To most of you out there, today’s Labor Day – the holiday that occurs every year on the first Monday of September. However, to the Hwang family September 6th holds another meaning as well. While it may not always occur on a Monday, it usually happens close enough. Today, my baby sister turns seventeen. =] For those of you who attended the birthday bbq yesterday, you already know this. For those of you who couldn’t make it…
Happy Birthday Jasmine~!
Holidays are meant to be celebrated grandly, and birthdays are no exception. This means pulling out the nifty little trinkets to fancy things up a bit. For breakfast, I attempted to beautify boring old waffles and pancakes with molds…and completely failed with the eggs.
With the help of a few purchases that I obtained in Taiwan, I was able to mutilate transform pancakes into unnatural star and heart shapes. The recipe for the batter? I’ll admit it, I cheated and used Aunt Jemima’s instant mix – with an added splash of cinnamon and nutmeg. But hey, Aunt Jemima knows her stuff when it comes to pancakes and waffles!
As for the misshapen eggs? I was trying to squish them into star shapes but it turns out that either:
- the mold I was using was too big or
- the eggs were too small
because the closest thing I got to a star were really round flowers. Yea…
Now that I’m done stating my failures, let’s move on to the actual stars that appeared after brunch!
Being a tea fanatic (just a little) I had the idea of making cake with tea. I was sure I’d stumbled across sweets like that before but couldn’t remember where and so I turned to Food Network and was rewarded with Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing. Mmm, sounds like a winner already. Now to put it to the test.
As with all recipes, I tweaked it a bit and since I wasn’t making cupcakes but actual cakes the baking time was quite different as well. The end result? Take a look for yourself and then tell me if you want the recipe or not. ;)
Looking good ain’t it? I think so too. So, without further ado, here’s S.S.Munchies’ first recipe from yours truly.
Chocolate Cake with Earl Grey Icing
For the Cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Icing:
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 2 bags Earl Grey tea
First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Boil some water in a pot and then let it simmer. Mix the chocolate and butter in a glass or ceramic bowl (metal works too but it’ll get hot) and place the bowl over the pot. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water! This works as a makeshift double-boiler and the chocolate and butter will melt slowly and evenly.
Mix the sugar and flour in a separate bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and soon you should have a creamy batter. Vanilla extract comes last (and I always like adding a little bit extra). Pour the chocolate concoction in and make sure to mix well…and your cake batter is done!
I used little individual cake molds but it’s really the same no matter what you decide to bake in. Keep in mind that you should always only fill the pan 3/4 full as it will rise while baking. If you’re not sure how long it will take to bake I usually go by this:
- cupcake sized = ~12 – 15 min
- anything bigger = ~30 – 45 min
I know that doesn’t sound very safe (no one likes a burnt cake) but plenty of patience and attentiveness will go a long way. Each oven is different so baking times may vary. I usually just check depending on the estimated time frames listed above and take them out to test with a toothpick. If the toothpick doesn’t come out clean, back in the oven for another 5 – 10 min.
Now onto the icing:
Whisk the sugar and egg whites together by hand. Empty the tea bags and add the loose tea to the bowl. I used Twining’s Earl Grey which was nice since the tea leaves have already been grounded very fine. If your tea leaves are pretty big then you may want to either crush them or pass them for a spin in the food processor.
Set the bowl of the pot of simmering water and make sure that all of the sugar has dissolved. With the help of a hand mixer, whisk until it looks like icing (is white instead of clear). Test it by picking up the mixer from the bowl so that you can see how thick it has become. Keep whisking until you’re satisfied.
Note: I’ve come to find that when making icing with egg whites, they tend to be more watery then icing made from heavy cream. While heavy cream can easily form into stiff peaks, egg whites tend to be liquidy but thick and will ‘harden’ slightly as it cools.
Scoop the icing into a ziplock bag, snip a corner (not too big), and start decorating your cakes!
One happy sister.
~ AJ ~
P.S. Be sure to check out the recipe section of the blog! Recipes will be added as they are posted, however readers are welcome to share as well. In fact, we already have one reader recipe for viewing. ^^
Photographs taken and provided by Annmarie Hwang.
For complete selection of photographs, please refer to the photo gallery: Only Seventeen [9/6/10]