Sunday, July 26, 2009

Banana Cupcake

Fact, banana does not spoil, no matter how unappealing its appearance. In fact, the riper, the better for baking purposes. This could be one of the best banana recipes we have made. I was assisted not by one, but three lovely ladies for this cupcake. Anna whisked all dry ingredients, Clarice mashed the bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla, and Celine creamed butter and brown sugar. So simple, any one could do it!
When adding the flour and banana mixtures make sure to start and end with the dry ingredients.
Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting:
Left over from the carrot cupcake, I substituted this frosting for the caramel buttercream. No disappoinments encountered!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waioli Tea Room

The ladies and I took a break this afternoon to join my my lovely friend Angela for lunch, dessert and tea at the Waioli Tea Room in Manoa. It's not the Halekulani nor the Moana Surfrider but the kids had a great time behaving like ladies in a down to earth, relaxed atmosphere of a real tea room.

Streusel Cupcake

I was assisted again by another beautiful neice Clarice for this cupcake that has all the features of a traditional coffee cake. Clarice says her favorite subject in school is language arts, but by her demonstration you would have thought math or science since she was so precise with the measurements. Recipe has many steps but very easy to follow. First started off making the streusel topping which required ingredients you already have in your kitchen-flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter. Batter was no different with more flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and the magic ingredient-sour cream which is responsible for the moistness of the cake.
Milk Glaze:
My cupcake did not look as pretty as Martha's. Glaze looked a little runny before I drizzled it on, should have added more confectioners' sugar.
This would be the perfect cupcake to make for beginning bakers-easy, no fancy ingredients, and foolproof. Scott said it tasted like a coffee cake he ate as a little boy in Pennsylvania. Could I have tapped into his bank of comfort food? It was a Ratatouille moment!

Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cupcake

I had the pleasure of my beautiful neice Celine taking over the reigns for this cupcake. The steps to this recipe were short and simple and peanut butter usually conjures pleasant childhood memories but the taste was a memory to be forgotten. Could it be that I was too cheap to purchase 2 oz. of unsweetened chocolate and instead just used all 6 oz. of semisweet chocolate?

Prepared Peanut-Butter filling first, whisked all dry ingredients, then added to chocolate mixture. Used my reliable ice cream scoop to spoon 2 tablespoons of chocolate batter into cupcake liner, followed by 1 tablespoon of peanut butter filling. Make sure to swirl top of cupcake to achieve the marble look.
Instead of a homemade taste, this cupcake tasted like something from Costco. Unimpressive. Celine, on the other hand is a natural in the kitchen!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Carrot-Ginger Cupcake

My fascination with ginger continues. I wanted a special cupcake to highlight my book talk for Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray and this cupcake fit the bill. Recipe is found in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and so worth to give a try. It calls for only 1 tablespoon of grated, peeled ginger and what a world of difference that makes. The fresh ginger intensifies the flavor making this cupcake unforgettable.
Be sure to toast nuts and cool completely before adding to batter. Whisked all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then added to the wet ingredients. Batter was mixed with an ordinary, reliable whisk. Recipe instructs you to grate carrots using a box grater. Who has the time and energy to do that? I just shredded the carrots in a food processor which took all of 10 seconds! Baked for 10 minutes, rotated pans, and baked for 9 more.
Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting:

Everyone loved the frosting! I first thought 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of ginger would be a little much but it just put the cupcake over the top! Don't even think of omitting the 3/4 teaspoon of grated orange zest.
Being in the company of 3 smart women inspires me to continue trying new recipes, new adventures, and new reads! Thank you Daly, Maha, and Sally!

Devil's Food Cupcake

Many thanks to the Cardiology Department of Straub Hospital. Thank you especially to my sweet friend Kellie who recommended my cupcakes to the department. A chocolate lover's delight! Kellie commented on the after taste which I credit to the sour cream. It added moistness and a subtle tang. A longer process compared to other chocolate recipes.
Whisked Pernigotti cocoa powder with hot water before whisking all other dry ingredients. Instead of oil, I melted butter with sugar in a saucepan and poured it into a mixing bowl of Magnolia. Added eggs, vanilla, cocoa mixture, and flour mixture alternating with the sour cream.

Instead of the recommended Chocolate Ganache Frosting, I used the Cream Cheese Frosting. It's always a hit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pecan Pie

Don't get me wrong, I like cupcakes but I adore pies, especially pecan pie. My friends Bret and Christine shared their recipe and it has become one of my standards. I used Martha's Pate Brise recipe for the crust and it tastes great every time. I always thought bakeries were so stingy with their pie crusts and I always make sure mine are thick. My reliable food processor blends cold flour and butter, salt, and ice water. Make sure to chill dough before and after forming pie crust. Pour the filling in (recipe will remain a secret) and bake for 350 for 40 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chocolate-Spice Cupcake

Now, this is more like it! I never thought ginger and chocolate could be so good together but this was heavenly. The chocolate ganache glaze put this cupcake over the top!
The cupcake did not require liners, but pan had to be buttered and dusted with cocoa powder. Whisked all dry ingredients including the spices. I am beginning to appreciate the smell in my kitchen. Creamed the butter, brown sugar, egg, and molasses. Despite the lumps in the batter, a moist, not too sweet, nor spicey cupcake emerged.
Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
Ganache is a smooth mixture of chocolate and cream and oh, let me tell you I was in chocolate heaven. The sight of Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate melting with heavy cream is pure pleasure.

Tres Leches Cupcake

I never met a cupcake I didn't like...until now. I kept referring back to the recipe to make sure I was doing everything right and no matter what, it just didn't look, feel, nor taste right. Very simple procedures but as soon I whisked the one can (12oz.) of evaporated milk, one can (14oz.)of sweetened condensed milk and 3/4 cup of heavy cream, I thought to myself, "Wow, this is a lot of liquid to brush over 20 cupcakes."
I actually dumped half of the liquid because the cupcakes were already saturated. At this point, the only thing that could make me feel better is chocolate.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

My dear friend Kayleen recommended the book Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
because the heroine reminded her of me and my passion for baking. Hannah is the owner of a bakery called the Cookie Jar and solves a mystery using her baked goods. It was a cute story with interesting recipes, which prompted me to try the one for which Hannah receives rave reviews. Thus, chocolate chip crunch was the first chapter of the day.

Very simple recipe. No fancy ingredients nor gadgets, just melt butter, mix flour, baking soda, brown and white sugar, eggs, vanilla, form and bake. I've been tampering with an oven thermometer lately and tried it today. The recipe instructs you to bake at 375 but using the thermometer, I had to increase the temperature up to at least 390. I expected a WOW but was brutally disappointed. Cookies were chewy, not crunchy. Ordinary, not extraordinary. So far as the Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder? CASE CLOSED.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fendu Boulangerie

No, you have not mistakenly logged on to a bakery blog. I needed a break from cupcakes and Scott and I had a date to a new French bakery in Manoa. We tried everything-sandwich, pizza, croissant, scones, pastries and breads baked in an authentic French oven the owner imported from France. I enjoyed the food so much that I went back with Maha, Angela, Kayleen, and Anna on different days in a two week period. I savored every bite of the Pear Mascarpone Chocolate danish. I am not a fan of fruits in my dessert but the combination is unreal. Try it!

I used to think there was nothing special about scones. Then I tried the Boulangerie's mango scone and I was on a quest to bake a batch as good as theirs. I even called the bakery to ask what type of mango is in the recipe. Luckily there was no need to climb a mango tree in the summer, just stop by the dried fruit section of the grocer and find the packaged sweetened mangoes. I even made a variety to satisfy everyone's fancy-cranberry, chocolate chip, and raisin. Disappointing attempt to match Fendu Boulangerie.
I used Barefoot Contessa's scone recipe which she swears "would get customers out of their beds in the morning and into the store" and frankly, I'd rather sleep in!