Lemony Blessings

I always considered our lives very blessed. We always get what we want and we have constant love, care and support from our family. What more can we ask for? But God is amazing. I came home one day after work and found a few bright yellow round things in our garden. My first thought was : someone has been throwing tennis balls into our backyard? haha But when I got a closer look, they were lemons that fell off our neighbour’s lemon tree! (: The winds and rain were so strong, the lemons flew into our backyard! What blessings! Showers of blessings indeed!

So what do you do when you suddenly have a whole bunch of lemons? Make lemon meringue cupcakes filled with luciuus and tangy lemon curd, of course! It’s been a cupcake I have been wanting to make for the longest time. Ever since the first Junior Masterchef when Isabella made her beautiful cupcakes for the Mystery Box challenge! So I decided to make the curd a day before, and wake up early on a Saturday morning to make these gorgeous small cakes.

I started bright and early, so much so that I could try two cake recipes! I was drawn to the recipe on Gourmet Traveller (September 2011 Issue) that was from the Rockpool Bar & Grill. So I couldn’t resist making them. I just had to make both cakes. They were very different. Not just in the type of ingredients used, the way it’s made and also the texture. The cakes using Isabella’s recipe turned out soft and fluffy. But the ones from the Rockpool’s recipe turned out slightly denser and gooey-er (see above). I really couldn’t choose between the two! Both were delicious!

What I really like about Isabella’s recipe is that she didn’t use butter in her cupcakes, so you could practically whip it up really quickly! You don’t have to wait for the butter to soften, which is definitely a plus! And I would like to say that it is healthier. MAYBE. haha But well, regardless. They were both delicious! Just depends on what texture you like more. So I’m going to share both recipes, and you can decide which you like more! (:

*Note : I used the same lemon curd and Italian meringue for both cupcakes and the recipes below are more than enough for all the 24 cupcakes made (12 from each cupcake recipe). 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Curd (adapted from Gourmet Traveller – Rockpool Bar & Grill)

5 eggs

155ml lemon juice

1 tbs lemon zest

180g caster sugar

150g butter

*Cupcake 1 (adapted from Gourmet Traveller – Rockpool Bar & Grill)

155g caster sugar

155g butter

155g self-raising flour

1 tbs lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla paste

75ml milk

Italian Meringue (adapted from Gourmet Traveller – Rockpool Bar & Grill)

200g caster sugar

80ml water

140g egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Steps :

1) For the lemon curd : Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then strain them through a sieve. In a heavy-based saucepan, add the butter, lemon juice, sugar and zest. Stir until the butter is melted and sugar is fully dissolved. Add a little of the lemon mixture to the eggs to warm it up, then gradually add it back into the saucepan, stirring continuously.

2) Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring continuously and scraping the base of the saucepan until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. This will take about 8 minutes and make sure the mixture doesnt boil or else it will curdle. Allow the mixture to cool completely, before covering it and put it in the fridge until it is chilled. (At least an hour, but I prefer to make it a day before, and let it chill overnight). This is enough for the 24 cupcakes I made, and leftovers could be kept in an airtight container in a fridge, up to 2 weeks.

3) For cupcakes* : Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius, and line a 12-cupcake tray with liners. In a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for a couple of minutes, before adding the sugar. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until the mixture is smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla paste and mix it for another 2 minutes. On low speed, add the flour and milk (alternately) until just combined. Careful not to overbeat the mixture. Divide the mixture evenly into the cupcake liners and smooth the top out. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Turn them out onto a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. (For Isabella’s recipe, please see below)

4) For the Italian meringue : Combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and sitr the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high, and allow the sugar mixture to reach a soft-boil stage, without stirring (about 121 degrees celcius on a candy thermometer).

5) In a mixer, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tar tar until soft peaks form. On medium speed, slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the whipped egg whites. Continue to whisk the mixture on medium speed until the mixing bowl feels cool, and the egg whites are thick and glossy. Fill a pipping bag and use immediately.

6) To assemble : Cut a whole in the middle of the cupcakes, big enough to fill 2 tsp of lemon curd. Fill a pipping back with the lemon curd and gently fill the holes up. Pipe the Italian meringue onto each cupcake, making sure you cover the curd completely. Using a kitchen blowtorch, carefully brown the meringue before serving.

*Cupcake 2 (adapted from Junior Masterchef – Isabella’s Recipe)

1 cup thickened cream

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1 tbs lemon zest

Steps : 

1) For cupcakes* : Place cream, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the flour (1/2 cup at a time) and zest and continue to whisk until thick and smooth. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners and bake for 15-18 minutes. Turn over on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before filling them up with the lemon curd and topping with the Italian meringue (recipe and steps as stated above).

ENJOY!

Just to Say Thanks!

Sorry for the lack of post everyone! Been really busy with a whole series of events happening one after another :

First was moving out of the old place

Moved into the new place (which I totally love!)

Started my placements

Ended the first placement

Had an assignment due

Didn’t sleep for 40 hours straight

Totally knocked out right after! haha

PHEW! that was a long list!

Didn’t really have the chance to bake or post! But here I am! Back in my comfort zone – the kitchen. (:

I had such a great time at my first placement! The teachers were so giving, sharing with me everything that I need to know and learn. The students, they were awesome. I already miss them! The environment and culture of the school was exactly what and where I wanna be – inclusive.

When it was my last day at that beautiful school, I just had to bake something for everyone there to thank them for everything! and I wanted to bake them something I knew everyone would like (with fingers and toes crossed!) I went back to the recipe book, and used a recipe that was a family favourite! Just to be safe. hehe

Was really nice knowing that everyone enjoyed these little cupcakes of mine and really funny to hear the teachers discussing what ingredients that they think was in the icing! haha. But very humbling. (:

My initial plan was to make the usual peach and cream cheese cupcakes. But silly billy me bout canned apricots instead! It didn’t even hit me that I bought the wrong fruit until i finished baking them, and was tasting the juice the fruits were in and realise it wasn’t as sweet as it should be, a little tart even! I was a little worried that the fruit was spoilt. haha Would be too late to salvage it! So only when I checked the can, did I realise it was apricot! But wasn’t a bad “mistake either, cause it turned out the cupcakes were just the right degree of sweetness! Thank goodness!

I was a little worried when I made the yogurt-cream cheese icing as it felt a little too runny, and even when I let it set in the fridge for an hour, it was still too runny. But I piped the first layer and let it set over night and place the rest of the icing in the fridge to set as well. In the morning before I brought them to school, I piped the second layer and it worked! and actually gave the icing two-tones! Which I thought was quite pretty (:

So here’s the recipe for apricot cream cheese cupcakes topped with apricot yogurt-cream cheese icing !

Apricot Cream Cheese Cupcake

125g unsalted butter, softened

250g cream cheese

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted, plus extra to dust

450g apricot, cubed

Steps :

1.     Preheat the oven to 1800C and line 12 mini cupcake pans with paper case

2.     Place the butter, cream cheese and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale.

3.     Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.

4.     Add the vanilla and fold in the flour and a pinch of salt.

5.    Stir the cubed apricot through the mixture.

6.     Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 12-14mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allowed to cool.

Apricot Yogurt-Cream Cheese Icing

250g cream cheese, room temperature

113g unsalted butter, softened

43g greek yogurt

50g pureed apricot, strained through a seive

150g icing sugar (add more to get the consistency you want)

Steps :

1) Cream the cream cheese, butter and pureed apricot till smooth and no visible lumps.

2) Add the yogurt till well combined.

3) Add the icing sugar till you get the consistency you want!

4) Place half of the icing into a piping bag and place the rest into the fridge. Pipe the icing on the cupcake and let it set overnight (just make sure it’s setting in an aircon room if you’re living in a hot climate!).

5) Place the rest of the icing that has been setting in the fridge overnight into another piping bag, and pipe another layer of the icing on top, and top it with a small metallic cachou.

ENJOY! (:

Make it for a party or for any occasion, I promise you it will be a hit! (:

Chinese New Year Inspired Cupcakes

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! (: Sorry I know I’m very late and I have gone missing in a long long time. Heading home always does this to the poor blog of mine. But I’m back! and it’s always good to be back (:

so what was your favourite cny goodie out of all that you tried? Mine’s no doubt pineapple tarts. I don’t only love to eat them, I love to make them!

I actually love making them so much that I am considering selling them next year! Will you support me?

If you’re not a fan of pastry, how about a pineapple tart inspired cupcake?

I have awesome friends who constantly give me ideas on the different flavour combinations I should try on a cupcake and no doubt, this was one of them. I originally wanted to bake the tart base to crumble it and put it on the top, but I was too lazy. So i topped it with digestive biscuits instead!

It’s really not so difficult to make, and I can even say it’s not as sinful as a pineapple tart. Only cause, you probably can eat 3-4 tarts at one go (guilty!) but after eating one cupcake, you would be happy enough to stop (or maybe you will have just ONE more haha).

so here’s the recipe! Hope you all will enjoy!

Pineapple Tart Inspired Cupcakes

125g unsalted butter, softened

250g cream cheese

1 cup caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, sifted, plus extra to dust

300g pineapples, chopped (I used the tin ones, squeeze the pineapple dry before using them)

Steps :

1.     Preheat the oven to 1800C and line 12 mini cupcake pan with paper case

2.     Place the butter, cream cheese and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale.

3.     Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.

4.     Add the vanilla and fold in the flour and a pinch of salt.

5.     Dust the chopped pineapple with a little extra flour then stir through the mixture.

6.     Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 12-15mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allowed to cool.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted (more if needed)
10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature and cut into small pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbs reduced pineapple syrup

Digestive biscuit, crumbled finely

1. Sift powdered sugar and matcha together into a small bowl.

2. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar mixture, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition (just enough to work it in). Add the reduced pineapple syrup (make sure it has cooled to room temperature) until well combined.

3. Pipe it on the cupcake how you like it. Sprinkle some digestive biscuit crumbles and top with a chocolate bead.

So do you think I should sell my tarts? haha Will you support me?

Everybody HUAT AH! (: Still not too late! hehe

Raspberry-filled Congratulations

There is just one thing I really love to do for my close friends : Bake of course !

It’s something about seeing the smiles on their faces when they see the baked goods and a wider smile after they bit into it. Just makes me wanna bake more and continue sharing with them. Just to see the smiles once again.

I got inspired to create this cupcake cause Peggy has been raving about the lychee rose ice cream at Passionflower. And because she was going to get her results for her exams the end of last week, I decided at the very point she told me about the flavour lychee-rose that I was going to bake a cupcake for her with those flavours to celebrate her passing the unit! (:

and so I did!

It was a challenge. I was worried that the rose water would overpower the lychee and plus it was going to be my first time making a swiss meringue buttercream. So yes, I was nervous when I started measuring all the things needed to make this mini cuppie happen.

My buttercream almost split while making it! I almost gave up having an icing altogether. But decided to whip the buttercream over the hot water bath and it actually brought it together and got thicker! PHEW! I was super duper relieved. haha. Can you imagine? It won’t be a cupcake without the icing!! Baby actually said my pipping skills have improved! really made my day. (:

I am not that huge a fan of rose water (although I LOVE bandung haha) so I thought the flavour of the rose water was quite strong and overpowering the lychee taste! In fact, I can’t really taste the lychee until I bit into the lychee that was stuffed in the middle of the cupcake. haha. Will have to work on that the next time! (: But nonetheless, Peggy loved it! And so did baby and my classmate! So I was happy! hehe

Here’s the recipe that I adapted from Tartelette

Lychee-rose Cupcake

3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp ground almonds
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
6 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp rosewater
12 whole lychees or 24 halves if big (I used canned ones and cause I made mini cupcakes, I cut them into quarters)

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a mini cupcake pan with baking liners. In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, on medium speed using an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and rose water. Do not overbeat. Using a flexible spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.

4. Carefully spoon half the batter into the liners, place one lychee in the center of each and top with the remaining batter, leaving a 1/2-inch space to the top for the cupcake to rise. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.

5. Once cooled, cut a cone in each cupcake and spoon in 1 teaspoon of the crushed raspberry. Replace the cone and spread or pipe on buttercream frosting.

Raspberry filling

1 cup raspberries, crushed

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp lychee juice
14 Tbsp unsalted butter, cool room temperature and cut into 10 pieces
1- 2 drops of food coloring (optional)

Steps :

1. Combine the sugar and egg whites in the stainless steel bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water making sure the bottom does not actually touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (I just whisked by hand and cooked it until the sugar was completely dissolved and the top became foamy). Be careful not to curdle the egg whites, remove from heat if this starts happening.

2. Remove the bowl to your stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment for at least 3 minutes, until the mixture holds glossy, marshmallow-esque peaks and the bowl is completely cool (Very important – the frosting’s consistency will be off otherwise).

3. With mixer on medium-low, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition (about 10 seconds between each addition). Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, at least 3 minutes. (You’ll hear a distinct slapping sound and visibly see the buttercream go from soupy to a cohesive, pipeable consistency.)

4. Reduce speed to low, add the vanilla and food coloring (if using), and continue beating 1 minute to incorporate the additions and reduce air bubbles. If your buttercream looks like it’s going to split (like mine) just put it over the waterbath and keep beating it on low speed with ur beater and it will slowly thicken up and then take it off the waterbath and you’ll be fine! (:

I might also add a few drops of lychee essence to add more lychee flavour to the cupcake! Will update you once I’ve tried it! (: for now, ENJOY!

FREEEEDOM!

I’m back and I’m free!

Free to do what I love to do most: Cook and bake! The past two weeks have been crazy to say the least. I was relying on just 2-3hrs of sleep a day just to complete the last 3 assignments for the semester. Thank goodness I don’t have exams! haha So I crashed almost immediately after I handed in my last assignment. But only recovered a couple of days ago!

One of the first things I wanted to do was of course BAKE! (: Had so many recipes I wanted to try. I had cravings for green tea and it has always been my favourite asian flavour for desserts. My second is black sesame! My day wouldn’t be complete without a cup of hot green tea.

So I why not combine them together right? AWESOME AWESOME idea! (: I came across this recipe on Delicious Coma while blog hopping and I was thrilled and excited to give it a try!

and boy was it yummy! The cupcake was the softest texture I ever got and the green tea cream cheese icing just compliments it SO WELL! My housemate actually said that it’s the best one he’s had so far! WOO! haha.

So here’s the recipe I adapted from Delicious Coma ENJOY!

Black Sesame Cupcakes

6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups (155 g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup PLUS 3 Tbsp milk

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Line a mini cupcake pan with 12 baking liners.

2. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring them constantly, until they are fragrant (about 2 minutes). Crush toasted seeds with a mortar and pestle until they are the texture of damp sand and set aside (I cut carried away and was crushing them for almost 20 mins!). Separately, sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the ground sesame seeds, egg, and vanilla and beat until combined. Alternate the dry ingredients and milk (i.e. beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, add 1/2 the milk and mix well. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the remaining milk, and the remaining flour). Mix until batter is smooth.

4. Fill cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 full (I put the batter in a piping bag and pipe them into the liners). Knock out any air that is in the batter after filling the liners. Bake for 15 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan as soon as safely possible. Cool completely before frosting as desired.

Matcha Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted (more if needed)
10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature and cut into small pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tsp matcha (green tea) powder (I used 4 cause I really like it!)

1. Sift powdered sugar and matcha together into a small bowl.

2. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter, powdered sugar mixture, and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Add the cream cheese, a chunk at a time, beating after each addition (just enough to work it in).

3. Pipe it on the cupcake how you like it. Sprinkle some toasted black sesame on top.

4. DONE!

HappY Mini Cupcakes

You might wonder why my H and Y of’ ‘happy’ in my title are in caps. That’s because the person who has inspired me to make these cupcakes have initials HY. (: So this is just a small way to thank you! hehe

so we were speaking one day, and she asked if I ever made cupcakes with rhubarb. and suddenly, it dawned on me that I’ve never tried cooking with rhubarb and I’ve only tried rhubarb once! So on Sunday when we went to the Farmer’s Market at Melbourne Showground and saw organic rhubarb, I couldn’t resist! and I’m so glad I didn’t, cause these little things were yummy! hehe and pretty!

at first we thought about one combination which I will definitely try in time to come, but searched around and saw a post by Cannelle et Vanille which I just couldn’t take my eyes off it and so I just had to give it a try!  (:

It has quite a number of components to it, and I must say all the different steps and time taken to make them is well worth it! The cupcakes came out perfectly! I know I shouldn’t praise my own work, but when I tried these little yumminess, the cupcake base was soft and moist, the poached rhubarb filling wasn’t too sweet, and the strawberry taste in both the cupcake and icing was prominent and they taste distinctly of strawberries!

alot to spare and share !

So there are 4 components to this small yummy cupcakes :

1) Strawberry yogurt cupcake

2) Poached rhubarb filling

3) Strawberry yogurt and cream cheese icing

4) Rhubarb jelly

and this is how it will look when u slice it into half!

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Triple Kahlua Surprise !

a while back, I made tiramisu for a mini housewarming that we had at our place. Of course, I bought I big bottle of Kahlua just in case for times like these! I am a bit fan of Kahlua and have always been wanting to try how it would be in cupcakes. Boy did I give it a good shot. I didn’t only have it in my cupcake, I had it in my filling and in my frosting! haha. Now it’s no wonder I named this the triple kahlua surprise yes?

I sourced around for recipes that people have tried and tweaked it a little, came up with my own ganache filling and buttercream frosting so I’m a happy girl (: I think it turned out really well and for once my frosting looks like those you can find in cupcake shops! Well definitely not perfect, but I’m just super happy that it kinda looks similar! haha

so the texture of the cupcakes were soft and when it is in your mouth it has the texture of a chewie brownie! So it is a little dense and quite similar to the texture of a souffle, a dense souffle. Possible due to folding in the stiff egg whites into the mixture at the end. The ganache really compliments the cupcake and the buttercream frosting makes it less rich so I think it’s a perfect match! (: Top it off with shaved chocolate and you have a yummy little dessert on a plate.

When you see the recipe, you might think it’s way too much Kahlua, but you barely taste any in the cupcake itself. The only thing that has the taste of it is the icing (which you can alter the amount you want) so really the amount I used in this recipe is just nice! So if you’re a big fan of Kahlua, try giving this little cupcake a shot! I’m very sure you won’t regret it!

Triple Kahlua Surprise

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