Now to pick up at that last stop on the hubby and I's journey through Southeast Asia. I can't believe its been two months since we came back! It feels like we just went there! Anywhoo, our last stop was Singapore, Singapore. We were in Singapore for 3 days. On the first day we went to their newly built Gardens by the Bay which the hubby really wanted to see. It is basically this indoor botanical garden, you might say. Very beautiful, but I do not think I was as excited as the hubby. From the Gardens by the Bay, you got an amazing view of the Singapore skyline and the Singapore Flyer (a large Ferris wheel).
On the second day, we went to the Singapore Zoo. The zoo was voted by several websites as one of the best zoos in the world. Having seen the Los Angeles Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Pittsburgh Zoo, Denver Zoo and several others that I am probably not remembering now-- I was pretty intrigued to go. Though, just like Day 1, this was more of a hubby pick. We decided to go to the zoo during the day and then their night safari in the evening. Well the zoo, was neat in that some of the exhibits were designed so that there were no cages- which allowed you to get pretty close to the animals. But overall it was a regular zoo, and quite small at that. Nothing spectacular. The one niffty thing was the food the offered, very international. I got a guava icee. I love guava and I love icees so it was perfect for me. The night safari was very cool. You started the tour with a guided tram which showcased all the nocturnal animals-- since most animals are-- the night safari provided the opportunity to see these animals at their most active. We ended the night with an adorable animal show. Bottom line: the zoo was average at best, the night safari is definitely something to see!
On the third day, we met up with a friend of mine from college who I haden't seeen in 6 years! She was a foreign exchange student for a semester, who I randomly met and realized was in two of my courses. We hit it off almost immediately. She was probably there for one of the most eventful times in my life, and I was so appreciative of her. Sadly after the semester ended, she headed back to Singapore. Well, since I was in her neck of the woods, I sent her a message and she picked us up on our last day to take us to Little India, so I could do some shopping and eating. We ended the night enjoying some cupcakes and then she drove us to the airport. By far one of the fanciest airports I have ever seen!
The post for today was long overdue. I made these cupcakes back in the beginning of June for a baby shower that I attended. Obviously they were having a boy :) Or they could just really like blue ;) I decided to make a simple yet yummy classic, for me, of a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips (to provide molten chocolate bursts as you eat the cupcake) topped with a cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes are best when right out of the oven--just like a chocolate chip cookie, as the chocolate is all melty but they taste amazing even afterwards. Feel free to leave the frosting color white, or to change it to any other color you so wish! They are simple to make and yummy to eat. For this recipe, I used box cake mix. I am a huge fan of using boxed cake mix- they make light and fluffy cakes/cupcakes. With a few tweaks, they taste like they are made from scratch and save you some time :)
Preheat Oven to 325F Degrees
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 box of chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 c. milk (can substitute with water)
1 stick of butter melted (1/2 c.)
1 1/4 c. milk chocolate chips
FOR THE FROSTING
2 (8oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
2-4 c. of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Cupcakes:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, sift in cake mix (to prevent lumps). Then add in eggs, milk and butter, mixing ingredients until creamy. Mix on low for 1 minutes and then on high for 1 minute. The batter should be thick and creamy. Finally add in chocolate chips, mixing until incorporated. Line cupcake pan with liners. Using an ice cream scoop fill liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, butter, 1 c. of powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed and then medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes until creamy, light, and fluffy. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1/2 c. at a time-- beating for 1 minute after each addition. Continue adding in ingredients until desired consistency and sweetness is reached (i.e, you may not use all 3 c. of powdered sugar, if you want more sweetness but need a softer consistency add some heavy cream). If desired, add in small amount of desired food coloring and stir until an even consistency of color is reached. The frosting should be stiff enough to hold shape once piped.