What is the British summer without a glass (or two) or Pimm’s?! And what better way to enjoy it than in a tasty cupcake?
Here in Britian we aren’t lucky when it comes to weather. Our ‘summer’ usually consists of a few days where it stops raining and it gets a bit warmer. Having said that some years we haven’t even managed to get that, or so it feels. So for us Brits, when the sun does come out, we make the most of it with some Pimm’s! I have just Googled to see how to describe Pimm’s for those of you that haven’t heard of it – it is a gin based liqueur with subtle tastes of spices and citrus; so there you go!
I found this recipe via one of the people I follow on twitter – @becsj76. She posted her recipe of Pimm’s cupcakes as well as a lovely photo. As soon as I saw this I knew I had to try them. If you would like to see more of Bec’s recipes follow her on Twitter or like her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Aunties.Cupcakes1
The recipe was really simple and quick which is always a plus if you want to bake but not spend hours in the kitchen on a hot sunny day! For this recipe, I used Aldi’s version of Pimm’s; Austin’s. It is more than half the price and in my opinion tastes nicer. I am all for paying more for quality ingredients, but I don’t like buying things just for the name, especially when a substitute is nicer! You may ask why have I still called these Pimm’s Cupcakes and not Austin’s Cupcakes? Well I already thought that enough people outside of Britain might not know what Pimm’s was without complicating the situation further and naming them after the supermarket own version!
Enjoy these cupcakes with a glass of Pimm’s watching Wimbledon and it won’t matter (as much) if the sun isn’t shining!
For the cupcakes
150g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
3 tbsp Pimm’s
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC
- Mix the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and Pimm’s and mix again and then add the flour
- When combined, divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases
- Bake for 20 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean
For the buttercream
225g icing sugar
2 – 3 tbsp Pimm’s
- Mix the butter and icing sugar together until combined
- Add the Pimm’s one tablespoon at a time until you get the correct consistency for piping
- Pipe onto the cupcakes and decorate; I kept it simple with a slice of strawberry
I wanted to make something for my brother-in-law’s birthday, and after talking to my sister, we decided on a chocolate cheesecake. After looking through a few recipes, I decided on this one by Mary Berry (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/americanchocolaterip_6334). We all love a bit of Mary Berry!
I have slightly adapted the original recipe because I found there was no where near enough base mixture on the original recipe. Even though the base is the part of a cheesecake I’m not fond of, there is no way you can make a cheesecake without a proper base! I also used milk chocolate digestives for the base and a mixture of plain and milk chocolate in the cheesecake mix simply because I like milk chocolate more.
For the base
300g milk chocolate digestive biscuits
150g melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 160C and lightly grease a spring release tin. The one I used was 9″ which is 22cm
- Crush the digestive biscuits until they are a fine crumb texture. I do this by putting the biscuits in a food bag and bashing it with a rolling pin
- Melt the butter and mix with the biscuits. Tip into the tin and press the mix down so the bottom of the tin is evenly covered
For the cheesecake
100g plain chocolate
50g milk chocolate
700g full fat cream cheesee
225g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Split the chocolate into chunks and melt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Leave to cool slightly
- Put the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until soft. Add the sugar and beat again until well mixed. Then add the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time making sure everything it combined
- Spoon half of the mixture onto the biscuit base making sure there are spaces between them
- Add the melted chocolate to the remaining cheesecake mix and stir until fully mixed. Spoon this mix into onto the base, in between the other mix already in the tin. Swirl the top to create a marbled effect
- Bake the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes or until it becomes slightly puffy around the edges but still looks soft n the centre. In my oven, it took roughly 40 mins to get to this stage so keep an eye on it. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven
- Once the cheesecake has had time to cool in the oven, put in the fridge to cool completely before serving
My cheesecake didn’t turn out as marbled or rippled as I would have liked. I think this was because my vanilla ‘half’ of the mix wasn’t quite half! This meant there was more chocolate mix which made it look more layered than rippled. It still looked and tasted really good though, so make it look however you want! Not bad for only the second cheesecake I have made!
This was the first cake I made when I got my mixer for my birthday. Obviously I was desperate to try it out so I wanted to make my own birthday cake to share with my family. I knew I wanted to make a sponge cake with fresh fruit, but all the recipes I had seen before either used buttercream or fresh whipped cream – not ingredients my Dad and sister would like! After a while of looking, I came across this recipe by Delia Smith that used mascarpone as the filling – perfect!
For the cake:
175g self raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line and grease two 20cm loose bottomed cake tins
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Then add all the rest of the sponge ingredients and mix until everything is combined and smooth. This is what is called an all-in-one cake as all of the ingredients are added in one stage
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread out until level. Place in the centre of the oven for 30-35 mins
- Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack
For the filling:
225g fresh raspberries
3-4 tbsp raspberry jam
200ml fromage frais
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Whisk the mascarpone and fromage frais together and then add the sugar and vanilla extract
- Put one cake on your serving plate and spread with one tablespoon of jam
- Next spread half of the cream mixture and then scatter with the raspberries. Add the remaining cream and drizzle with the remaining jam
- Place the second sponge cake on top and press down gently. Dust with a small amount of icing sugar
This cake is a great alternative from the usual sponge cakes. The recipe is incredibly easy and very light and fluffy – a perfect cake for the summer.
The original recipe can be found at http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cuisine/european/english/all-in-one-sponge-cake-with-raspberry-and-mascarpone-cream.html
Charred chicken thighs with a slight spice are the perfect BBQ food.
I am quite disorganised/forgetful when it comes to shopping. I write a list but still end up forgetting things; Rien has given up and just accepts we’ll have to go to the supermarket numerous times in a weekend! I decided I wanted to make this recipe and thought I had all of the ingredients but like usual, I didn’t – no orange juice! One of the things I like about cooking is how you can adapt recipes and add more of what you like and take out (or forget) other ingredients. Like I said, I missed out the orange juice but I added some paprika.
For the skewers:
6 chicken thighs
125ml fresh squeezed orange juice
60ml fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp ancho chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Wooden skewers (soak in water first)
- Remove bones and skin from chicken thighs and cut each thigh into 2 or 3 strips
- Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, honey, oil, chilli powder, garlic, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the chicken thighs and leave in the fridge to marinade for 1 – 4 hours
- Soak the skewers in water and thread the chicken onto the skewers (the below photo shows the Yucatan skewers next to ones marinated in lime, garlic and oil)
- Cook the skewers on a griddle or BBQ for approximately 5 minutes each side or until cooked through
Because using a BBQ is a man’s job (we must encourage men when they offer to help!), Rien was in charge of cooking the skewers. It was his first time using a BBQ so some got a little charred, but I actually like the charred flavour food gets from being cooked on a BBQ.
To go with these chicken skewers, I made some pepper and halloumi skewers. These are as easy as they sound – chopped peppers and cubed halloumi on a skewer and they make a great side dish for the chicken.
These are perfect if you’re planning on having a BBQ this weekend because they are really tasty and easy to make! You can find the original recipe at www.foodnetwork.co.uk.
Deliciously smooth buttercream with the fantastic flavour of Nutella – the perfect topping for any cupcake!
It is no secret that I am a Nutella fan. I came to the obvious conclusion that adding Nutella to buttercream could never be a bad thing! One of the reasons I don’t like normal buttercream that much is because to me it can taste a lot like sweetened butter. Now I realise I am in the minority here as most people love buttercream, but this Nutella buttercream is my kind of buttercream! The chocolate hazelnut taste compliments the buttercream and is delicious.
The recipe I used was from a blog called Cooking Classy (http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/09/banana-cupcakes-nutella-buttercream-frosting/). Their recipe used a banana cupcake, but I decided to use a simple vanilla cupcake.
This recipe makes enough buttercream for roughly 12 cupcakes. However if you like buttercream piled high on your cupcake, the recipe says to make 1 1/2 the amount below.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup salted butter
1/4 cup Nutella
2 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 tsp double cream
- Beat together the butter until pale and fluffy
- Add the Nutella and cocoa powder and beat again to combine
- Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar and mix slowly until combined
- Finish by adding enough cream until the buttercream is the right consistency – it should be firm enough to hold its shape when piped. Mix one last time and then it is ready to pipe onto your cupcakes
I have been very quiet on here recently because I have been on holiday in Mexico. The hotel was amazing and the food was delicious! They’ll be more of that in a later post.
Just before I went, Mum bought me a bundt tin. Bundt cakes look amazing and come in fantastic patterns and are recognised by their ring shape. When it came to finding a recipe, I knew exactly where to look. I follow someone on twitter who is referred to as the Bundt Queen – @DollyBakes. After looking at her recipes I was instantly drawn to her chocolate and hazelnut bundt cake – anything with Nutella in gets my vote! (http://www.dollybakes.co.uk/2013/09/chocolate-hazelnut-bundt-cake.html)
The hazelnut yogurt was as a little tricky to find. The original recipe said it could be found in Morrisons and Marks & Spencer. I couldn’t see it in M&S but after some serious hunting, we found it in Waitrose. I asked someone in M&S if they had it and it was definitely worth it to see their face wondering what on earth I was talking about!
For the cake
450g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
250ml hazelnut yogurt
100g milk chocolate chips
50g chopped hazelnuts
4 tbsp Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC and grease a 2.4L, 10 cup, 10 inch bundt tin. I used spray oil
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after egg and then add the vanilla extract
- In a different bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, chocolate chips and nuts
- Alternate between adding the flour and yogurt starting and ending with the flour, sifting it as you add it. Don’t over mix
- Tip in the dry ingredients trapped by the sieve, which have been coated in flour which will help them from sinking
- Mix everything together once more just so the dry ingredients mixed through
- Pour 3/4 of the mix into the prepared tin
- Spread the Nutella over the cake mix. If you mix it with a spatula in a bowl first this makes is easier to spread. Keep the Nutella away from the edges of the cake
- Cover with the remaining mix and spread evenly. Give the tin a wipe with kitchen roll if you have managed to get the mix on the tin like I did!
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. It should be shrinking from the sides of the tin slightly. It took approximately 1 hour for the cake to be cooked in my oven so keep an eye on it!
- Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin
- Allow to cool completely
For the icing:
300g icing sugar
100g cocoa powder
Chopped hazelnuts for scattering
- Mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together with enough water to make a runny icing
- Pour over the cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts
This is a fantastic recipe and can’t wait to try more bundt cakes!