WE'VE MOVED

Hello!

Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!

Sincerely,
Syl

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blackout Spider Cupcakes


I don't like spiders at all! But when I spotted these spider cupcake holders at Crate and Barrel, I couldn't resist getting one. They make spiders look cute instead of creepy, of course, you could make them creepy too. But I'm going to stick with something I can handle without running away in terror:



Blackout Spider Cupcakes
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
(Makes about 14 regular cupcakes)

1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
2/3 cup of milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Place your black or dark brown cupcake liners in the tray.
  2. Add in the eggs one at a time. Mix well and scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. On a slow speed, add in the vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.
  4. Alternate between the flour and milk. Mix until the batter is well combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into your cupcake liners.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan before taking them out to frost and decorate.


Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
(Makes enough to frost the 12 regular cupcakes)

1 stick of unsalted butter
2 1/2 cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of chocolate ganache
  1. Using your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until combined.
  2. Add in the vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. Slowly pour in the chocolate ganache and mix until it is well combined, fluffy, and smooth.


Chocolate Crumbs
(Makes enough to cover the 12 regular cupcakes)

2 extra chocolate cupcakes
  1. Peel the cupcake liner off your extra baked cupcakes.
  2. Using a food processor, break apart the 2 cupcakes and process into crumbs.

Are you ready to assemble your blackout spider cupcake? I do realize that if you don't have the spider legs, it'll be blackout eyes cupcakes. =)

However, you can always use black liquorice candy to be legs.


After you pipe on the chocolate ganache buttercream, use a spatula to create a dome with the frosting. Spread the frosting right to the edge and make sure that the top is higher. I used Reese's Pieces for the eyes, but you can easily substitute that with Smarties or M&M's. Add the eyes before you dip the cupcake in cake crumbs.


Firmly hold the cupcake and lower it into the bowl.


Keep diving in...


Evenly coat the frosting with cake crumbs to create the blackout or furry spider look. If you need to, use a spoon to help you cover spots you missed.


Place your cupcake on the spider legs!


Have a happy Halloween this year! If you also bought the spider cupcake holder, please share your photos with me!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vanilla and Matcha Whoopie Pies



Do you think you're ready for this light and delicious combination? I know that the time now is for pumpkin whoopie pies, but I just bought green tea powder and really wanted to use it.



Plus, I recently bought the whoopie pie pan and book - I had promised to let you know how the pan fared. So please read on:



Vanilla Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Whoopie Pies
(In my case, makes about 10 small and 5 medium whoopie pies)

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/2 of a stick)
4 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
1 cup of brown sugar (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar)
2 large egg
1/2 cup of buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar to substitute buttermilk)
2 tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Lay out your parchment paper on your baking trays. I needed two trays for this batch.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Using your mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and brown sugar together.
  4. Add in the eggs and buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute), beat until combined
  5. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar. Add the mix mixture to the batter, add in the flour mixture. Beat on low until combined.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until completely combined.
  7. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop 1 (small) or 2 (medium) tablespoons of the batter onto your parchment paper. Remember to evenly space the batter - at least 2 inches apart is ideal.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly tapped. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes.
  9. Gently remove the cakes from the parchment paper and allow it to cool.
  10. Make your favourite frosting to fill the whoopie pies!


Do you have any recommendations for ice cream/cookie scoops? I have a really good metal one that fills about 2 tablespoons. I recently found a small plastic one that fills about 1 tablespoon. I thought this would be good for making smaller whoopie pies, but found that it doesn't ease the batter out as nicely as the metal scoop. Is it just the material the scoop is made of or is there another factor?

So, from of the sloppy plastic cookie scoop, you can see that the batters are all in the pan with different styles.



As a result, the whoopie pies were not as smooth as I wanted them. But at least the circumference of all the whoopie pies were the same, thanks to the pan!



These whoopie pies were very light and fluffy, not too sweet - ready for some sweet filling. I think I would add a little more pure vanilla extract next time. It wasn't vanilla enough for me.

And as you can see, the whoopie pie pan worked out very well. I didn't flour the pans before the batter and still found it nice to work with and non-stick.



Matcha Buttercream
(Makes enough for the whoopie pies above)

1/2 stick of butter
1/2 stick of vegetable shortening
2 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons of warm water
1 tablespoon of matcha powder
  1. Using your mixer, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar until it is combined.
  2. Add in 1 tablespoon of water, mix until smooth.
  3. Add in the matcha powder and mix until combined.
  4. If you find the buttercream too stiff, add the rest of the water and mix until smooth.


I'm pretty psyched to have finally found matcha/green tea powder! I have been searching in various supermarkets for weeks thinking that they would carry it in their tea section. Nope! I finally went to the mall and checked with one of our favourite bubble tea shops. They had it, whoopie!

The buttercream was really delicious, the green tea wasn't over powering, so if you want more of the taste, I would recommend adding more of the powder.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019-1158
(212) 823-9366

We went to Bouchon Bakery on our last day in New York. We planned on having a low-key day, have an early dinner, go to sleep early, and rise early for the drive back to Toronto. The day was not low-key as we wanted to see and do more, we ended up running around. Although, if you heard this story from Howard, he would blame it on the shoes. Well, perhaps I was a tad overzealous about getting this one pair of shoes. But then again, Howard ended up getting shoes on our last day too.

I'm going off-track there. Back to the wonderful Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center. Bouchon was on the third floor and if you chose to sit in, you were in for a great view of Columbus Circle. Happy patrons enjoying their desserts:

This is the kitchen window for the staff to pick-up the orders:

And, this is what you see if you're getting the baked goods to go:
Just look at the Brioche a Tete and Sugar Pies! The Chocolate Almond Croissant, Chocolate Brioche, Banana Nut Muffin, and Raspberry Almond Croissants!

I decided we had to try the namesake - chocolate bouchons! One for Howard and one for me.
Thomas Keller, we tip our hats to you!

While we didn't sit in, we ate the bouchons overlooking the balcony on the second floor. Our last day of the week. =(


PS: If you were wondering what a bouchon is, they're small brownie-like treats that are named for their shape - a cork. Bouchon Bakery includes chocolate chips in the batter and dusts them with confectioner's sugar.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lego

I hope you had fond memories of playing with Lego when you were a child. The Lego store we visited in New York was a great playground for those young and old!


Lego
620 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10020
(212) 245-5973

We really enjoyed exploring the Lego store at Rockefeller Center. I remembered that it was still under construction when I was there last year (2009), so I was happy to see it finally open! Remember the walls from M&M's World? Well, instead of candy, they had a giant wall of Lego pieces here.



Remember Dylan's Candy Bar? Well here, instead of filling your pails and bags with candy, you can fill it with Lego from the wall! Here is a close-up of the wall:



Very bird house-like! Can you see Lego birds perching there? =)



What do you think? I bet you've never seen Lego abs before! ;)



This was another neat feature of the store. There are these little peep holes in between the shelves that show New York scenes - in Lego of course. The one above is of the subways.



The one above is a whole re-creation of Rockefeller Center, it is quite amazing to look at and see all the Lego action.



How about some Lego cupcakes? I made these just two days before our New York trip for Paul and Ashley. We are wishing you a happy marriage and hoping that your life together will be full of joy and sweets!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

La Maison du Chocolat

I know. I took a long, long break in between posts. The worse part is that I wasn't even finished blogging about our New York City trip. The trip happened in August and it is October now! October! So many apologies to those who were happily following along. I have two more posts after this from our trip and then it'll be back to baking posts. I have plans to make some vanilla and matcha whoopie pies and then some spider cupcakes for Halloween. Fun!

So, let us jump into the world of:


La Maison du Chocolat
1018 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
(212) 744-7117

Wheee! This beautiful chocolate shop is a part of the Rockefeller Center. They also had macarons in their display window:



And some gorgeous boxes to package their treats:



But the best part? The absolute icing on the cake? Well, it was a chocolate, but not any chocolate - the Sylvia chocolate. How fun is that? By the description in the Maison, if I was a chocolate, I would be milk chocolate with ganache filling. Um, sounds good to me!



I had to get the Sylvia chocolate, Howard and I also got the Rocher Lait, milk chocolate praline with roasted almonds and hazelnuts. One of my favourite memories was sitting outside of Rockefeller Centre, Howard and I eating one of the Rocher Laits and making yummy sounds. The chocolates were really, really good.


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