Ube Cupcakes, with Yema and Coconut Buttercream

Variation on the same theme as the one earlier, this time using yema as filling instead of the ube halaya.  We gave these for friend J’s birthday!

I think I like this variant better than the first one!

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Ube Cupcakes, with Ube Filling and Coconut Buttercream

In case no one has noticed… I LOVE UBE!  Cakes, halaya, pastillas… even savory dishes!!!

Here’s one of my experimental cupcakes… I keep thinking that I can make a better ube cupcake so I keep trying.  And I want to use real ube, not some flavoring…

The recipe for this –

Combine and set aside –

1-1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 to 1 cup sugar

Stir together –

1/2 cup (cooled) boiled, mashed ube
1/3 cup milk

Mix together, using a hand mixer –

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup soya oil
2 large eggs

Add the dry ingredients to the egg-butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the ube-milk mixture.

Scoop the batter into 12 paper-lined cupcake tins.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Don’t over bake.  Cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cooled, place a small mound of ube halaya on top of each cupcake then pipe coconut buttercream swirl to cover the cupcake and the ube halaya.

Lemon-Strawberry Roll

Friend C gave us these big, fat, juicy strawberries last week.  We wanted to eat them as is but I gave specific instructions to leave some because I wanted to make this cake!

Truth be told though, I bought some more strawberries because I wanted strawberry curd for the filling and real strawberry buttercream for the frosting!

For the cake, I used a different recipe.  I found this book in a second-hand bookstore –

with the recipe for Lemon Jelly Roll on page 234.

While I already have a lemon sponge cake recipe (which I believe to be the best), I am always ready and willing to try other recipes!

Anyway, I got the recipe for the cake from the book.  My adapted version –

Prepare the jelly roll pan first of all! I usually just line line with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sift together then set aside –

1-1/4 cups AP flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine and beat (on low-medium speed), for 2 minutes*, –

3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon, plus soya oil to make a total of 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a separate bowl, beat 3 egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until frothy. Add 1/2 cup sugar by tablespoonfuls and beat until stiff peaks (but not dry).

Fold half of the whites into the yolk mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture to the yolk batter (I used an 1/8 cup per addition), folding gently after each addition. Fold the remaining egg whites into the yolk batter.

Place the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a tea towel** slightly larger than the size of the pan. (The recipe specifies that it be dusted with powdered sugar but I don’t do it.) Immediately after baking (make sure that the cake is really done but not overdone), invert the cake on the cloth and remove the paper. Gently roll the cake on the shorter end. Leave the cake until it cools.

Fill the cake with strawberry curd and re-roll. Frost with strawberry buttercream and garnish with strawberries and strawberry syrup.

Notes –
* the original recipe specified that the lemon and orange juices be heated but I did not follow that instruction.
** I used the material from a flour sack, sewing 2 layers together to make a sheet that was 1 inch larger than my pan on all sides. So far none of my cakes have gotten stuck. I was told that the material is muslin but honestly I don’t know!

For the rest I wanted STRAWBERRYYYYYYYYY!!!!!  Strawberry curd for the filling, strawberry buttercream for the frosting… I wanted more strawberry so I decided the cake would have strawberries for garnish.  And to make things even more strawberry, I thought of making a strawberry syrup or glaze, ALL from REAL STRAWBERRIES!!!

All in all, I used about 1 kilogram of strawberries!!!!

For the filling, I got the recipe for strawberry curd from bakedbyrachel – that was 450 grams of strawberries right there…

For the buttercream and syrup, I followed the advise of a friend – Macerate about 350 grams of strawberries with some brown sugar for a couple of hours.  Lightly mash the strawberries to draw out more of its juice.  Drain well. Heat the strawberry juice liquid until reduced.  Add sugar as desired to obtain the sweetness level that you like.  This is the strawberry syrup (it’s actually loose and not thick at all).  For the rest of the mashed strawberries, place in a heavy pot and add the juice of 1 lemon.  Heat over low heat and blend using a hand blender.  Heat gently and cook until thick.  Cool completely.  Chill.

I like my buttercream to be looser and less sweet so I generally use (considerably) less powdered sugar.  But basically, it’s softened butter, powdered sugar, and the cooled strawberry puree!  That’s it!

Having said and done all that, it does not have to be THAT complicated – instead of using homemade strawberry curd for the filling, use your favorite strawberry jam.  For the frosting, there are many ready-to-use frosting available off the shelf; same with the strawberry syrup!  The cake will still be good!  Promise!

Anyway, we served a slice of the cake to the kid’s piano teacher.  And he raved about it!!!!

Mocha Roll

Today is an extraordinary day… two of my childhood best buds came over for lunch – that’s not unusual at all.  What is special today, however, is the fact that I am NOT cooking!!!!!  It is one of those rare times when someone volunteered to cook for me!!!!!!!  And I really, really appreciate it!

Of course I could not be “ungrateful” and contribute nothing to the feast, so I took the opportunity to bake a cake roll with my “new” electric oven…

Since I had a lot of time, I cooked custard for the filling too… and while I was at it, I experimented with a different buttercream – a more stable one, as suggested by a friend of mine.  These days, because of the heat and humidity, my buttercream always, always melt!  So I wanted to see if her secret (not so secret anymore I guess) technique would work wonders for me!

Basically, to stabilize my buttercream, she said, I had to use a bit of Crisco (butter flavored) with the butter.  To be honest, when I heard this, I was hesitant because I have always felt an unpleasant mouth-feel when using Crisco.  But my friend said that I could use about 1 tablespoon of Crisco for every half cup of butter and it would not be noticeable at all!  So, what the hey, it was a day for experimenting…

Well, guess what?  it worked!  and I did not notice any weird mouthfeel at all!!!!

 

Ginataang Langka at Mais

Ginataan means cooked in coconut (milk or cream).  It could be savory or sweet.  This is a sweet one.  I previously posted one for Ginataang Mais at Sago, this time it is langka (jackfruit) and mais (corn), but it still has sago and bilo-bilo, which are sticky rice balls…

4 cups coconut milk
1/3 to 1/2 cup muscovado, or to taste
a lot of langka (jackfruit), sliced in bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 cups shredded sweet corn (canned is okay)
about 20 pieces bilo-bilo (sticky rice balls)
1 cup thick coconut cream
1/2 to 1 cup cooked sago (tapioca)

Mix coconut milk and sugar together in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium fire. When the mixture boils, add the langka (jackfruit) and reduce the heat to low-medium, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes, then add the corn kernels and bilo bilo. Cook until the bilo bilo float (this means they are cooked already). Add the coconut cream and sago. Let simmer a few minutes. Adjust sweetness, if desired. Serve hot.

I think I like the ginataan with langka best of all… if only langka was not expensive!!!!!

 

Bibingka!

This is not the first time I made bibingka… truth is, I’ve been experimenting on and off for years.  The first relatively successful one did not look all that nice but it was ok.  This latest experiment is the most successful one, I think (a slightly different recipe from before).

Bibingka is a local “cake” made from rice flour.  I’ve seen many recipes for bibingka without using rice flour and to me this is plain cheating!  It is not bibingka if it is not made from rice flour!  Now, there are many kinds of bibingka – the fluffy kind (which is the kind this one is), a heavier pudding-like concoction, another kind made from cassava… it seems that there are as many kinds of bibingka as there are provinces or regions in the country!!!

The other “secret” to bibingka is the banana leaf lining.  For some reason, it does not quite taste like bibingka unless its bottom is covered in banana leaf!

There are special bibingka “ovens” where several can be cooked, in a “tower” with “drawers” where the bibingka pan is placed.  It is difficult to describe but it is the best I can do.  Google has many images of bibingka ovens for those who want to get a visual picture.

My version of bibingka is the one that I personally like.  I don’t know if it is any one of the variants of any region but what I can say with honesty is that the inspiration for it is the bibingka from Via Mare Cafe.  I “upgraded” my version by including real coconut flakes in the batter. The recipe also has cake flour because I found that the bibingka has a softer bounce to it with cake flour in the mix.

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

tender/moist coconut flakes, about 1/2 cup

sliced kesong puti (local white cheese made from carabao milk)
1 salted egg, coarsely chopped

butter or margarine to serve (margarine is preferred locally)

grated coconut to serve

Preheat oven to 435 to 450F. Prepare a 2 7-inch bibingka pans by buttering the pan, fitting a banana leaf on the bottom of the pan and buttering the banana leaf.  In my case, I used 1 bibingka pan and 6 large muffin tins to make mini-bibingka.

Note – my bibingka is baked in my convection oven, with the fan on, because I will not buy a bibingka oven!!!

Stir together dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in coconut flakes (or actual coconut strips but make sure that actual coconut strips have been patted dry).

Pour into the prepared pans, top with kesong puti slices and chopped salted egg pieces.

Bake 20-25 minutes for the big pan and about 15 minutes for the muffin tins.

Brush with melted butter straight from the oven.

Serve piping hot with more butter and grated coconut on the side.

Buko-Macapuno Muffins

I have a basic, standard muffin recipe but I decided I was ready to try another recipe.  The one that caught my fancy was the “Anything but Basic Muffin Recipe” by Broma Bakery.  There’s many variants of the muffin but I wanted to make a variant with a local flair – hence this Buko (coconut) Macapuno (mutant coconut!) muffin.

Mix dry ingredients together –

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix wet ingredients together

2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup melted butter-flavored Crisco (because I discovered too late that I ran out of butter!)
3/4 cup coconut milk (originally buttermilk)
1 teaspoon each vanilla and coconut extract

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet; mixing only until just combined.

Fold in 2/3 cup coconut flakes (the moist, tender kind, not desiccated).

Scoop into muffin tins lined with paper cups (I got 6 large muffins and 8 mini-muffins).   Spoon macapuno (I used chunky sweetened macapuno that came in a bottle) on the top.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven (I did not follow the oven instructions!).  For the large muffins, bake about 25 minutes.  For the mini-muffins, bake about 15 minutes.

We shared the muffins with friends and the consensus is – IT’S GOOD!!!!

Coconut-Rum Cupcakes with Ube Halaya Centers and Ube-Coconut Buttercream

Coconut is never my first choice when thinking of baking cupcakes.  But I had leftover coconut cream in the fridge, as well as coconut flakes… so for hubby friend’s birthday, coconut cupcakes it is.  And, since I had leftover ube halaya, the cupcakes got an ube halaya center and ube-coconut buttercream on top!

Of course I did not have a coconut cupcake recipe on hand!  Thank goodness there’s a number of them on the internet.  I picked one from Brown-eyed Baker.  As usual, I changed a few things…

my adaptation –

1-1/4 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/2 cup butter (I used butter flavored Crisco)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream (well-stirred)
2 tablespoons Malibu coconut rum

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place paper cups in cupcake tins.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt and coconut flakes together (I did not process the coconut flakes); set aside.

Beat Crisco and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat to mix well.  Add vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the coconut cream and coconut rum.

Scoop mixture into the paper cups.  Place a small teaspoon of ube halaya in the center of the batter.  Bake for about 18-22 minutes; rotate pan midway.

When the cupcakes have cooled.  Frost as desired.  I used ube-coconut buttercream for mine.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup ube halaya
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut cream (well stirred)

For the frosting – Beat butter and halaya until well combined. Gradually add powdered sugar (adjust according to personal taste). Add coconut cream by tablespoons, beating well after each addition.

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe for these cookies came from one of my favorite cookbook authors/chefs – Dorie Greenspan!  My brother recently got me a copy of Dorie’s Cookies and of course I just had to try the peanut butter (that being my favorite cookie flavor and all…)

I followed the recipe faithfully, even using Skippy which was the recommended brand! But I swapped the chopped peanuts with chocolate chip cookies… (and halved the recipe while I was at it)

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup Skippy smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, and nutmeg; set aside.

Beat peanut butter, butter and salt together until very smooth.  Add the sugars, continue beating.  Add the egg and beat some more.

Stir in the flour mixture then fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, place dough mounds onto parchment or silicone lined cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes or so; or until the cookie edges are set.

We loved the cookies!!!!! And again, the kid praised me for being the best in the kitchen!

The original recipe can be found here.

Fruitcake Cookies

This is another recipe from Mrs. Fields; but not from the same book as the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (the post before this one).

And, because we are not exactly fruitcake lovers, I halved the recipe!

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1-1/2 cups mixed fruit (glazed and dried)

Sift the dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses together; add brandy, vanilla and egg. Stir in the dry ingredients (do not overmix!) then fold in the mixed fruit.

Drop by tablespoons onto greaseproof-paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 12 to 18 minutes or until the cookie edges are light brown.  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes after removing from the oven; then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I was pleasantly surprised when the kid ate one and declared it delicious!  You see, she does not like mixed fruit of any kind!!!