Category Archives: Cakes and Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins 

The past month has been super busy! Kids were on spring break, we went for a mini vacation to Portland with my parents. I came back to start a new pharmacy job, meanwhile trying to prepare for 3 Spring markets….. I was basically working 14-16 hours a day! It was exhausting but I had so much fun doing the markets. I love to share my baking passion and people’s responses are very positive and encouraging. I also love meeting and talking to other artisan vendors. It makes me really appreciate the time and effort that they put into their art, whether it’s food related or not. So go visit your local artisan markets and I am sure you will discover some very amazing local vendors and their products.

This is a recipe I did a while ago. I usually try to have one or two “spare” recipes so I can keep posting when I am busy. It’s a very simple muffin recipe but the crumble makes them taste so good! It’s a perfect afternoon snack with a cup of coffee! And definitely need it on my 16 hour-day!

For the muffins

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 4 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 180 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 60 mL canola oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300 g sour cream
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract

For the crumble

  • 60 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. To make the crumble, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt
  3. Rub in cold butter with fingers until resemble wet sand, set aside
  4. To make the batter, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda
  5. Mix in sugar and salt
  6. Add eggs, vanilla, sour cream, melted butter and oil, stir until just blended
  7. Spoon half of the batter, then half of the crumble into lightly oiled and floured muffin tins
  8. Layer with the remaining halves
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes

Recipe adapted from Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins with Streusel Topping at www.justataste.com

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Funfetti Cheesecake 

Can’t believe 2017 is almost over ! It has been a fun and eventful year for me ! I have tried a number of new things…..I did a 10K run (and I actually ran the whole 10K, not walking !) I did two Christmas markets, selling my cookies for the very first time…..I have also injured my feet (plantar fasciitis) and I am not sure when they will completely healed….but oh well, that’s an age thing too, I guess……But overall, I think I had more good than bad this year ! I hope 2018 will be even better, I already have many plans in my mind ! Hope yours will be a prosperous one too ! 

Here is a fun cake to make for New Year ! Funfetti Cheesecake ! I added some rainbow sprinkles to a basic cheesecake recipe and used shortbread cookies for the crust. I baked the cheesecake in a hot water bath to prevent the cake from cracking….Hope you’ll enjoy it and have a fun New Year ! 

Makes one 6-inch cake

For the crust 

  • 150 g shortbread cookie crumbs (you can use any cookies of your choice)
  • 45 g unsalted butter, melted 

For the filling 

  • 500 g light cream cheese, softened 
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 g all-purpose flour 
  • 7.5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 25 g rainbow sprinkles

Extra sprinkles and whipped cream for decorating if needed 

  1. To make the crust, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter together 
  2. Press firmly onto bottom of a 6-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper 
  3. Bake for about 8 minutes, cool slightly 
  4. To make the filling, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth using an electric mixer 
  5. Add eggs, flour and vanilla, mix until blended 
  6. Fold in sprinkles 
  7. Pour into pan, smooth with a spatula and bake in a hot water bath for 50-60 minutes. You can wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent seepage 
  8. Cool completely, then refrigerate 
  9. When ready to serve, remove cake from pan, decorate with whipped cream and more sprinkles 

 

Halloween Monster Cupcakes 

I used to make my kids’ Halloween costumes when they were younger….fairy, witch, Thomas the Tank Engine, Ash from Pokemon, etc. Even though they don’t fit anymore, I still keep them in a box ! Maybe I am collecting too much “junk”, but they really brought back a lot of fond memories…..This year my daughter wants to be a grim reaper again, but scarier than the last two years. Yes, you read it right, it’s my daughter, not my son, and for the third time ! This was her on Halloween night two years ago ! She was only 8 ! Most 8-year-old girls would probably want to be a princess or a fairy, well….. not my girl ! 

Me? I am just going to make monster cupcakes ! These chocolate cupcakes with vanilla butter cream taste really yummy and are not scary at all ! They actually look quite adorable ! Happy Halloween ! 

Makes about 18-20 cupcakes 

For the chocolate cupcakes

  • 150 g all-purpose flour 
  • 150 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 50 g unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 6 g baking powder 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 3 g salt 
  • 200 g granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 180 mL buttermilk 
  • 60 mL vegetable oil 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 180 mL boiling water 

For the butter cream frosting 

  • 240 g unsalted butter 
  • 480 g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 30 -60 mL milk 
  • Gel food colouring 

You will also need candy melts, licorice sticks, candy eyeballs, etc for decoration

  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt 
  3. Mix in sugar
  4. In another bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla 
  5. Pour wet ingredients (except boiling water) into dry ingredients, mix until just blended 
  6. Gradually stir in boiling water, 3-4 tablespoons at a time, until just combined, batter will be runny 
  7. Pour into slightly greased cupcake cups and bake in tins for about 16-18 minutes 
  8. Cool completely before frosting 
  9. To make the frosting, use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, start creaming butter 
  10. Gradually add in icing sugar, beat until fluffy
  11. Add vanilla, then milk, a little at a time, to desired consistency 
  12. Separate into batches, add gel food colourings
  13. Decorate cupcakes as desired 

Keep in refrigerator if not consume right away

 

 

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake 

For Thanksgiving this year, I want to make something that I haven’t made before and is easy to put together. So I made this Pumpkin Cake ! I kept it light by using vegetable oil in the batter and just a small amount of butter in the frosting. I figured everyone might be running out of stomach space after a hearty turkey meal ! The maple walnuts are optional, but they are REALLY good and make the cake a lot more flavourful ! My daughter is usually my taste tester, but this time I got my mom to try it …..and she ate 2 big pieces of it, I guess that means it’s approved ! Happy Thanksgiving !

Makes one 8-inch square cake

For the cake 

  • 150 g canned or homemade pumpkin puree 
  • 200 g cake and pastry flour
  • 3 g baking powder
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 5 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 90 mL vegetable oil
  • 90 mL buttermilk
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 

For the frosting 

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 60 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract 

Optional toppings

Mix about 60 g walnuts with a tablespoon of maple syrup and toast in a 350°F oven for about 8 minutes.

  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line bottom of baking tray with parchment paper, lightly grease and flour the sides
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking power, baking soda, salt and spices
  4. Mix in sugar
  5. In another bowl, mix together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla
  6. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until just blended
  7. Fold in pumpkin puree
  8. Pour into baking tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes, let cool 
  9. Evenly trim off top and sides with a serrated knife 
  10. To make the frosting, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy
  11. Add icing sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth
  12. Spread over top of cake
  13. Top with toasted walnuts if desired 

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

I haven’t been blogging actively. It’s been such a busy summer and we were on vacation last week. I make this zucchini loaf all the time and I have been hoping to share it since May ! Somehow just never got around to it. Last week, the mom of my daughter’s best friend gave me a few gigantic zucchini fresh from her garden ! So I made this again and finally put the post together. It’s one of those sneaky recipes in which you can hide the vegetables ! My son doesn’t like sweets nor zucchini, but he would come back for more of this. I guess that means it tastes pretty good ! If you prefer, you can put them in muffin tins instead, just remember to adjust the baking time to about 20-25 minutes. 

Makes 2 mini loaves (dimensions of pan: 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25 inches)

  • 120 g shredded zucchini
  • 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 g baking powder
  • 1.5 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 180 mL buttermilk
  • 30 mL vegetable oil
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 60 g semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Add both sugars
  4. In another bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla
  5. Add wet ingredients into flour mixture, stir until just blended
  6. Fold in chocolate chips and zucchini (batter will be slightly runny)
  7. Pour into lightly greased and floured loaf pans
  8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes 

Tools that I used 

Chicago Metallic 59440 Commercial II Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pans, Set of 4

You can get the mini loaf pans through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

Classic Madeleines 

Madeleines are something that have been in my mind for a long time. These elegant looking mini cakes are so buttery and tasty. They are not difficult to make, you just need a little patience as both the batter and the molds have to be chilled before baking. And yes, you do have to buy the Madeleine pan to get that shell-liked shape, but for about $20-$30, it’s worth it. Well, I guess that’s from a baker’s point of view ! My kids often tell me I spend too much on my baking stuff, but hey, these are my toys, plus I don’t buy expensive clothes, handbags or jewellery like other people do ! Most importantly, I am doing something that makes me happy ! And when mom is happy, everyone’s happy ! 

Makes about 22-24 

  • 120 g unsalted butter + 30 g for greasing tray, melted 
  • 90 g all-purpose flour 
  • 90 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 3 g baking powder 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150 g vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • Zest of one lemon 
  • 15 mL lemon juice 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • Icing sugar for dusting 
  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan or microwave, cool slightly 
  2. Brush madeleine moulds with about 30 g of melted butter, coat with flour, tapping off excess
  3. Place coated pan in freezer for at least one hour 
  4. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt, mix in sugar, set aside 
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla until frothy, about 5 minutes 
  6. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture 
  7. Gently mix in 120 g of melted (and cooled) butter, 2-3 tablespoons at a time until just blended 
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight 
  9. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F
  10. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter into each mould without spreading it out
  11. Place madeleine pan on another large baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes until edges are golden 
  12. Cool in moulds for a few minutes then completely on rack 
  13. Dust with icing sugar, best to eat within 2 days 

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, “How to Bake Everything” 

Tools and Books 


  
Chicago Metallic 26631 12-Cup Nonstick Madeleine Pan

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking

You can get the Madeleine pan and the cookbook through the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 

Lemon Lavender Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I haven’t had much luck with growing any living things lately. I planted some herbs and lavender seeds couple months ago, the herbs sprouted but didn’t survive, the lavender is growing but very slow. Then my daughter’s last little neon tetra died (we started with six fishes)……What am I doing wrong ??? Feeling kind of frustrated, I went and purchased a whole bunch of plants…..herbs, tomato, kale and lavender, hoping for better luck with some already-grown plants. Out of all of them, I like lavender the best ! It is in my favourite colour (purple, of course) and I love its smell, so soothing and relaxing. I have always wanted to bake with dried lavender too. Since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought it would be a perfect time to try. It has a strong flavour, so use very sparingly. (I added a little too much the first time and my cake tasted almost medicinal ! So I had to cut it down and remake the cake.) Make sure you get dried lavender that is for culinary use only. I wouldn’t recommend making your own, as some plants may have been treated with pesticides. I decided to make a naked Lemon Lavender Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Naked cakes are very popular these days, but my primary reason was my terrible decorating skill ! With a naked cake, I can get away with the imperfection ! Secondly, I prefer cakes with less frosting (though my daughter would disagree), I can enjoy more of the cake itself rather than just butter and sugar. So, here it is, my Mother’s Day celebration ! A cake with bright lemon flavour and a subtle touch of lavender. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, myself and all the wonderfull moms in the world ! 

Oh, you probably were wondering about my daughter’s fishes. Well, I told her we will get some more later, but she may want to pick something other than the tetras, cause they just don’t live very long and I really don’t enjoy scooping out dead fishes…..Lol
Makes one 6 inch cake

For the lavender sugar

  • 0.75 g (about 1 teaspoon) dried lavender flowers, food grade only 
  • 150 g granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)

Scrape vanilla bean and pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until blended

For the cake

  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 150 g lavender sugar (use 30 g for the meringue)
  • 75 g all-purpose flour
  • 75 g cake and pastry flour 
  • 3 g baking powder 
  • 2 g salt 
  • 30 mL lemon juice (use 5 mL for the meringue)
  • Zest of one lemon 
  • 30 mL vegetable oil 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F 
  2. Lightly grease two 6″ round cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper
  3. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt, set aside
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks and 120 g of lavender sugar until pale
  5. Add 25 mL of lemon juice, lemon zest, oil and vanilla, mix until blended
  6. Gently fold in flour mixture
  7. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and 5 mL of lemon juice until frothy
  8. Increase speed to high and slowly add in 30 g of lavender sugar
  9. Whisk until medium peak is formed
  10. Gently fold meringue into cake batter, 1/3 at a time, do not over mix
  11. Pour into baking tray and bake for about 20-22 minutes
  12. Cool completely before frosting 

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 60 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 120 g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 30 mL lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy
  2. Gradually add in icing sugar
  3. Add lemon juice,lemon zest and vanilla, mix until blended and smooth
  4. Keep in refrigerator until use

To Assemble

  1. Spread frosting between two layers of cake and on top (If the frosting is too firm to spread, you can put it in a bowl, then a hot water bath for a minute or two, just enough to soften) 
  2. Lightly frost the sides, smooth with a spatula 
  3. Keep in refrigerator