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Preview: Lemon Almond

Lemon Almond



if like to eat, you got to learn how to cook



Updated: 2017-07-14T21:50:19.338+08:00

 



Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

2011-03-03T17:29:23.178+08:00

It's not that I haven't been baking - I just haven't been blogging about it. Work takes up too much of my time and that leaves me to bake my favourite recipes with very little experimentation. Needless to say, the pile of cookbooks (with recipes to be tried faithfully tagged) is increasing.This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living, the January 2011 issue and it was simple enough to try out.Raisin Oatmeal Cookiesmakes 40-48 cookies1 stick unsalted butter2/3 cup packed light brown sugar1/3 cup sugar1 egg1 tsp vanilla extract1 cup flour1/4 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp baking soda1/4 tsp ground cinnamon1/4 tsp salt1 1/2 cups rolled oats3/4 cup raisinsPreheat oven at 350F. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Finally, combine the oats and raisins with the cookie dough. Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop dough onto parchment-line baking sheets, spacing each scoop about 2 inches apart.Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden. Let cookies cool before removing from the baking sheet and storing.Verdict: The cookie was crisp at the edge and more chewy in the middle. It was a little sweet but perfect with a glass of milk. In our humidity here, I think they are better stored in an airtight container or in the fridge.[...]



Old School Rum Ball

2009-02-26T20:30:27.384+08:00

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Every now and again, I get a craving for rum balls which are quite hard to find in our local bakeries. I've been getting my fix from L.E. Cafe which still sells some really retro baked goods.

I searched online for recipes but haven't found anything yet. Please send me a link if you come across any.

These rum balls have a soft but firm ganache-like center. There are no wafers or nuts in the recipe although I did bite into a random raisin. The center is also lightly laced with rum while the outside is coated with a thin shell of chocolate. I've also seen versions where the outside is covered in chocolate rice.

I'm pretty sure this recipe is not baked. It definitely needs to be refrigerated to be best enjoyed. Until I can make my own, I'll just have to keep buying them when the craving strikes.

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Olive Rice

2009-02-14T23:38:41.934+08:00

This is my go-to dish to prepare when entertaining for a large number. It is easy to prepare and a sure crowd-pleaser.It is my mother's recipe and she always gets requests for the recipe when she serves it for meals. It is so good that a female dinner guest once told her that after her boyfriend tried this dish, he proclaimed that he would marry her if she could cook this delicious olive rice.I obviously have not been serving this to the right people.....The most important ingredient for this one-dish meal is the shredded olive preserved in oil. They usually come in small jars of about 250g and the ingredient list on the label should include olive, oil and salt.When spooned out, the oil has a greenish hue. Sometimes, a couple of olive pits can be found so simply discard them.If serving the olive rice as a one-dish meal, use the full portion of minced meat as in the recipe. If there are other dishes at the dinner table, halve the minced meat quantity.Olive Riceserves 6-83 cups uncooked rice250g jar of preserved olive vegetable250g minced pork or chicken1 tbs minced garlicWash and cook the rice in a rice cooker. Drain the oil from the jar of shredded olive and set aside about 3 tablespoons. Heat the work with the oil and toss in the garlic when the oil is hot. Just as the garlic starts to brown, add in the shredded olive then the minced meat. Continue to stir-fry until the minced meat is just cooked. Add in the cooked rice and mix throughly, ensuring that every grain has taken on a little of the greenish hue from the oil. Turn off the heat and serve.Serve with lots of coriander or wrap the rice in lettuce leaves for a balanced meal.This is the first time I had to take note of quantities when I made this. When dinner guests asked for the recipe, I simply told them the ingredient list and when asked how much, I simply told them to mix it up until it looked like the combination on their plates.So if you attempt this dish, don't be too sticky about getting the correct quantities - just stir fry and add enough cooked rice so it looks like this. It's yummy anyway![...]



Whiskey Eggnog Cake

2008-12-16T17:36:55.766+08:00

I thought I would tackle making pandoros this Christmas but I never got around to it and instead, I'm using my mini pandoro moulds for this cake. I've also tried this in the loaf form to give away as presents.The recipe is originally from The Pastry Queen Christmas. I've adapted it to be less sweet since the icing already contributes to that. The original recipe also called for the whipping cream to be whipped into soft peaks - one of my baking phobias. The first time I tried to do it, I made butter and subsequent attempts have yielded only one successful outcome. So in my version, I just poured in the whipping cream.Whiskey Eggnog Cakemakes 24-36 mini cakes or 3 loaves1 cup or 2 sticks butter2 1/2 cups sugar6 eggs1 tsp vanilla extract3 cups flour1/2 tsp baking powder1 tsp salt2 tsp grated nutmeg1 cup whipping cream1/4 cup whiskeyGlaze1/4 cup whipping cream1/4 cup whiskey3 cups icing sugarPreheat oven at 325F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs yolks and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with thewhipping cream and mix well. Finally, combine whiskey with the batter. Scoop into loaf pans, mini cake or muffin moulds.Bake for 40-50 minutes if making loaves or 25-35 minutes for mini cakes. Cover the tops with foil after 30 minutes of baking time to prevent over browning.While the cakes are baking, prepare the glaze by sifting the icing sugar and mixing in the liquids. Stir well to reduce lumps. Upon cooling, drizzle the glaze over the top of the cakes and let it soak in. Before serving, garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg if desired.Verdict: The cakes were fragrant and moist straight out from the oven. After glazing and resting overnight in the fridge, they were slightly more dense like a regular pound cake. The alcohol in the glaze sure makes its presence felt so add whiskey or glaze sparingly.[...]



Chocolate Pudding

2008-11-27T22:46:46.841+08:00

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I made these for a supper party with some girlfriends who teach at the place I use to work at. By the time they finished class and came over to mine, supper started at 10.30 p.m. We hung out and chit-chatted till dawn so I'm partially wasted today.

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Chocolate Pudding
makes 12 servings

200g butter
200g chocolate (55% ccoca)
200g hot water
170g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated
35g flour
a pinch of baking powder

Preheat oven at 350F. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Add in the hot water and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat then mix in the vanilla and egg yolks. Sift in the the flour and baking powder, whisking it until the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture a third at a time. Scoop the final mixture into ramekins or a large souffle dish and prepare a water bath by boiling a kettle of water.

Bake in a water bath for 25-30 minutes for ramekin portions or 40-50 minutes for souffle dish portion. Serve hot with pouring cream or chill overnight and serve with whipped cream.

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Verdict: These puddings are great hot and fresh from the oven, served with pouring cream. It was very moist and the flavour was intense. The chilled versions were a lot denser and more ideal for a dessert that you can prepare ahead. They could have been sweeter for those who prefer less of a bitter chocolate flavour.



Canele 1.0

2008-10-08T08:59:57.056+08:00

I had a grand plan for a canele recipe experiment, using recipes from Chocolate and Zucchini, LaTartine Gourmande and Tartlette.I actually made a batch of each but that's where the experimentation lost control. I brought the whole lot to a girlfriend's place since she had a superduper oven and we were going to hang out. However, her fancy oven had various functions for regular baking and cake baking and what not so needless to say, it was not a controlled process and the results were varied. The caneles were all good and scoffed down quickly as soon as they came out of the oven, which is why I don't have pictures of them.I decided to try it on my own but slowly and one batch at a time. When I did this last month, the assignments had started to pile up so even though C&Z's recipe called for the batter to be rested for a couple of days, mine rested a whole week.I also cheated and used the blender to get everything mixed because when I made the batters the first time, I got frustrated with the lumpy flour bits which I had to sieve out. My final deviation or what the purists would frown on was to use silicon moujlds because frankly, one copper mould here costs as much as a silicon one that would make 15 at a time.So here is C&Z's recipe which I adapted.Canelemakes about 20-302 cups milk3 tbs butter1 tsp vanilla paste100g flour200g sugar3 eggs1/3 cup rum Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Watch this carefully as it boils over very quickly and creates a mess. Remove from heat and set aside. In the meantime, mix the flour and sugar in a separate bowl. When the milk mixture has cooled enough, combine it in the blender with the flour mixture, eggs and rum. Refrigerate the batter in a sealed container for at least 24 hours and up to 7 days. When ready to bake, preheat oven at 480F. Remove the batter from the fridge and give it a stir as it might have separated. Pour into the molds, filling them almost to the top. Put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, then (without opening the oven door) lower the heat to 400F and bake for another 40 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and unmold onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before eating. Store in an airtight container or in the fridge for up to a week.Verdict: These are best eaten on the day they are baked or within the next 2 days. If stored in the fridge, they lose their crusty exterior. Great snack and so easy to make![...]



Got organised

2008-10-07T10:46:03.440+08:00

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Its not that I haven't been baking, I just haven't been trying any new recipes. I kept having cravings for some of my favourite cakes so I just kept makng them. Hopefully, I have had enough of lemon pound cake and carrot cake.

I spent most of the school holidays re-organising my stuff. Its just cathartic to get rid of stuff I had been hanging on to in a vain hope that I would make use of it someday. It's also a great feeling to clear space for the stuff that I really need. The local Salvation Army has benefitted
greatly from my big clear-out.

I took ages going through my books and deciding which ones to keep or give away. Finally, my bookshelves reflect my current reading interests. With the start of the new school term, perhaps I will find more time to try the recipes that I've rediscovered while going through my books.

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Coffee & White Chocolate Chip Muffin

2008-11-13T09:40:23.748+08:00

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I'm not a fan of coffee because it sometimes works as a laxative on me. However, after working at a cafe, I do like the aroma of a good cuppa and if I do take coffee, its got to be cold and loaded with lots of milk and sugar - basically coffee flavoured sweetened milk on ice.

As the newbie at work, I've been spared from most of the marking of the exam scripts. Since it can be torturous grading a couple of hundred scripts filled with crap, I wanted to treat my new colleagues after coming across a recipe from this book. I've adapted it for a larger batch and used white chocolate chips instead.

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Coffee & White Chocolate Muffin

makes 36 muffins

2 cups or 4 sticks of butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
5 1/2 cups flour
2 2/3 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7-8 tbs instant coffee powder
1 1/3 cup milk
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Into the creamed mixture, add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Finally, stir in the white chocolate chips. Scoop into muffin liners.

Bake for about 25 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when touched.

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Verdict: The coffee aroma is present but not overpowering. It is also not too sweet which went well with the white chocolate chips. I love the crusty top and soft middle the moment they were cool enough to eat. These are definitely best eaten on the day they are baked.



Cookbook Collector

2008-11-13T09:40:24.136+08:00

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That's what I've become in lieu of the fact that I haven't been baking much.

I started at a new teaching position at the beginning of the year. While the work has been fulfilling, the hours are a lot longer so instead of finding time to bake, I've just been lying flat out on the couch most afternoons trying to recover from an exhausting day.

However, my online activity never ceases. Thanks to Amazon, I've steadily acquired more and more cookbooks as I get sucked in by the online reviews. Perhaps I want to feel as if I am baking vicariously through the lovely recipes and pictures. Then again, its also the obsessive compulsive streak in me which has failed to stop me from hitting the 'add to cart' button. I figured since I'm not baking, the next best thing is reading about it.

Its only this week (its exam time) that I've had time to actually make a dent in the reading of my pile of books. Hopefully in June, I will be back to baking in full swing during the holidays.

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Apple Sour Cream Muffin

2008-11-13T09:40:26.310+08:00

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I've gotten into the bad habit of starting an entry, saving it as a draft and then procrastinate about its completion. So although this entry is dated in January, I'm only completing it today, the 10th of February.

Apple Sour Cream Muffins
makes 24 muffins

1 cup or 2 sticks butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
3 apples, diced
1/4 cup milk

Topping (optional)
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
slices of apple

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Preheat the oven at 400F. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy before blending in the eggs and vanilla. Sift in the dry ingredients, mix well before adding in the sour cream and blending. Fold in the diced apple by hand and add in the milk as needed if the batter is too stiff. Scoop into muffin liners. Dust with the cinnamon sugar mix and top each muffin with a slice of apple.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched.

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Verdict: Moist as expected because of the sour cream. Not a cakey texture but very nice for breakfast or tea



Gingerbread Date Cupcake

2008-11-13T09:40:27.026+08:00

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I received so many compliments for this recipe that I had to share it even though I was going to tweak it some more.

Its very fitting for the festive season or for anyone who likes spicy cupcakes. The cake is super moist and tasty. Eat it plain or topped with a simple frosting of cream cheese or royal icing.

Gingerbread Date Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

2/3 cup dark stout
2/3 cup golden syrup
200g chopped dates
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil

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Preheat the oven at 350F. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together the stout, golden syrup and dates. Remove from heat once it starts simmering then add in the baking soda. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar and oil. Combine the stout mixture and the egg mixture. Whisk this into the flour mixture until well blended. The batter will be quite liquid.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops spring back when gently pressed. Cool before frosting with royal icing.

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Gingerbread Cookie

2008-11-13T09:40:27.460+08:00

Gingerbread Cookiesmakes about 3 dozen cookies 1 cup or 2 sticks butter1 cup less 2 tbs dark brown sugar¾ cup sugar1 egg2 tbs hot water1 tbs treacle or molasses1 ½ tsp baking soda4 ½ cups flour1 tbs ground ginger2 tsp ground cinnamon1 tsp ground nutmeg½ tsp ground cloves½ tsp salt Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl then beat in the egg and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the hot water, treacle and baking soda. Add that mixture to the butter and blend in. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together before adding in small portions to the butter mixture, combining well after each addition. Divide the dough into portions, roll out each between 2 plastic sheets, till about 5mm thick. Place the rolled out sheets of cookie dough onto a baking tray to be chilled in the fridge, preferably overnight. Before baking, preheat oven to 350F. Remove cookie dough sheets from the fridge and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place cut shapes onto a cookie tray lined with silicone sheet or parchment paper, leaving about an inch between each cookie to allow for expansion. Re-roll the scraps of cookie dough into new sheets and chill it before repeating the whole process. Bake for 8-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, until the edges start turning brown. Cool the cookies completely before decorating with royal icing.[...]



Butter Cookie

2008-11-13T09:40:28.308+08:00

Butter Cookiesmakes 2-3 dozen cookies 1 cup or 2 sticks butter2 ¼ cup sugar1 egg3 ½ cups flour½ tsp salt1 tsp flavor extract (optional, your choice) Cream the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl then add the egg and flavor extract, mixing well. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt together before adding in small portions to the butter mixture, combining well after each addition. Divide the dough into portions, roll out each between 2 plastic sheets, till about 5mm thick. Place the rolled out sheets of cookie dough onto a baking tray to be chilled in the fridge, preferably overnight. Before baking, preheat oven to 350F. Remove cookie dough sheets from the fridge and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place cut shapes onto a cookie tray lined with silicone sheet or parchment paper, leaving about an inch between each cookie to allow for expansion. Re-roll the scraps of cookie dough into new sheets and chill it before repeating the whole process.Bake for 8-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, until the edges start turning brown. Cool the cookies completely before decorating with icing.Royal Icing500g icing sugar3 tbs meringue powder8-12 tbs waterSift together the dry ingredients and mix with water. Add more if the consistency is too stiff in order to get a suitable piping consistency. Add more water to get a consistency for flooding the outlines. Use only food colour gel to get the shade desired.I used a a #2 piping tip for the outlines and a #3 or #4 tip for flooding.[...]



Rich Fruit Cake

2008-12-16T15:52:14.110+08:00

Every year around September, I start raiding my family's liquor cabinet for long forgotten bottles of brandy that rarely get used. Then by October, I would have bought the dried fruit and taken out the 2 largest canning jars that I have.I soak the dried fruit in brandy until this time of the year when I make multiple batches of fruit cake to give away to those whom I owe favours to. The recipe can be doubled to quickly make a big batch but the baking time still remains long so I usually set aside at least half a day for my production.Rich Fruit Cakemakes 3 loaves (7.5 x 3.5 in) or 24 cupcakes1 1/2 - 2 lbs of dried fruit1/2 cup brandySoak the dried fruit in brandy for at least a couple of days before baking. Drain the fruit well before dredging with flour during baking. Set aside the brandy left behind, it should have thickened to a sauce.1 cup or 2 sticks butter2/3 cup sugar2 tbs treacle or golden syrup6 eggs, separated1/4 cup grape juice2 1/2 cups flour1 tbs ground cinnamonPreheat oven at 300F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the treacle or golden syrup and eggs yolks until well combined then the grape juice. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cinnamon together, setting aside about 1 cup to dredge the drained dried fruit with. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the dredged fruit then the egg whites. Scoop into cake tins or cupcake liners.Bake for 90 minutes if making loaves or 40 minutes for cupcakes. Cover the tops with foil halfway through baking time to prevent over browning. Upon cooling, spoon the reserved brandy over the top of the cakes and let it soak in. Wrap and keep overnight before eating.For a stronger brandy flavor, I sometimes fill a syringe (it helps to have doctor friends who are foodies) with brandy and pump more into the middle of the cake.For the cupcake versions, I topped them with royal icing.[...]



Apple & Cinnamon Cereal Muffin

2008-11-13T09:40:29.336+08:00

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Its not that I haven't been baking. I've been busy at work and working on perfecting my decorated sugar cookies which I'll hopefully post about before Christmas.

Anyway, this recipe came about because I had too many apples in the fridge. I also wanted to try a cereal topped muffin for a more interesting texture.

Apple & Cinnamon Cereal Muffin
makes 24 muffins

3 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs treacle or molasses
3-4 apples chopped

Topping
1 cup instant cereal
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs cinnamon

Preheat the oven at 350F. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Combine the milk and eggs in a smaller bowl and beat together. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter then stir in the sugar and treacle until there are no more lumps. Add the egg mixture and the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Spoon into muffin liners.

Mix together all the ingredients for the topping and distribute a teaspoon or so over the top of each muffin before putting into the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched.

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Verdict: Not the cakey texture I was going for but it was moist and the crispy and sugary cereal topping was a nice change from the norm.



Chocolate Cupcake

2008-11-13T09:40:30.072+08:00

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I made these for my god-daughter’s birthday celebrations at her kindergarten. Still inspired by the beautiful
images in Crabapple Bakery, I adapted the chocolate cupcake recipe and topped it with their vanilla buttercream frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 24-30 cupcakes

1 cup or 2 sticks butter
2 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
3 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp instant coffee
1 cup cocoa
1 cup hot water

1 cup cold water

Preheat the oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined then the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl, whisk together the coffee, cocoa and hot water until a smooth paste. Stir in the cold water until combined. Into the creamed mixture, add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the cocoa mixture in two additions. The end mixture will be runny. Scoop into cupcake liners.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when touched.

Verdict: The cakes are moist and not overly sweet, perfect for pairing with a buttercream frosting. I’ve frosted these with marshmallow crème and they were a hit as well.

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Corn Muffin

2008-11-13T09:40:30.492+08:00

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I've had dinner at Kenny Rogers Roasters twice in the last week. I love their corn muffins and its the first thing I wolf down before eating anything else. I've managed to limit myself to one per meal but I wanted to make it at home just to see if I could replicate it.

I was surprised to find so many recipes for it online and I adapted the one from here.

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Corn Muffins
makes 12-15 muffins

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mills fine grind)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup frozen corn

Preheat the oven at 400F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, honey, eggs and salt. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then blend in the cornmeal. Add in the milk and mix well. Finally, fold in the corn by hand and scoop into liners.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the muffin tops turn brown.

Verdict: Although I prefer the real thing at the restaurant, I guess this is as close to it as it gets. My colleagues commented that they were like the Kenny Rogers muffins even though I didn't let on that it was the same recipe.

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Vanilla Daisy Cupcake

2008-11-13T09:40:31.031+08:00

I'm usually not a sucker for beautiful pictures in cookbooks but this one has loads of pretty pictures and detailed instructions to inspire and ensure that you can't go wrong. I've adapted Crabapple Bakery's recipe for vanilla cakes and decorated them with gum paste daisies.I made these for my ex-flatmate's birthday. I still remember the first birthday party of Wendy's that I attended. It was held at one of the hottest nightspots in town and she had booked the entire place for her own private function. Every year since I've known her, she throws a birthday bash for herself. This year's theme is flower power.Vanilla Cupcakesmakes 30 cupcakes1 cup or 2 sticks butter2 cups sugar5 eggs1 tbs vanilla extract3 1/4 cups flour3 tsp baking powder1 cup milkPreheat the oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined then the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Scoop into cupcake liners.Bake for 20-25 minutes and cool before frosting.Vanilla Buttercream Frostingmakes 4-5 cups1 cup or 2 sticks butter1/2 cup milk1 tbs vanilla extract9-10 cups icing sugarCream the butter until pale before adding in the milk and vanilla. Mix in half the sifted icing sugar. Beat until well combined before adding in more to get the right consistency. Spread or pipe over cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.Verdict: Everyone thought they were really pretty and said they loved the texture of the cake. I found it too sweet and had to scrape off most of the frosting to enjoy it with the cake.[...]



Lime Coconut Cake

2008-11-13T09:40:31.344+08:00

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My camera is still being repaired so I apologise for the poor quality of the pictures but I didn't want the lack of great pictures to prevent me from blogging about this great cake I tried.

Lime Coconut Cake
makes an 8-inch cake

1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tbs finely grated lime zest

Icing
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp lime zest
2 tbs lime juice

Preheat the oven at 350F.
Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together. Add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Fold in the coconut and lime zest. Scoop into lined cake pan.
Bake for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cook completely.

To make the icing, combine the sifted icing sugar, lime zest and enough lime juice to make a thick enough icing to drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle with additional desiccated coconut if desired.

Verdict: The cake was moist and slightly buttery. The lime presence would have been stronger if kept overnight but my colleagues polished off the whole thing. It was also suggested that I add rum the next time to the icing, for a more tropical good time!

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Orange Poppy Seed Muffin

2008-11-13T09:40:31.710+08:00

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I dropped my camera and this was the only decent shot I managed on my camera phone. The contrast in picture quality really makes my long for my camera which is now in the hospital undergoing repairs.

I made these simple muffins for some of my dearest colleagues. They're all busy individuals who don't really cook at home so I thought I would provide some convenience at breakfast or snack time.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
makes 18 muffins

1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1 cup orange marmalade

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tbs finely grated orange zest (I used grapefruit)

Preheat the oven at 350F. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and marmalade to combine well.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir in the poppy seeds and sugar and make a well. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients and pour into the well. Add the butter and marmalade mixture. Fold gently until just combined, do not overmix. Spoon into muffin liners.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with additional marmalade.

Verdict: A nice breakfast treat, especially with milk.



Pumpkin Yumkin

2008-11-13T09:40:32.529+08:00

This month's WCC#21 theme is Halloween. Halloween isn't really a big holiday here although the supermarkets stock up on pumpkin, coloured corn and candy for the expatriate community.I've only ever gone trick or treating once when I was a kid. I went with my cousin who lived in a neighbourhood with many American families. The only reason we went around knocking on doors was for the candy (of course). However, we needed to at least look the part and dress up. The only thing available so last minute was an old orange tablecloth of my aunt's.So we 'borrowed' it, cut 2 holes to fit out heads through and walked around the estate in our giant poncho. I don't know what we were suppose to be but it must have been rather comical to watch us move in a coordinated direction lest we strangle each other.Hence I've always associated the colour orange with Halloween. I wonder if my aunt ever found out what we did with her tablecloth.I'm sure there are a plethora of pumpkin recipes for Halloween and I'm going to add to it. This one is adapted from The Pastry Queen, another of my good reads. The author, Rebecca Rather, describes this recipe which she found among her grandmother's things as a cross between a muffin and a cupcake.I didn't have a can of pure pumpkin so I used a pumpkin pie mix. Dried dates are also all over the supermarket shelves here since we're in the midst of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Chopping them up was a bit of a pain since they were all so sticky. I wonder if a mezzaluna would have helped... or maybe I should have oiled my knife? Pumpkin Yumkinmakes 12-15 cupcakes/muffins1/2 cup or 1 stick butter1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed1 egg1 15oz can pure pumpkin or pumpkin pie mix1 tsp vanilla2 cups flour1 tsp baking powder1 tsp baking soda1/4 tsp salt1 cup chopped dates1 cup pecansPreheat oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla until well combined then add in the pumpkin. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the sifted mixture in and mix well before folding in the dates and pecans. Scoop into liners, about 3/4 full.Bake for 20-25 minutes until the yumkins are firm to touch. Cool before frosting.Orange Cream Cheese Frosting100g or 3 oz cream cheese2 cups icing sugar1 tsp orange juice1 orange's zestIn a mixer bowl, combine all the ingredients, adding more orange juice to get the desired consistency if needed. Coat the tops of the cooled yumkins.Verdict: The pumpkin taste was not distinct enough, probably because I didn't use pure pumpkin. However, these yumkins are versatile. Left plain, they're lovely as muffins. Dressed with frosting, they're very pretty cupcakes. But then anything tastes good with cream cheese frosting!Update (6 Oct): I tried this again with the pure pumpkin and the taste is much better![...]



Apple Cake

2008-11-13T09:40:33.340+08:00

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A request for an apple recipe sent me back to my books and I remembered flagging a couple of them in More from Magnolia.

The recipe made quite a lot of batter and since I was bringing these to work, I made these in cupcake size. I topped half the batch with 1 cup of walnuts and the other half with cinnamon sugar (2 tbs sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon).

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Apple Cake
makes 36 cupcakes or 2 9-inch layerrs

1 cup or 2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tap vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 apples, chopped

Preheat oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined then add in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Fold in the chopped apple. Scoop into cupcake liners or lined cake pans. Top cupcakes with walnuts or cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes if making cupcakes or 40-50 minutes for 9-inch cakes. The original recipe recommends icing the cooled cake layers with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Frosting.

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Verdict: The cake is light and fluffy as promised. The taste of the apple was definitely present but not overpowering and it was also nice biting into the soft juicy chunks. Will try it with the Butterscotch Cream Cheese Frosting next time.



Chocolate Cherry Macaroon Tart

2008-11-13T09:40:33.892+08:00

The theme for HHDD#15 organised by TriniGourmet is tarts. While I have a serious aversion for working with pastry, I was going to try and overcome this. I was all prepared to try and fail, learn from my mistakes, start with frozen pastry and move on to become brave enough to make it from scratch. You get the picture...So I went in search of recipes. I started with Donna Hay's latest book Simple Essentials: Chocolate, the same one that I sent Peabody as thanks for her Snickerdoodle recipe. There were two tart recipes and both didn't require pastry! Yay! So much for trying to conquer my fear...I chose this one because it was for 6 individual small portions. However, I couldn't find the little tart tins with removable bases. I had to make a large one instead. The original recipe was for raspberries but I much prefer cherries so here it is.Chocolate Cherry Macaroon TartMacaroon Shell (makes 6 3-inch tart shells or 2 8-inch tart shells)3 egg whites3/4 cup sugar3 cups or 200g desiccated coconutCherry Chocolate Filling (fills 6 3-inch tart shells or 1 8-inch tart shell)4 oz or 125g dark chocolate, chopped (I used one with 65% cocoa)1/2 cup cream2 eggs2 tbs sugar2 tbs flour1/4 tsp baking powder7 oz or 200g cherries, fresh or frozenPreheat oven at 280F. Combine the ingredients for the tart shell, divide it between the tart tins and press firmly over base and sides.Bake for 25-30 minutes until the macaroon shells are firm and browned then remove from oven.Increase oven temperature to 320F. To make the filling, put the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar to combine well. Sift in the flour and baking powder, stir in the chocolate mixture. Spoon into the macaroon shells and top with the cherries (if using frozen cherries, no need to defrost).Bake for 25-35 minutes until the filling is just firm. Cool in the tins before removing to serve.Verdict: The chocolate filling is rich but the cherries go very well with it. The macaroon shells add an interesting texture and overall, its a great tart - easy to make and everyone loved it! This is better eaten on the day it is made. If refrigerated overnight, warm in the oven before serving.[...]



Very Chocolate Cupcake

2008-11-13T09:40:34.843+08:00

My godson's mother had tasked me with making cupcakes and the dessert cake for her son's 3rd birthday party. She requested for chocolate and a jungle green theme. She also added that my godchildren have recently discovered the joys of peanut butter.Not being so adept at icing or frosting jungle animals, I told her I could do the chocolate and peanut butter part. I spent quite a bit of last week experimenting with the various recipes in my collection and the one from Dorie's book wins hands down.Dorie starts the recipe with an introduction that suggested saving this not very sweet, close crumbed cake for adults as kids may not appreciate it as much. I adapted it slightly and figured that with the sweet frosting that I was going to add on, I couldn't go wrong pleasing both adults and children.In addition to the chocolate cake, I also used my banana cake recipe since it would go well with both a chocolate and peanut butter frosting. I mixed the cake and frosting recipes to get 4 different combinations for the cupcakes which I then decorated in a variety of designs.The cupcakes were a hit at the party. I think everyone loved the idea of having an individually decorated cake all for themselves. There was a cotton candy machine at the party and I had a ball of a time fulfilling a childhood fantasy of creating huge puffs of those pink sweets. Here's a shot of the cheeky birthday boy Ryan, flashing a grin with a mouthful of pizza.Very Chocolate Cupcakemakes 15 cupcakes1/2 cup or 1 stick butter1 cup sugar2 eggs1/2 tsp vanilla1 cup flour1/4 cup cocoa powder1/4 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp baking soda1/4 tsp salt1/4 tsp instant coffee powder1/2 cup buttermilk2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooledPreheat the oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined then add in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and stir in the melted chocolate with a spatula until incorporated. Scoop into cupcake liners.Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.Chocolate Fudge Frostingmakes about 1 1/2 cups1/2 cup or 1 stick butter1 1/2 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder1/4 tap salt2 tbs creme de cacao1 tbs milkCream the butter then sift in the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the creme de cacao and milk then combine well. Add more milk a little at a time to get the desired consistency. Spread or pipe over cooled cupcakes. Decorate as desiredPeanut Butter Frostingmakes about 2 cups1/2 cup or 1 stick butter1/2 cup creamy peanut butter2 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar1/4 tsp salt2 tbs milkCream the butter and peanut butter to combine then sift in the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the milk and combine well, adding more a little at a time to get the desired consistency. Spread or pipe over cooled cupcakes. Decorate as desired.[...]



Dutch Apple Cake

2008-11-13T09:40:35.381+08:00

I've been reading and re-reading one of my latest buys Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters. Its become my current favourite because the of the love and care that has gone into putting it all together. Each recipe is accompanied by a note of its origins, whether from family or strangers. There are insights and memories from the Brass sisters (who look so cute on the cover) and this is a truly a collection of wonderful recipes that have been passed down through the years. I'm also entering this for WCC#20 Show and Tell.The recipes are old fashioned baked goods that have been tested and adapted for today's kitchens. The ingredients are simple and readily available in any pantry so one can whip up something on a whim, just like this recipe. I've adapted it for cupcakes but should have used up all of the apple topping because the presence of apple could have been stronger.There are also lovely pictures of antique recipe books and journals, baking equipment and kitchen tools. As a result of this book, I've been inspired to look out for and start collecting antique or retro cake plates!Dutch Apple Cakemakes 18 cupcakes or a 9-inch cake1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter1/2 cup sugar2 eggs1 tsp vanilla2 cups flour1 tbs baking powder1/4 tsp salt3/4 cup milkTopping2 tbs sugar1 tsp cinnamon1 1/2 tbs butter3 apples, peeled and choppedPreheat oven at 350F. Cream the butter until pale before adding in the sugar and beating until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined then add in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the sifted mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Scoop into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full or into a lined cake pan.Toss together the ingredients for the topping and spread it all out evenly over the top of the batter.Bake for 25 minutes for cupcakes or approximately 40 minutes for the cake.Verdict: Its a very moist cake as promised but I should have used up all the topping as mentioned earlier. The recipe recommends for the cake to be served the day it is made but it can also be frozen once it has completely cooled.[...]