Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Lemon White Chocolate Buttercream

(Image via Serious Eats)

My younger sister is back from overseas volunteer work in the Philippines, so to celebrate, I whipped up an easy batch of Hummingbird cupcakes slathered with lemon white chocolate buttercream. It's a traditional American dessert hailing from the South, chock full of bright flavours - lemon, banana and pineapple.

Traditionally it's topped with cream cheese frosting, but I'm still hooked on poring through the Brown Betty Bakery's recipes, and gave their white chocolate buttercream a whirl. It is luscious, creamy and sweet. Perfect for a lighter, crumb based banana cake like this one!

Pardon the poor icing and photography skills, still navigating these baking waters with an iPhone and a lone spatula knife. But practice makes perfect, no?

For Hummingbird Cake (Adapted from Serious Eats, makes about 12 cupcakes)
2 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can crushed pineapple in syrup 
1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup pecan halves (I omitted these because we're not so big on nuts)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 175°C. Fill cupcake pan with liners. Whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and mashed banana in a large bowl until completely combined. Whisk in pineapple (with liquid) until combined.

2. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon to the bowl, and then whisk until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake until top is set and toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs, around 15 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours.

Lemon White Chocolate Buttercream (Makes 3/4 cup, enough for 6 cupcakes)
6o g white chocolate (chopped)

¾ tablespoon unsalted butter

75g softened cream cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 cup of confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1. Combine white choc and butter in a bowl in a microwave till melted – stirring every 15 – 20 seconds
2. Mix cream cheese, vanilla and salt on high speed till smooth

3. Reduce mixer speed to low, adding melted white chocolate mixture and lemon zest, beating for about 30 seconds.

4.  Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended. Scrape bowl down. Beat on high for 1 minute and chill until ready to use. 

Baker's Notes

1. The cake is just as moreish with lemon cream cheese frosting.
2. Don't toss out the pineapple syrup, adding the liquid helps keep the cake moist and fruity. 
Hee Hee Hee, couldn't resist the parting shot with M's delighted expression (poor kid had no candy / cake / chocolate for TWO WEEKS). Have a lazy Sunday ahead everyone! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Back in the Day Bakery - Donut Muffins

I confess, I'm not a breakfast person. Even with the rabid brunch / breakfast trends going on now, I find it impossible to get myself up before noon to consume those hefty plates that have been trending on Instagram.  Since primary school, I would happily forsake minutes of brekkie for extra sleep, and slake my hunger with full meals at the school tuckshop - Fish Ball Soup, Fried Rice, Lor Mai Kai. The savoury options were forever my go tos (back in the day). As I grew older though, and my lifestyle grew more hectic, the need for portable meals became necessary. So begin my love / hate affair for breads, cupcakes and muffins - delicious, cakey and the perfect vehicle to stuff frosting in my face ^^

Cheryl and Griffith Day weave a beautiful book full of traditional Southern treats, handed down from Cheryl's grandmother to Griffith's personal brainstorms. There were a few that stood out - Donut Muffins, Bourbon Bread Pudding and 'Nana Puddin. 

These are my spin of their donut muffins -  Plain Muffins stuffed with a Nutella peanut mix, and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. Mmm Mmm MMM - Cakey, with a lovely crunchy exterior and interior thanks to the tumble with cinnamon sugar and peanuts. Paired with a steaming cup of coffee, the perfect accompaniment whilst marking my scripts. 

Back in the Day Bakery’s Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins (Makes 12)
3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg    
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom  
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons buttermilk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs

12 teaspoons Nutella 

1/4 cup chopped peanuts 
For the coating:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1.  Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 175◦C. Lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk.
3. In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Continue to mix until the mixture lightens in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth; do not overmix- or they will be dense.
4. With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, 1/3 way through. Top the batter with a teaspoon of Nutella and a sprinkle of peanuts. Top with more batter till about 2/3s full.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and lightly golden.
5. While the muffins bake, set up two bowls to dunk them in. In one bowl you will have the melted butter, and in the other bowl you will have the cinnamon sugar.
6. Let the doughnuts cool completely on a wire rack. Dunk them in the melted butter, then coat them with the cinnamon sugar. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Baker Notes
1. These muffins are surprisingly not very sweet, the addition of Nutella and outer coating of cinnamon sugar made it just nice.