Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baking Related #1

I have yet started another baking project for this month as life has been quite hectic and travel-y lately. I just got back from a 1 week vacation at my aunt's house in Johor. And then this month, a whole pile of assignments and presentations need to be done by the middle of next month. Apart from all that, I still have my thesis writing to do and my lab works to be completed. Just thinking about them gives me the headache. Urgh !

So enough about the rants of the non-baking world. 

Yesterday I paid a visit to MPH. I don't plan to buy any book as I have already bought an autobiography and a baking book (which have yet to arrive from Manchester). I straight away went to the cooking section and stumbled upon a baking book. It was Baking by Martha Day and contains 400 recipes of cookies, pies, tarts, cakes, you name it !

The book includes so many recipes that I'm intrigued to try so without having much thought I bought it in the hope of comparing it to my soon-to-be baking book.

I just hope that I will have time to bake all these pretty and delicious babies. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

I am a chocolate chic. Through and through. I love to have chocolate in my dessert. It is kind of hard to find a dessert with no chocolate in it that I would like to bake. And now I am trying to bake recipes that have chocolate and other flavour. Let's see what compliments chocolate the best. ( I am sure there are plenty out there ! )

So for this week, I baked Chocolate Orange Cupcakes ! One of the flavours that I think really get along tremendously with chocolate besides peanut butter. While I was baking the cupcakes, the kitchen have an orange-y smell to it which I absolutely LOVE. 

I used the recipe from a Cupcake and Muffin book my sister bought few years back when she was in baking-a-cupcake-frenzy-but-never-bake-any era. The book just sit on top of our wardrobe, collecting dusts. The book is published by Top That! Publishing plc. 

Okay moving on....

Here are the ingredients :
  • 60 gram milk chocolate ( I used Hershey's Milk Chocolate chips )
  • 1 tspn orange rind ( I used 2 medium sized oranges to get 1 tspn )
  • 155 ml orange juice 
  • 90 gram butter, softened
  • 225 gram brown sugar ( I used 150 gram granulated sugar blended to powdery form because that's the only sugar left in the kitchen )
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 gram self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 30 gram ground almonds ( I omitted this )

Topping :
  • 150 gram butter, softened
  • 250 gram icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp hot water 

Methods :

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. I set my microwave oven to 170 degrees C because it can't be set to 175. Put paper cases in the muffin tin. I used IKEA's muffin tin which is a lot smaller in diameter and deeper in depth.

2. Place chocolate, orange rind and orange juice in small sauce pan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Leave to cool slightly.

3. Put softened butter, sugar and eggs in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

4. Sift in flour and cocoa powder into butter mixture. Add ground almond and chocolate mixture. Mix until just combined.

5. Use teaspoon to transfer equal amounts of mixture to paper cases. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes.

6. Leave to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

7. For the topping, beat together butter and sugar. Combine the cocoa powder and water, and add to the mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy. Swirl over cupcakes.

I left the cupcakes as it is because I ran out of sugar and was not in the mood to go to the grocery store. Just have to make do with plain cupcakes.

A very easy recipe with basic ingredients. If you are fully equipped, then you will have no problem doing this. As for me, well I wasn't fully equipped for baking because I don't own a mixer. Not even those handheld ones. So basically all I have been using to mix the ingredients are my trusted rubber spatula and wooden spoon. A few problems arises for me when baking the cupcakes.

When I (tried to) beat the butter mixture, the butter just wouldn't combine properly with the sugar and eggs. There were so many lumps and no matter how long I beat they were still there, floating around as if they were mocking my incapability to beat them properly. 

So I just leave it like that and straight away move on to the next step. Okay so there's one.

The second problem is purely my fault because I copied the baking time wrong. Instead of 25 minutes it was 12-15 minutes. I can't seem to remember why I wrote that. So I set the timer to 20 minutes of baking time and when the time is up I checked the cupcakes and they were underbaked. 

I put them back in the oven and set another 15 minutes. After that it seemed okay because the top was firm and I leave the cupcakes to cool before indulge myself. But then, I was dissapointed when the center of it is still underbaked ! The center of the cupcakes is in between baked and underbaked. 

I was so lazy to pop it in the oven again, so I just ate them like that. But the taste, the taste was to die for. It is exactly like what I had imagined it would taste ! 

Although they were underbaked with no cute, fun toppings, I still like how they taste. So this is a keeper !

PS : I have already eaten 3 ! One while they came out from the oven. Another when I was waiting for them to cool down. And another after they completely cooled. Yummsss !