Once upon a time I lived in a house with a whole bunch of people. People of all different sizes, shapes, colours, syncretisms, favourite spells, odd bathroom noises, brands of peanut butter, decorative lovers, nicknames on the blackboard, balcony usage habits, hair products, bedtimes and speeds at which they ate a cupcake. Normally, it was nigh impossible to find the house empty in the evening, so I never really noticed the absence of quiet.
One day, though, while in the middle of baking, I looked up from my flour-puffed all-black ensemble and realized… there was actually no one home. Actually! I didn’t think it would last, and sat down to decorate the little cakes simply with leftover key lime white-chocolate ganache, and cream cheese frosting (awesome), but failed to notice how vaguely American the ensuing addition of red goji berries and blue blueberries on top snow-white icing would make the colour scheme become. (serves me right, really, for using misleading garnish in the first place).
The fix? Uhhhh… going completely over the top with sparkles, marshmallows and pop rocks, obviously. (is it responsible of me to one day open a bakery if JAZZ is my answer to baking problems? …… yes. yes it is.). I suppose it never would have gotten to such a rarified state of calculated immaturity if I hadn’t had the kitchen to myself for so long, but I’m blessed grateful that it happened.
PS. sixteen candles to whoever can guess what “dgaf” stands for. Hint! It’s got a swear in it. ;)
Matcha Lemon Cupcakes & Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
makes 12 edible canvases.
- 3 green tea bags
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp matcha powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
Put the milk and green tea bags in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or over night if possible.
Preheat oven to 325F (170C).
Rub the lemon zest with the sugar together in a large bowl with your fingers until the smell of lemon is everywhere and sugar is dyed daffodil yellow.
Add the flour, matcha, baking powder, salt, and butter to the lemon & sugar and beat (either by hand or with a mixer) on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Remove the green tea bags from the infused milk and combine with the egg and vanilla extract. Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat well until everything is thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add the remaining milk and this time – gently – mix until everything is smooth.
Spoon the batter into paper cases until 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when touched. Remove and cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then leave them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: My Home to Yours
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 pound (1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice or 1/4 tsp pure lemon extract
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth, light and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.