Sunday, 26 August 2007

Fantastic 4 MeMe & David Lebovitz's Black Bottom Cupcakes

A week ago the lovely KJ from A Cracking Good Egg tagged me for the Fantastic Four MeMe. KJ has a lot of terrific recipes on her blog, like her Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes that I will be making for breakfast this morning as soon as I finish this MeMe. I love Sunday mornings!

For this Meme, I have to list four points for five categories. I will keep some points brief since I my tummy is calling out for pancakes. Feel free to ask me questions if you would like to know more. So here I go:

4 Jobs I've had:

(1) Bakery Assistant. I took up this job so that I can buy my sister a wedding present with my own money. This was the physically most tiring and most under paid job I ever had. I was paid $4.50 an hour and was on my feet from 8.30am till 10.30pm. I did everything except for the baking - serving, packing, cashier, cleaning, cake decorating, etc. The only reason why I hung on to that job for 3 months was because I wanted to work close to home, it gave me the exposure to what it was like to run a bakery, the owners were nice (they gave me a raise - I was initially paid $4/hr), I could eat as much bread as I wanted and I could bring home all the leftover breads.

(2) Volunteer at a large hospital in Perth. I spent most of my time with elderly patients. I also got to push a tea trolley and made drinks for them. It was enjoyable but I also felt sad for them because some patients didn't have any visitors and were battling terminal illness.

(3) University Tutor. I've been tutoring first year psychology for the last three years. I've always been doing some sort of teaching/training/talks for the last 10 years.

(4) Forensic Psychologist. I was doing that for 6 years and although it was a very fulfilling job, I felt really burnt out and I also realised that it gave me a rather dark view of life. That's why I've switched to clinical psychology.

4 Places I've lived:

(1) Singapore, where I was born.

(2) Ann Arbor, Michigan (USA). Lived there for a year when I was at the University of Michigan on a 1-year research scholarship.

(3) Perth, Western Australia. I completed my undergraduate degree there. I loved Perth.

(4) Sydney, New South Wales (Australia), where I am living now. I moved here to complete a doctorate program.

4 Places I've been on Holiday:

(1) Thailand. Friendly people + beach + spicy Thai food. I'm in heaven.

(2) Hawaii. I took a surfing class and tried surfing. All I can say is that I got 10/10 for effort!

(3) British Columbia, Canada. I had my first taste of skiing when I was there. I was by myself and I signed up for a beginners class. It was fun but I still found it a bit scary so all I did was go up and down the bunny slope. :-)

(4) Scotland. I was very fascinated by the castle in the middle of Edinburgh.

4 of my Favourite Foods:

(1) ALL breads, especially wholegrain.

(2) ANY chocolate desserts, especially molten choc cake.

(3) Seafood, especially prawns and raw oysters.

(4) Green, leafy vegetables, e.g. spinach, rocket.

4 Places I would rather be right now:

(1) Singapore. I really miss my family and friends.

(2) Anywhere on a beach, with Quikong, reading a book.

(3) Climbing Mount Everest (o.k. that might be a bit extreme. Maybe a smaller mountain).

(4) New Zealand. I've heard so much about NZ through a Kiwi friend and recent travel shows I've seen on TV.

Thanks for tagging me KJ. That was fun and brought back good memories. Now, on to the cupcakes. And I'm off to make KJ's pancakes. Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

David Lebovitz's Black Bottom Cupcakes

You can find the recipe for this utterly luscious black bottom cupcake from David Lebovitz's The Great Book of Chocolate and also via this site. It is moist and not overly sweet - I love the contrast between the fluffy choc cake, creamy cheese and the chunks of choc. I highly recommend this recipe.

I followed the recipe exactly (yes, sometimes I do know how to follow instructions!). It's super easy. The only thing to be aware of is do not over-mix the chocolate mixture. If you do over-mix it, the cupcakes will still turn out ok, but might be a little on the dry side. The first time I made this, I made it in a square cake pan (see photo below) and it also worked out fine. I've also made the recipe with the addition of an egg in the cake mixture and it also turned out super moist and fluffy.


valentinA said...

Gosh, this is pure delight! I've never tried these before, I'm sure gonna go for a try next time!

p.s: are you from Singapore?

Lydia said...

That cake looks like a lunar landscape! And it looks completely delicious!!

Valli said...

I have seen recipes for these Black Bottom Cupcakes and their cream cheese centres. They are on my list of must haves. I would join you and Quikong for breakfast and pancakes but it is Saturday night here.

Kelly Mahoney said...

It's nice to learn a little bit more about you. And those cupcakes look great!

KJ said...

Hi Nora, I'm with you. I would dearly love to be on a beach right now. All that sun and relaxation.

I hope the pancakes came out alright and you liked them. I would love to hear your thoughts.

KJ said...

Oh and a big thank you as well for answering my meme. Sorry, very rude of me.

Wendy said...

Fun to learn more about you! As a massive CSI fan the job list had me saying "cooooool"! Realistically though, I can't imagine how dark and difficult a job it would have been.

Nora B. said...

Valentina - You've got to make some. I think your brothers will like them.
p/s: yes, I am.

Lydia - heh heh, you're right! :-)

Valli - Sunday is almost gone for me and now it's your turn to enjoy Sunday.

Kelly M - I am about to have another cupcake...they're addictive.

KJ - The sunshine will be coming our way soon. Thank you for tagging me. It's a nice walk down memory lane. :-) The pancakes turned out perfect - I added some caster sugar as your suggested and I served it with caramelised bananas. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will try it with orange next time.

Wendy - Unfortunately, the job is not as "sexy" as CSI. It is exciting and fast paced, but it's hard to shake off the cases when I am not at work.

Cynthia said...

It's a pleasure to getting to know about you Nora! I enjoyed your MEME very much.

Now to that David Lebovitz's cake - talk about being decadent!

katiez said...

Wow! That cupcake really caught my eye... and my imagination! I'm going to have to make these, soon...
Bakery assistant? Loooong day, I would have needed lots of sugar to keep me going...
I've always wanted to visit Singapore.

tigerfish said...

The cake looks so nicely mosiac-ed!
And it's chocolate. That alone is enough to entice me.t

Anh said...

Nora, nice to read your meme! I think we have a lot in common :D

Oh, the chocolate cupcakes look so wonderfuk!

Big Boys Oven said...

Such a lovely piece of cake. looks so inviting.

Eva said...

Hi Nora, just catching up on my blog reading (missed a lot - your sushi class sounds fun!). These cupcakes look lovely! I´m proud to say that I already knew most of your meme but it was an interesting read nonetheless!

Patricia Scarpin said...

How lovely of you to work so hard to get your sister a present! That is so noble!

And these cupcakes look delicious, I'd eat them very slowly so they would not end soon!

Janet said...

You've been to so many interesting places.

Those cupcakes look good enough to eat :-)

veron said...

those cupcakes look so tempting. Never been to Singapore but heard it is a beautiful city with lots of things to do. I love molten chocolate cakes too!

Nora B. said...

Thanks Cynthia - I enjoyed your MeMe too. These cupcakes look decadent but were surprisingly not too rich.

Katie & Veron - If you haven't tried these before, then I would say, what are you waiting for!? ;-) I love these cupcakes. It's a good one to make if you need to bring a sweet treat somewhere because you can make it the day before and it's still yummy and moist for 2-3 days, or longer if it's in teh frige.

Tigerfish - I know what you mean ;-)

Thanks, Anh. So we have a lot in common, huh? Somehow that doesn't surprise me :-)

Big Boys Oven - Thank you.

Hi Eva!!! It's nice to see a comment from you, I know you are busy eating all that lovely German breads. I'm glad that you know me so well. :-)

Thanks Patricia - The funny thing is that I don't even remember now what I bought for her.

Janet - These cupcakes were hard to resist. I've frozen some and brought some to a tea party I went to on Sunday. That was the only way not to finish it all in one day.

Aimée said...

Dark chocolate and cream cheese?YUM!You are torturing me as I am craving anything sweet right now.:)
Fut to read more about you...

valentina said...

Nora, this is such an interesting cake. Oh, you are from Singapore originally. I spent 21 days there recently on a work assignment.Even though I did not have loads of time to tour around i loved it. Loved the food, the social side of eating, the total celebration that it is. the weather reminded me a lot of home - I grew up in North Brazil which is in very similar proximity to the equator. i would love to go back one day - not to work.

Rose said...

Hi Nora! first of all I hope you hade a great weekend.I can't believe you were in ann arbor for a year. I live about an hour from there. I go to ann arbor every time I can. I can't believe you are a psychiatric.Now I will watch more what I say.

Tartelette said...

Great to know more about you! The cupcakes look so mouth waterig...totally making these this weekend!

Kirsten said...

I think we are long-lost relatives!!

I ADORED your answers - I couldn't agree more - especially about Thailand - friendly people, beach, spicy food = perfection. :)

These cupcakes look SOOOOO good. I am passionate about all things chocolate and this looks amazing.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

We've just got back and I'm loving everything that you've been writing while we've been away. Great meme answers and those cupcakes look very much like they need to be on a plate in front of me right now.

Stephen said...

Hey Nora. Lucky you, I've never even been out of North America (oh, except for Coasta Rica). So many places I want to go!

Nora B. said...

Aimée - Now you know I felt when I saw your chocolate nemesis ;-)

Valentina - Glad that you had a good time in Singapore. We eat all times of the day in Singapore, you can ALWAYS find something open somewhere. The local food is so affordable and the variety endless. hmm... now you are making me long for Singapore even more!

Rose, you are so funny! Of course you can say what you want, if I analyze what you say then I'll have to charge you ;-) I had a great weekend, full of chocolate. :-)

Helene - Great! These cupcakes are more-ish.

Kirsten - Really??!!? I've always wanted to have a relative to visit in Arizona. :-) I have a few cupcakes in the freezer ready for me to zap in the microwave when I feel a choc urge coming.

Amanda - Welcome back! I missed hearing from you. I look forward to catching up with you on your blog.

Stephen - I think that since Singapore is such a tiny island, most Singaporeans love to travel. Maybe someday you'll visit us down-under.

Coffee & Vanilla said...

They look great!!
I bought recently muffin tray and since then I'm crazy about making them.
Greetings from London, Margot

Truffle said...

What fabulous cupcakes. They look absolutely sublime. Loved the meme too!

Shaun said...

Nora b - How divine your cupcakes look. I love the depth of flavour encased therein - sometimes the use of chocolate is so adulterated so as to result in something flatly chocolate, not drawing out the nuances in its complex flavour. Gorgeous. And we'd (I speak on behalf of every Kiwi) love to have you visit our nation of islands.