photo project | 15: Chocolate Love.

I baked some chocolate cupcakes today. It's one of those days that I wanted to try out a "new" recipe, but time isn't a luxury I have. Well, that didn't stop me. I went on with the experiment, only to be disappointed after an hour. It just wasn't right up my alley. 

No, it wasn't a total disaster. It just didn't taste good for me. :|

I won't tell you what recipe I tried. It had some very great reviews, even my Mom vouched for it. It just didn't work for me.

Maybe it wasn't really the right time to make them. Now, I don't know what to do with a 10 cupcakes.

I might just give them to that old man living at the corner of our street.

Anyway, since that chocolate cupcake didn't satisfy my craving, I brought a chocolate bar to work today. I got it from Binondo last Sunday when my cousins and I went on a crazy food trip (more on that soon...). I got it at a very cheap price of Php 21.50 (approx $0.50).

I admit, the packaging intrigued me, so much that I got two bars. I wasn't really expecting too much from it, but after eating one square, I was hooked.

It definitely didn't taste cheap. While it isn't very chocolate-y, it was still good for something that costs 20 bucks.

I'm down to half a bar -- even my workmates loved it, and I can't wait to go back to Binondo to hoard more. Hahaha.

Anyway, I found out that Elvan isn't really a cheap brand of chocolates. It actually came from Istanbul, Turkey and they've got loads of chocolate products. Check out their website, I assure you, you'll be amazed.

I hope I can find more of their chocolate loot at the grocery store in Binondo. I can't wait to try their Truffle, Coffex, and Caramelli line.

And on to a different chocolate brand... I am totally diggin' this, too:

What are they?

Reese's Pieces!


photo project | 14: Peanut Butter.

Today, I spruced up some vanilla cupcakes using an experimental dark chocolate ganache as filling and a yummy peanut butter frosting to polish the look.

Chocolate and peanut butter... Peanut butter and chocolate. How can you go wrong with that?


What can I say, I'm impressed. ;)

I am kinda bummed out, so let the photos do the talking, yes?

Dark chocolate ganache made from tablea and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Three's a crowd.

Heaven.... in a cup.


cupcake project | 05: marshmallow cupcakes.

Marshmallow cupcakes...

How does that sound to you?

Mighty awesome, yeah?

No, it's not like my Oreo-Graham Marshmallow Cupcake. It's not even the same as S'mores Cupcake.

It's so simple. Think chocolate cupcakes filled with melted marshmallows.

Easy peasy!

24 vanilla cupcakes was too much for me, and I just couldn't finish them all even with the help of my friends at work.

I don't know how I stumbled upon the recipe, I don't even remember where I got it.

All I remember is seeing something pink inside the cupcakes and I knew I'm sold.

Curious yet?

Here's the recipe:

Marshmallow Cupcakes  
For the cupcakes
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
a scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tbsp butter, cut into pieces & at room temp
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract  
Preheat oven to 325F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.  
Mix together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Beat on low speed until sandy in consistency.  
Slowly add milk and vanilla to the flour mixture. Add in egg and beat well.  
Scoop batter into prepare pan until 2/3 full. Bake for 20 mins.  
Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool some more.

Marshmallow Filling 

12 medium colored marshmallows
2-3 tbsp corn syrup
preferred food coloring, if using white marshmallows  
Melt marshmallows, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using  in a double boiler. Stir constantly until melted.  
Once cupcakes are cool, hollow out center of cupcakes and fill with marshmallow filling,  
I initially had a hard time filling the cupcakes since the melted marshmallows can be very sticky. You also have to work quickly as the marshmallows can dry out once exposed to air. If they do dry out, you may reheat it.
Replace "caps" on cupcakes and frost with your favorite frosting.


cupcake project | 04: the best vanilla cupcake. ever.

My Aunt recently sent me a message thru Facebook asking me to send her a tried and tested recipe for vanilla cupcakes. I didn’t have a tried and tested recipe. Yet. But I did have a good go-to recipe.

That simple request led me, once again, to search for a new recipe to try… Even if I still had a few stashed away in some of my notebooks. After typing the search term “best vanilla cupcake recipe,” I got hundreds upon hundreds of results. And I had a “Eureka!” moment in a minute. I don’t know what led me to click the link “The Classic Vanilla Cupcake…” but there was just something. Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was intrigue, curiosity, the baking itch. Maybe, just maybe.

I read through the recipe for a couple of minutes, and smiled to my heart’s content. I knew I found THE ONE. I know, this may just be momentary, but baking is always like that. I looked through a couple more recipes, and decided that nothing compared to Creative Confectionery’s gem of a recipe.

I didn’t think twice, I got up, wrote the recipe on my whiteboard, and went on to prepare the ingredients. I was on a roll after another failed attempt at baking cookies the other day. Let’s not talk about that, I promise you these vanilla babies are better than my flat cookies.

While preparing the ingredients, I was debating whether to scale the recipe in half or go full-blown. I was just about to test it, and although a higher being was telling me that this is going to be a blast, I was still hesitant. I threw all my hesitations aside and just went with the flow. What would cause it to go haywire, I thought. Nothing, a part of me argued. They’re still food, after all, and I don’t think it would taste bad.

An hour or so later… No it doesn’t take that long to make these cupcakes, I’m just really taking my time when baking. I was glad to follow the higher being cajoling. I just baked the best vanilla cupcakes ever. I swear. This is the best. EVER.

DSCF2355 Plain Jane.

They’re moist and slightly dense. The vanilla flavor is not overpowering to the palette. They’re simple yet delectable. They can be enjoyed plain or you can go crazy with just about any frosting you want. They’re just the best.



(Above) Plain vanilla and coffee cupcakes. (Below) Vanilla cupcake with [fancy-schmancy] coffee buttercream frosting.


After baking 18 cupcakes, I decided to play with the leftover batter and added 2 heaping drops (around 2-3 tsp) of coffee extract and a heaping tablespoon of strong instant coffee powder. Tada, instant coffee cupcakes! How versatile can this recipe get?!

(Above) Vanilla cupcake with coffee buttercream frosting. (Below) coffee cupcake with chocolate ganache buttercream and coffee buttercream frosting.

Okay, enough teasing. Want the recipe, don’t you? Here you go…

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes. EVER.
From Creative Confectionery
Yields 24 cupcakes 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola (or any flavorless) oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (I used the cream + vinegar technique)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thickened and light cream in color, about 2-3 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, add in oil and vanilla. Beat just until blended. Mix in flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan. Only fill up to 2/3 full. Bake at 350F for 18-23 minutes or until tester comes out clean. 
Cool cupcakes in pan for 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.


black bottom cupcakes: the real thing.

I have been wanting to make this cupcake ever since I stumbled on one of the recipes online. Sure, I’ve made a batch or two of my own version using custard instead of cream cheese, but I have always been intrigued.

Why do I keep delaying it, you ask? Cos I rarely buy cream cheese if it’s not really necessary. Haha, I’m frugal that way. So when a colleague asked me to bake a couple for her, I couldn’t resist.

Hmm, so how did it turn out? It turned out beautifully, I say! How I wish I can tell you how delicious and decadent it was, but unfortunately, I never had the chance to taste it. I scaled the recipe to half and I got 12 cupcakes, but they already had owners. I can only look at them and imagine how they taste. Haha.

Don’t they look lovely?

Anyway, I’m bummed. I still have a lot of things to do at work, and my mind isn’t cooperating so let me just post the recipe.

Black Bottom Cupcakes  
For the cream cheese filling: 
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips  
For the cupcakes: 
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Prepare the cream cheese filling:

In a medium bowl, beat all ingredients except chocolate chips until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes:

In another bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl or measuring glass, whisk water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Add to dry ingredients.

Scoop cupcake batter into cupcake tin until 1/2 full. Top with a tablespoon of cream cheese filling.

Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. 

** The cream cheese filling should not have covered everything, but it did. I must have over-filled them. Hahaha.


making a real cake…

…sure wasn't easy.

It is definitely not as easy as making cupcakes.

I tried making a 4-inch Tablea Cake inspired by my Tablea Chocolate Cupcake today. I thought it was easy. I had the tools I THOUGHT I needed – cake batter, frosting, baking pans, spatulas, and even a cake container. But it was not as easy as I thought it was.

I was ambitious, I had envisioned a two-layer cake with all the frills. I baked the cake alright, but I ruined everything the moment I had to remove the cake from the pans. Why? Let me count the ways:

  1. I greased the baking pans, but I neither lined or floured them. Eek. Therefore, releasing the cake from the pan wasn’t that simple.
  2. The cake turned out a bit dry… Then I realized I just used half a stick of butter instead of half a CUP! How can I go wrong with this one?! *scratches head*
  3. I didn’t have a cake leveler, so I “manually” sliced the cake at the middle, resulting to two uneven layers.
  4. I didn’t have a cake board or a turn-table. Frosting was a mess! It was literally all over the place.

Here, look:

I resolve to make a better cake next time. I swear.

I didn’t let this cake go to waste, though. I brought it to work and it was gone before lunch time. Hee. Yes, it was still delightful. :)

No matter how uneventful any baking attempt goes, I always try to keep a positive outlook. After all, baking takes practice and a lot of patience. Without these (mis)adventures in the kitchen, I wouldn’t know what works… or what doesn’t.

And besides, I wouldn’t call myself or my blog Miss Adventure for nothing. :)


cupcake project | 3: chocolate coffee cupcakes with coffee buttercream

This shouldn’t really be part of the cupcake project series, but since a friend ordered a box, I might as well post about them.

They’re not new to this blog, I made my first batch some months ago and there weren’t any adjustments made. The only new thing with these cupcakes would be the frosting! Yes, I’ve been on a frosting craze lately, ever since I made the cupcakes giveaway for Eoshie’s christening.

Anyhoo, here’s the cupcake recipe:

Chocolate-Coffee Cupcake
Adapted from Ming Makes Cupcakes 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk (substituted it with 1/4 cup low-fat milk with 1/4 tbsp lemon juice)
3 heaping tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tbsp coffee powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt1/2
1 egg
1/2 tsp coffee extract

Prepare cupcakes:

Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350F.

Dissolve baking soda with buttermilk. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt butter together with cocoa powder and coffee on low fire. When smooth, add water. Stir to combine until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, sugar and salt. Add cocoa mixture and egg and mix at low speed (if using a mixer) or a wooden spoon. Add buttermilk mixture and coffee extract. Beat until smooth.

Pour/scoop batter into muffin tins. The batter is quite thin, you may want to pour it using a measuring cup, I did.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Today, I made coffee buttercream frosting. I just adapted the same recipe I used last time --

Coffee Buttercream FrostingAdapted from Bake Happy / Wilton 
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsps coffee extract
1 tbsp coffee powder
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
milk, as needed 
Cream butter and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add in coffee extract and coffee powder, and beat until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, preferably in 1/4 or 1/2 cup increments. Beat until incorporated. Add in milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.

Needless to say, the reason I’ve been fussing too much about cupcakes is I want to get better at cupcake making. It’s true what they say that while taste is superior in anything we make in the kitchen, presentation should not always be secondary. They should go hand in hand, no matter how delectable a dish is, if it doesn’t look appealing, it may not pass the kitchen test.

So this cupcake project series should be a documentation on my journey towards great-looking and great-tasting cupcakes.



photo project | 13: Chocolate Binge.


My brain’s fried. I’m trying to consolidate a couple of Excel files into one, and for some reason my mind goes on auto-pilot every freakin’ time I try to think of what I need to do. I’ve had Advanced Excel Training, but coming up with a solution to what my boss wants seem absolutely impossible. I tried a few tricks, hyperlinks, pivot table, name ranges, and for the love of God, it’s not what he wants. Hmm. How do I make this damned thing work???

Okay, enough rant.

I just don’t know what to do, and because I feel so stupid and frustrated, I got one cuppycake from my lunch bag and gobbled half of it in a second. I don’t have the heart to eat the frosting, so I left it at that. Haha.

Now back to work. –.-


cupcake project | 2: chocolate surprise cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting.

Thanks to my new found friend, Aikko, and with the power of Google at my fingertips, I was finally able to make a decent buttercream frosting for my cupcakes!

Yesterday, I finally decided to give buttercream another chance and just threw caution to the wind.


This is the classic buttercream, some call it American buttercream. To me, it’s just plain buttercream. I was hesitant to give this another try since I was scared as hell that it won’t hold up in the humid weather that Manila is currently sporting. I made this last night, bottled it up and stored it in the fridge. I was yet to make the Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes that two of my friends ordered, so the frosting was of no use. Haha.

I was also test-baking my new electric oven, and I’m glad to say that my cupcakes rose beautifully and baking has never been easier. CHOS. No, I still don’t have a regular gas oven. I just bought a 23-liter oven. It’s still not big enough to fit the standard 12-cup muffin pan, but it’s better than my turbo broiler. It’s a real oven despite its size. Plus, cleaning and putting in/pulling out pans are easier! YAY!

Anyhoo, on to my buttercream. Sharing the recipe now, for those who might need it. ;)
Vanilla Buttercream FrostingAdapted from Bake Happy / Wilton  
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsp milk  
Cream butter and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract, and beat until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, preferably in 1/4 or 1/2 cup increments. Beat until incorporated. Add in milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
· I didn't have shortening on hand, I only had Gold Coast's Butter Oil Substitute (I was intrigued when I saw it in the grocery, so I bought it. Haha). It worked perfectly, so I'm sticking with it. ;) 
· I only used 1 tbsp milk, the consistency was perfect! 
· The only thing I'll probably change is the amount of powdered sugar... My frosting came out a tad too sweet! I'll cut it down to 3 cups or even 2 1/2 cups next time.



photo project | 12: of dreams and planners.

It was December 2005 when I got my very first Starbucks planner. I got it a few days after my birthday. It wasn’t hard getting the planner as my friends and I used to hang out in Starbucks Katipunan every single day. Yes, no fail. I think our love affair with Starbucks started when we were in second year and it just became a daily habit. Coffee wasn’t too expensive then, you can get a venti for Php 120.00. Not bad. It fits our measly student allowance.

My first planner was full of pictures, Post-it notes, quotes, trivial text messages, Grey’s Anatomy lines, and all. It was rarely used to “plan my future.” It more of became my day-to-day journal.

Over the years I’ve amassed planners after planners. I outgrew the “need” to join the bandwagon in completing stickers for that elusive Starbucks planner. I stopped hanging out at Starbucks. I am no longer a caffeine and nicotine addict. A lot of things changed.

In 2009, I bought my very first Belle du Jour planner in preparation for 2010. Guess what? I never used it. Last year, I tried to resurrect my planner-crazy self and got my self the “Relaks, Puso Lang Yan, Malayo Sa Bituka” Planner. It’s the brainchild of one of my dorm-mates in college. It was cute and witty.


And well, although I have not filled the pages with photos, notes, stickers, quotes, I’ve started using it to “plan” my days. See below. Most of the pages have notes of what I need to bake for the week, orders I need to complete, and things I have to do.

Maybe this is what growing up should be. I hope this is a picture of me trying to be more responsible.


And I hope this is a forecast of how my 2011 and the years moving forward would be – a slow and steady flow of dessert dreams.


from my Mom’s treasure chest: cheese squares.

*republishing for a new friend, Aikko. Hallo! :D

For as long as I can remember, my Mom had always made perfect dishes – baked or cooked. She and my Dad are the greatest when it comes to kitchen wonders, but if I had to choose between the two of them, my Dad would definitely come in the top place.

When I moved away for college, my Mom worried a lot on how I would deal with the newly-found independence. She was scared that I would be “lost.” I didn’t know a thing about cleaning and well, looking after myself. I grew up with a yaya (nanny) and I was always surrounded with aunts, uncles, and older siblings/cousins. She told me once while we were doing grocery shopping for stuff to bring to Manila, “Who’s going to wash your underwear?” It’s embarrassing to have the whole world know about that, but you get the gist.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I was used to having someone clean up after me, do stuff for me, cook for me. My Mom knew that, that’s why she was worried if I’d make it through college.

Thankfully, I did. I did so well during my dormitory years that my Mom no longer had to worry about the little stuff. She was proud that my dorm room was clean on a spot checkup (she didn’t tell me they were visiting from the province). She didn’t argue with me if I went to faraway places on commute. In fact, they now reach out to me if they need commuting instructions. Hah. Yes, my Mom is mighty proud of me.

Moving out of the dormitory and renting my own place did not cause a stir in my Mom’s mind. Over the years, I have probably grown up way too much that she no longer worries about me. When I was starting out on my “living alone” escapade, I would regularly text her and my Dad asking for recipes of my favorite dishes and “how to” tutorials on household stuff.

I still do that until now. They’re more used to it, though. And when I go home, I immediately become the officer-in-charge of the kitchen. They let me work my wonders now. Can you believe that?! I still can’t.

Anyway, too much information for an introduction. I know. The recipe I am posting today is from my Mom, one of my favorites. This brings back memories of birthday parties, simple get-togethers, or just random lunch or dinner. She loves to host parties at home, and this is one of her popular treats. What is it?

Here you go.

cheese bars

They’re cheese squares. Cheese bars. Or even cheese cupcakes. My ultimate go-to recipe when all my baking feats are going downhill.

Cheese Squares
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 can condensed milk
2 eggs
1/2 c grated cheese plus more for topping (you can use any kind, but I’d recommend good ol’ Cheddar)

Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and flour 8x8in pan or a bigger pan, if you have one. I don’t. Haha. 
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in flour, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in cheese and mix just until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan until 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes, remove pan from oven and sprinkle top with grated cheese. Return pan to oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes  or until sides and cheese topping are slightly brown. I baked mine for around 15 minutes, topped with cheese, then baked again for 5 minutes.
Cool on wire rack for about an hour before cutting.


a blank canvas.

After the successful baking feat over the weekend, I now find myself with an almost bare baking list. Sure, I still have a few recipes I want to try but there’s none that make me want to leave whatever I’m doing and bake without a care in the world. Most of the [non-work] time I spend online is used up by searching for a good frosting recipe that could withstand humidity. If you can only imagine how ruthless Manila heat is, you’d want to bury yourself in a lot of snow until you’re frosted. I’m not kidding. The weather officials have reported that it’s officially the start of the rainy season, but where’s the rain? There are bits and pieces, sure, but they don’t last long and when they’re gone it’s hotter than ever.

manila weatherThe forecast says it’s going to rain, but look how hot and humid it can be today!

And because most of the recipes I find are of western origin, it’s too hard to find THE ONE. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. And so the search ensues. When will this end?

I guess baking is really like that. Everything evolves. A baker can never be satisfied with the recipes they have on hand, they are on an endless search for the best [insert name of dessert here]. I am one of those bakers. I have never stopped searching. I have yet to find the best chocolate chip cookie, best chocolate cupcake, frostings, technique, best of everything. I have a few keepers in my book, there’s my Mom’s carrot cake recipe [which I have yet to post], Joy of Baking’s Chocolate Banana Cupcake, my Rich Chocolate Frosting, my very own Oreo-Graham Marshmallow Cupcakes, and Macaroons. I already have near-perfect Devil’s Food Cupcake, Chocolate Brownies, Yellow Custard Cupcake, and Vanilla Cupcake recipes and even a to-die-for Chocolate Cupcake [for me at least!], but I’m still convincing myself.

When I think of it now, I think I’ve come a long way from my burnt cake days and chocolate revel bars failures. Of course, I also have my share of little successes – the best Butterscotch Bars I can ever make and a hand-me-down Cheese Squares recipe from my Mom. They’re my go-to recipes if I need something quick and fail-proof.

More than anything, I’d like to think that baking and cooking is a continuous journey. It never ends. After all, I can only be as good as my last recipe.

 Photo courtesy of Google Images.

And with that being said, my baking list will always be full but the baker and cook [I don’t have the guts to say, uh, write chef] in me will always be a blank canvas – always ready for that “Eureka!” or “Oh no, I did not!” moment.


cupcake project | 1: Eoshie’s Christening

Last week, I agreed to make 30 cupcakes for my friend Iya, for her baby Eoshie's baptism. The cupcakes were due last Saturday, and as much as I want to say it went on without a hitch.. Well, NOT.


I had problems with the Swiss Meringue Buttercream that I wanted to use for the frosting, good thing chilling it in the fridge for 12 hours did the trick. I thought I had it going but then, the frosting I made (which was around 3-4 cups’ worth) was not enough to frost all cupcakes! I had to make a quick frosting, good thing my go-to Rich Chocolate Frosting did its job well.



Taking on the challenge was a sure fun thing to do and it made me push myself further. I finally conquered my fear of frosting, and I can only be happier. I realized it wasn’t such a hard thing to do, and my, the wonders a piped frosting can do!

Boxed and ready to go.

The whole setup.

This goes without saying, I’d love to this again! :D


photo project | 11: Impromptu Field Trip

After work this morning, we dropped by Meralco to pick up some stuff and since I had Pixie with me, I decided to take a few snaps.

The Meralco compound reminds me of UP Diliman because of the numerous trees and wide roads. Ahh, nostalgia kicking in.
DSCF1856My favorite tree in the world – fire tree!   

DSCF1857On the way home, we passed by the Manila Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along Temple Drive.

DSCF1859Along White Plains.

Stopped by The Cocoa Pantry along White Plains/St. Ignatius to grab some baking tools.

DSCF1888And of course, a drive along White Plains wouldn’t be complete without grabbing some of these yummy delicacies.

DSCF1890One of my favorite breakfast/merienda treats – Kutsinta!

photo project | 10: Buttercream and more.


Tried my hand at making buttercream frosting. Because I am kind of ambitious, I stayed away from American Buttercream and went for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It took some time before I reached the right consistency. It looks lovely, right?

Yes, it does. The only hitch is that it becomes runny after staying for some time in room temperature. It doesn’t hold too well in warm weather. Oh gosh, how would this work for me if I live in the tropics? I’m going to use this for the cupcakes my friend ordered for tomorrow and my only concern is that if I’ll be able to frost all 30 cupcakes without the buttercream turning soupy. Argh. I guess I’ll know tomorrow.

Another set of photos.


This is what went with my “baon” for tonight – Spaghetti and Meatballs courtesy of Rachael Ray’s recipe on Food Network. These meat balls were deep fried and then baked to get that nice crust. Yum.


Hooray! I finally got myself a candy thermometer! Used this to check the temperature of my Swiss meringue buttercream earlier. I bet this is going to be one useful gadget for my baking endeavors. I can’t wait to make my  own homemade marshmallow creme!


tablea chocolate cupcake, version 1.

I bought a pack of pure tablea de cacao (oops, forgot to take a photo of it) yesterday not really knowing what to do with them.

When I got to work, I began searching the web for some easy recipes. The only problem was that there were no recipes with tablea de cacao. So I tried using the keyword cocoa tablet, to no avail. I tried a few other keywords, this time, Mexican hot chocolate and cocoa nibs. I got a few more interesting results. My only problem was that I'm not sure if these two terms are the same as the Philippine tablea de cacao.

I wrote down one recipe, but when I got home, I decided to tweak another recipe I've saved last week.

It resulted to a delicious dark chocolate cupcake with an almost molten center. It was damn good, yes, but it was missing some oomph.

Because some of the cupcakes sagged in the middle, I decided to fill it with some cinnamon penuche frosting.


So this is the start of my dark chocolate cupcake chronicles. I going nuts just thinking about stuff I want to make using tablea de cacao. I think it's better than the branded baking chocolates, but they're almost at par in terms of the cost. Hehe. Well, this is just me saying. :)

I still don't know what to call these little babies. I initially wanted to call it "Triple Chocolate Cupcakes" then I turned to "Tablea Chocolate Cupcakes" then lastly, "Dark Chocolate Cupcakes."

Thinking about it now, I think the second option is the most appropriate. What do you think?

Tablea Chocolate Cupcakes, version 1

a scant 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
a scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
3 pcs tablea de cacao
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 stick butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Bring water and sugar to a boil over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add in tablea de cacao, cocoa powder and butter. Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture has melted slightly.  Stir in vanilla.

Beat the egg into chocolate mixture using an electric mixer (you can also use a wooden spatula and beat vigorously). Mix in dry ingredients, beat just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter between muffin tins (about 1/4 cup per cupcake). Bake at 350F for about 20-25 mins.

Cool in pan for about 15-30 minutes before transferring to wire rack.


** Notes:

  • The chocolate chips were not part of the recipe. I just decided to add them on a whim. I think that's the reason why some of the cupcakes had a slightly molten center. I'm omitting this next time. 
  • Maybe adding 1/4 cup of milk would also balance out the flavors. 
  • I'm also thinking about using Dutch-process cocoa powder next time. 
  • This is probably best frosted with rich chocolate frosting or whipped chocolate ganache.

Can't wait to do version 2!


photo project | 09: Snippets.

Snippets of our team’s Memorial Day Weekend… These photos are from the last leg of our trip, the rest of the photos in Bolinao are already saved in my laptop (yeah, I’m doing this at work. Hee.)

As part of our plan, we headed to our family’s resort after leaving Bolinao. We planned to have a rather heavy lunch before heading back to the metro. Heavy, indeed, it was. I shall post the food photos tomorrow. For a group of five, we had crispy pata, 2 orders of grilled dinorado in lemon butter sauce, dinengdeng, and a plate-full of very ripe mangoes. And not to forget, 10 cups of rice. Whew!
Freshly brewed coffee.

I learned to swim in this pool.


Another view.
The somewhat well-stocked bar. My fave hangout place when I was a teenager.
The main dining hall entrance.

Lush greenery. No trees were cut down while the whole resort was being built. That cottage over there? We called that home for a year or two.

Lolo Pacio, our own hero. He was among those who toiled during the Japanese times. He walked the Death March. We never found his body.
Mama Loleng, our family’s matriarch. The resort was built in her memory.

The first generation.

From left to right: Lolo Kuga (+), the youngest among the brood of five; Lola Lita, the current manager and president of the corporation; Mama Li (+), my lovely grandmother and the eldest; Lola Aida, she remains happily single until now; and Lolo Totoy/Boni (+), the lawyer in the family.
I’ll be back soon. I promise. ;)


Just a few minutes after entering Moncada, Tarlac, one of our tires burst.


Very badly bruised, but we were on the road again after 56 minutes.


There were too many insects along NLEX, they hit the windshield, hood, and all other parts..


We didn’t mean to kill you, poor thing.

I can’t wait to go on another road trip! Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, please come sooner!