March 16, 2017 § Leave a comment
A combination that the hubby absolutely adores, and I have, through him, learned to love as well. I’m not exactly a chocolate kind of girl but this union has made me crave it at times. It’s now my combination of choice when it comes to chocolate. If you’re wary of the fusion, one taste of this will make you a believer.
The recipe I found was weak in orange flavor, so I added grated orange and orange liqueur, preferably Grand Marnier, on the frosting.
And because a quarter has almost past that I’ve been silent on the blog front, here’s the recipe without further ado…
Chocolate Orange Cupcakes (tweaked from a Williams-Sonoma Cake Recipe)
What You’ll Need:
- 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ¼ cup hot water
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 -2 oranges (depending on the size; I used 1 large orange)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract / essence
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
For the Frosting
- 6oz. (170g) bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
What You Do:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
- In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder into the hot water until dissolved; set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Grate the zest from the orange into the bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla, then the dissolved cocoa. Whisk in the melted butter, then the dry ingredients.
- Using a tablespoon, divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each about half full. Bake until the cupcakes are puffed, and a skewer inserted into the center of one comes out clean 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the cupcakes from the pan.
- To make the frosting, melt the chocolate and let cook to room temperature. Meanwhile, using a stand mixer, beat the butter and confectioner’s sugar with the paddle on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, orange liqueur, and zest until combined. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch (12mm) star tip with the frosting and pipe a spiral on top of each cupcake. Refrigerate the cupcakes for 30 minutes before serving to set the frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.
To melt chocolates, chop it into small pieces and put it in a stainless-steel bowl. Set the bowl in a saucepan over but not touching, barely simmering water. Heat until the chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Do not allow any water or steam to come in contact with the chocolate, or it will become stiff and grainy. Or, chop the chocolate into large pieces, place in a microwave-safe dish, and microwave on low for 1 minute. Continue to microwave if necessary, checking every 20 seconds, until the chocolate looks softened, then stir until smooth and liquid.
February 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
The first month of the year has passed in a blink of an eye. Gong Xi Fat Choi! Well, it is still February, isn’t it? And since the new year had passed (twice in fact), it’s now time to get serious about 2016. Truth be told, I have not been spending time in the kitchen since the Christmas break. I was traveling and as always with long respite, it was difficult to get back into the grind. With deadlines at work calling, I barely had time to myself. And before I knew it, I was on holidays again — this time, to go with hubby’s cousins and close friends to our choiced Philippine destinations. Not complaining.
Had a wonderful time showing them around and getting to know them better. But every single time a trip is over, the list of things to do pile up. Have you ever felt the need to recover from a long trip? Man!
The way I recover is to get back to my everyday ASAP. Well, baking isn’t my everyday but it is a comfort zone so I made Banana bread, an all time favorite. But not just the plain old banana bread but one that’s leveled up.
I love it because it has all my favorite things. You know me well if you know that I love candied ginger. I love it so much, I always have a pack or two in my kitchen just for anything. I’m not as much a fan as hubby is of chocolate bars but give it to me in the form of a cake, ice cream or even cookies… can’t resist that.
So. Imagine me when I came across this recipe from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Of course I had to try it. The result was a moist bread, more like a dense cake, interjected with bits of biting, sweet ginger candy and semi-sweet chocolate. It’s comfort with a kick. Addictive.
Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger (Molly Wizenberg of Orangette)
6 tablespoon (80grams) unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsweetened chocolate chips
¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1½ cups mashed bananas (from about 3 large ripe bananas)
¼ cup well-stirred whole milk plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
What You do:
- Set rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a standard-sized (about 9 by 5 inches) loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
- In a small bowl, microwave the butter until melted. Or, alternatively, put the butter in a heatproof bowl and melt in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla and stir to mix well.. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the side as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.
- Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.
- Cool that loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip it out onto the rack and let cool.
Enjoy!! And I hope you had great Valentine’s Day!
October 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Do you sometimes feel like troubles and obstacles are a constant visitor? Yes, it is pouring now. One snag at a time, I tell myself. “Don’t let them stress you out, it’s not worth it,” I convince myself. I take comfort in His words … Cast all your cares upon Him, He cares for you (1Peter 5:7). God is in control, He truly is. Adversities he allows for a reason, many times it is to prove to me that He is in control and that I must not worry. Easily said than done. And to relieve me from worrying, I bake.
A recipe I grabbed from Gourmet a while back has become a recipe for keeps. This Zucchini Ginger Cupcake is spiced and flavoured with ginger, cinnamon and a touch of orange zest… wouldn’t it call out to you too?
What’s so marvellous about it is it’s easy and quite healthy as it uses olive oil (I also use virgin coconut oil sometimes) instead of butter and honey instead of sugar. Best of all, this moist cupcake is high up there in the flavor department with or without the cream cheese frosting (the only thing not so healthy, actually).
Half of these cupcakes ended up with the security people of the building I live in. The maintenance guys, the receptionist, and the security people—they make me feel safe, and cared for, so I show my appreciation by feeding them sometimes. I wonder if they know that they are eating a vegetable cake?
June 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
This is what you make when you have an overflow of plums. I love stone fruits, and friends and family know that. So when plums (or peaches and cherries) reach our soil, I sometimes end up with too much. When that happens, this cake will most likely end up in my oven.
A light, moist cake with a citrusy bite that’s great with tea, I served this to friends last year and it was a hit. Not a typical cake in my part of the world and because it was a hit, I thought that you’d like to try something different.
The rains have finally arrived. It was an unbearably hot summer this year and I welcome the downpours. I am still waiting for those plums to reach me but wouldn’t it be nice to stay in on a rainy day and while the time away with a Korean drama series that I’ve become addicted to?
Plum Cake (adapted from 33 Degrees)
You will need:
- 2 eggs, plus 1 extra egg yolk
- 140 grams butter softened
- 140 grams golden castor sugar
- 140 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 200 grams plums, stoned, half roughly chopped into pieces and the other half cut into wedges.
For the topping:
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 200 grams golden castor sugar
What You Do:
- Preheat your oven to 160ºC/fan oven 140ºC. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin.
- Lightly beat the eggs, extra egg yolk and the vanilla extract.
- Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. You want the butter and sugar to lighten considerably for a good cake.
- Pour in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, orange zest, 2 tbsp of the juice and lastly the chopped plums.
- Spoon into prepared tin and scatter the plum wedges over the top.
- Bake until cake is golden or until an inserted skewer comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.
- Let it cool for a few moments before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Mix the lemon juice and castor sugar with the remaining orange juice and pour over the cake.