Thursday, March 24, 2005

IMBB 13: Volcano Muffins!?

My Little Muffin Tower
♥ My Little Muffin Tower
I was still feeling the itch to do more baking after my cupcakes adventure so I decided to do another IMBB contribution. This time, I thought, I might make muffin since Maki of I was really hungry regards muffin as sort of a nude cupcake. So yup, I am going to make muffins after cupcakes as my second IMBB13: My Little Cupcake (or Muffin) project .

I had wanted to do a pandan (screwpine) muffin with kaya (coconut jam) filling ever since I acquired a bunch of pandan leaves (10 leaves for A$2) from the fruit market. But as usual, I got lazy and couldn't be bothered with blending the pandan leaves and squeezing the juice.

The pandan muffin idea was scraped. I still wanted to make a green colour muffin. Don't ask me why I suddenly had a particularly fondness to the colour green. I just feel like I had to make a green muffin. Hmm, maybe it's the after effect of St Patrick's day? So I thought I was being very clever and came up with a different green muffin that comes with a filling too. Yes, I was obsessed with fillings in my muffin these few days.

ShinChan has actually asked me to do a green tea muffin after seeing a green tea steamed cake recipe and I agreed to do it because the green tea powder (maccha powder) will give a bright green colour to the muffin so I can get a green colour muffin. Good. The muffin flavour solved.

And on to the fillings. The moment I took out my maccha powder, I thought of having green tea ice cream together with black sesame ice cream. *yum* It was clearly another lightbulb above my head moment: why not have a black sesame fillings! You know the black sesame fillings you get in tang yuan (chinese glutinous rice ball). The type that is soft and liquidy and oh-so-moreish.

♥ tabeshimashita @ pinkcocoa's kitchen on 24 Mar 2005
I decided to try another method of muffin making after trying the creaming method and the muffin method. This third method is probably a collaboration of the creaming method and the muffin method? I am not sure. I used a recipe from baking cookbook for beginners by Yasuyo Shida.

IMBB - Muffin Resources
♥ Pinkcocoa's Baking Resources: book & powder
The cookbook is originally in Japanese I believe and was translated into Chinese for sale in Taiwan and Hong Kong. On top of the book is the black sesame powder I used. I bought it from the Asian supermarket. It comes in a zip-lock pack and has a very nice black sesame aroma on opening.

Volcano Muffin
♥ Pinkcocoa's Volcano Muffin from er, Japan...
I adapted the chocolate muffin recipe inside the cookbook by substituing the cocoa powder with maccha powder instead. The cookbook is definitely perfect for beginners because it comes with step by step photo instructions. ;-)

♥ Maccha Muffin
based on muffin recipe from My First Sweet Baking Book by Yasuko Shida

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature*
120g caster sugar
2 x 50g eggs, at room temperature and beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
40ml milk
1 tbsp low fat natural yogurt**

dry ingredients
115g cake flour
25g maccha powder
20g almond meal (don't have this so I substituted cornflour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt*

  • Preheat oven to 180c. Grease muffin pan or line it with muffin liners. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients evenly together then sift twice.
  • Using an electric beater, beat butter until soft and creamy. Beat in sugar until the colour is pale and the mixture looks soft and fluffy.
  • Add 1/3 of the egg mixture and mix until just combine. Repeat this process twice.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Mix in milk and yogurt. At this stage, you might find your batter has started to cuddle, simply add in 2 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth again.
  • Sift half of the dry ingredients over the batter. Lightly fold in the dry ingredients by using a spatula, scraping from the bottom.
  • Once it is evenly mixed, sift in remaining dry ingredients and fold using a spatula as before.
  • Fill muffin pan*** up to 1/2 full and spoon a teaspoon of black sesame filling (see below) on top. Fill up the muffin pan until it is just full.
  • Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn onto rack to cool.

Black Sesame Filling
25g butter, at room temperature
25g black sesame powder
25g icing sugar
1 tsp caster sugar

  • For the filling, simply mix all the ingredients together until you get a soft paste. Taste it and adjust the sugar amount to your liking.

♥ Pinkcocoa's Notes:

* I used reduced fat margarine and omitted the salt in the dry ingredient. If you use salted butter, omit the salt.
** I wanted a rather moist muffin so I added in extra yogurt. The result was not great because the muffins are a little too moist.
*** I used a 6 x 1/2 cup muffin pan, and found there is more batter than required to fill up the pan. So I spoon the remaining muffin batter into mini muffin pan and place a tiny amount of black sesame filling on top. I then used a skewer (or chopstick) to do a tiny swirl to mix up the
batter and the filling.

IMBB - Muffin Batter
♥ Green Muffin Batter
So I thought I was being very clever to add black sesame filling to my muffin. See how the batter looks so perfect before going into the oven?

IMBB - Muffin out from Oven
♥ Disaster Strikes!
And now have a look after 30minutes in the oven. Disaster! The black sesame filling somehow has oozed its way out from the muffin. I was horrified and very disappointed. They looked like volcanoes erupting! *yikes* My stupid idea. *shucks*

I think this probably had to do with me filling up the muffin pan to 2/3 full before adding the filling. So there was only a mere 1/3 amount of muffin batter to protect the fillings. I should have just fill up the muffin pan to 1/3 full. *sigh*

Volcano Muffin Top
♥ The ugly looking green and black muffin
Oh well, I did get a very dramatic looking muffin. Apart from its ugly look, the black sesame filling did produce a very nice nutty aroma. It smells wonderful together with the green tea.

IMBB - Inside Volcano Muffin
♥ Black Sesame Filling inside
Here's how the black sesame filling looks like inside the muffin. And now you see why I had blamed the disaster with incorrect proportion of top and bottom batter. Too much batter at the bottom and too little on top!

Anyhow the black sesame filling is rather chewy. Those fillings that have been exposed actually hardens a little to a chewy and sticky state once cooled. Those still hiding inside are wonderfully soft. I was worried I couldnt get the liquidy texture but the butter melted in the oven, given a soft and slightly liquidy filling. I think I might have to add more butter next time to get a super liquidy result.

Volcano Muffins Tower
♥ Mini Muffin Tower
The mini muffins on the other hand, fare much better than its bigger siblings. It looks cute and there is no ugly oozing of black coloured fillings. The black sesame swirl, in fact, looks wonderful on the mini muffin. Perhaps I should have done the same thing with the bigger muffins.

IMBB - Black Sesame Lava
♥ Black Sesame Filling Oozing out
So how does the maccha-black-sesame muffin taste like? I like the bit where there's black sesame attached. Green tea and black sesame sure works together wonderfully. The maccha muffin alone tasted a little, should I say, droughty? Yet it is a little too moist. I guess that's because of the extra tablespoonful of yogurt I added. I shouldn't have been kaypoh (hokkien meaning busybody) and cleverly added liquid more than required!

I have found maccha powder a little hard to work with because if you add too much, the product becomes bitter. Too little, you cant taste the green tea flavour. I have also found that maccha powder gives the product a rather rough or droughty texture. This is how my muffin tasted like. It has this droughty texture but then it's quite moist - a rather weird combination.

I guess I might do better next time I come up with weird ideas in baking. This one is rather disastrous. I was devastated at first but somehow I managed to cheer myself up by calling this muffin volcano muffin! I guess this is another kitchen disaster that produces a rather good (and surprising) result.