Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Early last week, I received an email from Jess Dang, a foodblogger from the United States, whom I had never 'met' inviting me to join in her blog event known as 'The Petite Pig's Food Porn Contest' for a chance to win $200. I clicked on the link that was on her email and was transported to her gallery of photo entries. There were less than 10 entries then. I submitted a photo of my Coconut and White Chocolate Ganache Baby Mud Cakes from my previous post. Two days later, I was on The Petite Pig again, checking out the latest entry submissions. I realised that a couple of foodbloggers had submitted more than one entry. So I wrote an email to Jess, asking her how many entries each blogger was allowed. Very promptly Jess replied saying that we could enter as many photos as we liked.

"Well in that case.." I thought, I might as well enter in a couple more photos. It was fun watching my photos loading onto the gallery. My fingers started clicking and typing and before I knew it, my photos had taken up almost a whole page in her gallery! Oh no, where's the delete option? This was bad. It really amazes me sometimes how slow my brain works. I was monopolising Jess' competition and putting the other contestants at a disadvantage.

Realising that I could not remove my photos, I, very sheepishly wrote to Jess again, apologising for the matter and asking if she could remove all my photos except for the first one I submitted two days before. I mentioned as well that I would like to withdraw from the contest to be fair to the other contestants. I was just happy to be able to show my work on her blog. Jess wrote back saying that it was ok and that she preferred more entries than not, and left it at that. So, fellow foodbloggers, I extend my sincere apologies to you all that entered this contest. And for all of you who are reading this now, please go to The Petite Pig and vote for some other foodblogger.

Pheww! I'm so glad I got that out of the way. Next topic. What did you get up to this Easter? We had a lovely, lovely longggggg weekend spent relaxing and catching up with good friends. And of course we were at Church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. These Double Chocolate Cupcakes were Sunday's beautiful finish to our Dinner. I made some specially decorated for the kids as well, as you will see as you scroll down the page. If you prefer, you could add the zest of two oranges to the cake recipe and a splash of Grand Marnier to the Chocolate fudge Icing for a decadent Grown-up treat.

We have a little over two weeks before we go away for our vacation, YAY!! It will be another exciting time for me, meeting some of you face to face for the very first time and of course eating my favorite foods! I invite you to come along on this trip with me through this blog as I shall be updating you regularly. But till then, take care, won't you?

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Donna Hay's Simple Essentials - Chocolate
Makes 12

125 g salted butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup Self Raising Flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
100g good quality dark chocolate, melted
1 quantity chocolate fudge icing

Chocolate Fudge Icing

Place 250 g dark couverture chocolate, 1/2 cup single or pouring cream and 70 g salted butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove and set aside to cool completely then beat with electric beaters until thick and fluffy.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well in between. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and chocolate and spoon the mixture into 12 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins lined with paper patty cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool on wire racks. Spread or pipe the chocolate fudge icing over the cupcakes .

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Coconut & White Chocolate Baby Mud Cakes

How's everyone's last two weeks been? Good? I'm sorry to report that I've been feeling rather LAZY these two weeks. I did nothing much at all. I did not do any blogging. Neither did I bake anything besides this. Did I have LOTS of things waiting for me to do? Yes. But did I feel like doing them? No. Unfortunately, this is how we feel sometimes and we just want to escape. For me, it was an escape into fictional lives in the form of Korean Drama. I take it like I'm in 'maintenance' mode - I make sure my tear ducts are in good working order... ok, ok, sad excuse I know, but that was how my two weeks was. And do you know what's scary? For the last two weeks, my Pastor's message was on a series called " Do not waste your Life". Guilty as charged, Pastor D, but knowing how full of hope you are in mankind and in me, I will say that I have not made a permanent mistake.

I just remembered I did something else in the last two weeks. I auditioned for the worship team in Church. How did it go? Well, the week leading up to the audition, I felt ok, not nervous or anything even though my girls kept asking me whether I was. I know now why I wasn't - I wasn't Me that week, I was the Korean Drama Heroine! But I was Myself again as soon as I stepped on that stage on the evening of the audition. What can I say? I forgot the words to the songs, I had to look at the lyrics. My mouth went all dry, my tongue was numb and I couldn't hear my own voice so I couldn't control it. I really felt BAD for the musicians and the worship team who were looking on encouragingly yet sympathetically. AMAZINGLY enough, I was accepted into the worship team, though it will be 3-6 months before I'm comfortable to be rostered for Sunday Worship. A word of advice for all of you out there who believe you have talent, 'Use it or you will lose it!'

On a more positive note, Ming gave his first lesson on 'Women's Self Defense' yesterday. It was a fun and informative class and the girls and I really enjoyed it. Ming was assisted by his two trusty 'Organic' punching bags, Christian and Rudy. The ten week course serves to raise female awareness of how we can use our bodies as 'weapons' should we find ourselves in situations where our lives are in danger. In the following weeks, we will explore Blocking and Counter attacks, Escape techniques, 'Weapons' around you and how to use them, the Krav Maga technique etc. The course is free and held in THEROCKS Church on Mondays at 7 pm. If you live in the Perth metropolitan area and are interested in attending these classes, email ming@wekyso.com.au . This is the best thing we can do for ourselves, Ladies, the worst , on the other hand is having the mentality that 'it will not happen to me'.

Today's recipe is a really easy one, almost as easy as if it came out of a box, and don't we like recipes like these? This recipe is adapted from Haalo's Beautiful Blog 'Cook Almost Anything'. The Original recipe is from a cookbook called 'AWW's Cakes, Biscuits and Slices'. Now, here's my take on the recipe: As a standard, I've used Salted butter. I've also reduced the sugar content, quite heftily I might add, from the original recipe that required a whopping 330 g! I personally do not enjoy 'sickeningly sweet' desserts, and frankly who needs that much sugar?

Coconut and White Chocolate Baby Mud Cakes
Makes 15 cupcakes or 1x 22 cm / 9 inch cake

250 g salted butter
1 lemon, use rind only, grated finely
180 g white Chocolate, chopped
200 g caster sugar
180 ml milk
225 g plain flour
75 g self raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Coconut White Chocolate Ganache

140 ml coconut cream
360 g white chocolate, chopped

Moist flaked coconut, (not dessiccated, please) to decorate

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line muffin tray/s with cupcake papers, or if making a whole cake, line and grease a 22 cm / 9 inch cake pan, preferably springform. Put the butter, lemon zest, chocolate, sugar and milk into a medium sized saucepan over low heat and stir till the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Sift the flours together into a bowl and stir in the cooled chocolate mixture followed by the lightly beaten eggs and mix till combined and smooth.

Pour this into the prepared pan or if you are making cupcakes, fill the cupcake papers to 3/4s full. A whole cake will take, and I quote," 1 hour and 40 minutes" in the oven, though I personally feel that this will dry out and brown the cake too much. So, my advice is if you are baking a whole cake, lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees celsius, put a timer on for an hour and by the end of that time if the cake isn't cooked and looks like it's browning too much, cover the pan with some foil and check again every 5-10 minutes to see if it's cooked through. If you are making cupcakes, they will cook in 25-30 minutes at 170 degrees celsius.

Now, for the Ganache, place the coconut cream and chocolate into a saucepan over low heat and just stir till the chocolate dissolves and the mixture is smooth. Pour this into a bowl and into the fridge ( if you don't mind waiting till the cows come home..) or freezer (YES!) if you are impatient like me, stirring occasionally as it cools and removing as soon as it becomes a spreadable consistency. Spread the ganache evenly over the cooled cake/ cupcakes before applying a generous coat of coconut.
Enjoy the rest of your week!