So some of you might be wondering why I haven’t been posting as regularly lately, and to be honest I have been feeling really out of it. I mentioned before that there has been this website mercilessly copying almost all my posts (including all my photos) since I started writing about my Japan trip last December, and despite my attempts at handling the situation in a civil manner, all my pleas fell on deaf ears.
The hilarious (in a bad way) thing about it was that at the beginning, the person behind this site– which from here on out we shall call “It”– tried to prevent me from tracing a word for word copying of my posts by taking out a thesaurus and changing some words here and there. Here you can already see the intent was very clear. About four posts later (yes, more than 6 of my posts were lifted from my blog) “It” got tired of having to switch words and just copied my posts as is.
Now I am not the only victim of this site, so I’m thinking that because “It” copied from so many of us bloggers, our collective efforts at filing complaint after complaint finally got some much-deserved attention.
And finally, THEY TOOK DOWN THE SITE. Hallelujah!
As most bloggers will say, we work hard on our content. Obviously we are not selfish people because blogging is really centred on voluntary sharing of information, but as it is with everything, there is a line. I imagine that line is even named RESPECT. As true as it may be that once you post something on the Internet it’s free for all to see, it does not mean you can pretend it is yours when it’s not.
Asking for permission, crediting, linking back– all these things can make a world of difference. And they’re pretty simple to do! For instance, let’s talk about this awesome cupcake.
I found it from an old post by one of my favourite food blogs Cupcake Project. (From the name itself you can guess all the deliciousness going on in this blog!) I was intrigued, tried it out, and fell absolutely in love. So now I wanted to talk to you guys about it to pass it on, in a way. I just really think every cupcake or matcha lover ought to give these Matcha Cupcakes with Red Bean Frosting a go, because daaaaamn. THIS is a cupcake, you guys.
And since all the flavours of this cupcake so undeniably scream Japan, it felt like an appropriate time to also share the travel video I made of my trip to Japan last December. I wrote bits and pieces of travel diaries during the last couple of months and I will list them all below in case you want to know more about the locations and take a look at the photos too!
Here’s a breakdown of the locations with the corresponding travel diary on my blog:
Osaka Castle [0:05] | Universal Studios Japan [0:21]– FULL VIDEO | Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto [0:35] | Steak Land Kobe [1:24]– FULL VIDEO | Lake Hakone [1:29] | Mt Fuji [2:29] | Tokyo [3:02] | Tokyo DisneySea [4:08]– FULL VIDEO
To heighten that Japan mood, let’s go back to the cupcakes. I can’t sing enough praises for these. These are just so good! Both the cupcake and frosting have the flavours as advertised, though the red bean frosting can be overpoweringly sweet if piled on too much. The cupcakes however have the undeniable matcha scent and flavour that I adore.
You know how some green tea sweets position themselves as being “matcha” (maybe to justify their price…) but you can barely taste anything? These aren’t like that. These cupcakes are also soft and spongey and not dry at all, especially when eaten at room temperature. (I also prefer a softer frosting so I don’t eat this out of the fridge.) For a more domed cupcake, fill liners with batter 3/4 of the way full.
I am aware that not a lot of people are fans of red bean, but you can easily switch the frosting depending on your preference. (A white chocolate frosting can be a nice substitute.) I did feel compelled to make this as is, just because I wanted to stick to the Japanese theme. But next time for sure I won’t be piling the frosting as high as in the photos. Packaged red bean is already sweet so added to frosting it can get a bit intense for people like me who don’t have that big of a sweet tooth. (But who enjoy baking sweets like a crazy person hahaha!)
My frosting is this way because I got a little too excited using my new Wilton 1M tip for the first time. The hype about the thing is real! It makes pretty swirls like no other!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1¾ cups cake flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger, optional but good
- ½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup flavourless oil
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup smooth azuki red bean paste
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with liners.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, matcha powder, and ground ginger, until well-combined. Whisk in the butter until you get a fine sandy mixture. Set aside for a moment.
- 3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, and oil until smooth.
- 4. Add the liquid mix to the flour mixture and blend with a spatula until just combined. Slowly drizzle in the milk while mixing, until just combined. The batter will be very liquid.
- 5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 all the way full. Bake in preheated over for 14 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Remove from oven and cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
- 6. In a medium bowl, whisk together butter and red bean paste until fluffy, about three minutes. Add in salt and powdered sugar a little bit at a time, whisking until fully combined and frosting is smooth.
- 7. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes, making sure not to pile the frosting on too much or else the sweet red bean will overpower the matcha taste of the cupcakes.
By the way, since this cupcake is green, I wanted to take this chance to congratulate my college team, the DLSU Lady Spikers, for their 9th Championship! I know it’s been a week since they brought back the crown, but what a roller coaster season it has been and I followed every minute of it! I find myself very attached to this team because I almost played here when I was studying and stupidly let the chance pass me by. Now it feels so bittersweet every time I see these girls play on the court, but I am always so proud of their Animo! 🙂 I’m going to miss this batch of graduating players for sure.