Chocolate Orange Cupcakes for the 2nd Blogiversary

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes @ The Not So Creative Cook
This post was ready two days ago. I have to put it on schedule to make sure that I make it to FF #65 and to post it on the blog’s 2nd birthday (23rd April). I got a message if I can be one of the co-hosts today and it was less than 30 minutes before this post goes live. I immediately grabbed the iPad and edited the post. I didn’t know that it didn’t work. I went crazy when I saw notifications – Oh my! Good thing, I figured out what to do. 😀
I was so excited when Angie told me that I will be co-hosting with Effie @ Food Daydreaming. Effie has been with me since the first months of my blog. And now, I’m on my two years of blogging. What’s better way to do it than to do it with all of you and me as a co-host with one of the first blogging buddies I have. Now, people, join us. Click the bagde below to join Fiesta Friday #65. See you at the party. 😉

I kept reminding myself that my blog’s 2nd birthday is coming. I haven’t decided what to make to celebrate until two weeks ago. All the ingredients were ready. I was not.I slept for a total of 3 hours last Thursday… or let’s say Friday morning. I spent almost 5 hours in the kitchen Thursday night and slept very late due to a friend coming over. I thought that after I spent Friday lying down, I will be back to my normal hyper self on the next day and be able to bake for my blog’s 2nd birthday.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes @ The Not So Creative Cook
I was planning to make a cake with fondant icing, but I plan to make it on some other day. I made up my mind and made Marble Cupcakes. Oh, did I say Marble Cupcakes?? The cupcakes did not listen to me and made themselves Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Surprise. If you are imagining vanilla cupcakes with a chocolate ball inside, then you are right. 😀 I used my two-tone piping bag so I would have vanilla and chocolate frosting, but even the frosting looks so unappealing. 😦
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For the second batch of baking, I made banana crumb cake. Just by looking at the recipe, I felt that its too sweet for me. Still, I did not adjust anything. It came out too sweet and too much topping – its not my type of crumb cake. 😥 There’s nothing wrong with the recipe, I must say. I just did not follow my instincts to adjust it according to my taste.For the third batch of baking, the friend who came over requested for this Brazo de Mercedes, but I overcooked the filling. It’s still taste good, though.Lesson learned? Don’t force yourself to bake when your body wants to rest. I’ve told that to myself multiple times – Baking while exhausted will not bring you good results – well, at least for me. But maybe after the incident last weekend, I will keep that in mind. Hmm, we’ll see… 😀 I was very upset that I told my friend I can’t post the supposed to be Marble Cupcakes today. She told me we’ll make a new one. But time is not my friend these days. My savior? The cupcakes I baked over a week ago.
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Chocolate Orange is really a favorite of mine. When I saw Terry’s Chocolate Orange, I closed my eyes (its too expensive) and took one. I ate half of it and used the other half to top of these cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Print

Ingredients:For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • zest of one large orange
  • 3 tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt) and sift them into a large bowl of an electric mixer or just a regular bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla).
  3. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredient just until well combined making sure to scrape the bottom and sides with a rubber spatula.
  4. Distribute the batter into your muffin pan using a large ice cream scoop or a spoon, filling each 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a bowl, cream together cream cheese, orange zest, shortening and butter until combined.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency. Add vanilla and a bit of orange food coloring if desired. Mix to combine.

Notes:

  • To substitute butter, add 1 tbsp of lemon to 1 cup of milk and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. After that, you have a good buttermilk substitute.
  • Orange whipped cream/cream cheese frosting can also be used instead of the one above.
Source Recipe: My Baking Addiction
I hope you enjoy these cupcakes. For those who are not into Chocolate Orange (Um, hello, Mellisa!), there are chocolate cupcakes at the back so don’t worry. 😉 And for those who aren’t into cupcakes… well, I have Oranges for you as well. 😛
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Easy Chicken Liver Recipe

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Personally, I prefer those happy-looking foods. What I mean by happy-looking foods are those with so much color and add-ins.  😀 For example, I love veggie fried rice with all those beautiful peas, corn and carrots. I also love seafood or veggie pizza more than the plain ones. I love sandwiches and burgers with all those veggies and sauces. I love to see and taste different flavors.

I don’t have anything against plain, one-tone foods – I also love them. They are simple and easier to make, too. Especially when you are always in a hurry or have busy schedule, you opt to go with quick and easy meals.

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During weekends, especially Saturdays, I try my very best to make two savoury meals and one for my sweet tooth, or the other way around. With the busy schedule that I have, I should have something ready inside the fridge to heat or grab-on-the-go. But sometimes, you get sick eating the same food everyday so there are times that I go with instant noodles, fruit yogurt, cereals or eggs when I arrive home from work. 😐 However, there are Saturdays when I have to run some errands to add to my baking and cooking sessions. In these times, I have to go with easy and quick dishes.

I love chicken livers and I love them BBQ-d. But going with the latter doesn’t sound so quick and easy at all. Two things you can do – either marinate them the night before a busy schedule or you can just cook them right away. I almost know my activities for the weekend, so the night before, I marinated chicken livers. The marinade is very simple – olive oil, lemon, soy sauce, salt & pepper. You can ‘fry´ it the next day and you have a quick dish. 😉

thenotsocreativecook-ChickenLiver

Easy Chicken Liver Recipe

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken liver
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ – ½ tsp salt
  • Extra oil for ‘frying’

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in your grill pan or frying pan.
  2. Add chicken livers and cook both sides (about 5 minutes each) or until slightly ‘burnt’.
  3. Garnish with cilantro or parsley (I believe cilantro is best) and squeeze some lime or lemon juice.
  4. Serve with bread, rice or can be eaten alone.

 Notes:

If you prefer to make this inside the oven, heat up your oven to 400F & bake for 15-20 minutes, making sure to flip them halfway of cooking.

Happy partying and have a wonderful weekend!!

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{Baking Challenge} Mini Challah Rolls

Taking a risk is one of the things that I am afraid to do because there is no assurance that I will be victorious. Somehow, baking taught me so many things – being patient, thinking out of the box, going out of my comfort zones and not being afraid to try again.

After the grins and jumps that I did after the success of the first homemade pizza, I moved to a higher level. This time, it’s something that requires more kneading (if by hand). I have a hand-held mixer with a dough hook, but as a beginner in bread-making, I prefer to knead by hand. The feeling of accomplishment is quite different. You get my point?

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I’ve been searching for bread recipes to try and there are so many amazing recipes that I couldn’t choose only one. If you are thinking that I bookmarked some recipes to add to my 5 km list, yes, you are correct. 😀 (I wish having a list of 5 km long means getting to finish 5 km by running.)

For my first homemade bread, I chose Challah Rolls. And mini ones… well, supposed to be mini ones. I just found these from Jonathan @ The Candid Appetite and I just can’t help but adore them. They are perfectly braided and beautifully browned. Who could say no?

I have said multiple times that I don’t like the smell of active dried yeast, so I used instant yeast instead. I don’t think I have divided the dough equally and braided them beautifully. Other than those, the Challah Rolls came out incredibly delicious – so soft and fluffy. I just could make them my pillow. 😀 The house smelled so good. Really, nothing beats the smell of homemade bread. It is crucial to wait for 30 minutes before eating because that’s when you will get the awesome deliciousness of the bread. These rolls are good with simply butter, or can also be enjoyed with a jam… also with Nutella, sunny side up, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs… 😀

During the first FF challenge, many awesome bloggers helped me with my yeast problems, though I want to make some shout outs today –

Angie – I remember her telling me that Gerard @ Bread and Tortillas is pro at bread making, that he could help me.

Gerard – I did not wait for too long and Gerard emailed me explaining everything he knows and patiently answered all my questions. The most important thing that I have learned from him is ‘it is almost impossible to over knead by hand.’ And that’s what I did – I kneaded for more than 20 minutes and the texture came out really perfect.

Selma – she left me with a trick, a very good one:

“When I knead, I keep my left hand on the bottom of the dough and then pull and stretch at the top with my right hand, fold it over, give it a quarter turn and carry on. It’s all about developing the gluten strands.”

I did mine sideways – hold the dough and stretch them sideways like you are using arm equipment. And if you’d ask me if I did that for more than 20 minutes, my answer is a BIG FAT YES! 😛

Linda – she was the one who strongly encourage me to use instant yeast. She also assisted me with all my bread-making problems and patiently answered all my questions and emails.

Also, thank you to all who left their comments on the said post and gave some ideas on yeast/breads. I appreciate everyone and this post is dedicated to all of you. ❤

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Mini Challah Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all except the last two ingredients.
  2. Mix with wooden spoon until you get all the flour on the sides of the bowl.
  3. Transfer to your slightly floured work surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic. (You can also do the kneading using your stand mixer with a dough attachment for 7 minutes.)
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to an oiled bowl, slightly coating the dough with oil as well. Cover with plastic wrap, placing the bowl [with the dough] at a warm place (microwave oven tuned off is one of the best place) and let rest for one hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch the dough down and let it rest again for another 45 minutes.
  6. Place the dough on a slightly floured work surface. Knead for few minutes.
  7. Cut the dough into 15 equal pieces.
  8. Covering loosely with a damp towel, work one piece at a time – roll the dough into a long rope. Twist it around and tie, tucking the ends underneath. Continue doing the same with the rest of the dough.
  9. Place the braided rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover again with plastic wrap.
  10. While waiting for them to rest, heat the oven to 350F.
  11. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  12. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before eating.

I hope you enjoy these! I want to know your encounters with the yeast beast. Leave your comments below. 😉

Happy partying and have a wonderful weekend!!

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In My Kitchen – April 2015

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Hello, dear friends. Again, welcome to my kitchen where you could see new stuffs I bought/given to me.

Once again, thank you to Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting In My Kitchen every month. This month, she has so many lovely stuffs in her kitchen. Come and visit her blog to see those. 😉

Now, let me bring you to mine…

In my kitchen is a food processor…

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Years back, my friend bought a DSLR camera with free food processor. She asked me if I want to take the food processor and I said ‘No’ and I told her to give it to her Mom. I was not baking that time and my blog doesn’t exist yet. But my first reason of not taking it was I didn’t know what to do with it. My desire to buy a food processor did not arrive until I started a blog.

IMK The Not So Creative Cook (2)

Wanna know what’s the first thing I made with it? Elaine’s Red Pepper Hummus. 😀 I really loved it with salted crackers. Yum! (Elaine, I think mine is too watery. Is it because I used capsicum??)

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In my kitchen is a timer…

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I mostly use my phone as a timer when I bake. My friend told me to buy a timer, and I told her I am satisfied with my phone, that I don’t want it. Recently, I finally gave up and bought a timer. It’s cute, yes?

In my kitchen are these beautiful spatulas…

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I have two spatulas already, both having the same color – grey and white. When I saw these, I just couldn’t help myself but to take them home. I told myself that I sometimes ‘need’ separate spatulas while baking multiple recipes. I guess having a blog really gives you reason to buy more stuffs for your props. 😀

In my kitchen…

Whisker. Infuser.

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The whisker is a gift from my friend.

The infuser is a set of two. I am using the other one when I drink my tea and I am putting mint leaves so I don’t have to remove them using a teaspoon.

In my kitchen is a flour sifter. How easy it is to sift flour now? 😀

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Now, let’s go to the edible ones:

In my kitchen is a bottle of sliced olives…

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When I made my first pizza, I bought fresh olives, expecting that those were pitted olives. Later on, a friend suggested keeping a bottle of sliced olives so anytime I want to make pizza or use them in something else, I have it on hand.

In my kitchen is a pack of ladyfingers…

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What am I going to do with these? Hmm, are you thinking of Tiramisu? Not quite. I have something very divine for you, but you will have to wait until I make them. 😀

In my kitchen is Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut…

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Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Impossible Coconut Flan… Yes, please!! I have made it before (recipe here), but I want to make it again… or maybe I will try another recipe as there are so many amazing recipes with coconut. Ooohhh, I am so excited.

In my kitchen is Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange…

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I saw this multiple times, virtually – the chocolate alone, with cakes and cupcakes. I love chocolate orange since I was a kid and I have thought of getting one for me. When I saw one, I did not take it – it’s expensive for me. But when I got home, I can’t sleep. The next weekend, I got one. 😀

I hope you enjoy the little peek. 😀 Join us before the 10th of April and let us take a peek inside your kitchen.

Have a wonderful week to everyone!

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Brookies

It is so fun how food become so creative these days – the names of the food itself, the way how people combine two recipes together to create a new one… or how people mix and match ingredients from various recipes that they come out with one more amazing recipe.

thenotsocreativecook_BrookiesRed Velvet Tiramisu Brownies. Nutty Coconut Brownies. German Chocolate Brownies. Graham Chocolate Chip Cookies. Chocolate Cake Cheesecake. Marshmallow Oreo Brownies.

Sorry, I was craving brownies for more than a week, but I don’t know why I couldn’t make one. Maybe I want something else – not the plain, classic one. A new one. Create my own? Not yet.

I think everyone wants to create theirs. I also want to create one, but baking is a kind of science that you need to get the right formula if you don’t want to end up crying. Well, for some, they really take the risk, but I don’t think I will be able to create one recipe that I could really say it originates from me. Maybe… one day! We don’t know.

thenotsocreativecook_Brookies3Hmm… let me take back myself from the wonderland and accept the fact that what I can do for the meantime is combine two of my favorites – brownies and cookies. I’ve been seeing Brookies for as long as I can remember and I really wanted to try making some. When I baked Lily’s cookies, I did not use all the cookie batter and experimented on Brookies. I used the last brownie recipe I have which is a cake-like brownies. Since it’s a cake-like brownies, the cookie batter was heavier than the brownie batter that it did not ‘float’. I was expecting a cookie over the brownie cups, but I got a cookie ‘ball’ inside the brownie cups. I was just going to cry, but when I took a bite – wow, my two loves in one. It’s like the brownie married the cookie and they got a child named Brookie. 😀

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I am thinking of making another batch of Brookies using different recipes to find out what went wrong with mine. I’d say that I’ll keep on trying until I found one that’s appealing to my eyes.

I hope you like this batch of Brookies. How about you? Have you tried making one? I want to know about the recipe you followed. 🙂

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I am sharing these at Fiesta Friday #62, hosted by the Amazing A, co-hosted by Jess & Prudy. I hope I am not too late.

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