Math will drive me crazy… Oh, peanut butter and Nutella cookies?

My O levels are fast approaching and the countdown keeps getting smaller… You won’t believe the amount of Math and Physics I’ve been forcing myself to do these days, to the point that I feel terrible wasting away an hour playing games when I used to play all day long. Meh. I wish I could spare some time to bake these awesome-looking cookies! Nutella and peanut butter – is there another combination to die for? (Probably Math and Physics, but it’s a literal death…)

I can only hope that 19 November will quickly come so that I can start baking all these lovely goods I can only feature on this blog 😦 Oh well, the worst will definitely pass by quickly enough… Until then, though, posting recipes will have to suffice, even if I slowly lose any free time to do so, haha! This recipe was taken from thesisterscafe 🙂

– 1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temperature
– 2/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy – I like crunchy)
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2 2/3 cup flour
– 2 tsp baking soda
– 1  tsp salt
– heaping 1/3 cup Nutella

1. Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smooth.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture.

3. Add Nutella in dollops over the top of the dough. Use a butter knife to swirl the Nutella through the dough. Do not over mix.

4. Chill the dough in fridge for 15 minutes before spooning onto cookie sheet to firm the nutella.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Bake until slightly brown at edges. Let cool a few minutes on cookie sheet before transferring.

A weekend like this calls for a sugar rush: cake pops!

I don’t actually suppose I’ll have any time to actually try out any of the recipes I’m posting these few months, meh. (What can a girl do when she only has about a month left to her O levels?!) When I do get the time to actually bake stuff, though, I definitely want to make cake pops. (I know I say that for all the recipes I post but geez, can’t I love my sweet sugar? :P) Aside from the fact that I’ve a friend who’s been bugging me to try making cake pops with her since the beginning of time, I think they’re a really lovely idea and definitely much less intimidating than making a full cake. (Though, I guess it’s just psychology at work here since you need a full cake to make cake pops!)

Really love that you can mix it up with different flavours of cake and frostings, as suggested by the original recipe author, the350degreeoven. Red velvet cake pops with cream cheese? Yum!!

– Lemon cake + lemon frosting + white chocolate coating
– Strawberry cake + strawberry frosting + chocolate coating
– Carrot cake + cream cheese frosting + white chocolate coating
– Chocolate cake + nutella or PB (instead of frosting) + milk chocolate coating
– Chocolate cake + chocolate frosting & kahlua + dark chocolate coating
– Red velvet cake + cream cheese frosting + white chocolate coating
– Yellow cake + vanilla frosting + milk chocolate coating (and sprinkles) “birthday cake”

Other flavours the author tried:
Peanut Butter: White cake (from a box) + 1 1/4 c. peanut butter. Use about 2+ bags of milk chocolate chips to coat. These are to DIE for!!!
Chocolate Hazelnut: Devil’s Food cake (from a box) + 1 jar (13 oz) Nutella. Use a 1:3 ratio of milk chocolate chips to white chocolate chips for a nice light brown chocolate coating.

How awesome it would have been to have had some of these cake pops in the midst of my weekend that was completely devoured by Math, ugh.

Vanilla Cake:
– 2 c. flour
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1 c. sugar
– 1 can diet 7up
– 3 T. canola oil
– 1 T. vinegar
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1 tsp. almond extract

Cake Balls:
– 1 recipe vanilla cake (or any boxed cake mix, baked)
– 16 oz. can cream cheese frosting
– 16 oz. white chocolate chips (1 1/3 bag)
– 8 oz. melting/dipping chocolate (1 can)

1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients together, and mix the wet ingredients together. Mix the wet into the dry, and immediately pour into a greased 9″ X 13″ pan and bake for 25-27 minutes. Cool.

2. Mash the cake (into crumbs) with a fork in a large bowl, mix in the frosting.

3. Roll rounded teaspoons of the cake crumb mixture between your palms to form 1″ balls. Set them on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet. Put the cake balls into the freezer for 1-2 hours until fairly firm (but not frozen). (I was able to make about 53 one inch cake balls with this recipe.)

4. Melt the chocolate according to package instructions (Basically, microwave at 70% power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Thin with a teaspoon of canola oil if needed). Using chopsticks (or toothpicks) to swirl each cake ball in the melted chocolate, remove, and set on waxed paper to cool. It’s best to do this in small batches, and remove only a few cake balls from the freezer at the time (if the cake balls warm up too much, they will fall apart while you are coating them). Do not let any water or moisture get into the melted chocolate, or it will seize.

5. Once all the balls are coated, use the remaining chocolate to decorate. I put the chocolate into a ziplock bag and snipped off the tip, and drizzled ribbons of melted chocolate over the top of the balls.

6. Store the cake ball truffles in a plastic containers at room temperature. It’s best not to refrigerate, otherwise condensation will form on the surface of the chocolate.

The next level up: fresh strawberry Greek yoghurt cake :)

If the picture above doesn’t make you salivate, then I don’t know what will! While I used to love those light, fluffy sponge cakes slathered with just-as-light cream (you know, the cheaper standard birthday cake kinds), I’ve since grown to dislike them in favour of denser cakes. Think chocolate mousse or New York cheesecake – sadly, they’re so much more expensive and so much smaller for the same weight because they’re so dense 😦

In any case, this cake absolutely appeals to me for that reason – it looks so, so dense and it contains yoghurt! Seriously, yoghurt in a cake! How genius is that?! (As genius as Dairy Farmers’ apple pie or banana caramel pie flavoured yoghurt!!!) This is definitely going to be the first cake I try out when I feel that I’m ready enough to upgrade my baking to the next level. Right now, I think I’m better off baking cupcakes and little treats first, haha!

This was another recipe I sourced off foodbuzz, from this lovely blog ahealthyjalapeno, which is wonderful if you’re looking for healthy recipes without sacrificing awesome flavour. Great plus point for a Greek yoghurt cake, hehe.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Serves 12 servings

Ingredients
– 1 1/3 cups cornmeal
– 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 3/4 cup unsalted organic butter
– 1 1/4 cups raw sugar
– 3 tbsp lemon juice, divided
– Zest of 1 lemon
– 4 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup plain low-fat greek yogurt
– 1 cup strawberries (sliced fresh)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.

2. Sift together the cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and lemon juice until all incorporated, then stir in the vanilla.

5. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the yogurt, stirring after each addition.

6. Finally, fold in the strawberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick or knife inserted, comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes then invert onto a serving plate. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

PS: I don’t suppose this spamming of recipes will stop soon, unless I suddenly lose motivation to organise all my bookmarked recipes… but my obsession on keeping everything organised nicely in one place is motivation enough! 😛

Way too sunny over here: frozen mango/raspberry/kiwi pops

I probably shouldn’t be slacking so much but this recipe is definitely one I have to add to my growing collection! Super adorable and super appropriate for the tropical weather here, I have to get around to buying some mangoes, kiwis and raspberries to make this one day 🙂 I love the fact that they have actual fruit in it, which seems really healthy and delish to me hahaha!

Saw this recipe on foodbuzz (a really useful community website, though its new organisation is not something I’m too fond of…. yet) and it’s from skinnytaste.com. Healthy and simple to make, plus awesome when it’s way too hot outside (which is the case for me like, 80% of the time)~

Ingredients:
– 9 tbsp water
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 5 oz kiwi, peeled
– 6 oz mango, peeled
– 6 oz fresh raspberries

1. Make a simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil; boil for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Set aside.

2. Puree fruit separately in the blender (I used my magic bullet). Set aside in 3 small bowls.

3. Divide the simple syrup between the fruit purees and mix in.

4. Equally fill four small 5 oz cups with the kiwi puree and place in the freezer; freeze one hour.

5. Add mango puree and freeze 20 minutes. Insert sticks and freeze at least 2 hours. Add raspberry puree and freeze overnight.

Strawberry meringue buttercream over Math any day!

I’m in the midst of an early-Saturday-morning Math fest and it isn’t fun. So mechanical and abstract – and so not delicious, unlike these cupcakes 😦 I haven’t tried out this recipe but it’s high on my “Things I Ought to Bake” list and primarily because the strawberry meringue buttercream (SMBC) just looks so tempting!!! Seriously, how can you not look at the photo above and just drool?

This is finally a switch up on all the chocolatey recipes (and also a new source, browneyedbaker – a good baking blog you should bookmark!) hehe, and I’m looking forward to finally baking something non-chocolatey. I mean, I love my chocolate very dearly but it is rather heaty and not too healthy too… Not that buttercream is any healthier (probably) but strawberry would be a freshing treat for the palate!

Before I spend too much time on the internet and ruin my very productive day thus far… here’s the recipe 🙂

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

Yield: About 34 cupcakes| Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¼ cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 egg white
1 cup whole milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries

For the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:
1½ cups fresh strawberries (about 8 ounces), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 egg whites
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1½ cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg white, on at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the chopped strawberries by hand.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to pans to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; turn out the cupcakes onto the rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers before frosting.

5. Make the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream: Puree the strawberries in a food process or blender; set aside.

6. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

7. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

8. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrap down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add the strawberry puree and beat until combined. Stir the frosting with a rubber spatula until the frosting is smooth. Keep the buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

9. Decorate the Cupcakes: Spread or pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

(Recipe source: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

“Too much chocolate” is nonsense: triple chocolate cupcakes.

I’m kinda spamming a whole bunch of recipes (all from whatoliviadid, too), haha, but this will be my last for the night! I probably should be doing something more productive rather than update my blog with chocolatey recipes… Anywhoos, this is another chocolate cupcake recipe that promises to indulge chocolate addictions, hehe. It is quite different from the first cupcake recipe I posted, though I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as they’re cupcakes!

This recipe yielded me a whole lot more cupcakes than the other recipe, though. Not sure if it’s just my experience, but the more cupcakes, the merrier! I had to bake all the batter in several batches because my microwave oven is so tiny, which really took up much more time than I’d expected. It’s totally worth the time though because there were so many I could afford to give away a whole bunch and still have enough to last a number of days – which is a shocker because food never lasts long in my house, haha!

On a sidenote, I’m really digging this new balloons theme for my blog – it’s simple but has such a great aesthetic, and the parallax scrolling creates a really cool effect in the header, don’t you notice? 😛 Not too sure what’s up with the lone little balloon in the middle of the top post, though, but I suppose it’s alright since it isn’t too much of a hindrance in reading posts…

To the cupcake-baking mobile!

Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
– 75g dark chocolate broken into pieces
– 200g (7oz) unsalted butter
– 225g (7 1/2 oz) caster sugar
– 25g (1oz) cocoa powder
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 175g (6oz) plain flour
– 25g (1oz) dark chocolate chips
– Chocolate sprinkles (or marshmallows, or, in fact whatever takes your fancy!)

For the icing:
– 200ml (7floz) single cream
– 250g dark chocolate chopped
– 50g unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 200c and line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cases.

2. In a large saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning. Allow this to cool for a few minutes.

3. Stir in the sugar until well mixed, and add the eggs one at a time until you have a smooth batter. Sift the baking powder, flour and cocoa into the batter and mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4. Divide the mixture between the paper cases (don’t over fill them just about 3/4 full) and bake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.

5. Whilst they cool make the icing! Heat the cream in a saucepan but do not allow it to boil. Pour the chocolate pieces over the hot cream, and stir until nice and glossy. Mix in your soft butter and leave to cool completely. Once cool beat until nice and fluffy (alternatively leave as a glossy icing!)

6. Leave your cupcakes to cool in the tins for 5 mins then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before tasting and decorating with your cooled icing. Finish by topping with sprinkles or marshmallows!

Glass trays don’t belong in an oven: chocolate brownies!

I have come to the realisation that most, if not all, of the recipes I’ve placing here in my little treasure trove are all pegged to a certain distinct memory. I’ve had my fair share of baking mishaps happen as the rookie baker in me traverses this new world. My first (and only, thus far) attempt at baking brownies is one of those instances.

Before trying out these brownies, I’d baked cupcakes a number of times and on all those instances, thought it was okay to leave the glass tray of my microwave oven within the machine while it was in operation. I mean, if it comes together with the microwave oven, it obviously ought to be able to survive through whatever operations the contraption is capable of, right?! Physics proves me wrong. (Though, this seems more Chemistry…)

In short, the glass tray stayed intact through numerous heating sessions (aka cupcake baking sessions). Since this brownie recipe calls for a longer baking time than the cupcakes, though… after I took out the brownies, I heard a super loud crack and it turns out the whole glass-outside-cools-down-faster-than-glass-inside-thus-glass-cracks phenomena had occurred. And part of the glass even fused to the surface of the microwave oven!!! Disaster all around.

The only good thing to come out of that incident was that the brownies were pretty darn good and my dad – surprisingly – wasn’t mad at me. Oh, and the microwave oven still works, though I always fear that the chipped surface will lead to radiated cupcakes or something one day… :O

Moral of the story: never put anything you’re not actually using in the oven while baking – especially glassware!!!

Alright, on to the more important stuff!

Ingredients:
– 5 eggs
– 500g caster sugar
– 120g plain flour
– 100g cocoa powder
-250g unsalted butter
– 30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
– a baking tray, lined with grease proof paper!

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius! (Gas mark 3)

2. Put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whiskwhisk, or, like me, a fork and a hell loada man power, until light and fluffy.

3. Add the sifted flour, and stir as you go.

4. Followed by the cocoa powder, and beat until everything is well mixed.

5. Pour in the melted butter and mix through. When the butter is first poured in it seems impossible to stir it all in, but with some folding and immense stirring it will mix in- I promise!

6. Chop your chocolate, and stir it in so they are ‘evenly dispersed’.

7. Pour your mixture into your pre lined tray and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the top is firm and the centre a little soft (poke a knife into it to check it comes out clean!)

8. Chop into squares (the tray usually makes about 12) and dust with icing sugar! Then eat… (sharing occasionally recommended!)

The perfect Valentine’s gift: chocolate chip cookies~

Another pretty interesting story behind this recipe (which makes the recipe all the more interesting and meaningful!) 😀 Again, it’s another recipe I picked off whatoliviadid – most of the first few recipes I used originated from the few recipes on her blog. In fact, I haven’t actually baked much using recipes out of her blog yet, but you can’t blame me! The recipes are really easy and fuss-free (unlike some of the recipes I sourced out on foodbuzz!) and the blogger is just so adorable haha!

Well, this was the first cookie recipe I tried out and also another recipe that saw fruition in a friend’s home. Three of us had gathered to make Valentine’s Day gifts together (I remember chocolate ganache coins and Nutella cupcakes were the other things they made) and these chocolate chip cookies was what I brought to the table. Baking is fun on its own, but honestly, baking with friends is even more awesome. 😀

The first Valentine’s Day for which I actually gave away gifts (because it was the last Valentine’s Day in my current school, aww) – definitely an awesome association with an equally brilliant recipe, heh.

Ingredients:
– 350g unsifted flour
– 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 225g butter
– 175g caster sugar
– 175g soft brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 eggs
– 350g dark chocolate crumbled (can be changed for other extras of your choice: raisins, nuts, maybe even toffee?)

1. Preheat the oven to 190C!

2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt.

3. In another bowl, combine the caster & brown sugar, butter and vanilla extract until well mixed and smooth.

4. Beat in the eggs, and gradually add the flour mixture.

5. Add your crumbled chocolate and stir until even and well mixed!

6. Now, you can either wrap the dough in cling film and store in the fridge (until you are ready to cook) or bake straight away. The recipe suggests ‘rolling the dough into sausage shapes and then cutting the log into slices, widely spaced apart on your baking tray.’ However, due to the fact I had recently invested in a bad-ass cookie cutter I spread it out like so to make perfect cutting material!

7. Bake for 9-12 minutes (or until crisp).

8. Cut into your amazing shapes (optional) and serve! (Don’t waste the edges too!)

You’ll probably need a tin for this: chocolate cupcakes!

Sourced from whatoliviadid is the first ever cupcake recipe I tried that was actually quite disastrous on my first attempt, haha! Who knew you can’t just wing it without a cupcake tin because those paper cases are just so flimsy?! Terrible experience, important lesson behind it: when in doubt, don’t do it. My next few batches of these cupcakes came out in mini version because I managed to find sturdy little cupcake cases that completely did away with cupcake tins, hehe.

Of course, the dad kept lamenting the small cupcakes and decided to get me a cupcake tin one day 😀 (As well as a springform cake pan!!) Had a blast during the holidays baking with the tin and nomming on full-size cupcakes afterward hehehe 🙂

They didn’t look as delicious and pretty as the picture above from the source, though… probably because I couldn’t bother with making frosting and I don’t have fudge or dainty little cupcake boxes 😦 Living in Asia isn’t always the best because it’s so hard to source for some ingredients or materials!!

Anyway, I’ve decided that I should probably continue with my recipe documentation (in particular, all those bookmarked recipes I’ve been dying to try!) lest they disappear by the time I get around to using them because the internet is just wonky that way. Without further ado, chocolate cupcakes! (Recipe directly lifted from whatoliviadid~)

Ingredients
For cupcakes:
– 100g plain flour
– 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
– 140g caster sugar
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– a pinch of salt!
– 40g unsalted butter at room temperature
– 120ml whole milk
– 1 egg
– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For frosting:
– 300g icing sugar
– 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
– 40g cocoa powder
– 3 tablespoons whole milk (sometimes you may need a little more!)

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees!

2. Put (preferably sift) the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl, and if like me, you don’t have an electric mixer (wah!) beat together until mixed well and of a ‘sandy consistency’ (and you have a mild arm ache).

(see! brown edible sand!)

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a bowl, pouring about half into the flour mixture and stirring it until mixed well, with as few lumps as possible (this is hard as the mixture disappears quickly!)

4. Pour in the remaining mixture and mix until smooth (without an electric mixer this is probably near to impossible, but make it as lump-free as poss!)

5. Spoon the mixture into some fun paper cases, until about two thirds full and bake for about 20-25 minutes (you know they’re done when a skewer/knife comes out clean when poked in!). Leave to cool!

6. While the cupcakes are busy chillin’ (see what I did there, anyone…no?) you can make your frosting! Add your icing sugar, butter and cocoa into a bowl and beat until all well mixed and comes together.

7. Add the milk to the mixture a little bit at a time, and beat until light and fluffy- ‘the longer the frosting is beaten the lighter and fluffier it becomes- viola!

(excuse all the cutlery!)

8. When the cupcakes are cool spoon your frosting on top and decorate with whatever you fancy (it was a toss up between marshmallows and fudge!) If you’re a dork like me you can also buy some rad cake boxes from Sainsburys and put them in there to be real profesh 😉 enjoy!

The beginnings of a sugar addict: Nutella mug cakes.

Baking is one of those things I just randomly fell in love with because I was bored one day and agreed to bake five-minute Nutella mug cakes with a friend. For a greenhorn like myself who has an unhealthy addiction to the chocolatey goodness, it was quick and easy and another excuse to nom on more sinful Nutella. Can’t beat an awesome combo like that!

I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook and bake on my own, largely given the lack of homemade foods in my own home and my foray into baking small treats like cupcakes and cookies is the gateway to potentially becoming a decent chef. 🙂

This blog is really just a journal of sorts to document the various recipes I have tried and keep them all in one space for future reference. Hopefully, five or ten years down the road, I’ll be reading this fondly as I bake red velvet and cream cheese cupcakes. Ah yes, one can always hope…

To begin with the documentation of my sugar addictions, perhaps I should put up the first recipe I’ve ever tried out for Nutella mug cakes(Source: blogs.babble)