Tag Archives: baking

Easter Sunday Bunny Rolls

Happy Easter Sunday from the West Coast! I found a super cute recipe online and decided to make these lil bunnies for Easter this year. I’m in a rather great mood because the sun is shining bright today! Also, because I get to bake, bake, bake!

image (2)

The ingredients were very simple and I had everything at home already in my pantry and fridge. Note: Not shown in the photo above was the extra egg (for the egg wash) and the black sesame seeds (for the bunnies’ eyes).

IMG_1983

I followed the recipe here. I found it was quite straightforward, except when it came time to shape the bunnies’ faces and ears. I first rolled up the balls of dough (roughly 20) and shaped it into an ‘egg-like’ shape with my hands, trying to smooth the edges out. I then cut the top part of the dough with my scissors and made 2 incisions for the ears. The ears at first looked like sharp horns (more cat-like), so I flattened each ear to make it look rounder. For the eyes, I used a toothpick to make 2 small holes and inserted two black sesame seeds in them. Unfortunately, mine ended up looking like little mice haha… but they’re still pretty kawaii!

IMG_2015

The bunny buns were very soft and tasted similarly to some plain Asian-style buns, with a very nice contrast of salty and sweet. The recipe is completely milk-free (perfect for those who are lactose-intolerant) 🙂 I will definitely make these again one day!

IMG_2029

Have a hoppy Easter!

-Matchachoco

Advertisements

Easter Egg Cake

Spring is here! Here’s a food post I’ve delayed posting for a very long time because I was waiting for Spring.

IMG_7153

This cake was inspired by a photo of an Easter egg I saw online (does anyone know the original source?). I just knew I had to recreate it the moment I saw the photo! You’re probably wondering how I made the chocolate egg shells. And no, I didn’t use a giant Easter egg mold! The truth is, I made some culinary “shortcuts”. The egg shells are actually a giant Kinder Surprise egg that I split into half.

IMG_7119

I stuffed the chocolate egg shells with vanilla and matcha sponge cake, along with some sweetened whipped cream and strawberries. Since the chocolate egg shells were already sweet enough, I thought the lightness of the sponge cake and whipped cream complemented the chocolate well. I got the sponge cake recipe from Woodland Bakery. I added vanilla extract to half of the cake batter, and added matcha powder to the other half. Given the history of our previous posts on matcha, we all know that I just HAD to. But of course, you can stuff whatever type of cake and cream you prefer. The beauty of baking is that you get to be creative with the flavours that you make 🙂

IMG_7137

To get the spongecake fit the chocolate egg shells, I made cutouts with paper towels with the shapes I wanted. I didn’t measure anything. I just estimated and checked if the cutouts fit the chocolate egg shells. Once I got the right shape and size, I used the cutouts as a guideline to cut the cake.

IMG_6924IMG_6920IMG_6928

For the filling, I just used whipped cream that was sweetened with powdered sugar. I folded chunks of strawberry pieces into the cream.

IMG_7175-2

I’m just glad I finally got to post this after a long wait 😛 What are you baking for Easter?

IMG_7016

Happy Spring!

IMG_6952

– Ricelessasian

Multicoloured Fortune Cookies

I’ve been told that I make very lame puns…so I decided to make puns and put them inside fortune cookies, haha.

IMG_4423

Fun fact: Fortune cookies did not originate from Asia. I’ve always wondered about this since I grew up in Asia, but never had fortune cookies until I traveled to the US. I was a kid back then, and I remember I almost ate the paper because I didn’t know there was something inside the cookie!

IMG_4418

I got the fortune cookie recipe from Fifteen Spatulas, and made some modifications. Instead of making regular fortune cookies, I decided to give them a little bit of natural colour by adding some cocoa powder, matcha powder, and beetroot powder.

IMG_4439IMG_4419

This was my first take on making homemade fortune cookies, and they turned out pretty good! Well, some of them turned out chewy, while the others turned out crispy. It does take some trial and error before you get the hang of folding the cookies, and it’s very time-consuming. However, I think they’re well worth making for special occasions 😛

IMG_4441

Happy Chinese New Year!

– Ricelessasian

IMG_4420IMG_4444

Multicoloured Fortune Cookies
Adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

Ingredients

1 batch of fortune cookie recipe from Fifteen Spatulas
½ tsp matcha powder
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp beetroot powder* or any red food colouring of your choice
½ vanilla extract
Water (use if batter is too thick)

*I didn’t want to add too much beetroot powder because I didn’t want the cookies to start tasting like beets. I got a slightly pink colour with this amount. If you prefer an intense red colour, use food colouring instead.

Directions

  1. Make one batch of fortune cookie recipe batter, eliminating the vanilla and almond extract. Divide batter into four equal portions in separate bowls.
  2. Mix in the matcha powder, cocoa powder, beetroot powder, and vanilla extract with the separate bowls.
  3. Follow instructions from Fifteen Spatulas for folding the fortune cookies.

IMG_4410

Our Year in Review (2014)

2014 went by so fast! We can’t believe it has been almost two years since we started UCL. Here’s a review of our eventful year:

collage.jpg3

We went to Canoe for Winterlicious.

IMG_1922IMG_1939

We learned about Nigerian cuisine for a school project.

IMG_2059

We went on a Vancouver food trip. This was Ricelessasian’s first time visiting  Vancouver.

IMG_4744IMG_4357IMG_4320

Baked a giant cupcake for a special girl’s birthday party!  

IMG_4412IMG_4474IMG_4433

Ricelessasian made a lot of colourful cupcakes.

IMG_6390

Although Matchachoco stayed in Vancouver, we met again in Los Angeles a few months later. We went on a food trip…again (lol).

IMG_8766IMG_0653IMG_9892

We made our own birthday cakes!

Ricelessasian’s birthday cake:

IMG_0067-2

Matchachoco’s birthday cake: 

collage

Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with EatPrayBake 🙂

collage

We had a couple of pasta posts throughout the year 😛

IMG_0621
IMG_0229collage

Ricelessasian made an edible Christmas tree.

IMG_3711

Looking forward to more food experiments in 2015! 🙂

Happy New Year!

– Underground Culinary Lab Team

Stacked Matcha Cookies Christmas Tree

Happy Holidays! What treats have you made this Christmas?

Seeing as how my family was lazy to take our Christmas tree out from the storage room, I took matters into my own hands and decided to bake one instead. This one’s on my holiday baking list too!

IMG_3748-2

They’re layers of matcha sugar cookies cut out into stars of different sizes, and then stacked on top of each other to form a tree. Since I didn’t have star-shaped cookie cutters, I printed a clip art of varying star sizes, cut them out, and traced them on the cookie dough. I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate the cookies, so I whipped out some matcha buttercream on the side.

IMG_3711IMG_3743

Matchachoco and I love baking with matcha powder. Aside from giving desserts a green tea flavour, you also get a natural green hue, avoiding the need for artificial food colouring. I used Laura Vitale’s sugar cookie recipe and added about a tablespoon of matcha powder to it. The cookies had a subtle matcha flavour which contrasted the sweetness of the cookies. It’s quite similar to the matcha shortbread Matchachoco and I baked together last year, but less buttery and a little bit more on the crisp side. They also hold their shape very well if you bake the cookie dough cold.

IMG_3762

I was a bit worried that it would turn out overly sweet with the addition of the matcha buttercream design, but turns out the cookies weren’t that sweet and the buttercream added some sweetness that the cookies were lacking. These cookies would pair well with some hot tea on the side.

IMG_3759

Hope you’re having a sweet time during the holidays!

– Ricelessasian

IMG_3684IMG_3696

Stacked Matcha Cookies Christmas Tree
These cookies have sort of a bittersweet taste because of the matcha. Of course if matcha isn’t your thing, you can use green food colouring instead 😛

Ingredients

For the cookies
1 recipe of sugar cookies
1 tbsp. matcha powder

For the buttercream
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk (used to adjust buttercream consistency)
1/2-1 tbsp. matcha powder (or add according to your taste)

Directions

  1. Prepare sugar cookie recipe with the addition of matcha powder. Roll sugar cookie into a flat dough and refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. After refrigerating, cut out varying sizes of star shapes with cookie cutters or by using a template (I used a template by printing out a clip art of a star in different sizes). Refrigerate again for a couple of minutes if the dough gets too soft after cutting.
  3. Bake cookies at 375 degrees F. Since the cookies are in different shapes, the smaller cookies would bake faster than the bigger ones. While baking, gradually remove the smaller cookies once their sides have browned. Continue to bake until the biggest cookie is done (approximately a total of 10-15 minutes baking time depending on the size and how many cookies you’re baking). Allow the cookies to cool on a baking rack.
  4. To make the buttercream: Beat softened butter while gradually adding powdered sugar with an electric mixer until you get a fluffy consistency. Add a couple tablespoons of milk if the buttercream is too stiff. Add matcha powder according to your preference.
  5. Once the cookies have cooled, stack the cookies on top of each other, from biggest to smallest, using the buttercream as a glue. Decorate the cookies by piping buttercream around the edges with a star tip.

I had some leftover cookie dough, so I made some sparkly Christmas tree cookie cutouts on the side 🙂

IMG_3688IMG_3689

Nutella Braid Bread

Done with this semester’s exams!

IMG_3342

This is something I’ve been wanting to try out, but I’ve been holding it off until the Christmas break. I have a list of other recipes ideas I’m anticipating to try, and hopefully I get through most of them over this break 🙂

IMG_3345IMG_3334

The bread didn’t turn out as symmetrical as I would’ve liked it to be, but I think it’s not bad for the first try! The shape reminded me of poinsettia and Christmas parols.

IMG_3337

I used the recipe Yoyomax12 used for her Nutella braid bread, but followed the instructions from Steve’s Kitchen. I only did three layers, instead of the four layers in the video, because I didn’t have enough dough. I got to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how the bread turned out! I’ve tried a couple of bread recipes in the past, but this is probably the first time I was impressed flavor-wise. It had a light, fluffy texture with a crisp crust. It tasted like something you’d buy from a fancy bread place, and it’s also such an easy bread recipe (although I can’t say the same about the braiding part lol).

TIP: Heat Nutella in the microwave first, so that you can spread it easily.

collage
IMG_3329

The extra bread dough I sliced off did not go to waste! It was used for a taste test 🙂

Obligatory powdered sugar shot:

IMG_3355
IMG_3366

Share the love (and the bread!).

-Ricelessasian

Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with EatPrayBake

Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome to our First Virtual Potluck! What better way to connect with friends and family living elsewhere during this special holiday?

Around the same time last year, I recall making these delicious mashed potato-meatloaf cupcakes (previously featured on our blog) at Ricelessasian’s home in Toronto. Since I’m thousands of miles away in Vancouver now, I thought it would be a good idea to connect with my East Coast friends who I haven’t seen in a while and bake something ‘together’ this weekend. I’m so glad that my partner-in-crime, Ricelessasian, was also on board with the idea!

collage

Naturally, we decided to invite our friend and classmate Helen from EatPrayBake to participate in our virtual potluck. Helen is a fellow food blogger and a nutrition enthusiast. With her experience and interest in baking (especially in vegan treats :)), we thought she would be the perfect person to ask! To learn about some amazing vegan recipes and to see Helen’s potluck contribution (hearty Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne & Baked Sweet Potato Fries), visit her post here: http://eatpraybake.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/virtual-thanksgiving-potluck-with-underground-culinary-lab/    We know we can’t wait to try out her recipes one day!

Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly to be thankful for each day, but because of this virtual ‘assignment’, I’m thankful for having such amazing friends and fellow food bloggers to share recipes and travel stories with.

Wishing and hoping you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving wherever you are,

– Matchachoco

Criteria for the Potluck
1. Prepare a homemade dish
2. Use pumpkin as the Thanksgiving-related key ingredient

Pumpkin Bread (Ricelessasian’s contribution)

In keeping up with the pumpkin-themed baking Matchachoco has been doing lately, I decided to bake a simple pumpkin bread recipe for the virtual Thanksgiving potluck.

IMG_2313 (2)

To be honest, I’m not really a huge fan of pumpkin desserts, but I recall enjoying a piece of pumpkin bread sample that I once got to try during a school event. Fortunately, recipe cards were also being given away at the event, and I was able to get the recipe for the pumpkin bread. Now I often misplace recipe cards that I get, but for some reason, I did not lose this one. I’m glad I didn’t! It’s been hanging around in my room for about two years now, and it’s only now I that I finally get to use it 😛

collage2

Some changes I made to the recipe were using canned pumpkin puree (to save time) and garnishing the top of the bread with pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds did not only give the bread a nice touch, but it also gave the pumpkin bread another layer of texture along with the walnuts.

IMG_2303 (2)

I think I might have slightly overbaked the pumpkin bread as the crust felt a bit dry to me. However, the inside of the pumpkin bread still turned out soft, moist, and had fine crumbs—just how I wanted it. I found myself snacking on the pumpkin bread in small pieces throughout the day (help!).

IMG_2339 (2)

P.S. I already ate two slices by the time I took the last photo.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies (Matchachoco’s contribution)

Recipe: http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/cookies/r/pmpkncookies.htm

I think this was one of the simplest recipes I’ve made, but ironically my sister said this is one of the top 5 things I’ve ever baked. Haha which begs the question: is the simple route the best way to go?  Knowing me, I really love to take on a good challenge and get bored of making something rather ordinary sometimes. But I don’t think I’ll hesitate to make these cookies for another potluck in the near future.

IMG_1434

I enjoyed this recipe for many reasons! My favourite part about this cookie was that it was chewy in the center and a little crunchy on the bottom. I also had most of the ingredients already at home in my baking drawers (woohoo!), which was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any dairy-free chocolate chips at home to make this authentically vegan, but this recipe is versatile enough to be made for those without any dietary restrictions as well.

IMG_1387
IMG_1402

I originally thought this recipe would taste too ‘healthy’ for my family, in terms of them being bland, but the addition of dark chocolate chips made the cookies rather decadent and rich. The chips really spruced up the subtle flavour of the pumpkin and oats. This is definitely one guilt-free cookie that you can really love and enjoy second and third rounds!

IMG_1435 IMG_1436

No-fuss Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Happy Autumn everyone! It was sad to give summer a farewell party a few weeks ago, but I quickly remembered that the best is yet to come this year. Yes, I’m talking about PUMPKIN SEASON.  The best part about the month of October is having the excuse to make all kinds of festive pumpkin desserts. When the amazing aromas of holiday spices like nutmeg and cinnamon fill your kitchen, you’ll start to realize that the end of summer ain’t all that bad.

vpp

I wanted to make a lighter and healthier alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. I did a little research online and found this lovely vegan recipe. This recipe is perfect for those who want to make a no-fuss, quick and simple recipe. Most of the ingredients are mixed together in a food processor – easy peasy! Though the recipe makes 6 mini sized pies, I made a large 9 inch pie instead, with some left over batter.

IMG_1292

I was surprised to see one special ingredient in this recipe which was tofu! Ricelessasian mentioned before that tofu can also be used in vegan brownies, which we may feature in a future post. Along with the added nutritional benefits of tofu, it added a creaminess to the pumpkin puree mixture, which was great!

IMG_1323

To even make this lower in calories or sugar, you can substitute the regular graham cracker crumbs with store-bought low-fat graham cracker crumbs or make your own homemade crumbs. You can also remove the pecans on the top if you wish to reduce calories; however, I think it looks much festive with them on – don’t you agree? 😉

IMG_1295

Enjoy the everything-pumpkin season!

– Matchachoco

Filipino Independence Day Swirl Cupcakes

It’s Independence Day in the Philippines today (June 12)!

These cupcakes were requested by my mom for a Filipino Independence Day party at work a few days ago. She also made the flag cupcake toppers too (about 40+ pieces of them)! I’ve never made this many cupcakes all by myself before (Matchachoco, where are you? lol), so I was pretty exhausted after all the baking and cleaning involved.

IMG_6396IMG_6401

I was a little disappointed with how the frosting on the cupcakes turned out though. For some reason, the red food colouring turned out pink, and the blue food colouring gave me this baby blue tint, quite far from the solid red and blue colours of the Filipino flag. I still couldn’t figure out this frosting puzzle, despite using gel food colouring, which is pretty strong and concentrated compared to liquid food colouring. It seemed that the more I added food colouring, the frosting just turned into a bolder colour of pink and baby blue, but not a solid red or blue. Any advice? I also didn’t want to add more food colouring because it’s something I try not to use a lot of for baking (that’s why we’re on the look out for natural alternatives). Oh well, at least the swirl design turned out very colourful and festive 😛

IMG_6403

As usual, I used this chocolate cupcake recipe as my go-to cake recipe with cooked frosting. Now I’ve used this cooked frosting recipe a couple of times already with success, but for some reason they turned out somewhat bland this time. I’m assuming it had something to do with the type of butter, the food coloring, or the type of vanilla extract I used. Despite that, the frosting turned out very light and fluffy, but stable at the same time. If done properly, this frosting should taste reminiscent of sweetened whipped cream (I once used vanilla bean paste to flavour the cooked frosting and someone commented that it tasted like the vanilla bean frappuccino from Starbucks). It is also not overly sweet like the regular homemade buttercream frosting, which is what I like about this frosting.

IMG_6397

To get the swirled look: Divide frosting into 3 bowls. Tint one bowl of frosting with red food colouring, and tint the other with blue food colouring. Leave one bowl of the frosting with no food colouring. Using a piping bag with a 1M piping tip, fill 1/3 of the side of the piping bag with blue frosting, 1/3  with red frosting, and 1/3 with uncoloured frosting. Make sure that the different frosting colours remain separate in the piping bag. Before piping the frosting to the cupcakes, pipe frosting on a clean plate first as a trial. Usually, only one colour appears first. Pipe until all three colours appear. Once all three colours appear, pipe frosting to the cupcakes and sprinkle each cupcake with a generous amount of yellow sugar sprinkles.

collage2

Happy Independence Day!

– Ricelessasian

Giant Birthday Cupcake!

This month has been an incredibly busy time for us! After final exams in April, we headed to Vancouver for a very special celebration and our first cupcake order. The birthday girl, Samantha, was turning 1 and her mother requested a gigantic ‘smash’ cupcake to celebrate the occasion.

IMG_4474

A few weeks prior, Ricelessasian and I made a prototype of the giant cupcake for practice. I’ve made many regular-sized cupcakes before, but I was really excited to finally make such a massive cupcake! Luckily, Ricelessasian has had experience making one before so, we weren’t so ‘lost’ in the whole baking and molding process of the cupcake.

IMG_4450
IMG_4444

Aren’t these funky and vintage-y cake stands so cute? For the party decor, our client also requested that we integrate the new OhJoy! decor line from Target. We happily obliged because all the pieces are incredibly adorable!!

IMG_4421

We decided to use this recipe , one – because of the enticing title and two – because vegan ingredients were requested for the giant cupcake (with the exception of the sprinkles). Personally, I think I will definitely use this recipe again one day. The title of the recipe did not lie! The texture of the cupcake was moist and chewy – which was very different from the cupcakes we have made in the past, in a positive sense. I must admit – we had a good chuckle during the baking process because of the unique baking method 😉 (refer to Step 1). For the frosting, we made vegan buttercream using this guide.

IMG_4469

The other regular-sized cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with matcha frosting) were for the guests of the birthday party. We used our go-to chocolate cake recipe with a matcha cooked frosting.  I think they were a bit hit, as some of the friends took a few cupcakes to-go!

IMG_4415

The birthday girl, Samantha, didn’t end up smashing the giant cake, after all. She may have been too lady-like to ruin it or perhaps she thought it was too pretty to eat like I did. Haha!

IMG_4433

H-o-o-r-a-y!! These were the perfect decorations for the simple yet sophisticated matcha cupcakes.

IMG_4393

We made certain improvements to the giant cupcake we served after making the prototype one. For instance, we made the frosting colour more vibrant (more green and pink), created more defined ruffles at the bottom of the cupcake and added flowers made from vegan frosting to the top of the cupcake. Organizing all the little details that were involved with putting the cupcake together were well worth it 😀 Needless to say, we were happy about how the end product turned out. We hope all the guests and the birthday girl enjoyed it as well!

IMG_4412

Thanks for reading and hope you had a wonderful Victoria Day long weekend,

-Matchachoco