Posts Tagged With: cupcakes

Super Easy Nutella Popcorn Cupcakes

I have been so ridiculously busy the last few weeks that my poor blog has been rather neglected of late. The main reason for this is that I am currently in the midst of house hunting! After much renting and moving back and forth, I’ve decided it’s time to get my bum in gear and finally get on the property ladder now that I’m earning again.

It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time and I’m desperate to settle in one place. It’s quite exciting but also overwhelming and scary!

Anyway, both my other half and my best friend had birthdays within a week of each other this month. Neither wanted a big cake but I couldn’t not create anything for them, despite my current time-poor situation. So one exhausted Saturday afternoon I made these delicious and decadent cupcakes, which don’t involve any fancy ingredients and are a doddle to put together.

Nutella is a life-saver when you don’t have the time/energy to whip up icing following the effort of making the actual cake, and ready-made popcorn is an impressive but simple decoration. And, most importantly, they’re extremely tasty!

If you’re reeeeally short on time, you could use packet chocolate cake mix instead of doing the sponge from scratch – I certainly wouldn’t judge you!

And if  you like super-easy Nutella recipes, why not whip up a batch of delicious Nutella porridge bars?

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15-18 cupcakes

For the cakes:

  • 225g/8 oz self-raising flour
  • 140g/5 oz caster or granulated sugar
  • 70g/2.5 oz brown sugar
  • 225g/8 oz butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp strong coffee

For the icing/decoration (I have to confess that I didn’t measure these accurately!)

  • Roughly half a jar of Nutella or other chocolate & hazelnut spread
  • Roughly half a pack of ready-prepared toffee popcorn, e.g. Butterkist

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, coffee and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cake cases until they’re each about three quarters full, then pop in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  5. When baked, leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack. At this stage the they can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the icing/decoration:

  1. When the cakes have cooled, dollop a generous amount of Nutella onto each one and smooth out using a palette knife.
  2. Top each cake with 5 pieces of popcorn.
Categories: Chocolate, cupcakes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Banana Toffee Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

Originally posted 21/05/2015

As a keen and frequent baker, I’m not quite sure why I’d never made banana bread/cake before as I love bananas and it’s pretty much a failsafe culinary venture. In fact, it almost seems to be a rite of passage recipe for those who begin to pursue an interest in baking. Anyway, when the time came to make a cake for my mum and dad’s joint birthday celebrations back in April, I wanted to make something different that I hadn’t tried before which would be indulgent but not too complicated. I decided to do a banana cake but with added toffee flavouring, and paired with a brown sugar buttercream and chopped up Caramac and Chomp bars for extra celebration-appropriate banoffee decadence.

I found that the brown sugar buttercream was a bit thinner than normal frosting but if you need it to be stiffer just add in some extra icing sugar.

INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sponge layers of 8in/20cm diameter

For the cake:

  • 225g/8 oz self-raising flour
  • 100g/3.5 oz granulated/caster sugar
  • 90g/3 oz dark brown sugar
  • 225g/8 oz butter/margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ripe/over-ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (optional but delicious)
  • Half a tsp baking powder

For the buttercream/topping:

  • 100g/3.5 oz butter
  • 100g/3.5 oz dark brown sugar + a few pinches for sprinkling
  • 100g/3.5 oz icing sugar
  • Few drops of Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (again, optional but so good!)
  • 2 Chomp bars (or other toffee/caramel chocolate)
  • 1 Caramac bar

METHOD

For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two round baking tins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, caramel flavouring and baking powder until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins then pop in the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  5. When baked, leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack before turning them out of the tins. At this stage the sponges can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the buttercream & topping:

  1. Place the butter, caramel flavouring and brown sugar in a bowl then whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar until a smooth mixture has formed.
  2. Spread half of the buttercream on one of the sponges and sandwich the other on top, then spread the rest of buttercream on the top layer.
  3. Chop the Caramac and Chomp bars into small squares using a sharp knife or scissors then place them on top of the cake before finishing off with a few sprinkles of brown sugar.

I also used this recipe to make cupcakes to take to my old workfriends 🙂 The above quantities will yield about 15-18 cupcakes.

Categories: Icing, Layer Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lemon Crunch Cupcakes

Originally posted 10/05/2015

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most hurried and improvised of culinary creations turn out the most delicious? These yummy little cakes are the definition of ‘winging it’ – they came about almost by accident but I’m glad they did as I’ll definitely be making them again, especially now spring is here!

I fancied making some cupcakes that were quick and straightforward but a bit different from ones I’d made recently, and I remembered I had a couple of lemons in the freezer (yes, you can freeze lemons! The insides go quite mushy but they still keep their flavour and juicyness), so I thought I’d have a go at lemon drizzle cakes. I then found that a) my grater was too blunt to grate the lemon zest for the sponge and b) I didn’t have any icing sugar. I improvised by adding the juice to the batter instead, convinced that its acidity would stop the cakes from rising or just generally make them taste funny, but they came out beautifully with a subtle zing 🙂 Unable to make icing, I simply created a slapdash mixture of granulated sugar and the rest of the lemon juice and plonked it on the tops of the cupcakes around 5 minutes before they were due to come out of the oven. The result was a lovely sweet but citrussy crunchy topping which is very reminiscent of the traditional pancake topping! You can use as much or as little topping as you like depending on how sweet you want the cakes but you don’t need a great deal to get the texture and flavour.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-12

For the cakes:

  • 125g/4.5 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/4 oz butter/margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of baking powder

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, lemon juice and baking powder until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and then prepare the topping by mixing the sugar and remaining lemon juice together roughly in a bowl.
  6. After around 8-10 minutes, remove the cakes from the oven and spread the sugar and lemon juice mixture over the tops – this is quite fiddly as it’s so sticky but I found the easiest way to do it was using my fingers.
  7. Place the cakes back in the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  8. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool before enjoying.

20150509_183024-1-1I love how the topping looks like a crisp winter frost!

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Green Tea Cupcakes with White Chocolate Icing

Originally posted 14/10/2014

I’m back! After a bit of an absence from my wee blog due to moving and dieting, I’m now settling into life in London as a postgraduate English Linguistics student, and I’ve joined my university’s Baking Society which has made the cake making urges return tenfold! I attended their welcome meeting last week and had a jolly old time meeting fellow baking enthusiasts and sampling some scrumptious homemade goodies. The theme for the night was ‘try something new’ so I thought this’d be the perfect excuse to try out the matcha green tea powder my other half very kindly brought me back from California after I said I’d like to use some in my cooking. Fortunately the oven in my new flat is wonderful and these cakes turned out beautifully – despite turning the sponge a lurid swampy colour, the green tea powder gives them a lovely subtly fragrant twang which works well with white or milk chocolate icing. I’m proud to say they were the first tin of cakes to disappear!

I’ve since found out that matcha green tea powder is extremely expensive to buy here in the UK (I’ve seen prices from £20 to £50!!) so they may not be the most practical cupcakes to try. However, you could add the contents of regular green tea bags instead and still get the flavour, just without the distinctive eye-catching green sponge.

Like a moron I forgot to photograph the insides of the cakes but the sponge came out very green! I ran out of white chocolate icing for the last two cakes and was in a hurry so I slathered them in Nutella – they were also delicious!

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12-14

For the cakes:

  • 115g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/6 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/6 oz butter/margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing (measurements very approximate, sorry!):

  • 140g/5 oz white chocolate
  • 3 tbsp butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • Splash of milk
  • A few pinches of matcha green tea powder
  • 12 wafer daisies (optional)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, green tea powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water or place in the microwave and heat in blasts of about 30-40 seconds (or 1 minute if using cooking chocolate – this tends to be more forgiving) until smooth.
  2. Add the butter, icing sugar and milk and beat until the mixture is a spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny add more icing sugar and if it’s too stiff add more milk.
  3. Spread onto the cakes using a palette knife – make sure you work quickly as this icing tends to stiffen rapidly!
  4. Sprinkle a little matcha green tea powder onto the top of each cake and add a wafer daisy as a pretty finishing touch if you wish. Voila!

Edit: You can see the sponge’s vivid green colour a bit better in this photo of another batch I made for Halloween (along with some chocolate bat ear cupcakes!), with red ‘blood’ icing and sweetie fangs:

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Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes

Originally posted 07/06/2014

I’ve always thought there’s something so cute and jolly about (albeit not strictly traditional) Mr Kipling style individual bakewell tarts, with their dazzlingly white fondant icing and bright red cherry decorations sitting atop jam-filled sponge and pastry. I’m not even a fan of almonds but I love them! They were the inspiration for these pretty and easy to make cupcakes, which I think scream retro village fete cake stall. I’m always reluctant to use glace icing due to being paranoid its runniness will make my creations look like a three-year-old was let loose in the kitchen but luckily keeping it at quite a thick consistency meant they looked a tad more sophisticated.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 20-23

For the cakes:

  • 170g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 100g/3.5 oz ground almonds
  • 225g/8 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 225g/8 oz butter/margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond essence

For the glace icing/jam filling:

  • 115g/4 oz icing sugar
  • Half a tsp of almond essence
  • Water or milk
  • 12-14 tsp (approx.) strawberry or raspberry jam (raspberry is traditional but I used strawberry as my friend at work is allergic to raspberries)

METHOD

For the cakes::

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two baking trays with 18 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, ground almonds and almond essence until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the filling & icing:

  1. If your cupcakes have risen up to form dome tops in the oven and you’d prefer a flat surface to put the icing on to avoid excessive drizzling, use a serrated knife to slice the tops of the cakes off (don’t throw them away – scoff them later!)
  2. Using a teaspoon or small sharp knife, carefully cut a small hole (about 2cm deep by 2cm wide) in the top of each cupcake. Don’t discard the bits you’ve cut out!
  3. Drop about a teaspoon of jam into each hole and then gently push the sponge part that was cut out back into each one so that the tops of the cakes are even.
  4. Place the icing sugar into a bowl then add the almond essence and enough milk or water and stir to form a thick but slightly runny mixture.
  5. Spread the icing onto the top of each cupcake in a thick, even layer using a teaspoon or pallette knife and top with a glace cherry.
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Belgian Speculoos Cupcakes

Originally posted 28/02/2014

In October last year I went for a lovely long weekend in Bruges with one of my best friends and, in between stuffing our faces with the heavenly chocolate and fruit beer, we found ourselves sampling delicious golden caramel-flavoured ‘Speculoos’ spread every morning with breakfast in the hotel. This is a peanut butter style spread that’s made from ‘Speculoos’ biscuits which, we later found out from the distinctive red and white packaging, can be bought here in the UK under the name ‘Lotus Caramelized Biscuits’. Just recently, the spread has also become available to buy in the supermarkets over here so it went without saying that I needed to cake-ify it somehow! And here’s the meltingly moreish result, topped off with Belgian chocolate chips for the ultimate Bruges experience 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15-18

For the cakes:

  • 170g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz brown sugar
  • 55g/2 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 170g/6 oz butter/margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (optional but stunningly delicious and aromatic!)

For the icing (apologies if measurements are a bit off here, made it up as I went along):

  • 3 tbsp butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 4 tbsp Lotus Caramelized Biscuit spread
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp milk
  • Few drops of Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (again, optional but scrummy!)
  • Handful of Belgian chocolate chips

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two baking trays with 18 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and both lots of sugar together in a mixing bowl then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and caramel flavouring until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the paper cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Whisk the butter, Lotus spread, vanilla extract, caramel flavouring and icing sugar together in a bowl until well combined, while gradually adding the milk to loosen the mixture until it’s of a spreadable consistency. If it’s too thick, add more milk and if it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.
  2. Spread onto the cakes using a palette knife or pipe on using the nozzle of your choice.
  3. Top each cake with a few Belgian chocolate chips.
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Plimmsberry Cupcakes

Originally posted 28/07/2013

I’ve been on a bit of a baking hiatus recently due to the horrendously sweltering weather and so I’ve been indulging my cravings for homemade goodies by whipping up simple no-cook rocky road and cheesecake, but I realised I forgot to post the recipe for these lovely summery and quintessentially British cupcakes I made back when Wimbledon fever was abound here in the UK and I could still switch on the oven without melting.

The Pimms jam filling was an impulse invention of mine that turned out deliciously, but I don’t think I’ll be trying this technique for meringue icing again a hurry. Although it was light and tasty and significantly lower in fat than standard buttercream frosting, it was a bit of a fiddly faff-fest to make, and after being piped onto the cakes it shrunk within a few hours. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you don’t frost the cakes until just before you serve them! I also ended up with an obscene amount left over; the recipe I originally used said it was just enough for 12 cupcakes but I’ve reduced the quantities below to a (hopefully) a more accurate estimate, although obviously it depends how much of the icing you want to top each cake with. I think if I made these cupcakes again I’d perhaps top them with freshly whipped cream instead as it’d be less of a hassle but would go very nicely with the jammy centres.

I have to confess that the redcurrants out of the garden were far too sharp to be edible and were for decorative purposes only but I thought they made a rather spiffy finishing touch skewered on the wee cocktail sticks. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-12

For the cakes:

  • 115g/4 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/4 oz margarine/butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the jammy ‘Plimmsberry’ filling:

  • 6 tsp (approx.) strawberry jam
  • 6 tsp (approx.) plum jam
  • 20 ml (approx.) Pimms

For the icing:

  • 1 or 2 egg whites (depending on how much icing you want to cover the cakes in)
  • 2 or 4 oz/55g or 115g caster/granulated sugar
  • 1/2 or 1 tsp vanilla extract

+ 12 cocktail sticks + 24 redcurrants (optional)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake at 180 degrees C for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the filling & icing:

  1. Roughly mix the two types of jam and the Pimms together in a small bowl.
  2. Using a teaspoon or small sharp knife, carefully cut a small hole (about 2cm deep by 2cm wide) in the top of each cupcake. Don’t discard the bits you’ve cut out!
  3. Drop about a teaspoon of the ‘Plimmsberry’ jam into each hole and then gently push the sponge part that was cut out back into each one.
  4. To create the meringue icing just before serving, separate the whites of 1 or 2 eggs into a heatproof bowl which can sit over the top of a saucepan of hot water without touching the water, and put the yolks to one side (these can be used to make choc mousse or eggy bread or something later!)
  5. Boil the kettle and fill the saucepan with a small volume of water and leave to cool slightly on the hob (don’t turn it on yet!) while beginning to whisk the egg whites on a high speed until they begin to stiffen and form peaks – this should be done for a minimum of 3 minutes.
  6. Switch the hob onto a LOW heat and place the bowl of egg whites onto the saucepan, ensuring that the hot water does not touch the bottom and that the water does not boil, then begin whisking on high speed again while gradually adding the sugar and vanilla extract.
  7. Continue to whisk thoroughly until all the sugar has dissolved – this will take at least 5 minutes or so. If, like me, you don’t own a fancy sugar thermometer, you can test to see if the sugar’s dissolved by pinching a small amount of the mixture between your fingers – if it feels gritty it needs further whisking. At this point the mixture may turn flat and runny but don’t panic, just keep on whisking and it will thicken again.
  8. Once all the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites have formed stiff, glossy peaks, switch the hob off and transfer the meringue into a piping bag with the nozzle of your choice (I used a star attachment) then pipe swirls onto each cake.
  9. Spear two of the redcurrants onto each cocktail stick then insert into the cakes if you wish.

Remember, the icing doesn’t keep well so make sure you scoff right away 🙂

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Golden Caramac Cupcakes

Originally posted 30/06/2013

Seriously, who doesn’t love Caramac?? I’m so glad you can still buy these deliciously retro and unique golden caramel flavoured chocolate bars in most shops. This recipe is so easy but great if you want something a bit different from normal chocolate cupcakes, and the mere smell will have people salivating in anticipation! Adding half dark brown sugar to the batter is a simple twist on a regular cupcake but the result is a divinely butterscotchy flavour which really compliments the Caramac frosting. The creation of these babies coincided with Bargain Baking Find of the Year, courtesy of my mum – she picked up a can of Dr Oetker’s amazing Golden Shimmer Spray for 49p instead of a whopping £3.99 just because the main cap was missing! I don’t think I could justify paying full whack for it but the metallic sheen it creates is just fantastic and perfect for this recipe, although the cakes are just as delicious without it.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-12

For the cakes:

  • 115g/4 oz self-raising flour
  • 55g/2 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 55g/2 oz dark brown sugar (sifted if preferred)
  • 115g/4 oz margarine/butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the icing:

  • 115g/4 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 225g/8 oz icing sugar
  • 3 30g Caramac bars
  • Dr Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray (optional)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and both lots of sugar together in a mixing bowl then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the paper cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Break one of the Caramac bars up into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water, or heat on short bursts of LOW heat in the microwave, until completely melted.
  2. Add the butter and whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar until a thick, fluffy mixture has formed. If it’s too runny, add some more icing sugar.
  3. Spread onto the cakes using a palette knife, or pipe on using the nozzle of your choice, then spray with the gold Shimmer Spray (I found this works best when keeping the can about 10ins away from the cake).
  4. Carefully break or cut the remaining two Caramac bars into 12 rectangular sections and push one onto the top of each cake as a neat finishing touch.
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Lemon Sunflower Cupcakes

Originally posted 14/06/2013

I made these lovely summery cupcakes for Sunday Baking Club’s (@SundayBakeClub on Twitter – go follow them for fabulous baking fun!) ‘Citrus Zing’ themed competition and they received a lot of compliments from other entrants 🙂 The pretty sunflower design also provoked much cooing in admiration when I took them into work! I’d never used lemon extract before but my mum and I were given a free bottle when we went to the Good Food show back in November and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by the delicate citrus flavour it gave to the buttercream without making it taste at all synthetic. Both my dad and brother said that they were not fans of lemon but that these cakes were delicious and not too overwhelmingly ‘citrussy’. You could of course use real lemon juice, though!

The icing technique is a heck of a lot simpler and quicker than it looks – in fact, I personally find it much easier to do than regular swirly piping. Chocolate buttons are a simple and yummy way of creating the centre of the sunflower but you could also add black/chocolate icing using the same piping technique as the petals for a more textured look. The ladybirds were a last minute addition but they make a nice colourful finishing touch and are so easy to create!

I also made some diddy versions using a miniature silicone muffin tin 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15-18

For the cakes:

  • 170g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 170g/6 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 170g/6 oz margarine/butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp lemon extract

For the icing/flower centres/ladybirds:

  • 280g/10 oz icing sugar
  • 140g/5 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp yellow food colouring
  • 15-18 large milk chocolate buttons
  • A few red Smarties or M&Ms
  • Small tube of dark chocolate or black writing icing

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two baking trays with 18 paper cake cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder and lemon extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into all of the cake cases until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop the cupcakes into the oven for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the icing, flower centres & ladybirds:

  1. Place the butter, lemon extract and food colouring into a bowl and whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar until a thick, fluffy mixture has formed. If the icing is too pale, add a little more colouring.
  2. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a rope or star nozzle attachment and pipe little rosettes in circles around each cake, working from the outside then moving inwards to the centre, then firmly push a large chocolate button into the middle.
  3. Use the dark chocolate/black writing icing tube to pipe a ‘T’ shape onto each Smartie/M&M then add two dots either side of each line to create the ladybirds’ eyes and spots, as per the photo. Place randomly onto your chosen cakes.

Edit: I used this recipe to create my stepgrandad’s birthday cake – he absolutely loved it! 🙂

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Cream Soda Cupcakes

Originally posted 08/06/2013

This is one of my go-to cake recipes as they’re so easy to make but never fail to impress. I’ve always been a fan of the unusual but lovely fragrant vanilla taste of cream soda and I think it’s the perfect addition to a cupcake, especially the icing. In fact, I think they should manufacture a perfume with the scent of these cupcakes – it’s divine! The little straws were a nifty last minute brainwave for a simple but eye-catching finishing touch 🙂

Just an aside, but cream soda makes a delicious addition to the raspberry ripple ice cream flavour squash I mentioned in my post here: https://cloud9point1.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/raspberry-ripple-ice-cream-cupcakes/ – perfect with ice and a straw on a hot summer’s day 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-12

For the cakes:

  • 115g/4 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/4 oz margarine/butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cream soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 225g/8 oz icing sugar
  • 115g/4 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 2 tsp cream soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    + 4 stripey plastic straws (optional)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cake cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and cream soda until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed. If it’s too runny, add a little more flour.
  4. Drop the mixture into the paper cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for icing at a later date if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Place the butter, vanilla extract and cream soda into a bowl and whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar until a thick, fluffy mixture has formed. If it’s too runny, add some more icing sugar. The longer you whisk it for, the whiter the icing will become.
  2. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice attached (I used a large circular one) and pipe onto the cakes or simply spread it on using a palette knife.
  3. Use scissors to cut the four plastic straws into pieces of about 3-4ins in length and push one piece into the side of each cake for a neat finishing touch. You could also add some rainbow sprinkles if you fancy.

Edit: I increased the quantities in this recipe to make a giant cupcake with added chocolate finger biscuits and a sugarpaste cherry for my brother’s birthday as he loves cream soda!

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Categories: cupcakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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