Monday, December 03, 2012

You Will Die For These Cupcakes

No kidding. Maybe even kill for the last one.

What is impressive about this recipe is that it comes out great with quite few ingredients. And there are so many Oreo cookies in it that you'd feel quite full even with just a couple in your tummy.

Yesterday, I bought a single red velvet cupcake (tiny one) for 50 bucks, and I felt terrible! So I decided to make something on my own for lesser, and arrived at this.

The idea to bake them has been lingering in my head for quite some time now. More precisely since I laid my eyes on these Death By Oreo Cupcakes. Cream cheese was and is an issue I intend to solve. Hence, I used a buttercream frosting instead. It also just happened that my monthly supply of cocoa and flour was up, so I had to use instant cake mix. I do intend to try the same frosting with a basic vanilla cupcake next time. I'm guessing that will be less indulgence and more class.

But today's star dish is hardly classy. It is obscenely filled with Oreos and you have to eat it with all cares abandoned. Go right ahead! This guilty pleasure comes quite cheap.

For the cupcake base:

1 packet             Betty Crocker Chocolate cake mix. Or any cake mix you like.
1 packet             Oreo Cookies
also, make sure you bring to room temperature whatever the cake box says you need.

For the Oreo buttercream frosting:
 Recipe adapted from Holly of Life As A Lofthouse

1/3 cup               Butter, unsalted
1 tsp                   Vanilla essence, the dark coloured liquid tastes best.
1 tbsp                 Milk
1and 1/3 cups     Powdered Sugar
5 oreos               Crushed very well, put them in the mixer and pound.

Place your cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the cake box.

Mix the contents of the instant cake mix thoroughly with whatever wet ingredients you add (usually butter and eggs). Even eggless cakes work beautifully. Just use chocolate cake mix though.

Fill 1/4th of the cupcake liners with this cake batter. Now, put one Oreo cookie horizontally on the batter such that it lies still. Do this slowly so that you don't disturb the bottom layer. Now fill the cupcakes to about 3/4 with the cake batter. I filled them to the top as my outer 'blue' mould had a lot of space leftover, and also to get that dome like appearance on the cupcakes.

Place the muffin tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Check if they are done, remove and cool.

Now for the buttercream. Blend together butter, milk and essence until you can't mix anymore. Take powdered sugar and add it in parts. After each addition, mix thoroughly to see if the desired consistency has been achieved. If not, add more. Buttercream must be thick, but not sickly sweet. So maintain that balance. Mix in the crushed Oreos thoroughly and frost.

You can spread it out like jam. Use a piping bag and make a swirl pattern, if you have it. Decorate with half of an Oreo. And eat so many that people wonder why you have such a sugar high!

A warning about the frosting- you may finish licking it clean even before your cupcakes are done. Exercise control.

No prize for guessing where the sixth one went ;)

Today's Dose Of Philosophy:

Once in a while, forget about diets and health. Forget what is right and what is not. Take a deep dive into pure excess. Want to read a book? Do it all day. Eat? Binge. Shop? Go out now. Cook? Go wild! And when you are done, step back and enjoy the time you spent doing it. When you do get back to your routine, you'll feel so much better. And you'll do the task at hand with twice the involvement!

The Simplest Cake Ever!

Well, maybe not a cake in its literal sense, but more like bread- 'breake' if you will. And this is an ice cream cake in the truest sense of the word.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from A Well-Seasoned Life: Ice-Cream Bread recipe. Kim there notes that the cake isn't sweet enough so I made a few tweaks. Also, I didn't have self-rising flour, so I made my own. Instructions for all of them will follow.

But first, I must explain this obscene delay. I have been considering options for postgrad, and I finally settled on a distance learning course from Symbiosis, Pune. Needless to say, a decision of such importance has drained me of much energy and the process of applying has taken out the rest. Now, with other matters taken care of, I can get back to what I do best. Find inspiration everywhere.

At this point, I shall stop rambling and tell you about the recipe. The inspiration came from Anyone curious about new things MUST sign up here! So here are the measurements:

This recipe makes for four large muffins. Or you could bake it all together like I did.

3/4 cups       All Purpose Flour (or Maida)
1 Teaspoon  Baking Powder
A pinch        Salt
1 cup           Any ice cream you like,thawed
1/4 cup        Sugar, preferably caster sugar

Thats it!

I used tutti-frutti ice cream as it has been lying in my freezer for a while now. But the possibilities are endless- imagine chocolate, or peanut butter ice cream. Maybe you can even try a sundae cake with half of two complementing flavours. Let me know how it goes!

In a clean and dry bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Now you must do this thoroughly, as this is our substitute for self rising flour. I added the sugar to make it sweet enough for my taste. A little less or more shouldn't hurt.

Then, allow the ice cream of choice to thaw for about 30 minutes. Mix the ice cream well with the flour till you get a uniform batter. The batter will be quite thick- maybe like loose cookie dough.Spread this out onto a single cake mould (I did that) or drop it into muffin cups and fill them about three-fourths. This recipe doesn't rise much.

Place the mold into a cold oven (do not preheat). Bake for 40-45 minutes if you are using a single cake mould, or lesser if you are using muffin tins. Check from 30 minutes onwards.

Let them cool and enjoy the coolest version of ice cream ever!

Since this recipe is made from things we usually have, like flour and leftover ice cream, it is a great quick fix for midnight cravings as well. Here's how it looks- using a cold oven gives it a nice crust that is about 2mm thick.

And sorry about that picture quality! Will use the husband's phone next time.

Today's dose of philosophy:
There is nothing in life that is a waste. Just like leftover ice cream that makes great cakes,  most of the incidents in our past ensure that we have something to cherish and rebuild upon in our futures. So, never think of anything as baggage- something that was once desired but holds no relevance now. Go ahead and make cakes out of it!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Pilot Post

Last evening, I had a revelation.

I am a clueless twenty two year old and I have made some very trivial life changing decisions- two of them, actually. One, I am going to make Indian versions of Sushi, Risotto, Lasagna, Cheesecake and pretty much everything else we collectively crave for. Two, I am not going to spend another day slumped on the bean bag not knowing what to do and being too lazy to get up.

Instead, I am going to spend the days making something new and preaching to all of you. Because that is what I am good at- making aloo paranthas and obvious observations that somehow seem to skip our notice all the time.

It has been half a year since I graduated, from a good college. But here I am, without a job, without a plan and certainly without any idea of what I want to be. The problem is that I have a little too many interests. A bigger problem is that none of them last. Today, right now, I want to paint an entire wall. Yesterday I wanted to make pizza from scratch. Tomorrow, I'll probably want to go mountaineering. Or not. See? I don't know what I like.

So I'm starting this blog as an endeavour, a quest almost, to try and find out how long this one is going to last.

I know that 'Who am I?' is a question so many people struggle with, a question that I struggle with. It should be the most obvious thing in the world, but it isn't! And last evening, when I sat (you know where now) brooding, I knew I could help the situation. I had to get up (literally) and start doing all the things I think I like- if only to rule out the things I don't.

 And maybe in this process, you could help me. Maybe I could help you. Maybe the philosopher in me can indeed change something. Maybe I can change me. Change us. For good.

In the meantime, lets never forget to have fun. That is decision number two. I want to make exotic recipes 'makeable' in the Indian kitchen. With ingredients we have handy, or at least our supermarket does. I have a feeling some recipes wont work. But I'll still try.

So lets get off our collective bean bags (and chairs and beds and workstations) and try and make a little difference to our lives, and a lot of difference to each others'. Contributions, suggestions, fun ideas and your own philosophies will always be welcome here.