Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Pretty? Wait till you try them!

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

I'm sure you guys are familiar with New York's Magnolia Bakery. They specialise in desserts, the most famous being the cupcakes made famous by the show 'Sex and the City". It was on our to-try list when I went to NYC last year, but since a friend told us 'it's nothing to shout about' and 'the cupcakes are sooooooooo sweet', I dropped it from my list. Not a huge fan of cupcakes anyway.

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

When I saw Ju's tweet about how good they were, I couldn't resist and just had to try them! And yes, they were goooood - so light, soft and moist!

I decided to use Italian meringue buttercream for the frosting as the reviews on the original frosting recipe weren't too good. I'm not a huge fan of buttercream frosting as it is usually very rich, thick, heavy and sickeningly sweet. I'd usually scrape the buttercream away from the cupcakes or cakes but for these, I gobbled up everything, including the copious amount of buttercream! The Italian meringue buttercream is buttery, light on the tongue and not tooth-achingly sweet - simply amazing!

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Yield: 25 cupcakes


Ingredients:
For vanilla cupcakes: Adapted from The Little Teochew
  • 170 g self-raising flour
  • 140 g all purpose plain flour
  • 1 block (227 g) unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
  • 340 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
For vanilla buttercream: Adapted from Cake Love
  • 5 large egg whites only
  • 10 oz (283 g) caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 16 oz (453 g) unsalted butter - soft but not too soft or melting.
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

Directions:
For vanilla cupcakes:
  • Preheat oven to 170°C (350°F).
  • Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flours. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 mins. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  • Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 20-25 mins, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 mins. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For vanilla buttercream:
  • Place sugar and water into a saucepan. Mix and bring to boil. Boil it on medium high heat until it reaches 245°F (118°C).
  • While the sugar syrup is boiling, start the kitchen mixer on low speed and whisk the egg whites until frothy. Make sure the mixing bowl and wire whisk is very clean. Increase speed to high and continue whisking. When it reaches soft peaks, slowly add in 1/5 (2 oz) of the sugar
  • Slowly pour the hot syrup into the meringue steadily with the mixer still on high. Try not to hit the side of the bowl. Beat the frosting for 10 mins until the outside of the bowl is cooled to room temperature.
  • With the mixer on high speed and with a knife, cut pieces of the butter and add it to the meringue.
  • When the mixture is thick and smooth, slow down the mixer and add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and start again. Repeat twice. You should now have a bowl full of lovely Italian meringue buttercream ready for frosting!
Note:
  • See a video from CakeLove making IMBC here.
  • If your buttercream separate after adding butter, just keep beating it until smooth.
  • Store buttercream in a covered container and it will last up to one week in the fridge and several months in the freezer.
  • When you’re ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature then beat on high speed until smooth again.
Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
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Mustard Green with Salted Egg Soup 芥菜咸蛋汤

Saturday, 10 March 2012

There's only one word to describe this soup - BITTER. Even more so than the bitter gourd soup I usually make.

Mustard Green with Salted Egg Soup 芥菜咸蛋汤

I didn't know fresh mustard greens are bitter as I usually have the pickled version, so they are either very salty or salty-sweet, not a hint of bitterness. Who would have guessed that it's actually bitter! Like any other bitter food, mustard greens are extremely good for you - excellent source of many vitamins, and minerals, prevents cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, lower cholesterol...well you get the idea.

Mustard Green with Salted Egg Soup 芥菜咸蛋汤

This soup is great for hot weather as it's considered a cooling soup. You don't have to boil the soup for so long and I believe it'll be less bitter as I read somewhere that overcooking cruciferous vegetables especially mustard greens can make them more bitter. You can use thin slices of lean pork meat instead of chicken and simply boil till the vegetables are softened.

Mustard Green with Salted Egg Soup 芥菜咸蛋汤

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hrs
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 680 g fresh mustard green - washed and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 (about 550 g) chicken
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 2 L water
  • 2 salted eggs - break yolks into smaller chunks
  • Salt

Directions:
  • Blanch chicken. [Place chicken into a large pot, add enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Once water comes to a boil, remove from heat, drain and wash.]
  • Place chicken, mustard green stems, ginger and water into a large pot. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer for 1 hr covered.
  • Add mustard green leaves and continue boiling for another hour.
  • Slowly add in salted eggs, leave to boil until egg whites is set.
  • Season to taste with salt.

Mustard Green with Salted Egg Soup 芥菜咸蛋汤
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Steamed Crab with Egg

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Steamed Crab with Egg

Steamed Crab with Egg

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Yield: serves 2


Ingredients:
  • 1 (about 580 g) live crab
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 spring onion - diced
  • 3 slices ginger - cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tbs Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Directions:
  • Use a knife or chopstick and stab it through the small opening right above the triangular abdominal flap. Pull off the abdominal flap and wash away the smelly stuff. Place your thumb into the space where you just pulled off the abdomen flap and pull the carapace (the thick hard shell covering the insides) from the rest of the crab. Remove the gills. Chop the body into a few pieces. Lightly crush the claws with the back of a chopper. Try to retain all the juices while handling the crab.
  • In a bowl, lightly beat eggs with double the amount of water (use the liquid collected from chopping the crab, add more if necessary).
  • Strain egg mixture into a steaming dish and sprinkle the white part of the spring onions and ginger over the eggs. Place pieces of crab into the dish.
  • Cover with clingfilm and steam on high heat for 3 mins then lower the heat and steam on low heat for 12-15 mins or until cooked through.
  • Lastly, drizzle wine and sesame oil over the crab and steamed egg. Garnish with the rest of the spring onions.
Steamed Crab with Egg
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