Thursday, 21 February 2013

Leap of Faith

When an idea or thought starts circulating my mind, I become obsessed with it, I think day & night about it, even in my sleep I dream about it. I over-analyse, think and "kill" the idea in a vain attempt to reach a satisfying solution or answer I am comfortable with; but these are neither guaranteed nor always possible.
I consult friends, read books, google it and sleep on it for days, weeks or even months! I know that this is a human trait, that most people go through such a phase at some point of their lives, some choose their mind battles and only do this process for "big" decision, while some are less fortunate and do this as part of their daily routine. I fall in the later category. Every single decision I take goes through this process, of course not all consume the same amount of time. It's my character, what defines me, what makes me who I am or maybe just because I am an Aries:)

But sometimes all we need to do is take a leap of faith, follow our gut feeling; that inside undeniable strong emotion that drives us into directions we fear treading. So we jump and hope for the best.

Abir Yehia is the latest example to taking such a leap... and boy am I proud of her :) I've known Aiby since she was a university student, doing her internship with me at one of the early companies I worked for. I've watched her grow from coming to work with her curly hair & lollipops in her bag (she's a great sucker to lollies ; to graduating; officially working in my team & pursuing her childhood addiction: photography. She has real talent coupled with a unique character which gives her a distinctive perspective of life and is now reinforced with a 6 weeks specialized fashion photography course in Milan. Below is an example of what she is capable of during her learning curve; imagine what she can accomplish later! You can check out her complete portfolio and follow her updates here.

Photo by Abir Yahia

Photo by Abir Yahia 

This is not an introduction to I tell you I joined the fashion industry, no no I am sticking to food; baking is my addiction. The truth is I have been scribbling down a few recipe ideas and have been meaning to try them out but never really did. Every time I choose the safe road, I go for either a tested recipe or familiar combination I've seen somewhere so that the results are guaranteed... well up until now.

I've decided to take that bumpy road of trying my scrambled thoughts and see where it takes me. They could be a success or they could be failures, nevertheless I will post about both of them with pictures. Maybe the ideas have crossed someone else's mind and when they read about it here they either they proceed with it or ignore it. Of course not every recipe will be a trial, some will still be well tried and perfected already.

The first of this series is a chocolate-coffee-coconut cupcake filled with white choco chips to be topped with a white choco-coconut frosting (that name is way too long!!), except for the fact that the white chocolate coconut frosting failed me. I over-beat the mixture causing it to separate, so I had to improvise. My second round was a regular whipping cream with coconut flavor only, which was ok but not great.

The cupcakes themselves are divine, they are quite moist (even better the next day), have a smooth texture with a slight crunch from the coconut flakes and if warmed up before serving, every bite will have a melted white chocolate chip... I did eat one straight from the oven and resisted the temptation to grab another one before I put on the frosting. I would say they taste better without the frosting, maybe they would be great with vanilla ice cream. They do slightly resemble "boules de chocolat" in taste but not as heavy and moist.

You can change as much as you like in this recipe, substitute coffee for hot water, although you won't taste the coffee at it; its purpose is to bring out the chocolate flavor. I went for chocolate chips but you can change them for raisins, almonds or omit them completely. If you want to have them without the coconut, whose to stop you :)

If you decide to make them, please share with me your outcome or if you want to suggest an experiment, I am up to that.

Chocolate, Coffee & Coconut Cupcakes

(makes 16-18 medium size cupcakes)

110 g unsalted butter, room temperature
200 g white sugar
50 g dark chocolate (60%)
180 ml hot brewed coffee
180 ml full fat milk
85 g cocoa powder
50 g coconut flakes
50 g white chocolate chips (optional)
2 small eggs
2 tsp coconut extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
paper or silicon cupcakes liners

Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F) and prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces, place in the bowel and add the hot brewed coffee to it. Let stand for 5 minute, then stir and make sure all chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool while moving on to next step.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cocoa powder & salt.

In your food processor or using a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and lighter in colour, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition, then add the coconut extract. Slowly add the chocolate-coffee, beat well, then half of the flour mixture, beat again, followed by the milk, continue to beat, then the remaining flour. Beat just until incorporated. Last step is to fold in the coconut flakes and chips using a spatula.

Batter will be thick and not too runny. Spoon into the cupcake liners and bake for about 25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't worry if their surface cracks, it's because of the chips & flakes.

Frost as desired using your favorite recipe as mine didn't work out:)

P.S. My new oven rocks! and I am fully back in action after the move in.


  1. Another Aries! Definitely the *best* sign (not that I am biased or anything... ;)) Love the flavour combination in these cupcakes. And I love how you present them as an evolutionary process rather than a fait accompli!

    1. Aries R the best... no doubt about that! We are just being realistic about epso facto of life :)