Cupcake Loves 04 – Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu. Literally: ‘pick-me-up’

Tiramisu. Moist flavorful coffee-soaked cake, mascarpone cheese, cream cheese frosting. A delicious Italian dessert of which the name literally translates to pick-me-up (referring to the espresso, of course!)

Now, have you ever imagined a tiramisu cupcake? I simply adored the idea. One of my favorite desserts in an individually sized serving. Delicious. So I googled and found this – a lot of steps but nothing too difficult.

The original recipe calls for a box mix, but I can’t stand box mixes so I turned to no-fail Betty Crocker yellow cake (always delicious). After which I became sure my cupcake explosions were due to the cupcake liners, because even no-fail Betty Crocker cake became the victim of a volcanic cupcake spill! Sighs.

The process is simple enough. First, bake up your white or yellow cake. Cut out the centers (I used a small, sharp knife), and fill with mascarpone cheese. Plug the hole back up and then frost with delicious cream cheese frosting (this frosting was bloody amazing, I even used it to cover up the lemon cheesecupcakes). Plus it was almost pipe-able. Just almost. Think a little bit more icing sugar & some time in the refrigerator would make this one slightly stiffer and definitely pipe-able. Must try again!

These cupcakes were delicious. The combination of the cake + mascarpone cheese filling + cream cheese frosting was just perfect. Unfortunately, I found my cupcakes were a bit lacking on a) coffee flavor b) mascarpone filling. The cupcakes became a bit too moist (I should have used the foil liners recommended by the original recipe!) because my mascarpone filling was a bit too runny — possibly because I was unable to get any Cool Whip (+ it is SO preservative filled), so I replaced to whipped cream instead.

My advice to anyone making this recipe is to liberally brush on the espresso and to fill with as much mascarpone as possible! Tiramisu should be melt-in-your-mouth soft, soft, soft with tons of coffee flavor. It is a bit difficult to measure out the perfect consistency of soft coffee soaked cake against moist mascarpone filling, so do experiment to find the optimum ratio!

The recipe definitely has tons of potential though! I made one last individual tiramisu with leftover coffee, cake, mascarpone cheese & cream cheese frosting. I layered them over and over to build up one super delicious, super sweet individual tiramisu trifle. It was Really Good.

So then, here’s the recipe!

Tiramisu Cupcakes
Adapted from Becky Bakes
Makes approx 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcake

  • 1 recipe Betty Crocker yellow cake

Liquid Coffee Layer

  • 2/3 cup water, boiling
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee

Mascarpone Filling

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp coffee extract –> (made from 3 tbsp coffee + 1/2 cup boiling water)
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Whole Cream –> whipped to medium soft peaks with 1-2 tbsp sugar + 1-2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting (double if piping on top)

  • 8oz (226g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Make the mascarpone filling (this needs to be made ahead): Beat mascarpone, coffee extract + condensed milk until well blended. Fold in whipped cream. Chill filling mixture 4-6 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare yellow or white cupcakes. While these are baking, prepare the liquid coffee as below.
  3. Liquid Coffee: Boil 2/3 cup water + stir in instant coffee and powdered sugar. Allow to cool to tepid. Once cooled, use a fork to poke holes into each cupcake so that they will absorb the liquid coffee. Then brush liquid coffee onto each cupcake using a silicone baking brush.
  4. Cut holes in the top of each cupcake and brush more liquid coffee in each hole. Fill pastry/icing bag with mascarpone filling and inject about 1-2 tablespoonfuls via the bag directly into the top-center of each cupcake. Plug each cupcake back with a small amount of cake.
  5. Prepare cream cheese frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy with hand mixer on low. Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and increase mixer speed to medium. Blend until frosting is fluffy. At this stage you may need to add more powdered sugar to thicken up the frosting’s consistency slightly.
  6. Frost each cupcake with the frosting (I piped on some & used a spatula for others) and decorated with little pink hearts and flowers.

Enjoy! ❤ Sue

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Team Yoguru VS Team Yami

I had an awesome Saturday at the empty Kallang Leisurepark where I didn’t have to fight the weekend crowds. The downside though being, there’s no good place for lunch so had to settle for Pastamania, which was so bad it was not even worth elaborating about (think frozen baked riced popped into a microwave and served to you).

I didn’t head there for lunch though. It was to watch the long awaited third installment of the Twilight series. For the record (and for anyone who remotely cares), I’m die-hard Team Jacob. Simple reason being you can be yourself with him. Who needs the mental torture wondering if you should transform into a fanged creature of the night. (Plus think of all the food you’ll miss out enjoying on! A blood only diet for eternity? I think I’ll pass).

Anyway I digress. The whole point of this post is actually because I had a single scoop of Yoguru, original flavour today.  The serving was generous and totally value for money at $3.30. Off course, greedy me took a topping (extra $1.20) of oreo crumbs no less which is a bad idea simply because:

  • When trying to sneak into cinema with said yoghurt, the crumbs inevitably created a mess
  • Super unhealthy! Why didn’t i take the fruits instead?

The texture, which I’m usually particular about was good.. it was creamy smooth, like soft-serve ice-cream. I couldn’t detect any tinge of ice-crystals at all, which can be common in frozen yoghurts. I found the whole taste very overwhelming though, too sweet! It lasted me about half the movie, hardly melted at all. Their marketing efforts highlight that its totally no-fat, filled with probiotics goodness etc. etc. However I felt really sinful after that, considering the sweetness lingered in my mouth.

So I conclude for froyos, nothing can beat my all time comforting Yami Yoghurt. I know that it won’t let me down no matter how many times I buy it. From the original to peach to honeydew, I get warm fuzzy feelings always.

Sometimes the best things in life are the ones that have always been by your side, even before you realise it yourself. 🙂

xoxo,
miss 241

Cupcake Loves 03 – Chocolate Magic Cupcakes with PB Frosting

Peanut Butter + Chocolate = Sheer Bliss

I’ve been reading this wonderful novel entitled Julie & Julia for a while now and am really enjoying it. It’s amazingly encouraging and makes me want to cook up a storm, and indeed learn the fine art of French cooking from Julia Child’s cookbook (I nearly bought it the other day while at the bookstore!) I narrowly managed to stop myself though, since I doubt I’d end up making anything in the book as I really very much prefer just making desserts.

Still though it’s been wonderfully inspiring especially since we’ve just started up this food blog and I’m simply enjoying reading Julie Powell’s everyday success story celebrating the little miracles and triumphs of life. Just the way I love to live my own life 🙂 It’s been really motivating in getting these posts up! I always need a bit of a push to do anything properly 😉 So on to completing the cupcake series!

One of my all-time favorite combinations in dessert is chocolate + peanut butter. Especially dense, chocolatey-chocolate, dark and rich and moist. Plus sweet ‘n’ slightly salty melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter. The perfect marriage of taste, sensation and color. A delicious symphony of melodious flavors if you will.

Naturally, I knew one of the cupcakes in the series simply had to be peanut butter + chocolate and so, after much deliberation I settled on this recipe.

And ooooh, what an absolutely amazing choice!

The cake was moist, dense, chocolatey, super rich and yet wonderfully light. The frosting was melt-in-your-mouth-peanut-butter-perfect. Unfortunately however, these cupcakes were the victims of volcanic ruptures. The perfectly formed tops were marred by exploding cupcake mixture. Sigh. Plus the frosting was waaaay too thin for me to pipe on with the perfection of the original. So I used a spatula to slather it on (liberally) instead and decorated with some nice sugar and wafer rosettes as well as van houten chocolate buttons.

You can see some of the sorry pictures of the cupcakes in their unsaved state near the top of this post. I had to perform some major cupcake surgery on this lot :/ But the end result was so worth it. And did I mention how a-maz-ingly delicious they were? Like seriously, nearly unbelievably so? 😉

Would definitely go for this recipe again. The cupcake explosion, again I think happened because of the cupcake liners I used. The frosting. Well the frosting, I really don’t know. I think I’m just incapable of whipping up any kind of good frosting :/ some major practice needed ahead! 😉

Black Magic Cupcakes
Adapted from Une-deux Senses & originally from Milk and Honey Cafe
Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I replaced to 2tbsp yoghurt + warm water to make one cup)
  • 1 cup strong coffee (2 tsp instant coffee + 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line cupcake pan with liners & set aside.
  2. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil & vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until well combined.
  4. Pour into prepared pans about 2/3 full and bake for 20 mins or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Une-deux Senses & originally from The Boastful Baker
Yields enough to frost 12 cupcakes (with a spatula; if you are planning to pipe this on, probably better to double the recipe).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 2 tbsp shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp soy milk

Method

  1. Cream together the margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter, honey and vanilla and beat until smooth (approx 2-3 mins). Beat in the powdered sugar (the mixture will be stiff).
  3. Slowly add the soy milk, beating continuously until frosting is pale tan and very fluffy. If too thick, or too thin, add more soy milk or powdered sugar until the right consistency is achieved.
  4. At this point I had to tip in at least 1/4 cup more powdered sugar then the recipe recommended because the frosting was too soft. Even after the addition  it was still too soft so perhaps it needs even more. Do keep a watch on the stiffness of the mixture as you’re beating to be sure of proper consistency.

❤ Sue

One helping is not enough!

You know how parents or teachers used to lecture us from a very young age not to eat too much sugar?

Well they were right.

But. Who cares?

They probably haven’t had the joy of savouring a wonderfully done pudding from Tampopo Deli. It was so good that the moment I finished desert at the main Tampopo restaurant, I literally ran to their deli downstairs to grab some takeaway pudding. What captured my heart?

*Milk tea pudding!*


The pudding has a lovely chawanmushi-like texture and gives you a cold melt in the mouth sensation.  You can see the sauce on the top layer of the pudding – blend in everything thoroughly for an even taste. For the takeaway version, it comes seperately in a little container. So you can control the amount of sauce you want. I just poured everything in lah, I wanted the whole milk tea flavour to come through, which it did marvelously! (NB: I did sample a few others like the custard pudding, but they were okay okay only).

If you haven’t realised by now, the people running this blog have insanely sweet tooths.

We can’t help it. Its wired in our genes.

xoxo,
miss 241

Of Cupcake Poop & Edged Brownies

Of Cupcake Poop and Edged Brownies

I’ve got this habit of becoming a Facebook fan of all my favorite sites so that I can easily keep track of updates. Works better for me then subscribing to RSS feeds, since I tend to pay more attention when interesting things pop up in my Facebook live feed (that sounds wonderfully stalker-ish I know).

So the other day this fascinating post popped up while I was browsing on my Blackberry entitled “Cupcake Poop”. Of course I was all like how can this be! How can anyone even think of putting the word Poop next to Cupcake (oxymoron!) So the next time I was on my computer I went to read the post & found a wonderful secret that we bakers tend to keep to ourselves (and definitely not something I’ve ever given a name to)

“Cupcake Poops” are those delicious bits of batter that spill and bake up on the edges of the cupcake pan, delivering tiny crispy little cupcake cookies. We all know them and love them dearly.

Cupcake Project whipped up some cupcake poop by following a pound cake recipe and dropping small spoonfuls of batter onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and baked at 350F for 15 minutes. The result? A wonderful crispy treat of cupcake poop. Will definitely be trying this out soon, maybe with some other cupcake recipe (the same concept *should* apply across cupcake recipes, Cupcake Project notes).

The other wonderful little thing that crops up while baking is the Edge. You know what I mean? That piece of cake or brownie that was made at the edge of the pan so it has that delicious crispy exterior to contrast with the soft chewy center. Unfortunately there are only so many edge pieces making dessert…unless you use the Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan! You’ll never have to fight over the limited amount of edge pieces anymore! 😉 Though this might take away some of the magic of the edge piece as well. Definitely want one of these some day. Must buy soon!

Have not really been baking much recently, but would like to complete my series on the cupcakes that I’d started earlier. Look out for the rest of the recipes really soon! 🙂 ❤ Sue

Cupcake Loves 02 – Lemon Cheese(cup)cakes

Lemon Cheese(cup)cakes, Oh My!

Cheesecake. The name itself instantly evokes tantalizing sensations of creamy, heavenly goodness that simply melts in your mouth. Naturally, as a cheesecake lover, I knew that one of the four cupcakes in the “Happy Birthday” series HAD to be a cheesecake cupcake or a Cheese(cup)cake. What a glorious idea!

So I turned to my trusty (and huge) library of cheesecake recipes that I’ve bookmarked in order to try “someday” and settled on this lemon cheesecake cupcake.

I’ve actually done a Horlicks (malt) flavored cheesecupcake  before, but my sister isn’t a huge fan of the malt (though I loved it), so decided to go with lemon flavoring this time (she adores lemon). Plus, this recipe didn’t require a water bath for the cheesecakes (which the previous one did), making the whole process much simpler. And simplicity was an important consideration, especially since I was making four types of cupcakes!

So I set to work with a vengeance, late on a Thursday night.  Personally, I simply love baking late at night (preferably after 10PM), meaning you get to eat your creation as a delicious midnight snack. Calorie-ridden (delicious!) food always tastes best late at night, doesn’t it? Though that is also the optimum time for it to send maximum impact to your hips and whatnot.

Okay, back on track again. The recipe author promised it was very difficult to screw up the recipe. Unfortunately though, I somehow managed to do so. The cheesecakes came out of the oven looking gloriously creamy and light in a perfect golden color. I was so proud of myself as I left them to cool. But then they sank. Badly. And became saggy and depressing looking. Not something I would ever want to photograph (sorry no pics of the disaster!)

Fortunately however they were baked in festive gorgeous cupcake wrappers I bought especially for the occasion. Plus I used my Wilton (reusable) cake hearts to bake a couple as well. So the edges looked wonderful, now I had to consider how to save the tops — the most important part of a cupcake for sure!

Then the answer came to me: Frosting of course! I whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting for the Tiramisu Cupcakes (recipe coming soon) and used the same frosting to cover the cheesecakes. The two tastes (lemon cheesecake + cream cheese frosting) combined perfectly.

In terms of taste these cupcakes were wonderfully light and creamy with a great lemon tang in them. The cream cheese frosting provided a delightful sweet contrast to the slightly tangy taste (especially since the cheesecake was not all that sweet). The softness of the cheesecake + frosting were set off wonderfully by the ginger-y crust — a wonderful idea for a cheesecake base (and definitely something that can be used in other recipes as well). A great combination. I had so much of the crust leftover (I accidentally mixed up too much) that I ate a lot of it on its own. Simply delicious.

Some of my mistakes & tips to avoid them:-
(1) The cupcake liners I used. As you’ll see from the following blog entries, all the cupcakes didn’t bake up very well (by “well”, I refer to the wonderful rise in the center that all cupcakes should have). Possibly due to the cupcake liners I used which really look like muffin liners. They were very useful though as they were stiff enough for me not to have to use the cupcake tray (speeding up the baking process enormously, because I only have one tray).

(2) Skipping the mulberries (which the original recipe called for). No choice on this, as over here where I live no one even knows what a mulberry is. Possibly this is another factor that caused the Cheesecake Sink. Would have to re-experiment with different liners to be completely sure which was the problem. I considered to replace with blueberries (couldn’t get them) or strawberries (they were really sour!) and in the end decided to omit. Kind of glad they were not in there though as I’m not a huge berry fan and the cheesecake had more than enough flavor to compensate for the lack of the berries.

And of course, finally, here’s the recipe!

Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: Cafe Fernando & originally from delicious. (June ’09 issue)

Makes 12-14 lemon cheesecake cupcakes

Ingredients
Cookie base:

  • 100g gingersnap or shortbread cookies (I mixed both)
  • 55g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

Filling:
Use ingredients at room temp for best creamy consistency

  • 450g (1 lb) cream cheese
  • 100g heavy cream (or sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F (165C).
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases and set aside (n.b. with this recipe I ended up with 11 large cupcakes and 7 small ones).
  3. Crush the cookies to fine crumbs and mix with ground almonds, sugar and melted butter. I prefer to do this by hand as it gets everything mixed together the best into a wonderful consistency.
  4. Press 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture into the base of each cupcake liners. You can use a small shotglass or the back of your spoon or even your hands to compact the mixture down. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Beat the cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest, beating well after each addition.
  7. Rap the mixer bowl hard on your counter to knock out the air bubbles trapped inside the filling.
  8. Spoon the mixture over the cookie bases 3/4 full.
  9. Bake the cheese(cup)cakes for 25-30 minutes or until the cheesecakes are puffed and starting to color.
  10. Cool, then chill before frosting with cream cheese frosting, recipe follows (I frosted the next day).

Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: Becky Bakes
Makes enough to frost approx 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 (8oz / 225g) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy with hand mixer on low.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and increase mixer to medium. Blend until frosting is fluffy.
  3. Use a spatula to cover each cupcake with frosting and decorate the frosting as you desire — I used pink diamonds and small sugar flowers as well as sugar hearts.

** This recipe is supposed to allow for piping the frosting on, but this is something I have never yet been able to achieve with ANY frosting recipe. Either I’m really bad with making the frosting, or I have a secondary theory on the high amounts of humidity where I live thereby making it impossible to make any frosting that is stiff enough to pipe on.

And that’s all! A simple recipe to have and enjoy 🙂

(Btw, I think it’s about time the word cheesecupcake entered the dictionary. It is a wonderful dessert in its own right after all!) – ❤ Sue

Cupcake Loves 01 — Happy Birthday Cupcakes!

Happy Birthday Cupcake Time!

Two years ago if someone had come up to me and asked me for baking tips I would have scoffed in their face and started laughing openly. But two years ago if someone had asked me for photography tips I would have launched into a very long and boring conversation to promote my amateurish attempts :p

One day though I was surfing the ‘net (bored at work, you understand) and came across a whole new world of exciting photography online. Can you guess what I saw? It was food photography (or food porn as it is less modestly known as), specifically at this site. Yes. Really. I only started baking because I wanted to take photos. I couldn’t believe this whole unexplored vista of gorgeous contours and colors was within my grasp for so many years and yet I never took advantage of it. The beauty of a plate of gorgeously presented food presents a wonderful opportunity to be captured forever on camera.

Most stories begin at the beginning, but in my case the beginning is too far behind me (and looks far too amateurish to me) to return to at this point. So I’m going to begin at the end — the end at this point in time you understand, which is really just a beginning to something new!

So, a couple of weeks ago my older sister turned 28. And she had a simple request — for a homemade (cup)cake birthday cake. With 3-4 different kinds of cupcakes and with her name written: “Happy Birthday Pr****”. I loved the idea! A real baking adventure and inevitably gorgeous pictures to be taken at the end.

So I set to work with a vengeance and narrowed down to four different kinds (links will become active once I post the respective entries):-

  1. Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes
  2. Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
  3. Tiramisu Cupcakes
  4. Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

The whole family got involved in the project and we bought some gorgeous supplies including a cake stand and flowers and came out with a wonderful result. Not bad for this baking novice 😉  Stay tuned for updates!

Oh and by the way, before I forget, just to introduce myself, I’m Sue, the baking novice with a terrible sweet tooth, over here at Tummy Rolls 😉