26 December, 2012

Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes

Merry (late) Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having an amazing and festive holiday season. I wish I could say I'm having a white christmas..but I'm not. It's blazing heat over here and I am sweating balls!

These cupcakes have 43grams of butter in them. Yes, you read correctly. 43 grams in 12 cupcakes. So out of the ordinary for cupcakes yet so amazing! These have become a staple in my house as me and my family don't feel guilty stuffing our faces with them.

My family is safely inside with the AC on full blast. We have been lazy asses all day because the heat has gotten to all of us.

I made these cupcakes the day before yesterday for myself. I adapted the recipe slightly so I could have it by subsitituing the white flour for spelt flour and the milk for rice milk. It turned out absolutely fine and super spongey!

The recipe also calls for 5 tablespoons of butter in the icing - but I left that out because it seemed too sickly sweet in such hot weather. But altogether, it's one stick of butter for BOTH the cupcakes and icing. You can finally gorge on cupcakes and not even feel bad about it.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
    adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
    makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour (I subbed in 1 cup of spelt flour)
a scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk (I subbed in 1/2 cup of rice milk)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 celcius).
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a handheld beater and beat on slow speed until the mixture is a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side or the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth. Just a few minutes. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into paper lined muffin tins, dividing between the 12 cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
     from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
     makes enough for 12 cupcakes, double this recipe to frost an 8-inch cake

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the powdered sugar and butter together in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment on medium low speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer speed to low. Combine the milk and the vanilla extract and slowly stream it into the butter and sugar mixture. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes. If you find that your frosting is getting to warm in the summer months, stop beating and set in the fridge for a few minutes. Once chilled, hook the frosting back up the the mixer and beat once more until you reach the desired consistency.

14 December, 2012

Hervé's Two Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

This recipe is absolutely fabulous and as the posts title states, yes it has only two ingredients! The recipe produces the dense thickness yet airyness of a chocolate mousse while keeping the calories down.

I suggest while making this to use the best possible chocolate you can get hold of as there is no cream or eggs to mask the flavour of the chocolate and instead, the chocolate is the star of the show, being mixed only with water to produce this mousse.

This recipe was created by a French chemist who was a molecular gastronomist and I watched Heston Blumenthal make it on his show.

It's important to not overbeat the chocolate sauce once it is in the ice cold bath as it can become too grainy. However, keep in mind, the more you whisk, the more moussey the mixture becomes up until the point where the chocolate siezes.

I left mine at the cold chocolate pudding-semi mousse stage, however you can always keep whisking longer to get that thick dense mousse most people are after.

The recipe is all about timing. However, this recipe being as incredible as it is allows you to also reverse your mistakes using the SAME mixture! All thats needed is to scoop out the "wrong" (overbeaten, grainy etc.) mixture and place it back onto the saucepan where you reheat it to get the glossy chocolate mixture. Then you carry out again, the next step where you chuck it in an icebath with a bowl on top. So fab.

You could also use this recipe for a chirstmas vibe! And add any flavouring you want with the water, whether that be liquor or orange essence or juice to give it another layering of flavour. However, I think just using the chocolate on its own produces a very thick, rich and creamy mousse which lets the chocolate flavour shine through. Bon appetit!

Hervé's Chocolate Mousse (Adapted from Hervé This' Molecular Gastronomy, via Food 52)

100g high quality dark chocolate (roughly 70%)
80ml (or g) water
a few handfuls of ice cubes
good glug of double cream (optional garnish)
cocoa nibs (optional garnish)

Chop the chocolate up into chunks. Put the ice into a bowl then fit a metal bowl (if possible, it will let the mixture cool faster, meaning less whisking) into it. Add some water to the ice to make sure the bottom of the top bowl is submerged and cooled. Get a whisk and serving bowls ready.

Place the chocolate into a saucepan with the water. Warm over low-medium heat until the chocolate has dissolved and you have a smooth liquid. Pour into the cold bowl and start whisking immediately. As you whisk, the mixture should start to slowly thicken. Keep going until it holds thick ribbons. Quickly transfer to your serving bowls before it starts to set.

Remove the chocolate bowl from the ice and replace with a clean one. Pour in some double cream and whip until it holds soft peaks. Spoon over the mousse and sprinkle some cocoa nibs over the top. Serve immediately if possible. If not, place in the fridge then bring up to room temperature before serving.

(Serves 2-3)

11 December, 2012

Sweet Potato and Brown Butter Scones

Hey yo! I made these last night because I was craving a snack and the recipe kind of fell into the holiday recipe category!
I love scones so much their so easy and so simple in flavour and you can just snack on them whenever you want.

These scones are so good. Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices and it's flavour in the scone works so well with the sweet potato. I've demolished half of the tray.
The addition of the brown butter also provides a nutty taste to the scones, making it even harder to not go back for a second, or third, or in my case...fourth.

The scones almost taste like gingerbread, but you need to remember to put the tea towel over the scones after they come out of the oven - because I didn't and they went a bit tough..oop. But still delicious anyway.

The countdown to christmas also begins!

Sweet Potato & Brown Butter Scones
(adapted from this recipe, makes about 10)
1 3/4 cups (245 g) plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup (250 g) cooked, mashed orange sweet potato
60g unsalted butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (I used skim)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp brown sugar
To serve: Clotted cream & fresh strawberries, maybe a drizzle of maple syrup

Prepare your sweet potato first. I boiled mine until very tender, mashed and then set aside to cool. Place butter in a small saucepan on low heat and brown, swirling the mixture regularly so it heats evenly. Set aside. Preheat oven to 210°C (410°C). Sift flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg into a small bowl. Stir together sweet potato, browned butter, milk, egg and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a flat bladed knife until just evenly moistened.

Turn dough out onto a well floured work surface. With floured hands, gently pat (don't knead!) out to a 2-3cm-thick round (I like them thick, so I do 3cm). Cut into rounds with a 6 cm biscuit/scone cutter. Place rounds on a baking tray about 2.5 cm apart. Gather up remaining dough. Pat into a circle; cut out remaining scones. Brush tops of the scones with some extra milk using a pastry brush. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, cover with a clean tea towel once out of the oven to keep them soft. Serve warm with clotted cream and sliced fresh strawberries and maybe a little maple syrup if you wish.

30 November, 2012

Brown Butter and Blueberry Muffins

I finished exams and have GRADUATED FROM SCHOOL. I can't even believe it and I still can't get over it. Like forever. I will never have to go back to school e v e r.
I kept having dreams that I needed to study and then I would wake up with an anxiety attack. It was such an awful feeling but after a couple of days the incredible feeling that is freedom started to settle in.
It feels so good to not do anything. To just laze in front of the TV, catch up with friends and not have to worry about anything.
Anyway, back to these brown butter muffins! The recipe said that it would yield 12 muffins...but it didn't. It only yielded 8 and I was so dissappointed so I had to quickly whip up another batch.
I made blueberry the first time and for the second I threw in some butterscotch chips and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

The blueberries looked too pretty so I kept on taking pictures and I couldn't stop.

The purple streaked batter is patterned so nicely I could look at it all day.

The recipe says to put a streusel topping on top but I was too tired slash too lazy to bother so I went with the original good ol' muffin.
And finally, a piccy of my butterscotch-cinnamon muffins;
Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins
(Adapted from Joy the Baker, recipe here)

For the muffin mix:
105g butter
90ml whole milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla essence
175g plain flour
170g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
250g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Put muffin liners in a muffin tin. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Keep heating it over medium heat until it has foamed up and brown bits have appeared and it smells nutty and delicious. Make sure you keep an eye on it as it happens - it takes a while but can burn quickly. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Whisk the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla together, then add the brown butter and whisk again. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in another bowl and combine. Pour the liquids into the bowl and fold in until just combined. Fold the blueberries in. Spoon out into the muffin cups.

20 October, 2012

Pear and Chocolate Loaf

My internet is so slow right now so it's literally taking me 10 minutes to upload a single image! Ugh.
Anyway, yesterday I made this pear and chocolate loaf cake, and as you can see it turned out fab.

The pears in this cake provide a lot of moisture allowing the cake to crumble and melt in your mouth. I'm not able to eat this cake because of the ingredients in there, slash it's probably 1000 calories a bite but I did break a bit off, put it in my mouth to taste it then throw it in the bin! Lolol, don't judge. It just looked too good and I had to try it.
It's best to eat the cake when it's still warm from the oven because the chocolate becomes all gooey.
I got my mock exams back this week from school and I did sooo much better than I thought I would! I literally fell off my seat in every class when I looked at my % on my paper. Finally, all the hard work paid off.

But the downside to that is that now I'm feeling kind of slack because the years coming to an end and I feel so mentally and physically exhausted. It's not helping that my final week of school ends this week! Sniff, sniff.
I can't believe that this Friday I would have officially had my last day of school e v e r. I was so excited before but now all my sentimental memories of school are coming back and I'm so sad to leave.

I'm so sad to be leaving such an amazing group of girls that I've come to know so much about. But then again, uni next year means no more stresses of year 12 so I guess it's a bitter-sweet time.

This is such a beautifully rich, moist loaf cake and tastes really good with a glass of warm milk (says my mum). Pears, warm chocolate and milk. Perfect.
However, if I was going to do this cake again, I would throw in a bit of spice to complement the pears because pears and spice are pretty much made for each other.
Anyway fellow chums, bon appetit.

Pear and Chocolate Loaf
                       Makes 1 loaf - about 10 slices
                       Adapted from Poires Au Chocolat

1 small ripe pear
60g dark chocolate (around 70%)
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
135g plain flour
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
1 tbsp plain yogurt

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Line a 8-9" loaf tin with baking parchment (or one of those liners) - fold the corners in so it fits. Peel the pear over a bowl, catching any juices. Chop into small cubes - you should have roughly 100-125g of chopped pear. Chop the chocolate up into rough chunks. Weigh the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Place the butter and both sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a mixing bowl and electric hand whisk) and cream them together until fluffy and pale. Scrape down the sides then add 1/4 of the beaten eggs and beat well until smooth. Add the next 1/4 and beat well. With the final two 1/4 additions, add a teaspoon of flour from the bowl too (this helps stop it curdling). Take the bowl off the mixer and scrape down.

Toss the pears and chocolate in the flour mixture (this helps them stay up in the mixture rather than sink as it bakes). Add to the mixer bowl and fold together until you have a stiff but uniform mixture. Add the yogurt and any leftover pear juices and fold again until combined. Spoon into the lined loaf tin and smooth over.

Add a sheet of baking parchment or foil over the top (to stop it overbrowning) then place into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes then remove the paper. Bake for a further 7 to 10 minutes until a cake tester can be removed cleanly from the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool - but do try a warm slice while the chocolate is gooey. The cake keeps in a tin for 2 days.

30 September, 2012

Coffee Cake

Hi! It's been about 2 months since I posted! I just finished my mock exams so everything has been hekkerz x100.

This coffee cake is amazing. It is a 2 layer cake with a chocolate rubble inside the middle and on top. This cake, however, contrary to the name doesn't contain coffee.
It's called a coffee cake because you're supposed to drink it with coffee!
I thought that the rubble placed in the middle of the cake and and to would deflate it because the sponge wouldn't have the space to rise. But when I opened the oven the cale was domed over so well and the sponge was the lightest cake I have ever made.
(Although, I opened the oven too early and the cake sorta deflated, lol whoops..)
Yep, you heard me right, this is the lightest spongiest cake I have ever made.
Batter speckled with vanilla bean.
Middle layer of butterscotch, cinnamon and toasted nuts on.
The rubble just looks so good itself I could eat it raw. But don't do that.. it has flour in it.

I just finished my mock exams. I have 2 weeks off and then I have my finals. Eek. I have my finals in ONE MONTH. Oh my god.

I remember freaking out like a mofo back in Feburary this year. Now schools nearly over (apart from my finals which are looming) and I can't believe it's gone so quickly!
I literally feel like a convict coming out of prison. I'm SO excited to graudate it's ridic.

Anyway, try this cake because it is amazing and you will absolutely adore it.
The sponge is out of this world in spongey-ness and the rubble is so addictive.

  Coffee Cake
           From the Joy of Baking
          Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cake.

Crumb Topping

- 1 cup (240 ml) walnuts or pecans
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar        
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) mini chocolate chip
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Coffee Cake

- 1 2/3 cups (215 grams) all purpose flour       
- 1 teaspoon baking powder        
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda        
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature        
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar        
- 2 large eggs        
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract         
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) sour cream or plain yogurt (full or reduced fat)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) a 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
Crumb Topping: Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool and then coarsely chop. Then, in a small bowl, stir together the chopped nuts, sugar, chocolate chips, ground cinnamon and flour. Set aside.
Coffee Cake: In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and sour cream (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.
Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or back of a spoon. Sprinkle about half of the crumb topping on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter and then sprinkle with the remaining crumb topping. Bake for about 40 - 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.