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Cupcakes and Muffins

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb

These honey lemon cupcakes with yuzu swiss meringue buttercream are heavenly –  light, refreshing and full of citrus flavour – and the additional homemade honeycomb on top gives you a perfect sweet crunch when you bite into it.

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Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb3

 

 

I’ve always wanted to try to make desserts with yuzu because i just find it has a floral, citrus aroma that makes it so special among all the citrus. It might still not be a popular item in western countries, but it has always been part of asian culinary culture, especially in Korea and Japan. Yuzu fruits are not readily available in Australia, and I had been on the search of yuzu puree/juice for a while. That said, feeling exhilarated is probably an understatement the moment i saw it on an asian store’s shelf a couple of weeks ago. In this recipe, the subtle incorporation of lemon and honey is just to complement, if not enhance, the yuzu flavour, which is the hero of these cupcakes.

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb1

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So I guess I should do a little update of my school life here.

TIME DOES FLY. I am now in the superior level – the third and final stage of my certificate III of Patisserie @ Le Cordon Bleu Sydney. During this term, we are focusing more on marzipan, mousse-based cake and entremets (basically, entremet refers to multi-layer mousse cake of various flavour combination and textures). I used to feel terrified of making entremets as the timing was so tight to complete an entremet within a 3.5-hour practical class and my cakes were usually not frozen solid enough for the final glazing. However, as I got to practise more, I’ve learnt to organise better and work faster in the kitchen and I start to feel more in control of things. The cakes that I share below are two of my favourite entremets made at school. The first one is passionfruit and white chocolate entremet that taste luxurious from top to bottom, and the second one is gianduja entremet bursting with tropical flavours.

passonfruit and white chocolate entremet

passionfruit and white chocolate entremet

gianduja entremet1

gianduja entremet

Next week, we are going to have a trial of making our own entremet for our final assessment. It’s the time for all students to show what they’ve learnt in the past nine months and I can’t wait to test my ideas and bring my design into life! Enjoy your weekend!

Honey Lemon Cupcake with Yuzu Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Honeycomb4

Ingredients:

For the cupcake

  • 190g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 130g butter, softened
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 30g honey
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lemon, zest of

For the yuzu swiss meringue buttercream

  • 150g egg whites (around 5 eggs’ worth)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g butter, softened and chopped into small cubes
  • 3 tbsp yuzu juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For honey comb

  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 80ml water
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Instructions:

For the honey lemon cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using a hand-held mixer or an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter, honey, sugar, and lemon zest on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add milk and vanilla. Continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the yuzu Swiss meringue buttercream

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool (this is very important, otherwise the butter you’re about to add it will melt). This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-low speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add yuzu juice and salt, and beat until well combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the honeycomb

  1. Line a flat, big tray with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use. And you will need a sugar thermometer.
  2. Put sugar, honey, water, and golden syrup in a large saucepan with enough depth. Cook, while stirring continuously with a spatula, on low heat until all sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 154C on the thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and let the bubbles subside.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly to let the reaction occur. Many bubbles will form and the mixture will rise so please be careful. Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Break the honeycomb to pieces to your preferences.

Assemble

  1. Pipe the buttercream on top of each cupcake with your favourite nozzle, and top with honey comb pieces.

 

8 comments
Taste of Summer – Coconut Lime Cupcake with Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Lime curd filling

I understand that cupcakes don’t appeal to everyone. I get that; the huge pile of buttercream can look quite intimidating if you have had awful experiences of eating overly sweet and dense buttercream sitting on some dry sponge cake before. But I promise you that these coconut lime cupcakes are nothing like that – the swiss coconut buttercream is light in texture while rich in flavour; and thanks to the addition of coconut milk, the cake is incredibly moist and the lime curd inside will definitely give you a little surprise when you bite into it. And don’t forget they are the combination of the two refreshing flavours that make you want to devour it with a glass of gin and tonic in the summertime (or anytime..)!

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The idea of making these cupcakes emerged when I saw the coconut lime cupcake by the Scran Line https://www.thescranline.com/coconut-lime-cupcakes. I got especially excited when I happened to have a bunch of limes left in my fridge. This cupcake recipe is modified from my own trusty cupcake recipe. I always prefer to away away from the traditional American buttercream because I simply find it too heavy in texture and taste, and the meringue lightens up the richness of butter brilliantly. I tried to incorporate as many lime and coconut components as possible and the outcome didn’t disappoint me!

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It seems that It’s been a while since I last talked about my school life. I just had the first two weeks of school (intermediate level), and we’ve already made a wide variety of pastry/dessert items. I am going to attach the images of my products at the end of this post so you will have a better idea. At this early stage, the difficulty of the items we’re required to make each lesson is not necessarily higher (so far..), but we have to work at a much faster pace to get more things done in the same period of time. I guess the school is gradually trying to get us used to the real working environment where time management is everything.

The other difference between basic and intermediate is that there are more assessments – on the second week, we were assessed on making a roulade with strawberry and cream filling. I don’t have much experience in making roulade and the last time I made one was ages ago, so I was a little nervous. The trickiest part of making a perfect roulade lies in rolling it up well to create the swirl while maintaining the shape and keeping the outer layer intact without any crack. To achieve this, the sponge cake has to be baked properly – if underbaked, it will become too sticky; if overbaked, it will crack. My first roulade during the practice session cracked on the surface. So during the real assessment, I made sure I didn’t overbake my roulade and I would pre-roll it when it’s freshly baked to create the “rolling memories”, a trick that I learnt and mentioned in my Black Sesame Swiss Roll Post before. Luckily, I passed the assessment but I know there were a few flaws that I must correct next time.

Strawberry_and_Cream_Roulade

We will be making Danish Pastry tomorrow and I am so pumped for it! Hopefully I can share the results with you later. May you all have a good weekend!

Sacher_torte

Sacher torte

Madeira_Cake

Madeira Cake

Bienenstich(Beesting)

Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)

Bagel_and_Apple_Strudel

Bagel (cream cheese, smoked salmon, chives) , Apple Strudel

Savarin_with_Chantilly_Cream_and_Fruits

Savarin with Chantilly Cream and Fruits

Ingredients (make around 15 cupcakes):

For the cupcake

  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 115g butter, softened
  • 30g coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 120ml coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g butter, softened and chopped into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the lime curd

  • Juice and zest of 3 limes
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 60 cold butter, chopped into small cubes

Instructions:

For the cupcake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt. These are your dry ingredients. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add coconut milk and vanilla. Continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the lime curd

  1. Prepare a double boiler. Fill a saucepan with 1-1.5 inches high of water and bring it to simmer. Find a heatproof bowl that fits in the saucepan without directly touching the water.
  2. Put all ingredients except the butter into the heatproof bowl. Using a whisk, stir the mixture continuously and gently to slowly cook the eggs. The lemon curd is ready when it starts to thicken up. This process will take about 5-7 mins. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.
  3. Stir in the cold chopped butter into the mixture. Mix until the butter completely melts. Let cool and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Buttercream

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool (this is very important, otherwise the butter you’re about to add it will melt). This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-low speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add coconut milk, lime juice and salt, and beat until well combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembly

  1. When the cupcake is cooled to room temperature, use a corer to remove the centre of the cupcake to insert lime curd later.
  2. Fill the lime curd into a piping bag with a round tip. Pipe into the cored cupcake until it just starts to ooze out.
  3. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and sprinkle lime zest and desiccated coconut on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




4 comments
Golden Haze – Ferrero Rocher Cupcake with Nutella Swiss Buttercream Frosting

Today let’s forget about going on (or thinking of going on – got you) diet, and just indulge ourselves in these golden goodness. These ferrero hazelnut cupcakes are simply perfect for celebratory occasions, because they’re

  • visually appealing
  • Sophisticated
  • indulgent

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There’s a story behind this creation – my mum’s colleague tried my baked goods at work and asked me to prepare cupcakes for her wedding. As nervous as I usually am, I low-key panicked a little (okay actually A LOT) and have been wracking my brain to think about what I should make in order not to disappoint. Red Velvet? Carrot Cake? Oreo & Cream? As I started to get frustrated this idea suddenly popped up in my mind – thank God – and I decided to go along with it.

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Instead of conventional American buttercream, I opted for Swiss Buttercream for the cupcake frosting. Basically, making swiss buttercream requires an extra step of heating up egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, before you turn the egg white mixture into fluffy, glossy meringue. This method is highly sought-after, because 

1) it in general yields a more delicate & refined texture and taste
2) it does seem that the butter ratio in the frosting is significantly lowered

I followed the instructions given by Tessa on https://www.handletheheat.com/how-to-make-perfect-swiss-meringue-buttercream/with some minor adjustment. If you happen to encounter problems while making your swiss buttercream (it happens), do check this link out http://www.thebrewerandthebaker.com/archives/7640. It was a great help for me.

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For the cupcakes themselves, I tried to incorporate some hazelnut elements into the cake batter, namely hazelnut meals and roasted hazelnut chocolate. And I’d be condemned if I dared to miss using the mighty hazelnut spread, Nutella, for my swiss buttercream, right? To complement the rich nutty flavours and to yield a refreshing and balanced final taste, I added a little bit tangy orange zest as well. I have to say, they brought so much more character and vibrancy to the cupcakes! Psss, If your greedy self wants to bring the cupcake’s luxuriousness to whole new level, edible gold paint is the way to go. Spread joy and love with these beautiful treats, people 😉

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Ingredients:

(make 15-16 cupcakes)

Cupcake: 

  • 1 ½  cup (188g) all purpose flour
  • 100g hazelnut meal
  • ¼  cup (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (115g) butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil ( I used canola oil)
  • ½ cup (113g) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60ml) coffee, room temperature (2 tsp instant coffee powder melted in 1/4 cup (60ml) of water)
  • ½ cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla
  • 50g roasted hazelnut chocolate, melted (or you can use dark chocolate instead)
  • 1/2 orange, zest of

Nutella swiss buttercream:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 280g chopped unsalted butter, soft
  • 50g Nutella
  • pinch of salt

Topping:

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Ferrero
  • toasted hazelnut, chopped

Instructions:

For the cupcake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, hazelnut meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add coffee, milk and melted chocolate, vanilla, and cointreau. Continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until incorporated. Don’t overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the Nutella Swiss Buttercream:

  1. Add  egg whites and sugar to an oil-free bowl. Using a double boiling method, gently heat the egg whites mixture up, while whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140F (60C).  The sugar should have completely dissolved at this stage.
  2. Add the hot egg white-sugar mixture to your electric mixer mixing bowl (oil-free). Whip on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels cool. This will take about 7-10 mins.
  3. Turn to medium-low speed, gradually add the softened butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until a silky smooth texture is reached. Add Nutella and salt, and beat until well combined.
  4. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and put a Ferrero Rocher, some chopped hazelnuts, and sprinkle sifted cocoa powder on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




5 comments
Mint Chocolate Cupcake

Same as every other post, this starts with a declaration of love, and today it’s about my favourite dessert flavour combo – Mint Chocolate. I believe everyone has his/her own weakness in food choice; and no matter how hard I try to resist it, mint chocolate is beyond doubt mine. This is especially true when it comes to ice-cream flavour. Why? It is equal parts cool and sweet, and the best ones are so refreshing that they’d brighten up my day and clear my mind.

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Despite how mouthwatering and delicate they look, cupcakes are not something I’d usually order outside. Yet, as it’s one of my goals to try out as many kinds of desserts as possible on this blog of mine, I might as well give it a go, right? 

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From the base to the top of each cupcake, this recipe delivers great textural fun and flavour layering that I always strive for in baking. First, there’s an oreo biscuit added at the bottom as a nice, crunchy surprise. Thanks to the melted mint chocolate and coffee, the cupcake base is moist and rich, with just enough mint hit coming through. Finally, together with the mint-flavoured buttercream as well as the finishing touch of a cheeky little Andes mint chocolate chip, what you have here is a daydream literally packed with minty goodness. Hmm, too cool to be true. (:

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Ingredients (make 18 cupcakes):

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2  cup (188g) plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 18 Oreo biscuits
  • 1/2 cup (115g) butter,  softened
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil ( I used canola oil)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) coffee, room temperature (2 tsp instant coffee powder melted in 1/4 cup (60ml) of water)
  • 50g Andes chocolate mint, melted
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla

For the buttercream frosting: 

  • 2 cups (250g) icing  sugar
  • 1 1/2 stick (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30m1) whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) peppermint extract
  • green food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 18  Andes chocolate mints

Instructions:

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175C) . Line pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt. Set aside.  
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugar on medium high speed until creamy and smooth. This will take around 4-5 mins.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating for 1 min. Add coffee, milk and melted mint chocolate, and continue beating for 30 secs.
  5. In 3 batches, pour the prepared dry ingredients into the mixture, and gently stir with a spatula until just incorporated. Do NOT overmix.
  6. Fill cupcake liners to nearly full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake’s centre comes out clean.

For the buttercream frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar using a tablespoon, and beat until smooth.
  3. Finally, add milk, vanilla, mint extract, food coloring, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 30 mins before piping.
  5. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with your favourite piping tip, and put an Andes chocolate mint on top as decoration if desired.

Yum




4 comments
Drunken Morning –  Coffee Liqueur Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Muffin
When my boyfriend gave me a bottle of coffee liqueur bought this year’s Regional Flavours festival, I felt that I had to do something amazing to do it justice. But what? What could do it? That’s when it hit me.

Muffins were among the first things that I made when I started to bake. Although my very first batch of muffins (banana walnut muffins) was an absolute disaster (shhhhhh), these hearty little treats shall forever hold a special place in my heart. So yeah, muffins it is. Moist, light and fluffy ones at that–is there any better way to kick off the day?

tray of muffins with bottle of ohana winery cold drip coffee liqueurThis recipe is inspired by the “Chocolate Espresso Muffin” by Christiann Koepke; her recipe had me so pumped when I saw it, as it smartly includes a few interesting twists on the standard ingredients. The combination of the sweetness from white and brown sugar balances well with dark chocolate; the moistness is given by the olive oil and yogurt, with the added richness of the coconut milk; and last but not least, the subtle fragrance coming from the coffee liqueur, it’s perfect. Altogether, this is going to make mind-blowing muffins with a smooth, seductive coffee hit.

Not satisfied yet? Throw in some chopped hazelnuts – the best nut to pair with chocolate flavour in my opinion – and dark chocolate to give the muffins the needed crunch and gooeyness. I promise, with these gorgeous homemade muffins, your friends are going to love you, forevermore.
sprinkling white sugar on coffee hazelnut chocolate muffinsIngredients:
Make 12 muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped  
  • 1/4 cup coffee liquor
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp white sugar (for sprinkling)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with olive oil or line it with muffin liners.
  2. Prepare a double boiler. Carefully melt 100g dark chocolate with the double boiler the chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, sift in and combine well flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, whisk olive oil, sugar, eggs, Greek yogurt, coconut milk, and the melted chocolate until smooth.
  5. Pour the dry flour mixture into the wet ingredients in three batches. Stir the batter gently with a spatula until everything is just incorporated. Stir in the remaining 150g dark chocolate and hazelnuts.
  6. Fill the muffin tin ¾ full and sprinkle white sugar on each muffin cup.
  7. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin’s centre comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, before carefully removing them from the pan to cool completely on a rack.
5 comments