When she was growing up, Ms Chan Lai Ying enjoyed drinking frothy teh tarik.
Her late father, who was a taxi driver, would take her with him for tea breaks near Jalan Sultan, where they lived.
Now 43, the accountant recalls: "I was fascinated by how the uncles could stretch and transfer the tea from one glass to another without any spills."
Those fond childhood memories still come to mind whenever she makes herself a cup of teh tarik from an instant mix.
She came up with the idea of baking teh tarik-flavoured cupcakes while having a cuppa at home three months ago. She decided to add teh tarik to her repertoire of cupcake flavours, which include Nutella, banana and blueberries.
Her teh tarik cupcake recipe is straightforward, save for the step of dissolving teh tarik powder in warm milk.
To spice things up, she adds ground cinnamon and nutmeg into the batter, injecting a chai-like flavour to the cupcakes.
The mother of one says her seven-year-old daughter loves cinnamon.
"Cinnamon is such a festive ingredient. It always makes me happy and puts me in a holiday mood."
The only challenge in coming up with the recipe, she says, is getting the right proportion of flour and milk. Her first two attempts resulted in overly moist cupcakes.
Now that she has nailed the recipe, making the batter is fuss-free and takes just 15 minutes.
It is coming up with such breezy recipes that keeps Ms Chan baking.
The weekend baker also whips up muffins and cakes such as flourless chocolate ganache cake, American carrot cake and a magic custard cake, which is a hybrid of a kueh and sponge cake.
She tweaks recipes sourced from cooking blogs and takes her cue on what to bake from her cravings, which are usually spurred by browsing through cookbooks in bookstores.
As a child, her interest in baking was ignited by her aunt, whose banana and sponge cakes filled the home with "a heavenly aroma".
Naturally, home economics was also her favourite subject in secondary school and she learnt to make scones and cheesecakes. In her 20s, she made tiramisu and snowskin mooncakes.
However, baking took a back seat when she was building her career and starting a family.
It was only three years ago, when her colleagues shared their bakes at work, that she felt motivated to start baking again.
Baking is also her way of escaping from her day job of crunching numbers.
These days, she enjoys making banana cakes and oatmeal raisin cookies for her daughter.
Ms Chan, who is married to a 43-year-old engineer, says: "Baking is therapeutic as it takes my mind away from my worries. I find the aroma and the whisking sound of an electric mixer very comforting and you know that you can be in control of everything."
- 170g plain flour
- 11/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
- 100ml fresh milk
- 25g teh tarik instant powder mix
- 120g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 70g brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For the frosting:
- 2 tsp gelatin powder
- 1 Tbs hot water
- 200g non-dairy whipped cream
- 2 Tbs caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder into a mixing bowl.
3. In a pot over low heat, warm the milk until it bubbles slightly and dissolve the teh tarik powder in the milk. Set aside.
4. Cream the butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer on low speed for a few seconds before changing it to medium speed. Mix until the contents become light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
6. Add salt and vanilla extract to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix contents thoroughly.
7. Pour in one-third of the flour mixture and half of the tea-and-milk mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix it using the electric mixer on low speed for about 10 seconds. Continue the same for the remaining flour mixture and tea- and-milk mixture.
8. Using a dessert spoon, scoop the batter into each paper cupcake case till it is three-quarters filled. Tap the base of each case gently so that the batter is levelled.
9. Bake for 22 minutes. To check whether the cupcake is done, insert a skewer into it – it should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes.
For the frosting:
1. Add the gelatin powder to the hot water and let the mixture stand for about five minutes. Stir until the powder is completely dissolved. Set aside.
2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the gelatin into the whipped cream for about two minutes.
3. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and pipe rosettes on top of each cupcake.
4. Mix caster sugar and cinnamon powder in a bowl and sprinkle over frosting.
Makes 12 to 15 cupcakes
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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