Saturday, November 24, 2012

Butterscotch Hi Hats with Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes

My Mum's workplace has a tradition & a bit of a rule where once a year you have to bring in cake for your birthday, so once a year I get the opportunity to bake for people outside my immediate family and friends. This year I decided to go with the intriguing little hi hat cupcakes but of course with a twist, instead of going with plain old chocolate hi hats, I made butterscotch ones :) 
This recipe was heaps of fun but it requires a bit of effort, you have to peel the apples, dice them and puree them, then theres the marshmallow frosting and the butterscotch. So if you plan to give it a go then be sure you have some time on your hands.  

Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup diced apples
1/2 cup apple puree
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup milk (or apple juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius (About 3 - 5minutes before baking cupcakes)
  1. Beat the butter until it is soft and pale, add the caster and brown sugar slowly and beat until well creamed, about 3-5 minutes
  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, cinnamon & salt
  4. In another bowl combine remaining wet ingredients: vanilla, apple puree & milk
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 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 just combined – do not over mix otherwise you will end up with tough cupcakes
  8. Fold in the diced apples
  9. Place batter into cupcake liners about 1/2’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 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.

Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg white
Pinch of salt

  1. In a heatproof bowl, combine the brown sugar, water, egg whites, salt and cream of tartar and beat until it is foamy
  2. Place the heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, do not allow the bottom of the heatproof bowl to touch the water
  3. Beat the ingredients until stiff peaks (This should take about 7 - 9minutes and show up as 70 degree celsius on a candy thermometer)
  4. Once it has reached stiff peak, take the heatproof bowl off the pot and stir in vanilla and cinnamon and beat for another minute or two, until the frosting thickens 

Originally, this recipe had double the brown sugar for both the marshmallow frosting and the butterscotch dip, however some people (who normally love sweetness & sugar) commented that it was a bit on the sweet side, hence I've toned it down in this version

Butterscotch Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 thickened cream
1 cup white chocolate buttons
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoon butter

  1. In a small pot over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, continue stirring until it is creamy
  2. Once creamy, stir in the vanilla extract, followed by the thickened cream
  3. Place the white chocolate buttons in a separate bowl and pour in the hot mixture from above
  4. Mix until the white chocolate has completely melted

The butterscotch sauce was interesting, seeing as most recipes on the internet called for butterscotch chips and thickened cream, only problem was apparently you can't buy butterscotch chips in Australia unless you can hunt out some American specialty store. So I found this recipe, which was actually designed for creating butterscotch chips from scratch - however it made a much better sauce in the end. 
Additionally - butterscotch is kinda hard to work with, or I need to spend some time perfecting the sauce, one or the other - but if you work too slowly and the butterscotch begins to thicken, when you dip the frosted cupcakes into the butterscotch to create the glaze, the frosting may drop off. If this does happen, just return it sauce to the heat for a moment or two.

Below I've added a picture of a traditional hi hat cupcake & also a link to a website that shows the dipping process
Hi Hat Cupcakes
Hi Hat Cupcakes (Photo credit: marcinhagarbin)

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Green Tea Crème Brûlée and Ginger & Coconut Crème Brûlée

Rightie! So I got a cookbook from my awesome friends for my birthday. I’ve decided for this blog besides baking cupcakes, ice cream and sorbet, I’m planning to recreate each and every recipe in this book. One a week, every week. I quite like this cookbook, it’s divided into seasons starting with Spring – which is perfect since Spring has just started in Australia and hence all the ingredients are in season. Hmm for most of the recipes I’ll probably end up making it with my own little twist based on my personal adventures and experiences.

In the cookbook, the first recipe is Coconut and Ginger Crème Brûlée – I actually made it, its kinda weird – Ginger and Spring are not two words that I would put together. As an Asian, Ginger = Winter, something I would have if I needed to warm myself up e.g. when I’m sick. So I made it again but this time with my own twist – Green Tea. Why? Because I have a vivid memory of having Green Tea Crème Brûlée with friends. And I always associate friends, good times and happiness with Summer & Spring, when I’m celebrating the beginning of university break and good times.


Green Tea Crème Brûlée
(makes 4x 100ml ramekin dishes)


Crème Brûlée

1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup thickened cream
1 tablespoon matcha powder
3 egg yolk
Sugar Top
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar or caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (about 5-10 minutes before baking the crème brûlée)

  1. Combine the cream and matcha powder in a saucepan over a medium heat, stir occasionally. Turn off the heat just before it starts to boil.  
  2. In a separate heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until significantly paler and thick. Once creamed, gradually stir in the warm cream mixture from above. 
  3. Place the heatproof bowl of cream and egg over a saucepan of simmering water, make sure the base of the heatproof bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir the mixture over the simmering water for about 10 minutes or until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon 
  4. Pour the custard into four 100ml ramekin dishes about 3/4s full and place them into a heatproof roasting tray. Add boiling water into the roasting tray until its comes up to about 3/4 of the ramekin dishes. Note: Do not overfill the ramekins, the custard will rise significantly whilst baking and hence cause spillage - but towards the end it will also drop to about the level you originally filled it too
  5. Bake the ramekins trays for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the custard is set – when the custard is set or firmish at the rim and jiggle in the centre. Remove the ramekin dishes from the water and allow it to cool before transferring it to the fridge for about 3 hours
  6. For the crackly sugar top, combine the vanilla sugar and raw sugar. Sprinkle the sugar over the chilled custard cups and caramelise the sugar with a blowtorch. For an extra crunch, repeat twice for each ramekin.
  7. Alternatively, if you do not have a blowtorch you can get the same or a similar effect by using a grill. Preheat a grill to high, place the custards in a shallow roasting tray and surround them with ice cubes. Sprinkle the tops of the custards with the raw sugar. Place the tray in the hot grill right at the top until the sugar has melted and turns a golden brown.
Step 3: Don't let it boil otherwise your eggs will cook
Ramekins in a water bath with boiling water 
Cleaned ramekins after a couple of hours in the fridge and after caramelising the sugar

Ginger & Coconut Crème Brûlée


I thought I should make some notes about the Ginger & Coconut Crème Brûlée that I made. It was quite nice just a little strange - but definitely worth a shot. The only thing that I noted was that the coconut flavouring doesn’t come out much, the ginger is much much more overpowering. Anyways I added 2 teaspoons of coconut extract in hopes of getting maybe a coconuty smell, but that didn’t seem to help much. I think maybe substituting the cream for coconut cream might work, or half half.
Anyways, if you do want to make the ginger and coconut version, follow the same method as above but replace the green matcha powder with 3 teaspoons of grinded ginger and 1/2 a cup of shredded coconut.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mojito Sorbet

Memories of summer back in Italy and Fenocchio, an ice cream shop famous for having 100+ weird and wacky ice cream flavours everyday including flowers, beer, all types of chocolates and sweets, pretty much anything you can think of :)

It’s finally summer here in Australia so its time to bring out the sorbet recipes, first ones gotta be the awsome mojito sorbet I had in Old Nice. This method allows you to make commercial grade sorbet without an ice cream machine or weird and unsual ingredients; the secret is actually egg whites.

Here I’ve made a virgin mojito sorbet however you can easily add a tablespoon or two of rum (that’s the one they use for mojitos right?) to turn it into a standard mojito sorbet, however note if you add alcohol into the sorbet it will become a softer and runnier consistency as alcohol doesn’t freezer.

Anyhows, yup this recipe can also be used for make any other type of sorbet, just replace the mint leaves and lime juice with whatever other liquid e.g. orange juice, lemon, watermelon etcetc. I think the general rule is, if its something you can mix with water then it will work (e.g. chocolate sorbet sucks cos well who mixes chocolate and water to make anything, chocolate goes better with milk hence you’re better off making ice cream then sorbet out of chocolate, same goes with vanilla – vanilla sorbet ew) You can also turn it into a sherbet recipe by blending in a bit of thickened cream right at the end.

Mojito Sorbet

(makes 1Litre)


1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 egg white
2 cup water


  1. Combine the water and sugar in a pot over medium heat, once the sugar dissolves bring the syrup to a boil
  2. Once boiling, take the syrup of the heat and allow it to cool
  3. Once cooled, stir in the lime juice
  4. Pour the mixture into a container, place it in the freezer for 12 hours or overnight
  5. Once solidly frozen, remove it from the freezer and break it into 5 to 6 medium size cubes
  6. Place the cubes into a blender and mix it up slightly, then add the egg white and mint leaves and blend until it is of slushy consistency
  7. Transfer the slushy back into the container and freeze for about 4 hours or so
Tip: Don't use a take away container; use a lunchbox or hardish plastic container. Takeaway boxes are too weak and break too easily. I've killed way too many containers making sorbet this way 

All these awesome fresh ingredients that my dad grows at home that I had no clue about & Apparently some species of lime turn yellow when ripe 

The unfrozen sorbet mixture 
Slightly defrosted sorbet being blended
Consistency after mixing in the egg white
After a couple of hours in the freezer to refrost everything, here is the awesome sorbet you get without using an ice cream machine :) 
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Frozen Yoghurt

I've always fancied frozen yoghurt, however I've never been a great fan of adding fruity or chocolaty toppings onto it. I just want plain old awesome tasting froyo. So I've hunted out the perfect recipe, this recipe is both tangy and sweet, perfect in every single way. All you need is some Greek yoghurt and sugar. Easy peasy. I actually made this on a Monday at 2AM, I was working on an infographic and I was craving frozen yoghurt.

Frozen Yoghurt


1/2 cup sugar
3 cup Greek yoghurt

  1. Combine yoghurt and sugar in a blender
  2. Churn in ice cream machine for 20 minutes
If you do not have an ice cream maker, you will need to place it into the freezer and mix it with a fork every 2 to 3 hours