Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Truffles

Yet another birthday cupcake! I saw this recipe on Cupcake Crazy (cool blog - do check it out) sometime ago and bookmarked it to try soon. I made oreo truffles a while back so was excited to make them again. They're so simple to make and absolutely divine.  Please click on the link for the recipe. 

I said recently when I made the dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting that they were the best cupcakes I've ever had. Well I have to revise my statement and say that these are the best... ever! I know I'm biased as I love oreos but these cupcakes really were something else. I baked half an oreo cookie in the base which gave it some extra crunch. There's melted chocolate and more oreos in the cake batter and yet more oreos in the frosting. I cut back the sugar so it wasn't too sweet and paired well with the frosting and truffle.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to crush the oreos in a food processor until very fine for the frosting. I bashed them up with a rolling pin this time and couldn't pipe pretty patterns with them as the oreo bits got stuck in the nozzle. I got the round tip out in the end which worked fine. Doesn't look too bad, does it? It definitely tasted amazing :) 


Yummy oreos :)

Adding crushed oreos to the batter

Oreo cookie base

ready to go in the oven

fresh from the oven

making the frosting

not the prettiest but tastes great!

top with oreo truffle

oreo truffle

Oreo Cupcakes 
Makes 18 cupcakes (I got 34 out of it - 9 large ones and 25 regular sized)

170g unsalted butter, softened
85g brown sugar
227g dark chocolate, melted
3 large eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla extract
220g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
430mls cups milk
8 Oreo cookies, smashed to bits (place the cookies in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin)
34 Oreos halved (for base) 

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line 3 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake liners.
  • In each cupcake liner place half an Oreo (the half with the cream filling still on it). Reserve the other half for the frosting.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in egg yolks.
  • Mix in vanilla and chocolate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the butter/sugar mixture.
  • Stir in Oreos.
  • In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until peaks form.
  • Fold the batter into the egg whites.
  • Fill cupcake liners almost to the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Once cupcakes have cooled top with Oreo cream cheese frosting and an Oreo truffle. Alternatively you can decorate with oreo cookies. 

Cream Cheese Oreo Frosting 

227g cream cheese, softened
170g unsalted butter, softened
440g icing sugar 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Crushed Oreos (I used the 34 half pieces of Oreo cookies from the cupcakes) Tip: crush very finely in a food processor

  • Whip cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in icing sugar one cup at a time.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Gently stir in crushed Oreos.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Rose Cupcakes

The birthday season continues and this time I decided to make rose cupcakes with a rose buttercream icing.  The recipe is from 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery' and turned out very well but perhaps a little too sweet.  I bought a Molton Brown rose granati gift set for my friend's birthday so I thought I'd theme it around roses. As it turned out, our other friend bought gifts in the same theme! What a lovely coincidence :)
The cupcakes are essentially a plain vanilla sponge with a hint of rosewater. I put a lot more than suggested which is perhaps why it was a little too sweet? It smelled great though.

lovely batter ready to go in the oven

pink and girly :)

added heart sprinkles just for the birthday girl

Presents! See what I mean about the theme? We didn't even talk about it beforehand. Clearly great minds think alike :)

Happy Birthday Roselle!!

Rose cupcakes
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour, sifted
125g plain flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon good quality rosewater, or to taste
120ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature

Rose buttercream icing
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon good-quality rosewater, or to taste
pink food colouring (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 160C

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until mixture is pale and smooth.

  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

  • Combine the two flours in a separate bowl.

  • Mix a little of the rosewater with the milk in a jug and test it: rosewater varies in quality and strength, so taste the mixture and adjust the amount you add accordingly.

  • Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well.

  • Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again.

  • Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.

  • Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about 2/3 full.

  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 mins before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth. This can take several minutes.

  • Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

  • Add the rosewater at the very end and beat thoroughly, tasting to check if it is scented enough.

  • To colour, simply beat in a tiny drop of pink food colouring.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Carrot pecan cake with maple syrup and orange buttercream

This is a special Father's Day Cake. My brother and I are having a friendly competition as to who's carrot cake is better. I chose a recipe from Fiona Cairns Bake & Decorate and it didn't fail to disappoint. The cake is really moist and spongy with a great flavour of carrots, pecan and orange.  The best bit about this cake for me is the buttercream icing. It had a hint of maple syrup which complemented the flavours of the cake really well. I think I'll add a little bit more maple syrup next time.

adding carrots

ready to go in the oven

fresh from the oven

with icing and pecan nuts

Happy Father's Day!!

For the cake

 175ml sunflower oil
60g pecan nuts, chopped
200g self raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
250g carrots, finely grated
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
50g unsweetened dessicated coconut (I omitted this as I don't like coconut)

For the buttercream

 40g pecan nuts, chopped
80g unsalted butter
60g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp maple syrup
150g unsalted cream cheese
Juice of 1 orange

  • Preheat the oven to 160C
  • Oil a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Scatter the pecans – both for the cake and buttercream – on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully so they don’t burn. Measure out, separate and set aside the amounts needed for the cake and buttercream.
  • Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl.
  • In an electric mixer, slowly beat together the oil and sugar for a minute or so until smooth, then gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Using a large spoon, gently fold in the carrot, zest, pecans, coconut and finally the flour mixture.
  • Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Beat the icing sugar and maple syrup until really light and fluffy (approx 5 mins)
  • In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth then fold it into the butter mixture.
  • Finally, add the orange juice.
  • Spread over the top of the cake and scatter with the pecan nuts.


Friday, 18 June 2010

Hummingbird Cake

It was Karen's brithday recently and she invited a few friends for dinner to celebrate. She's also having a party this weekend which I can't attend as I have yet another birthday to go to. Anyway I thought it would be nice to make a cake for her birthday (which was also for Dave who's birthday is just before hers). I debated for a while about what cake to make. I finally settled on a hummingbird cake from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. (There was a request for red velvet cake but I wanted to make something different)
I've made this cake a few times previously and it's always a great crowd pleaser. Everyone enjoyed it on the night and even though we consumed far too much food, most of the cake was eaten as well. I served up extra large slices for everyone (note - don't ask me to slice the cake if you want a tiny slice!) and everyone finished their slice :)
This cake is very similar to a carrot cake but with bananas and pineapple instead of carrots.  It's really moist and fruity with the lovely crunch of nuts. Unfortunately my frosting was really lumpy this time but it was too late to re-do it as it was very late when I was putting this cake together. I finally worked out why - this recipe requires a double recipe of cream cheese frosting and I doubled all the ingredients except the butter hence the lumpy icing. It still tasted good though and I don't think it was too obvious once I got all the decorations on.
I bought some special 'happy birthday' candles and mini sparklers to put on the cake. E commented on my 'magic bag' as I even brought my own kitchen lighter gun! It was a really fun evening, thanks everyone.

Happy Birthday Karen!!

My fantastic nut chopper from Lakeland
cake batter adding the pineapple and nutsfresh from the oven
assembling the cake
my lumpy frosting :(
better with decorations on top to disguise the lumps!
a chunky slice of cake
ta da!

Hummingbird cake
(Recipe from the hummingbird bakery cookbook)

300g caster sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
270g peeled bananas, mashed (approximately 3 large bananas)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to decorate
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g tinned pineapple, chopped into small pieces
100g shelled pecan nuts (or walnuts), chopped plus extra to decorate

3 x 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.
  • Stir in the chopped pineapple and pecan nuts by hand until evenly dispersed.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched.
  • Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting (double recipe)

600g icing sugar, sifted
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g cold cream cheese

  • Beat the icing sugar and butter together until it's well mixed.
  • Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
  • Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
  • Do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny.
To assemble the cake

  • When the cakes are cold, put one on a cake stand and spread about 1/4 of the cream cheese frosting over it with a palette knife. 
  • Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the frosting over it.
  • Top with the last cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides.
  • Finish with pecan nuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting

The chocolate and peanut butter obsession continues....these are hands down the best cupcakes I've ever had. I saw these on brown eyed baker and knew I had to make it immediately. I often bookmark recipes to be made in the future but I definitely could not wait with this one. I absolutely love dark chocolate which is my favourite type of chocolate and of course peanut butter.
The cake is rich and dense and not in the least bit sweet. Paired with the heavenly peanut butter frosting and it was definitely a match made in heaven. I could eat this everyday :)
I seem to know a lot of June babies as it's been birthdays galore. Dave got a box of these for his recent birthday. How fortuitous then that these are his favourite flavours :) Check back later for Karen's amazing birthday cake (am still awaiting photos as I forgot to bring my camera!)
This is the first time I've baked and photographed in daylight - it makes such a difference! I decided to use a different piping tip and it came out quite well. I still need a lot of practice with my piping skills though! I am thinking of attending a cupcake decorating course with my friend. If anyone has been or has a good suggestion for one in London, please let me know. The one I'm currently looking at is the Make Lounge.

cooled chocolate mixture with egg mixture
adding the sour cream

beautiful batter

ready to go in the oven

delicious cake

the last of my gold foil cases
final result

Special mention : Happy Birthday Dave!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields 12 -14 (depending on size of your case)

113g unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
60g dark chocolate, chopped
40g cocoa powder
105g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
130g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
115g sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.) Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
  • Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated.
  • Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogeneous and thick.
  • Divide the batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting
110g icing sugar
200g smooth peanut butter
70g butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
80ml double cream
  • Place the icing sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.
  • Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.




Sunday, 13 June 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

As you can probably tell, I'm somewhat of a choc-a-holic.  I'm also a cookie-holic and more recently a peanut butter-holic. (I think I mentioned previously that it's something I never used to like but now can't seem to get enough of) Hence these cookies. They are from the hummingbird bakery cookbook and taste absolutely amazing. Just for fun, I made giant sized cookies and a few 'normal' sized ones as well.

adding peanut butter

I used an ice cream scoop

fresh from the oven

My giant cookie :)
Love how the chocolate bits melted... yum :)

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
200g light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
240g crunchy peanut butter
340g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g dark chocolate, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 170C
  • Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract and peanut butter.
  • Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix well until a smooth dough is formed.
  • Stir in the chocolate until evenly dispersed.
  • Using an ice cream scoop (or spoon), place even sized balls of cookie dough on a lined baking tray.
  • Make sure the cookies are spaced apart to allow for spreading while baking.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and quite flat. (mine took about 15-18 minutes for the large ones)
  • Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.