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November 29, 2010

Birthday cupcakes

Last weekend I got an invite to a relative's daughter's birthday party. Still tired from my trips to the hospital for my medical exam I couldn't make up my mind what to get her so I decided to make cupcakes for the birthday girl.

The recipe is based on Martha Stewart's vanilla summer cupcakes. Instead of using the Swiss-meringue buttercream, I opted for a much simpler  frosting. I substituted half the amount of butter that the recipe called for with shortening. I creamed the butter and shortening mixture with 4 tablespoons of milk and added pure vanilla extract. When the mixture became fluffy, I added melted white chocolate and icing sugar alternately. I added 4 TBSP of milk again when the frosting became dry. I piped the frosting on each cupcake and topped it with chocolate and colorful sprinkles.

I wasn't expecting the party to be big. I didn't eat any cupcakes because there were not enough for everyone! I could tell the guests liked them just by the look of their faces.

November 25, 2010

Bread and Butter

One night a few weeks back, I was browsing the net looking for a good whole wheat bread recipe when I chanced upon this video on youtube. The show was all about healthy bread. I went to the main website and hurriedly searched for whole wheat bread and found it in a snap. The demo was done by this guy who has been baking for 35 years. I watched the baker in awe. My tummy growled as the flour began to take shape. For each procedure , he gave a thorough explanation. And that made every step easier for me.I am not a bread baker but a pastry chef who wants to develop and refine my skills in baking bread so all minute details are essential to my learning process. I had this itch to try it right away but I couldn't as I didn't have the ingredients needed. I took the trip to a nearby supermarket as soon as I had my breakfast the next day.

Here's what you need for the recipe. Olive oil, sea salt, dry yeast, whole wheat flour , warm water and syrup.

November 4, 2010

Parsley and Mickey

My niece Parsley turned 2 on Sunday. I volunteered to make her favorite Disney character Mickey cake. I baked the chocolate sponge cake in advance and kept it in the fridge for three days before carving it. Chilled sponge cake saved me a lot of effort in carving.

I used a different frosting this time. The main ingredient I used was white chocolate. I melted it with a half cup of butter and a quarter cup of cream and milk mixture. I chilled the mixture ( I monitored it all the time) before I whipped it. I added a bit of cream and milk mixture while whipping until I got the right consistency. The result - everyone asked for second helping. Twas a hit!