Saturday, 17 December 2011

Red Velvet Cupcake

Posted by Kim Fong On 8:43 pm

Another first for me today. Red velvet cupcakes. A number of people have been talking about it around me. Then I see a few recipes here and there so I decided to try it out, having never actually eaten it before either. I found this particular recipe which tickled my fancy. Like chocolate cake recipes, there are so many red velvet cupcake recipes. After reading the ingredients – I nearly fell off the chair when I saw how much food colouring goes in this recipe. Besides that, the method seemed sound. So I gave it a go. I adapted as I went. I think it turned out pretty good. What’s my gauge for “goodness” considering I’ve never had red velvet cupcakes before? Well – unlike most cupcakes, these aren’t crumbly and dry. Plus they’re really red – with “only” half a bottle of food colouring. Below the recipe – which I adjusted to metric.

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (I used 2.5 cups of plain flour minus 5 tablespoons) 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Half a bottle of red food colouring (~2 Tblspn)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (125g)
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 eggs, at room temperature (lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers (I ended up with 18 cupcakes in total)

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. 

3. In a small bowl, mix food colouring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside. The trick to this one, I put the cocoa first into the bowl, then slowly added the food colouring, enough to make a paste.

4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 

5. Then add the eggs, one at a time.

6. Followed by the vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

7. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until well combined, then half of the buttermilk.

8. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, and mix until well combined, scrape down the bowl with a spatula to get everything mixed in.

9. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. It is supposed to fizz.

10. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine.

11. Fill cupcake cups with about 3/4 full.  

12. Bake for approximately 18-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until toothpick comes out clean.

13. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
250g packet of block cream cheese, at room temperature.
1 stick of butter (1/2 a cup), at room temperature.
1 teaspoon vanilla
180g white chocolate
2 to 3 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted

1. Melt the chocolate and.Let cool for a few minutes. For melting chocolate tips check out a previous post – dealing with chocolate

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the the cream cheese and butter together until combined.

3. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

4. Add the cooled melted chocolate and mix to incorporate.

5. Gradually add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time through a sifter, and mix until well combined. Add the amount of your liking.

6. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. There is heaps of frosting to go around, so you can be generous.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Double Rainbow Unicorn Cake

Posted by Kim Fong On 4:42 pm

OMG! Double rainbow across sky! *Sob *Sob! All the way to Candy Mountain Char-lieeee!!!! If you've no idea what I'm talking about, following the links as per each reference. These are a couple of viral videos loved by myself and my group of friends. These two videos are the inspiration for my niece's 3rd birthday cake. Plus she loves rainbows and what 3 year old girl doesn't love unicorns! 

For the rainbows, I followed this blog post as a guide. I basically did a round butter cake, halved it and turned it up. Then decorated using plain butter frosting and M&M wannabes (from Aldi). You can obviously use another cake types, be sure to use a dense one (eg. mud cake, banana cake). The recipe for the butter cake and butter frosting I used was from a 2009 Donna Hay Magazine - Kids Edition. I could say all butter cake recipes are the same - but I'd be wrong. Below the version I used. Its a little dry - so definitely good to have the frosting with it. 

So how did you do the unicorn?
For starters, the birthday girl thought it was a cow. Kids - they're so honest!

So how I built the cow/unicorn - 
1. The body I inverted a cupcake/muffin and covered that in fondant.
2. The head I used a friand tin (with cake mixture), turned it on its side, cut a square groove which lets it sit on the inverted muffin (see diagram below - my dodgy graphics job but you get the point)

3. The legs, arms, tail, ears, nostrils and mane are all made from shaping fondant. The horn is a candle. The eyes I used blue sugar sprinkles and black sesame seed. To "glue" everything together I used liquid glucose or light corn syrup. 

For the "clouds", I used white vanilla Persian fairy-floss.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Teriyaki Chicken

Posted by Kim Fong On 6:00 pm

Last night was my first attempt at teriyaki chicken from scratch (ie. not the packet stuff). After consulting my Japanese friend Chiharu, and my other not-so-Japanese friend Woman's Weekly Japanese Cookbook, below is my version of teriyaki chicken. It's pretty damn easy. I didn't use much chicken (couple of thigh fillet pieces) so the portions of flavouring will obviously vary on how much meat you have and probably how strong a flavour you want.

3 Tbspn soy sauce
3 Tbspn mirin
2 tspns sugar
2 chicken thigh fillet piece (about 250g) sliced into strips
oil for coating the fry pan

Add soy sauce, mirin and sugar with chicken in a bowl. Stir around and set aside to marinate for around 10 minutes (or more).

Heat a fry pan over high heat, add oil to coat pan with a little extra. Add marinated chicken and any residual marinate juices. It may spit a little. Spread around (don't crowd the pan). Cook the chicken (I really don't need to tell you how to do this). And that's it! Serve how you like - on rice, in sushi, bento box.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Quinoa Sushi Fusion

Posted by Kim Fong On 10:27 pm

Yeah you read that right. Quinoa! Sushi! Brilliant! Inspired by a recipe out of the book Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood. I made some modifications - most notably, I used balsamic vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar, purely because I forgot to pick some up at the store today. But it worked out! Next time I may try some not-so-asian fillings.

2 cups water (I used a weak chicken stock)
1 cup quinoa grains
6 Tbspn rice wine vinegar (1 used about 1/8 of a cup of balsamic)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 pinch of salt
dried sushi nori (I used 4 sheets, depends how much quinoa you spread on the sheet)

You can use a range sushi fillings include:
  • avocado
  • hydroponic lettuce
  • carrots (julienne cut)
  • cucumber (julienne cut)
  • salmon
  • tuna
  • teriyaki chicken
  • wasabi
  • enoki mushrooms
  • crab
  • tofu

1. In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil quinoa and water (or stock). Reduce to a simmer and cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 10 minutes to allow residual heat in the pot to continue cooking the quinoa to an plumpy texture. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. Heat vinegar, honey and salt in a small saucepan or in the microwave (around 30 seconds on high) to dissolve salt and honey and to warm the mixture.

3. Stir vinegar mixture into warm and cooked quinoa until evenly distributed. Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature in the uncovered pot.

4. Ensure your hands are dry, place nori on sushi mat (I used a piece cling wrap on a table placemat) rough side up. Spread quinoa on nori to form a layer right to the edges. Leave a gap (as per picture below) so you can seal the sushi after rolling it.

5. Place filling in a row, closer to the side opposite the gap of nori. And roll the nori around filling. Ensure its quite tight. I'm not very good at articulating how to do this, so watch this video here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

6. With a sharp knife, cut roll into 1 inch segments turn it up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with soy sauce and wasabi on the side (optional).

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