[Cakes & Bakes] Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

My family members have been some of the best supporters for my bakes and I love making things they like, especially for special occasions.

Mum has always been a fan of chocolate banana cakes, especially the one from Secret Recipe. So I’ve long set my mind on baking a choco banana cake for her birthday 🙂

Searched through some recipes and finally decided to make a cupcake version instead as I really wanted to practice my piping.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a T (which is extremely simple) and the cupcakes turned out really moist and fragrant! Some things to share from the experience:

– Make sure the banana is ripe enough so that the aroma and taste are will not be overwhelmed by the chocolate

– I used Valhorna cocoa powder and the chocolate flavour is really rich and intense

– The cupcakes stay moist in the fridge and still tastes pretty good 3 days old

– If you’re lazy or have no time to prepare the frosting, it tastes pretty awesome as a chocolate banana muffin too!

– I sprinkled some chopped almonds on top of the frosting to create some contrast in terms of colour and the texture. The nutty flavour also helps to cut the richness of the cake and frosting

– Washing up after making chocolate-anything is such a back-breaking chore… But it’s worth it 🙂

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

[Cakes & Bakes] Banana Walnut Loaf

In case I’ve not confessed on the blog yet, I don’t cook all the lovely food you see on my Instagram – Wayne does.

So what do I do, besides eating and taking photos? I bake! Because I’m more of a sweet tooth compared to Wayne and I lurveeee a good after-meal treat 🙂 In case you’re interested, some snapshots of my very amateurish baking can be found on Instagram at #poppybake.

Recently, I’ve grown to like baking loaves. I first started with a Blackberry Lemon Yogurt Loaf and I was hooked by how easy it was to make, the heavenly aroma that flooded our kitchen when it was baking and how surprisingly nice it tastes! That, being the first time I make a loaf cake.

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So I decided to make one today for my family’s Fathers’ Day gathering at our house!

Found this recipe on Foodnetwork.com and it looks really quick and easy! I had less than 2 hours to spare so the prep time seemed perfect.

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The butter-sugar -vanilla-egg-banana mixture may seem a little runny when you’re first done with incorporating them, but after you fold in the flour mix and walnuts, the texture will turn into something that resembles more of a cake mix (as below). So don’t be taken aback when you first pop your mixing bowl out of the mixer!

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Alway remember the all important step of giving the loaf tin a good butter-up and it’ll make removing the loaf a whole lot easier 🙂 And don’t forget to rap the baking tin to remove the air bubbles!

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After my experience with the Blackberry Loaf, I’ve found that baking the loaf on the middle rack may brown the crust of the loaf a little too fast. Hence, I’ve decided to bake on the lowest rack instead, to allow enough time for the inside of the cake to cook thoroughly before the crust browns. And I’ll rotate the tin every 10 mins or so to let the heat even out.

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I love the cracks on the loaves because they are unique and gives them character – no 2 loaves look the same!

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I let it cool in the tin for an hour and on the rack for another hour before serving. You can even keep it in the fridge, cling-wrapped, and enjoy it for breakfast!

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My sister-in-law who adores banana cakes gave it a thumbs up! Except that she ate one of the “end” slices so she found the crust area a little too dry. I’m trying to find a way to solve that too and keep my cake more moist without loosing the flavor. Let me know if you have any tips!

I was intending to make a plain banana cake at first, but glad I threw in the walnuts because the contrast in the texture makes the cake a whole lot more interesting 🙂

Such an easy recipe, I’m sure you’ll be able to do it too! Go give it a shot! 😉

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