Sunday, April 11, 2010

Green Tea & Red Bean Cream Cupcakes

Everytime spring comes, there is one thing that I have to go through. Itchy and runny nose, teary eyes and abrupt sneezing!  I swear that it got better last year but this year seems to be a bit dramatic with me finishing up boxes of tissue papers in the house faster than any winter seasons! I would like to think that my body is trying to get used to my over exertion of energy on my threadmill regime and for this past week, the extra walking time on it had really tired me out like never before. My thighs are stretched to their limits and I feel my arms and bones are all worked up. This is what they call 'No pain, No gain'! And with the allergies, I feel a bit weak but hopefully another week of routine workout, I will get used to it.

Despite my determination to lose pounds, I cannot give up baking! And I can prove that you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak! Sometimes I think the more uptight I am about losing weight and counting calories, the more I will fail. And so, I never count my calories when I eat but I do count when I am losing it on the threadmill. I eat everything but moderately or 1/3 portion of what an adult normally eat, that way I won't envy others and still get to eat what others eat. All my little strange strategies seem to be working fine these past 3 months since I started watching my diet and exercise. And that is why, I can still go on baking every week without much guilt!

I have some red bean paste left in my fridge and it gave me an idea what to make today! I felt like having a cake but not over buttery and of course light and yummy. I like to use yogurt in my cakes as it gives the cakes a tangy bite to it and at the same time really lighten up the texture while maintaining the moist inside the cakes. I find that sour cream and buttermilk do the same thing but low fat yogurt is my preferred choice as I always have a tub ready in the fridge and I can always use the flavored ones for different types of cakes.

These cupcakes are inspired from the Japanese pastry ingredients of red bean and green tea which they use extensively in their patisseries. I took a gumpaste class before Miss E was born and after almost 7 years, my gumpaste tools are still around and I thought it would be fun to try to play around and make cherry blossom flowers for these cupcakes! When I started this blog, I have always wanted to start re-learning and making gumpaste flowers again but just couldn't find the time and patience to do it. But after a few years of playing PlayDoh with my kids, I think my skills should be put to the test again with this edible sugar clay and it is indeed very fun to do. I used Wilton's GumPaste powder, mixing 3/4 cups to 1 tbsp water to get the dough. One thing about gumpaste, they must be covered if not working on it as it dries up pretty quickly and will start to crack. I love the pearl white Non Pareils and just poked them into the shaped flowers as soon as they are formed without any need of egg white to attach them. I placed each flower on the measuring teaspoons to dry for an hour so they will curve up nicely to mimic the sakura flowers. One thing is that I think I over colored the pinkness and should have gone easy with 2 drops only instead of 4!!

Making the red bean paste can take alot of time and any type of buttercream can be substituted. Instead of heavy butter, I used whipping cream and whipped 1-1/2 cup of it with 4 tbsp icing sugar and 5 tbsp of the red bean paste. Buttercream will be more appropriate if these cupcakes are served on a hot day as whipped cream needs to stay cool all the time. I used 1-1/2 tbsp of green tea powder to get the real taste into the cake and I always think that green tea is quite a finicky ingredient to bake with as I can never get my baking rise or expand much if green tea is present! Same with my previous attempts with Macaron, these cupcakes just didn't rise much even though I had filled up the cupcake liners to 2/3 full. I reduced the sugar content in view of the addition of the sweet whipped cream frosting. The taste of these cupcakes are tangy with a tinge of bitterness from the green tea, complemented with the subtle sweetness from the red bean whipped cream. Definitely not a heavy teatime treat!

Recipe :

Green Tea Cupcakes:
150g Cake Flour
100g Almond Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1-1/2 Tbsp Green Tea Powder
100g fine sugar
75g softened Butter
2 large eggs
225ml low fat plain yogurt
Method :
1)Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2)Sift the cake flour with the almond flour, baking powder and green tea powder into a large bowl.
3)Cream the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and continue to mix for 1 minute. Scrap down the sides of the bowl. Pour in the yogurt and mix for another 1 min.
4)Spoon the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture and stir to combine.
5)Divide and spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, up to 2/3 full each.
6)Bake for 25 to 28 mins. Remove cupcakes to racks to cool completely.

Red Bean Whipped Cream Frosting
Ingredients :
5 tbsp of Red Bean Paste
4 tbsp Icing Sugar
1-1/2 cup Whipping Cream

1)Whip the cream for 1 min. Add in the icing sugar and continue to whip till soft peak.
2)With the beater still on, spoon in the red bean paste and beat till mixed for another 3 to 4 mins on medium speed.
3)Refrigerate till ready to use.

Makes : 12 cupcakes


J. Ambrose said...

Gosh so pretty ><

dolly's fav spot said...

wah.. looks yummy...
last sunday, i make green tea donut and put red bean in between.. not too bad.. but i think the oil too hot... its a bit over fry.. will try this cup cake next time..

Two fit and fun gals said...

soooooo pretty!!