Tuesday 30 November 2010

Apple and Cinnamon Cupcakes

Yet another recipe from the Love Bakery cookbook. I saw this on a few other blogs, namely the caked crusader and I heart cupcakes and knew I had to give it a go as well. It was really moist and flavourful with the right amount of cinnamon. These are even better than the caramel apple cupcakes I made for Cupcake Camp London. Apple is fast becoming one of my favourite cake ingredients. There's an apple and olive oil cake that I've been meaning to make for ages - I will try to make it before the new year!

 first time using an apple corer :)

 add cinnamon and lemon zest to the grated apples 

 add to the batter 

 ready to go in the oven 

 fresh from the oven 


 I tried 2 different piping methods. Which do you prefer? 

For the cupcake - Recipe from the Love Bakery Cookbook
(Makes 12 - I got about 18, size as shown above)
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temp
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the icing 
125g unsalted butter, at room temp
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
2 tablespoon clear honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Add the butter and sugar to the electric mixer and cream together for 7 mins or until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one by one, and mix for 2 minutes.
  • Mix the flour and the baking powder together in a separate bowl, then add to the mixer and mix until incorporated.
  • Add milk and mix for a further minute.
  • In another bowl, mix the apple, cinnamon and lemon zest together, then add to the mixer and mix well.
  • Use the ice cream scoop to divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the baked cupcakes from the oven and immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing
  • Cream the butter in the mixer for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the icing sugar and milk and mix for a further 2 minutes until well blended, then add the honey and cinnamon and mix well.

Vanilla Cupcakes

I have made quite a few cupcakes this year and I think I've only made vanilla cupcakes once. When I was asked to make something for a bake sale at work, I decided on vanilla cupcakes - plain & simple, perfect for the occasion.  I also wanted to try out new recipes from my Love bakery cookbook which I absolutely love!
These were really quick and easy to make and turned out beautifully. I'll definitely be making these again and again :)

 cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy

 ready to go in the oven 

 fresh from the oven 

 ready to go 

 I made 4 different colours with various toppings 

For the cupcake   (Makes 12 - but I got 16 as mine are quite small) 
125g butter
125g caster sugar
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoon milk

For the icing
125g butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
Food colouring (optional) 

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Add butter, sugar and vanilla extract to an electric mixer and cream for 7 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one by one and mix for a further 2 minutes.
  • Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. 
  • Then add to the mixer and mix until incorporated.
  • Add the milk and mix for a further minute.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to divide the mixture evenly between the cases. 
  • Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
To make the icing
  • Cream the butter and vanilla extract together in the mixer for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the icing sugar and milk and mix for a further 2 minutes until well blended.
  • Add food colouring if required and pipe onto cupcakes. 
  • Decorate with sprinkles as desired. 

Monday 29 November 2010

Hummingbird Bakery Traditional Brownie

Continuing on my search for the perfect brownie, I decided to try the traditional brownie from the hummingbird bakery. It was nice, moist and chocolatey with a lovely flaky, crunchy top that I like. Its a bit more cakey and less gooey than Nigella's brownies. Which sort of brownie do you prefer? 

 melt chocolate and butter 

 add sugar 

 add flour

 add eggs 

 ready to go in the oven 

 i love the flaky top 

 sprinkle with icing sugar 

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175g unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
130g plain flour
3 eggs
icing sugar to decorate

  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water).
  • Leave until melted and smooth.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Add the sugar and stir until well incorporated.
  • Add the flour and stir until well incorporated.
  • Finally stir in the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until flaky on the top but still soft in the centre.
  • Be careful not to overcook otherwise the edges will become hard and crunchy.
  • Leave to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar, to decorate.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Giant Chocolate Caramel Cupcake

A colleague of mine, Gerard is leaving for New Zealand and we had a leaving tea party for him today. I wanted to make something extra special and decided on a giant cupcake. I was really excited to try out new recipes from my fantastic new book, the Love Bakery cookbook (highly recommended). I have already made a few cupcakes from them which were a huge success and I will post about them a later date. 

The flavour for the cake was inspired by this month's we should cocoa challenge - chocolate and caramel. I have been making caramel for a few other cakes recently so didn't anticipate too many problems. How wrong was I?

Caramel can be tricky and I've tried many different recipes and each time they turn out differently (even if i use the same recipe!). For this cake, I made a caramel sauce using a recipe from the primrose bakery and a caramel buttercream icing also from the same book.

The caramel sauce was slightly lumpy but I think it turned out ok in the end. I added some sea salt to make it a salted caramel and it was delicious! The caramel buttercream was a bit too runny for me to pipe on the cake- I had great plans for piping! I wanted to colour the icing red and blue (NZ flag colours) and pipe it as shown in the book. As always, improvisation is the key!  The icing did actually firm up overnight but I was in a bit of a rush so I covered the cake in icing and then used crushed Dime bars for the topping. I then used mini fudge pieces to decorate the bottom but I ran out so I used chocolate chips. Finally I put a row of chocolate beans around the middle. I am really pleased with the final result even though it was not how I originally envisioned it to be. That's half the fun of baking though, isn't it?

However the problem came when it was time to cut the cake. The caramel sauce had hardened in the middle making it very difficult to cut through! Note to self - do not put caramel sauce in the middle of the cake! Everyone loved the cake though so it all worked out in the end :)


 egg whites 

 lovely egg yolks

 adding the egg yolks. I love how shiny and white the egg whites are after whipping with sugar. 

 add flour and cocoa powder 

 filling the cupcake cases 

 making caramel sauce - aim for an amber colour 

 i added coarse sea salt 

 cupcake base 

 adding caramel sauce (liquid at the time of making) 

 place domed cake on top 

 Decorate! You can see where i ran out of mini fudge pieces! 

 final product with cupcakes made by another colleague 

 you can see the hardened caramel sauce in the middle. 

Cupcake (recipe from the Love Bakery)
Butter for greasing
6 eggs, separated
240g caster sugar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
240g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
50g cocoa powder, sifted (optional)

Caramel Sauce (from primrose bakery)
135ml water
250g golden caster sugar
sea salt (optional)

Caramel Buttercream Icing (from primrose bakery)
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
220g light, soft brown sugar
240g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
double cream, as needed

To make the giant cupcake

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease the cupcake tin and lightly sprinkle with flour.
  • Whisk the egg whites in the electric mixer until they form stiff peaks.
  • Add the caster sugar and mix for 3-4 minutes, and then add the egg yolks, one by one, and mix after each addition. 
  • Add the oil, a tablespoonful at a time, and mix thoroughly. 
  • Turn the mixer to minimum speed and slowly add the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, if using. 
  • Using a tablespoon, very gently fold the mixture together to avoid knocking out any of the air. 
  • Divide the mixture equally between the 2 parts of the tin and bake for 40 minutes. 
  • Remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn out on a wire rack. 
  • Leave to cool. 

To make caramel sauce

  • Put the sugar and 5 tablespoons of the measured water in a heavy saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. 
  • Increase the heat and cook over a high heat for about 10 minutes, after which the mixture should be dark amber in colour.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly. 
  • Stir gently to help it cool but take great care as the sugar is extremely hot - this might be best done by holding the pan away from you over a sink. 
  • Add sea salt at this point if using - approximately 1 teaspoon or to taste. 
  • Once the mixture has cooled slightly, add the remaining water to the mix and continue stirring.
  • Again hold the pan away from you when adding the water as it may spatter.
  • When the sauce is completely cool, pour into a bowl and cover until ready to use. 

For the caramel buttercream icing

  • Place the butter, milk and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over a high heat and stir to combine.
  • Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and allow it to boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in half of the icing sugar.
  • Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then add the remainder of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and stir until it thickens to the desired consistency. 
  • The icing is best used immediately. If you do need to make it in advance, or if you have some left over, thin it will a little double cream and beat well before using. 

Monday 22 November 2010

Nigella's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another recipe from Nigella's Kitchen. I'm always on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookies and these came out near the top. The best one I've made and tasted so far are these cookies that I made earlier in the year. 

 cream butter and sugar 

 add choc chips 

 cookie dough 

 use an ice cream scoop to get even sized cookies 

Makes approx 37 cookies of size shown 
150g soft unsalted butter
125g soft light brown sugar
100g caster sugar (I reduced this to 80g) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg, fridge-cold
1 egg yolk, fridge-cold
300g flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
326g milk choc chips (I only used 300g) 

  • Preheat the oven to 170C. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. 
  • Melt the butter and let it cool a bit.  Put the brown and white sugars into a bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together. 
  • Beat in the vanilla, the cold egg and the cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy. 
  • Slowly mix in the flour and bicarb until just blended, then fold in the chocolate chips. 
  • Scoop the cookie dough into an ice cream scoop and drop onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a gap between them as shown. 
  • Keep the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge in between batches. 
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown. 
  • Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks.