Chocolate Fancy

I’m not a big fan of chocolates – never was, and possibly never will be.  The irony is, I married someone who is one.  Whenever I feel like baking for him, his choice is invariably something to do with chocolates – chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cookies etc.  And it really gets to me sometimes because while I don’t mind, I’d rather not waste calories on dessert I don’t fancy much.

This is with the exception of the chocolate cupcakes, which recipe is posted below.  The cupcakes are moist and soft, with a hint of milky-chocolate flavour in them.  I never get sick of eating them.  And they really taste the best fresh out of the oven, after a cooling time of about 10 minutes.  That texture and heavenly taste… I’m at a loss for words to describe.

Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 160g caster sugar
  • 70g all-purpose flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 100g milk
  • 50g vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g boiling water
  • some nutella (for frosting)
  • some mini marshmallows (for dressing)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Prepare 12 cupcake liners on 1 baking sheet.
  3. Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Mix these together until evenly combined. Set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl or jug, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.
  5. Add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and whisk by hand, taking care to scrape down the sides of the bowl until well-mixed. Add boiling water and whisk well to combine.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with cake batter. As the consistency of the batter is very thin like thick liquid, it might be easier to pour the batter into the cupcake liners.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before storing or frosting.

Yield: 12 regular-sized cupcakes
[credits: Tessa @ Handle the Heat]

In light of the recent spate of consecutive losses my family was faced with, the little sis requested to have a quiet birthday with no fanfare.  Well… not that my family likes having elaborate birthday celebrations, but I got what she meant.  So, no birthday cake for her.  Just some pretty cupcakes to commemorate the occasion.  Happy birthday, little sis!

I admit I’m as lazy as a home baker could get.  Visually it might have been a lot more pleasant to the eyes if I had used a white-coloured frosting or icing before placing the marshmallows on but I’m too lazy for that.  Conveniently I have a half-finished jar of nutella lying around in the kitchen, and there you have it, the fastest way to dress up a cupcake.  The fininshing touches of the mini marshmallows and ribbon, I have to give credit to another home baker (whose cupcakes were featured in the local newspapers some time ago) for the inspiration.

The little sis was very happy when she received her birthday cupcakes.  I hope she liked them even better after tasting them!

Swirling in Raspberry

I had some raspberry purée sitting in the freezer compartment and it was nearing the expiry date. And so I went on a sort of rampage trawling the internet for any recipes requiring it. This recipe I found is meant for a full-sized cake but a sudden stroke of genius must have hit me; I decided to convert the recipe into cupcake portions instead.

Recipe: Raspberry Swirl Cheese Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 10 whole Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • 360g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup raspberry purée

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Prepare 8 cupcake cases (each of 1/2 cup size) and lay them on top of a small cookie tray.
  3. Mix the melted butter and oreo cookies in a mixing bowl till bonded. Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 cupcake cases (about 17g each).
  4. Wrap a glass with a plastic sheet, and make use of the base to compact the crust.
  5. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then remove it to cool completely.
  6. In one large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  7. Add in the sugar in a slow, steady stream and beat until just combined.
  8. Add the eggs into the mixture one at a time, making sure that each addition is well-incorporated before adding another. Add in the vanilla essence.
  9. Pour the batter onto the baked crust till about 7/8 cup full.
  10. Add 1 tsp of raspberry pureé on top of each cupcake and use a wooden skewer to swirl carefully through the cheese batter.
  11. Bake for 10-15 minutes until just set.
  12. Switch off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the cupcakes cool completely in the oven before removing.

Yield : large cupcakes

The cupcake cases I used were about the size of 1/2 cup. If you are using the smaller cases which fit snugly into those 12-hole muffin pans, then you probably can make about 12 cupcakes. Just remember to adjust the amount of raspberry purée required, downwards. Also, take special note that the baked cupcakes should be kept away from the cool outside air as much as possible while cooling, otherwise it would sink in the centre. And, avoid putting too much pureé in the centre lest the same happens.

The cheese layer was a still a little soft and jiggly after cooling down; I think I could have baked it a little longer. But honestly, I quite liked this texture – soft and smooth like puddings, and best eaten straight out of the cupcake case with a dessert spoon!

Feel free to go ahead and make changes to the base of the cupcakes or even the raspberry purée. You might just create a cupcake which you can truly call your own.

Swirling in Nutella

This simple tried-and-tested recipe is always a crowd pleaser. I’ve noticed that adults and children alike simply cannot get enough of the nutella swirled into the cupcakes. It is galling for a non-nutella fan to fathom the fervent devotion we fans have for this chocolaty hazelnut spread. While I can’t speak for other nutella fans, I do know why I love it thus much – it brings back fond memories of my happy childhood.

Recipe: Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 550g all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 280g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g white caster sugar
  • 6 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g nutella, approx.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Prepare 25 cupcake liners on 2 baking sheets.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking power and fine salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl till texture is light and fluffy.
  5. Add in the eggs, one at at time till fully incorporated.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract.
  7. Gradually add in the dry ingredients into the wet mix in 3 portions, till well-mixed.
  8. Fill each cupcake liner with batter till about 3/4 full. Top up with a dollop of nutella each, then use a toothpick to swirl the nutella into the batter.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before storing.

Yield: 25 regular cupcakes

Honestly, I found the sugar content in this recipe a tad too high for my liking. Indeed, the cupcakes turned out somewhat sweeter than my tastebuds would allow. Feel free to reduce the amount of sugar to 280g. Reducing it any further could affect the consistency of the batter, and in turn, how the cupcakes turn out.

If you’re not much of a nutella fan, you could belong to the other camp – the peanut butter lover – and never the twain shall meet. Or perchance, you belong to the rare minority who loves both nutella and peanut butter, just like the hubby. Whichever the case, no one goes away disappointed, for peanut butter works just as well as nutella in this recipe.

Have fun, and drop me a note to let me know how much you love this recipe!

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