Sunday, September 23, 2012

Meringue Strawberry Cream

Just craving something I had back in Cambridge – of course my version is much better, the Cambridge meringues were super hard and inedible.  (I wonder if anyone remembers that dinner?) Anyhows, no cupcakes for the next week or so – but plenty of food to come. Melbourne food, even better J

Meringue Strawberry (Kiwi) Cream
(Because someone ate all the strawberries whilst I was sleeping)
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Meringue

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Ingredients
1 cup of caster sugar
1 pinch of salt
4 room temperature eggs

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Method
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees (About 5-10minutes before baking)
  1. Separate the egg yolks and the egg whites, place the egg whites into a (preferably stainless steal, glass or ceramic bowl – avoid plastic)
  2. Let the egg whites stand until they come to room temperature
  3. Whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks
  4. Begin to slowly add the sugar to the egg whites, 1-2 tablespoon at a time
  5. Whisk the egg whites until the sugar and salt has completely dissolved: This will normally be the stiff peak phase. At this point, you should be able to turn the bowl upside down, without anything pouring. (7-8 minutes of beating on low to medium speed)
  6. Pipe meringue into desired shape onto trays lined with baking paper (In this case, little cups)
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 90 degrees and cook the meringues for 1h 30mins
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Extra Information

  • Room Temperature Egg Whites: Room temperature egg whites incorporate more air then cool egg whites straight from the fridge.
  • Salt: The salt helps stabilise the egg whites and allows them to better take in air.  
  • Oven Temperature: The higher initial oven temperature in the preheating stage will cook the outside of the meringues, the lower temperature will ‘dry out’ the inside of the meringues.
  • Plastic Bowl: Avoid using a plastic bowl, as it is difficult to remove butter and oils from plastic materials. When there is butter and oil present, it makes it difficult for the egg whites to incorporate air.  
  • Colour & Flavouring: If you would like to add flavouring or colours into the meringue, add this just before the end and mix until incorporate – do not over mix the meringue otherwise the egg whites will collapse and you will end up with an unfixable off yoghurt looking mixture.
  • Once cooking is complete, allow the meringues to cool in the oven for 3 – 4 hours.

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Whipped Cream
Ingredients
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cup of thickened cream

Method
  1. Whipped the thickened cream until soft peaks
  2. Slowly incorporate the sugar and whisk until the cream is at the stiff peaks stage
  3. Add colouring and flavouring if desired
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Assemble
Pipe whipped cream into the meringue cups and top with a strawberry. Drizzle strawberry sauce or syrup if desired. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Laduree Macarons

So I didn’t bake anything this week since I had exams – instead I went out to buy macarons from newly opened Laduree in Sydney Westfield.  ^__^ Instead of some pictures of pretty cupcakes, here are some pretty macarons. 

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These are the flavours that Laduree Sydney has for sale
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And these are the flavours that I purcahsed :)
o   Pistachio
o   Violet Marshmallow
o   Almond Marshmallow
o   Salted Caramel
o   Raspberry
o   Strawberry Poppy
o   Strawberry Marshmallow
o   Lemon Lime Marshmallow
o   Blackcurrant Violet
o   Orange Blossom
o   Coffee
o   Lemon

I found that these macarons aren’t as nice or pretty as others that I have had. They kinda squished and squashed the macarons in the box, so half of my macarons were broken, crumbing or pancake like AND! The shop assistants were so rude, two of the girls just started speaking in French with each other whilst serving another person and myself and they don’t seem to know how to work efficiently, the shop is super busy, theres like a 30min to 1h wait yet they waltz around like there is all the time in the world, chit chatting  with each others whilst customers wait.

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Taste wise they’re pretty average – nice and maracon like (?) lol. Nevertheless, pretty cool nice they are imported from Switzerland. Specifically I liked the marshmallow fillings – they aren’t as sweet and hence the macarons aren’t killer sweet like they normally are. Didn’t like blackcurrant as it was kind of sour and I hate sour. 

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes


So this week we have a family get together – a pretty common thing in my family, and for the first time ever! my mum requested cupcakes from me!! Yay J She normally does a stir-fry or something simple and Asian-y. This is pretty cool since normally I’m begging to bake for her but she never wants me too, since she doesn’t really fancy sweets or the rest of the family actually – I swear I was born in the wrong family. Nevertheless, I think its all the awesome cupcakes I’ve been making recently for this blog that has persuaded her to give me a try. That or she’s just busy.

Hence naturally I decided to make one of the awesomest & easy cupcake recipes I know. Oreo cupcakes. No one can really say no to those, even if you’re not a big fan of Oreos (like myself) they will still be amazing. Its still cookies and creams in the end of the day – and who can say no to cookies and cream?

So for this batch I decided to go half strawberry flavour and half ice cream flavour (you can get those exotic flavours from bargain stores and your local grocers – Woolies & Coles only sells the original and strawberry)


Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

Strawberry Oreos Cupcakes & Ice Cream Oreos Cupcakes
Ingredients
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cup of self raising flour
1 pack Strawberry Oreos (12)
1 pack Ice Cream Oreos (12)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
a pinch of salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (About 5-10minutes before baking cupcakes)
  1. Take 12 Oreos (6 from each flavour) and split them in half. Place the side with the cream into your cupcake liners, cream facing upwards. Set the plain cookies aside.
  2. Beat the butter until it is soft and pale, add caster sugar slowly and beat until well creamed, about 3-5 minutes
  3. Add eggs one at a time and combine into the butter and sugar mixture
  4. Combine all remaining dry ingredients into a separate bowl: flour, baking powder & salt
  5. In another bowl combine remaining wet ingredients: vanilla & milk
  6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and ½ of the wet ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture
  7. Slowly add the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternatively
  8. Mix until wet and dry ingredients are combined – do not over mix otherwise you will end up with tough cupcakes
  9. Split the battler into two separate mixing bowls. Coarsely crumble the remaining Oreos and those left over cookies from before and incorporate them into their corresponding batter with a spatula
  10. Place the batter into cupcake liners about 2/3’s full – don’t forget to lightly oil the liners
  11. Bake the cupcakes at 160 degrees for about 15 – 20mins (fan force) - check on the cupcakes after 10minutes of baking in case your oven cooks faster J Best way to check if cupcakes are ready, grab a toothpick and poke it through the centre of the cupcake, if the toothpick comes out completely clean then your cupcakes are ready.


Cookies & Cream Frosting
Ingredients
½ tablespoon vanilla
1 pack of Strawberry Oreos
1 pack Ice Cream Oreos
1 ½ cups icing sugar
4 tablespoons butter
250 grams cream cheese (not light)


Method
  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar until well creamed
  2. Add the cream cheese, a couple of small cubes at a time
  3. Add the vanilla
  4. Mix for about 3-5minutes until the frosting is nice and fluffy
  5. Split the frosting into two separate mixing bowls. Finely grind 6 Oreos for each flavour and incorporate them into their corresponding frosting with a spatula
  6. Use the remaining full Oreos to decorate or top your cupcakes
  7. Note: If you don't finely grind the Oreos - pipping will be a complete pain.
  8. Oh and this recipe can be easily changed for regular old Oreos or any other type of cookies :)



Coca Cola Vanilla Cupcakes

So for the last week I’ve been using my green tea cupcakes to bribe people to like my blog :) Its working relatively well and it means I don’t have to force my family to eat them – oddly enough no one in my family greatly likes sweets or at least western sweets. Besides that, I’ve spent the majority of the week contemplating what I should make this time; I was tossing between this, butter popcorn and Krispy Kreme, ended up with this one cos I know some of you guys don’t like green tea and missed out last time.

Coca Cola Vanilla Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

Vanilla Coca Cola Cupcakes
Ingredients
½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Coca Cola concentrate (instructions below)
1 ½ cup of self raising flour
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
a pinch of salt

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Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (About 3 - 5minutes before baking cupcakes)
Coke Concentrate: Pour 1L of coke into a saucepan and bring it to the boil, allow it to simmer for about 30 – 45mins with the lid on.
Note: Regularly check on the saucepan as once all the water has evaporated the concentrate can go from syrup to burnt stuff real quick. Once it turns from s liquid to more of a syrup be ready to turn off the heat.

  1. Beat the butter until it is soft and pale, add caster sugar slowly and beat until well creamed, about 3-5 minutes, you can test if its ready by feeling if the mixture is still grainy from the sugar, if it isn’t too coarse then you’re good
  2. Add eggs one at a time and combine into the butter and sugar mixture
  3. Combine all remaining dry ingredients into a separate bowl: flour, baking powder, cocoa powder & salt
  4. In another bowl combine remaining wet ingredients: vanilla & coke concentrate
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and ½ of the wet ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture
  6. Slowly add the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternatively
  7. Mix until wet and dry ingredients are well combined – do not over mix otherwise you will end up with tough cupcakes
  8. Place batter into cupcake liners about 2/3’s full – don’t forget to lightly oil the liners
  9. Bake the cupcakes at 160 degrees for about 15 – 20mins (fan force)  - check on the cupcakes after 10 minutes of baking in case your oven cooks faster.  Best way to check if cupcakes are ready, grab a toothpick and poke it through the centre of the cupcake, if the toothpick comes out completely clean then your cupcakes are ready.

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I did brush some Coca Cola concentrate onto the cupcakes because I wanted it to taste much more like cola. It tasted way too much like chocolate for my likings. Next time I make this I'm going to skip the cocoa powder.


Vanilla Coca Cola Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
½ tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoon Coca Cola concentrate
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups icing sugar 
250 grams cream cheese (do not use light)

Method

  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar until well creamed
  2. Add the cream cheese, a couple of small cubes at a time
  3. Add the vanilla and coke concentrate
  4. Mix for about 3-5minutes until the frosting is nice and fluffy

Note: When combining the butter and icing sugar, place a damp tea towel over the mixer otherwise you’re going to get icing sugar absolutely everywhere & its best to let the cream cheese sit outside for about an hour or so, otherwise it can be extremely firm and hence hard to work with 

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Troubleshooting Cream Cheese Frosting
So for the first time I actually had a problem with my cream cheese frosting – its usually my fail safe frosting. Nevertheless I learnt something useful today, if your cream cheese icing is too thin and needs thickening DO NOT! add more powdered sugar like you would for buttercream frosting, this will actually make your cream cheese thinner :O (I actually attempted this and it really did) instead you need to add more cream cheese, it will thicken it like a charm :D
Oh and don’t use light apparently it doesn’t help the thickening process.
Cream Cheese works best if its straight out of the fridge & do not overbeat cream cheese, this will make it thin

Pretty Fondant Flowers
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The fondant comes white, you can colour it by adding some food dye. Also use the icing to glue the separate pieces together.

Mini Disaster
So I kinda struck a bit of a disaster with this recipe because I was being careless. Heres what happened to my first coke concentrate. I was watching TV whilst making this and obviously I left it for too long and all the water evaporated and it was pretty much like caramelising sugar for too long. Not so pleasant looking, right? For all the coke lovers out there.
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My research skills told me that it would take 1.5h, after 30mins is looked absolutely fine, 10mins later it looked like this. Oh and of course I had to clean it, elbow grease was just not cutting it, so after another Google search I found that vinegar and bicarb soda would do the trick. And it did, after bring the pot to the boil with a bit of water and A LOT of vinegar it came out much easier.


Besides that minor set back, the second attempt worked well and the cupcakes turned out awesomely :D So any recommendations for what I should do next? 



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Colourful (Sanding) Sugar

So yesterday night instead of working hard on my marketing capstone proposal that was due today like I should of, I decided to make some colourful sugars or sanding/dusting sugars. 

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It’s super easy and you can save yourself a load of money! Normally its about $5 for 100g. Absolutely crazy right?! Considering that all you need is some white sugar or caster sugar and food colouring.

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Basically all you need to do is place some sugar into a plastic blag, drop in a few droplets of food colouring – more if you want a darker colour and less if you want a pale or pastel colour. Then seal the bag and shake until the colouring is consistent across the entire bag. And done! You’ve got your awesome colourful sugar to decorate your cupcakes, cakes, cookies etc and you’ve save yourself $5! And heres something creative you can do with it. 

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Its a marshmallow flower :)

Hummingbird Bakery Green Tea Cupcakes

So I know I promised you guys Salted Caramel Cupcakes – well  

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Instead I made green tea cupcakes. I’ve never actually tried Hummingbird Bakery Cupcakes, I was in London and I did attempt to find them but of course I failed – its somewhere near Regents St or Oxford St or something, but after my first day there and being pickpocketed I wasn’t so eager to go back. So of course I relied on the trusty Internet for my Hummingbird recipes instead of actually getting myself the cookbook. And I mean why wouldn’t you make Hummingbird recipes? They look so pretty & how awesome is the name?
So here it goes, the first actual cupcake recipe post:

Hummingbird Bakery Green Tea Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)


Chocolate Green Tea Cupcakes
Ingredients
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
¾ cup sugar (original recipe calls for 1 cup but I don’t like my cupcakes overly sweet)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cup of self raising flour
2 tablespoon matcha powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 medium eggs 
3 green tea teabags
a pinch of salt
Ingredients
Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (About 5-10minutes before baking cupcakes)

  1. Warm up the milk and place the teabags inside, set the milk aside for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Beat the butter until it is soft and pale, add caster sugar slowly and beat until well creamed, about 3-5 minutes, you can test if it's ready by feeling if the mixture is still grainy from the sugar, if it isn’t too coarse then you’re good
  3. Add eggs one at a time and combine into the butter and sugar mixture
  4. Combine all remaining dry ingredients into a separate bowl: flour, baking powder, matcha powder, cocoa powder & salt
  5. In another bowl combine remaining wet ingredients: vanilla & milk
  6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and ½ of the wet ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture
  7. Slowly add the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternatively
  8. Mix until wet and dry ingredients are well combined – do not over mix otherwise you will end up with tough cupcakes
  9. Place batter into cupcake liners about 2/3’s full – don’t forget to lightly oil the liners
  10. Bake the cupcakes at 160 degrees for about 15 – 20mins (fan force)  - check on cupcakes after 10minutes of baking in case your oven cooks faster J Best way to check if the cupcakes are ready, grab a toothpick and poke it through the centre of the cupcake, if the toothpick comes out completely clean then your cupcakes are ready.

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Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting 
Ingredients
½  tablespoon matcha powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups icing sugar
125 grams cream cheese (I used 250 grams because I prefer it cheesey & I don't like having left over cream cheese in the fridge) 

Method

  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar until well creamed
  2. Add the cream cheese, a couple of small cubes at a time
  3. Mix for about 3-5minutes until the frosting is nice and fluffy

Note: When combining the butter and icing sugar, place a damp tea towel over the mixer otherwise you’re going to get icing sugar absolutely everywhere & its best to let the cream cheese sit outside for about an hour or so, otherwise it can be extremely firm and hence hard to work with. So heres what I got :) 

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Final

I realised that by the end of this, I altered the recipe so much that I can barely call it a Hummingbird Bakery recipe. The changes I made includes: matcha powder for the cupcakes, green & yellow food colouring to bring out a green colour in the cupcakes and the baking style. I prefer this baking method since its more fool proof and you’re less likely to end up with rock-hard cupcakes. And I also changed the frosting – the original recipe calls for buttercream frosting but I don’t like American buttercream frosting, its just crappy tasting, I prefer Swiss or French buttercream BUUUT I only have a 1:4 success rate – so I’ll just stick with safe old, nice tasting cream cheese frosting.  
Anyhows until next week :) 
[EDIT] I made those flowers! Since no one seems to realise.