Samstag, 28. August 2010

Muffin or Cupcake?

Some think a cupcake is just a pretty muffin, or a muffin is just an ugly cupcake. But there is a difference between these two sisters.

Lets compare a blueberry cupcake with a blueberry muffin.




Blueberry Cupcake - picture taken from here


Blueberry muffin - picture taken from here




OK what is the first thing you notice different? You will probably say "The Icing" which is correct, that´s the first thing per se that difference a cupcake from a muffin. Anything else? Maybe the bun? Or the texture of the bun, see how lower a cupcake is than a muffin? 

The Cupcake "cake" looks pretty much like a miniature version of a standard cake, and tends to be not too tall, because of it´s texture isn´t strong enough to allow for high structures. 

A muffin is significantly heavier in texture, and comes out of the oven with a large overhanging  rim. It can contain fruits, nuts or chocolate chips, it´s never iced and can be both sweet and savoir. A cupcake also has a rim, but much smaller and delicate.

I read somewhere if you threw a cupcake against the wall, you would hear something of a "poof!" and if you threw a muffin against the wall, you would hear a "thud!" I found this very funny in explaining the difference between a cupcake and a muffin.

A muffin is more of a every day treat, and a cupcake is something for special occations and often very pretty decorated and with alot of love to detail. You can see cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles but too cupcakes in form of characters like Kermit, Cookie monster, owls and alot of other things.

The Term Cupcake, first shows up in 1828 in Eliza´s Leslie´s Receipts cookbook. Two terms can be found "Cup Cake" and "Cupcake". Where Cup Cakes refer to cakes whoses ingredients are measured by volume using a standard size cup, instead of being weighted. The term cupcake, what we use today, takes it term from the "cup" they where baked in (before muffin tins where available). This is the use of the name that has persisted and used for any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. 





The makers of this teacup cupcake mold must have known this ;-) 
link to shop here


This is also a cute Giant Cupcake tin sold at several shops including here

A standard cupcake uses the same basic ingredients as a standard sized cakes: butter, sugar, eggs, milk and white flour. Nearly any recipe that is suitable for a layer cake can be used to bake cupcakes. With cupcakes - you beat the butter (that´s at room temperature) till it´s fluffy and smoth, then add the sugar and keep on beating - adding the eggs one at a time. The flour is stifted and mixed alternating with the milk. Baked in a preheated oven and then completely cooled before adding the frosting.

Now let´s turn to the muffins. 

When we talk about muffins like the one on the picture here above, we are confearing to the american muffins. There are too english muffins, which predates the american ones, is a type of light bread with yeast. Which is usually baked in a flat sided disk shaped tin, about 8cm in diameter. They are usually split in two, toasted and served with butter and jam. The american form of muffins is yeast free. And the first recepies of these kind of muffins, we find first in the 19th century in american cookbooks. 

The mixing does it. While you mix the cupcake dough you kinda fold in the muffin dough. If you did it the cupcake way, your muffins would  become rubbery and would then probably make a "boing!" if you threw it at the wall ;-) A muffin dough is way quicker to make than a cupcake dough, cause the ingredients get folded in together, you don´t even need an electric mixer and every recepie says don´t overbeat the dough (or you end up with boing! muffins. The ones I have made usually contain buttermilk, and beside the baking powder you add some sodium. The butter isn´t beaten and comes to the dough in flakes and you hardly mix it - just enough to let it all come together. Muffins are great to take with you to a picnick, cause since they aren´t frosted you can fill up a box with them. Muffins aren´t cut but broken up, the dough is fluffy and airy and moist. 

I like both muffins and cupcakes - cupcakes are the cuter ones, you make them with more love for special occations - muffins are everyday bakings - great to take with you for picknicks as well.

If you got a link to your favorite blueberry muffin or cupcake recepie please leave a link in my comments.

I hope you now understand a little more the difference between a cupcake and a muffin. I found this cute icon at Kawaii not where these two sisters are arguing a little who is the prettier one. But both can be pretty, and both can be ugly, it´s all in the hands of the maker ;-)


kawaii not

Dienstag, 24. August 2010

Baba Ganoush



  بابا غنوج
Baba Ganoush - Arabic Eggplant Crème

Baba Ganoush is one of the small dishes (Meze) served in the mediterranean and the middle east. Making it yourself is so easy and much more tasty than buying it canned up. Serve with some olives, salad, and fresh arabic flatbread (Khubz).

Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Degree of Difficulty: Easy


Ingredients
for 5 persons


1kg eggplant
6 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons Tahini (sesame paste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
2 teaspoons cummin
salt and pepper


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (375°F) 
2. Pick the eggplants with a knife and let bake for 1 hour in the oven (200°C (375°F) )
3. After the eggplants have cooled off, peel off and discard the skin.
4. Cut the meat in chunks, then add the garlic cloves after you cut them in small pieces.
5. Place the eggplant chunks with the garlic in a bowl and use a food processor or a blender to mash it      together to a paste. You can also use a knife or a fork.
6. Add the tahini and mix well
7. Add the olive oil and mix well
8. Press the juice from 2 lemons and add to your paste and mix well.
9. Spice up with the cumin, salt and pepper or untill you are happy with the taste of your paste.


Now spread it on a plate using the back of the spoon for the little molds. Sprinkle a cross with curry (I used purple curry) over your paste after sprinkling some olive oil over it. Garnish with fresh parsley, basil or mint.


Read more about baba ganoush on wikipedia

Dienstag, 17. August 2010

Coffee and Chocolate Cupcakes


Coffee and chocolate the stuff that dreams come from..

Did you ever play that game as kid, where one thinks of a word and whipsers it in the ear of the next one and so on and in the end something totally different comes out? Well it´s the same with recepies - they go from one to the next and everyone adds his or hers own touch to it and makes it better or worse in the end. Well this recepie is adapted from Brown Eyed Baker who adapted it from My Baking Addiction  who again got it from One Ordinary day. One Ordinary Day on the other hand got it from I Heart Cupcakes where the line ends - I don´t know where she got the recepie from, her lips are sealed. So that was the family tree of these cupcakes ;-) 

I love when people write in their blogs where they get the recepies from - and in this case I not only discovered one great bog but four. Not much has changed with the batter along the way - My Baking Addiction adds chocolate, Brown Eyed Baker espresso powder to the batter. Original Buttercream is white chocolate buttercream. But I have seen other recepies, like from Martha Steward or Primerose Bakery that use coffee buttercream - and I for my part like that more. The colour is a tender light brown and decorating it then with some chocolate coffee beans looks very cute.

Makes 12 Cupcakes

1 1/3 Cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup dutch cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup strong coffee or 2 espressos (I used Nespresso Arpeggio)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), line a standard size muffin tin with paper liners

Mix the coffee, milk and vanilla  essence together in a measuring cup (yes looks like a flavoured cafe latte ;-)). Set aside to cool off a bit.

Stift and mix the dry ingredients together in a seperate bowl

Beat the butter and both types of sugar together at medium-high speed until light and fluffy - takes about 3 minutes or longer depending on the softness of your butter

Now add the egg and beat until combined.

Now take your flour bowl and "flavoured coffe latte" Mix and add to your butter-sugar-egg mixture alterating, mixing together after each add. Don´t overbeat the mixture.

Divide the batter between the 12 liners and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
Milk in 1 tablespoon at a time can be added if frosting is too thick


Disolve the espresso powder in vanilla extract


Whip the butter on highs speed for ~5 minutes, scrape the sides of the bowl down. Add the powdered sugar on low speed until coporated - then increas the speed again and beat about a minute or two until fluffy. Add the vanilla-espresso mixture and keep on beating on high speed until completely incorporated.


To make the swirls look the best use a 1M decorating tip - if you need some instructions on how to pipe the perfect swirl - there is a great instruction on wiltons homepage here

Decorate with some chocolate covered coffee beans or sprinkles, anyway you like the best


Now to the taste of these beauties: very good cupcakes - definately going to bake these soon again :)

Mittwoch, 11. August 2010

Good.Cupcakes Good - Blog


[Screenshot]

This is a pretty new blog - Caroline startet it in April 2010 -  there are 3 - 4 entrys on it each month - though the first month did start out with 8 entrys. I hope she tries to update more often and share with us more of her cupcake recepies. 

Good luck Caroline with your blog

Here is a link for you: http://goodcupcakesgood.blogspot.com/

Caroline is having her first blog give away - this cute tote bag from Cakespy to celebrate her over 1600 blogvisitors/clicks on her blog. 

If you don't get lucky - Cakespy's shop is definatley a place to check out such as Cakespy blog.

Taken from Caroline's Profile:

CAROLINES LILLE KAKEBLOGG

Dette er en liten blogg om mine matlige eskapader. Jeg liker å lage cupcakes, konfekt, marsipankaker og andre kaker. Også liker jeg å lage middag for venner og familie.

Translation from norwegian to english:

CAROLINES A LITTLE CAKEBLOG
 
This is a a little blogg about my food adventures . I likes to make cupcakes, konfekt, marsipancakes and other cakes. I also like to make dinner for friends and family.