Thursday, September 19, 2013

When I Met Miette

Things have been kind of hectic in this madwoman's kitchen. But I don't want you to think that I have been resting on my laurels! I still have been baking, I just have not been able to take really good photos that I would feel happy about posting on this blog. Excuses, excuses, I know. But I still have a long way to go in terms of cake/cupcake decoration and the least I could do is come up with decent pics right?
I can't remember if I've previously mentioned that my sister lent me this book (hi Dang, yup it's still with me! I love it and you are the best sister ever for giving, ahem, lending this to me. Haha!)
It's a charming book with scalloped pages and beautiful photos of the things you could dream up based on the recipes inside. I've tried the chocolate cake, the butter cake and the cheesecake recipes and I have loved drooling and cleaning my plate over each and every result.
(These images of the Miette cookbook are not mine. I got them from Google Images)
The butter cupcakes are wonderful because I could really taste the butter. It was moist, not crumbly and light as air. I have used chocolated frosting, vanilla buttercream, strawberry buttercream and even cream cheese frosting, and the cupcakes tasted amazing no matter what kind of frosting I paired it with. It also tasted divine even without frosting! I mean, how often can you say that about cupcakes right?!
But my favorite from the Miette recipe book is the Blueberry cheesecake recipe. It. Is. Perfection.
I use it all the time. Every couple of weeks my husband asks me to make it. And the longest it has stayed in our ref is two days. Seriously. 
I will try to post the recipe one day but I suggest that if you see a copy of the Miette cookbook in your local bookstore, pick it up and make a beeline for the counter. Trust me, it is worth it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Leche Flan with Macapuno toppings: Sugar rush!

When my sister got home from her trip to the US, one of the things she proudly shared with me was her recipe for Leche Flan, a sweet dessert that you would probably associate more with a very sweet, rich custard. I tried it immediately of course since it wasn't all that difficult to do and I loved it!
Recently, I made Ube Macapuno cake and found myself with excess Macapuno. I figured, why not? and decided to top the Leche Flan I would make with the delicious coconut.
I could not have been more pleased with the result! Although my husband says the topping looks weird but what does he know right? I told him its perfectly usual and he happily ate everything on his plate haha! It's a quick dessert to make but I warn you now, its swimming in sweetness. A slice of this slides down the throat easily but the taste stays on your tongue; creamy, rich, syrup-y goodness you'll find yourself looking forward to making again and again!
                  
Leche Flan
Ingredients:
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
6 egg yolks
sugar
Procedure:
1. Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk and 6 egg yolks, mix well
2. Cover the bottom of a regular-sized lanera with sugar and macapuno and bake in the oven for 10 mins or until the sugar melts completely at 186'C.
3. Pour mixture halfway into the lanera then cover with aluminum foil. Make sure it is sealed tight!
4. Place the lanera in a large roasting pan and fill the surrounding area with hot water until it reaches up to the same height as the flan mixture.
5. Bake for 30-45 mins. or until mixture is set.
6. Chill overnight 
7. Serve cold and enjoy!
                  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crazy for Chocolate Chip Cookies!

In the beginning, I only wanted to bake cakes and cupcakes. I told myself, 'cookies are too simple to make!', 'I can buy them for so little at the store', and 'they all taste the same ayway!' and so I avoided making cookies as much as possible. Until I stumbled across this article on the New York Times, only to find out that so many people around the world were raving about this recipe. With good reason.
I finally gave it a try and my, oh my. These cookies spell perfection! They are crisp but chewy, delicious little disks that carry so much flavor.
The rich chocolate melts on your tongue and is absolutely decadent.

My favorite is the effect of the sea salt. I used Fluer De Sel, it enhances the taste of the cookie and the contrast between the sweetness of the chocolate and the sharp taste of the salt complements the overall flavor of the cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Jacques Torres)

Ingredients:
2 cups minus 2 tbsp (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate discs
sea salt

Directions:
1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. set aside
2. Using a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla
4. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds
5. Drop chocolate pieces and incorporate
6. Press plastic wrap around dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours
Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours
7. Pre heat oven to 350'
8. Scoop mounds of dough (3 1/2 ounces or golf balls)
9. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes
10. Transfer sheet to wire rack for 10 mins
 I have made this recipe and substituted the chocolate disks with white chocolate chips, candy coated chocolates as well as hardbake chippits, the result is consistent. These cookies are amazeballs!
Now I regret thinking cookies are just cookies. I regret not finding this recipe sooner and wasting all my time focusing only on cakes and cupcakes. I could have baked these babies much earlier! They are not just cookies. Thanks to this kick-ass recipe, these cookies are lifesavers. You want your life changed? Your world rocked? You've got to make these!
                                                                                                     

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate Cupcake Winner!

I've been making a lot of chocolate cake recently. What can I say? Most people expect chocolate when it comes to cake and it really is one of the easiest recipes out there. I usually go for Bakehappy's chocolate cake recipe. I used it in this post. I love it because it is very easy to make, it's sweet and kids go crazy for it. It needs mayonnaise though and there are days when I just don't have a bottle of mayo lying around in my kitchen.
Sweetapolita is one of those blogs I check religiously. It's so lovely to look at! Her site, full of photos of cake, cookies and her beautiful family - it is so heartwarming to peek into Rosie's life! I tried the recipe for her sugar cookies over a year ago and have used it ever since. So, I decided to try her rich, dark chocolate cake recipe.
It's so simple to make! And I instantly fell in love with how dark this cupcake looked when I used her recipe.

When I bite into it, the flavor just explodes in my mouth!
I've used this recipe for cupcakes and cakes, and it has a wonderful balance of not too sweet and not too bland, instead it is truly dark, rich and decadent.
I used a basic buttecream frosting recipe and gave the cupcakes to family and friends and they kept asking me to make more!
Definitely a recipe I will be using again and again! :)

Rich Chocolate Cake Recipe
(From Sweetapolita)

Ingredients:
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespooon pure vanilla extract

Method:
Preheat oven to 350'F.
Prepare 3 x 8" cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper.
In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven.
Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean--approximately 35 minutes. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

Obviously, you can use the same recipe for cupcakes except prepare two 12-count cupcake pans and place liners in them prior to baking. Use your favorite buttercream frosting and slather it on :)
A true champion! Enjoy!


Friday, February 15, 2013

No-Bake Peanut Butter Goodness

I love peanut butter. It is just one of those things I never get tired of eating and if I were stranded on an island with just peanut butter, well, I probably wouldn't mind. I would survive too.

Here is something real easy that you can do with peanut butter. What I love about this is that it is VERY easy to make and you won't even need to bake it! My oven gets some well-deserved rest, at the same time, my tummy is quite content.
No Bake Peanut Butter Squares
(from a Betty Crocker recipe)

Ingredients:
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 and 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 3/4 cups Graham Cracker cumbs
2 cups or 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
To make these saliva-inducing sweets:

1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and make sure you have extra foil hanging over the sides of the pan
2. In a bowl, combine the confectioner's sugar, butter, 1 cup peanut butter and vanilla (you can use a hand mixer for this step)
3. Using a rubber spatula, fold in graham crackers.
4. Once combined, press into bottom of the square pan and set aside
5. Place chocolate chips and remaining peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until mixture is smooth and there are no more lumps
6. Pour chocolate mix over the peanut butter layer and spread evenly then place the whole pan in the refrigerator for 1 hr or until the chocolate is set
6. Hold the ends of the foil that hang from the side of the pan and lift out then cut into individual squares
7. Serve and enjoy immediately or place in airtight containers and store in the ref

Why do I love these? These little innocent-looking squares are sweet, filling and I don't have to bake them in the oven! I love the grainy texture and the flavor of peanut butter is just perfect! The chocolate melts pretty quickly in my climate which is why I have to eat two one right away!
You can even make these peanut butter squares real chunky by piling more chocolate onto the peanut butter layer.
Seriously. Good.

Royal Red Heart Cupcakes Toppers: A Re-Post

I've got a couple of new stuff I've baked recently and am extremely happy with. For peanut butter lovers and chocolate lovers alike. Problem is, it is almost midnight as I write this, I have to wake up early tomorrow morning and my recipe book happens to be on the top shelf of a cabinet about 12 feet away. So I'll post the pictures and recipes some other time.
Instead, I want to share with you pictures of these vivid red cupcakes toppers I made out of royal icing.
It's almost February and a lot of people are already busy with orders for Valentine's! Personally, I don't treat Valentine's Day any differently, it's NOT a non-working holiday so it certainly feels like a regular day. Plus, the whole bouquet of flowers on V-Day? It doesn't really work for me.
But give me a box of chocolates or cupcakes...and I will instantly follow you like a lovesick puppy!
These photos show my first attempts at royal icing. I piped the hearts on acetate that I wiped a bit with shortening. I didnt realize the toppers would take so long to dry! I made the hearts for my sister-in-law's birthday dinner the following night and the royal icing was still very soft and terribly fragile. I should have let them dry for at least 2 days. Oh well.
I managed to get all the cupcakes decorated and that's what counts. I am tempted to do this again for Valentine's day to give to my relatives. Apart from the drying time, you finish so much in less than an hour!
You don't even have to wait for Valentine's Day to make these!
Because everyday should be Valentine's Day! (Cheesy, I know haha!)

Creamy & Dreamy

I know I've mentioned that Cream Cheese doesn't seem to agree much with me, but after making so many red velvet cupcakes over the holidays I have finally found my go-to recipe for tasty cream cheese frosting that hasn't failed me so far.
I don't even have to put this in the chiller since it holds its shape after piping. That means I get to finish decorating my cupcakes sooner without compromising the taste of my frosting.
So I hope you try this out and if you've ever had problems with cream cheese frosting, you can now kiss them a sweet goodbye with this recipe!

What we'll need:
1 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup shortening
 3-4 cups icing sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter, shortening and cream cheese. Once well combined add the vanilla extract and salt. Add the icing sugar gradually. You don't have to use up all 4 cups of icing sugar, if you like the consistency of the frosting with 3 cups you can stop there. 
My cousin likes a sweeter frosting so when I made her cupcakes I used 5 cups of icing sugar and added 1/2 teaspoon milk. 
But that's basically it! Cream cheese frosting that's stiff and rich and oh so delicious! 
Now I never have to worry about making cream cheese frosting! In fact, I now come up with all sorts of excuses to make this kind of frosting!


Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes with Coco Cream Cheese Frosting: A Re-Post

The recipe I use for my carrot cake calls for dessicated coconut and coconut cream. For a three layer 8" carrot cake I only use about 1/4 cup of the coconut cream and since it does not keep for a long period of time I always worry about what I will do with the leftover cream. I hate letting things go to waste! Finally, I started looking for something easy I could make with the leftover coconut cream.
I asked and the internet giveth! I honestly can't remember where I got this recipe from. I just googled coconut cupcakes, copied all the recipes that came out and edited all of them into one recipe that sounded right. (If you have any idea where this recipe came from, feel free to let me know!)
These coconut cupcakes are extremely delicious! Moist, light, with a hint of vanilla. I like coconut but I know a lot of people who don't and that's fine, the coconut flavor in these beauties is not overpowering at all. It's a delicate kind of cupcake because it crumbles quite easily but it also kind of melts in your mouth.
I also made coconut cream cheese frosting which is your basic cream cheese recipe with a little bit of the coconut cream (1/2 cup) instead of milk. Another way to use up my extra coconut cream and still have that subtle coco frosting. So good!
Now my only problem with this recipe is that the batter can shrink quite a bit when it bakes. Some of the cupcakes separated completely from the cupcake liners. I have no idea why it did that. Maybe you could help me out?
Coconut Cupcakes
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup coconut cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-count cupcake pan
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition
4. Add the vanilla extract
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, dessicated coconut, and baking powder
6. Beat half of the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients
7. Pour in coconut cream
8. Include remaining flour mixture and beat until smooth
9. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-22minutes
10. Cool completely before frosting
Hope you like making these!

I'm Seeing Red...Velvet: A Re-Post

I've mentioned in this post how much a fan I am of Bake Happy and a while back, she posted this recipe for Red velvet cupcakes that I knew I just had to try. I am CRAZY about red velvet cupcakes! They were my mother's favorite and every time I see them or taste them I am reminded of her. When I first started baking, red velvet cupcakes were the very first ones I started to make. Needless to say, I had a lot of failures and so, I was on the quest to look for the best red velvet cupcake recipe floating about. I'm happy to say the search has finally ended.
These red velvet cupcakes are divine! The old recipes I've tried produced dry cupcakes, dense cupcakes, bland ones or ones where you don't really get that chocolate flavor. This recipe solves all those problems. The cupcakes that came out were very light, moist and had that chocolate-y taste to it that lingers in your mouth. They smell so good too!
The original recipe was posted on cupcakeblog.com and Aikko tweaked it by substituting Yakult for the buttermilk. I chose to use the buttermilk powder that I purchased at a local health store, I use it all the time for recipes that ask for buttermilk and so far it hasn't failed me. I also doubled the amount of cocoa powder to really get the chocolate taste and I divided the recipe by three so I wouldn't have to stay next to my oven for days.
For the frosting, I stuck with Bake Happy's recipe for cream cheese frosting. Perfect combo!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring
170 grams sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 egg

Procedure:
1. Combine buttermilk, red food color, vinegar and vanilla extract. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well and make sure there are no lumps.
3. In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs one at a time.
5. Add one third of the dry ingredients and mix slightly.
6. Pour in one half of the wet ingredients.
7. Alternate mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, end with your flour mixture and mix until everything is incorporated.
8. Divide batter into cupcake liners and place inside pre-heated oven, 350'F and bake for 15 minutes.
9. When toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, remove cupcakes from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
454 grams icing sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup milk

Cream butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the icing sugar. Add the milk and beat until smooth. *I put the cream cheese frosting in the chiller for several hours so I can pipe them on the cupcakes*

    Peanut Butter Perfection: A Re-Post

    Peanut butter is something we have to have at home. My husband, unfortunately, is allergic to it but that just means more for me! One of the reasons why I joined a cupcake workshop at Ingrid's Sweet Haven Patisserie was because of the peanut butter cupcakes chef Ingrid would be teaching (and the Tiramisu!).
    Of course I couldn't wait to recreate the cupcakes at home. Now the recipe makes a lot so if you're making these and there's only a few of you at home, remember to send some over my way!
    See how moist the cupcake is? How creamy the peanut butter frosting? I love this recipe! The peanut butter flavor is not overwhelming and when combined with the frosting, results in the perfect amount of sweetness.

    You can pile the frosting up high on the cupcake, the sprinkles are not really necessary but I also have to have sprinkles on my cupcakes!
    Peanut Butter Cupcakes

    Ingredients:
    2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    150 grams smooth peanut butter
    150 grams brown sugar
    200 grams white sugar
    3 large eggs
    1 and 1/4 cups fresh milk + 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vinegar

    Procedure:

    1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda without sifting
    2. Using a mixer, cream the unsalted butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy
    3. Add the eggs, one at a time
    4. Pour in the milk with vinegar
    5. Add the dry ingredients and and mix until well incorporated. Do not overbeat
    6. Divide and pour into cupcake liners
    7. Place inside a pre-heated oven 350 degrees F and bake for 20mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
    8. Transfer to a wire rack, cool cupcakes completely before decorating

    Frosting:
    1/4 cup unsalted butter
    1/4 cup refrigerated margarine
    125 grams smooth peanut butter
    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    2-3 tablespoons fresh milk
    3-4 cups confectioner's or icing sugar

    In a mixer bowl, combine butter, margarine and peanut butter until thick. Add vanilla, milk and gradually add the confectioner's sugar until desired consistency is reached.