Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ok.  This weekend I discovered that I'm bad at frosting cupcakes.  Really really bad at frosting cupcakes.  I think it probably has to do with my poor background in art.  I've always been bad at art during my school days. And I was ever so relieved that I no longer had to do art after my secondary school days.. Looks like my 'non-talent' is back to haunt me. 

The good news is that the cupcakes tasted good!  I brought them along for dinner, and surprisingly my family liked them despite how they look.. And it's all thanks to a friend who sent me a very detailed chocolate cake recipe eons ago...  I didn't dare to venture making it then because the recipe looked rather daunting.. But it wasn't as difficult as it looked.. 

The cupcakes had very little flour going into it.  And their volume come mainly from whipped egg whites. Upon cooling, the cakes flatten and shrink from the side.. So, yes, I've learnt that for my next batch, I shall increase the amount of cake batter in each paper cup..  I added a cream cheese frosting that I found online.. And I'm pleased, glad, thrilled that the frosting went really well with the cake... 

The recipe is for a whole cake, but I halved it, and made 12 cupcakes instead. (I will include the recipe of the whole cake below.. My wonderful friend took the time to include the timings for do look at the details ya!)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 12

Soft Chocolate Cake (Laduree Recipe)
150g butter
35g flour (I used cake flour)
150g chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1 tablespoon cocoa Powder
150g granulated sugar
1 egg + 4 egg
yolks + 7 egg whites

9 inch round cake pan

Step 1: Preparing the pan
Butter the cake pan and refrigerate for 5 minutes
Remove from fridge and dust with flour (I dusted with cocoa powder)
Turn pan upside down and tap out exces flour
Keep in fridge

Step 2: Preparing the Chocolate mixture
Melt Chocolcate and butter using bain marie method. Stir with spatula until melted.
Remove from heat and set aside to let cool slightly
Sift Cocoa powder and flour, set aside
Preheat oven at 180C

Step 3: Preparing the egg mixture
Using the bain marie method again, whisk together the 1 egg, 4 egg yolks and half the sugar (75g), until the mixture thickens (when u stir the mixture apart, it will take some time to flow back together)
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly

Step 4: Preparing the egg whites
(Using a clean, dry, absolutely grease and stain-free metal bowl) Whisk the egg whites to a foam. Once white and frothy, add the remaining sugar (75g) while continuing to whisk for another minute. I tend to whisk till it holds almost stiff peaks and still look a little glossy. (Do not over-beat until it becomes super stiff, or ur cake may turn out dry

Step 5: Combine the egg and choc mix
Delicately fold 1/3 of the egg n sugar (in step 3) into the chocolate mix (from step 1). Pour the entire mixture back into othe remaining 2/3 of the egg and sugar mix, mixing together gently

Step 6: Putting it all together
Delicately fold 1/3 of the egg white, along with the sifted flour and cocoa powder into the mixture from step 5.
Pour this all back into the remaining egg white mixture.
Fold until smooth but do not overmix (U should not see anymore whites but the batter should still be very light when mixing. If the egg white is fully deflated, the mixture will not rise and become soft)

Pour batter into cake plan, place in oven, lower temperature to 170C and bake for 25 minutes (I halved the recipe and baked in 2 small pans, it was done in 15 minutes. If u do cupcake stuff, do not grease the liners and bake only 8 to 10 minutes. 1/2 the recipe would yield 10 to 11 small cupcakes)
Keep the cake at room temp and serve within 24 hours. 

Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from here)
(I made only a third of the quantity stated below.  And it was just enough to frost 12 cupcakes)

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Alcoholic Hot Chocolate for some comfort

I've been too sick to cook this weekend.  It has been a crazy week for us.  My hubby just came back from abroad last weekend and was hit by a bad bout of flu.  After he recovered, it was my turn to be down.  Just when I thought I had a strong resistance..

It has been rather upsetting because I had spent the whole of the past 3 weeks planning for an event for my company.. and on the actual day of the event... Bam! I'm hit by the fever.. and all I can do is sleep.  I've taken so much medicine in the past few days that I can literally feel the meds swimming around in my body..

Anyway, I'm glad that I'm feeling much better now other than having a leaky faucet for a nose.  I wanted to have a strong, warm, comfort drink this afternoon because I haven't tasted anything for the past couple of days (yes, i think my tastebuds have died). So, hot chocolate it was...  I found this recipe online (as always)... and it had to be Nigella to the rescue..  The chocolate was much richer than expected, it didn't appear so when I was making it.. but trust me, it is rich! So, those of you who are having a sore throat, stay away from this..  Other than that.. it was wonderfully warming..

Alcoholic Hot Chocolate (adapted from here)
serves 2

2 cups milk
3 1/2 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet, as preferred
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons honey (i didn't add honey)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum, or to taste

Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted.

Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk and still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more. Add more sugar if you want this sweeter, too. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or caffe latte cups.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I haven't baked in a while, so it was time to give my kitchen mixer a good work out.  I've bought these madeleine moulds for a few months, but I haven't had the opportunity to use them.. Or should I say, procrastination got the better of me. ha...

It's my first time making madeleines, and I'm pleased that they turned out pretty alright.. considering the fact that these pans are cheap $2 ones from Daiso. But... if anyone from Daiso is reading this, could you please make the grooves for the pans deeper? I think the madeleines will look better if the lines/ridges are more defined.. :)  Other than that, the pans work perfect!  I can't ask for more...   And thanks for selling everything at $2! 

I had to bake the madeleines in 2 batches as I only have 2 pans (yep, even though they cost $2 each, I only bought 2 :P) My 2nd batch turned out prettier (see the pretty stripes??).  I overbaked the 1st batch and they were brown all over..  They tasted great still, just less 'accessorized'.

Oh, by the way, check out the lovely enamel plate in the picture!  Courtesy of my friend, Jaime, who lugged plates and spoons back for us all the way from Down Under!  We are going international in our prop hunts!  Woohoo!  

Madeleines (adapted from
makes 12

2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest (I omitted the lemon cos the hubby doesn't like lemon in desserts)
55g butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration (left this out too, as the madeleines were sweet)

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter and flour 12 (3 inch) madeleine molds; set aside.               
- Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.          
- In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt at high speed until light.               
- Beating constantly, gradually add sugar; and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes.             
- Sift flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently folding after each addition.               
- Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops.              
- Bake 14 to 17 minutes (I baked mine for 12mins), or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.             
- Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar. Madeleines are best eaten the day they're baked. Leftover madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lamb Cutlets with Roasted Garlic Pasta & The First Week of Work

Woots!  I made it through one week of work!  I feel like celebrating!  How was work you ask me?  I certainly had my ups and downs throughout the week. 

The ups?  My new colleagues are great!  Friendly and cheerful people who are ever willing to help. I've also joined them in a run on Wednesday.. and I'm glad to have found a group who can encourage me to exercise!  

The downs?  Commuting commuting commuting... urgh!  The whole adjustment to working life has been tough too.  Everyone assumes that I have problems waking up in the morning.  That's not the issue though.. I've been waking up early all along to prepare breakfast for the better other.  I think the hard part is psyching myself up for a full day of work.  My morning routine now includes walking a longer distance to reach the office (instead of using the much faster backdoor). Somehow I find walking down the long corridor helps to set my frame of mind, and prepares me for the work day.  I find it rather tough sitting at my workstation for hours given that I used to be able to move around a lot in the past, whenever I want, wherever I want.  Somehow, the brain is a little rusty too.. So I find that I take much longer to do what I could do in a short time frame previously. 

My hubby has been bugging me about my blog for the past week.  He has been muttering "erinnish erinnish erinnish" in front of my face so much, so often, that I had thought about thwacking him on the head and shutting this whole blog down just to get at him! 

I've often thought about this blog and cooking the past week. Both of us have been living off 'impoverished' breakfasts consisting of dry toast with peanut butter & jam or canned tuna for the past five mornings.  Yep, gone are the weekday morning french toasts, bacon and eggs, omelettes. We simply can't afford the time to clean up. I used to take ancient China history during junior college, and there was a similar pattern. Arts and culture always flourished in times of peace and stability.   I liken that to my own state.  I had a cooking revolution when I wasn't working (tranquility, stability, zen...oohmm..) Now that I'm back in the 'battle', I think the arts & culture might pretty much get affected. 

I'm very thankful for all the encouragements posted by my friends in my last post (comments in facebook included!).  So, yes, your words are keeping me going!  Many thanks to fellow local blogger, Jacob, the man behind the successful foodie blog, who gave me tips on how to keep my posts coming... Well, I hope to be as disciplined as him one day..

But let me target one post per week for now.  So, here's my lunch last Sunday.. Yep.  I've decided to try photographing my dishes one week in advance, so that I don't go crazy cooking, photographing, editing photos, and writing during the weekend.  We had leftover lamb cutlets from our Valentine's Dinner, other than that, we only had onions and garlic at home.. So, roasted garlic pasta it had to be.  I've found a great recipe and good instructions (with a pictorial guide) on how to roast garlic from another foodie blog, I will share her link below.  I infused rosemary into oil for the pasta as I think rosemary and garlic make a lovely combination.  It was a pretty good lunch.. can't go wrong with lamb. 

And we love the new frying pan.. New as in newly bought.. because it really is an old pan.. It's a beauty, isn't it?

Lamb Cutlets and Roasted Garlic Pasta
(pasta recipe adapted from
serves 4

For the Lamb Cutlets
8 lamb cutlets, trimmed
olive oil for brushing
sea salt
cracked black pepper

For the Pasta
1 head of roasted garlic, cloves removed (recipe here) (Pls follow the link on how to roast garlic)
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup olive oil (use leftover oil from roasted garlic recipe if possible)
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (and more for topping)
generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary

- Roast Garlic - please follow the link above. It takes about 30mins to roast them.
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions (around 10mins)
- Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush the lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking.  Allow the lamb to rest.
- Heat oil and the sprigs of rosemary in a large saucepan on medium heat. (Place the rosemary sprigs in when the oil is cold.. the rosemary will slowly infuse into the oil when it heats up)
- Stir in roasted garlic cloves for a few minutes until they begin to sizzle. Turn heat off, remove the sprigs of rosemary, and combine pasta, cheese and pepper. Mix well and plate. Top with more cheese, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Top the pasta with the lamb and serve.