Chocolate Chip Honey Cupcakes with Matcha Icing

Honey Cupcakes Green Tea Icing

So, I’ve been in Singapore for about a week now. The weather here’s been pretty great – humid, but not unbearable; pockets of rain here and there in the afternoons, but they don’t last long. I’ll be picking James up from the airport in a couple of hours. He’s spent the last 5 days in Vanuatu on holiday with his family. I can’t wait to see him again! I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas, and here’s to an awesome New Year ahead! Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Honey Cupcakes with Matcha Icing”

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

As juicy and seductively coloured as they are, raspberries are often overlooked, at least by those who prefer something more fragrant or something with more health benefits (strawberries and blueberries respectively, for example).

Fresh Raspberries Cupcake Batter with Raspberries

However, for some reason, I had the urge to bake with these adorable little red fruit and, after entertaining a pair of black swans that dropped by, spent the afternoon yesterday making a batch of raspberry, applesauce and almond cupcakes.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Raspberries have a fairly subtle flavour and don’t tend to keep as well as other berries. They also bruise very easily, so handle with care! This here is an eggless and butterless cupcake recipe, so it does a good job of cutting your cholesterol consumption. It does call for some milk though, so if you want to turn this into a vegan recipe, try replacing it with soy or almond milk and see how it goes.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Lightly crisp on top when fresh out of the oven, these pillowy cupcakes have a lovely texture thanks to the addition of ground almonds. The batter is a dream to work with and it yields a soft, moist and tender crumb once baked. Each bite almost melts in your mouth. The light tangy flavour of the raspberries contrasts well with the sweet creaminess of the cake.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or canola oil)
1/2 cup raw caster sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk, cold
2 cups fresh raspberries
some flaked almonds, for sprinkling

* Use low fat milk and unsweetened applesauce for healthier cupcakes.
* If you don’t have half a cup of applesauce on hand, substitute with 2 eggs (lightly whisked).

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a mini muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine grapeseed oil, sugar and applesauce until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the milk into the applesauce mixture in several alternating increments, lightly folding with a spatula after each addition. Take care not to overmix.
  5. Gently fold in the raspberries.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared paper cases until almost full. Sprinkle the tops with the flaked almonds.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops start to brown and crack a little.
  8. Remove from oven and let cupcakes stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Strawberry Mushipan (Japanese Steamed Cup Bread)

It seems that steamed cakes are the ‘in’ thing now. During my recent trip to Singapore, many sweet bread stores were selling an array of them, from marbled steamed cake to glutinous steamed cake. Freshly baked, individually wrapped in plastic and sold out before the end of the day, they were real hits in Singapore. When I had my first bite of the marbled steamed cake, I swear, I was in heaven. It was the softest, moistest cake I had ever put in my mouth! I was an instant fan! Good thing they were cheap because I bought quite a few of them!

Following the success of my Matcha Mushipan (Green Tea Japanese Steamed Cup Bread) recipe, I have returned with a different version of the simple steamed cake. Because of the sudden abundance of large, succulent strawberries sitting in my fridge, I decided to adapt my previous mushipan recipe to incorporate strawberries. Because strawberries are fairly tart and not overly cloying (like bananas or peaches), they lend a subtle sweetness that does not overpower the senses. Soft, fluffy and delicately fruity cakes are a lovely change to those typical dense, heavy, sugar-filled chocolate ones!

Depending on the size of your cupcake moulds, this recipe makes about 5 or 6 steamed mushipan.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
4 large, ripe strawberries (leaves and stems removed)
2 tablespoons sugar (or equivalent sweetener of choice)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil

Preparation:

  1. Prepare a large steamer filled with an inch or two of water. Leave the heat off until you are just about ready to steam your mushipan.
  2. Line small ramekins with cupcake cases. If you have no ramekins the size of your cupcake cases, use silicone cupcake moulds instead. You don’t have to line these.
  3. Mash strawberries in a small bowl with a fork until only small chunks remain.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder and mix well.
  5. In a smaller bowl, combine egg, mashed strawberries, sugar and oil. Mix well.
  6. Gradually pour this mixture into the flour mixture, mixing slowly until smooth. Batter will take on a faint pink tinge.
  7. Carefully spoon batter into cupcake liners/moulds, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
  8. Turn up the heat to prepare your steamer. Once water comes to a rolling boil, place cups in steamer, cover steamer with lid and steam on high for about 6 minutes.
  9. Remove cooked mushipan (will be extremely hot!) and place on wire rack to cool.
  10. Serve warm, please! :)

Matcha Mushipan (Green Tea Japanese Steamed Cup Bread)

I think my reason for wanting to make mushipan (Japanese steamed cup bread) stemmed from my itching desire to make steamed goods for once, not baked goods. So, abandoning the oven for a day, I set up the huge steamer sitting low down in the pantry cupboard and attemped the fairly easy project that was matcha mushipan. The only problem I had was that I didn’t have any small ramekins in my possession for putting cupcake liners in. Good thing I bought these handy silicone cupcake moulds that I can just put batter straight into and pop them in the steamer without worrying about the mushipan going out of shape.

Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings does a wonderful matcha sakura version of these cute steamed cake-bread gems. Mine is just a basic matcha mushipan recipe, which you can use and tweak as you like. Add white chocolate chips to it, add more/less sugar to it, make it up as you go!

So, yes. Matcha. High quality matcha would work best in this recipe. As a brew, the health benefits of matcha exceed those of ordinary green tea. By drinking matcha, you ingest the ground leaves, not just the water that the leaves are brewed in.

“One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content.” – Matcha Source

This makes it an even more powerful cancer fighting, fat burning concoction!

So, if you’re ready to take on the matcha mushipan challenge, here’s a really easy recipe that you can try out. If all goes well, you can impress friends who’ve never used a steamer to make sweet breads before!

Depending on the size of your cupcake moulds, this recipe makes about 5 or 6 steamed mushipan.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons matcha (green tea powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 1/2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar (or equivalent sweetener of choice)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or canola oil)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare a large steamer with an inch or two of water. Leave the heat off until you are just about ready to steam your mushipan.
  2. Line small ramekins with cupcake cases. If, like me, you have no ramekins the size of your cupcake cases, use silicone cupcake moulds instead. You don’t have to line these.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, matcha and baking powder. Mix through with a whisk or fork until the flour turns a uniform pale green colour.
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine egg, milk, sugar and oil. Mix well.
  5. Gradually pour this mixture into the flour mixture, mixing slowly until smooth.
  6. Carefully spoon batter into cupcake liners/silicone moulds, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
  7. Turn up the heat to prepare your steamer. Once water comes to a rolling boil, place cups in steamer and steam on high for 8 minutes.
  8. Remove cooked mushipan (will be extremely hot!) and let cool for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve warm! :)

Related Post: Strawberry Mushipan (Japanese Steamed Cup Bread)