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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Cheesecake with Strawberry Jam Cupcake

It's Halloween!

Have you found your costume for Halloween yet?  Is it going to be a trick or treat?  Well, if you drop by my place, I shall give you a treat! Halloween Cheesecake with Strawberry Jam Filling Cupcake.

I've been spending half my morning looking for the right cheesecake cupcake recipe that does not require wafer or biscuit base but could not find any.  Then I decided to stop wasting my time looking and decided to make my own version of cheesecake cupcake..and it's not bad at all.  For the filling, I used strawberry conserve but you can use lemon curd or any fruit jam filling.  The cheesecake is very soft.  I'm glad I used strawberry jam as it goes well with the cheesecake and to top it all, with chocolate frosting, it's heavenly halloweeny yummy!

Here are some pictures of my Halloween Cupcakes with sugar paste figurine which I made a few days ago.  This is my first attempt at making sugar paste figurine which I found out is actually quite easy to make.  I was intimidated by the complexity of sugar craft but I decided to give it a go at simple design.  You would be surprise with what you can learn from you tube! lol...not bad for a first timer eh!! hahahaa..

Jen’s Cheesecake Cupcake with Strawberry Jam
Makes 12 cupcakes

225g plain flour               }
2tsp baking powder         } sift together, set aside
1tsp salt                          }
50g butter
100g cream cheese
150g sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Rind of ½ orange
120ml milk

Filling: Strawberry conserve

Pre-heat oven to 180d C.
1.       Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, vanilla extract and orange rind. Mix well.
2.       Add in flour alternate with milk, ending with flour and mix well.
3.       Spoon into paper cups till halfway up and drop a teaspoon of strawberry conserve, then top with the cake batter till about 2/3 full.
4.       Bake for 15-20 mins till done.
5.       Cool on wire rack and frost as desired.

Chocolate Frosting:
115g butter
2 oz semisweet chocolate
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cup icing sugar
½ cup milk
1.       Combine butter and chocolate in a saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Beat with electric mixer.
2.       Add the icing sugar alternately with milk, adding more milk if necessary to thin and beat until fluffy and smooth.

Icing will thicken as it cools.
My ghouls come alive!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pancakes with Fresh Bananas

Bananas! I do go bananas over bananas!  Bananas are good for you as they contain health properties in them which is good for you.  A banana a day keeps stress away! That is definitely true.  So, if you are stressed out, take a 5 and instead of munching on a kit kat, why not have a banana instead.  Not only it keeps you calm but it provides fibre to your body, energy and contains high potassium.

This morning, I made pancakes for breakfast and serve it with fresh bananas and honey.  My family love them!

250g plain flour
1/2tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2tsp baking powder
50g melted butter
300ml milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
vegetable oil for frying
Mix all ingredients except the oil, and whisk till combine.
Heat frying pan, coated with a little oil, drop in big spoonful of batter and fry till bubbles appear, then flip over and fry till golden brown.

Serve with slices of fresh bananas and drizzle with generous amount of honey.

Fruit Tart

This is my first try at making fruit tartlets.  I'm surprised at how easy this is.  The recipe is taken from Michel Roux's 'Pastry' cookbook which my sis gave me for my birthday a few years back.  This recipe gave me an opportunity to use my newly purchased pastry molds.

The sweet pastry dough, also called Pate Sucree, can be made in advance and kept well wrapped in the fridge for several days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.  It's less fragile and has a tinge of sweetness.

 Pate Sucree:
250g flour
100g butter, cubes and slightly softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1. Put the flour in a mound on a work surface and make a well. Put in the butter, icing sugar and salt, mix these ingredients together with your fingertips.
2. Gradually draw the flour into the center and mix with you fingertips until the dough becomes slightly grainy.
3. Again, make a well and add the eggs. Work them into the flour, using your fingertips, until the dough begins to hold together.
4. When dough is well amalgamated, knead it a few times with the palm of your hands until smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours before using.
5. When dough is rested, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 2-3mm thickness and line pastry cups and bake blind for 20 mins at 180d C.

*Bake blind: Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and line parchment papers on top by filling it with beans or rice.  Bake for 20 mins at 180d C and discard the parchment paper with the bean/rice in it. Bake for a further 5 mins for the color. Unmould the pastry and cool on wire rack.

One thing I love about fruit tarts is that you can use any fillings you like.  Filling can be fresh fruits, lemon curd, chocolate mousse, cream cheese or even ice cream.  Fill the tartlets just before serving to avoid the pastry from getting soggy.  As for this particular recipe that I did, I used Creme Patissiere.  Here's how you make it:

Filling: Creme Patissiere:
6 egg yolks
125g caster sugar
40g plain flour
500ml milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
a little icing sugar or butter
1. Whish the yolks and one-third of the sugar together in a bowl to a ribbon consistency. Whisk in the flour thoroughly.
2. In a saucepan, heat the milk with the rest of the sugar and vanilla pod.
3. As soon as it comes to boil, pour it into the egg yolk mixture, stirring as you go. Return it to the pan and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring continuously with the whisk.
4. Let bubble for 2 mins then pour into a bowl.
5. Dust the creme patissiere with a veil of icing sugar to prevent skin from forming as it cools, or dot small flakes of butter all over the surface.
6. Once cold, it can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove the vanilla pod before using.

To assemble:  Spoon the filling into the pastry cups and top with your choice of fruits ie. peach in syrup, fruit cocktail, grapes, any type of berries etc.

See?  It's so easy to make and make such a delicious treat for your family!

And here's my mini-me little apprentice!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rocky Road Cupcakes

I'm not a fan of marshmallows.  I think they taste like sweetened suds. But, if it's in a cupcake, then it's a different story altogether.  However, not too much of it though as it's really sweet.  I like the texture it adds to cupcakes or brownies.  It adds gooeyness when you bite into it.  Always reduce the sugar in the recipe if you plan to use marshmallows.  My children love these and I'm sure my neighbour's kid will be delighted to get some too!

And as for my friend, 17.02, sorry, don't think these will last till Monday!

Rocky Road Cupcakes
Makes 15 cupcakes

225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
125 g dark chocolate
120 g sugar
60ml vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
240ml milk
60g mini marshmallows
60g dark chocolate chips
30g coarsely chopped walnut
30g hazelnut
some marshmallow for topping

1. Preheat oven to 180d C.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together and mix well.
3. Melt choc in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat as soon as choc is just melting and add sugar. Stir well. Using electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat in oil, egg and vanilla. Mix well.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating well after each addition. When batter is smooth and blended, fold in the marshmallows.
5. Spoon batter in cupcake papers, filling over 1/2 full.  Sprinkle walnut, hazelnut, marshmallows and choc chip on top and bake for 20-25 mins.
6. Remove from oven and cool.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Owl Vanilla Cupcake

Owl Vanilla Cupcakes!

My first attempt at making an animal cupcake.  Since Chelsea of Cupcake Adventures recently posted her collection of books of which I happened to own too, 'Hello, Cupcakes' I decided to try at making an animal cupcake.  The easiest one is the Owl!  So, here's my creation which is a little  My youngest girl who's turning 7 at year end, gave me hand a with her own creations.  I can see that there's potential in her...I've posted some of her creations below.

 Apart from the owl and the little supposed-to-be-monkey but ended to look like a dog, the rest are my daughter's creations with mommy's help at pipping the frosting.
 Ashleigh's M&Ms Wheels!

 Ashleigh's M&M Flower!

 Ashleigh's Tilit! (No idea what tilit is..haaha)

Ashleigh's Biscuit Candle - made specially for dad!