Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Strawberry & Lemon cupcakes

I finally got the opportunity to go to Donna Hay's store in Sydney. A friend of my aunty's was down in Sydney and my aunty took time off to take her friend around Sydney and one of the places was Bondi Beach so on the way I asked her if we could go to Donna Hay's store which is close to Bondi  for a quick look and get a novelty ornamental cooling rack from the store. We had a pit stop at Sydney Fish Market for lunch before heading to Woollahra then Bondi. It was a small boutique like store with everything so dainty,pretty & pastel-ish but very pricey. The cooling rack priced at $ 39.95 was so tiny that it could only fit a 6-7 inch cake. I obviously didn't buy it although I was very much tempted to. I got a couple of polka dot cupcake liners,Donna Hay's signature cupcake liners and Callebaut cocoa chocolate. I wanted to get a novelty item but the prices were so expensive but it was a good stop. If I was working I would be heading down to her store quite often!

I made strawberry cupcakes a couple of time and they never turned out well. They were no doubt delicious and moist but they sunk terribly in the middle and also the strawberries sunk to the bottom. So I tried the recipe a couple of times using different ways but somehow all it sunk everytime. I love the flavours tho so I had to look for another recipe with a similar ingredients.

It was a chaos at my aunt's place earlier because my aunt and I were arguing on how to frost the cupcakes. We did not have enough strawberries for garnishing so she took out a packet of cherries to top on the cupcakes,aiyoh! but I wanted the cupcakes to look more boutique baking style. Before allowing me to pipe the frosting, she wanted to use a tiny star tip nozzle to pipe the cupcakes, I refused to follow because it will definitely look kiddish. Anyway, we had a good time arguing/debating on how to decorate the cupcakes.

Strawberry & Lemon cupcakes:
Adapted from annies-eats

2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
zest of two medium size lemons
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla dusting powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoon sour cream
250g strawberries, coarsely chopped
Juice of a lemon

  1. Place strawberries, lemon juice & 3 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and mix until strawberries are well coated. Leave to stand for 15minutes.
  2. Preheat oven at 180 C. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  3. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients, (Plain flour, baking powder & salt). Mix them with a whisk.Set aside.
  4. Beat butter on medium speed until pale, & fluffy.Add the remaining sugar and vanilla dusting powder and beat until well combined.
  5. Beat eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. 
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients in and beat on low speed until incorporated. Then add in the all the milk,sour cream & lemon zest.Mix until smooth. Fold in the remaining dry ingredient until combined.
  7. Fold the strawberry mixture with a spatula.
  8. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan,filling them to about 1/2- 2/3 full. I normally scoop a big dollop of batter into the muffin pan holes using the spoons we use for eating.
  9. Bake for 20-25minutes until a toothpick/cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Check cupcakes at 20minutes, you don't want to overbake the cupcakes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream cheese frosting:

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
165g icing sugar,sifted

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.( beat at a medium speed for 5-10minutes) Then gradually add the icing sugar until well combined.
For decoration:
Strawberries, sliced into half
Lemon Slices

To Frost:
Place cheese cream frosting in a pipping bag with a plain nozzle and frost. Then decorate with a slice of strawberry & lemon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon macarons with boysenberries compote buttercream

This is one of the few recipes I baked the other day over at my aunt's place. I would not have been able to do this alone cause it's quite tedious and aunty has been asking me to make macarons with her since we did our macaron masterclass last year June! I made another macaron recipe as well but there were not many good pictures of it. Because macarons can be tooth-aching sweet, I made my own mix and match of filling to suit the palates of everyone around me.

I honestly couldn't eat my macarons after baking it and filling it with the buttercream cause I have been popping a few macaron shells in my mouth,obviously the distorted ones,so you can imagine how many distorted one were there!LOL. The balance of sour and sweet of the macarons and buttercream/filling made it less sweet sickening.

I have been purchasing a lot of kitchenware over the internet for my new kitchen back in Malaysia. I can't wait! I really can't wait to get my things organised and less headache with my maid keeping things everything everywhere.At the moment my kitchenware are all over the place-in the store room,in the wet kitchen and also my bedroom!I have a whole suitcase of kitchenware brought from Australia,Italy and Sri Lanka yet be to unpacked.
Macaron shells:
T-P-T mixture (almond mixture)
300g sifted almond meal
300g sifted icing sugar
110 aged egg whites
A pinch of salt
Lemon zest
Lemon yellow food colouring

110 aged egg whites
½  teaspoon cream of tartar
300g sugar
75g water

1.       Mix sifted almond meal and icing sugar together until combined with a whisk.
2.      Then add the egg whites, salt, lemon zest and food colouring. Leave it aside.
3.      Using a candy thermometer, cook sugar syrup (sugar + water) until it reaches 118 C.
4.      When the syrup reaches 110 C, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft-medium peaks (in medium speed).
5.       When the syrup reaches 118 C ,with the mixer still whisking the egg whites (in medium speed), gradually add pour the sugar syrup. Then turn up the speed of the mixer for about 2 minutes until it turns glossy and slightly stiff and temperature of meringue has slightly cooled.
6.      Now, add in about ¼ of the meringue into the almond mixture to lighten the TPT mixture and well combined.
7.       Then FOLD IN the balance of meringue mixture in batches slowly until all is well combined. Mixture should be shiny.Do not overbeat your mixture.
8.      Scoop batter into a pastry/piping bag fitted with 10mm plain nozzle. Pipe onto your prepared trays. (Trays with a macaron shell template underneath parchment paper or silpat.) Let it rest until a ‘skin’ forms on top or when you touch the top of the macaron shell,it’s dry and does not stick to your fingers.In humid weather under an air conditioner around 15-30 minutes, if not 10minutes would be sufficient but it really depends on the weather. Decorate as desired before baking in a preheated oven of 170 C conventional or 150 C for fan forced ovens for 15 minutes. Open & close the oven door twice during baking time.

9.      When it’s baked, remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack. Once it’s completely cool. It should be able to peel off easily, pair them with similar sizes.

Some ovens has an auto switch off when the door opens so opening and closing the oven door twice is recommended but if your oven is an old oven which does not have an auto switch when you open the door, leave the oven door slightly ajar (not too much) when baking to allow the steam to escape. You really need to know your oven for macarons. Do a trial and error sheet of macarons before baking all the macarons shells if unsure.

Boysenberry buttercream

Boysenberries compote
100g frozen boysenberries, defrosted whole
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1.       Pat dry the defrosted boysenberries with a paper towel.
2.      Cook the boysenberries with sugar until juice oozes out but not mushy.
3.      Turn off the heat and pour the lemon juice in and mix until combined.
4.     Let it cool completely before mixing it with the buttercream.

Swiss meringue buttercream
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar

2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.

To make the boysenberries compote buttercream:
Mix the completely cooled boysenberries compote into swiss meringue buttercream  until well combined.
To assemble:
Pair them with similar sizes. Pipe or spoon the filling in the size of a 20cent coin or about a big tablespoon into the centre of  one macaron shell then top and twist slightly with another macaron shell. Place them in the refrigerator overnight before eating

Adapted from Pierre Hermes:Macarons and also here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Boysenberries Friand

I know it's been ages since I updated my blog! I have been so busy with assignments and last weekend I went for my first ever diving lesson. It was scary because the water was freezing and inhaling and exhaling only through your mouth was something so unusual. I have been baking over the few weeks that I have been missing but they didn't look pretty to blog about but they were delicious no doubt. I will try to make them again when I am back in Malaysia in June and blog about it. At the moment I am tied down with uni work that I have no time for anything including blogging. It's my final semester and I can't wait to graduate! Anyway yesterday I went over to my aunt's place to do some baking because I don't have a stand mixer here at mum's place. Macarons has been on my bake list since I bought the Mastrad macaron sheets from Victoria Basement for only $ 17! That's a steal! I bought both sizes, the regular small ridges one and the larger size ones suitable for Isphan macarons.Will blog about them and the other things I bought from VB and Kitchenware

Taken from Bisous et Toi but slightly adapted.

6 egg whites
155g unsalted butter, melted
2tbsp milk, I used double cream
180g almond meal
240g home-made vanilla icing sugar,sifted ( original recipe is 240 g icing sugar + 1 tsp vanilla extract)
75g self raising flour
12-15 frozen boysenberries or whatever berries you prefer. If small berries you will need more.
almonds for sprinkling on top
vanilla dusting sugar for topping

  1. Preheat oven at 180 C. Grease friand moulds generously with butter.
  2. Place egg whites in mixing bowl and whisk until frothy. Add cream/milk, melted butter, extract if using, sifted vanilla icing sugar, almond meal and flour, mix until combined. Scoop batter into individual pan until the mould is filled 3/4 full, top with berries then sprinkle with almond flakes generously.
  3. Bake for 12-15 mins, remove from oven, let it cool before removing from the moulds carefully.

  4. Dust with dusting sugar before serving.