Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

“Beach-Themed” Birthday Cake (Butter Cake With Butter Frosting).

December 15, 2008

I had so much fun baking this birthday cake for my friend Samuel, who turned 25. A beach-themed cake came to mind and  I thought to myself, “okay there would be a beach mat on the sand, umbrellas and some sharks in the water” 🙂

First of all, I needed 3 layers of butter cake. Since my oven is a tiny electric one (which bakes less evenly), I baked it in 3 batches. You may freeze the cooled cake for up to 3 months and thaw it for at least 2 hours before you start to decorate the cake. 

Butter Cake (serves about 9)
Adapted from “Party Cakes for kids”, Murdoch Books Australia 

150g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup fresh milk (if you want it more moist, replace some of the fresh milk with some canned condensed milk)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius. Lightly grease a round cake tin (I used a 15cm in diameter tin) and line the base with baking paper.
2. Beat the butter and sugar with electric beaters until light and creamy. Beat in eggs gradually and add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
3. Fold in the sifted flour alternatively with the milk until smooth. Spoon mixture into tin and smooth the surface. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
4. Leave the cake in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Frost it or freeze it in cling-wrap until it is ready to be frosted 🙂

And then…Viola. My butter cake layers thawing from the cold of the night.

Here’s my blue frosting for the ‘sea waves’ using this from allrecipes. For this cake size, I changed the total frosting portion to 18. I used a drop of blue colouring to mimic the waves.

For the ‘sand’ portion of the cake, I added less icing sugar to the frosting as it would be topped by brown sugar and I wanted to it look less stiff.

The ‘sand’.
 

The ‘sharks’, I made these out of cardboard paper. (Jaws piano tune in my head)
 

Layer 1 and 2 of the cake frosted with the ‘sand’ frosting. I would use whipped cream with fresh strawberries as a filling next time. 

The sand portion all frosted.

‘Sand’ and ‘waves’ added.

Little beach mat I made, near the sharks. *Shudders.

The entire decoration before the birthday boy was surprised at Starbucks. 

Surprise Samuel, from your friends and friendly baristas at Starbucks!

 Here’s how the inside of the cake looked like.

The cake disappeared really quickly, I was so pleased and I think Samuel was pleased too. Above all, I had a blast making it. Looking forward to baking for Christmas. 😀

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Easy Brownie Cups Recipe.

December 12, 2008

(This post is photo intensive so beware!)

First up, the recipe for you to read through then some step by step photographs to aid anyone who has never baked before-I dare you to try this easy recipe.

Brownies (serves 16)

1/2 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Line a muffin tray with paper linings.
2. Mix oil, sugar and vanilla essence in a large bowl. Beat in eggs gradually with an electric mixer.
3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in another bowl.
4. Gradually stir in egg mixture and flour mixture until well blended (you may use your electric mixer but on low speed)
5. Stir in walnuts and pour batter into paper linings.
6. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes or until moist crumbs cling onto the skewer when poked in the middle of the brownie (not when the skewer is clean)

Photo time.

Chop the walnuts to the consistency that you desire. This were my walnuts halfway in the chopping process.
 

The oil-some people get terrified as to how much fat goes into sweets. Reality check for you! 🙂
 

Yes and there’s sugar as well. I love the crystal look of the sugar in this photo.
 

My whisks still clean before mixing, vanilla was added to this mixture already.
 

Eggs, two are going to be separated from their gang.
 

Beating away and eggs added in gradually. I’m super particular about the meaning behind gradual, since I hate my mixture to curdle up when the eggs aren’t incorporated well. yuck.
 

The whisk after all that mixing.
 

The flour measured, feel free to be more precise than me. 🙂
 

I love this cocoa from Hershey’s.
 

Measurement of baking powder.
 

The same double-sided spoon can be used for the salt measurement as well. Thanks to this awesome magnetic measuring set from Calin last Christmas. 😀

The gorgeous dry mixture.
 

Finally all mixed together in glorious perfection.
 

The end. Now eat.
 

You’ll love how your kitchen smells when brownies are baking.

Banana Cupcake Recipe.

June 12, 2008

I decided to try making a cupcake instead of a muffin with my over-ripened bananas. I used this recipe but I made certain changes to it. 

  • I used butter instead of shortening
  • I used normal milk instead of buttermilk (since I’ve used butter in the first place)
  • I cut down the sugar by 1/4 cup
  • I did not use vanilla extract
  • I added almost 1/4 cup of Starbucks toffee nut syrup
It turned out very moist and cake-like, yummy. 🙂 However when you add the egg all at once to the mixture, do not be afraid if the mixture starts to curdle. Once you add the flour mixture in, it’ll all come together. Another tip is to use your electric mixer to give it a good mix after adding the flour mixture to the banana mixture.
 
I tried using these paper holders today, I found them a little too flimsy, bleah.
All mixed up, gooey in perfect deliciousness. 
The finished product.
  

What a joy it was to bake these, not all recipes are mix and mush and pour. 😉

 

Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe.

June 9, 2008

This dark chocolate cake recipe from all recipes was fabulous. Next time I’d remember to take the pastry chef’s comment on beating the egg yolks and whites separately with some of the sugar – I’m sure this would make it more fluffy. In addition, I would take Sherene’s advise and use melted dark chocolate instead of cocoa powder and boiling water. Hey at least I used the best Hershey’s cocoa powder, haha.

Each step was done from scratch with love. Baking makes me feel at ease and happy. 🙂

The measurement of butter and the cocoa mixture cooling down.

Empty cupcake holders, waiting to be filled with chocolate goodness. 😛

The sugar glistering amongst its butter friend, just before getting better acquainted with each other.
 

More measurements of the flour mixture and egg.
 

Tadah, out came 50 mini-cupcakes. Moist and delicious. For those who have tried this (you know who you are), I hope you’ve enjoyed it!
 

p/s: I substituted the vanilla essence with Starbucks’ toffee nut syrup.

The Only Time I’ve Use Betty Crocker Cake Mix.

April 11, 2008

Call me a person that’s full of pride, it doesn’t matter. I simply refuse to use even Betty Crocker’s delicious cake mix when baking. The only time I’ve used it is when I had to bake numerous cupcakes for my friend’s birthday. It’ll simply take too much time to bake large batches of cupcakes in my tiny oven.

Nothing really beats measuring the correct amount of ingredients and mixing things up using different methods. Nothing really beats seeing the end product of my very own creation come to life, knowing full well that every credit goes to me.

I’m pretty sure I ain’t the only baker around who feels this way! 🙂

p/s: My camera lens broke today (Fuji Finepix F31) 😦 It isn’t worth getting it repaired. Any camera (similar to the amazing F31 specifications) to recommend?

Carrot Cupcakes With Starbucks Toffee Nut Syrup.

March 23, 2008

I decided to bake for a few of my friends from school and another dear friend of mine from church. Each of them got three mini carrot cupcakes in a brown bag. 🙂 Check out my previous post on the carrot cake here.

The cupcakes just before entering the oven.

The cupcakes after they leave the oven.

I then used a cake tester and poked holes in it and spread this delicious Starbucks toffee nut syrup over each cupcake.

And in the cupcakes went, into these brown bags for my friends.

I hope you guys enjoyed it! 😀 

My boyfriend saw me typing this post and asked me where his cupcakes were, oops! 😛

Moist Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe.

March 1, 2008

I needed to bake some banana muffins as I’ve got a bunch of over-riped bananas in the kitchen. Then I came across Genevieve‘s recipe and decided to try to out. I made some tiny changes. Thank you Genevieve. 🙂

Moist Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (Serves 12)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
2 small eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.
2. Sift first 4 ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Combine bananas, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a medium bowl.
4. Mix into dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over-mix!
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, fill it till 3/4 full.
7. Bake until muffins are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, for about 25 minutes. (10 to 15 minutes for miniature muffins)
8. Cool muffins in tray for 5 minutes before transferring muffins to cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy. 🙂

Baking really takes the stress out of school work. Sometimes you got to just step back and leave your work aside for a little while and do something you love. For me, its baking.

And of course it’s much more worth the while when I see good friends enjoying this muffin treat. 😀 Here’s Lishan and her muffin, while we were at a field trip on Friday.

I am looking forward to baking with my Starbucks toffee nut latte. 🙂

Fruit Muffin Crumble Topping Recipe.

February 21, 2008

As promised in my previous post, here is the recipe I use for all my fruit muffins. It really brings so much more flavour and texture to the muffins. It is for anyone with a super-sweet tooth.

Fruit Muffin Crumble Topping Recipe (For 12 muffins)

Ingredients
3 tbsp of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I prefer slightly course brown sugar)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions
1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and mix it with your finger tips (as it is the coolest part of your hands and it will prevent the butter from melting too quickly). Mix till a crumble consistency is achieved.
2. Sprinkle over un-baked muffin, before placing muffins into the oven.
3. Enjoy a delicious muffin(s) with tea!

I also mentioned that I had my fair share of problems while baking muffins. My muffins would sometimes turn out like rocks and have large holes in them. I did the following to solve this.

  • I added less egg.
  • I added less liquids.
  • I avoid over-mixing my muffins by mixing the wet & dry ingredients with my hands, instead of a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

However, somehow my banana muffins always don’t turn out as well as I would like them to. They aren’t that moist. Any tips?

Muffins & Cupcakes: Why they are different.

February 20, 2008

I found a lot of talk and misconceptions about the similarities and differences between a muffin and a cupcake online. Some say a muffin becomes a cupcake when there is frosting on it. Some say that cupcakes are smaller than muffins. That is incorrect, here is my take on it. Let’s conquer the cupcake first.

Cupcakes

  • A cupcake is essentially the same as a whole cake. It is simply baked and served in a portion to serve one individual.
  • It is usually frosted (like those in the photos above) and decorated. It is common to see it at birthday parties and weddings.
  • It is sweet and hence eaten mostly as a dessert or a sweet treat.
  • An un-frosted cupcakes does not equate to a muffin.
  • Butter is usually used in a cupcake recipe.
  • Conclusion: A cupcake is a cake.

Muffins

Source: Wikipedia

  • A muffin is one of the easiest things to bake (although I’ve had my fair share of failures, will give you tips to succeed in baking a muffin). It is simply mixing the wet and dry ingredients together and some recipes do not even require the use of an electronic beater or whisk.
  • It can be frosted or not frosted. For fruit muffins, I like to use a crumble on top (recipe in the next post).
  • It can be sweet or savoury and is mostly eaten during breakfast or tea.
  • A frosted muffin does not equate a to cupcake.
  • Oil is usually used in a muffin recipe.
  • Conclusion: A muffin is a type of bread (quick bread).

I hope this clarifies the difference between a cupcake and a muffin better. Watch out for my next post on my experience with baking muffins.

Chocolate Icing Recipe.

February 9, 2008

You can really do whatever you want to an Icing recipe to suit your preference. Here is my basic chocolate Icing recipe. It’s really easy, just 5 tiny ingredients and you’re good to go.

Chocolate Icing Recipe

Ingredients

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (you may add more if you like)
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of confectioner’s sugar (you may increase this according to the consistency you’re looking for)

Directions

1. In a large bowl, beat butter and cocoa together until well-combined.
2. Add milk and vanilla extract and beat till smooth.
3. Gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar until your desired consistency is achieved.
4. Adjust with more milk, sugar, flour, if necessary.
5. Spread this beautiful icing onto your cake and serve.

Here’s how I decorated my cake in my previous post. This cake were for my cousins, during a picnic we had while watching Ballet Under The Stars. The cake was rich and Yum-O.

I topped off the icing with chocolate chips and dusted it lightly with confectioner’s sugar for a contrasting effect.

A close up view.

I welcome suggestions to make this recipe even better. 🙂