Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chinese New Year Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes one week after returning home from my parent’s house. These cupcakes inspired from Chinese New Year color, red and golden, which represents blood/health and gold/prosperity. The chocolate coin on top of each cupcakes I hope will precisely describe the meaning of prosperity… :p
I tested 2 kinds of red velvet cakes recipe, one is from Montclair Martha Stewart red velvet cake for chunjie red velvet cupcakes and the other one is from for valentine red velvet cake, using half recipe each. I used red paste coloring from Wilton for both and they resulted in a bright red color. But personally I prefer epicurious recipe for its softer and moist texture.

Red Velvet Cake
1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides.
Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl.
Whisk buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.
Beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 27 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

For frosting:
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth.
Beat in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
I’ve planned to make these cupcakes during a week stay at my parent’s house in Pekanbaru, Sumatra. I took my family there to celebrate Chinese New Year. This is the first time I can celebrate it with my parents and brothers since I left home for school years ago. There are many things I do there and I totally forgot about my cupcake plan.

In China, Chinese New Year actually called “chunjie” which is a tradition of Chinese people to welcome spring. It’s counted using lunar calendar which is usually celebrated between January and February every year. The celebration mostly involves family gathering, lots of foods, new clothes and “angpao”. Angpao is a red envelope filled with money given by an elder married folk to younger member in his family.

My grandpa sailed from China when he was young and this tradition also maintain in his home here in Indonesia, until now after he died. At new year eve, we had a family dinner. This time my sister in law prepared a steamboat, contain seafood, beef and pork. Everybody can pick his favorite and boil it and eat it themselves. Free and easy.

The first day of new year, we should wear everything new, new clothes, new shoes, new underwear too. Then people will go to their relatives’ house for a visit, and there’s a rule that younger should visit older for respect. And since I’m married, this year I also have to give away angpao… hoping that the more I gave the more I would get… gong xi fa cai…

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine Project IV : Cookies LOVE

These are originally a speculaas, a Christmas cookies, and I got the recipe from Femina magazine Christmas 2006 edition. I have no time to tried it for Christmas and postpone it to Valentine, a little unusual I might admit…

These speculaas take 150gr grounded almond and the result is quite hard cookies but crunchy, I should say they are not meant for old people with tooth problem. This is a very nice cookies except the smell of those spices always remind me of Christmas time. So next time I have to make them on Christmas…
I gave some dough violet crystal sugar and the final effect is very nice, the crystal became pink and violet, very like a real crystal.

About 18 cookies

100 g unsalted butter
100 g castor sugar
100 g brown sugar
1 egg
150 g ground almond
1 lemon rind, grated
colored sugar crystal (optional)

Sift together:
200 g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground white pepper
1/8 tsp ground pekak
1/8 tsp ground kapulaga

1. preheat oven to 180 C. butter cookie sheet, set aside.
2. beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until pale. Beat in egg.
3. fold in flour mixture with wooden spoon.
4. fold in ground almond and lemon rind. Wrap in plastic and cool in refrigerator until firm.
5. roll out the dough into 1/2cm thick and cut using heart cookie cutter.
6. spread sugar crystal in a plate and put the cut dough on the plate until one surface is covered by sugar.
7. place in cookie sheet (sugar on top) and bake for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine Project III : Black Forest Cupcakes & Cake

I got this black forest recipe from a friend. It’s her aunt’s secret recipe and she asked me not to publish it, so I apologize for not include the recipe here.

This black forest somewhat like brownie, maybe because it use melted chocolate instead of butter. The texture is dry but spongy, almost like bread. I love this kind of black forest.

I made one recipe and pour into 3 papercups, the remaining are baked in 18cm round pan, only half full. I use those raspberries for decoration only, actually I’m not fond of eating them because they are very sour… heart shape from sifted powdered sugar.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine Project II : Romantic Pink Cupcakes

these are also chockylit's cinnamon cupcakes, in previos post they are chic, here are the romantic side of them...

topping is store bought buttercream, colored lightly in pink. garnish with gumpaste flower and candy pearls, all store bought...

this one stick with heart jelly candy, not bad....

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Valentine Project I : Cupcake LOVE

At the beginning of the month of LOVE, came the first project for valentine…
Still stick to Chockylit’s cinnamon cupcake filled with chocolate ganache recipe (it simply became my favorite recipe now).

About 24 regular cupcakes
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground extra fancy Vietnamese cinnamon
pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. cream butter in an electric mixer until smooth, about 1 minute
2. while beating, drizzle in sugar
3. continue to beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes
4. add one egg at a time, beating well after each, about 20 seconds
5. in a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt
6. combine milk and vanilla
7. add flour mixture and milk mixture to the electric mixer, alternating and starting and ending with flour, beat well after each addition
8. scoop into lined cupcake tins with an ice cream scooper (about 3/4 full)
9. measure out about a teaspoon of the firm ganache and form it into a ball with your fingers (this is a messy step)
10. poke the ganache ball into the center of the cupcake, repeat for all cupcakes11. bake for ~20 minutes or until golden
Chocolate Filling
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. in a saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil (around the edges of the pan)
2. place chopped chocolate in a stainless or glass bowl
3. pour heated cream over the chocolate and let sit for 30 or so seconds
4. stir, starting in the center, until the combined
5. add vanilla and stir until smooth
6. let sit at room temperature for one hour or refrigerate for a half of an hour, stirring occasionally, the ganache will get pretty firm
The heart shape on top is a mixture of powdered sugar & cocoa, then sifted upon heart stencil placed on top of each cupcakes… very simple… but cute…