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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Halloween Week!

I know I'm a few days ahead of Halloween but hey, I'm in the mood!!  I'm excited. I feel like a kid. I can't wait to showcase my creations.. and after today - it's Sunday today, I'm back to work tomorrow and will not have time to post anything during weekdays.  Since Halloween falls on Friday, yeah well, that's why I'm early this year.

Halloween is a time for one to have fun and be creative. Unfortunately, Halloween is not popular in this part of the world. Although some toy stores and costume stores do sell all kinds of scary and ghoulish items, not many will make a purchase unless someone throws a Halloween party.

We don't have kids going around 'treat or trick' in the neighborhood especially since kidnapping cases are on the rise. Parents will not usually allow their young children to be out of the house unattended. However, this does not stop one from being in the mood to be creative, rite.. Err hmm!

I look forward to Halloween each year as I have a different agenda.. that is to bake, to create and to share. This year I got my kids to put on their creative hat and be artistic. They simply love doing this as much as I.. So here, as promised in my earlier post, sharing our colorful creations and wishing you a wonderful and a very Happy Halloween!!




H A P P Y    H A L L O W E E N !

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cupcakes! Cupcakes! - Lavender! Carrot!

Hi everyone!  I'm back.  I've not forgotten you.  Even though I've not been posting anything in the past few months, I did however been visiting your blogs to have a peep at what you are up to. I'm glad to see you guys have been busy whipping up your goodies in your kitchen and I bet with Halloween coming, your ovens will be fully utilized.. I can't wait to see what you have in store for me.

Just so you know, I have started making Halloween cupcakes.  The mood strikes me like a sudden rainstorm in this monsoon season in this part of the world.  It comes and go without warning. Don't worry guys, I save all my clicks of the festive ghouls goodies and shall post them in time for The Halloween.. I promise! In the meantime, here are the recipes for the Lavender and Carrot Cupcakes.

When I first saw the lavender cupcakes recipe in the 'Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book', I was like 'Really!  Isn't Lavender used in soap or in aroma therapy of some kind?  Is this edible at all?'. Actually there is an edible lavender flower that is dried and used in tea or baking.  I bought some from one of my earlier vacation retreat at the highlands in Malaysia.  I add some of it into my tea.  The taste and smell is rather strong and I recommend that you use them sparingly or else it can be quite overwhelming.

 Here's my little assistant in the background decorating the cupcakes with fondant flowers.. :)

This lavender cupcake is quite unique in its flavor.  The taste is alright and actually quite nice washing down with a cup of hot tea.  However, I am not a fan of it though.  But do give this a try.  You might like it better than I do.. :)

Lavender Cupcake:
(makes 12)
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tbsp dried lavender flowers
1 cup plain/all purpose flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg

1. Put the milk and lavender flowers in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
2. Preheat oven to 170dC.
3. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in an electric mixer and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
4. Strain the lavender-infused milk and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed.  Add the egg and beat well.
5. Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases until two-thirds full and bake for 20-25 mins or until cake is done.  leave to cool and frost with Lavender Frosting.

2 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp dried lavender flowers
2 cups icing sugar
5 tbsp (80g) butter
a couple of drops of purple food coloring

1. Put the milk and dried lavender flowers in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
2. Beat the sugar,, butter and food coloring with electric mixer on medium speed.  Turn to slow speed and strain the lavender-infused milk and slowly pour into the butter mixture.
3. Once incorporated, turn the speed to high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

Next, Carrot Cupcakes.. this recipe is simply irresistible.  I love the cream cheese frosting too. Baked these yummy cupcakes for my colleagues and they love it..!

Carrot Cupcake:
(Makes 36 of 3.25oz cups)
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 ts ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup walnut, chopped
3/4 cup dark raisins

1. Preheat oven to 180dC. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
2. With electric mixer, beat eggs and granulated and brown sugar, until blended.  Beat in oil, milk and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, add flour and beat until smooth.  Fold in carrots, walnuts and raisins.  Mix well.
3. Spoon batter into cupcake cases slightly more than half full.  Bake for 20-25 mins or until cake is done.  Cool and frost.

Cream cheese froting:
250 cream cheese
150g butter
1 1/3 cup icing sugar

Mix all ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.