Almond and Vanilla Cupcakes

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Using The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham again (Buy it here/official website), we decided to do a variation of their Sweetheart cakes minus the icing and shape…. and probably the whole intention of making it actually!

Without any of the decorations and grandeur, these cupcakes are basically Vanilla/Almond flavoured cupcakes.  Don’t they look all rustic and homely?! Check out the recipe below with how to make the decorations/icing as well for those that want to try it.

Almond and Vanilla Cakes

Makes 18 min-heart cakes/24 cupcakes

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups almond meal
250g softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar (Used 3/4 cups)
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup natural yoghurt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Lightly grease three six-hole mini heart cake trays (Or just use cupcake pans with paper cups)

2. Sift together flour and baking powder. Add almond meal and combine

3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2minutes. Add half the sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs two at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

4. Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half of the yoghurt and beat until combined. Repeat this process. Add the remaining third of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

5. Spoon mixture into the cake trays, filling each heart just over half full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool for a further 30 minutes before icing.

To make regular cupcakes
5. If using regular cupcake papers instead of mini-heart trays, this recipe makes 24 cupcakes. Bake at 160 C for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Decoration
2 quantities Quick Royal Icing
Rose Essence
Food Colouring: Rose Pink
1 quantity Sugared Rose Petals

1. Prepare the icing to pouring consistency. Add 2-3 drops rose essence and 3-4 drops pink food colouring during preparation.

2. Place the sweetheart cakes onto a fine wire rack with feet. Pour over most of the icing, so that each cake is completely covered. Add a few more drops of the pink food colouring to the remaining icing to create a mid-pink colour.

3. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the icing over so that it runs down the sides a little. Use an offset palette knife to life the cakes onto a serving plate, then sprinkle with the sugared rose petals.

Variation
If you’re making these cakes for a man, ice the cakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache  and top with chocolate truffles.

Quick Royal Icing
Ingredients
Water
500 g bag premix royal icing

Makes 3/4 cup icing – enough for 12 cupcakes

1. Simply add a little water at a time to the sifted icing sugar, until you have the required consistency. If you want to use a flavouring essence, add a couple drops to the icing sugar before you add the water. If you want to use colouring, add it before you reach the desired consistency (if you add it at the end it will thin the icing). Use fruit juice or coconut milk instead of water for a flavoured icing.

Sugared Rose Petals
2 Fresh Pink Rose Heads (Not chemically sprayed)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Castor Sugar

1. Rinse rose heads under cold water. Gently pat dry. Dip each rose petal into the egg white until just covered. Dip the wet petals into a bowl of fine castor sugar and shake off any excess. Place them on a wire rack to dry for about 1 hour.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cups cream
400 g dark cooking chocolate (chopped)

Makes: 3 cups frosting
1. In a heavy based saucepan, bring the cream to the boil. Place the chocolate into a bowl and pour the boiling cream over. Leave for 1 minute to soften. Use a small spatula to carefully stir the ganache, being careful not to incorporate any air, until you achieve a silky frosting.

2. To use: If you want to achieve a smooth surface, dip cupcakes into the frosting immediately. If you want to achieve a fluffy frosting, let the ganache cool to room temperature and then apply to the cupcake with a small spatula. Do not stir the set ganache too much as it will become dull.

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Impressions

We didn’t go through all that shebang as I’m not a big fan of icing as I find it usually sickly sweet. Crazy I know. So what you get here is cupcakes dressed down to look like muffins. They have this rough texture mostly because of the almond meal that isn’t a fine powder. The process of making this is quite simple, it’s like baking any other cupcake.

As the cupcake itself it’s quite pleasant, it’s light and has a predominant almond flavour. Which isn’t a bad thing by all means. The texture of the cupcake is more grainy because of the almond meal, the yoghurt helps to make it lighter against the richness of the butter so it doesn’t feel like you’re just having a vanilla butter cake. Overall, I think it makes a nice treat that jumps between muffin and cupcake.

Chocolate Cocoa Cupcakes

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On our little cupcake baking frenzy, we decided to make some chocolate cupcakes. We found a recipe in the The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham, you can buy the recipe book here and check out their website and details on the official website. Their actual cupcakes are quite different to what we’ve decided to make, because we didn’t make the icing/toppings or add the little rock chocolates. However the cupcake itself is the same, apart from reducing the sugar but I’ve listed the entire recipe along with what you need to do for the decorations as they do look quite fancy.

Dinosaur Rock Cupcakes – Chocolate Birthday Cakes

Makes: 24

Ingredients
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
1 cup cocoa
1 cup cold water
200g softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with chocolate-coloured cupcake papers

2. Sift together the flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the coffee, hot water,and cocoa until you have a smooth paste. Add the cold water and whisk until evenly combined.

3. In a separate bowl, creaming the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the castor sugar a third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. After the last addition, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

4. Add a quarter of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add a third of the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Repeat this process twice more. Add the remaining quarter of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined, do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.

5. Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, filling each about three quarters full. To prevent the cupcakes cracking on top, allowing the mixture to sit in the cupcake papers for 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean.Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

6. If you prefer no icing, and for simplicity, just dust some icing sugar over cooled cupcakes. Looks like Christmas!

Decoration
1 quantity Vanilla Buttercream
Food Colouring: Apple-Green, Wilton’s Buttercup Yellow
24 Dinosaur/star candles
Chocolate Sprinkles
Chocolate Rocks

1. Divide the buttercream into two small bowls.Add a couple of drops of apple-green food colouring to one bowl and a couple of drops of yellow to the other. Mix to create even colours.

2. Frost half the cupcakes with the yellow buttercream, add half with the green. Working quickly, before the buttercream dries, top each cupcake with a candle, and decorate with sprinkles and chocolate rocks.

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Impressions

The recipe itself is quite nice, the cupcakes are as light as a butter cupcake can be. I found the taste of chocolate to be very mild, as it only uses cocoa powder. I couldn’t really taste the coffee either, I think it’s because our coffee granules have been oxygenated for too long and it has lost most of its coffee aroma. I think I’d prefer a chocolate cupcake to use actual melted chocolate in its recipe because you can really taste the difference when one uses cocoa or chocolate.

Other than that it’s a simple recipe, but if you went all out with decorations, I’m sure it would have tasted even better.

Coconut Lemon Syrup Cupcakes

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Lemons. So useful in so many ways, a good cold remedy but also enjoyable as a refreshing drink or in sweets. I’ve seen Lemon Syrup cakes made previously and when I tasted it I was amazed at how moist it was. It wasn’t very light, it’s actually quite dense as a cake but because of the syrup that oozes through the cake it changes how everything tastes. Yes, lemons can do this.

There were plentiful of recipes out there for Lemon Syrup Cakes but none for cupcakes. Of course cupcakes are just mini cakes but I wasn’t sure of how many cupcakes one batch would make. Alas, I just tried one cake recipe and I made a mix of mini cupcakes and small cupcakes, not those normal sized cupcakes you commonly see.

I found a recipe by Donna Hay, I was hesitant to try it at first because she only knows how to make things look nice to sell magazines and books. However as it turned out, it was a delight. Check out the recipe and my impressions below!

Coconut and Lemon Syrup Cupcakes (Donna Hay)

Makes: Roughly 12-18 average sized cupcakes

(But I can’t be certain as it depends on the size of your cupcake cups)

Ingredients

Cake
150g butter
1/2 cup (100g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
3 eggs
1½ cups (120g) dessicated coconut
1½ cups (225g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
¾ cup (185ml) milk
Lemon Syrup
1 cup (100g) caster (superfine) sugar
¾ cup (185ml) water
2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more to your liking)
Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (355ºF).
2. Beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind in an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs and beat well.
3. Mix through the coconut, flour and milk with a wooden spoon until smooth.
4. Place muffin/cupcake paper into the pans. Pour mixture into pans and bake for 25-35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool.

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5. To make the lemon syrup, combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. If you like your syrup to be more “lemony” keep adding tablespoons full of juice until you get your desired flavour. I basically used a whole lemon’s juice but some may prefer just a touch of it.

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6. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly and sticky. Pour over warm or cool cake.

7. If pouring is too difficult or slides off (top of cakes may be too crispy), use a brush instead and gently tab over it until it soaks in slightly.

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Impressions

This recipe is quite easy to make. I had a slight hiccup when the batter looked all kinds of wrong, with the batter separating from the butter. I’m not sure if it was the acidic nature of the lemon rind or not or if I beat the mixture too long but it turned out reasonably well so maybe it was all for the best!

The coconut in the cake gives it such a pleasant texture and bite to it, we used coconut flakes which are chunkier than desiccated coconut but it was still good.

If you reduce the sugar in the lemon syrup as I did you can either reduce the water too or just wait it out and simmer it for longer. I mistakenly poured in the entire 185 mls when I halved the sugar to 100g but it just meant it took a bit longer for it to get thick.

Since my cakes were crispy on top, the syrup just slid right off if you tried pouring it on top. Instead a brush works wonders and can the cake seems to actually absorb more of the syrup. The syrup gives the cupcakes this amazing gloss, I loved it.

I was so pleased with the end result, packed full of lemon flavour. Not too sweet, just right. Would definitely make it again. Good job Donna Hay.

 

 

 

Mocha Chiffon Cake (Gourmeted Goldilocks Recipe)

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I was searching high and low for a nice looking Mocha Cake to bake for my mother. I came across Gourmeted’s Goldilocks Mocha Cake Recipe which looked fantastic. I’ve tried this a few times following the exact method however on both occasions my cake sank like a rock. One my third attempt I thought, why not use the tried and tested Chiffon Cake way. Here is my slightly adapted Gourmeted recipe below. A big thanks to Gourmeted because it’s a fantastic recipe.

Mocha Cake ala  Goldilocks (Gourmeted)
Ingredients

For the Cake:
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules [Nescafe instant coffee recommended]
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
½ cup canola oil
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Mocha Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
5 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons amaretto (Or Kahlua)
Tools & Equipment

Stand mixer (preferred) but a hand mixer will be sufficient
1 Chiffon cake baking tin

Preparation

1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F (~160 C)

2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) over low, then medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in color.

3. Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture, along with canola oil, and beat until well combined.

4. Remove large bowl from stand mixer (if using one) and sift cake flour and baking powder over it. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks in a medium bowl, and fold into the mocha batter, a dollop or two first to liquefy the thick batter, and then in thirds.

6. Place the batter in the pan. Bake on two racks for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is done when the tops become golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

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7. Once ready, take out of the oven and cool upside down on a mug. If you want to make the icing, the cake must be left to cool completely.

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8. For the Buttercream: Whisk sugar and egg whites for 3 to 5 minutes in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl), until meringue is hot to the touch. The sugar granules will be dissolved and you will be left with a fluffy marshmallow cream-like froth.

9. Remove bowl from heat and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer set to medium speed, or pour into a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to mix.

10. Add half of the butter and beat with a hand mixer (or paddle attachment for stand mixer) until smooth before adding the next half to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give it a quick stir. Beat again on medium-high for another 6 to 10 minutes to thicken.

11. Dissolve cocoa and espresso/coffee granules in water, vanilla extract, and amaretto in a small bowl. Pour into the buttercream and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides at least once.

12. Spoon about ½ cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly with a flat metal spatula.Spread a thick layer of frosting over the side, working from the bottom up to the top. Frost the top by placing a mound of icing and spreading it to the side. You can decorate the cake with the remaining frosting as you wish.

 

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As you can see I didn’t do the icing this time around. I have done it previously and it is indeed delicious. I used Kahlua instead of Amaretto but I believe Amaretto gives it a nice almond flavour to it.

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Impressions

This  Mocha cake… I’m just going to call it a Mocha Chiffon Cake is beautifully soft. I put it only for roughly 30/35 minutes, just done and it is as moist as ever. If you’re a fan of Chiffon Cakes, and want a slight coffee hit. This is for you! I think if you try the Gourmeted way, you may still find success, it’s just that I used a hand mixer on my previous two attempts. My planetary stand mixer works wonders with egg whites and is excellent in producing stiff peaks so that could be the reason why I found success on my third attempt.

This is slightly smaller than my Orange and Pandan Chiffon Cakes, as it only uses 6 eggs, but it’s still quite nice as you can see. It’s just a tad shorter. I might try a Black Sesame Chiffon Cake sometime because I seriously can’t get enough of Black Sesame.

 

Orange Chiffon Cake

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After baking my first Pandan Chiffon Cake, we decided to try baking the Orange Chiffon Cake. Usually Pandan and Orange and they two popular versions in Melbourne. I’m really not sure of many other versions, I’ve seen someone do a Black Sesame one but haven’t had a chance to try that yet.

The difference between the Pandan and Orange Chiffon Cake recipes is the Orange version tastes much lighter because  of the use of coconut milk in the Pandan recipe which makes it slightly more dense. Without further adieu here is my mother’s recipe which works a treat!

Orange Chiffon Cake
Ingredients

8 egg whites
100 g sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

8 egg yolks
60 g sugar

180 g self-raising flour (or 160 g plain flour and 20g cornflour)

1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder

120ml vegetable oil/corn oil
80ml orange juice

1 tsp orange extract

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160/170 degrees Celsius.
2. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
3. Add the vegetable oil, orange juice, orange extract, egg yolks and sugar into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Whip the egg whites and once it starts to bubble add the cream of tartar.
5. Keep whipping until the mixture is nearing soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar with the electric mixer is still running and until hard peaks form.

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6. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the wet mixture until the thick mixture softens. Then slowly add in the rest of the meringue until just combined. Do not overmix!
7. Pour into the cake pan (one made for upside down cakes – it has a hole in the middle)
8. Place in the oven for 30/40 minutes. If the top of your cake gets brown too quickly, lower the oven temperature to around 150. To see if it’s done, you can use a skewer and poke it through the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

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9. Remove from the oven when done, and flip it upside. If the cake as risen higher than the cake pan’s height, use a mug and rest the middle cylinder on top.

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10. Allow the cake to cool until room temperature.

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Here’s how it looks inside!

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I find that you’ll always have a slight depression and density at the bottom because of the meringue cooling. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Chiffon cake that doesn’t sink a bit so don’t worry if yours does. It’s fine!

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Impressions

I find the Orange Chiffon Cake to be extremely light, but full of orange flavour. The orange juice really adds the much needed freshness and flavour. It really will depend on the oranges and how ripe they are but a little bit of orange extract is good just in case the orange juice doesn’t do its job.

Using a stand mixer really makes a difference to a hand mixer. I find the hand mixer either overbeats the meringue, or doesn’t evenly beat the egg whites. Maybe it’s just my poor hand mixing but with a stand mixer and especially a planetary mixer, you get hard peaks extremely quickly and without much fuss. The key in making a good Chiffon Cake is obtain hard peaks and carefully mix it in with the batter but just enough. Once you’ve tried it a couple of times, you’ll know how hard/gentle to mix and after that it really does become easy to make.

If you love light, fluffy cakes  and you don’t want a buttery aftertaste, Chiffon Cakes are excellent for your cake fix.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

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Chiffon Cake was invented in America but have remained popular in South-East Asian countries, and extremely popular in Malaysia. The most popular versions are Orange or Pandan/Coconut Chiffon Cakes and are enjoyed by many for its light and fluffy texture. Here is a version of my Pandan Chiffon Cake. Chiffon Cakes sometimes take a couple of tries to get right due to different oven temperatures and the mixing of the meringue and wet mixture so if you don’t succeed on your first try. Please try again!

Pandan Chiffon Cake
Ingredients

7 egg whites
100 g sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

7 egg yolks
60 g sugar

190 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

80ml vegetable oil
140ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp pandan extract

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160/170 degrees Celsius.
2. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
3. Add the vegetable oil, coconut milk, extract, egg yolks and sugar into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
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4. Whip the egg whites and once it starts to bubble add the cream of tartar.
5. Keep whipping until the mixture is nearing soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar with the electric mixer is still running and until hard peaks form.
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6. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the wet mixture until the thick mixture softens. Then slowly add in the rest of the meringue until just combined. Do not overmix!
7. Pour into the cake pan (one made for upside down cakes – it has a hole in the middle)
8. Place in the oven for 30/40 minutes. If the top of your cake gets brown too quickly, lower the oven temperature to around 150. To see if it’s done, you can use a skewer and poke it through the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
9. Remove from the oven when done, and flip it upside. If the cake as risen higher than the cake pan’s height, use a mug and rest the middle cylinder on top.
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10. Allow the cake to cool until room temperature.

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Impressions
What I like about this recipe is how light the chiffon cake is. When you take a bite, the cake just melts in your mouth. Not to inflate my ego or anything but I found it better than those purchased in my local Asian Grocers. This recipe isn’t too sweet, but still has that nice and subtle pandan flavour. You can always increase or decrease the amount of pandan extract you put it, as well as the coconut to whatever you prefer. That’s the fun thing about making things yourself, you can make something just to your liking.

If your chiffon cakes sinks slightly when cooling, that’s fine. All cakes shrink slightly when cooled. If your cake shrinks too much, this may be a result of over mixing for the batter or the meringue. Or even under mixing for the meringue.

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I find that if you use a good stand mixer, it’s much easier to make the meringue and definitely more consistent than using a hand held mixer. It’s also less troublesome to try pouring sugar into the egg whites if you use a stand mixer (I know, I’ve tried)

All in all, Chiffon cakes can be slightly difficult but once you get the basics down, you’ll find it isn’t so hard after all.

Banana Cake

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Ba-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-nana-na. Make those bodies sing. I’m so glad bananas have dramatically dropped in price and no longer cost at least $10. Rejoice! To celebrate the comeback of Australian Banana’s here is a recipe for those with extra ripe bananas and don’t know what to do with them. It’s a quick and easy recipe, and very difficult to get wrong.

Banana Cake

Ingredients
8 ounces (228 grams) self raising flour
2 tablespoons plain flour
1-2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3.5 ounces (100 grams) caster sugar
5 ounces (142 grams) butter/cooking margarine (6/7 ounces, you probably will get a slightly more moist cake)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs (at room temperature)

1-2 ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Sift the self raising flour, plain flour, baking soda and salt and leave aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light. You can add the vanilla extract when whisking or afterwards, it doesn’t really matter too much.
3. Add each egg one at a time until all is mixed through well.
4. Combine the sifted dry ingredients slowly to the wet batter.
5. Add the bananas and walnuts to the mixture and it’s done!.
6. Place the batter into muffin/cupcake pans. Then place in oven for 15-20 minutes/ until golden brown (or when the skewer comes out clean)

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I like this recipe, since you can adjust the sugar, butter to your liking. The banana adds to the sweetness so you don’t really need that much extra sugar to be honest. The banana makes the mixture quite wet, so you may need to add extra baking powder so that it rises properly and doesn’t sink afterwards! I’ll keep trying to find the perfect banana cake recipe.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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My sister gave me a link to a Red Velvet Cupcake recipe from Amy’s Food Adventures, in which she has adapted her recipe from the Food Network Canada. Apparently, I’m her guinea pig for recipes she finds. We had a gathering coming up and I thought, why the hey.

I had Red Velvet cupcakes a couple of times, the most famous one being Magnolia’s in New York and that was pretty darn good actually.

I was pretty interested in this recipe because it lacks butter, I’m assuming that’s the case with all Red Velvet cupcakes but I was keen to try it out after I realised that.

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This recipe uses a lot of red food colouring. A bit more than half of the food colouring bottle to give it that vibrant red colour.IMG_6455

 

I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe to my liking, with **. With the icing, I found it to bit a tad plain, so I added more lemon juice and zest to it to give it a really nice freshness to the whole cupcake and icing. The icing was pretty much a trial and error so I can’t remember the exact measurements, but if you want it slightly more lemony just keep adding some more juice until you feel it’s right.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24

Ingredients
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar (375 ml) *3/4 cup to 1 cup*
1 1/2 cups canola oil (375 ml)
1 cup of plain yogurt (250 ml)
2 tablespoons red food coloring (30 ml)
1 teaspoon vinegar (5 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)
2 1/2 cups of flour (625 ml) *plain flour for cakes*
1 tablespoon cocoa (15 ml)
1 teaspoon baking soda (5 ml)
1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
Icing
2 cups mascarpone (500 ml) *can use cream cheese too*
1 cup icing sugar, sifted (250 ml) *1/2 cup to 3/4 cup*
1/2 cup 35% cream (125 ml)
Zest of 1 lemon and *lemon juice*

Directions

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
In a food processor, mix the eggs with the sugar, oil, yoghurt, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Blend until just incorporated.
Place cupcake papers into a muffin pan, divide the batter in the cupcake papers, pour only halfway so batter doesn’t overflow, and bake, rotating half way through, for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Icing
In a bowl, beat the mascarpone, icing sugar, cream and lemon zests together until the mixture is smooth.
Spoon a dollop of mascarpone cream on the cupcakes. *I piped mine onto the cupcakes so if the icing mixture is a bit too running or soft to pipe, just place it in the freezer or fridge until it hardens up a bit.*



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IMG_6451I was extremely happy with this recipe. The cake was so moist. My first batch of small ones were a bit undercooked so it was a bit more ‘redder’ then I would have liked, but it tasted great. My second batch in the oven was slightly darker and looked great. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

 

Chocolate Souffle

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I’ve always wanted to eat souffle, and when we went to the Conservatory at Crown, their chocolate souffles were quite the popular dessert so I didn’t have a chance to taste it.

So at last, I tried making it myself. I found this recipe on Taste.com.au, and it’s the basic run of the mill type of recipe but since I had never made it before and it didn’t require that many eggs I chose this one

Chocolate Souffle (Taste.com.au)
Preparation Time
20 minutes

Cooking Time
20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)
Melted butter, to grease
4 1/2 tbscaster sugar
60g butter
2 tbs plain flour
160ml (2/3 cup) milk
210g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, separated
125ml (1/2 cup) thin cream
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Icing sugar, to dust

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush six 160ml (2/3-cup) ovenproof souffle dishes with melted butter to grease (using upward strokes on side). Sprinkle the inside with 1 1/2 tablespoons of caster sugar, shake out any excess.

2. Melt 30g of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and use a wooden spoon to stir for 1 minute or until mixture is smooth and begins to bubble. Remove from heat, gradually add milk, stirring until smooth and combined. Return to medium heat, stir until mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in 125g of the chocolate and remaining caster sugar until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Add egg yolks and stir until well combined.

4. Use an electric beater to whisk egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until firm peaks form. Use a metal spoon to fold one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.

5. Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared dishes. Place on a baking tray. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until well risen.

6. Meanwhile: combine remaining chocolate, remaining butter, brown sugar, cream and vanilla essence in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is well combined. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place in a jug.

7. To serve, place ramekins on plates. Dust with icing sugar. Use a spoon to make a hole in top of each souffle, pour in a little chocolate sauce.

Impressions:
I found it to be quite nice and moist on my first tasting, but I wasn’t too sure if I was doing it right since they seemed to sink after taking it out of the oven. You also kinda need to serve them all hot and fresh out of the oven otherwise it just doesn’t retain that moistness. Unless I was just doing it all wrong. I don’t know

Stay Fresh Scones

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After trying the scones at Pie In The Sky and the Strawberry Farm in Mornington, I wanted to try making scones again.
Last year, we went to Pie In The Sky and I did the same thing but they didn’t turn out that well. They were kinda fluffy but they didn’t seem to rise very much. Maybe I just made them too small, I don’t know. It was one of those lemonade scones that are apparently the fluffiest and lightest, but I wanted to try one without that this time.

Google is my best friend for recipes and I came across the Stay Fresh Scones on the BestRecipes.com website.
It looked simple and there was no kneading necessary! Just had to wait for the dough to rise.
When I was trying to roll the dough out, it was very sticky. Quite troublesome and difficult at times, had to put in some more flour even when the recipe states to limit the amount of extra flour used.

Made them too small the first time around so I had to re-roll them, possible making them harder or less fluffy but I’m not too sure.

End result:

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Used the Raspberry Jam we bought at Pie In The Sky, with some store bought but still delicious whipped cream. With my mum as the taste tester, she approved! Alas, we had found a good scone recipe that was light, fluffy and overall just tasty that nearly matched the goodness of the Devonshire Tea (Tea + Scones) at Pie In The Sky the first time we ordered it.

A success and this will be my go to scones recipe for now on.

Recipe:

Stay Fresh Scones

  • Preparation time: 15 to 30 minutes
  • If you have trouble making good scones these might just do the trick. Extra baking powder and standing time helps to keep these light and fluffy.

Ingredients

500 g self-raising flour
1 egg
1½ cups milk
1 tablespoon icing sugar
2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
60 g melted butter

Method

  1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Add beaten egg, milk and butter.
  3. Quickly combine all ingredients into a dough.
  4. Stand dough on a floured board for 20 minutes.
  5. Gently roll out to required thickness (about 2 cm).
  6. Cut out circles using the rim of a glass dipped in flour.
  7. Stand scones close together on a lightly floured baking tray for a further 15 minutes.
  8. Bake at 210°C for 10 minutes. (I think I baked it at around 170 because our oven gets extremely hot)

PS: Was going to post about macarons I’d attempted to make the last couple of weeks. I actually tried it twice but failed miserably both times. The first time I made them it looked good, had feet and all but was extremely sweet, even after cutting the icing sugar by half. I’ll try again when I’m not so depleted