I sometimes wonder, what inspires you to make that particular dessert or dish? For me, for more complex desserts, I usually start from a base flavour and work my way around it. Sometimes, it could be just out of curiosity, to see how this fruit would work in this dessert. Or even, from a place or from a movie or cartoon or even pinterest. Anything. Which is why I cannot stick to the norm because the world of flavours is just bursting with endless possibilities; a butter cake just doesn’t work for me.
Well for this one, it was simple. I came across Alan’s blog on Tahiti that he made. swoon. The way the mango is sliced and placed on top of the tart, is just beautiful! I reckon pear or mango would make a beautiful tart, if it’s cut like this. So all I had in mind was, ok I want to make a tart that has the mango like that on top. Give and take a few ingredients, I decided to make it a mango and coconut tart with a hint of kaffir lime leaves.
(I should have bought a BIGGER mango so it covers the entire top of the tart. ish)
Where should I start. The topic for this month’s Aspiring Bakers is Enjoy Cupcake, and I’ve got something to say.
Now, what defines a cupcake? What’s the character of a cupcake? In my opinion, all cupcakes SHOULD / MUST have a frosting of any type, either filled or iced on top. Any naked cupcakes or muffins ARE NOT (and should not be) CUPCAKES. It’s not about the method, nor if it’s butter or oil based. If Isabella from Junior Masterchef Au can make a cupcake using cream instead of butter, you know, cupcakes doesnt need to comply to just butter or oil. (actually this cupcake recipe below mixes wet and dry ingredient like the ‘said’ muffin method., so does it NOT make it a cupcake?) Or have you seen the Cupcake Wars judges served with deliberately unfrosted cupcakes saying they are cupcakes ? See, I get very sensitive when people talk about naked cupcakes as cupcakes. If it’s a naked cupcake, it’s just a cake in a paper cup. If it’s a cheesecake in a cupcake, it’s just a cheesecake.period.
Ok that is point number 1.
To sum it all up, it’s not about the method, my point is that cupcakes should have a frosting no matter which method you choose to use.
Now there’s point number 2.
I know it’s non of my business on what other people bake (and it isn’t yours either to what I say), but doesnt ‘aspiring’ in Aspiring Bakers mean something? To aspire, is to direct one’s hopes or ambitions towards achieving something. If baking what you already bake all the time means achieving something, then it defeats the entire purpose of this expanding group. I’m not saying that one needs to bake some mega awesome super difficult cupcake, but it’s about making some changes and be daring to attempt something new. If for all your life you’ve only baked butter / vanilla cupcakes. Why not try chocolate! If you’ve been baking cupcakes (or I call them muffins) without frosting, why not make a simple buttercream or whip up some cream and frost it! If you’ve been making buttercream the american way all these time, why not try another method or medium, like Swiss meringue / Italian meringue / French meringue/ ganache? If you’ve been making some awesome cupcakes all these while, why not, make something different by inserting a filling, or make a third element to accompany it, or a fondant figurine? See, at every stage or level you are at, regardless whether you are a professional or an amateur, there are always something new to try, something different to attempt and something bold to shout out to. And I think that should be the whole point of the group. To encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and at least, make something out of their normal bakes, and not treat it like a who-has-the-most-post-thus-higher-hits-and-comments competition. It’s just a matter of quality vs quantity.
And with all that, I DO NOT have any intentions to make myself a step higher from you, or start any unnecessary war. As a blogger, it is my responsibility to share, learn and inspire.
Now, If you’re still interested in scrolling down, please do. If you feel like giving me a tight slap, please close this window.
Look, it’s just my own opinion. You may or may not agree with me, it’s up to you.
Cupcakes oh cupcakes. I’ve had been making you for my entire 1 year of working. It was a “waking up at 5am, drive to work and bake bake bake till it’s time to go home process” for the whole year. Thousands and thousands have been mixed, baked and frosted. At one point, I was totally disgusted when I see a cupcake. A few years later where I am getting a balance of making all bakes, it gets a little better. And because cupcakes has a special meaning to me, I’ve decided to join this month’s Aspiring baker’s challenge (Ok I’ve wanted to join last months, and last last months as well but just never got the time to make them)
I reckon if I’m going to make a cupcake not for commercial purpose, then I might as well make it over the top. This one here is not enough, I’m thinking of something even more elaborate (If I have the time to make it).
It’s a Chocolate cupcake fill and frosted with Mango buttercream (pate a bomb) and pineapple and chili mango phyllo parcel. (argh, I should have made it like a ravioli so it looks like a hat on top!) ; and some with oven dried pineapple, drizzled with mango sauce.
The name’s kinda complicated but it is so easy to make this cupcake. French meringue buttercream is my absolute favourite. It’s the same used in Opera and it is another special cake that holds a special place in my heart (With all these cakes and all occupying my heart, there won’t be any more space when I find a partner. LOL!!!!) I also tried using the parchment paper as the paper cup cause it has this rustic look (and cheaper)
Chocolate Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream
1. Chocolate Cupcakes
2. French Meringue Buttercream with Mango
3. Dried Pineapple garniture
4. Chili, pineapple and mango phyllo triangle
5. Mango sauce
30g cocoa powder
15g dark chocolate, melted (Valrhona guanaja 70%)
160ml boiling water
80g sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
150g cake flour
150g brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
113g unsalted butter, soft
1. Preheat oven to 160 C. In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, boiling water and stir till smooth. Add in melted choclate and stir.
2. In another bowl, lightly whisk eggs and sour cream. Pour in 1/4 of the chocoalte mixture and stir
3. In the mixing bowl, beat the dry ingredients and the rest of cocoa mixture and softened butter on low speed. Then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, till lightly aerataed. Add in eggs in 3 batches. Scrape bowl and mix well (for about 1 to 1 1/2 mins)
4. Pour into paper cups at 3/4 full. Bake for about 15 minutes or till cooked.
French Meringue Buttercream with mango
1/2 medium mango, diced (or puree if you like)
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
225g butter, cubed.
pinch of salt
1. In a pot, bring caster sugar and water to 118C at a medium heat.
2. When it’s about 105 C, whisk egg yolks in a mixing bowl till its light and volumed.
3. When the sugar syrup has reached 118C, slowly pour into egg yolks while whisking at the same time. Whisk till it doubles in volume and becomes thick (about 3-4 minutes). It will be slightly warm.
4. Add in butter slowly (1-2 at a time) into the pate a bomb and whisk. It will be soupy at first but just continue whisking till comes together.
5. Add in the mango and whisk away.
few slices of pineapple
1. Peel, and remove the pineapple eyes.
2. Slice thinly and pat dry.
3. Put them over a parchment paper or silpat and let it ‘dry’ in the oven at 150 for 20 minutes, then flip over, another 10-20 minutes. This depends on the thickness of the pineapple. The thicker, the longer it takes.
Chili, pineapple and mango phyllo triangle
4 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
100g pineapple, cut to cubes
1/2 medium sized mango, cut to cubes
1/2 red chilli
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
1. Cut pineapple and mango into cubes. Slice red chilli into diagonal slits.
2. In a pan, cook caster sugar and water till it becomes a light caramel. Toss in the mango, pineapple and chili. Stir till it’s all coated with caramel. Turn off heat and set aside.
3. Cut phyllo pastry to 4 quarters. Take 1 sheet, brush with a little melted butter, place another sheet on top, brush with little melted butter, then add about 1 spoon of mango, pineapple mixture. Fold into a triangle then press lightly. Continue with the rest of the phyllo sheets and lay them all on a baking paper.
4. Bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes, or till they’re browned.
*Use and serve this immediately cause it will turn soggy after a while due to the liquid in the fruits.
Heh, this one requires no recipe. Any leftover mango flesh, just blend it with some lemon juice, et voila you have a mango sauce!
Chocolate cupcake, piped with mango buttercream, then place either a dried pineapple, or a phyllo triangle or both. Drizzle with mango sauce.
*Wanna know what books are at my shelves? You can check them out at the right most column and see the Amazon.com widget. Most of the books are there, but not all. (still updating) And you’d be surprise to find some of the book are cheaper than here in M’sia.. Or scroll down to the bottom, there’s bookdepository Free delivery worldwide! haha * I remember buying once from them, and the book was almost RM80 cheaper… no joke. It was RM230-ish here in the bookstores, but from Book Depository, it was RM150ish.. heh..
ANyway, back to post, IT’s a sandwich! duh!
This time, the bread is homemade, everything else is not!
See sometimes I have this urge to bake it IMMEDIATELY after I see it on blogs / books / internet etc.. and this was one of the few. It’s like a shopaholic see’s “SALE” then MUST rush into the store and get something even though it’s 10 mins prior to closing. Ok well, I think you get what I meant.
So what about this bread.
Didn’t I say I don’t like bread ? OK just sweet /savoury buns I don’t like k or overly white bread 😛
This is a brioche.(loaf)
Brioche is a rich bread, with eggs and lotsa butter compared to regular doughs. Most would distinct brioche with its topknot and scalloped underside shape. But making in a loaf for sandwich (or pain perdu, or french toast) is very common too.
(adapted from Almost Bourdain)
160 ml milk
1½ tsp dried yeast
5 egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten
375 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting
30 gm caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
150 gm butter, diced and softened, plus extra for greasing
For brushing: eggwash
Warm milk in a small saucepan over low heat until lukewarm. Combine yeast, (I added 1 tsp of sugar to feed the yeast) and half the milk in a bowl, stirring to dissolve. Stand in a warm place until foamy (8-10 minutes).
Whisk remaining milk with egg yolks in a bowl and set aside.
Mix flour, remaining sugar and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, until combined. Make a well in the centre, add yeast mixture and yolk mixture. Beat on medium speed until a smooth dough forms (4-5 minutes).
While mixing, gradually add one-third of butter at a time, beat until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides of bowl (8-10 minutes).
Transfer to a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand until doubled in size (1½-2 hours).
Knock back dough, knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, shape into a loaf and place in an 11cm x 24cm loaf tin buttered and lined with baking paper. Cover, stand until doubled in size (30 minutes-1 hour). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C.
Brush top with eggwash, dust with sugar, bake until golden and risen (25-30 minutes).
Remove from tin, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, return to oven until sides are golden (8-10 minutes), cool on a wire rack.
What you really need in this sandwich is,
1. Toast bread
2. Layer cheese, lettuce, grilled chicken (leftovers, or if you’re feeling lazy, you can go to Jusco and get those ready grilled ones) avocado and some sauce that you like. In this case, I used Peri-Peri Sauce. Hehe
3. Munch in