Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Hello Everyone! Where do I even begin? Well, how about I start off by wishing everyone a Happy Halloween! So one day, probably about a few weeks ago, I was browsing through my Reader page on WordPress and going through some of the recipes of other bloggers/writers that I follow. I came across a recipe over at Easy Baked which, if I can recall, were for some sort of cupcakes all decked up for Halloween. I really loved the bright purple, orange, and green colours that Ruthanne used to decorated her Halloween-inspired baked goodies. It was from there that I followed a link to her Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes and I knew from that very moment that I had to tackle that recipe.

I haven’t seen anything quite like that before, and I thought it would be a nice, and fun baking activity on a Sunday afternoon (yes, I actually baked this last Sunday only because I knew I would have time to do so during the week leading up to Halloween, nor on Halloween Day). Also, Ruthanne notes that this is not an original idea of hers as she has seen many examples of these cupcakes online, but rather she made it her goal to create this recipe in the easiest way possible with fewer steps.

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Anyway, this recipe gave me a bit of a headache – well, just the broken glass candy part, and a little bit of the red velvet cupcake as well. Let’s just say that with the red velvet, it did not rise as I had wanted it to or hoped, and it wasn’t very red because of the lack of colouring (I used less because my bottle of red ran out). I had actually attempted to make this recipe 2 weeks ago, but because I was so defeated and tired by the end of the afternoon, I gave up and decided to try it out again the following weekend. At least when I tried that week, I managed to get 50% of the recipe done – the frosting and edible blood. I just kept them in the fridge until the following week when I rebaked my muffins and gave the broken glass candy another go (still was not perfect, but made do with what I had).

Basically, with the glass candy, I couldn’t get the sugar to harden – as in it was mushy as still syrup-like. Apparently, as I read in the comments section of Ruthanne’s blog, another person had the same problem and it was purely because the sugar wasn’t cooked for long enough. So make sure that if you want to try this recipe out, cook it just enough so that you won’t get a mushy mess! But obviously not for too long as it will turn amber in colour which, in this case, is not what you want.

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes! Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 12 CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcake batter

  • 185g butter, at room temperature, plus extra melted, to grease
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the ‘broken glass’

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp clear food flavouring (I used lychee)

For the edible ‘blood’

  • 1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp red food colouring
  • 1 tsp clear flavouring (I used lychee)
  • Black food colouring

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

METHOD

A tip before starting off: Make the decorations first, the candy glass and edible blood, as you can keep them in the fridge until just before decorating your cupcakes for your party. They can both keep for several days so you can definitely make them ahead of time.

  1. Broken Glass Candy
    • Cover a baking tray with wax paper and grease it liberally with cooking oil spray, or alternatively you can grease it with some butter if cooking spray is not readily available in your pantry.
    • Place the granulated sugar and corn syrup into a microwave safe bowl and mix them together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and CAREFULLY (beware of the hot steam!) remove the plastic wrap. Stir well and cover again with fresh plastic wrap. Microwave again for another 3 minutes, but check the mixture after about 2 minutes just to make sure that it hasn’t coloured – if you cook the sugar/syrup mixture for too long, it will be amber in colour instead of a nice clear glass you want.
    • CAREFULLY remove the bowl from the microwave and CAREFULLY remove the plastic wrap. The mixture will be very hot and sticky so be cautious as to not touch any of the hot candy! Pour the mixture over the greased wax paper and allow it to sit and harden completely (will take a couple of hours).
    • When the candy has hardened, tap a knife into the ‘glass’ to break it into sharp pieces (do be careful at this point because the pieces are actually quite sharp themselves!), and push the pieces up off the was paper and onto a plate.
    • The glass candy can be kept in a ziplock bag or an airtight container for about a week. Moisture (including the moisture from the frosting on the cupcakes) will eventually start to break the glass candy down.
  2. Edible Blood
    • In a small bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk and mix in the flavouring and red food colouring (a bit at a time) until you get a brilliant red colour. Add a tiny bit of black as the colour can go a long way! Mix and adjust until you get a nice dark red colour.
    • Spoon the ‘blood’ into a ziplock bag and seal tightly. Keep refrigerated until use.
  3. Red Velvet Cake Mix
    • Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with black paper cases.
    • Sift the baking soda, cocoa powder, plain flour, self-raising flour into a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
    • Meanwhile in a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar using an electric handheld mixer. Mix until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and beat on slow speed, making sure that it’s all blended in. Add the flour mixture into egg mixture and gently fold it in. Finally, add in the buttermilk and red food colouring. Mix together.
    • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 of the way and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. To check if they are done, insert a toothpick in the centre of the muffin.
    • Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool down for about 5 minutes, then transfer them out of the muffin pans and onto a wire rack to allow them to cool down completely.
  4. Cream Cheese Frosting
    • Smooth the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together using an electric handheld mixer. Fold in the icing sugar, and then use the mixer again to beat it until it is light and fluffy.
    • Place the frosting into a ziplock bag and refrigerate until use.
  5. Assembly & Decoration
    • Place some parchment paper on your work surface to protect it from all the red colouring from your edible blood, or alternatively you can use a platter or tray that you will be serving the cupcakes on.
    • Snip off a corner of your ziplock bag of frosting and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Press 2 to 3 pieces of the glass candy into the top of each cupcake.
    • Snip off a corner of your ziplock bag of edible blood and drizzle over the top of each cupcake and glass candy, allowing it to drip down the sides of both.
    • Serve the same day after decorating, with plates and forks or else you will have red fingers! Enjoy a bloody delicious dessert and a very Happy Halloween to all my family, friends, and followers!

Cupcakes taste best on the same day, though they may be stored covered tightly at room temperature for 3 days (undecorated) or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Halloween Special: Creepy Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Once again, a very Happy Bloody Halloween to all my family, friends, and followers! I will be back on Tuesday with a new theme for the month of November so stay tuned!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Bare with me as I get back on track with my posting schedule, but I must warn you once again that I may or may not be travelling back to the Philippines, and as you already know, Internet connection will once again be disrupted, but hopefully for only a week or so. I am aware that it is a Sunday, and on amcarmenskitchen it should in fact be a Review Sunday! But not today for I have a special post for you guys tonight as it is Easter Sunday! I will sort out my reviews from various places that I visited during my month-long trip to the Philippines and get working on them to have one up for next week.

I remember how every bakery in Sydney, be in along the streets, inside a shopping centre, or supermarket, smelled of freshly baked hot cross buns. I definitely miss those chocolate chip flavoured ones from Baker’s Delight! A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday in most parts of Europe, the United States, and Australia/New Zealand. Apparently, hot cross buns may go on sale in Australia and New Zealand as early as New Year’s Day or even right after Christmas.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

To be honest, I was quite reluctant on whether or not I should post this up because a few things went wrong even though I followed the recipe from Taste very carefully. My buns did not at all look like the photograph and I think it because I under baked the buns (even though I followed the recipe). Okay, I technically didn’t quite follow it because the dough was very wet and quite sticky so I added probably the equivalent of about 1/2 or 3/4 more cups of flour. Maybe this is where it went wrong? I don’t know. Half of the buns deflated when I removed them from the oven (this is why I mentioned that I may have quite possibly under baked them), and they were still pretty pale when they had an extra 15 minutes in the oven. The crosses ended up appearing the same in terms of colour as the bun and didn’t look as evident. Oh the many mishaps; and now you see why I was hesitant to show my fail buns. Anyway, I deserve an A for effort as this is my first time making bread ever! And even still I am showing you my result!

When I reheated the buns again our small electric oven for about 6-8 minutes (for our afternoon snack), the tops browned nicely; and it was only then did I decide that maybe I should post it on my blog even if they don’t look that appetising. However, by this time, having been in the oven for quite some time since the initial baking, the bottoms and even the outside became quite crusty, however, the inside remained soft and dense. The 6 that are missing from the photograph were the deflated ones that we ate, and so I only managed to photograph the remaining 6. I will definitely give this recipe another go some other time.

Easter Hot Cross Buns Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | MAKES 12 BUNS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of raisins (or currents/sultanas)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 sachets (7g each) dried yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp mixed spices (I used cinnamon, cloves, & nutmeg)
  • Pinch of salt

For the flour paste

  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 3 tbsp water

For the glaze

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Butter to serve

METHOD

  1. Bread Dough: Combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spices, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and then add in the milk. Heat for about a minute, or until the mixture is lukewarm. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to flour mixture. Then, using a flat-bladed knife, mix until the dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
  4. Punch the dough down to its original size and add the raisins to the dough. Knead with the raisins for about a minute on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto a large tray lined with baking paper, about 1cm apart, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C.
  5. Flour Paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag and snip off a corner of the bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.
  7. Glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and let it boil for about 3-4 minutes. Then, brush the warm glaze over the hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Hello Everyone! First off, I’d like to apologise for not posting a recipe over the weekend – reason being just that I haven’t had the time to sit down and write one, and even better, my laptop charger decided that it was time for it to die. Also, another heads up, I will be leaving Lucena tomorrow and back to Bulacan where I will once again have no connection, so this will be the last post for March! I will see you again in April when I come back from my vacation!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Moving on, today’s recipe is a belated one as it was meant to go up on Valentine’s Day. But for those who have been following for a while, you would’ve known that that was a busy week for me. I spent late morning/early afternoon of Valentine’s Day with a few of my very close friends over brunch at Cuckoo Callay for their Bacon Festival. I spent the rest of the day finalising my packing, moving all my things to a friends house, and having dinner with Vidhya that night. I left Sydney the next day.

I’ve made these a total of 3 times now. The first two were a complete fail and the third time was ALMOST a fail but worked out in the end. The first time I filled my square pan right to the top. I forgot how deep that pan was but nevertheless the brownies were too thick. The top started to brown a lot and it was nowhere close to being halfway done. The second time I tried it, I made the same mistake, but it wasn’t that I didn’t learn from my first mishap, it was another miscalculation on my side. I used a bigger dish this time, but one recipe wasn’t enough to fill it, do I doubled the quantities. It didn’t fill up all the way to the top, but it was still too thick. The brownie cooked about 3/4 of the way and the bottom was still batter. The second time I made it, I had planned on bringing it to office as a treat for my boss and managers, but because I didn’t want to bring in underdone brownies, I waited until my next day off to make the brownies again and finally bring them in on my last day of work.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Now for the third batch, I used 1 and a half recipes this time and it was just the right thickness, FINALLY. When I said that it was an almost fail, it was because it was taking three times as long as it should to bake in the oven. The reason is because firstly, the oven at the lodge in Sydney is just unreliable. Secondly, I noticed that the top was starting to brown and the brownies aren’t all the way cooked yet, so I resulted to having to cover the top with foil so that it’d stop browning any further. Anyway, it got there in the end and it was a huge hit in the office! And Vidhya loved it as well, even though the had some from the first batch.

The original recipe can be found on Sally’s Baking Addiction. As stated before, I used 1 and a half recipes (just for the red velvet batter, I stuck to the same quantities for the cheesecake mix) from Sally’s so that my brownies were of the right thickness for my baking dish (about 8″ x 13″). Also, since at that time I was in midst of clearing out my pantry, I only had about a half cup of plain flour left, and quite a bit of self rising. I didn’t want to use self rising because I didn’t want it to rise, and Vidhya wasn’t home so I couldn’t borrow her plain flour. So I ended up using what’s left of Jialing’s wholemeal flour that she left at my place. I don’t exactly know if using wholemeal changes the texture or the taste, but it worked out in the end.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the red velvet brownies

  • 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp liquid or gel red food colouring
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the cheesecake mix

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large free range egg, yolk only
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease an 8×13 baking dish with a little butter. Set aside.
  2. Red Velvet Brownie Mix: Beat the eggs together in a small bowl and set side. Then melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in 30-second increments until fully melted.
  3. Stir in the sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, mixing each of the ingredients into the batter in that order.
  4. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan. Leave about 3 or 4 tablespoons to top the mixture later for the top.
  6. Cheesecake Mix: Beat the softened cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract in a medium-sized bowl using a hand-held electrical mixer on medium speed. Make sure that the mixture is completely smooth (about a minute or so).
  7. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter and top with the remaining tablespoons of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern.
  8. Bake the brownies for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once down, allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares.
  9. Cover the brownies and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special post for you as today is my not so little sister’s 19th birthday! Today is also the first time in 4 years that I have been home to celebrate with her and the rest of the family. If you have been following my blog since September last year, you would know that I started getting into baking cakes. I never really liked baking cakes to be honest, only because I find it very time consuming and my level of patience does have a limit. Since I started baking cakes, my Mom and sisters now prefer a homemade birthday cake instead of an expensive and cliché store-bought cake. So on Sunday, with the help of the birthday girl, we baked her birthday cake together. We baked it on Sunday even though her birthday is today. Why? Well only because tomorrow we’ll be off for a 1-month vacay to the Philippines, and if we had baked it today, leftovers would be sitting in the fridge until April.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Today’s cake recipe has been slightly adapted from, and can be found on Joanne Eats Well With Others. As you have already read from the title, it is a 3-layer pistachio cake with honey vanilla buttercream. I decided to add the strawberries and crushed pistachios on top to bring some life and colour to the presentation of the cake. I substituted some ingredients, such as instead of using cream of tartare, I used lemon juice instead. I barely use cream of tartare in my baking and buying a jar of it didn’t seem very economical as I know it’ll just sit in the pantry waiting for its expiry date. Also, instead of cake flour, also because I barely use it, I used plain flour combined with cornstarch instead. The easiest way to do this substitution is to put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with plain flour and level the top. In addition, I lessened the amount of sugar and butter in this recipe and it still turned out fine for me! I am not a huge fan of overly sweet desserts, and also I had to take into consideration my Mom who is a diabetic.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Before I move on to the recipe, I HIGHLY recommend that you buy shelled pistachios. We went to four different grocery stores and could not find any and so we decided to buy the shelled ones. It took forever to shell just over a cup of pistachios – thank goodness I had my Mom and my sisters to do the tedious job while I worked on the batter. Also, have a food processor handy, but if you’re like me and don’t own one, then all you need is a motor and pestle to bash it all up as well as grinding it. It takes time but it gets the job done. I think that’s why towards the end of this cake I was starting to lose a little bit of my patience because everything took longer to do! But hurray for a gas oven! I cannot stress how much I hated using the oven at the Doncaster Lodge. Everything took at least double or triple the normal time to cook!

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake
  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, plus extra for decorating
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large free range egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 5 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
For the buttercream
  • 300g unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C or gas mark 3. Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter.
  2. For the Cake Batter: Using a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely chopped. Remove half of the pistachios and transfer to a small bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they are an almost powder-like consistency.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together both the roughly chopped and fine pistachios with the plain flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  4. Cream the butter using an electrical mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy for about another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add in the egg, mixing until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour+pistachio mix to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  6. In a medium, clean bowl whisk together the egg whites with the lemon juice until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let them completely cool.
  9. For the Buttercream: Meanwhile, as the cakes are cooling down, whisk together the flour and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Then, add in the milk and cream, and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer the hot milk mixture to a large bowl and mix on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy for a further few minutes. Then add in the vanilla and honey, and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it in the freezer for a while and then mix again.
  11. Assembly: Place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com