Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

Unlike in the United States or in UK, cupcakes have never been much of a craze in Singapore until of late.  Overseas, especially in the United States, the cupcake trend really took off back in the late '90s when HBO's Sex and the City series made a mention of a New York bakery called Magnolia Bakery. Since then, the gourmet cupcake bakeries have been springing up and its popularity has not died down yet



Another well-known cupcake bakery is The Hummingbird Bakery which is located in London. Tarek Malouf, the founder of The Hummingbird Bakery has been selling cupcakes and other American treats for more than six years now.  The Hummingbird Bakery is located in three prime London locations and they sell around 22,000 cupcakes a week.


Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery "Cupcakes & Muffins"
Makes 12 cupcakes


100g plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
110g caster sugar (reduced from original)
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt 40g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg
120ml low-fat milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Pre-heat oven to 170C and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2) Lightly beat the egg together with the milk and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

3) Add all other ingredients in a bowl and using a hand mixer beat on low speed until mixture resembles a sandy consistency and everything is combined

4) Slowly add in half of the milk/egg mixture and beat on slow.  Add in the remaining liquid and continue beating for another 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.  Do not overmix.

5) Spoon the batter into the liners 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the cupcake bounces back when touched.  Leave cupcakes to cool completely before frosting with your favourite frosting




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Seared Tuna with Soy-Mirin Dressing

I like Bill Granger's recipes for its simplicity and ease in preparation. Most of his cook books are easy to follow and the ingredients are usually available in local stores. It does not have tonnes of intructions that runs into pages. This particular book which I have is pretty old. When I say simple instructions, it really has. It has one page with a picture of the dish and another page which has the entire recipe. The dishes come out delicious and looks as if it had taken a while for you to prepare.
This particular seared tuna recipe makes a greater starter for an elegant dinner party or looks just as great on a buffet table. I love tuna and I could not resist to buy it today especially when it was on a discount! Just the right timing for me to put this recipe together.
Seared Tuna with Soy-Mirin Dressing
Recipe Adapted from "Bill's Sydney Food" by Bill Granger

2 Tbsp black peppercorns, ground
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
1/4 cup olive oil 500g tuna, cut into large batons, about 2" square at ends
1 cup shredded cucumber
1/4 cup of baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup coriander leaves
3 Tbsp mix of black and white sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy-mirin dressing (recipe below) Olive oil for drizzling (optional)


1) Place pepper, salt, coriander and olive oil in a bowl. Stir to combine.

2) Place tuna on a plate and pour the herb mixture, pressing it on all sides of the tuna with your hands. Then coat it with the sesame seeds.

3) Heat a non-stick frying pan on high heat. Sear the tuna for 20 seconds on each side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest for an hour.

Soy-Mirin Dressing:

1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Place everything into a bowl and stir to mix. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the dish.

To Assemble:

Slice tuna into 5mm slices and arrange in a circle, overlapping slightly onto individual plates. Top with the cucumber, spinach and coriander leaves. Pour 3 Tbsp of the dressing over each plate and serve. Sprinkle with extra white toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve immediately.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Passionfruit Lime Tart

My office colleague would bring passionfruit for me once in a while when she visits her hometown in Malaysia. So about three weeks ago, she brought back about half a dozen and I promised her that I would make a dessert from the pulp and bring it to the office.

The idea of using the pulp in a dessert tart sounded really good and this particular recipe from Matt Moran really got me going. However I did change the filing somewhat by adding lime juice and zest to it. The flavours were amazing, passionfruit with an added tang coming through from the lime. The pastry crust was nice as well, not the flaky version but somewhat resembling that of a buttery shortbread cookie.

Passionfruit tart 2

Passionfruit tart 4

Passionfruit Lime Tart
Adapted from "Matt Moran (Lantern)" by Matt Moran

Sweet Tart Pastry


225g unsalted butter, cold
100g icing sugar
375g plain flour (2 1/2 cups)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Passionfruit Lime Filing


7 passion fruits, scoop out the pulp
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
150g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
130ml double cream (thickened cream)
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)


1) Cut the butter into small cubes.

2) Place the flour and icing sugar into a food processor and blizt for 10 seconds.

3) Scatter the butter cubes around the flour in the processor and pulse the content until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3) Drizzle the beaten egg into the mixture until it comes together.

4) Remove the dough onto a clingwrap. Form the dough into a disc, flatten it slightly and wrap tightly. Place in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes until slightly harden.

5) Remove from fridge and roll it until 1/4" thick. Line a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom. Prink the dough and then place the tart shell into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until harden.

6) Preheat oven to 180C. Line the tart with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the parchment, bake for a further 5-10 mins until golden, then remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 140C.

7) Whilst the tart shell is baking, place the passionfruit flesh into a food processor. Blend for about half a minute. Push the pulp through sieve and mix the juice with the lime zest and juice. Beat the sugar and yolks together until pale, then beat in the cream and fruit juice.

8) Once the tart shell has been partially pre-baked, remove from the oven.
Carefully pour the custard into the tart case, then bake for 40 mins at 140C, until set with a very slight wobble.

9) Remove the tart from the oven, then leave to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving.

Passionfruit tart 1

Passionfruit tart 3

Passionfruit tart 5

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Glazed Blackberry-Lime Cupcakes

Do you occassionally stop yourself from buying cakes from bakeries simply because you could probably make it yourself? Furthermore it may even taste better as you know what ingredients goes into it. You are also likely not to compromise on using better quality ingredients. I think it is probably something that all of us bakers go through.

My pantry is always stocked full of baking ingredients and I really don't need to go to the local stores to buy anything if I fancy to do some last minute baking over the weekend. So these blackberry cupcakes were put together on a spur of a moment. The blackberries and limes were already in my refrigerator before I even thought of making these cupcakes. These freeze well for about a month but you probably won't have any left overs as they are really yummy - soft and moist.

blackberry muffin 5

blackberry muffin 2

Glazed Blackberry-Lime Cupcakes
Recipe Adapted from "500 cupcakes & Muffins by Fergal Connolly"
Makes 1 1/2 dozen


115g unsalted butter, softened
170g caster sugar(reduced from original recipe)
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
115ml low fat milk
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking power
115g fresh blackberries (or blueberries)
1 tsp grated lime zest

For the Glaze: (optional)

100g caster sugar
2 Tbsp lime zest
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp boiling water


1) Preheat oven to 175C. Place 18 paper lines in a muffin tray.

2) Beat butter and sugar until soft and fluffly. Add the eggs slowly and mix well. Add in the vanilla extract and zest and beat to incorporate.

3) Sift the flour and baking powder. Add in 3 additions alternating with milk. Beat until just combine - do not overbeat.

4) Dust the blackberries with 1 tsp of self raising flour and then fold gently into the batter.

5) Spoon into cupcake liners and bake in oven for about 18 - 20 minutes. Remove and leave to cool completely before adding the glaze. Alternatively just dust each cupcake with icing sugar to serve.

Method for the Glaze:

Mix the sugar, zest, lime juice and boiling water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar has completely dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly and then spoon over each cupcakes.

blackberry muffin 1

blackberry muffin 3

blackberry muffin 4
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