Helloooo my dear dear readers! I know I have personally apologized to many of you whom I have met recently for my abscence. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but I really cannot afford to cook for another few weeks. Why? I’m finally ready to announce this. Door To My Kitchen is officially moving! Where? Back to Vietnam!! Yes. After 8 years of camping out here in Singapore, I am finally returning back to my lovely old town Hanoi, back to my dearest family, and back to the awesome authentic Vietnamese food! With this, I will embark on a new journey, refamiliarizing myself with the Vietnamese culture and food. I might no longer have AFC or Food Network, but I will have my Mom to teach me through all the traditional dishes that has been passed down from generations in our family. I will also finally expose my parents to my own creations of dishes from international cuisines. Most of all, I hope I will have more time to blog! I even plan to have my own kitchen herb garden. I have finally bought my KitchenAid mixer for more serious baking. Yeah… things are getting really exciting! I guess I’m ready for my own domain name too! Stay tuned!
I have another important announcement to make. SIS Sugar (Singapore’s largest Sugar company) has been kind enough to sponsor me their complete collection of sugars (caster sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar) for me to use in my next baking adventure. That is my first collaboration with a commercial entity through this blog, so I am very honoured and excited (not like other popular bloggers who get free stuff all the time!). Thinking of the best way to use this meaningful sugar, I decided to use them for a big baking collabo with my ex roommate Olivia. She has recently started her very own Cooking/Baking blog as well. Having been besties/roomies since the first days of Uni, I am extremely happy to see her going full time with her kitchen adventures. This is my dream as well and we support each other fully! We embraced the idea of taking the SIS Sugar to create our very own cupcake recipe. Something that would represent our unique friendship and characters. And guess what was born out of an afternoon of baking together: Roomantique cupcakes (Room for ‘roomies’ of course. Cos we were roomies. Duh. The rest is just to make it sound more fancy). These beautiful (and also very tasty) cupcakes are made of light, moist butter sponge cake dotted with lavender and lemon zest, filled with melted dark chocolate, and topped with beautiful meringues. Sounds awesome right? It looked and tasted awesome too! Here’s a sneak peek:
And here is my 3rd announcement (gosh how long IS this entry gonna get??). Me and Oli are gonna put Roomantique cupcakes up for sale, and the proceeds shall go to saving Tiger, a stray community cat, from its current severe conditions. Read more about Tiger here. So not only did we create a unique cupcake recipe out of the SIS Sugar given to us, we are going to use it to feed more happy cupcake lovers and help a cat gain his lungs back. What a way to appreciate free sugar right? More details of the Bake Sale will follow. Meanwhile, if you don’t feel like buying them but rather go through the process of baking these beautiful cupcakes (with your own ex-roomie), feel free to try the recipe! As I am lazy to write the full wordy recipe as usual, this time I’m gonna summarize the entire recipe as Photo collages. After all, a picture says a thousand words! Hope you guys like it!
INGREDIENTS (makes 12 cupcakes)
For Meringue Topping:
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature (we used free range eggs)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup (200g) caster white sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For Cupcake batter:
- 2 large eggs separated
- 1 3/4 cups (175g) sifted cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Lemon zest of a lemon, juice of half a lemon
- A pinch of dried lavender flowers
For the chocolate filling:
- About 100g of dark chocolate (we used 72% dark chocolate)
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream (you can variate the amount of cream depending on your taste)
(Follow the picture order from left to right, top to bottom)
1. In a large, clean & dry bowl, beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks and looks snow white & shiny. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) plain tip.
2. Squeeze the meringue out into small spirals as shown, about 4cm in diameter. Bake in a preheated oven (130 deg C) for about 15 – 20 minutes, until the meringues are evenly golden brown and come off from the parchment paper easily. Leave the meringues to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the cupcake batter…
3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1 – 2 min). Add 3/4 cup (150g) of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 – 3 mins, see picture 5). Add egg yolks one at a time while beating, and add the vanilla extract, beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, alternatively add the flour mixture and milk, in 3 additions beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until well combined. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, and a pinch of dried lavender flowers (see picture 1 below)
4. Beat the egg whites as per step 1 until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to form a lighter mixture, then gently (and I mean very gently), fold in the remaining whites into the batter, avoid deflating it as much as possible. Divide the batter evenly between the cups and bake in preheated oven (180 deg C) for 20 – 25min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
5. While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, heat up the heavy cream in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, then add the chocolate and stir slowly for it to melt and combine. You should have a shiny and smooth chocolate frosting after 10 minutes. Take it off the heat.
6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a small cone into the top of the cake, fill the hole with the chocolate filling, and cover the hole back with the small cone you cut out earlier. Spread a thin layer of chocolate on top of the cupcakes before you place a meringue on top. The chocolate should help stick the meringue to the cupcake. And your Roomantique cupcakes are done!
This is the final result of our 2.5 hours of hard work:
Aren’t they gorgeous? I love making cupcakes that are beautiful without any help of food coloring or ready-made deco. And they smell great too, with a hint of lemon and lavender surely to leave you wondering why 2 seemingly very distant and different flavors could go together so well, just like me and Oli. Luv ya roomie!
And now back to business… we will post up the details of the Made-To-Order Roomantique cupcake very soon. Do order them for your next gathering/parties/loved ones. And remember, with every cupcake you eat, you are contributing to Tiger’s recovery! Eating cupcakes has never felt so un-sinful, has it?