Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

My 'part-time photog' has been pestering me to make another batch of the moist chocolate cupcakes that she absolutely loves. However, since i am still down with cold, i told her i'll make her a batch of cupcakes that is quick and easy.

Recipe from 125 Best Cupcakes Recipes by Julie Hasson. Uses orange zest as well as orange oil and chocolate chips. It's quick and easy and everyone in my family loves it and ate 2 cupcakes each at one sitting..so i believe the cupcakes must be good. (although my nose is blocked and i cant really taste anything...lol..i can smell the nice sweet orange flavor while the cupcakes were baking in the oven). However, i didn't really smoothen the chocolate icing properly..i added white chocolate to the hot dark chocolate mixture but didn't really stir it well to even it out..you can still see tiny blocks of white chocolate in the icing. I think it is ok - can't expect everything to be perfect when i am not feeling that well right? :)

Btw, i love the cupcake cases..so pretty imo and colors so vibrant! I just bought them in melbourne..and they are like so cheap and all over the supermarket! The cheap cases that are sold here are plain and not pretty and the pretty ones are expensive. :(

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes
from 125 Best Cupcakes Recipes by Julie Hasson
(i'm typing from memory and not copying from the book atm)
makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of of baking powder
1 tbsp of orange zest (15ml or 1 orange)
1/4 tsp of orange oil
1/4 cup of unsalted butter (50ml)
2/3 cup of milk (150ml)
1/2 cup of chocolate chips
1 egg

Oven: 305f or 180c

1. Sift flour, salt & baking powder and set aside.
2. Cream butter & sugar till well blended.
3. Add in egg to butter mixture, followed by orange zest and orange oil.
4. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to the butter/egg mixture.
5. Add in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon mixture evenly into 12 cupcake cases
7. Bake in oven for 20-25 mins at 180c.

Book recommended chocolate fudge icing or orange cream cheese icing. I used neither..but just used the normal/usual chocolate buttercream icing that i usually use.

Martha Stewart's Cupcakes - I Want!

I want this book!! I saw it on amazon for the longest time thinking if i should order it now or later. Since this will only be released on June 2.

So shall i order now or later? Maybe our bookstores have stock earlier?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chocolate Ice-Cream

Made this batch of chocolate ice-cream before i left for melbourne last week but was too busy to blog about it. I tried a scoop before i left and left the balance of ice-cream to my 'photog' and told her to take photos for me. Upon my return, that's the best she took..(i have to say the presentation is kinna off and she didn't scoop it properly..cos she said she wanted to take photos quickly and eat before the ice-cream melts..lol!) And yes, you guessed it correctly, no more ice-cream left when i returned..hahahahaha...all gone! Can't blame her, the weather has been extremely hot & humid recently!

This recipe from David Lebovitz's book - The Perfect Scoop. I have to say it is absolutely delicious and the texture of ice-cream is extremely smooth as well. Very yummy!! Recipe and steps of how to make the ice-cream can be seen here on userealbutter.com

Trust me, it is really good!..:) Oh..i added the white chocolate chips on my own - when you are making your own ice-cream there is nothing to stop you from putting whatever you want in there! :D

What I Shopped

Weather's pretty cold in Melbourne..and hence i caught a cold! Not use to such cold weather. Not a good thing to fall sick when you are traveling imo..i felt sleepy all the time when i was there (except when i saw the things i wanna buy! hahahaha..that would wake me up momentarily..LOL!) and everything i ate seems so bland. I ate a lot, more than what i usually eat when home but then i walked more than i usually walk in the entire year too!!?! Some said i lost weight - come on.....in just 5 days?!!....seriously?? But i dare not weigh myself for fear of seeing my weight plummet..cos i know i need to put on more weight as i am now way below ave bmi. Anyway..the highlight of my trip (yup..that's what kept me awake!) - the stuff i bought:-

1) mini fluted tins (no mini bundt pan..so no choice)
2) cake tester with a porcelain cupcake thingy..so cute
3) ceramic pie beads
4) french madeline pans
5) pyrex mixing bowls (yup..cos they were cheap at $11!)
6) a set of teapot with teacups & 'cupcake' tea-strainer from T2
7) pie bird (i dunno if i am gonna use it..but it was cute so i bot it!)
8) cream horn moulds
10) bundt pan (cos it is like half price of what's selling here!)
11) pretty pink apron with matching tea towels
12) mini cookie cutters (really mini mini)
13) red silicon spatula that can withstand heat up to 350c
14) wilton cake lifter
15) digital timer
16) digital thermometer
17) meat thermometer
18) measurement chart conversion cum cutting board
19) cupcake cases (pretty colors & cheap!)
20) lock & safe's cupcake/sheet-cake plastic container (the ones selling here has missing cupcake attachment)
21) whole nutmegs (yup.. now i can grate the nutmeg like i see the chefs on tv!..lol! )
22) poppy seeds
23) nestle cooking chocolate
24) vanilla bean paste
25) australia organic sea salt (no fleur de sel)
26) koko black chocolate truffles
27) sleeper earrings

I think that's about it...my son got a couple of toys - Mr Men series - at $5 per set and Shrek toys also at $5. And I saw a couple of things that i like but i can't carry them back! Really pretty cupcake/cake tier cake stand/holders, glass cake dome set, huge pizza baking stone, dutch oven, cookie sheets...and many more ...all at really great prices, but i can't carry them back cos just too heavy! :(

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shopping in Melbourne

I'm flying off to Melbourne tomorrow night. Not sure what to pack though..it's cold there so i have to pack not only warm but also stylish too...and i have to pack for my son too!

My shopping wish list..(type it down in case my iphone quits on me like the last time, at least one of my friends can call me up to tell me my wish list or sms me..lol!)

1) Mini-Bundt Pans
2) Sleepers Earrings
3) Pretty colorful dough scraper (i say that cos those selling here are quite plain looking - serve the purpose but not pretty at all!)
4) KokoBlack Chocolates @ Shop 4 Royal Arcade (15pcs for Saresha & some for me too
5) Fleur de Sel
6) Lecithin Powder
7) Any other cute baking stuff that i can't find here...

That's it?! Only 7 items!! Strange..so unlike me..lol! Probably will end up with more things when i am there..lol!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

French Macarons

I finally made a batch of successful french macarons!!!! See that pretty little 'feet' there! LOL! After failing 2 times, my 3rd try i finally got it right. The 1st time i tried many months back with David Lebovitz's chocolate macaron recipe, i whipped the egg white too stiff. The 2nd time, i put way too much coloring! Ya, the recipe at Tartelette said..2 tb of powdered food coloring..when i added 2 Tablespoon (tb=tablespoon..no?)..way too much coloring!! Terrible.. in the end it is quite inedible with so much coloring imo!

Finally..i remembered i had the book Just Dessert by Chef Daniel Tay, the owner of Bakerz Inn and i followed his recipe through and through..and i got it right!! Yipee! I think his recipe is made more for our hot and humid weather and hence the whipped egg whites can hold better. I was ecstatic when i saw the macarons "feet" coming up while they were in the oven. :) However, i don't know if it is my oven or the instruction on book is wrong cos the timing in the oven was way too long imo and my macarons burnt a bit..(see the dark brown - suppose to be pink! - first tray). Then i adjusted the baking time and it became slightly better..(see the lighter brownish pink..second tray). And finally i got it right by adjusting my oven temperature and also the oven setting...and see that pink! Yup..the pink from the third and final tray! Oh yes, the colored powder, you need only just a few drops imo.

Here is quite a good video of how to bake french macarons but it is in french, i can't understand what the french chef is saying (my friend is going to ask her husband who is french to translate for me as soon as he is back from his business trip..hahahaha...and to give me his french macaron recipe too!! :D ).. but i learnt a good tip of how to moist the macarons and to lift them up from the parchment paper! I like his method!

Here's the video, i don't how how to embed it here...so here is the link:-
and the french chef is quite handsome too..lol!

More macaron recipes from SeriousEats.com and there is a recipe and also links to others who has their version of macaron recipes. And introduction to macarons by seriouseats.com - a good reference guide! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Yes, i baked lots of stuff today. Earlier, before these cupcakes, i made the custard cream for chocolate ice-cream which is now being chilled in the fridge . I am not going to blog about it today, only tomorrow after i churn custard to ice-cream. :)

So after making the custard, i baked chocolate cupcakes. Recipe from Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker. Ok, i read the recipe wrongly at first, i should have put the baking soda in the boiling water but somehow i didn't and mixed it with the flour. In the end the chocolate cake turns out moist or overly moist at first which i rectified by putting in another 20mins in the oven. Oh yes, that was after it has been first cooled, i realised the cupcake is too moist/wet in the centre for my liking (the wooden skewer turned out clean you know!)..so i put it back in the oven and place a tin-foil over the top to prevent the top from burning, after 20mins later (again!), the chocolate cake is crunchy on top and still moist in the centre which is great! I didn't use the fudge icing but another chocolate buttercream icing in another book which is much simpler and quick to do plus totally chocolaty!

So in the end everything turned out well. My intention was for my domestic helper to take some cupcakes to celebrate her sister's birthday tomorrow on her off-day. So i am glad the cupcakes turned out well. :D

Cheddar Cheese & Ham Buns

The other half of the dough, i decided to make cheddar cheese and ham topping buns with cream cheese filling. This time round, i wasn't too stingy with the cream cheese, i added half this time instead of 1/3!? LOL! I think i can just put the entire triangular cheese (laughing cow) in the bun!! I wanted to wrap the dough in sausages like sausage bread but my husband who went to the supermarket in the morning can't find the brand that i wanted, so in the end i just created the same repertoire of cheese buns with just an addition of ham on top.

Cinnamon Buns

Made buns again. After making so many times, i can remember the recipe by heart..LOL! I did my own variation to the buns with cinnamon sugar filling for half of the dough (the other half dough in the next post). I think i was too stingy with the cinnamon sugar cos i was afraid the buns will be too sweet. In the end, i think i can add more, cos after baking, the buns not sweet at all..so i guess can be sweeter.

Weather is very very very very HOT! Argghhhh! I think i am melting soon.... oh yes, because of the hot weather, the bread proofed very quickly!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cream Cheese Bun

I still have some of the coffee cream left over from the previous mexico buns i made, so i decided to do the same dough and half of the dough i pipe it out with the left over coffee cream and the other half, i will top it up with chedder cheese but for both instead of butter as filling, i tested with the cream cheese (laughing cow brand, i think - the triangular cheese lor..lol!) Since it is 'testing', i put in 1/3 of the triangle cheese into each of the bun as filling! Needless to say, the cream cheese inside is good but too little in the end.LOL! Kinna like i was too stingy with the cheese filling..LOL!

I really really really like this Chef Don Yong's recipe. I used his dough recipe again and it works beautifully and my buns proved up beautifully too. The recipe is here for those of you who are keen in the recipe. I've also taken pictures of my proved buns before baking and glazing...here it is..

My buns above before glazing and already proved and ready to be baked.

Below my buns with egg glaze & chedder cheese toppings:-

Buns ready to go in the oven.......

and the BAKED buns...here..after 12mins...

12 mins only and my buns look so 'dark'. The top looks dark but only a very very thin crust layer which is what is suppose to be. :)

Here is the inside of the bun..actually..i ate it all up and remembered i should take a photo of the inside of the bun..so that's what's left over of what i have eaten..LOL!...here it is..

Opps! Sorry not focus..but cos i was holding the bread one hand and taking photo the other hand. These days, my photog has 'resigned' from her post and now i have to take the photos on my own?! Anyway, see how 'soft' it looks? ..the texture looks fluffy as well? (well, it is soft and fluffy also when you eat it..lol!)

The other half of the dough - which is piped out with coffee cream on top (with cream cheese filling too)...

See how the buns piped with the coffee cream rises up much higher than the egg glazed buns? I think maybe the coffee cream conducts the heat slower (cos coffee cream gotta cook first?!) and causes the buns to prove very higher? Don't quote me ok, just my own theory/logic..LOL!

This is my 2nd time successful with bread buns. So i believe that the dough recipe is the one that gives the good results! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Banana Cake

Another banana cake recipe from "the essential baking" cookbook (which i bot for $10.95 recently) that is worth mentioning as the cake is moist and not too sweet and i like it without the frosting. :)

Here's the recipe (since i am now in the mood to type recipes and quite free since it is public holiday too..:D

Banana Cake (from The Essential Baking Cookbook)

Cake Ingredients:-

- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 ripe medium bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 milk
- 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice

Butter Frosting

- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 tbp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted


1) Preheat the oven to moderate 180c. Lightly greased a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
2) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and banana and beat until combined.
3) Dissolved the soda in the milk. Used a metal spoon, gently fold the sifted flour and mixed spice alternately with milk into the banana mixture. Stir until all ingredients are just combined and mixture is smooth. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hr or until a skewer inserted in the cake centre comes out clean.
4) Leave the cake in the tin 10mins before turning onto the wire rack to cool completely.
5) For frosting, beat butter , icing sugar, lemon juice with electric beaters until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled cake using a flat-bladed knife and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mexico Bun ( & my version of "coffee-bun aka roti papa")

I am very happy with the results of my mexico buns. I added coffee paste to make it taste more like 'roti-papa'. I think this time round, i finally got it right! The last time i made, my bread looks more like 'boluo-pau' (cantonese buns)..lol!
It's hard work though (a lot of waiting time) - recipe said to proof the sponge dough 4-5 hours but i did it overnight in the fridge cos i didn't have the time the next day! I gotta work the next day! Then the next day, i came back home late and by the time i round up the dough and proof it again for 40mins, it was already 11pm. So i put the dough back into the fridge and took it out this morning to bake it. Well, it works well!! At least i learnt something..that dough can be put in the fridge to halt the proofing. :)

My family had a great Good Friday breakfast today! :)

A few has asked me for this recipe..so here it is:-

Mexico Buns (Adapted from Bread Winners by Chef Don Yong)

Strong Flour (bread flour) 280g
Instant Dry Yeast 3g
Water 170g

Strong flour (bread flour) 120g
Milk powder 15g
Bread Improver 6g
Instant Dry Yeast 8g
Sugar 80g
Salt 6g
Egg 50g (1 medium)
Egg Yolk 20g (1 medium)
Butter 60g
Butter, firm for filling


1) With an electric mixer and dough hook, prepare the sponge by mixing the three ingredients on low speed for 3 mins. The sponge should be firm and dry and cool (24c) to the touch. leave the sponge for 4-5 hours in a airtight container at about 27c.
2) When the sponge is ready, prepare the dough. Place the remaining dry ingredients into the mixer and add egg, egg yolk and water. Mix on low speed. Immediately cut sponge into a few pieces and add to the mixture over 1 minute.
3) increase speed to medium and mix for 2 mins. Add butter and mix for another 7-10 mins until dough is fully developed. Round up the dough and rest it for 10 mins. Divide the dough into 55g and round up again.
(PS: I use my hands to knead and not machine - i feel i have better control of the texture of the bread and not over-knead it).
4) After another 10mins, flatten dough with the palm of your hand and wrap a piece of firm butter (10g) inside.
5) Prove dough for 45mins in a warm place until the dough is almost double in size. Pipe the mexico bun topping (see recipe below) in a continous concentric circle, starting from the centre over the top of the bun until the surface is fully covered. Sprinkle chocolate chips over it. (PS: I omitted the chocolate chips but added coffee paste instead in the mexico topping).
6) Baked in a preheated oven at 200c for 12-15mins until the buns turn slightly brown.

Mexico Bun Topping

Butter 190g
Sugar 190g
Eggs 190g (3, large)
All Purpose Flour 200g
Vanilla Flavoring


1) With a paddle, blend butter, sugar on medium speed for 3mins until fluffy. Add egg slowly and continue mixing on medium speed for another 3 mins. Fold in flour and vanilla flavouring on low speed until well blended.
2) Leave the batter in the refrigerator until the buns are fully proved. Pipe approx. 45g of topping over the each proved buns.
(PS: I added coffee paste here cos i feel coffee paste is lighter than adding real coffee itself cos i don't really like too strong coffee. For those of you who likes a stronger coffee taste, i suppose you can add 1-2 teaspoon of instant coffee powder).

This is my bun after the next day. Still soft and fluffy..see inside..lots of holes..lol! and the centre is butter which seeps out already into the dough. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

I recently bot a book from Borders on sale for $10 - "the essentials of baking" cookbook..i think. Anyway, in there a recipe i tot looks easy and also quick and appropriate for the coming Easter holidays.  The buns turned out ok, soft on the inside, but the outside is quite hard - which i expected to be like soft though.  Also i think the recipe missed out something..to egg-wash the bun, and also the oven temperature might be too hot at 200C cos  my cross looks like 'burnt' ..hahahaha..or could be i didn't put a thick-layer of the white cross.  

Overall, the buns taste yummy with butter and jam. On it's own, it's a bit plain imo cos of the low sugar content. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

German Black Forest Cake

German Black Forest Cake from Chef Alex Goh's recipe. Imo his book about chocolate has some printing error. The recipe made the mistake of grouping the cherries as part of ingredients D which they mentioned to fold into the cake batter. I doubt so, so i didn't follow exactly. Next the 150g of whipped cream to cover the entire 9-inch (23cm) cake is insufficient! Should be at least a cup of whipped cream. I ran out of whipped cream then had to whip more cream to top the entire cake. So my estimate should be about 1-1/2 cup of whipped cream. And i didn't have any balance left either after piping out the rosettes.

The cake has no butter - ie an absolutely plain sponge cake but cos of the brushing of the syrup onto the cake makes the cake moist. I dunno if i over-brushed the syrup or what (my imagination), but i find my cake is a bit too wet and sweet. But then again, it maybe ok cos whatever is sweet to me, is considered just right for majority (me-minority who doesn't take too sweet things other than chocolate).

Our weather here is absolutely no good for whipped cream or chocolate decoration! I had to work the cake and chocolate in the freezer compartment of my fridge..yup..literally with the freezer drawer open and my cake and chocolate in there! 5 mins out of the fridge, the whipped cream and chocolate starts to melt!!! Argghhh! See..this is another reason why i need aircon in my kitchen!!

And another note..after tasting it a few times and trying to find out what's wrong with this cake, i realised that this cake doesn't taste like the usual black forest cake..it taste more like chocolate cake with cherries in it!!! :( So it is good as a chocolate cake BUT no good as a blackforest cake imo....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Crumble Buns

The half of the left over dough (from the cinnamon buns) i used it to make crumble buns from the same book. I didn't know if i did the right thing or not cos it is not the type of bun that i am used to seeing here in our country imo - or could be i don't eat enough to know though..:P. Anyway..i tot i did something wrong cos the buns not very sweet and the toppings i dun even know if i got it right. So i didn't take any photos plus it was late at night, already 11pm by the time my buns were out from the oven! However, this morning when i brought the buns to work for my breakfast, my boss saw and said these are like his fave "coffee-cake" buns from Starbucks in US (he said they don't sell the buns here though). So i offered the buns to him lor! What can i say? LOL! At least a confirmation that i did the recipe right!! Hahahahahaha! Next time got ang moh type of cake/bread i not sure must ask my boss to try so i know if i got it right or not..hahahahahaha

Photos tonight (i hope there are buns left for me to take photos with)!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cinnamon Buns

These cinnamon buns from Carole Walter's recipe - her book "Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More" . I like her books and i wanted to get 2 more of her books which both are currently out of stock. Oh well, just gotta wait a while to see if amazon restock them. Her basic sweet dough is very easy to make and there is no need to knead the dough and the proofing time only once for about 40-60mins. And these buns taste more like "yeast-ed" cake than bread imo. But the great thing about these buns is they can keep really well..ie, they won't hardened the next day though and actually keep better the next day imo.

I made a batch of basic dough from her book and now still left with half of the basic dough. Must look through her book again to see what i can do with the rest of the dough in the fridge tonight! :)

Photos coming right up..soon..was too lazy to download last night!

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