Baker at Heart ♥

Archive for January 2013

It’s hump-day Wednesday on this side of the world! It’s 10AM here and I’m thinking of what to cook for lunch. I’m on the last week of my three-week long staycation and I’m already dreading the coming Monday!

Last week was pretty busy. I had my last few days of driving lessons (manual really is hard!). Thursday last week turned out to be really crazy, given the amount of alcohol I had ingested that night. I was supposed to go to a party last Friday but plans changed the last minute and I ended up sleeping instead. Good thing the party wasn’t that fun (according to the rumor mill ) – it turned out to be one drama-filled party.

Now, I present you my take on calamansi muffin (or cupcake, whatever, they look similar to me LOL). Calamansi is our local version of lime and lemon. It probably tastes more like lime than lemon though. Calamansi is usually used while it’s still in its unripened state (green in color). It’s used to flavor drinks, cakes, etc and it’s also used as a condiment. It gives food some kick to it.

Pepper.ph made a food hack of the calamansi muffins found in probably one the best beaches in the world, Boracay. I have never been there and I don’t have plans of going there soon. I’m not a beach person because I’m half blind and I’m deathly afraid of riding small boats. You need to ride those small boats to get to the island. If the government puts up an airport on the island itself, then maybe that’s the time that I’ll think of going there.

So why cupcake? I used cupcake liners for this recipe because I didn’t want to bother with cleaning my muffin pans. It wasn’t a bad idea actually, it was just that the sides didn’t turn out as golden as the ones on Pepper.ph’s photos. Mine were pale, like vanilla cupcakes but boy, they tasted amazing!

Calamansi Cupcakes

IMG_5274

adapted from Pepper.ph / Makes 12 / Bakes in 18-23 minutes at 350F (180C)

You’ll need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup calamansi juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners. But if you want that golden hue and crust on the sides, grease well the muffin pan holes and put the batter directly to the pan.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

3. Combine calamansi juice and milk in a small bowl.

4. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Make sure to mix thoroughly between additions.

5. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients to the creamed mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

5. Scoop into the muffin pan and bake for 18-23 minutes. Mine were okay at 19 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool further.

These can be stored on air-tight containers for about three days. Best eaten on the same day of course! If you check Pepper.ph’s photos, you’ll see that the sides of their muffins are golden. You can achieve this by doing away with the liners and putting the batter directly to the muffin pan. The heat will give them that crusty, golden look.

Happy Monday to everyone who’s in the same side of the world as I am! I have been hibernating for a week now (I’m on a three-week long staycation) and my days have been quite productive. For starters, I have enrolled in a driving school and yes, I can now more or less drive a manual car! Driving is quite a daunting task, especially here in our country. We have crazy drivers, rough, pothole-filled roads (yeah I just drove on one long stretch of said road this morning) and crazier pedestrians who will risk their lives crossing the highway instead of using the overhead bridge. Funny thing is I’m learning on a manual but our car is an automatic, so I don’t know… I don’t think it’s a waste of time but I won’t be able to practice my manual driving skills after driving school ends on Thursday.

Anyway…

Last Saturday, I was browsing through food blogs and looking for something to bake. I had just baked cupcakes the week before, so I decided on making brownies instead. A lot of the food blogs I have read proclaimed this brownie as the best brownie ever. And yes, this brownie recipe didn’t disappoint. The recipe was from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The brownie was moist, rich, dense and very chocolate-y (hello 11 oz of chocolate plus cocoa powder!). It wasn’t crumbly and dry like the other brownies I have tried before. It was really one awesome brownie and I’d definitely bake it again and again and again. Everyone here in our house couldn’t get enough of it too!

The Baked Brownie

brownie (2)

From Baked: New Frontiers in Baking / 350F (180C) / Bakes in 30 minutes

You’ll need:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces unsalted butter, chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I don’t have espresso powder here so I used Moccona instant coffee granules instead)
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Melt  butter, dark chocolate and coffee powder in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water. Once melted, turn off heat and stir in the white and brown sugars. Let it cool to room temperature.

3. Sift flour, salt and cocoa powder in a small bowl. If you’re lazy like me, you can just dry-whisk the mixture.

4. Once the melted chocolate mixture has come to room temp, add in 3 eggs and stir until combined. Add the last 2 eggs and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and stir.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and FOLD until just combined and with no flour streaks left. Do not whisk the two mixtures together! Do not over-beat! This is important! 🙂

6. Spread batter over the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownie comes out with few moist crumbs. Make sure to rotate the pan halfway through the baking time. Let cool in a wire rack for 30 minutes then cut into squares (or whatever shape/size you like).

Or you can also cut it immediately and get your tongue burnt just like me. But it was so good I wasn’t thinking of my tongue or my fingertips which were already reddish from holding the hot brownie. 😛

Here’s to a positive week ahead! Aja!

These cupcakes are insanely rich, moist and delicious! These are by far one of the best cupcakes I have ever made. Plus the peanut butter frosting is to die for!

 Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter FrostingImage

Makes 12 cupcakes

350F

Bakes in 18-20 minutes, Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

½ cup cocoa powder

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp baking powder

2 eggs

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

½ cup sour cream

Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)

3 oz unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in a heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan with simmering water (bowl’s bottom should not touch the water) and heat mixture until chocolate and butter are melted. Whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add eggs to the chocolate mixture, whisk until combined. Add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk again until incorporated. Alternately add the flour mixture and the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix batter until homogenous and thick.
  5. Divide the batter evenly. Pop in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack and cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until mixture is smooth.

Make sure you thoroughly mix your cupcake batter. I ended up with some small lumps of flour mixture in my cupcake. 😐

So how did you celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? For NYE, I was up and about, busy cooking food for our media noche. We didn’t stay up late, maybe  all of us were already asleep by 2AM. Then New Year’s Day came and I was greeted by a bad case of stomach flu. Maybe because I ate too much food when I wasn’t supposed to? I’m currently on Phase 2 of the South Beach diet so I should be staying away from simple carbs, like white pasta, noodles, rice, etc. So yes, I gave in yesternight and gobbled up food like a mad woman. I spent most of today either lying on my bed or sleeping. 😐

But here’s what I’ve baked for yesterday’s events –

torte

———-

Chocolate Walnut Torte (makes one 8-inch cake)

350F/bakes in 60 to 70 minutes

Adapted from Bake Happy (which she got from Martha Stewart)

You’ll need:

Cake:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl using a double-boiler or microwave. Let it cool for 3 minutes.

4. Mix sugar and vanilla extract with the chocolate-butter mixture, then mix the eggs then the buttermilk. Add the chopped walnuts.

5. Fold in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

6. Bake for 60-70mins. Test using a toothpick – few moist crumbs should stick to it. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then invert into a wire rack. Cool for three hours.

7. For the ganache, place the heavy cream and chocolate in a heat-resistant/microwave-able bowl and heat (using a double-boiler or microwave) until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Let cool for a few minutes then pour over cake. Garnish with remaining chopped walnuts.

So I got excited and took the cake out 10 minutes before the minimum baking time. I pricked it with the toothpick and got satisfied with the results. The top had a crust already so I kinda panicked. Well, when I sliced the cake, it was still a bit too fudge-y for my liking in the middle. My mom said it tasted fine though.

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2013! I have a new journal and I can’t wait to use it. And yes, I’m hoping that I’ll be spending the next holiday season with a certain special someone. 😛