Tag Archives: cupcakes

Mimi’s chocolate cupcakes w chocolate ganache & her favourite sunny spot

20 Sep

Though the summer holidays are long gone, it would unfair, if I didn’t do post on Mimi’s baking projects. The blueberry swirl cheese cake,  ginger -orange cookies (whose pictures I do not have), Mimi -special marshmallow brownies and these chocolate cupcakes have been Mimi’s baking trysts. From an objective standpoint, I have to say, she is quite good and loves to get her hands dirty with flour, sugar, butter trio. It is a joy to see my 4 -year-old taking interest in baking. It makes baking extra special.

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There are many things that Mimi says which don’t register at that precise moment. Several days or even months later, an epiphany would come and with it such clarity.  Mimi stopped going to school long before the term was actually over. Probably that school wasn’t right for her. Anyhow, the moot point being Mimi spent a lot of time home being pampered silly by her nanny ( when I was away at work) and by us (  when my hubby and I got back home from work).  Not going to school had in no way stopped Mimi from learning new things, tricks and tactics. It is amazing how children are learning continuously without really being aware of the process. Somehow, it is us, the smart adults who think we know everything, thereby stalling the glorious process of learning.

CM5While she was at home, Mimi threw herself wholeheartedly into the solving her puzzles; starting from 10 pieces, 20 pieces, 50 pieces and now 100 pieces.  This was her main activity during the day, from there on she would do some reading, pretend played with her stuffed animals, a tea party in the afternoon with her stuffed animals again, rode her bicycle in the house ( scaring the nanny by whizzing past her at lightning speed) and then finally waiting for us to come home from work. She would then run to us, all excited and happy and cling around my husband’s neck persuading him to take her swimming. On most days, she would already be in her swim wear eagerly looking at the door.  Weekends were mostly about spending time playing and reading. At times we baked together and quite recently, Mimi has been baking all by herself. She took my help only to measure her ingredients. Otherwise she was handling her show quite confidently.

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The chocolate cupcakes and the marshmallow brownies were completely her baked treats. They were scrumptious and delightful.  I helped her melt the chocolate in the microwave and then finally pushed the cupcake tins into the oven.

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I have observed her enjoying the mixing and adding of ingredients. At times, she even tasted the batter and nodded her little head in approval. The batter -test is something that she is used to as I would always let her have a lick of the batter whenever I baked. Her reaction to the taste of the batter gave me a heads up about the end product.

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During this cupcake baking session, as I stood and watched her from a distance, she looked back and smiled at me. I smiled and gestured to her, if she needed some help. She immediately said, “No mamma, I can do this all by myself.” I beamed for I was a proud mamma of an ferociously independent 4 -year-old. Then she looked at me and I knew  a question was coming my way. She asked me,

“What is your favourite sunny spot , mamma?”

In that moment, I took some time to understand her question and then remembered feeling stumped. I did not have an answer. She continued with the buttering of the cupcake liners and then said, ” Mamma, cupcake is my favourite sunny spot.” That is when I understood what she meant by  a ‘ favourite sunny spot’.

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I pushed it to the back of my mind and it did not come up until the day I was at sitting the porch of my parents home (India, Kerala), sipping on a late afternoon tea and watching the thick sheets of rain pouring around me. It was a moment perfect because of its stillness. There was nothing preceding or succeeding. Just a thought- less few minutes of listening to the rain falling on the roof and on the plants. A moment where I wasn’t thinking, analyzing or guessing. Only listening. And then I remembered Mimi’s question and now I knew the answer to that.

This was my favourite sunny spot. A moment of perfect stillness. Nothing to cloud my vision except for the blanket of rain drops falling from the skies. Ironically, it wasn’t sunny. Far from it.  But this was decidedly my favourite sunny spot – on my parents’ porch, sipping my warm tea, watching the rain. I called out to Mimi, who was busy watching “Chotta Bheem” on the telly. She came out to the porch, slightly annoyed with the sudden interruption.

“What is it, mamma?”, Mimi inquired.

“Mimi, this is my favourite sunny spot!” , I replied. She looked at me quizzically and then took off to continue to watch Chotta Bheem.

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“As for the cupcake recipe, this is the same as Nigella’s old fashioned chocolate cake that we baked as cupcakes. The only difference was the batter was poured into cupcake liners to fill them to 3/4 so as to not let it overflow when they are baking. We baked it at 180 C /350 F for 15-20 minutes until the top feels firm. For the  dark chocolate ganache – 

150ml cream

200g chopped dark chocolate

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside. Bring the cream to just below boiling point in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, then add the melted chocolate and stir until smooth. Allow to cool until thick but still pouring consistency.”

It is as simple as it gets but like all of Nigella’s recipes, these cupcakes are big on taste.

For Mimi, baking these chocolate cupcakes meant being in her favourite sunny spot and for me it was that exquisite moment of watching the thundering rain.

What is your favourite sunny spot?

Mimi’s Graduation Day Performance & Graduation Day Cherry Cupcakes

30 Jun

24th of June was my daughter’s graduation day.

She’s only 2. 5 years old!!

I mean, when I got the note from her class teacher that these tiny tots would have a graduation day celebration, marking their term end  and progress from pre kindergarten to reception (LKG), I was surprised. It is a recent phenomenon where they have graduation day celebration even for these toddlers. Nevertheless, it was an exciting thought which was accentuated by the fact that there was going to be a performance by these kids on some rhymes. This was a day I wasn’t going to miss at any cost. I informed my manager at work that I wouldn’t be available for a certain time slot to attend any meetings on the 24th of June. Mimi had been singing ‘ Incy Wincy Spider’  all the time and I realized this was definitely the song that they were going to perform. I made her practice the song with actions and Mimi was most co-operative. On the d-day, I was pretty confident that Mimi will definitely do well. My only concern was, if she were to spot me in the audience, she would run to me for sure. So I also decided to be somewhere in the back row where she wouldn’t see me.

On the 24th, my husband and I, we made it on time to be a part of this spectacular, memorable baby graduation day event. All the tiny tots were led into the Assembly Hall by their respective class teachers. I could see Mimi looking for us in the crowd, probably because the teacher might have hinted that the Mummies and Papas are going to be around for the performance.

Incy Wincy Spider being performed

The first song performed was ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ with action. It was heartening to see all the tiny hands go up in the air and down in near-unison. The tiny fingers making a spider climb up the water-spout and the rain pouring down. It was a surreal moment and I am sure it was for all the parents who stood there on the verge of shedding a tear or two. I couldn’t believe my child has grown up so much that she understands and comprehends everything so beautifully. Mimi was clearly having a lot of fun with the whole exercise because we could see her jumping about her place while doing her action-song. I also observed all the teachers also beaming with pride to see their class perform so well.

After the song was done,  they started to play ‘Baba Black Sheep’. But Mimi came rushing down to me and sat on one of the empty chairs on the audience’s side of the event. I tried to push her to go back but she wasn’t interested at all. She was content, cheering her classmates and lip syncing with them. ‘Baba Black Sheep’ was followed by ‘Polly put the Kettle on” and an Arab song.  Mimi sat in the audience look at the on going performance as if it was only ‘ Incy Wincy Spider’ that was her mandate. I should have made her practice the other songs as well, then she would have felt the need to stay back with the group to perform the whole thing.

After the Performance, the crowd dispersed and went to their own classes and I followed Mimi to hers to take a few pictures. I congratulated the class teacher and told her it was absolutely phenomenal what they do. To be able to make a set of 2 – 3 years olds stand to together; let alone sing and perform was a feat that would seem impossible. As a parent, I find Mimi to be quite a handful and these kindergarten teachers have to manage 15- 20 such toddlers with different attitudes, cultural backgrounds, languages and natures. Hats off to these teachers, really!!

To mark this awesome occasion, I baked some cherry cupcakes (with mascarpone frosting which isn’t in the photos) which I then took to office and for the Term end party I made Mimi the Oats cookies with chocolates and almonds.

The cherry cupcakes were received well and disappeared in a matter of only 10 minutes. When I told them the reason for celebration, there were congratulations pouring in from everywhere. I was a proud mum. 🙂

These cupcakes are only slightly sweet so if you want you add a little more sugar to increase the sweetness. I was planning to frost it, so consciously put little sugar.  The taste of cherries is very prominent and that is what lifts the flavour of these dainty cup cakes.

Mimi’s new term starts in September and in between that she is going to attend a summer camp. For the next 10 odd days she has a vacation and she absolutely hates being at home. Every morning she wakes up and announces that she is going to school. I have to then tell her that she is having her holidays and she doesn’t need to go to school, but she insists that she would go to school tomorrow. So everyday I have to convince her that she needs to stay home and do all the stuff that she did at school. I have bought her loads of colours, colour books and puzzles to keep her busy.

That is all from me for now. Have a fabulously week ahead!

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting ( Birthday Post-1)

5 May

It was my birthday a few days ago and it was wonderful. I can go ahead and claim that it was the best birthday that I would have had in a decade. Unexpected and infinitely fun, this birthday goes down in my birthday history books of records at the very top until ofcourse another more fantabulous one comes along.

Birthdays and me, don’t really have a thing going as long as I remember. I was never the one to look forward to one, more so after I crossed the “30” milestone. Its been a week now that my birthday’s gone, but the good taste and feeling still remains, lingering in the air somewhere. I catch a whiff of it sometime and you can see me smiling for no reason at all. It was that wonderful. You may also know that I enjoy doing a lot of analysis. I have to know why something was good, or bad, or why it happened or what was the best way of going about it etc.

There are few straightforward reasons as to why this birthday was so much more amazing than the other ones:

1. The biggest reason is my parents are in town. How can a birthday be anything less than wonderful when your parents are with you. They lavished all their attention and love on me (for a change) otherwise everybody has eyes and ears only for Mimi.

2. My husband promised to bake a cake for me ( rest of the story follows later in the post)

3.  My daughter, Mimi can say Happy Birthday to you now and can sing it even better

4. I got plenty of gifts which include a much sought after cake stand, a gold ring, shopping vouchers, flowers, delicious home baked  chocolate cakes, a lovely bag and dinner at one of the best restaurants in town. It cannot get any better than this. I profusely thank my husband, Amit, my parents, my friends Namit, Anamika, Ashish, Gayathri and Pooja for making it so memorable.

5. I think the most deciding of all factors was that I was expecting nothing. Zilch.

A few days before my birthday I noticed that people at work brought cakes to office on their birthdays, so I thought that I should join in on that trend and push some of my bakes on my co workers. I turned to one of my least used baking books – Nigella Lawson’s ” How to be a Domestic Goddess” and flipped open to the Chocolate Cherry cupcake recipe. What caught my eye was the morello cherry jam that was used so generously in the recipe. I love the taste of Morello  cherry Jam and instantly knew that it was going to be a great recipe to try. But I didn’t fancy the chocolate ganache frosting and starting thinking of other ideas for frosting the chocolate cherry cupcakes.

Do you see the lovely photo of the cupcakes and the one with has the recipe written in it? Its the work of my friend Namit. He comes up with the most glorious ideas that help make my blog look a whole lot better. All these photographs were shot by him since I had no time to take pictures and was sure that there was no post coming out of this one. But he made sure that not a single bake was missed. Hearty thanks to you Namit.

Now to my story where my hubby promised me that he would bake a cake for my birthday. Well, he must have had a few sleepless nights after he made this promise to me during a rush of emotions. I was quietly enjoying  him getting anxious and uneasy as my birthday approached. For everybody’s information, he can’t cook AT ALL. He can make his tea and instant noodles and his culinary expertise ends there. Finally on the day before my birthday he came home with an envelope and handed it over to me. On opening the envelope I saw shopping vouchers. He apologized about not being able to make a cake for me and instead pleaded me to make do with these shopping vouchers. I stared hard at him for sometime while my brain did some quick analysis and soon came to the conclusion that these shopping vouchers would definitely make a better gift considering the latest collection that I had an eye on at Zara and Mango. I quickly accepted his gift with a lot of gusto! When I think back I realized he bribed me and I accepted it without a thought. That is what 7 years of marriage does to you, I suppose.

Shopping vouchers Vs Hubby baked cake —> Shopping vouchers win hands down!!

Look at the cake stand. Lovely isn’t it?

The cupcakes came out moreish and were appreciated all round. My co workers came back for second or third helpings and I was sold out by the end of the day. I think that is a good indicator to how wonderful these were. You could distinctly taste the fabulous flavour of Morello cherry jam which made it so enchanting. The white chocolate frosting idea was completely mine. I used Lindt white chocolate with sour cream and icing sugar to create a confectionery sort of sweet icing. I wished I had a piping bag, it would have made the frosting even more appealing. The crumb of the cupcake was soft and cake like. I would highly recommend making these on special occasions and guarantee that they would be a huge hit. In case you have some kirsch then it is even better since the flavour of kirsch provides a well rounded smooth cherry flavour.

I have another post lined up which will entail the Party details. Cheers until then!

Introducing a Friend and a Chef Extraordinaire

13 Feb

Not often times, does life spring surprises and such extraordinary ones.

When you are just about resigning to the fact life’s falling into a rut and nothing can ever change, life does what it does best. Be unpredictable.

On a whim, I enrolled for the Bahrain Writers’ Club (more about this in my weekly update) and until the d-day I was undecided about attending it. I enjoy writing but do I think of myself as a writer. I hadn’t made up my mind about that. The only writing I have ever done seriously was when  I had to write those boring essays in school to pass. I started this blog to mostly while away time and to chronicle my life( atleast this current phase) as much as I could. So to cut the long story short, I did go to this Writer’s Club Meet after all. After this meet, do I consider myself a writer, will I ever publish a book, will this writing ever take me anywhere – these fundamental questions, still remain unanswered. But what I did gain from this meet were some great contacts and  a good friend – Aaron Maree Continue reading

Its a New Beginning

10 Jan

Well, it feels nice to begin writing about the weekly updates again in this promising new year.

Happy New Year from Mimi

I love this picture of hers. Suddenly,  I feel she is all grown up, undestands me well when I speak to her. Though she still talks to me in her baby lingo, it has a lot of emotions,  thrown in for good measure. Sometimes I worry (esp. after my India trip, where everybody made a huge deal out of it) that she isn’t speaking so much. She still manages to say ‘tata’, ‘hi there’, ‘amma’. But when she calls out amma or mamma, I literally feel my heart melt. It is the single biggest joy in the world, hands down.

After the disastrous India trip, it is time to pick up threads from where I left ;- Continue reading

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