Monday, October 31, 2011

Gorgeous Geisha Cupcakes

If you're a fan of T2 tea, then you'll know where the inspiration came from for these cupcakes.

Gorgeous Geisha tea is a delicious blend of green tea flavoured with strawberries & cream and is one of T2's most popular teas (and for a good reason).

The occasion for these cupcakes was a friends 31st birthday. I adore spoiling friends with a home made sweets, and even more so when they are for a special occasion.

The components of this cupcake included a matcha (green tea) cupcake, filled with a sweet fresh strawberry filling and topped with a velvety swiss meringue buttercream.

I was so happy with the results of these cupcakes and I hope they were enjoyed by the birthday girl too.

Matcha (Green Tea) Cupcakes
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea) powder
113g unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup full cream milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175 degrees c. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and matcha powder; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until the cubes of butter are peanut-sized or a little smaller.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry Filling
450g Frozen strawberries, thawed and diced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, combine diced strawberries, sugar, cornflour and lemon juice and mix well. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Strawberry Buttercream
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup (112g) caster sugar
170g salt reduced or unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Approx 1/4 cup strawberry puree (using left over strawberry filling)

Puree the remaining strawberry filling in a food processor and set aside.

Beat butter with a hand held electric mixer until fluffy and pale.

In double boiler over simmering water, whisk sugar and egg whites until warm and sugar is dissolved, 3 - 5 minutes (if you have a digital thermometer, warm until temperature reaches 70 degrees c). Transfer to clean bowl of electric mixer; beat on high with whisk attachment until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes.

Reduce mixer to medium-low; add butter a dessert spoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Switch to paddle attachment; beat on lowest speed 3 to 5 minutes adding the strawberry puree to taste (don't put too much in as the buttercream can go goopy).

1. Using a small pairing knife or small (2.5cm) round cutter, cut out a hole in the top of your cupcake.
2. Fill the cavity with strawberry filling.
3. Replace the top of the hole.
4. Ice the cupcake with the buttercream (I used a piping bag with a 1M Wilton tip)
5. EAT!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mint Choc Chip Cake

It has been one whole month since I have baked anything. From being away for work to being sick and having no time, the long weekend finally gave me a chance to catch up on some recipe’s in my to bake pile.

Now, I am SO SO SO excited to show you this cake because it is so friggin' delicious.

I stumbled across this recipe on a fellow bloggers site - Raspberri Cupcakes and thought it was such a sweet idea that I would try it out for myself.

I used a different chocolate cake recipe as I had been wanting to try this one bowl chocolate cake recipe from Sweet Polita's blog. This chocolate cake recipe was so simple to make and yields a rich, moist chocolate cake. It also only uses a 1/4 cup of oil and no butter which is a bonus as it keeps it's tender crumb even straight out of the fridge. This is definitely my new go to choccie cake recipe.

If you love choc chip mint ice cream you will love this cake.

Chocolate Fudge Cake adapted from Sweet Polita
Yeilds two 8-inch round layers - if you would like a four layer cake you will need to make two of this recipe.

1 1/2 cups (180g) plain flour
1 1/2 cups (200g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (90g) dutch cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (190ml) buttermilk
3/4 cup (190ml) hot brewed coffee (I'm not a huge fan of coffe, so I used half strength)
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

**You will need to make two of this recipe to make the 4 layer cake**

Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with butter and line with baking paper rounds and dust some cocoa powder around the sides to prevent any sticking. Tap out excess.

In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients and add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and pour into prepared pans.

Bake for cakes for approx 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the 20 minute mark. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean.

Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then loosen edges with a small knife, and gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

Choc Chip Mint Icing adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes
300g unsalted butter (I use salt reduced as I like a slightly salty flavour)
5 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 - 2 tblsp milk
2-3 tsp peppermint essence, or to taste
150g dark chocolate, very finely chopped or pulsed through a food processor
green food colouring (be careful when using paste colours as a little goes a long way)

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk little by little to get to right consistency then add peppermint essence and food colouring and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).

Dark Chocolate Glaze
115g Dark Chocolate
70g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture until melted and smooth.

Assembly of the Four-Layer Cake
1. Place the first chocolate cake layer up on your cake pedestal or plate.

2. Using a small offset palette knife, spread approximately 3/4 cup of buttercream evenly on top of the bottom layer.
3. Repeat this 1-2 until you come to the final layer, which you will place face down on the top of the cake to get a nice, flat top.

4. If you have one, place cake on a turntable (this makes it easier to get a nice finish on your buttercream), and using a small offset palette knife for the top of the cake, and medium straight palette knife for the sides, cover the cake in a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Repeat step 4 to finish of the outer layer of buttercream. Clean up edges with your small offset palette knife.

6. Chill cake until icing is set.

7. Make the glaze and set aside for a few moments to cool a bit. Pour glaze over chilled cake, smoothing the top with a clean small offset palette knife.

8. Chill again to set. Bring to room temperature before serving.