Back to baking…….

Apologies for my baking blog being interrupted by cycling thoughts but I’m back on track now. Two posts in one day but I’ve got some baking to catch up on

After today’s epic (failed) battle to beat the hill I went back to the kitchen to relax.

Inspired by Friday after work drinks with the girls I thought about Apple Mojito cupcakes…….lime, apple, mint combination

Using the basic cupcake recipe…….
250g unsalted butter and 250g caster sugar blended together
Then add 250g self raising flour and 3 eggs and continue to mix/whisk

I then added the zest of 3 limes and the juice of 2 limes, finished mixing together and popped into cupcake cases and into the fan oven at 160 for 15mins

When they were done (just slightly browned) I took them out of the oven and made a little hole in each cake whilst still warm. I have a brilliant apple corer which has a serrated edge and it is perfect for this.

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I then filled the hole with apple sauce (here I have to admit to not stewing my own apples and using a jar of supermarket apple sauce, sorry) which I then topped with the remaining lime zest (5limes in total!)

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I then left them to cool and made a cream cheese and lime buttercream frosting which I piped on the top.

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Pretty little gems!!

Next time however I need to remember to add the mint element which I was going to incorporate into the icing but forgot!!!

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Mixed Fruit Cupcakes….

Mixed Fruit Cupcakes....

These beautiful little gems were better than I expected. I wanted something ‘healthy’ after all the chocolate bits I’d been making so though that sponge and fruit might make a good combination. And of course, anything with fruit is healthy so you can eat lots of them!!! I had also bought too may apples of the ‘wrong’ type that were not being eaten so had to find something quick and simple to do with them. The light brown sugar added to the colour as well as the flavour. I topped them with cream cheese icing and a few dried cranberries, sultanas and raisins.

INGREDIENTS

250g self raising flour
250g soft butter
250g soft light brown sugar
4 eggs
200g mixed dried cranberries and raisins
4 small apples, cored and chopped into small pieces

METHOD

Cream together butter and sugar

Break eggs and put into a small bowl/jug and mix well together

Add 1/3 eggs and a third of the flour into the sugar and butter. Mix gently. Add the second egg and third of the flour and mix again gently. Add the last of the egg and flour mixture in to the butter and sugar.

Add the dried and fresh fruit and again mix gently

Spoon into cupcake cases (once again I used ‘fairy’ sized cases) and bake in the oven for 15 mins (fan oven 170)

These were unbelievably yummy, very light and moist. Even surprised myself!! ūüėÉ

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

Somewhere I saw a recipe for Cherry Cupcakes which started me thinking about Black Forest Cupcakes.
Whilst wandering around Tesco last weekend (before the jet wash/black eye incident) I saw a jar of Opies Black Cherries in Kirsch!!!!
The theory was a chocolate sponge cupcake, with a cherry plonked delicately in the middle and topped with a cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cocoa powder………….and it worked!!

Black Forest cup cakes

6oz/170g unsalted butter, softed, not melted
6oz /170g caster sugar
4oz/115g self-raising flour or plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder
3 large eggs
2oz/ 55g cocoa powder, not drinking chocolate
pinch of salt
1 390g jar Opies Black Cherries with Kirsch – drained but keep the juice!!

Frosting Ingredients

300g icing sugar , sifted
50g unsalted butter , at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan or gas mark 5.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy and lighter in colour.

Sieve the cocoa, flour and salt into a bowl and crack one of the eggs into a cup or ramekin. Stiring all the time, add the egg and a third of the flour mixture into the sugar and butter, add the second egg and third of the flour and add the last egg and flour mixture in to the butter and sugar. You should have a smooth thick batter. If your batter is stiff, add a splash of milk (or some of the Kirsch from the drained cherries) and stir.

Put into paper cases (I used ‘Fairy’ sized cases) and bake for 15 mins

To make the frosting:

Beat the icing sugar and butter together

Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely mixed. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

After the pleasure…….

 

of last nights chocolate mousse I felt it was time to go back to the gym after several weeks (well months actually) off. Not just because of the vast amount of chocolate mousse I ate last night but there is a rumour of a re-run of the charity bike ride that I completed last year and I will need to be fitter just to be able to think about it.

Its the pleasure/pain (first the pleasure, then the pain) principle followed by the ‘no pain, no gain’ principle. So, down to the gym for a half hour session (always start slow, you can always do more another time!!) and then home to bake and knit!!

Baking

I wanted to make mini cupcakes but had no mini cupcake cases so had to make big ones! Thinking along the lines of Black Forest Gateau I’ve made dark chocolate sponge cupcakes with a cherry popped inside. I’ve not topped them yet but I’m thinking either a simple piped whipped cream with a sprinkle of chocolate on the top or a piped cream cheese frosting…….will decide on this tomorrow.

This is them before the oven.

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RECIPE

250g unsalted butter (room temperature)

250g caster sugar

250g self raising flour

5 eggs

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

glace cherries

 

Whisk together the butter and sugar

Add 2 eggs and mix again

Add half the flour and mix again

Add 2 more eggs and beat well together (electric whisk used for all of this)

Add the rest of the flour and mix well again

Mix the cocoa powder with a few desert spoons of water to create a paste-add water until you have a smooth paste

Add the chocolate paste to the cake batter and add the final egg

Pipe the mix into cup cake/muffin cases but only fill to about one third

Cut glacé cherries in half and pop on the top and gently push halfway into the mix

Fan oven: 160-cupcakes 12 minutes, muffins 15 minutes

Remove from oven, cool and top  (see above for topping comments!)

 

KNITTING

Well, I’ve now made 3 knitted beanie hats for the man who keeps complaining that he cant find a hat big enough in the shops, so he has NO excuse for a cold head!!

So, what to knit next…….

Having had a glass or two of wine last night (another reason for the gym) I decided to K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) so, after some internet search decided on egg cosies. Well, how difficult can this be????

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Ok, so it’s only one so far but I reckon by the end of the week I will have a family of egg cosies……if only I ate boiled eggs!!!!

For those who want to knit; it was a cast on of 15 stitches, very simple garter (knit) stitch, knit for about 18 cm (sorry, I lost count of the rows). Cast off and stitch up 2 sides, and there you have it; an egg cozy! Very simple and strangely satisfying.

Vanilla Bake Shop. LAX……

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I found these little mini cupcakes in the departure lounge at LAX on Friday afternoon. Gingerbread, Vanilla Bean and Chocolate…..they were delicious gems of sweetness and delight.

 

Having just spent the last three weeks travelling around California, Arizona and Nevada I was on the hunt for good cupcakes (and coffee, but more about that in another blog). To be honest I was rather disappointed by the lack of bakeries making cupcakes but the establishments that we did find had some fantastic varieties available. 

 

The ones that we found were:

Sprinkles in La Jolla, San Diego

Sift in Bel Aire Plaza, Napa

Kara’s Cupcakes, Napa

 Cups Organic Cupcakes, La Jolla

 

Without a doubt the best was the lemon filled one from Kara’s at Oxbow Market in Napa – simply beautiful.

I have come up with some wonderful combinations so watch this space over the next few weeks for USA inspired cupcakes baking.

Mini Cupcakes for Exeter Refuge……..

 

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Today we we supported SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) by participating in a ‘cafe’ event. ‘We’ are Family Lawyers and regularly represent the survivors of Domestic Violence in local courts however, due to the withdrawal of Public Funding in the UK for many ¬†cases, today’s event was about supporting those who have no recourse to public funds. It was a good opportunity to support a worthwhile cause and meet some interesting people.

So, soon after 6am this morning I was decorating 72 mini cupcakes……and in corporate colours!!!! That’s dedication to my job, even if I say so myself. It gave us an advantage ¬†over the other participants. Free food always brings in the crowds!

For those wanting the recipe, it was my go to easy basic sponge cake recipe of

250g unsalted butter

250g self raising flour

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

Cream together butter and sugar.

Add flour, baking powder vanilla essence and eggs carefully and mix.

Add water if necessary to get batter to dropping consistency

I pipe my batter into the cupcake cases and fill to about 2/3 full

Then pop into a warmed oven (160 fan) for about 15mins for mini cupcakes (24 to a tray)

 

Now, I froze these little beauties because I made them overs the weekend (when I had time), defrosted them overnight and iced/decorated that at 6am this morning.

 

BUTTER ICING

250g butter

500g icing sugar

 

Very simple: mix together!  Add water if consistency is too stiff to pipeAnd decorate to your liking

 

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We had so many positive comments about the cakes I’m beginning to question my career choice…..