Archives for category: cupcakes

For those of you with reservations about baking something special for loved ones this Valentine’s Day, Kenwood Chef have put together some video tutorials to show you how easy it is. Chocolate cupcakes are a favourite in my house and always a winner no matter the occasion.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Follow along to the video to make your own delicious chocolaty treats.

And here’s the recipe:

Makes: 12

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Level 1

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4
  2. Ensure that your ingredients and equipment are at room temperature to reduce the risk of the mixture curdling.
  3. Place the butter and sugar into your mixer bowl and using the creaming beater cream on medium speed until it becomes thick and creamy.
  4. Beat the eggs to together, reduce the speed of the mixer and gradually add the eggs. Ensure that each addition of the eggs is properly incorporated before adding the next amount of the eggs.   Add a teaspoon of the flour after each amount of egg is added.
  5. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the flour, cocoa and baking powder and continue to mix together
  6. Place twelve paper cases into a muffin tray then divide the mixture evenly between them.
  7. Bake for approximately 12 – 15 minutes until they spring back when lightly pressed.

For the chocolate Icing:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water; ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  2. Place the butter into your mixer bowl and using the creaming beater cream the butter on medium speed until it becomes paler in colour.
  3. Add the icing sugar slowly and mix to combine.  Ensure your splashguard is in place to avoid the icing sugar escaping from the bowl.
  4. When the icing sugar and butter are combined, mix in the melted chocolate until it is an even colour.
  5. Spoon the icing into an icing bag, and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
  6. Decorate with your chosen decorations.

And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try Tiramisu to complete a romantic Italian inspired meal.  Kenwood Chef makes it easy!

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I have not personally tried this recipe, however I do use a Kenwood Chef mixer and kMix hand mixer that I purchased myself.

New handmixer

 

Happy baking!

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English Mum is hosting a ‘Baked With Love Bakeoff’ and now that Owen, my brand new oven, is in full effect, I had to get involved.  I like making Valentine’s day treats for my sweeties and wanted to do something new, so I tried Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I have seen many recipes for Red Velvet Cake, all of which use quite a bit of red food colouring, but the one from Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake is one that does not.  It’s an American style recipe which relies on the chemical reaction between baking soda and white wine vinegar to create the ‘red’ effect.

It was more like a science experiment than baking, but that was part of the fun.

red velvet science experiment

It started out like your everyday cake mixture using the creaming method: butter, sugar, cocoa…

Cocoa powder

Then alternately add buttermilk and flour…

Mix it up

But with this mixture you combine baking soda and white wine vinegar. Vinegar in cupcakes?! okaay…

now for the science bit

Then keep mixing until it becomes a glossy mixture…

glossy mixture

I filled each cupcake cup halfway and popped them in the new oven. (Affectionately named Owen thanks to the suggestion of Leah and Phil).

Owen shows off

Et voila… Cupcakes! They didn’t come out as red as I anticipated, but they taste amazing and are actually really velvety in texture.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

As these cakes are celebrating Valentine’s Day, I decorated them with marshmallow topping (mini G’s favourite) and heart shaped sprinkles.

Valentine's decorations

And they went down a treat with the little love of my life – mini G…

baked with love

Baked with love bakeoff

Mini G made a special request for Halloween cupcakes, which I was all to happy to oblige. His cupcake of choice was carrot cupcakes, but they had to be spooooky. We picked out a recipe together – we used Eric Lanlard’s Carrot Cake recipe from Home Bake.

G and I gathered the ingredients.

Carrots

Oil

We grated the carrots.

Grated carrots

Mini G helped by stirring the eggs into the sugar and the oil.

Mini G helper 1

And then he added the flour into the mixture.

Mini G helper 2

Mini G helper 3

Mini G helper 3

Then he added the carrots, folding them into the mixture and got the batter ready to go into the cupcake cups.

Mini G helper 5

We used spooky spider cupcake cups for the Halloween treats.

Carrot cake fresh from the oven

More carrot cakes

The cake texture was fantastic. This recipe is a keeper!

Carrot cake texture

We decorated the cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting and added some special toppings to create a creepy crawly spider:

Place half a prune in the center of the cake, then cut a cola flavoured sour spagettini into 1 1/4 inch lengths and arrange like spider legs around the prune. Spooooky!

Spooky Spider cupcakes

Spooky halloween cupcakes

Then watch the cupcakes crawl off the plate… YUM!

I Love Cake

It’s that time of year for lovely autumnal fruits. We were lucky to receive some apples from a neighbor’s tree. I wanted a recipe that would use the apples in a way that would be suitable for freezing, so I trawled through my cookbooks and came across a Cinnamon and Apple Cake recipe from Leith’s Baking Bible. This recipe is for a whole cake, but I altered it to be suitable for smaller, freezable portions – cupcakes!

Apples

Apple Cinnamon Cake ingredients

Cinnamon and Apple Cake (my way)
200g peeled apples (I used Bramleys) coarsely grated
170g soft dark brown sugar
100ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg beaten
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

Grated apple

Line muffin tins with 24 muffin/cupcake cases. Heat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F.
Place the grated apples into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, oil, vanilla and egg.
Sift in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Stir together until just mixed.
Drop the mixture into prepared muffin/cupcake cases about 3/4 full.
Bake in the oven for approx 25 minutes, or until well risen and the tops spring back slightly when touched.
A skewer through the center of a cake should come out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon with the flour

Cake batter

When cooled, you can divide them into freezer bags to keep for future treats and snacks.
They are great in lunch boxes with a bit of cream cheese.

Naked apple cinnamon cake

Alternatively, you could top the cake with a mascarpone frosting with a bran flake sprinkled with edible gold dust and demerara sugar for a very autumnal presentation.

Autumnal cakes

Today it has officially felt like Summer has ended. By the calendar we still have 2 weeks, but with the remnants of Hurricane Irene passing through the weather is cold and blustery. I thought a batch of lemon cupcakes would help brighten up the day for mini G upon his return from school.

Lemon Zest

Lemon cake is his favourite, so this will be a nice surprise. I consulted the Primrose Cupcake book and used their Lemon Cupcake recipe with a few minor modifications:

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs (mine were fresh from a friend’s chickens)
150g self-raising flour
125g plain flour
90ml semi-skimmed milk
30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1tsp (roughly one lemon’s worth) grated lemon zest
1tbsp natural plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 160 ˚C (fan)/180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4
Line a 12 hole muffin tray with regular size cupcake cases.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well.

In a jug, combine the milk, lemon juice and yogurt. Alternate adding the flours and milk to creamed butter mix as follows – add one-third of the flour and mix well. Add half the milk mixture and mix well. Add another third of flour and mix well. Add the reaminder of the milk and mix well. Finish by adding the last third of flour and the lemon zest and beat well.

If the mixture looks like it is curdling slightly, don’t panic – simply add another spoonful of plain flour and beat well.

New handmixer

Spoon out the mixture evenly between the cases and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Use a cake skewer in the centre of one the cupcakes to check they are cooked through. They will appear quite a light golden brown colour even when cooked.

Leave in the tin for 10 minutes and the place carefully on a wire rack to cool completely.

Fresh out of the oven

Mini G prefers his cakes plain, so I’ve left the frosting, but these cupcakes go well with either vanilla or lemon buttercream.

Ray of sunshine

Lemon adds a bit of sunshine on a very blustery day.

Punch Communications celebrated its 8th birthday this month. In honour of the occasion, I made 18 cupcakes (one for each member of the Punch team) in the theme of the number 8 and what better way than the 8 ball?

Cupcake prep

Cakes at the ready

This one was definitely a challenge. What was I thinking? Black frosting! I’ve heard it was a difficult one to achieve, but I thought with Black Extra colour i’d be ok. I nearly wasn’t ok. I’m glad I did a test batch before attempting the real thing. My first attempt came out a washed out grey. Then I read up on black frosting and learned that you shouldn’t start from white. Start from a dark colour, like brown/chocolate. Or if you are making vanilla, add your darkest colours first – blues, purples, greens… whatever… this minimises the chances of it going completely grey.

chocolate for frosting

With this in mind, I started with my standard vanilla cupcake in black cases. I then made a chocolate buttercream as a base for the frosting. I added a small dollop of purple Sugarflair paste to the chocolate frosting mixture and few medium sized dollops of black extra.

black is black

The colour ended up a gunmetal grey, which worried me a bit. But then I remembered the advice from the baking guru at the local Cookshop, the Sugarflair colours go darker over time. Thankfully, they did!

18 8balls

After frosting the cakes with the black base, I added a marshmallow circle and then drew an “8” on each cake.

8 Ball

And voila! An 8 Ball cupcake.

Happy birthday, Punch!

in situ

I love baking, especially cupcakes, and from that I’ve developed a ‘side business’ from my colleagues at work. This one was for my colleague’s sister’s hen do. I thought it would be a great idea to make cocktail style cupcakes so I asked the bride to be what her favourite cocktail was… it was the mojito.

I don’t drink spirits/liquor/whatever you want to call it, really, so I’ve never had a mojito before. I love the idea of this cuban cocktail and may have to try one in the near future, especially after making these cupcakes.

Not to be forgotten or overlooked, I mixed up the cocktail cupcakes with traditional vanilla ones that have become a standard in my repertoire.

Lime and Mint

Vanilla cupcake ingredients
(Eric Lanlard’s recipe from Home Bake and featured on Lovefood.com)
175 g Self raising flour
150 g Plain flour
125 g Unsalted butter, softened
250 g Unrefined golden caster sugar
2 Large eggs at room temperature
125 ml Milk
0.5 tsp Vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 150) 350°F, gas mark 4. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, using an electric handwhisk at medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.
Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour in three stages, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake papers, filling them about three quarters full.
Bake in the pre heated oven for 22 minutes.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Mojito cupcake ingredients
(adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Vanilla Cupcakes and inspired by Baker Chic)
175 g Self raising flour
150 g Plain flour
125 g Unsalted butter, softened
250 g Unrefined golden caster sugar
2 Large eggs at room temperature
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp of chopped mint leaves
115 ml Milk
0.5 tsp Vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 150) 350°F, gas mark 4. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, using an electric handwhisk at medium speed, cream the butter until smooth.
Add the sugar gradually and continue beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
**Add the lime zest, lime juice and mint, and beat until well combined.**
Add the flour in three stages, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake papers, filling them about three quarters full.
Bake in the pre heated oven for 22 minutes.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. While they are cooling, poke holes in the tops for the next stage of adding the rum syrup.

Rum Syrup (adapted from Baker Chick who adapted from Two Peas Blog)
2 tbsp butter
30 ml water
60 ml rum
115 g caster sugar
5 mint leaves

Melt the butter over a low heat, then add the water, caster sugar and rum. Stir over heat until sugar has dissolved, then add the mint leaves to infuse. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Burning rum

As there was a pregnant bridesmaid in the party, I didn’t want them to have to worry about consuming alcohol. I burned off the alcohol from the rum, leaving only the flavour, creating a rum syrup. I never knew rum burned for such a long time, I’ll have to keep that in mind for future flambe dishes!

Rum glaze

Once the holes are poked in the tops of the cupcakes, dip them in the rum syrup and leave to cool completely before topping with frosting.

Vanilla Frosting recipe:
(from Primrose Bakery Cupcake Book)
500 g Icing Sugar
60 ml Milk
110 g Unsalted Butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the butter, half of the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract until combined, then add the rest of the icing sugar. Add colouring paste, if desired. I used a very small amount of Sugarflair’s Claret to create the pink in the photo below.

pink vanilla cupcake

Mojito Frosting recipe:
(adapted from Primrose Bakery Cupcake Book’s Lemon Butter Cream and inspired by Baker Chic’s Mojito Cupcake recipe)
110 g Unsalted Butter
500g Icing Sugar
Juice and zest from 1 lime
25 ml rum syrup
3 mint leaves finely chopped

Same as above, but I substituted lime juice, zest, rum syrup and mint leaves for the milk and vanilla extract. Some recipes I have seen suggest green colouring, but I think it looks better just topped with some demerara sugar, a lime (or lemon ) wedge, mint leaf and a straw – just like a mojito cocktail.

Mojito cocktail cupcake

These cupcakes were really fun to make and I think came out really well. I hope the hen do was a success, too!

Mojito Cupcakes

Silent Sunday

Mini G and I were invited to a friend’s house for a play date and I thought it would be nice to bring mini cupcakes for elevenses. Another friend of ours has a gluten intolerance, so I turned to Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache as her recipes all feature the choice of using either rice flour for gluten free or plain flour for non gluten free.

Ingredients

Another brilliant feature of her recipes is that she substitutes various vegetables for butter. This particular one used butternut squash.

Butternut squash

cupcake batter

Mini cupcakes are perfect for elevenses. The kids love them and the go well with a cup of tea for the adults.

Baked cupcakes

I like to decorate the tops of cupcakes when I can. As this recipe was featuring vegetables in place of butter and rice flour instead of plain flour, I decided to use the recently launched Jealous Sweets, which are both gluten free and vegetarian friendly.

Jealous Sweets

The Jealous Gummy Heaven bears were a perfect topping for the kids and adults alike, they added colour and fun to the petite cakes.

Jealous Sweets on cupcakes

Yum… they went down a treat!

And the cupcakes are back. This time in giant form.

My colleague, Keredy asked me to make her husband a giant cupcake. I’d never made a giant one before, so I gladly accepted this challenge. Thankfully, I practiced first because the first one came out a bit small, like didn’t even fill the cake mould small.

As cupcakes are all the rage these days, giant ones are just as popular. You see these moulds in bakeshops, online, etc. The one downside is that these are manufactured in the US. The recipes that come with them are US based, ie it says to use a box of cake mix. I don’t know about you, but using a box of cake mix is cheating. How hard is it really to measure flour, baking powder, etc, etc?

Giant Cupcake phase 1

Like I said, thankfully I practiced. You definitely have to double the recipe. For Iain’s cake, I referred to my standard chocolate cupcake recipe from Primrose Bakery. Those ladies got it going on. (I can’t wait for their baking cookbook to hit the shelves… my b’day is coming up people… hint hint!) And yes, I doubled the recipe. This one is perfect for chocolate cakes of any kind. The egg whites create a mousse-like texture.

Frosting the giant cupcake

I haven’t yet found the absolutely perfect marshmallow topping recipe, but the one from Nigella Lawson’s Autumnal Birthday Cake is nearly there. From the ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess‘ cookbook, her original recipe calls for maple syrup, but I just substituted it with golden syrup for the standard vanilla marshmallow flavour. Gently cooking/whisking the egg whites and cream of tartar over a low heat helps set the marshmallow frosting so you don’t end up with a drippy or goopy frosting.

giant cupcake

I can’t wait to give the giant cupcake another go… Maybe I’ll make one for myself on my birthday.

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