Tuesday, 18 September 2012

National Cupcake week!

I have been meaning to post this earlier today but I got distracted with yoga and then watching the Great British Bake Off. I was so pleased that they let everyone through to next week!! But I felt so sorry for John:0(

My first cupcake recipe for the National Cupcake week is a flavour which I have been wanting to make for ages but I have been worried that the hype might not be live up to it...... The flavours are Chocolate and Peanutbutter!! Two of my favourites so they better not let me down!

I wanted a chocolate cupcake which was dark and moist, I looked through my books but couldn't find anything exciting. I checked one of the websites I go to for recipes and came across a lovely recipe from Joy of Baking.
This recipe yields 16 cupcakes but I filled 12 cupcake cases and didn't have much left.

Preheat the oven to 190c

50g cocoa powder
240ml freshly boiled water

175g all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
113g butter (rum temperature)
200g golden caster sugar (or normal white caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp of vanilla extract

Line your cupcake tin with cases.
Boil 240ml of water and mix with the cocoa powder, set aside to cool.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside for later.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, mix in the eggs until well mixed. Add the vanilla extract and then mix in the flour until just incorporated. Pour in the chocolate mix until smooth. Be sure to beat the chocolate mix before pouring in as a lot of it might sit on the bottom.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, I check with a tootpick after 20 minutes and it came out clean.
The mixture was really liquidy so I had to pour it in rather than "ice cream scopping it".

Uhm, yeah so I DID have one before I managed to take a picture:0) Yum!

I used a different peanut butter frosting because I was looking for something which used whipped cream or cream cheese. I felt that an icing with just butter, peanut butter and icing sugar would be too heavy. I found this delicious recipe from Bakers Royale.

110g icing sugar
177g of peanut butter
70g butter (room temperature)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
78ml double cream (I used 100ml)

Whip the double cream in a separate bowl and set aside.
Mix the rest of the ingredients with the paddle attachment and beat on a medium speed until incorporated.
Fold the peanut butter mix into the whipped cream until well combined.

I used the bag of mini Reese's I bought the other week to top the cupcakes off! 

Try stopping yourself from eating these mini Reese's......

This baby is mine!

This flavour combination is pretty darn good and I have to give some away in order to prevent myself from eating them all! I just regret one thing.....and that is not bringing myself to make them sooner!


Sunday, 16 September 2012

More S'mores please!

I was browsing a few blogs when I came across S'more cookies and OH MY GOD do they look good. I have wanted to make them for ages now so when we went to Hatchland's Park last week we made a detour on the way home via Guildford to visit an American goodie shop. The recipe called for Graham Crackers and these are not available in normal English shops but luckily they had them in the Stateside Candy Co Shop. These crackers have been somewhat of a mystery to me, US bloggers use them in American cheesecakes and when you google what they taste like there are loads of websites with debates regarding whether they taste like digestives or not....Needless to say I was pleased to find them and didn't have to find a replacement!

I love the big goodie bag!! I had to sneak in a small bag of m&m's peanut butter and mini Reese's for my chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.

For the S'mores I adapted a recipe fromThe girl who ate everything;

Preheat the oven to 180c

155g butter (room temperature)
205g packed dark brown sugar (I have had a pack sitting in my baking cupboard but you can use light brown as well
110g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
230g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 salt
24 Graham Cracker squares

Depending how chocolatey and marshmallowy you want your S'mores;
150g of dark chocolate
Half to a pack of mini marshmallows

Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon)
In a standing mixer, cream the butter with the sugars. Once done, add the eggs and vanilla extract followed by the flour mix on low speed. Despite using dark sugar my mixture was very light and fluffy;

 Christy's recipe (and most recipes) call for Hershey's chocolate but I went with what I had which was Green and Black's 70% dark chocolate. I didn't have the energy to go out and get Hershey's plus I LOVE G&B's chocolate. Almost as much as Marabou chocolate.
I used my rolling pin to break the chocolate bar into small pieces and folded them along with the marshmallows into the mixture. I then spooned them onto the cracker squares.

I was a bit generous with my portions but I think you can easily do more than 2 dozens of these.
Bake for 5 minutes, meanwhile break up the rest of the chocolate you have into their own squares, take the cookies out and push a square into each cookie. Bake for another 5-7 minutes. I took mine out after 5 minutes because I didn't want them to brown more or worse, burn!

I haven't had any cookies for ages and these were so nice that I never want to buy one ever again. Proof that homemade delights are always so much nicer than shop bought.

We had two each whilst warm and they were delicious. The different textures of the cracker and the gooeyness of chocolate and marshmallows are great.

These will be the perfect film snack (bribe) for when I force my boyfriend to watch the Audrey Hepburn DVD box set he bought me:0)

Don't forget, this week is National Cupcake Week! So plenty of posts to come.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

A not so New York cheesecake.....

Although I have never been to New York and can't for sure say that I have tested a real New York cheesecake, I can definitely say that a creamy vanilla cheesecake is one of my favourites. I used to love the ones they did in Waitrose at their bakery counter but I think they have changed; they used to have a bready textured base rather than digestive-y.

I first came across Japanese cheesecake via Sprinkle Bakes Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake; it looked so fluffy and delicious. Although I find baked cheesecakes daunting, I made one once which I forced my boyfriend and his family to test, it never rose and it was very heavy. I decided to be brave and make this one purely because it looks so nice!

Sprinkle Bakes recipe has been converted to American measurement but she helpfully added the original recipe from Diana's Desserts. I took the measurements from Diana's website and Sprinkle's directions. Both recipes call for cake flour which I haven't found, so I researched about it and found that McDougalls' supreme sponge flour had the same protein levels as cake flour. Although it is self-raising flour, which I don't think cake flour is, I still went ahead with it.

Definitely cover your cheesecake with aluminium foil to stop it from browning, I didn't because it would have hit the ceiling of my oven but I will adjust that next time.
Mine had no lemon juice in it but I am tempted to use Matcha green tea powder in the recipe next time, I think it would taste great.

Once baked, I left it alone to cool (as hard as that was!) and then gently removed the spring-form pan sides along with the greaseproof paper. When it completely cooled I put it in the fridge overnight.
Although the cake is great on its own I had it with some blackcurrant curd I bought from a National Trust shop, which went beautifully with it. I served it up with some jasmine green tea.
I would definitely recommend this cake, it's so light and yummy!
Ciao! x

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A very berry pie indeed!

We spent last weekend enjoying the gorgeous weather, we cycled down to Hatchlands Park via some debatable routes...We were almost trampled by the cows roaming free in the park whilst sunbathing and we enjoyed a few drinks at our local pub and the German restaurant.
Try to prevent any guy from ordering one of these beers! One litre!?!
Afternoon snack with Aspall cyder, it was very tasty!
 As the weather was so warm, I was dying to try out my new ice cream machine. Unfortunately I have no pictures as this was done in the evening and a combination of bad light plus exhaustion meant that I wasn't thinking straight. I wanted to try out a recipe which was fairly straight forward as it was my first time. I used this BBC Good Food vanilla ice cream recipe, I won't rewrite the recipe here as I followed it exactly so no changes to add. It did take my machine more than 2 hours to churn it though, not sure if the mixture had cooled enough.
Obviously you can have ice cream on it's own or if you like to make things complicated then you make a big berry pie...

I used a Mary Berry recipe for the shortcrust pastry and doubled the ingredients;
350g plain flour
30g icing sugar
150g diced butter
2 large egg yolks
2tbps cold water

I sifted the flour and icing sugar together, added the cold diced butter and rubbed it together to get the breadcrumb consistency.
I then added the yolks and water to bring it together. Once it has formed into a dough, I wrapped it in a cling film and put it in the fridge. Once it had chilled I rolled it out on a well- floured surface.

I used a spring-form pan so it was a bit awkward getting the pastry into the form but after a bit of gentle manoeuvring and patch work I was there! I pricked the pastry and blind baked it for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven. The temperature was on quite low as I didn't wish to burn the pastry, it was set to 100c. I then baked it without the baking beans for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown

Whilst it was baking I prepared my filling, I used 450g of frozen mixed berries, thawed of course, and 300g of fresh blueberries. Yes, that's a lot of berries...
I mixed 3 tbsp of cornflour with 50g of sugar and mixed it into the fruit. I wanted my fruit to remain quite tart as the pastry and ice cream would be sweet enough.

I also sprinkled a bit of cornflour and sugar at the bottom of my pastry case once baked. I filled the case with all the berries and laid the "lace" (I ran out of pastry to make it thicker!). I then baked it for another 30 minutes but kept an eye on it.
The end result was yummy, I left it to cool and we had it with some of my delicious ice cream.

My inspiration for this was Heather's Deep Dish Berry Pie Tart, hers is absolutely gorgeous. I will attempt this again so I can get the laces right and possibly add more berries...
I'm having another piece now to celebrate Andy Murray's first grandslam! Well...any excuse to have more pie :0)
Ciao! x

Friday, 7 September 2012

A (chocolate) blast from the past

There is a time in every Swedish kid's life when they will be introduced to this delight we call "kokos bollar", which translates to coco balls.....
As a kid, you will instantly become obsessed with it because it a) involves "baking" and b) no oven is required, so no parental supervision. I know that many friends, me included, sometimes could not the resist the temptation to just eat the mixture once you have (barely) mixed the ingredients together. It's not extravagant and it might not have the wow factor of a cake but it reminds me of my childhood and Sweden! And that's good enough reasons for me (if I ever needed any) to make these chocolate delights.

The recipe is as follow;
100g butter (room temperature)
Ca 120g of rolled oats
Ca 70g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2- 3 tbsp ground coffee (the amount depends on how strong of a coffee flavour you like and I used decaf)
Desiccated coconut, to roll the balls in.

You simply mix all the ingredients together, with your hands, until it's well blended. The mixture should be sticky enough to roll little balls or whatever size you like.

Once you have rolled them into balls, roll them around in a bowl with the coconut and put them in the fridge. I find that they taste nicer once they have been in the fridge for a bit, but leave them out for a bit so they are room temperature before eating them.
I would enjoy a chocolate martini even more with these as garnishes :0)
If you do decide to make these, I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do!
Ciao! x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Peaches and Cream cupcakes

I am counting down the hours to the next episode of The Great British Bake Off and you just can't help getting into the spirit and bake, bake, bake.......well more than usual :0)

I was meant to bake for a friend of mine last Saturday but the banana cake(s) I made were just not up to scratch, although I have been munching on them steadily since I made it on Friday evening....

I decided that I had to make my friend something nice to make it up to him. I browsed the internet and the recipe for Hummingbird Bakery's peaches and cream cupcakes caught my eye. It sounded delicious and the recipe was easy to follow;

Preheat the oven to 170c


120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
40g unsalted butter
120ml full cream milk (divide into half)
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract ( I used 1/2 tsp)
400g of tinned peaches

1. Beat the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder until you get a grainy consistency
2. Gradually pour in half the milk into the mixture until it's incorporated
3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remainder of the milk together and pour into the mixture. Beat until smooth.
4. Slice the peaches into segments and line them at the bottom of cupcake cases.
5. Fill cases to two thirds full
6. Bake for 20- 25 minutes, until golden brown.


50g unsalted butter (room temperature)
300g icing sugar
125g cream cheese (cold)

With a paddle attachment (I'm sure a whisk would do a the job too) beat the butter and icing sugar together until combined. Add the cream cheese until the frosting is smooth. If it becomes too soft then put it in the fridge for a short while. If you use a standing mixer then I would cover it with a towel, the icing sugar dust goes everywhere otherwise.

I made mini cupcakes instead of the standard 12 cupcakes the recipe yields.

I bought imprint sheets which I have been dying to use, so I coloured the white rolled icing I had with a peach paste colour I had to go with the mini cakes.

It's my first go at it but I have a feeling I will be using them very often.....

These mini cakes will make their way to you James this week, somehow!

I'm off to deliver a few to another friend who has recently moved to our neighbourhood!

Ciao! x