Category Archives: Cupcakes & Muffins

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

These Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins are so light and fluffy they make the perfect breakfast or midday treat whether you follow a gluten free diet or not. 

Blueberry muffins have been one of my favourite muffins for years. The blueberries add a lovely sweetness to the deliciously soft and fluffy muffins. When my Coeliac friend Zoe came to stay, I had the perfect excuse to try out some Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins.

When I make any gluten free recipe, I always like Zoe to taste it and give her opinion. She has far more experience with gluten free food than I will ever have, so I really value her option. When she gives me the thumbs up, I know a recipe must be good because she has unfortunately had a few less then great bakes!

The Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins didn’t just have to be suitable for people on a gluten free diet; they had to be tasty enough for everyone. Just because recipes are gluten free, they shouldn’t taste like they are lacking something. 

As with other gluten free bakes, these Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins tend to become drier more quickly than those using standard flour. Therefore I would recommend either eating all of the muffins in a couple of days (go on, try it!) or freezing some on the day you baked them. Muffins freeze really well and it means you then have tasty muffins at your fingertips. 

 

5 from 3 votes
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Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

These Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins are so light and fluffy they make the perfect breakfast or midday treat whether you follow a gluten free diet or not. 
Course Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword Gluten Free, Blueberry Muffins
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 124 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 340 g gluten free plain flour
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 150 g blueberries frozen or fresh
  • 320 g non fat plain yogurt
  • 60 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 egg

Top with a couple of extra blueberries on each muffin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan assisted or 200°C non fan) and line a muffin tin with paper liners

  2. Add the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and caster sugar to a large bowl and mix before adding the blueberries. Gently mix the blueberries with the rest of the ingredients 

  3. In a jug, whisk together the yogurt, vegetable oil and egg 

  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together just until all of the flour is mixed in - do not over mix

  5. Divide the mix between the 12 muffin cases and bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Test the muffins after 15 minutes by inserting a cocktail stick, if it doesn't come out clean, put them back in for a few minutes 

Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins
Amount Per Serving
Calories 124 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 30mg 1%
Potassium 208mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Sugars 16g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 0.5%
Vitamin C 1.8%
Calcium 10.9%
Iron 1.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Vegan Vanilla & Raspberry Jam Cupcakes

Fluffy vanilla cupcakes with a raspberry jam centre covered in vanilla bean frosting. You will find these Vegan Vanilla & Raspberry Jam Cupcakes tasty regardless whether you are dairy free or not!

Every year someone at work organises a bake sale for Autism Awareness and it is something I always like to participate in. If you want to, you can enter the competition to win a prize for the office’s best cake. However I tend to make a load of cupcakes instead in an attempt to help raise as much money as possible. 

This year amongst other things, I wanted to make some vegan cupcakes as I know a few people in the office are vegan. I don’t like the idea of people not being able to have cake because of their diets. Mind you having said that it was only on the day that I realised I should have made them gluten free too! 

For this recipe, I adapted Veggie Dessert’s Best Vegan Cake recipe which I have tweaked before for my Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes and Vegan Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake recipes.  

These cupcakes have a double vanilla hit – vanilla extract in the sponge and vanilla bean paste in the frosting. You could use the same type of vanilla in both the cake and the frosting if you would prefer. I just like the look of the flecks of the vanilla in the icing because people can clearly see there is real vanilla in it. 

Although vanilla cupcakes are very tasty, I wanted to make these a little bit more exciting.. Raspberry goes really nicely with vanilla in my opinion so I thought adding the raspberry jam in the middle would work really well. If you do not have an apple corer to cut out the hole in the middle, use a small sharp knife. 

I don’t know about you, but because people know I like to bake I am often given cupcake cases. Now i don’t want to sound ungrateful at all because it is a really nice thought, but people tend to buy the smaller cupcake cases rather than the large cupcake cases I prefer. For this recipe, I used some of the pretty smaller cupcake cases because I was going for a pink theme. As the cases were slightly smaller than usual, they cakes cooked in roughly 12-14 minutes. But if you are using the larger cupcake cases, use the timings below. 

These Vegan Vanilla & Raspberry Jam Cupcakes went down really well and helped raised money for a great cause. I also doubt people could even tell they were vegan! 

 Makes 10 cupcakes 

For the cupcakes 
170ml soy milk
75g non dairy spread
2 tbsp golden syrup
160g plain flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
90g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 

For the frosting
75g non dairy spread
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp soy milk
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
3-4 tbsp raspberry jam
Sprinkles to decorate 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan assisted. Line a cupcake tin with 10 cases 
  2. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the margarine and golden syrup. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool slightly

  1. Sift the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl before adding the milk and melted margarine. Stir well until the batter is smooth, don’t worry it is quite a wet batter 

  1. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases roughly 2/3 full and bake in the oven for 14-18 minutes minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean 

  1. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely 

  1. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, make the frosting
  2. Add the margarine and icing sugar to the mixer and beat until combined
  3. Add the soy milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy
  4. Using an apple corer, remove the centre of each cupcake making sure you only remove a centimetre or so

  1. Spoon a small amount of raspberry jam into each hole you have created 
  2. Pipe the frosting on top and sprinkle with any decorations  
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Banana & Peanut Butter Muffins

These Banana & Peanut Butter Muffins are light and fluffy with the delicious combination of peanut butter and bananas. Great for breakfast on the go!

  
Who doesn’t have a few old bananas lurking around? As I have mentioned before in my Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread post, I certainly always seem to. This is why I wanted to come up with another way to use up those pesky old bananas. 

Banana Bread is lovely, but sometimes you don’t have an hour to leave something in the oven for. These Banana & Peanut Butter Muffins take half the time but are still just as fluffy and tasty! As they are muffins, they are more easily portable which makes them perfect for breakfast on the go. 

I have added some wholemeal flour to these muffins which is slightly more coarse than ordinary plain flour. I think this works well in the muffins along with the crunch of the peanut butter. It is also a healthier type of flour which makes me feel like I’m not being as naughty as I stuff muffins into my mouth! Wholemeal flour does tend to provide a drier texture which is why I have used a mix. Feel free to just use plain flour if you would prefer. 

Another advantage of these Banana & Peanut Butter Muffins are that they freeze really well. This recipe makes 12 muffins and unless you’re making them for a lot of people, you may not eat them quickly enough before they start going past their best. This is why I like to freeze the muffins by individually wrapping them in cling film and then putting them all in a large freezer bag. You can then take one out and defrost it overnight or even in a couple of hours and you have a tasty moist muffin ready to eat. 

You do need a large muffin liner for these and not one of the smaller cupcake liners. Muffins are meant to be large and proud so don’t worry about filing the muffin liners to the top. 

 Makes 12

125g margarine
100g light brown sugar
50g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
150g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
250g bananas, mashed
130g crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp milk 

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (fan assisted or 180ºC non fan) and add muffin liners to a muffin tin
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together for at least 5 minutes until pale and fluffy

  1. Add the eggs and mix again
  2. Add the flours, baking powder and salt and stir into the butter until the flour is nearly combined, but not quite

  1. Mash the bananas roughly with a fork and add them to the mix along with the peanut butter and milk. Mix until combined

  1. Divide the mix between the 12 muffin liners and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean and the muffins are light brown

  1. Allow to cool for around 10 minutes before removing from the tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack
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Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts

The tasty flavours of a hot cross bun in doughnut form. My Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts are a light and fluffy way to enjoy the flavours we all know and love. 

Hot cross buns are something we all associate about Easter. These days there are so many different flavours of hot cross buns there really is something for everyone. 

I have made hot cross buns before and they were very tasty, but not a quick process. Therefore I wanted to use some of the flavours you would find in a traditional hot cross bun in a doughnut. I decided to leave out the dried fruit typically found in hot cross buns because I wanted to keep these doughnuts light and fluffy. This also keeps people who aren’t fans of raisins and peel happy – my Mum will be pleased!

These Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts are easy enough to make…once you get past one hurdle. The only critical step in this recipe, is making sure you don’t put too much batter into each doughnut hole. Now you may think this sounds simple enough, but take it from someone who knows; you need less batter than you may think!

For example when making cupcakes, you are usually recommended to fill the cases three quarters of the way. With these baked doughnuts, just under half full is plenty. Don’t get me wrong, if you over fill them it is by no means the end of the world. The only difference will be that instead of having the hole in the middle that a doughnut should have, this will fill in and they will come out of the oven looking more like a muffin. 

Once you have got over this very small hurdle, everything else is a doddle. These Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts are very quick to bake which makes them great to whip up over a busy Easter. Having said that, these doughnuts aren’t just for Easter! Just leave the cross off and they are a tasty year round doughnut! 

As with most doughnuts these are best eaten the day you bake them or the next day. They will still be ok for a couple of days longer but not as fluffy. 

Makes 12 

For the doughnuts
190g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¹⁄8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 orange, zested 

30g butter, melted
95g caster sugar
1 egg
125ml milk
Spray oil 

For the glaze
200g icing sugar
45g butter, melted & cooled slightly
3 tbsp milk
Pinch of cinnamon 

For the cross
30g icing sugar
1 tsp milk 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and spray the doughnut trays with oil
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix together the melted butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Once this is combined, mix the egg and the milk

  1. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing until only just combined before adding more liquid
  2. Once all combined, spoon the doughnut batter into a piping bag and pipe into the prepared tin. You only need one layer of batter in each doughnut ring 

This is an example of over filling the tin with doughnut batter!

  1. Bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack

  1. When the doughnuts are cool, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar in a bowl with the melted butter and milk. Add in a pinch of cinnamon 

  1. Dunk each doughnut into the glaze and turn it around making sure the top of each doughnut is completely covered
  2. Leave the glaze to set for 10 minutes or so before making the cross. Mix the icing sugar and milk together and spoon it into a piping bag. Cut a very small hole in the end and pipe a cross on each cupcake
  3. Leave to set for a few minutes before tucking in

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Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

These Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes could quite possibly be the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made. They are so light and fluffy with the most delicious chocolate and hazelnut flavours that you will find yourself craving another! 

The idea for these Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes came when my friend Katie showed me she’d bought some hazelnut milk. When I see hazelnuts I instantly think of Nutella, but the dairy free milk brought me back to a vegan train of thought. I decided to adapt my Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes to make them taste as close to Nutella as I could but still keeping them vegan.

As I have mentioned before, I used to naively think that all cakes needed eggs to actually taste nice. Oh how wrong I was. These cupcakes are as light and fluffy as any I have eaten using eggs and I would definitely make these even if there is no need for vegan cake. 

To help enhance the hazelnut flavour in the cupcakes and the frosting, I have used a sweet chocolate and hazelnut natural flavouring. The brand I use is by Foodie Flavours and it lasts a long time because you don’t use much of it at a time. I have provided approximate quantities below in the recipe but it is quite hard to judge as the drops can come out quite quickly! I would always recommend to add fewer drops, then taste it and you can always add more. The great thing about this recipe is you can taste the cake batter without worrying about raw eggs because there aren’t any eggs!

I used standard plain flour in these which helps make the most deliciously moist cupcake. You absolutely can make these gluten free by using gluten free flour and ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum. The xanthan gum helps act as a binding agent to stop the cupcakes crumbling. The only thing worth mentioning is that if you do make these gluten free, then they really do need to be eaten the day you bake them or the next day. 

I took these cupcake into work because I think Katie may have never spoken to me again if I didn’t let her try one…or two. These cupcakes went down amazingly. The praise I got for these was so lovely. Many people were saying it was the best cupcake I have ever made. I think this is because even though they are vegan, they are so chocolatey and fudgy that they taste so decadent and utterly delicious. 

The roasted hazelnuts really add to the flavour so I would definitely recommend adding these. They’re simple to do and roasting them does enhance their flavour and make them extra tasty. They also add a lovely crunch to the cupcakes. 

Whether you’re vegan or not, you really should try these Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes. 

Makes 10 cupcakes 

For the cupcakes
170ml hazelnut milk
75g non dairy margarine
1½ tbsp golden syrup
½ tsp coffee granules
140g plain flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
90g caster sugar 
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Approximately 10 drops of hazelnut & chocolate flavouring

For the frosting
75g non dairy margarine
200g icing sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp hazelnut milk 
Approximately 15 drops of hazelnut & chocolate flavouring
2 tbsp roasted hazelnuts to decorate 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan assisted. Line a cupcake tin with 10 cases 
  2. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the margarine, coffee and golden syrup. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool slightly
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl before adding the milk and margarine mix. Stir well until the batter is smooth 

  1. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean 

  1. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely 
  2. Scatter the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and add to the oven to allow to roast for approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool before crushing 
  3. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, make the frosting
  4. Add the margarine and icing sugar to the mixer and beat until combined
  5. Add the hazelnut milk and hazelnut and chocolate flavouring and beat until smooth and fluffy. Test and add more flavouring if you want a stronger flavour

  1. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe onto each cupcake
  2. Sprinkle with the crushed hazelnuts 

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Hidden Heart Valentine’s Cupcakes

Delicious vanilla cupcakes with creamy frosting and a surprise hidden inside. Who needs roses for Valentine’s Day when you can make someone tasty Hidden Heart Valentine’s Cupcakes to share the love?!                

If you have been following my blog for a few years, you may recognise these cupcakes. I originally made them back in 2015 but not only did the recipe need new photos, it needed a complete re-write. So voilà!

Valentine’s Day is not something Mr Curly and I have ever really celebrated. We definitely don’t go out to a restaurant, but I am quite lucky and do often receive flowers. Whether you like to go all out or take a far more casual approach to Valentine’s Day, these Hidden Heart Valentine’s Cupcakes are a great way to show your special person some love. 

I saw the idea for these cupcakes in Pinterest years ago so they aren’t a new idea. However I wanted to adapt them to use my favourite cupcake recipe to make them super tasty. This is because a lot of the recipes I did find used ‘cake flour’ or box cake mixes. Firstly I’m still confused what cake flour is – even after googling it; and also I will never use a cake mix to make cupcakes!

These cupcakes look so simple and elegant on the outside and then when you bite into them you find a brilliant bright red heart. These Hidden Heart Valentine’s Cupcakes do take a little longer than a standard cupcake but they are very straightforward to make.  The finished look is really worth the extra little effort! 

When making the red sponge for the hearts, I recommend using gel food colouring. Wilton and Sugarflair are good brands to use as they provide really vibrant colours. You can use supermarket bought food colour but you will need to use a lot. I made these cupcakes using the supermarket colouring before and I had to use two tubes!  

I wanted to keep the decoration quite elegant and simple so I decided to use a large star tipped nozzle (Wilton 1M) to create a rose effect. I did this by starting in the centre of the cupcake and piping in a circular motion until I reached the edge of the cupcake. As you reach the edge if you release pressure from your piping bag and then quickly move the bag away you should get a nice clean finish. if you wanted to, you could roll out some red fondant and cut a small heart out to add to the end of your piped rose. Alternatively if you aren’t confident piping a rose pattern, pipe in whichever pattern you like. 

 You can also use flavoured frosting if you would like. I’ve made these with cherry and raspberry flavoured frosting which went really well with the vanilla in the cupcakes. You could also use vanilla bean paste in the cupcake mix if you wanted. I chose to use vanilla extract because I didn’t want to see the black specks of vanilla bean on this occasion. 

These would obviously be a lovely gift for Valentine’s Day but I think anyone would be chuffed to receive these at any time of year. You could change up the colour of the heart too if you wanted to make them less Valtentine’s orientated! 

Makes 18

For the red heart sheet cake
75g margarine
75g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g self raising flour
Red food colouring (appox ½ tsp)

For the vanilla cupcakes
250g softened butter
250g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract 
4 eggs
250g self-raising flour

For the buttercream
200g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
3-4 tbsp milk

  1. Start by making the red cake mix for the hearts. Preheat oven to 170ºC and line a 20x20cm square tin with baking parchment
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and slowly mix again and then add the flour and mix until combined
  4. Add enough food colouring to make the batter a bright red colour
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth flat. Bake in the oven for approximately 14 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean

  1. Allow the cake to cool slightly
  2. While you are waiting for the red cake to cool, make the vanilla cupcake batter in the same way as you made the red cake batter (obviously leaving out the red food colouring!)
  3. Once the red cake has cooled, cut out hearts using a small heart shaped cutter

  1. Line a cupcake tin with cases and fill each case with approximately 1 tbsp of the plain cake batter. Smooth the cake batter to over the bottom of each cupcake case

  1. Place a heart standing up up in each of the cupcake cases 

  1. Add more of the plain cake batter to each cupcake case so that it is roughly ¾ full – don’t panic if this doesn’t completely cover the red heart

  1. Bake in the oven for 14 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

  1. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, make the frosting by beating together the butter and icing sugar until smooth
  2. Add milk enough milk to create a smooth pipe-able consistency. It is always better to add a little bit of milk as you go instead of too much at once
  3. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes 

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Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Light and fluffy cupcakes with amazingly smooth and decadent chocolate orange frosting. All of this plus they’re Gluten Free AND Vegan!

Following the success of my Vegan Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake, I decided to expand my vegan baking repertoire. I went back to the recipe by Kate from Veggie Desserts for my inspiration and from there decided to attempt to make Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. 

I say attempt because that really was what it was. I had attempted to make gluten free cupcakes before and they hadn’t turned out exactly as I wanted. The texture was too crumbly and the taste was different to the original recipe. So when I decided to adapt this recipe to be gluten free, I wasn’t holding out too much hope. 

Experimenting in the kitchen isn’t always going to be a success. I think having a failure every so often makes each success even more exciting! So when these cupcakes turned out perfectly the after the first attempt, I was so chuffed. 

Where I had gone wrong with my previous gluten free cupcakes attempt was that I had simply swapped the normal flour for gluten free flour. It was my coeliac friend, Zoe who recommended adding some xanthan gum which acts as a binding agent which the gluten free flour lacks. It worked perfectly and the result was a gluten free and vegan cupcake that had the texture of any other cupcake I have eaten – success!

My favourite part of these cupcakes is the frosting. I am not usually a fan of buttercream because to me I can taste the butter. Chocolate buttercream is usually my preferred buttercream but I have never tasted buttercream as good as this! It is so smooth and creamy which I think has to be down to the dairy free margarine. It also had such an appealing glossy shine to it which I loved. 

Before I rave on about how great I think these cupcakes are, there is one downside. As with other gluten free cake, these are really best eaten on the day they have been baked. You can eat them the day after too, but you will notice even only one day later they will have lost some of their fluffiness. A trick Zoe has learnt over the years is to keep some cupcakes unfrosted and when you’re ready to eat them give them a few seconds in the microwave to freshen them up before allowing to cool and frosting. You could also freeze the cupcakes before they are frosted as a way to prolong them a little longer if you don’t think you’ll manage eating all ten in two days. 

Makes 10 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
140ml soy milk
75g non dairy margarine
1½ tbsp golden syrup
½ tsp coffee granules
140g plain flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
90g caster sugar 
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
¼ tsp xanthan gum

For the frosting
75g non dairy margarine
200g icing sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp soy milk 
1 tbsp orange juice 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan assisted. Line a cupcake tin with 10 cases 
  2. Zest the orange before juicing it . Whisk the orange juice and soy milk together and set aside 
  3. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the margarine, coffee and golden syrup. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool slightly
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and xatham gum together in a bowl before adding the milk and margarine mixtures. Stir well until the batter is smooth 

  1. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean when poked into a cake

  1. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely 
  2. Once completely cooled, make the frosting
  3. Add the margarine and icing sugar to the mixer and beat until combined
  4. Add the soy milk and orange juice and beat until smooth and fluffy

  1. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe onto each cupcake
  2. Decorate however you like 

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Chorizo, Red Pepper & Cheese Muffins

Super tasty muffins studded with chorizo and red pepper with a lovely chile warmth. These Chorizo, Red Pepper & Cheese Muffins are very moreish. 

I love a savoury muffin. For some reason savoury baking seems less naughty than sweet baking to me. I know this clearly is all in my head, but I think it is because the ingredients are more widely used so they’re seen as less of treat than things like chocolate. 

My parent’s have a villa in Fuerteventura and I am very lucky that they bring me back some delicious Spanish meats and spices. Chorizo is a firm favourite that they bring back and can be used in so many dishes. When cooking, I use the rings of  dry cured chorizo which you just peel before using. They can be eaten as they are, or cooked – make sure you check it is the dry cured type and not the uncooked sausages if you want to eat without cooking! These rings are readily available in all supermarkets and you can usually get a normal one and a spicy one; so use whichever you prefer. 

I am a little bit obsessed with chile at the moment and thought it would bring out the flavours in the chorizo. I love the warmth it can bring to a recipe without having to blow your head off. If you aren’t the biggest fan of chile, you can either leave it out completely, or add a pinch. I chose ancho chile because it is a mildly spiced chile compared to others so should be suitable for most people. Having said that, if you do like your food a little spicy, feel free to add more! If you can’t find ancho chile, you can just use the chile powders that you can buy in any supermarket. 

It may be tempting to eat these as soon as they have cooled enough for you to eat them, but I personally prefer them when they have cooled completely. Once they have cooled, I think you can taste the flavours better than when they are still warm. I really like how the oils from the chorizo stain the muffins making them a lovely colour. 

These muffins are really quick and easy to make and one of my favourite things about making them is you do not need to use a mixer. I do love my mixer and it makes baking so many things far easier, but sometimes you just want to bake something with minimum effort and washing up. These muffins are definitely one of those bakes! The less effort you put into mixing them, the lighter and fluffier your muffins will turn out. If you were to use a mixer you would definitely run the risk of over mixing them which could make them tough. 

These really can only be kept for 2 – 3 days to eat them at their best. After this they do become a little drier. I’ve found that freezing them once they have cooled completely is a great way of keeping them fresh for longer. I just take them out of the freezer the night before I want them and they are defrosted and ready to eat the next morning.

Makes 12 muffins

100g chorizo, diced
100g red pepper, diced
175g plain flour
¼ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp ancho chile powder 
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
150g cheddar cheese, grated
80ml semi-skimmed milk
60ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1 egg

  1. Add the diced chorizo and red pepper to a pan over a medium heat and cook for around 10 minutes until the pepper has softened. Stir every so often to stop the chorizo getting too brown

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC  and line a muffin tin with 12 cases 
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, chile powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in 120g of the grated cheese
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk and oil 
  4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients along with the peppers and chorizo. Only mix until everything is just combined – don’t overwork it 

  1. Divide the mix between the muffin cases and scatter each with the remaining 30g of cheese

  1. Bake in the oven for 18 minutes 
  2. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack 

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Courgette Cupcakes with Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese Frosting

Fluffy cupcakes filled with sharp lemon curd and covered in delicious cream cheese frosting. These Courgette Cupcakes with Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese Frosting are far too tasty to get put off by the fact they have courgette in them!

Courgette or zucchini, whatever you like to call them, they seem to be in abundance at the moment. My parents have an allotment which appears to have the perfect courgette growing conditions because they have grown more courgettes than we could eat this year! They also grew one particularly huge specimen which was so big I made 24 cupcakes, a two layer cake and also a chocolate loaf cake. It really was a beast! 

When I tell people the cakes have courgette in them, you can see a lot of people instantly get put off. Personally I am not a huge fan of courgettes, but in a cake they are delicious. It really isn’t any different than using carrot in cake – and we all know how good that tastes! 

These Courgette Cupcakes with Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese Frosting are so summery in taste. The lemon curd in the middle is so bright and zingy which along with the lime in the frosting makes them so incredibly delicious. I add the lime to my favourite cream cheese frosting which could be why I love these cupcakes so much. 

Usually when I am making cupcakes, I fill the liners two thirds of the way which means your cupcake isn’t too much taller than the liner. With these cupcakes, I fill them around half way because if you fill them more than that they seem to rise up and look more like muffins. Muffins aren’t a bad thing, but it makes them harder to frost as you ideally need a nice flat surface. If you do get a bit carried away and they are quite domed, you may want to level them off with a knife before you add the lemon curd. This will all be hidden later when you frost them, and it also means you get to eat the off-cuts! 

If you have a food processor with a grating attachment, I would definitely recommend using this. As well as making it far quicker and easier, it also creates very defined gratings of courgette unlike a hand held grater which can make it more mushy. If you only have a hand held grater this is still absolutely fine, but your mix may be slightly wetter. If the courgette is particularly wet once you have grated it, I would allow it to sit in some kitchen paper so it can absorb some of the excess moisture.  

When you are making the frosting, add enough lime juice to get the right consistency. You don’t want it too think so it drips off the cupcake so don’t add all of the lime juice at once; keep adding small amounts until you have it right. If you do put in too much lime juice, just add a little bit more icing sugar to help thicken it up slightly. 

Makes 18 cupcakes 

For the cupcakes:
250g courgettes
2 eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the filling:
70g lemon curd (approx)

For the frosting:
200g full fat cream cheese
75g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lime 

Juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp chopped pistachios (not the salted kind)

  1. Preheat then oven to 170ºC and line cupcake tin with liners
  2. Rinse the courgettes and then grate them using a coarse grater – if the grater is too fine, the courgette will turn to mush

  1. Put eggs, oil and sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy. Fold in sifted flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and then stir in the grated courgette

  1. Split the mixture between the cupcake cases make sure you only fill them half way. Bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

  1. Leave to cool for around 10 minutes and then remove from the tins and allow to cool completely on a wire rack
  2. To make the frosting, beat the butter until softened and then add the cream cheese and icing sugar and mix until completely smooth
  3. Add the lime zest and juice. If you have a particularly juicy lime, start by adding the juice of half of it and adding more if needed. Mix until combined and set aside

  1. Once the cakes are completely cooled, make a a hole in the centre of each cake make sure you don’t go all the way to the bottom. I do this using an apple corer but you could use a small knife, just mind your fingers

  1. Fill each hole with the lemon curd – about ½ teaspoon per cupcake

  1. Frost each cupcake and decorate with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios
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Nutella Cupcakes

If you’re a Nutella fan, you need to try these. They are full on Nutella goodness – especially with Nutella buttercream too!
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I made these for my boyfriend’s sister and her now husband to try as they had asked me to make the cakes for their wedding. They had asked me to make some Nutella cupcakes for them to try so I went to trusty Pinterest and found this recipe on Love Life and Sugar. She is a massive Nutella fan too so she loved the Nutella cupcakes with Nutella buttercream but they didn’t decide to go with them for the wedding because they were definitely not for the just the mild Nutella fan.

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217g all purpose flour
207g sugar
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
168g salted butter, room temperature
160g Nutella
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
120ml sour cream
120ml milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl
  3. Add butter, Nutella, egg whites, vanilla, sour cream and milk and mix on medium speed until all ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth
  4. Add the mix to the cupcake cases filling them approximately half way

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  1. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs

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  1. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before allowing them to cool completely on a wire rack
When cooled, frost the cupcakes. I’d recommend either vanilla buttercream or if you’re a real Nutella fanatic like myself, Nutella Buttercream.