Monday, February 23, 2009

Devil's Food Cupcakes

I love chocolate! And I can't imagine anyone who doesn't. The aroma, the deep brown color, the lingering taste all adds up to a pretty pleasurable experience visually and on the palate.

There are so many different techniques in recipes to bring out the best chocolate flavor in a chocolate cake. This recipe uses a unique method adding hot water directly to the cocoa powder, and whisking it fast so that it develops into an aromatic chocolate flavored liquid. This technique releases all the chocolate flavors in the powder, and gives an full-bodied chocolate intensity in the cupcakes.

Its simple to make and very delicious. Not to sweet nor too bitter, adults and children will both like it!

Recipe adapted from Cindy Mushet's The Art and Science of Baking, Sur La Table

Makes 28 Cupcakes

70g Dutch-process cocoa powder
115g plus 230g Water
170g Unsalted butter, softened
200g Castor sugar
170g Light brown sugar
3 eggs (60g each, weighed with shells), room temperature
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
200g Cake flour, sifted
35g All-purpose flour
2 Tsp Baking powder
¼ Tsp Salt

Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Heat 115g of the water. Pour it over the cocoa powder and whisk until blended and smooth. Add the remaining 230g water and stir until the mixture is smooth. Mixture must be cool before adding to the cake mixture, as the heat will melt the butter and ruin the texture of the cake.
Cream the butter with the sugars: Beat on medium-high speed until very light in color, 4 to 5 minutes.
Scrape down the bowl with the spatula.
Add the eggs. (Beat the eggs and vanilla in the other small bowl to blend.) With the mixer on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl, then resume adding the eggs. Scrape down the bowl again.
Add the dry and wet ingredients alternately: With the fine-mesh strainer, sift the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl and blend with the cleaned whisk. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the cocoa water alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half the cocoa water. Repeat, then finish with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand, if necessary.
Bake the cupcakes: Divide the batter evenly among 28 of the paper liners. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Verdict: This cake is moist, soft, extremely chocolately and yet amazing light on the palate. Its chocolatety and not too sweet. A keeper!

Tools: Whisk, Cupcake Liners, Muffin Tray, Stand Mixer, Silicon Spatula

Tips: Do not use waxed cupcake liners. The cake will shrink away from the casing, and look small and lonely.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sugee Cookies

Chinese New Year was an extremely busy time for me, mostly with family events. I have to admit, I am not much of a CNY person. I much prefer Christmas. So it takes some effort to muster up the enthuaism for this festival. I baked two types of cookies, packed them into pretty glass bottles, ribboned them and gave them as gifts to family.

Here's the recipe that I used for the Sugee Cookies:

Sugee Cookie
(Adapted from Aunty Yochana)


150g Clarified Butter (also known as Ghee. I used the QBB brand)
90g Icing sugar
1 Egg yolk
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
200 g Plain flour
40 g Ground almond Meal
1 tsp Baking Powder

1 egg yolk for Glazing


(1) Use a stand mixer. Cream ghee and icing sugar till creamy. Add in egg yok, vanilla, salt and mix thoroughly.
(2) Add in sifted plain flour, baking powder and ground almonds. Mix till a dough is formed.
(3) Roll into small round balls for about 5-6g each. and arrange on baking tray.
(4) Use a chopstick to dip into egg yolk and then press it on top of each roll ball.
(5) Bake at 165C for about 15 - 20 mins or till cooked.
(6) Cool on wire rack before storing in cookie containers.

Verdict: Texture is melt in your mouth and extremely fragrant.

You need: Cake Mixer, Seive, Baking tray, Parchment Paper, Chopsick, Cookie Shovel, Cooling Rack