Nothing gets me going like a good recipe and a new dish to bake. The planning, the excitement when the dish looks like its working out, the joy of seeing my family and friends gobble it up and eagerly looking forward to what I can bake next, everything about baking makes me happy (the messy kitchen counter top aside :p) Here's a peek into my kitchen, my cooking, my wonderland.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Coffee anyone?

Coffee cupcakes with white chocolate fudge frosting
   There are times in life when you are humbled by people who often are the most simple in being, but whose actions make them anything but ordinary. One such person I met was Mamta Shukla, my friend Shubham's mom. I met her on Shubham's birthday, bringing it in with a homemade cake as usual. That's when she knew I loved baking and after our miles by the minute conversation, Shubham and me said bye whilst her folks wondered in amusement how we could talk so much, so fast, simultaneously and still understand each other. 
   Met her mom again for dinner that day and her twinkling kind eyes made me like her instantly. She left to travel around and that was it. We didn't talk thereafter. Now you can imagine to my surprise when Shubham says, 'My mom has got you something from her trip.' The thought of her getting something for me, who she just met for a few hours was enough to make me smile for the next few hours in joy. Who doesn't love gifts? And unexpected ones, even better :) 
   She had remembered that I loved baking and knew my fondness for cupcakes and had gotten me Joanna Farrow's book - Cupcakes. I squealed like a child at this book, my first one on cupcakes :) Even though what she did might seem simple and inconsequential to a third person, her thoughtfulness has inked herself into my memory. Thanks aunty, not just for this, but for being there for me via your daughter in trying times as well. Shubham, you have one helluva lovely mom :) This ones for you aunty :) 

Coffee cupcakes with white chocolate fudge frosting
Recipe courtesy: Cupcakes by Joanna Farrow

For the cupcakes you will need: (makes 12)
  • 150 grams unsalted butter
  • 150 grams castor sugar
  • 175 grams self-raising flour (You can substitute this with plain flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strong coffee powder
You can decorate them with sprinkles like so

    1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 C 
    2. Dump all the ingredients in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes or so until the mixture is light and creamy.
    3. Pour them into your lined cupcake moulds and bake for about 20 minutes or till they have risen and are firm to touch or till a skewer inserted comes out dry.
    For the white chocolate fudge frosting you will need:
    • 200 grams white chocolate chopped up finely
    • 5 tablespoons milk
    • 175 grams icing sugar
    1. Place the chocolate and milk in a heat proof bowl, set it over a saucepan of gently simmering water and leave until melted. Stir frequently to avoid lumps and burning the chocolate. 
    2. Once melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and stir in the icing sugar gently until you get a smooth mixture.
    3. While still warm, spread or pipe the frosting over your cooled cupcakes. 
    A yum treat to finish off a meal

    Tuesday, 4 October 2011

    Gimme red

    Red velvet cupcakes, plain without trimmings, but regal regardless
    I've always been in awe of red velvet cupcakes, mostly cuz the name sounds so fancy and royal. I mean, red and velvet, separately conjure up some wow images in your head, put them together and add cupcake to it and you've got heaven on a plate :)
    The real tempter was when I had my first red velvet cupcake at Candies in Mumbai with my bro. Ever since, I've been wanting to make this sinful beauty. Tried it after months of eating it and waited with bated breath after making the cupcakes and making my own buttermilk, mind you :)
    But as luck would have it, boom, the powers that be put a spanner in the wheels of my plan by shutting down the power supply in my area the minute I put these beauties in the oven. Thankfully, I had a second batch to rely on and the residual heat in the oven carried forward the baking process considerably enough to make the first batch bake well too. If you ever get stuck in a similar situation, I've found that mixing a teeensy amount of baking soda in the batter and mixing it again before baking (when the power comes back on) helps them rise beautifully. The result, was stunning but I decided to go all the way and decorate it with blue and white cream cheese frosting. Indulgent, aint I? :p 
    I mixed up a few recipes I found online with some steps of my own.. So without any further ado, here's how you can go about making these red beauties. 

    1 cup flour (maida)
    2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
    1/2 cup castor sugar
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    60 to 80 grams unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
    Red food colouring
    Salt to taste

    For the cream cheese frosting, you will need:
    180 grams cream cheese that is at room temperature
    200 grams icing sugar
    100 grams unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Making buttermilk:
    If you can't find plain buttermilk in the stores (I found only the masala variety everywhere I went), you can make your own buttermilk. Simply add half a teaspoon of lemon juice to 3/4th cup of milk, mix well and leave to rest for about 15 minutes before using.

    Making the cupcakes:

    • Preheat oven to 180 C
    • Beat the butter till fluffy (1 minute) and beat in the sugar as well, till fluffy (2 mins)
    • Add the eggs, beating after each addition and beat in the vanilla essence and red food colouring too. You can add as much as you like to get the desired hue. 
    • Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt and alternatively add the flour and buttermilk mixture to the batter, starting and ending with the dry  mixture. 
    • Just before you pour the batter into the cupcake liners, mix the vinegar and baking soda together and add that fizzy mixture to the batter and mix it in. (This helps make the red look brighter, some say)
    • Pour into your liners (1/2 to 2/4th full) and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. 
    • Cool the cupcakes before decorating them.
    Go wild with colour combos and patterns. Experimentation is the key...

    Making the cream cheese frosting:
    • Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.
    • Add in  the vanilla essence and then, the icing sugar bit by bit, beating till it is well incorporated. You can add more or less depending on the consistency you want.
    • Divide the mixture onto two halves and colour accordingly. 

    Ending on a pretty note