Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!



My Chinese New Year inspired Cupcakes for Tsai Shen 财神 

Today is ‘Zhengyue 2’, which is day 2 of the Chinese New Year. Zhengyue 2 (also characterised by being the birthday of all dogs) is traditionally known as the day that people welcome ‘Tsai Shen’ the God of Wealth into their homes, where they offer him sacrifices. After he receives his goodies, Tsai Shen leaves for heaven. Well wishers then burn a picture that they had welcomed him into their homes with on New Year’s Eve and see the deity off on his way, wishing for a luckier and more prosperous year.

Perhaps I am a little greedy in asking for two New Years in 2012, along with some more resolutions and renewed luck, especially seeing as I don’t normally celebrate Chinese New Year… but maybe Tsai Shen will make exception in return for one of my pretty Jasmine and Green Tea infused cupcakes?

The basic concept of my cupcakes has been borrowed from the book ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’, using their recipe for earl grey tea cupcakes. I wanted an Asian inspired twist, so I swapped the earl grey tea for the delicately fragranced Jasmine and Green tea, added some raspberry jam and topped the sponge off with a honey buttercream.

To make the cakes as pretty as possible I used a red and gold decorating colour scheme in keeping with Chinese New Year, with red symbolising good luck and gold symbolising wealth and happiness. I didn’t quite get the strength of red that I’d hoped for despite using a lot of good quality food colouring, but I was still really pleased with the end result and how festive they looked. For those who are wary about making such a non-traditional flavour cupcake, the taste was extremely unusual and fragrant but not overwhelming at all. The jasmine and green tea flavouring comes as a pleasant after taste, so don’t be afraid! The one thing that I would change (and have reflected in the recipe) is to use vanilla essence in the butter cream, rather than honey, as the honey just didn’t come through in the end result.

The recipe and how to is below…. Happy baking and Happy Chinese New Year!

Ingredients:

Cakes:
  • 125 ml Semi-skimmed milk
  • 4 Green Tea and Jasmine Tea bags
  • 110g Unsalted butter
  • 225g Granulated sugar – I actually used caster sugar which worked fine
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 125g Self-rising flour
  • 120g Plain flour
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of Raspberry jam warmed (so that it’s runny)

Vanilla Butter Cream:
  • Food colouring – I used a few drops of a colour paste called ‘Ruby’, but add yours until you have the desired shade
  • 115g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 60 ml semi skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 500g icing sugar

Method:

Cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake size cases.
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and add the teabags. Cover with clingfilm and let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes, and then remove the teabags from the milk and squeeze out any excess milk into the pan.
  4. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth. An electric mixer of some description will work best for this!
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition.
  6. Sift the flours into a separate bowl and stir well. Add one-third of the flour mix to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk/tea mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added.
  7. Carefully spoon the mixture evenly into the cases; they should be about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for approx. 20 - 25 minutes, until raised and golden brown. The cakes will have a greyish tinge to them so don’t panic!
  8. Leave the cupcakes in their tin for 10 minutes or so before turning out onto a wire rack. Whilst warm, brush on a glaze of raspberry jam to the top of each cupcake

Buttercream:
  1. Beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth. This will usually take a few minutes. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar until it has a creamy and smooth consistency with no lumps.



4 comments:

Marcellina said...

OK, you have a couple of followers now, so I look forward to what you will be showing us! Thanks for following me. I love these cupcakes and I'll bet you have more great recipes up your sleeve. Yes, it does become difficult sometimes to post but I try to post once a week. It is said we should post every 3 or 4 days!

PYB said...

I love the stories that you tell before the recipies! Makes the cakes seem like a historical event rather than just tasty treats!

Emine said...

I love the colour of these cakes! May I asked what food colouring it is?
very cute!

Louise Dolding said...

Hi Emine! I'm so sorry I only just saw your comment. I have been extremely bad at blogging in the last few months with moving house and Kenny the mixer going to the big K-mix heaven in the sky, but having a new follower has inspired me to get on it again :0) The colour is a red paste - let me check later today and I'll come back to you. I just followed your blog, it's really lovely! I'm also hopefully coming down soon to do a course at Fair Cake too! xxx

Post a Comment

 
Blog Templates by Delicious Design Studio