup)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
pinch of salt

1) Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well.

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1) Place the egg white, sugar an cream of tartar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until an instant-read thermometer registers 60°C. It will look thick and foamy. Remove from pan and place bowl on the mixer and whisk on high speed until you get a glossy shiny meringue which holds stiff peaks.

6 Comments

Filed under Bars, Fruit, Pastry, Recipes

Tres Leches Cake with Mango

Have you ever tried typing  ‘how to’ into the Google search bar and see what suggestions come up? Here are a few…

1) How to go
2) How to grow taller
3) How to tie a tie

I do this fairly frequently. It keeps me occupied. If you were wondering, you can grow taller naturally…there’s a whole guide written for this sole purpose. Do you think it still works when I’m 22? I’d love to look better in capri pants and still have my knees working for me when I’m 55. I heard high heels are pretty damaging. I should Google that.

Another way I keep myself plenty busy is to bake something that requires me to invest a fair bit of time and thinking. Bar cookies with many layers work, so do layer cakes. Anything that requires assembling like trifle or Tiramisu and consists of a thousand components usually help too. But I always vote layer cakes, because they’re actually my favourite dessert. And since we’d all love to have a little extra cash to get takeout for dinner (who wants to cook after making all that mess baking?), I’m voting Tres Leches cake this time around. Basically I’ve realised that anything that doesn’t require a load of butter and chocolate tend to be a whole lot friendlier on my pocket.

Since I’m writing, I might as well let you in on the DETAILS OF MY FIRST TIME…eating Tres Leches. It was in New York and it was good. It isn’t a layer cake like this one, but more a one level, no mess type of thing. Whipped topping might have been substituted for whipped cream but I ain’t no food snob y’all and it tasted mighty fine. And since then I’ve been itching to bake one of my own. TA-DAH!

So if there’s anyone who’s even later than me on trying the wonder that is Tres Leches, let me break it down for you. It’s essentially an airy sponge cake make downright decadent with a drenching of a thick, rich milk sauce made from…3 types of milk! And to even out the richness, a healthy slather of whipped cream is slapped on and I even threw in some fresh mango for colour and good flavour.It’s soft, but not mushy. Sweet but still light. Really, it’s an oldie but a goodie!

THE RECIPE…makes a large amount of milk sauce. I used half and my sponges were bathing in a sufficient amount of liquid to keep it moist without falling apart. And don’t be put off by the amount of milk and sugar you think you’re putting into the thing…it’s not going to be too sweet.

LASTLY, I’m late for this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free event hosted over at The Whole Gang but if I had to pick a dessert to suit this month’s theme of grand finale desserts, I think I’d go with this Tres Leches. Maybe in chocolate form…or with more rum. Whatever it is, when it’s the end, I better have a little somethingsomething to mark the occasion.

Mango Tres Leches

Sponge (adapted from My Sweet Mexico by Fany Gerson)
1 cup GF Flour blend
3/4 cup caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 eggs, seperated, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp water, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2) Mix the flour, 6 tbsp of the sugar, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, oil, water and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the flour mix and stir vigorously to combine. Mixture will be thick.

4) In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, add in the egg whites and whisk until frothy. Mix the remaining sugar with the cream of tartar and slowly add it into the frothy egg whites while the motor is running. Whisk on high until stiff, but not dry peaks form.

5) Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until almost completely combined. Add in remaining egg whites and fold gently but quickly until no more streaks of white remain. Tip into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

6) Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a knife and turning it out into the rack. Remove parchment paper and re-invert onto wire rack (it’s easier if you have 2 racks handy). After cake has cooled completely, slice into half horizontally. Have two 8-inch pans ready (or really, just a pan big enough to hold the cake layers whilst they soak). Line a large piece of plastic wrap over each of the tins so it covers most of the bottom and hangs over the sides. Place 1 half into each tin. Prepare the Tras Leches mixture below.

Tres Leches

1 cup heavy cream
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp dark rum (optional)

1) In a medium saucepan, mix the heavy cream, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt. Bring to a bowl and immediately remove from heat.

2) Stir in the condensed milk and rum, mixing well to ensure it is completely incorporated. Pour the warm milk mixture over the prepared sponges and leave it to soak for 3 hours in the fridge and 30 minutes in the freezer (this makes it easier to assemble).

Filling and Topping

1.5 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large mango, half chopped into 1-inch pieces and half roughly chopped (for the top)

1) In a bowl of a standmixer, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until firm peaks form.

TO ASSEMBLE

1) Remove one half of the sponge onto a cake base or serving plate. Fill with 1/3 of the whipped cream and 1-inch mango pieces.

2) Top with second layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining cream. Top with mango chunks. Milk mixture from cake will continue to seep out but it’s normal! :) Lasts for about 3 days.

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Filed under Cakes, Fruit, Recipes

Whimsy Peach Cupcakes

My dad can’t do many things like take me through my Science homework or endure hours of shopping. He’s often out of town, so chauffeuring us from classes was mom’s department. And, let’s not even get started on dressing advice; it goes a little like the lower the heels the better (seeing that I’m already a head taller than him). But my dad is a pretty cool dude.

I remember when I wanted to catch Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty Tour whilst we were holidaying in Brisbane. Don’t know what he did, but he scored 3 tickets to a sold out concert. Then there was teaching me to ride a bike and giving me boy advice. “I’ve been a boy once, I know what they’re like. Don’t be stupid’. Good stuff.

But my dad’s really my best salesperson. He’s always there, at any party, ready to sell my baking to anyone who’ll listen. He’ll eat anything I bake, usually at any time of the day. And you know what’s awesome? He’s usually happy about it. So though I’m like a bazillion miles away, here’s a whole tray of peach cupcakes, food for the soul, and it’s got fruit too!

On a side note, I was at Red Hook yesterday and picked up a very interesting potion. It’s by a little company called Royal Rose and it’s a Lavender and Lemon simple syrup. It smells floral and critusy, and totally fresh. I didn’t have vanilla extract on hand so I used this to flavour my cake instead and it managed to impart a light floral sweetness without being overly anything (not too lemony or lavender-y). I liked it, perhaps not something I’d resort to for a high impact lavender flavour, but it’s really just pretty.

Also, this will be my entry to Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free! for the month of June. It’s all about dads this time around. I can’t wait to see what all the dads out there are being spoilt with this month!

Scented Vanilla Cupcakes (makes 24)

2 cups white rice flour
1/2 cup GF oat flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon + 2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla extract (or any other flavouring; I used a lavender-lemon syrup)
Pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature
2 sticks + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup caster sugar

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.

2) Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time.

3) Mix the flours, baking powder and salt together. Add the flavouring syrup to the milk.

4) Add in the flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on high for 30 seconds. Divide evenly into cupcake tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

5) Leave to cool for 10 minutes in tray before removing to cool completely.

Peach Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp Lavender-Lemon syrup or any other flavouring of choice (I’d go for lemon or vanilla)
1 large, very ripe peach

1) Cut the peach up into segments and crush with your hands. Strain the juice from the peach. Also, set aside some of the flesh and the pink skin.

2) In a bowl, beat the butter and 3 cups of icing sugar together. Add in the Lavender-Lemon syrup and 2 tbsp of the peach juice. Beat well. If icing is too soft, keep adding the icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency.

3) Mix in the peach flesh and skin. This will impart some colour and bite. Frost cupcakes.

To Assemble

Place a heaping tablespoon of the frosting on each cupcake. Swirl with a palette knife and top with extra peaches if desired.

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Filed under Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes

Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Crumble

Many things amaze me but some things never fail to keep amazing me. Take the punnet of blueberries I bought for example. First berry; hmmm, sweet. Second berry; wow, they are sweet. Third berry; omg, STILL SWEET! And so it goes on, until I decide that this is quite mind boggling seeing that I’ve visited a few countries and have never had a whole punnet of sweet, non-pucker-face-inducing berries before. I am in awe. Is it just me?

And then there are blackberries, raspberries… it’s almost weird having non-sour berries.In a good way though, obviously.

The last few days in NY have been sweltering, the kind of heat that makes you want to eat fro-yo for dinner and call it a day with some ice-cold water. Who knew I’d rekindle my love for air-conditioning only after a week of complaining that the weather was too cold and wet. Now, all I want to do is beg the folks at Starbucks to let me be the night security guard in exchange for air-conditioning. Think they’ll buy it? Just the other day I paid $16 bucks to spend a much needed 2 hours wandering the National History Museum, to look at the exhibits (and bask in their glorious air-conditioned climate). So much for natural history.

Another good excuse to crank on the AC; baking. Blueberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and crumble topping. I’m sure my aunt would see it as a good exchange for me using her AC. Better still, she has one in the kitchen, so EAT THAT kitchen in Singapore which has no air-conditioner. Alright, less typing, more eating. Get with it! :)

Blueberry Cupcakes (makes 12)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup pure cane sugar
1 cup gluten free oat flour (from Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup rice milk (or any other milk you prefer)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried on paper towels

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a muffin tray with 12 paper liners.

2) Cream butter and sugar together. Mix the flours and baking powder together in a separate bowl.

3) Add the eggs in, one at a time, beating well to combine. Add in the flour and milk alternately and mix until completely homogeneous. Fold in the berries gently.

4) Divide batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean or with only a few crumbs. Let cool in tray for 10 minutes and remove from tray to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese (240g)
3 oz butter (90g)
2 – 3 cups pure icing sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1) In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together (I used a handheld mixer, arm power!)

2) Beat 2 cups of the icing sugar and the lemon juice. If you prefer a sweeter frosting, keep adding the icing sugar until you’re sugar happy. Let chill a little in the fridge before using.

Crumble

1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
2 tbsp tapioca flour
4-5 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup pure cane sugar

1) Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add in the oil, one tablespoon at a time until you get a slightly wet but still crumbly mixture. Pour onto a tray lined with parchment. Bake in a 170°C oven for 12-15 minutes or until crunchy. Let cool before using.

To Assemble

1) Take one cool cupcake, top with a big tablespoon of cream cheese frosting, swirl with a palette knife and top with more berries and the crumble. Arrange on a plate and impress your guests’ socks off. :)

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Filed under Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Inspired, Recipes

Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

I caved. I let myself sink my teeth into warm cranberry scones slathered with mascarpone and apricot jam. And look what’s happened now- fuzzy head, my judgement’s all furry and not to mention the slightly ballooning tummy. Silly, silly and silly. What a good slap on the head to remind myself why I avoid it in the first place. Want proof? I knocked over a whole glass of water during dinner, shocking both the unsuspecting waitress and me, mid-chew.

My brain’s all over the place, my mind is as scattered as mad skittles falling to the ground. It’s like a crazy little hurricane building inside of me. I thought I might come online to rant but who’s really free to listen to someone else’s burden? You’ve probably got a pile of laundry that needs to be washed; the train never comes on time and everytime you’re late for work the boss always has something to say; the sandwich you paid good money for is cold and dry; the dress of your dreams never comes in your size; your new shoes are giving you blisters; you spilled wine down the front of your new shirt; your phone runs out of battery halfway through the day; the lady in front of you takes forever to decide what to order…you get the drift.

Let’s start a ‘Be Thankful Day’. I’m tired of listing all the rubbish we go through and feel each day. And listing all the things I want to do and achieve makes me feel mildly depressed. So I’ll write about the things I already have. You should grab a pen too, we’ll do it together alright?

1) I’m going to see Rachel Allen in less than a month.
2) My hair has finally almost grown past my shoulders… :)
3) Next week’s a 4 day work week!
4) A super sweet friend all the way in Melbourne sent me a notebook and a card just to put a smile on my face
5) I’m going to have coconut cupcakes for breakfast tomorrow and they’re gluten, egg, dairy and refined sugar free.

It’s not the biggest list, but it’s a start and I feel better already. Actually, I think I might have a cookie to cheer me up.

If your day looks like grey skies ahead, these cupcakes have a great fluffy texture and the aroma from the natural sweeteners and toasted coconut will take you somewhere else, away from crazy town. If you’re not dairy intolerant, a gorgeous swish of cream cheese would work like a charm.

April also marks the Springtime Brunches edition of Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten Free! hosted by Maggie at She Let Me Eat Cake. It’s going to be a good one, I know it; Easter’s in the air and brunch is the perfect meal for having the best of both worlds (pancakes for lunch…SWEET!). You need to check out her round up.

Vegan Coconut Cupcakes (adapted from The Flying Apron Bakery Book), makes 33 cupcakes

4 cups brown rice flour (I only had white rice flour on hand)
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/3 cups canola oil (seems like alot but the cupcakes are generously sized)
3 cups water
1 tsp apple cider
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups palm sugar, (comes in a block; grate roughly and melt in a saucepan, measure)
1 cup agave syrup
3 cups shredded, toasted coconut

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 33 muffin holes (if you don’t have that many, I suggest halving the recipe or putting the batter in the fridge while the rest bake).

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

3) In another large bowl, whisk the syrup, palm sugar, water, vanilla extract and oil together. Add in the flour mix in 3 turns, whisking well after each addition. Add in the toasted coconut, mix well and divide evenly into the muffin holes. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes and remove from tin to cool completely.

To Finish:

Grate another 100g of palm sugar and melt with 2 tbsp of water. Use that as a glaze to allow mounds of shredded, toasted coconut to stick.Add a drizzle of dark chocolate for a cupcake akin to a bounty chocolate bar. :)

9 Comments

Filed under Books, Breakfast, Cupcakes, Fruit

Sour Cherry Cupcakes

In order to stop myself from eating a third cupcake, I am resorting to munching an apple along with a low fat hot chocolate drink. Pathetic I know.

You see, up until now, I am pretty sure I have never searched, researched and failed at a recipe so many times like I have at baking a gluten free vanilla cupcake. How everyone so gracefully succeeds at this basic cupcake is beyond me. Instead this is how the scene is. Quivering, worried, quite certain I’m about to fail…again.

I remember once, I was so desperate for a vanilla cupcake for my uncle’s 50th and all I had was batch after batch sadly finding home in the rubbish bin. Not ideal.And I might have some close to succeeding, but it felt more like me ‘settling’ rather than being overjoyed with finding the right one. So like finding the perfect boy, this was a mission not to be taken lightly. After yet another really crap attempt yesterday with Hummingbird Bakery’s vanilla cupcake recipe (which I should’ve guessed would’ve turned out wrong when it started to…split!), I woke up this morning armed with a mission. Magnolia Bakery vs Primrose Bakery. Two bakeries, one cupcake, one highly frantic baker.

Great.

It was a stupid test I thought, since I’ve actually baked from these two books and wasn’t successful thus far. But everyone’s favourite cupcake recipe couldn’t fail me…right? And I’ve been to Primrose…it was good…HOW BAD COULD IT BE?! (tension building, nerves going mad, and I was kinda hungry)

TURNED OUT SUPER ACTUALLY! :) Guess who won?

PRIMROSE!!!

Fluffy, super fluffy, none of that gummy business, and it grew up tall, rounded, really handsome and tanned. Perfect. (the cupcake, not the man)


Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted from Primrose Bakery)

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups minus 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1.5 tsp baking powder
120ml whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

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

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3) In another bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together. Add the flour into the egg mixture alternating with the milk and vanilla. Beat until mixed through and pour into the prepared tins.

4) Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sour Cherry Filling

1.5 cups frozen cherries, thawed
4 tbsp granulated sugar
2 heaping tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water

1) In a medium saucepan, add the cherries and the sugar and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

2) Mix the cornstarch and the water into a slurry and slowly add it into the cherry mixture, swirling as you go. It will thicken up almost immediately into a jammy consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Vanilla Buttercream

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-4 tbsp milk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
400-500g icing sugar, sifted

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and 400g of the icing sugar on low until mixed through.

2) Add in 2 tbsp of milk and the vanilla. Mix to combine. If frosting is too liquid, add in the remaining icing sugar. If it’s too stiff, add in the remaining milk, 1 tbsp at a time.

3) Use immediately or keep in an airtight container in the fridge. To use, bring to room temperature.

To Assemble

1) Cut out a ‘cone’ shape from each of the cupcakes. Fill the hole with 3 cherries. Cover the ‘lid’ back on.

2) Pipe a swirl of buttercream over the cupcake and allow to set slightly before topping each cupcake with 1-2 cherries.

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Filed under Cupcakes, Frostings, Fruit, Recipes

Sunday’s Best

The signs are obvious- I think I’m falling ill. Sore throat, tired head, lazy feet, achy back. And such terrible timing for this to happen when my mom’s not home. No one to fuss over me and give me extra tea and sympathy. Boo.

Nevermind, suppose this means I can veg in front of the telly and flick over as many channels as I like, and settle on NCIS re-runs because I really don’t like Parenthood. And it also means I can eat whatever I want, so long as I drain as much water as I can before getting bored of it.

Suppose it also means that no one really saw me slathering my muffins with maple cream cheese. I’m pretty sure our walls have no eyes. Just the pineapple but he won’t tell- I’ll gobble ya!

Today’s muffin has a very earthy taste, definitely not for the super faint hearted. I do think that replacing the agave with maple syrup might be a mighty fine idea so if anyone does try it, let me know how it turns out.

Plum and Cornmeal Muffins (gluten free, egg free, refined sugar free, nut free and vegan) adapted from Babycakes

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp GF flour mix
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp applesauce (I used Greek yogurt this time)
almond milk
1 tsp apple cider
2 small plums, washed
1 tbsp raw sugar

1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 6-hole muffin tin.

2) Halve and remove the stones of the plums. Slice each half into 5 slices. Set aside.

3) Mix the apple cider vinegar with the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes.

4) Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda together. Add in the cornmeal.

5) In another bowl, whisk the oil, agave and applesauce (yoghurt) together. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.

6) Slowly add in the soured milk and mix well. Divide batter evenly in the tin and place 3-4 slices of plum on top. Sprinkle the raw sugar and bake for 22-25 minutes.

7) Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

8) If you like, mix up some cashew cream frosting (here’s one!) with 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup and ice the muffins or if you’re not lactose intolerant (or calorie intolerant), use a cream cheese frosting base (try this) instead. SO GOOD!

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Filed under Fruit, Recipes

Passionate Milk Chocolate

I have a short attention span so if we have conversations; don’t take it personally if my eyes start to wander. I’m listening; I just have trouble focusing after awhile.

It’s the same when it comes to most things I do. I usually jump onto a new activity for the fun of it and once it starts getting less fun, I’ll gladly throw in the towel and move along. So when I screwed up a carrot cake this morning and I felt compelled to bake something else because well, I wanted to, it once again reminded me that I actually love baking. I’ll stick with it, through thick icing and thin cream.

You feeling me?


Short attention spans must be a characteristic found in all dessertaholics though- how else did earl grey end up with chocolate or the divine union of sea salt, caramel and a pinch of pink pepper come about? I have this notion that these imaginative people just got quite bored and wondered “oooooooh, what does this doooo?”

Well, that was running through my head when I decided that I would be changing the original sunflower seed muffin idea into a milk chocolate muffin, slathered with passionfruit icing.


Milk Chocolate Muffins with Passionfruit Icing

1/3 cup  vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup GF flour blend
¼ cup + 2 tbsp almond meal
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup milk chocolate buttons (chopped roughly)*

Preheat oven to 170 °C. Line a muffin tin with 7 liners**.

In the bowl of a KitchenAid fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the two eggs and sugars together until double in volume and light. Add in the oil and beat until well emulsified.

Sift the flour mix and baking soda together. Add the almond meal in.

Mix in half the flour mix into the egg mix, add in half the milk. Mix well.

Add in the remaining flour mix and milk and mix until completely homogenized.

Add in the chocolate buttons, mix and divide evenly into the 7 liners. It will be pretty full but you want nice rounded, tall muffins and these don’t rise a lot.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool and top with passionfruit icing and a drizzle of melted milk chocolate.

Passionfruit Icing

Pulp of 1 passionfruit
2-3 cups of icing sugar
2-3 tsp of warm water

Strain the juice of the passionfruit into a bowl. You should have 2-3 tbsp of juice. Add in 2 cups of icing sugar and whisk to combine. Thin with a little warm water if desired, or thicken with more icing sugar. The icing should fall off a fork with much effort (not very runny)

*I didn’t chop my chocolate buttons so they sunk to the bottom of the muffins.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cakes, Chocolate, Fruit, Inspired, Recipes