Category Archives: Cakes and Muffins

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

 

 

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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 


 

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake

I wish Spring is here soon ! Our winter here in the west coast has been pretty cold and snowy. Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain, the kids did have a lot of fun playing in the snow and compare to many other places in Canada, this is very mild. To welcome Spring and St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I should make something green. And of course matcha is the first thing that comes to mind. This recipe is what I call a 2-in-1. The mousse cake has two parts, but each of them can be a dessert on its own ! You can use the cake batter to make cupcakes or mini loaves.  And for the mousse, you can pour it into nice little bowls and refrigerate, which is exactly what I did with the leftover !

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse

For the mousse cake itself, I made one layer of each, but you can definitely stack them in multiple layers if you like. I also added some chopped dark chocolate on top but it’s optional, cause I believe everything (almost everything) tastes better with chocolate ! And hopefully this Spring dessert can bring some warm weather soon ! 

Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake

Makes one 6-inch cake

For the cake

  • 4 large eggs (separated)
  • 120 g granulated sugar (20 g for meringue)
  • 75 g cake and pastry flour
  • 5 g matcha (green tea) powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Lightly grease an 8″ x 10″ x 1″ baking tray and line bottom with parchment paper
  3. Sift together flour and matcha powder, set aside
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks and 100 g of sugar until pale
  5. Add vanilla and the flour mixture, mix until blended
  6. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and lemon juice until frothy
  7. Increase speed to high and slowly add in 20 g of sugar
  8. Whisk until medium peak is formed
  9. Gently fold meringue into cake batter, 1/3 at a time, do not over mix
  10. Pour into baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes
  11. Let cool completely, then cut into a round disc to fit cake mould (I used a cake ring, so I just cut it with the ring)Matcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake

For the mousse

  • 500 mL whipping cream (cold)
  • 250 mL milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 120 g granulated sugar
  • 15 g matcha powder
  • 10 g gelatin powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Chill the mixing bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over about 1/4 cup of milk and let sit for a few minutes to bloom
  3. Heat and stir remaining milk, sugar and matcha powder in a pot over medium heat until sugar melted and just starting to bubble
  4. Add gelatin mixture, stir until all dissolved
  5. Turn heat off, add vanilla 
  6. Strain mixture through a fine mesh and let cool to room temperature
  7. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment and the chilled mixing bowl, beat cold whipping cream until medium peak is formed
  8. Gently fold the whipped cream into milk mixture, 1/3 at a time, do not over mix

To assemble

  1. Place a lightly greased cake ring on a tray lined with parchment paper
  2. Place cake disc (smooth side down) at the bottom
  3. Pour mousse on top of cake and smooth top with a spatula 
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours to set
  5. Sprinkle top with finely chopped dark chocolate (optional)

NotesIf you have trouble removing the ring, you can freeze the cake for about 1-2 hours, put a knife or an angled spatula in hot water, wipe dry, then run it around the cakeMatcha (Green Tea) Mousse Cake


 

 

Carrot Spelt Muffins with Maple Roasted Pecans (Vegan)

I guess by now everyone knows I love to bake.  Not only do I like to eat sweets, but I also get intrigued by how different ingredients work or not work together and the Science behind it. Yes, baking is an edible Science experiment ! And I have so much fun with these “Science projects” !  Vegan baking is even more interesting ! You don’t have your eggs to bind things together, you don’t have your dairy nor butter for nice creamy texture and rich flavours.  But there are actually many great alternatives and I realize I have a lot more to learn. This is the first time I bake with spelt flour. It can be used instead of whole wheat flour. It has a finer texture and a milder taste which I like.  For the roasted pecans, you won’t need the whole batch for the muffins, save the rest for a healthy snack !

Makes about 12 muffins

For the roasted pecans 

  • 100 g pecans
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup 
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Pinch of salt 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Coat pecans with rest of ingredients 
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring once in between Maple Roasted Pecans

For the muffins

  • 225 g spelt flour
  • 1+1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 60 g demerara or brown sugar 
  • 150 g unsweetened apple sauce 
  • 120 mL vegetable oil 
  • 60 mL unsweetened almond milk 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 200 g grated carrots 
  • 30 g maple roasted pecans, crushed 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon 
  3. Mix in sugar 
  4. Stir in other wet ingredients
  5. Stir in grated carrots 
  6. Spoon into lightly greased paper or silicone muffin cups (you can fill them up a little fuller, as they don’t rise as much)
  7. Sprinkle crushed maple pecans on top 
  8. Bake in muffin tins for 25-30 minutes Carrot Spelt Muffins with Maple Roasted Pecans (Vegan)