Carrot cupcake with lemon cream cheese frosting

Other than logcake, carrot cake can be an alternative cake to bake for Christmas! There are so many different types of carrot cake recipes on the internet but what attracted me was the word “moist”. I love how delicious moist cakes are. What caught my attention was adding pineapple to the batter to give the cake an additional moistness. Making it into cupcakes would be easier to eat or share.

If there is a video recipe, why not we check it out right? It gives us that extra boost to feel how easy it is to bake. I adopted this recipe from Joyofbaking.com.  This recipe uses applesauce instead of pineapple but it also mentions what are the alternate ingredients you can use. For the frosting, I love it with a lemony cheesy taste and I didn’t have butter. So I adopted another recipe from Marthastewart.com.

I have also reduced the sugar level from the original recipes.

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Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Carrot cupcake
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
120g walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
100g castor sugar
160ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
160g crushed pineapple, drained
320g grated raw carrots

Lemon cream cheese frosting
115g cream cheese, soften
30g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions 

Carrot cupcake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.  Line 12 muffin cups.

2. In large bowl, whisk eggs until lightly beaten. Add in sugar and continue whisking to mix in. Then whisk in oil and vanilla essence until slightly thickened. Fold in grated carrots and crushed pineapples until just mixed.

3. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon together and sieve into the wet mixture above at 3-4 intervals until all dry ingredients are folded in. Add in walnuts and fold until just incorporated.

4. Fill the batter up to about 3/4 of the cup. You can use a measuring cup to help to split the batter evenly in each cup so that the cupcakes can be ready at about the same time. Note: I made mine up to about 1/2 of the cup for more cupcakes. If you think it looks ugly, you can serve it without the cups.

5. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool completely.

Lemon cream cheese frosting
6. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar and vanilla to mix in.

7. Gradually add lemon juice and beat until smooth. Note: If you see the batter curdle, don’t worry, let it continue to beat until smooth.

8. You can either pipe or spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes. You can then add in any edible decorative on the frosting. Keep refrigerated to avoid the frosting and your decorative to melt.

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Here is the video from Joyofbaking.com.

Enjoy!

Apricot and walnut oatmeal cookies

I was given a packet of rolled oats. The first thought I have is oatmeal cookies! I also recently bought a recipe book, titled “Baking cookies & biscuits” by Catherine Atkinson, Valerie Barrett and Joanna Farrow and found “Toffee apple and oat crunchies” recipe. I could not find the website for this recipe. I got this book from Popular Bookstore Bookfest 2013, Singapore. I adapted this recipe with some changes and of course lesser sugar.

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Makes about 95 pieces.

Ingredients

227g unsalted butter (1 block of Anchor butter)
350g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 pinch of salt
500g rolled oats
100g dried apricot, coarsely chopped
100g walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line parchment paper on baking tray.

2. In a big bowl, beat butter to a little soft. Add sugar and continue to beat to creamy. Add beaten egg and mix well until thoroughly combined.

3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the mixture in #2. Mix in well.

4. Finally, add in the dried apricot and walnuts and stir gently until just combined.

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5. Using a small ice cream scoop or measuring spoon (I used 1 tablespoon), place heaps of the mixture well apart on the prepared baking tray. Lightly press the mixture to flatten it.

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6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the centre is set and begin to brown at the edges. Note: You can adjust the timing by +/- 2 minutes for a different texture, softer or little more crunchy. I prefer it a little more crunchy.

7. Remove from oven and leave to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes. Using a thin spatula, transfer the cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Note: The cookies may break or go out of shape if they are transferred immediately after it’s removed from the oven.

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Some of my family say that it’s a little sweet. For a less sweet cookie, change 350g light brown sugar to 270g light brown sugar.

Enjoy!

Christmas decoration with felt for cookie jar

I had some felts kept aside for a very long time and I thought to do something with it. While Christmas is coming, let’s do some cookie jar decoration as gifts! You can either buy some cookies or bake them yourself. As for the jar, you can use any type of jar. I bought mine from Ikea.

Here are some of the colours that I have. The few Christmas colours to have are green, red, white, and orange.

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You can use any kind of thread depending on how thick you want the outline to be. I choose the normal threads because I prefer to have thinner outlines. If you are not sure what colours to get, you can buy the sewing box which gives you a mixture of colours to use.

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Before starting on what deco to do, you can first measure and cut out a round-shape cloth as the top cover of the cookie jar. The size of the circle would depend on how much you want the cloth to cover the jar and where to tie the ribbon. If still unsure, cut a bigger round and snip it smaller when you tie it on the jar.

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I got my inspiration randomly from Google and came out with these for my 3 cookie jars. You can see that I did not sew all the borders of the mini cloth to the main cloth and use the threads as part of the decoration like the yellow lines on the Christmas tree. I think it is ok to do that if it is not for heavy usage. Otherwise, the sides will be folded or curve up after a few use.

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This is how it looks on the cookie jar. You can buy any patterned ribbon to tie it on.

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Enjoy!

High UV protection Buff – The original multifunctional headwear

Few months back, it was the first time I was introduced with this headwear which just look like a normal cloth. It is interesting how useful it is, easy to wash (machine washable) and easy to carry around.

“High UV Protection BUFF® is a seamless, multifunctional tubular accessory ideal for many warm and hot weather activities. Made with Coolmax® Extreme, High UV Protection BUFF® will wick moisture (sweat) away from your skin faster than any other fabric, making it perfect for every outdoor activity under the sun.” (buffwear.com)

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This is how small it can be folded. Note: My hand is a little smaller than average.

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Buff comes in many types but the most common ones are the ones with UV and non-UV. It is an average of 95% UV protection. Not only that, it comes with polygiene that permanently controls odor. How good can it be, right?

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Product name: Emin
Product code: 100088

There are various ways to wear it. You can refer them to the cardboard that comes with the buff. Here they are…

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For more information, you can see behind the cardboard (like below) or visit their website at www.buff.eu.

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I bought it in Singapore at Outdoor Life, that has 2 outlets. For non UV buff, it’s $30 and for UV, it’s $45.

Outdoor Life Novena
238 Thomson Road #02-60/67 Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6255 4814

Outdoor Life Wheelock Place
501 Orchard Road #02-18 Singapore 238880
Tel: +65 6235 5928

Outdoor Life sells lots of stuffs for outdoor activities from cycling, hiking, running, etc. You can visit their website at www.outdoorlife.com.sg.

Enjoy!

 

 

Giddens Ko 九把刀 in Singapore

Incidentally came across a talk event by Giddens Ko 九把刀 at Popular Bookfest at Suntec Singapore on 14 December 2013.

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A little of his past work from books to movies was introduced. The movie, You Are the Apple of My Eye, made him more well-known than he already is with his books in Taiwan. This talk focuses on his latest project, a documentary titled “Twelve Nights” 十二夜 which touched me.

020056.77043109

This is a documentary on dogs’ life  in one of a shelter home in Taiwan. The dogs’ life has a 12 days limit from the day they were captured to the day they are euthanised if no one were to adopt them. This is how the documentary title comes about. I am looking forward to watch it.

Here’s a preview…