Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Here's another cupcake recipe adapted from the delightfully sweet Primrose Bakery's 'Cupcakes' cookbook. This time I chose Pumpkin Cupcakes. I just love to incorporate veggies in my bakes. It makes me feel less guilty and a little wee bit 'healthier'.

These cupcakes were nicely moist and soft. I left them unfrosted as I didn't want to add in extra calories. I bet they would've been even better with a creamy velvety cream cheese frosting. Ah, if only my ever expanding thighs permit!

So far  the Primrose Bakery 'Cupcakes' cookbook have yet to dissappoint. I've tried 2 recipes, the Malted Cupcakes (Milo Cupcakes) and this Pumpkin Cupcakes. Both turned out satisfactorily moist and tender. But they may be a tad too sweet and you may need to adjust the sugar to suit your tastebud. I've reduced  the sugar for the pumpkin recipe below.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
(Adapted from Primrose Bakery  'Cupcakes' cookbook) 

(makes 12 regular cupcakes)

  • 110g butter  
  • 200g soft light brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 100g pureed pumpkin 
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 125ml buttermilk (or 120ml water mixed with 2 tbs buttermilk powder)

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric hand whisk until pale and smooth, which should take 3-5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, add vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.  Then add pumpkin and beat until just combined.
  2. Combine and sift  self-raising flour, plain flour and mixed spice in a bowl.  Add 1/3 of the flours to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.  Add 1/2 the buttermilk and beat again, then repeat these steps until all the ingredients have been added.
  3. Spoon the mixture into 12  cupcake cases, filling them to about 2/3 full.  Bake at 180 C for about 25 mins until slightly raised and golden brown.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave the cupcakes in their tins for about 10 mins before cooling on a wire rack.

I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Baker's #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011) hosted by Min of Min's Blog.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Milo Cupcakes

    We, especially Malaysians & Singaporeans grew up drinking Milo. It is a staple breakfast drink in most households and is served  in all coffee shops. If you're reading and wondering what Milo is, it is actually a brand name of a chocolate malted drink. Heard of Ovaltine? But Ovaltine somehow is not as popular as Milo. 

    Instead of drinking that mug of Milo, how about eating one for a change ... a Milo cupcake? I made these Milo cupcakes the other day just for this month's  Aspiring Baker's cupcake theme. I used a recipe adapted from the Primrose Bakery Cupcakes cookbook and frosted them with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  These Milo cupcakes were soft and moist and very Milo-y. Yummy!  One little issue though, the crumb stuck to my teeth everytime I took a bite! I'm wondering whether this is because I've added too much Milo? The original recipe ask for half the amount I used. Hmmm .... anybody knows why?      

    Milo Cupcakes
    Recipe adapted from Primrose Bakery Cupcakes cookbook

    110g butter, softened
    120g soft brown sugar 
    100g caster sugar
    2 large eggs
    125g self raising flour
    60g cake flour
    100g Milo powder
    125ml milk
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 tbs heavy cream


    1. Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
    2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugars until pale and smooth. 
    3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing into the mixture between additions. 
    4. In a separate bowl, sift and combine together the flours and Milo powder.
    5. Mix the milk together with vanilla extract and heavy cream.
    6.  Add 1/3 of the flour to the creamed butter/sugar mixture.  Beat well until combined. Then, add 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat again.  Repeat this step until the last of the flour and then the last of the milk, beating well between additions. 
    7. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.  Fill about 2/3 full. 
    8. Bake for about 25 mins until golden brown or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
    9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes. 
    10. Then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack. 

    I bake the cupcakes in small size muffin tins and yielded 28 cupcakes which took 20 minutes to bake.

    Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    (Recipe adapted from Table for 2 or more)

    2 egg whites
    100gm sugar
    170gm unsalted butter, lightly softened


    1. Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and temperature has reached 65C. The mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Remove from stove.
    2. Pour meringue into a mixing bowl. Beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes.
    3. Now add in add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Mixture will be soupy and maybe curdled. Do not worry. It will come together nicely in the end. Carry on beating on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, approximately  6-10 minutes. 

    I'm submitting this post to Aspiring Baker's #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011) hosted by Min of Min's Blog.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Fudgy Wudgy Okara Brownies

    If I don't tell, you probably wouldn't have known these fudgy wudgy brownies contain okara. Okara is a by product of soy beans, the pulpy mass leftover from straining soy bean milk. If you make soy bean milk at home, don't throw the okara away. Make these and you'll be glad you've saved it!

    Well, my Daughter obviously didn't suspect a thing. She enjoyed the brownies so much and even helped herself to seconds. If only she knew. But she did! I accidentally leaked out the 'secret ingredient' while talking to dear Hubby. This fazed her a little but she soon  forgotten about it and reached out for the leftovers. Really, these brownies don't taste beany at all and it's really quite hard to believe they contain okara! Hehehe! Who would have thought something so good and healthy can be so yummy (in the form of a brownie of course!).

    After much browsing and researching, I decided to use a vegan recipe from Vegan Feast Kitchen as it seems to be quite a popular one where okara brownies are concerned. Being a vegan recipe, it calls for egg replacement glop and for non-vegans like me this is really quite unheard of! So I used REAL eggs instead, and REAL butter in place of the Earth Balance which is actually margarine.   

    Here it is, the recipe, de-veganised (if there's such a word!).

    Makes 14 cupcake squares 


    4 Eggs
    2 cups Brown sugar
    3/4 cup, packed well-squeezed Okara (soybean pulp from making soymilk)
    4 oz (1/2 cup) melted Butter
    1/4 cup Water
    2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup plain white flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
    1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or other favorite nuts) 

    1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a 12 hole square muffin pan with cupcake liners.
    2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs together with brown sugar until thick and foamy. Add vanilla, water, melted butter and okara. Combine well.
    3. In another bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Sift  into the wet mixture. Fold and stir briefly, just to blend. Do this in batches. Fold in the nuts.
    4. Scrape the batter into the prepared muffin pan until almost full and bake for about 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

    1. Baking time is just a guideline . Your oven may need less or more time. 
    2. If you prefer, use a 9 inch square baking pan and line with non-stick parchment paper (with over hang on the sides for easy removal). Bake for about 50 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack. Do not cut until the brownies are cool. You can lift the whole thing out of the pan, using the parchment liner, onto a cutting board.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Homemade Soya Bean Milk

    I've always thought making homemade soya bean milk is a difficult process and that you must own a soya bean milk maker machine to do the job. How wrong was I! If you have a food processor and a muslin/cheese cloth, you're good to go. It's really not difficult at all, just a little tedious and messy. That's what's  great about blogging. I learn new things all the time. Though making homemade soya bean milk is nothing new to most Asian homecooks to shout about, it is a big deal for a noob cook like me.  I can now proudly say I make my own soya bean milk from scratch! Haha!

    To make soya bean milk, first you need to soak the beans overnight. The beans will swell to double its size. Rinse and drain and then place in the food processor. Add water just enough to cover the beans and blend. Squeeze and strain out using a muslin/cheese cloth. Put the strained pulp back in the food processor, add water to cover and blend again. This is to extract as much milk from the beans as possible. Strain soya bean milk into a pot, slowly bring to the boil while stirring regularly. Skim off any foam. Let it gently simmer for 10 minutes. That's it! Homemade soya bean milk.  Thick and creamy and nothing like what you get from outside. You can add as much or as little sugar to your liking and even flavour the milk with pandan leaves. If you prefer a less thick soya milk, just thin it down with more water. Drink it warm or cold as you like. How great is that huh?

    One thing to note. While cooling the soya bean milk, it will form a layer of 'beancurd sheet' on top. Do not try to stir it in the milk like what I did. You'll end up with clumpy milk.  Just gently scrape it away. Discard the beancurd sheet or you can dry it and save for another use, but I've not tried that.  You also need to strain the soya bean milk  to get rid of any bits of beancurd sheet that might be left. For the smoothest texture, strain and strain again if you must. Store the soya bean milk in the refrigerator if you can't finish within the day its made. I've kept it for a couple of days and it was still okay.

    Go here for the recipe and  detailed step by step method. I used 250g soya beans and that yielded somewhere  between 1 1/2  to 2 litres of soya bean milk.
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