DIY Rainbow Cupcakes

These mini, color explosion bombs are so adorable and perfect for any kind of celebration! 

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Aren’t these just adorable? I feel so happy while writing this post because I absolutely love how the colors have come out! I love a colorful thing, don’t you? So, I made these little colorful bombs in celebration of a festival, here in India, called Holi, which is a festival full of colors. Holi is all about colors & celebrations, which also sets the beginning of the Spring season. So, I wanted to make something which sort of replicates the spirit of the festival. And what could be better than these rainbow cupcakes! 😀 I have used 4 colors here, you can choose more if you want to. However, I would suggest sticking to 4 or lesser, as your batter might flow out. You can also choose your order of colors. Mine was blue-yellow-orange-red.

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Colors

They are so simple to make, but the results can be deceiving. I have used a simple vanilla as my base, but you can try them with any other flavour of your choice, till the time the batter is still white. And the best part is, they’re eggless! They are still so soft and moist. And oh, rise so beautifully. So much, that they actually turned out to be mushroom shaped. I had to chop the sides off. Though, thats just my mistake. I was too overwhelmed by their looks and overfilled my liners. 😛

Even though I love the idea of cupcakes, I never like eating one from a bakery simply because they are generally loaded with buttercream frosting, something which I’m not really a fan of. I would trade buttercream for literally anything. I feel it’s quite heavy for my palate. On the other hand, I love cream cheese. So, I decided to go for a vanilla cream cheese frosting with my pretty little cupcakes. And trust me, you will love this one! It’s so smooth and flavourful. I love how you get a very subtle hint of tartness with all the sugary drama. Just enough to keep you wanting more.

I guess too much talking, we should get to the cupcakes now. I have used my Eggless Vanilla Cake recipe as a base, except that I have decreased the amount of flour a bit.

I guess we are good to go!

 

Makes: 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

 For the sponge:

  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 120 ml plain buttermilk
  • 50 gms butter
  • 50 gms applesauce
  • 175 gms castor sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • red, orange, blue & yellow food coloring

 

For the frosting:

  • 115 gms (4 oz) cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 drops of maple flavouring (optional)

 

METHOD

For the sponge: 

  1. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder and baking soda, in a large bowl. Keep aside.
  3. In another large bowl, cream butter until soft. Add sugar. Beat until it resembles like wet sand. Add applesauce and beat again for a few seconds.Add vanilla extract and mix.
  4. Now add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Once the buttermilk is over, add milk. Mix well using a spatula. Do not beat the batter at this point. Only mix until all the flour is incorporated.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Divide the batter evenly into 4 medium bowls. Add a drop of every color in the different bowls and mix. Pipe every colored-batter separately in different piping bags and snip the tips.
  6. Starting with blue, pipe a layer of the blue-colored batter in every cupcake liner. Pipe the next layer of yellow-colored batter on top and mix slightly using a toothpick. Move on to the third layer of orange-colored batter and again mix using a toothpick. Lastly, pipe the last layer of red-colored batter and mix slightly. Do not overfill your liners and make sure they are only 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20-25 mins at 180 C or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let them cool completely.

 

For the frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, whip the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, cream the cream cheese until soft. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract & maple flavouring and mix well.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.  Frost your cupcakes as per your choice. You’ve nailed it!

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Caramel Tart

Are you in love with salted caramel and chocolate, just like I am? Well, you have landed at the perfect place! These baby tarts are just what you need! What’s not to love?! 😀

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I’ll be honest, it wasn’t very long ago that I first had this combination, while working for a restaurant last year. And oh wow! I was so in love with the combination, even though the final product then wasn’t a big success as the caramel was quite hard to break into. So recently, I made this Banana Cheesecake with Salted Caramel, and I had some leftover caramel. So, I decided to give these tarts a try. I actually made one big tart initially, but that sort of failed. The caramel got burnt and tasted quite bitter, in a salty way. I don’t know if you guys get what I mean 😛 (Now you know why it is SO important to pay full attention while making your caramel) Moreover, even my ganache turned out like a hard rock. Imagine, something as simple as ganache! :/ That tart was a total disaster. Anyway, I changed a few things and voilà! 😀 The caramel is by Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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These little baby tarts are so adorable and yummy. It’s like an explosion of flavours in a bite! It has that saltiness from the caramel, dense richness from the chocolate and a perfect crunch with that pastry. Doesn’t it sound absolutely divine? Yes, they are a bit time-consuming but trust me, so worth it! And the best part is, they are simple to make. You just need to be a bit careful and give them your full attention. Put on some good ‘baking’ music and you’re good to go! 😛

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You NEED to go try them, like NOW.

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Just a few points before we start:

  • Make sure to use unsalted butter because it’s really all about balancing the salt level in this recipe. Too much of salt can make your tarts taste bitter. So, keep tasting everything while making it. 🙂
  • For the ganache, only use cooking chocolate and cream, as any other chocolate will give you a hard rock.
  • If you’re making a tart for the first time, make sure your butter is really chilled and you’re only using iced cold water. The chilled butter is what gives the pastry that crunch.

So, let’s start! 😀

 

Makes: 8-10 mini tarts

INGREDIENTS:

For the crust:

  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 25 grams cocoa powder
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • 140 gms unsalted butter (chilled and cubed)
  • 1 tablespoon iced cold water
  • a pinch of sea salt

For the caramel:

  • 100 grams white granulated sugar
  • 45 gms unsalted butter
  • 60 ml heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt or to taste

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 150 gms dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 125 ml cooking cream

 

METHOD:

For the pastry crust:

  • To make the pastry, cut the chilled butter into small squares and refrigerate further. Measure the flour, salt and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the chilled butter, and using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, blend in the butter until it resembles wet sand. Bring together the dough using a tablespoon of iced water (add more if necessary), until almost totally cohesive. Work the dough a bit until it comes together. Do not overwork it. Cut it in half, and form each half into a disc. Wrap in a clingfilm and refrigerate for minimum 2 hours before using.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm-thick. Use extra flour if necessary. Line 8 lightly greased 6 cm round tart tins with the pastry. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes in an air tight box. Line the pastry cases with non-stick baking paper, fill with baking weights ( I use lentils) and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is just cooked. Allow to cool in the tins.

 

For the salted caramel:

  • To make the salted caramel, heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sir continuously using a high heat resistant rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. The sugar will start to form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown dark amber colored liquid as you keep stirring. Do not burn the sugar and pay full attention while cooking it as it only takes a few seconds for it to burn.
  • As soon as the sugar has melted, add the butter and stir continuously. Do not keep your face too near the saucepan as the sugar will bubble rapidly on adding the butter. Stir until the butter has melted completely, for about a minute.
  • Slowly pour in the heavy cream into the caramel. Be careful as the caramel will bubble rapidly or even splatter on adding the cold cream due to difference in temperatures.
  • Let it boil for a minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils. Remove from heat, and stir in the sea salt. I would suggest not adding all of the salt at once. Taste your caramel (Be careful! It’s hot! ) and adjust the salt level as per your taste (I like mine salty). Let it cool before using.
  • Spoon the salted caramel into the tart shells till half and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set. You can measure the caramel before filling the tart shells for accuracy.

 

For the ganache:

  • Place the chopped the dark chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cooking cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the cream boils, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for 5 mins and then mix to get a nice smooth ganache.
  • Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel and refrigerate for 1–2 hours or until set. Bring to room temperature and sprinkle with sea salt flakes to serve. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Banana Cheesecake with Salted Caramel

Who loves a good cheesecake here? You sure are going to love it! Maybe a bigger pair of pants will come in handy 😛

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I’m sort of drooling already..

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This cheesecake is so rich and velvety, almost like heaven in your mouth! I’m such a fan of cheesecakes! But again, a bite or two is quite sufficient for me. I generally don’t make a lot of baked cheesecakes considering it involves a lot of time and they are so moody. (Urgh!)  However, I was sort of bored of making no-bake cheesecakes, and wanted to try the baked one. I had a lot of bananas lying in my refrigerator, and I LOVE a banana dessert.  They are so smooth and velvety. So, I went ahead with a banana cheesecake. And when I tried looking for recipes, I couldn’t find ONE good recipe on it. I guess people don’t make a banana cheesecake generally. Anyway, I did some things and it turned out so well! 😀 It’s a modification of Nigella Lawson’s cheesecake.

So, lately I have been feeling very caramel-y. And this salted caramel goes soooo well with my banana cheesecake. The cheesecake is so smooth and velvety, and tastes delicious with the salted caramel drizzled on top. The saltiness of the caramel balances out the sweetness in the cheesecake, and you can feel the smoothness of the dessert in every bite. The biscuit base provides that much needed crunch at the end. Doesn’t it sound like the perfect dessert? 😀 It sure is a perfect dessert to have when you’re having a rough time, and all you need is your dessert to comfort you. 🙂

With a baked cheesecake, you have to be a bit careful while you’re cooking it. A baked cheesecake is cooked in a water bath to allow it cook gently and evenly. You want a smooth cheesecake, and cooking it directly will spoil that texture and might crack your cheesecake. A water bath is basically putting your springform tin in a roasting pan with hot water halfway up your springform tin. While cooking a cheesecake in a water bath, you have to be very careful as to NO water seeps in. For this, I generally prefer a three layer wrapping, just to be on a safer side. First wrap your springform tin with a cling film wrap, and then two layers of a strong foil paper. If you have an oven bag, that’s the safest.

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Just a few points before we start:

  • If you want a lighter cheesecake, make sure you beat the cream cheese well and gently. This is help in lightening the mixture. Do not over-beat it though.
  • Make sure your tin is wrapped properly to prevent any water from entering the tin.
  • Be careful while handling the water bath. Do not overfill it as the water might spill while cooking. Just halfway up the springform tin.
  • If your bananas are very sweet, you can reduce the castor sugar a bit.

We are good to go!

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the base

  • 150grams digestive biscuits (I used oats biscuits)
  • 75grams softened unsalted butter
  • 550 grams cream cheese
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 130 grams caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 ½teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

 

For the caramel

  • 100 gms sugar
  • 45 gms butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 ml heavy cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt or to taste

For the base

  1. Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 20cm / 8 inch springform tin, pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of a spoon. Cover with a cling film wrap and put the tin in the fridge to set. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Beat the cream cheese gently until it’s smooth, then add the sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, then finally the vanilla extract. In another bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon powder & mix. Finally add the banana mix into the cream cheese and mix well. Put a heavy bowl of water on boil.
  3. Line the outside of the chilled tin with strong foil so that it covers the bottom and sides in one large piece, and then do the same again and put it into a roasting pan. (I like covering it with cling film first and then cover with a strong foil twice to be on a safer side.) This will protect the cheesecake from the water as it is cooked in its water bath. It is very important to make sure no water seeps in.
  4. Pour the cream-cheese filling into the chilled biscuit base, and then pour the boiling hot water into the roasting tin around the cheesecake. Be careful! It should come about halfway up; don’t overfill as it will be difficult to lift up the tin. Put it into the oven for an hour. The centre will be a bit wobbly but the sides would be set. This is the trick to a good cheesecake.
  5. Take the roasting tin out of the oven, then gently lift the springform tin from the roasting tin, unwrap it and let it stand it on a rack to cool. When it’s cooled down completely, put it in the fridge for 3 hours at least. Take it out 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Unmould the tin, and dip the knife in hot water first to get a neat cut. Drizzle some warm caramel on top while serving. (Recipe below)

 

For the caramel:

  1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring using a heat resistant rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.
  2. Sugar will start to form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown amber colored liquid as you keep stirring. Do not burn the sugar or you will have to restart the process. It only takes a few seconds for it to burn.
  3. When the sugar has completely melted, immediately add the butter. Keep stirring. Be careful not to get your face too close to the heat as the sugar will bubble rapidly once butter is added. Stir until butter is completely melted, for about a minute.
  4. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and vanilla extract into the caramel. Be very careful because the caramel will bubble or even splatter because of the cold cream.
  5. Let the caramel boil for a minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the sea salt. Allow to cool down completely before using. Caramel is ready!