Gg’s Baked Lemon Snapper

This is a great way to cook most seafood and maybe even chicken and some vegetables (asparagus?). The slight sweet tang of the sticky lemon glaze goes from dessert topping to delicious flavouring when paired with smoked sea salt and pepper; especially when it gets slightly caramelised in the oven.

Gg’s Sticky Lemon Glaze Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine lemon juice and icing sugar. Stir to incorporate.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds.

 

Gg’s Baked Lemon Snapper Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 Snapper fillets
  • olive oil
  • sticky lemon glaze or juice of ½ lemon
  • smoked sea salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
  2. Place snapper fillets on baking paper.
  3. Brush on a thin coat of sticky lemon glaze, season with smoked sea salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the thickness of the snapper.

Pink Is The Colour Of Passion

Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.”  Terri Guillemets

While I have never thought of strawberries as “the angels of the earth…”, I do love them. I love all berries. Unfortunately, berries do not grow in SingSing. We have our berries flown in from America, Australia, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and maybe some other places. Which means they are insanely expensive and always somehow bashed up. Ms OCD here will literally go through every single box of cherries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to get the one or two boxes that are the closest thing to perfect. Yes, closest thing to perfect… I had to make concessions when I finally realised I will never find perfect berries here. Failing which, I would rather go without.

There was an order placed to make cupcakes for a little girl’s birthday. PINK immediately sprang to mind! Pink meant strawberries! The perfect strawberry cupcake! I set about researching and America’s Sprinkles strawberry cupcake kept appearing in everything I read. It was apparently really good. I wanted to create a strawberry cupcake that would make people gush the way Sprinkles’ strawberry cupcake did. Sprinkles’ Candace Nelson had shared her recipe on Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey but the reviews I read were mostly complaints. It seems Candace Nelson had either left out ingredients or given wrong measurements. That’s not very nice Candace Nelson…

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcake

I set about creating my own recipe. It took me a full day of research and concocting to finally come up with a recipe that looked like it might work. I was also really lucky I managed to find fresh and almost perfect (but very expensive) berries! I happily set about to test my recipe. Let’s not talk about test one…

Test two got me doing a happy dance! Here’s something to note when you are baking; if the batter tastes good, the cake will too. Test two’s batter tasted like strawberry ice cream!

Doesn't this look like strawberry ice cream?

Baking strawberry ice cream?

Fresh out of the oven!

Test cupcake! So PINK!

I was so happy with test two I asked my friend Elaine, my first customer and very supportive friend, if I could interest her in buying a box. The SMS I received after she had one of my strawberry cupcakes, put a smile on my face I could not get rid of for at least an hour after. Her SMS said, “OMG! Gg! We totally love this! My colleagues and I love love love it!”. By the way, I topped each strawberry cupcake with cream cheese frosting, homemade strawberry preserve and a raspberry. Her colleague ordered a box of my strawberry cupcakes that very night for the next day.

Cream cheese frosting and strawberry preserve. But it looked like it needed something more...

With cream cheese frosting, strawberry preserve and a raspberry! Now it's perfect!

Isn't it pretty...

I gave one to my Sayang and she liked it plenty too. She kept repeating, “Very nice. Very nice.” with each bite she took.

I’ve named my strawberry cupcake Pinklicious! I also made a lovely strawberry buttercream frosting to go with Pinkalicious. It’s lush, sweet, bursting with strawberry flavour as it has lots of my homemade strawberry sauce (which flavoured the cupcakes) and is such a pretty pink. If you love strawberries, my Pinkalicious cupcake with Pinkalicious frosting will tickle you PINK! It took great restraint to not lick the bowl…

Pinkalicious frosting!

Frosted! So pretty!

I decorated the birthday cupcakes with Japanese treats and mini marshmallows. I wanted strawberry chocolate Hello Kitties but was not able to find any sort of Hello Kitty-shaped chocolates or soft candies; only the biscuit variety which would have turned soggy on the frosting. I’d bought a pair of decorating tweezers and they are a God-send! Without them I would have taken a lot longer to accomplish Pinkalicious Candyland!

Japanese sweets for decorating

Pinkalicious Candyland!

Pinkalicious Candyland!

Pinkalicious Candyland!

By the way, my DCM says this is the best cupcake I’ve made and even said it’s his favourite! That’s huge!

Two cupcakes flavours perfected, so many more to go! I know what I want to do next and I cannot wait to try it out! Can you tell I’m excited!?

The Perfect Chocolate Cupcake

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.” Michael Levine

Chocolate is not only a pleasant of taste, but it is also a veritable balm of the mouth, for the maintaining of all glands and humours in a good state of health. Thus it is, that all who drink it, possess a sweet breath.” Stephani Blancardi

Chocolate, of course, is the stuff of which fantasies are made. Rich, dark, velvety-smooth fantasies that envelop the senses and stir the passions. Chocolate is madness; chocolate is delight.” Judith Olney

There sure is a lot of love out there for chocolate. If you’ve read In Search Of The Perfect Chocolate Cupcake , you will know I do not share such sentiments. I am, however, very particular when I get a random craving for chocolate cake. I know exactly what I want and how it should taste. Sadly, I have never come across the amazing chocolate cake that metamorphosises in my head when such cravings strike. Therefore, when I was asked to make a chocolate cupcake, I knew I had to breathe life into that chocolate cake in my head. I have expounded on what I deem the perfect chocolate cupcake in Still Searching For The Perfect Chocolate Cupcake and I was determined to make it happen.

I did. I experimented and tweaked recipes and baked and threw away many failed chocolate cakes, until I achieved a cupcake that was crumbly, fluffy, melt in your mouth, moist and intensely chocolatey. To say any food is better than sex (unless you have really bad sex) is a crime. That term was probably coined by someone who had such bad sex all the time he or she had to resort to eating to take away the pain… What I will say is, if you’re a chocoholic, my chocolate cupcakes are as good as good sex! Giving someone some of these babies might even lead to sex (chocolate has aphrodisiac qualities)!

Fresh out of the oven!

Test cupcake. Crumbly, moist and soft

Cynics out there will say, “Of course she thinks they are great. She made them.”. That is true. But I am not the only one. Cynics will now say that my friends and family will say they are good because they do not want to hurt my feelings. That bit is not true. My DCM, not a sugar lover, likes them. My parents, not the pandering type, especially the Mumsy when it comes to cooking, think my chocolate cupcakes are good.

Gg's As Good As Good Sex Chocolate Cupcakes

My Auntie Maria and Uncle Dee are chocoholics, foodies and two of the nicest people I know. They always give constructive criticism. They seemed to really like the batch of my chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I made as part of Uncle Dee’s belated birthday present. Auntie Maria gave one of my chocolate cupcakes to her mother (I call her Por Por)  who has been in poor health lately. I was told she finished an entire chocolate cupcake as compared to the usual half portion of cake  Auntie Maria brings home for her. That put a huge smile on my face.

As Good As Good Sex Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, a Blueberry & Milk Chocolate Shavings
As Good As Good Sex Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, a Blueberry & Milk Chocolate Shavings
The father says they look like breasts…

For the chocolate extremist, I’ve also made a version with chocolate chips. You will love. I can keep rambling but like they say, the truth is in the pudding.

Gg’s Double Chocolate Cupcakes With Caramel Mascarpone Frosting

A light and not-too-sweet chocolate cupcake topped with caramel Mascarpone frosting and mini chocolate chips.

Double Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:
(yields 20-24 cupcakes)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and place rack in center of oven. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. 
  2. In a stainless steel or heat-proof  bowl combine instant coffee granules, semi-sweet chocolate buttons, unsweetened cocoa powder and boiling water. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool while you make the batter. 
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to combine. 
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. 
  5. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy. About 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 
  7. Add vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture. Beat to combine. 
  8. Add the milk and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only to incorporate between additions.
  9. Evenly divide the batter about 3/4 full among the muffin cups, and bake for about 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. DO NOT open the oven door while cupcakes are cooking.
  10. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


Caramel Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 stick salted butter (cold and cubed)
  • 
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook sugar over medium heat, whisking as it melts. 
  2. When it turns a deep amber color, add butter cube by cube and stir between additions until butter melts and is incorporated. 
  3. Add heavy cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.
Caramel Mascarpone Frosting Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup caramel
  • 1/2 stick salted butter (room temperature)
  • 
1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tub Mascarpone cheese (chilled)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter, icing sugar, caramel, Mascarpone cheese and pure vanilla extract until light and fluffy using the lowest setting to begin, gradually moving it up to the highest setting. About 5 minutes.
  2. For a stiffer frosting, add more icing sugar.


The Almost Perfect Chocolate Cupcake

I waited with bated breath as these chocolate cupcakes baked. After two less than stellar chocolate cupcakes attempts, I was desperate for success.

Texture-wise, they airy, crumbly, light and moist. Taste-wise, chocolatey, not too sweet and nommy! Alas, still not the perfect chocolate cupcake

Firstly, they sank a little in the middle after I took them out of the oven. I wonder if it was due to opening the oven and checking for doneness. They took more than the 20 minutes most cakes take. I did a spring test (touching the top of the cake to see if it springs back, if it does, it’s done. If your finger leaves a bit of an indentation, it is not.), realised it needed more time and let it continue to bake another 2 minutes. They were nice and puffy when I took them out of the oven but the pretty rounded tops sank once cooled. Just a wee sinking that was easily camouflaged by frosting.

The second reason is the chocolatey-ness of the cake. It was more chocolatey than my first two attempts. But not enough. I’d thought that with 2 chocolate components and the addition of more chocolate than the original recipe called for it would have been more chocolatey…

I’ve mentioned I’m not big on chocolate but I think chocolate lovers would prefer that anything chocolate  should pack a certain oomph. I got a hit but I wanted a Bazinga! (Yes, I am a fan of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘.)

My verdict is that this is a good chocolate cake to top with chocolate or Nutella frosting but not good enough on its own or if topped with a lighter frosting like the caramel Mascarpone one I made. I did go ‘Mmmm…’  though when I popped one in my mouth. See recipe here.

I have a lovely friend Elaine who is very supportive of my baking endeavours and my first customer. She randomly bought 6 Kahlua cupcakes (topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting and Maltesers) I made awhile back and has told me to let her know when I bake as she would like to continue supporting me.

I brought a box of these chocolate cupcakes with caramel Mascarpone frosting down to Elaine and as expected, she too felt that the chocolate cake was good though it could be more chocolatey, the caramel Mascarpone frosting was a little too light for her liking and she still preferred my Kahlua cuppies. I was right about chocolate lovers wanting chocolate-overload. If I had topped these with the Nutella butter cream I made previously, she would have gone to chocolate heaven for sure.

My cousin-in-law and BFF (I shall call her my Sayang) who also got a taste of these chocolate cupcakes liked them plenty. She preferred the lightness and ate 3 of the 4 she had (she told me she would have finished all of them if her maid had not asked to try one).

I’ll definitely tweak the recipe and attempt making chocolate cupcakes very soon as my quest for the perfect chocolate cupcake continues…

Gg’s Simple Chocolate Cupcake With Nutella Butter Cream (2)

An easy all in one bowl chocolate cupcake recipe paired with a luscious, sinful Nutella butter cream frosting simply spread on and decorated with mini marshmallows.

Simple Chocolate Cupcake (2) Recipe:
(yields 20-24 cupcakes)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee powder/ granules
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons of Nutella
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Sift cocoa powder into a measuring cup, add coffee powder and warm water. Stir to combine into a smooth paste. Leave to cool.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Add sugar and salt. Stir to mix.
  4. Add buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla  to the cocoa and coffee mixture, stir to combine.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Using handheld electric mixer on the lowest setting, mix until smooth, 1 – 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  6. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Do not open oven door while cupcakes are cooking. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely

 

Nutella Butter Cream Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 /2 stick salted butter 
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • As much Nutella as you like

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter , icing sugar, pure vanilla extract and Nutella until light and fluffy using the lowest setting to begin, gradually moving it up to the highest setting. About 5 minutes.
  2. For a stiffer frosting, add more icing sugar.

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