Recipes – Cupcake Romance

Cupcake Romance

Our ‘Cupcake Romance’ recipe will help you produce sweet treats that delight your loved ones.

Cupcake Romance

By Shuangi Tseng

Over the last couple of years the world seems to have gone cupcake crazy, and the trend shows no sign of abating. People now attend cupcake decorating parties, while insatiable customers scoff cupcakes in colours that would make Joseph’s amazing technicolour dreamcoat look dull. Here in Taipei the number of bakeries and cafes specialising in cupcakes has mushroomed (perhaps we should say ‘muffined’?), and apparently there’s no shortage of very enthusiastic customers. To many non-experts, cupcakes can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from a muffin, and there is a heated debate surrounding this very controversial subject. Until the United Nations settles the matter by establishing an international body to police the boundary between these two baked goods, Love Taipei’s own cupcake definition is as follows: a small, sweet cake that fits inside a tea cup, is eaten as a dessert, and is often covered with icing or another form of decoration.

Cupcake romance - whisking eggs

Whisking the egg, butter, and sugar mix.

The commercialisation of cupcakes has disguised this little dessert’s simplicity and the relative ease with which we can all have a go at creating our own. Below we have put together a recipe called ‘Cupcake Romance’, which makes creative use of rose petals, marshmallow, and Nutella, and the cupcakes can be used either as a base for further decoration, or as the finished item. They looked so tasty when they came out of the oven that we opted for the latter option.

Flour with sieve cupcake romance

Putting the flour through a sieve removes any lumps and makes mixing easier.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

  • Rose petals
  • 115 grammes of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ cups of brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ¾ cup of self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup of milk (whole, semi, or skimmed as per your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A handful of your favorite chocolate chips or truffles
  • 1 teaspoon of Nutella
  • Marshmallows
Cupcake Romance 2

There are many ways to decorate a cupcake, and the idea behind ‘Cupcake Romance’ is to use the rose’s elegance and beauty to create an eye-catching result.

The Baking

  1. Beat the butter until softened.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 mins)
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until they are well mixed.
  3. Place all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder) together into a small bowl.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mix.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract.
  6. Add a spoonful of Nutella.
  7. Scoop the batter into individual cake cups, making one lower layer. Add a second, middle layer with the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and rose petals. Cover this with a third, final layer of the chocolate batter.
  8. Bake for 22 minutes on a 200 degree (Celsius) heat.
  9. Whip the finished goods out of the oven and, once they’ve cooled down, decorate your cupcake as per your preference.  Don’t forget that a sprinkle of icing sugar looks great, especially with the contrast between dark and light that chocolate provides.

We hope this recipe produces the same delicious results it did for us.  Please feel free to let us know how it goes.

  • Cupcake Romance 2
  • Cupcake Romance
  • Baking Soda
  • Whisking Eggs
  • Flour - Sieve
  • Cupcake Romance Featured Photo

Recipes – Fruit Feast Pancakes

Fruit Feast Pancakes

By Shuangi Tseng

Simple to make, filling, and delicious: pancakes are a popular start to the day for millions of people around the world every morning. While a lot of recipes focus on the pancakes themselves, what really makes the difference between a world-beating pancake and a run-of-the-mill breakfast filler is the topping. After a drizzle of chocolate sauce here, or a generous helping of maple syrup there, the creativity tends to stop and the job of eating begins. We’ve come up with a recipe for fruit pancakes that will liven up your breakfast and tantalise your tastebuds, as well as getting your day off to a healthy, vitamin-rich start.

Fruit Pancakes Feast

Lashings of goodness: cinnamon apple, pomegranate, banana, and kiwi, with homemade coffee syrup make the perfect pancake topping.

With a focus on fruit, this recipe contains ingredients that are easy to obtain almost anywhere in Taipei. Besides the pancakes themselves, the cinnamon apple and syrup are the only components of the dish that require any effort beyond cutting or peeling and as such this is a recipe at which anyone can try their hand. The recipe results in a rich palette of colours, with the warm yellows and browns of the pancakes, banana, cinnamon apple and coffee syrup, the feisty pink-red of the pomegranate, and the soothing green of the kiwi. A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!

Ingredients (feeds two)

Fruit: One banana, one peeled apple, half a pomegranate, one kiwi fruit.

Cinnamon & syrup: Cinnamon powder, one cup of freshly-brewed coffee (espresso works best), two cups of brown sugar.

Pancakes: One cup of all-purpose flour, two tablespoons of baking powder,

  • Fruit Feast Pancakes

Review – Tai G Medicinal Soup

Tai G (?G?) has conspicuous signage.

Tai G’s conspicuous signage.

Medicinal soup doesn’t often inspire visions of lip-smacking tastiness. Indeed, for many people the thought of consuming something medicinal for enjoyment rather than health reasons is simply bizarre. After all, many of the foods we associate with being the tastiest – foie gras, chocolate, steak, and ice-cream to name but a few – are better known for their negative health effects. Yet Taiwan has a treasure trove of restaurants specialising in medicinal soups, many of which would surprise even the hardest of hard-nosed skeptics with their sumptuous flavours and the quality of their food.

Tai G (?G?) chicken soup

One of Tai G’s speciality medicinal soups: chicken with pineapple and bitter melon.

Tai G Healthy Medicinal Cuisine (台G店 養生藥膳) is one restaurant which prides itself on the taste of its food as well as the health benefits. From humble beginnings as owner Gao Jianyao’s sesame-oil chicken stall in Banqiao, Tai G now has a chain of seven different outlets around Taipei serving its healthy chicken soups. Customers will find a variety of chicken soup options containing ingredients as varied as milk, ginseng, red dates, ginger, and pineapple. Some soups are tailored to winter consumption and others to summer, while one or two have even been designed to cater to different sexes. After ten years of experimentation, the Tai G proprietors have opted to part ways with the traditional method of soup-making and thus moved from cooking one large pot serving multiple customers throughout the day to cooking individual soup pots for each customer as and when they order. This ensures that the soup is served completely fresh, and that the customer experiences the best possible flavours. As a restaurant claiming health benefits for its food probably should, Tai G only uses organic free range chicken in its dishes.

Tai G (?G?) rice noodles

Tasty mian xian (thin rice noodles) with onion and garlic.

Love Taipei recently sampled the menu at Tai G‘s Shipai branch which is located on the busy Yumin No.1 Road. The restaurant’s interior is unspectacular but clean, which makes for a rather bland and uninspiring atmosphere, but is in keeping with an establishment that prefers the food to take centre-stage. The pineapple and bitter melon chicken soup is one of the dishes which is apparently suitable year-round, and despite being slightly too oily, it proved to be a great choice. The sweetness of the fruit balanced the melon’s bitterness, while the tender chicken gave the soup a delicious savoury edge. Fresh bamboo shoots, also served with pineapple, complemented the soup very nicely, and despite the portions being reasonably sized, the food rapidly disappeared in a blizzard of chopsticks. Tai G pays homage to its sesame chicken roots with sesame oil rice noodles which are dangerously good and come highly recommended as a side dish.

Tai G (?G?) bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots with chicken and pineapple.

So, if you’re in the mood for chicken soup – whether for your soul or your health – it may be worth paying a visit to one of Tai G‘s branches.

Love Taipei Rating

Food: 7/10

Atmosphere: 5/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

Bill for two people without drinks: NT$460

Address
No.21, Yumin 1st Road, Shilin District, Taibei City
台北市士林區裕民一路21號
Tel: 02-2828-6810
MRT: Shipai
www.tai-g-net.com.tw
  • Tai G Signage
  • Tai G Bamboo Shoots
  • Tai G Soup
  • Tai G Rice Noodles

Review – Pizzeria Oggi

Pizzeria Oggi have a unique menu.

Oggi’s unique menu in newsletter format

Pizza, pizza, pizza. A popular misconception is that making good pizza is easy. After all, it’s just another form of fast food, right? Wrong. Making an average, grease-sodden pizza is easy, but making good pizza is bloody difficult. So difficult, in fact, that in Naples (where, in the late 19th century, modern pizza was invented) there are strict rules governing each stage in the pizza cooking process. These rules cover everything from the quality of the flour to the kneading method, and from the oven temperature to the exact cooking time (60 – 90 seconds).

Promulgated by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (Real Neapolitan Pizza Association), these rules are beginning to hold a lot of weight not only in Italy, but also in a number of other countries around the world. As discerning restaurant-goers increasingly demand to know what their food contains and exactly what the health benefits are, the Associazione is seeing an upsurge in requests for their stringent certification.

Pizzeria Oggi do a great Napoletana Margherita.

Pizza for pedants – don’t forget your tape measure

In May last year Pizzeria Oggi, in Tianmu, was the first restaurant in Taiwan – indeed, only the 360th pizzeria in the world – to be given the Associazione’s accreditation. This is good news for pizza fans living in north Taipei, for whom the small, homely restaurant offers the chance to shamelessly gorge themselves on (officially!) some of the world’s best pizza. Service is attentive and efficient, and customers are greeted with a hearty ‘buona sera’ by both chefs and waiters as soon as they step foot inside the premises. The open kitchen and bar counter give the small pizzeria a welcoming, laid-back feel at the same time as allowing pizza-pedants the chance to check whether the cooks really are following the rules (they were!).

The Oggi salad by Pizzeria Oggi

The Oggi salad; colourful and tasty

There’s nothing particularly classy or interesting about Pizzeria Oggi’s decor, and it’s the food, rather than the interior design, that’s the focus. The packed tables and outdoor waiting area both pay tribute to the fact that the pizzeria delivers on its commitment to provide simple, inexpensive, quality pizza. The bruschettone napoletano and Pizza Verace Napoletana Margherita D.O.C. both come highly recommended, and are nicely complemented by the Oggi salad – a refreshing mix of lettuce, walnuts and a simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette, topped with a liberal sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Those with a sweet tooth can partake of the pizza con Nutella, though judging by the volume they use of the world’s most addictive chocolate spread, anyone brave enough to tackle it should probably have an appointment with a diabetes specialist booked for the following day, just in case.

Helpful tips on the menu at Pizzeria Oggi.

Thoughtful hints on how to enjoy your pizza

Our only criticisms are that the choice of antipasti is very limited, as is the wine selection (house red or house white), though neither niggle will stop us going back again for more of their stringently-regulated pizza: fragrant, crispy, tender, and reassuringly healthy, Pizzeria Oggi hits the spot without hitting the wallet too hard.

Love Taipei Rating

Food: 8/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 8/10

Bill for two people without alcohol: NT$1,270

Address
No.19, Dexing W. Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan
台北市士林區德行西路19號
Tel: 02-2834-3886
MRT: Zhishan
www.pizzeria-oggi.com
  • Oggi Menu
  • Oggi's Pizza Verace Napoletana Margherita D.O.C.
  • Oggi Salad
  • Oggi Menu - Helpful Tips