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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing and Chocolate Ganache

HIYC Youth Night

On Sunday, our local Islamic Center held a Youth Night for sisters only...a night filled with plenty of food, fun and games, a little bit of dancing, singing and of course, scrumptious cupcakes! How can you party without cupcakes?

HIYC Youth Night

I made Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Icing and a little bit of Raspberry jam in each. I piped the icing in a rose pattern and topped it with pink daisies. Aww. 

HIYC Youth Night

I came early to drop them off, unfortunately, about 20 or so cupcakes dropped on the floor while we were stacking them on display. Oh well! Alhamdulilah I made so many there was still enough for the whole crowd. These things are bound to happen, sometimes it's in our control, sometimes it isn't. No need to fuss over it inshaAllah. 

HIYC Youth Night Cupcakes

SubhanAllah I think the beauty of Islam is beyond words. The hijab is truly a shield to protect us from the gazes of men. It is a blessing that we have been told to cover our beauty and lower our gaze in public. Cause if men knew how sisters look without their hijabs...there would be lots of trouble! The girls looked drop dead gorgeous on the night, mashaAllah. It really is amazing how women can look absolutely stunning one minute, and look so modest the next when it's time to go out...and the world will never know. Amazing.

HIYC Youth Night Cupcakes

I want this adorable cupcake stand.

HIYC Youth Night

There were two chocolate fountain on the night! By the time I got to the dessert table, it was all

Too good. 

HIYC Youth Night Balloons

What's a function without balloons?

Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Chokylit
Makes 26 cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins.

1. Measure out everything but the eggs directly into your mixer bowl.
2. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs, beat on high speed again for 2 minutes.

Measure out into cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers. A 2″ ice cream scoop works great for this. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Soft Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Chokylit

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

1. Beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy.
2. Sift powdered sugar into the mixer bowl (right on top of the beaten butter). Beat to combine.
3. Add the vanilla and the milk. Beat until combined.

HIYC Youth Night

Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from 500 Cupcakes & Muffins
Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes

225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla power

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins.

1. Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Spoon mixture into the cases. Bake for 20 minutes.
3. Remove the tins from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from Masterchef

400g double thick cream (The original recipe used 500g but found that it was too creamy, so I'd reduce the amount of cream next time)
50g glucose
450g dark or milk chocolate, fine chopped
100g unsalted butter, chopped (Original recipe used 175g)

1. Place the cream and glucose in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
2. In a large heatproof bowl, place chocolate, butter and 2g salt. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir well with a spatula until melted and combined. Don’t use a whisk as it will create unwanted air bubbles. Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge to chill. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag.

HIYC Youth Night

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Noob Guide to Cupcakes: Prepping


Busy. Busy. Busy.

Busy drooling over cupcakes.


Life is hectic. Did ya know that?

Thanks for the warning. 


After three years of studying, I still don't know what to do with my life.

Should I be a teacher?

A photographer?

A baker?

A linguist?

A speech pathologist?

A housewife?

What to do...?


In the meantime while I figure out life, here are some of my baking tips on how to make your cupcakes look and taste SUPERB. (note: I'm not an expert but I will tell you what I know from experience.)

Before baking
  • Always, always check that you have all the ingredients before you start baking. You do not want to be in the middle of baking then realising that you're out of milk. or eggs. It's a horrible feeling. 
  • Read the instructions and then measure out all the ingredients. Prep them. If you need to separate the eggs, separate it first. If you need to chop, grind or slice, do it before anything else happens. 
  • Buy good quality ingredients, especially chocolate. It is a must. If you bought cheap chocolate, don't even bother baking. Spend a little bit more and you'll see the difference. 
  • Try to buy organic or free range eggs, if you have the money. Chickens have feelings too.
  • Baking powder and Baking Soda (or Bicarbonate Soda) are two different things. Don't substitute one for the other. I'm not sure exactly what BicarbSoda does, all I know is that it has something to do with science. Just take my word for it. 
  • Preheat the oven. You'd be surprised how many people miss this step. Please don't. It is a big deal. Also, make sure it's at the correct temperature- not all ovens work the same. If you want to be precise, put a thermometer in the oven. 
  • Line the cupcake wrappers in the baking tray. It makes life easier. No need to grease the tray if you're using paper cups. 
  • Use tried-and-tested recipes so you don't disappoint yourself with the end result. 


That's all for today.
More tips coming soon. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Viennese Biscuits.

Viennese Biscuits

It's that time of year again.

Time to give and forgive. Um, no it's not Thanksgiving.

Time to bake some goodies.

Time to spend quality time with your whole family and friends, and even meet some new faces.

Time to start again after renewing ourselves. After purifying our hearts and minds.

We all love that time of year.

I know I do.

I love that feeling. Kind of like having a biscuit that melts in your mouth.

Viennese Biscuits

These Viennese Biscuits were sooo good, I kept getting requests for more.

So I made around 200.

Viennese Biscuits

How can you say no to this?

Viennese Biscuits

How bout if I dip it in chocolate a little?

Viennese Biscuits

There you go. I can see you drooling already.

Viennese Biscuits

You can dip the whole biscuit in chocolate. Or you can put two and two together with jam in the middle. You can also make it long, short, fat, rectangular or round. It's your choice. Whatever you like.

Viennese Biscuits

If you have leftover chocolate, you can drizzle it over the biscuits for that special effect.

Viennese Biscuits

Bottle it up.

Viennese Biscuits

Tie a pretty ribbon around it with a card attached.

Viennese Biscuits

Then, give it to your loved ones.

Viennese Biscuits.
Adapted from Marie Claire

125g unsalted butter, softened
25g icing sugar
2 large pinches of baking powder
125g plain flour
1/2tsp vanilla essence
about 50g dark or milk chocolate

1) Beat the butter until really soft, then add the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.

2) Add the baking powder, flour and vanilla essence and beat to make a fairly firm dough, then spoon the mixture into a piping bag.

3) Cover a couple of baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment and pipe 10cm-long fingers, spaced well apart. Bake at gas mark 3/170ºC/325ºF for about 15 minutes until pale golden brown, then set aside to cool.

4) Break the chocolate into small pieces, tip into a bowl, then stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted.

5) Dip the biscuits in chocolate and lay it on non-stick paper. Leave to set.

This is my way of saying "Thank you. I love you."

Viennese Biscuits

From Love and Sugar.