Category Archives: Cupcakes & Muffins

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 9 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. 

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 

Linking up to 

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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 cupcakes 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 cupcakes 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

Linking to:
 
Hijacked By Twins

Nutella Cupcakes

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If you’re a Nutella fan, you need to try these. They are full on Nutella goodness – especially with Nutella buttercream too!

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.

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

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When cooled, frost the cupcakes. I’d recommend either vanilla buttercream or if you’re a real Nutella fanatic like myself, Nutella Buttercream.

 

Half Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

How else would I ask people to be my Bridesmaid than with cake?!

I haven’t been blogging as often in the past month due to moving house. We are now all moved in and mostly unpacked so I will hopefully have lots of yummy recipes heading your way soon!

We got the keys to our house on Friday 13th November – a good job neither of us are superstitious! As if the excitement of getting the keys to our first house wasn’t enough, Rien also asked me to marry him. Since then we have been mainly focusing on the house, but now we have sorted out everything that urgently needs doing, we can start wedding planning!

After talking to Rien, I knew who I wanted to ask to be my Bridesmaids and knew that the only way I could do this was with cake. I decided to make a cupcake for each Bridesmaid and make a little flag asking them the question. I think asking someone to be your Bridesmaid is one of the most exciting part of the wedding preparations. Obviously getting engaged is incredibly exciting and I think asking someone to be your Bridesmaid is a way of sharing that excitement as (hopefully) they will be excited too.

The easiest person to ask was my sister as she knew I would ask her. I did surprise and slightly shock her though with her flag. I had a quick google to get the correct terminology, and as it turns out she is my ‘Matron of Honour’; much to her horror. She said it made her sound really old which isn’t what she is looking for at only 26! Her exact words were ‘Could you not have just called me a Bridesmaid?!’ She’s been married for nearly 4 years now so she will definitely be able to help out and give advice as she’s been there before.

The other people I asked were my friend from primary school, Georgie and Yasmin who I met in secondary school. I always knew I would ask these two. To say they were both chuffed would be an understatement!

I didn’t want to make my usual batch of 12 cupcakes because I only needed a couple of cupcakes. I’ve used this recipe time and time again to make a smaller batch of 5 or 6 cupcakes. This recipe is really handy as you can’t just half my usual cupcake recipe as it has 3 eggs (how on earth would you half an egg?!).

I wanted to keep the cupcakes quite simple in decoration, so opted for slightly tinting the buttercream with a Wilton gel colour in Ivory. Although in the photos you might not be able to pick up the difference in colour from normal buttercream, you could in person. I used a Wilton 1M nozzle to create the rose design starting piping from the middle outwards.

For the cupcakes
75g caster sugar
75g butter or margarine
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
75g self raising flour 

For the buttercream
70g unsalted butter
140g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Add the vanilla bean paste and eggs and mix
  4. Add the flour and mix until it is combined. Spoon into cupcake cases filling each 2/3 full
  5. Bake in the oven for 14 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean
  6. Let the cupcakes cool slightly before removing them and leaving cool completely on a wire rack before icing
  7. Beat softened butter and icing sugar together
  8. Gradually add the milk until it becomes smooth and quite thick – you may not need all of the milk
  9. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes

 

Banana & Honey Muffins

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I always seem to have a few bananas that get forgotten about and end up getting a bit too ripe to eat. This is why I’m keen to find recipes to use them up! In my quest to find tasty, healthy muffins I looked in Lorraine Pascale’s A Lighter Way To Bake and came across her recipe for Banana and Honey Muffins. They were perfect as they were a healthy muffin that would use up my overripe bananas.

Out of all of the healthy muffins I have made, these are definitely the most moist as well being one of the lowest in calories. The bananas add the extra moistness without adding any unnecessary calories. Rien isn’t usually tempted by my healthy muffins, but he loved these. You really can’t tell that these muffins only have 176 calories each! Another great thing is that the mix makes twelve really big muffins! These are definitely one of my favourite muffins so far.

The recipe called for four bananas – one to go on the top. I only had three which is why mine don’t have the pretty decoration on top.

As with all of the muffins I make, they are perfect to freeze and then leave out to defrost overnight to make a great breakfast.

Makes 12 muffins
300g wholewheat flour 

1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
2 egg whites
200ml semi-skimmed milk
100g low-fat natural yogurt
50ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp honey 
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 overripe bananas

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan). Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a large bowl. Beat the egg and egg white briefly in a jug and then beat in the milk, yogurt, oil, honey and vanilla extract until smooth and completely combined
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with as few stirs as possible until you get a wet, sloppy mixture

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  1. Roughly mash 3 bananas and gently fold them into the mixture

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  1. Divide the mixture into the paper cases. Peel and cut the remaining banana into 12 slices roughly ½cm thick and place one slice on top  of each of the muffins

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  1. Bake them in the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

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  1. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before leaving to cool completely on a wire rack

 

Gym Bunny Mummy

Creme Egg Cupcakes

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Delicious chocolate cupcake with a gooey Creme Egg hidden inside – the perfect cupcakes for Easter!

Easter is such a great time to bake, you can make anything Easter themed by just adding a mini egg to it! This year I have mainly been making these cupcakes and mini egg fridge cake. Like usual I gave up chocolate for lent which has not been fun as I’ve had a couple of orders for chocolate cake with ganache and even more chocolate on top.  Making these and smelling the chocolate was hard, but I managed to make them without even licking the spoon!

I read somewhere (I can’t find/remember where) from someone who had made similar cupcakes using Creme Eggs that lying the Creme Eggs down horizontally is the way forward. I assumed you would place them vertically so the egg was upright, but this makes the egg less stable so it can wobble all over the place.

These cupcakes are simple to make and have a wow factor with the Creme Egg hidden inside.

For the cupcakes (makes 12 large cupcakes):
4tbsp water, boiled
40g cocoa powder
3 eggs
175g unsalted butter
165g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside
  2. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl and add the boiling water. Mix until it forms a thick paste and then add the remaining cake ingredients. Mix until combined

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  1. Fill the cupcake case roughly ¼ full. Smooth out using a spoon and then place a mini Creme Egg horizontally lying down in each case

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  1. Top with the remaining cake mix and bake for 10-15 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating

For the frosting:
140g softened butter
280g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

  1. Beat softened butter and icing sugar together
  2. Gradually add the milk until it becomes smooth and quite thick – you may not need all of the milk
  3. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes

You can use a full sized Creme Egg if you would like but obviously this would mean it is more Creme Egg than cupcake! If you want to make them even more chocolatey you could make chocolate frosting.

When I made these the first time, I only put a small layer of the cake mix on the bottom before adding the Creme Egg. As you can see, the Creme Egg was quite close to the bottom of the cupcake. The next time I made them, I filled them roughly ¼ full as I image this would make the Creme Egg closer to the middle. There aren’t any photos of these unfortunately as I made them for an order so couldn’t start cutting into them!

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Thick Cream Cheese Frosting

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Cream cheese frosting is my favourite kind of frosting. It has a lovely creamy flavour that isn’t as sweet and sickly as buttercream in my opinion. But the cream cheese frosting recipes I have used before can sometimes be lumpy when the butter isn’t mixed in fully or it just becomes too runny. This recipe does not have those issues!

I don’t hide the fact I don’t like buttercream. It’s very sweet and to me just tastes like butter. People are now used to me baking cakes and cupcakes and taking them into work for everyone to enjoy without me actually eating any myself although they found it suspicious at first. You could ask why I don’t just frost all my cupcakes with cream cheese frosting but there is a very simple answer. I would eat them. If I use buttercream I get to bake which is what I love, but I also know I won’t eat the end product which is always a good thing in my constant struggle to eat better.

As I mentioned in my Funfetti Cake post, I was making a cake for a friend who also isn’t a fan of buttercream. I knew she loved the cream cheese frosting that I used on my carrot cupcakes but I knew there was no chance that would be thick enough to cover a whole cake. It tastes delicious but sometimes it is a little too runny which is why I always frost them with a large round nozzle because I’m worried any other frosting style won’t hold it’s shape. I was talking to someone on Twitter who recommended this recipe to me featured on Kerry Cook’s blog (www.kerrycooks.com). As soon as I saw Kerry had frosted a rainbow cake using her cream cheese frosting recipe, I knew this would be the perfect recipe.

This recipe does take slightly longer than other cream cheese recipes because you have to squeeze the cream cheese through muslin, but the end result is worth it. It’s the extra stage of squeezing the excess liquid from the cream cheese that makes it so thick. I can’t see that I will be going back to my old recipe!

250g cream cheese
100g unsalted butter

400-600g icing sugar

  1. Firstly you need to drain the cream cheese to get rid of as much excess water as you can. I recommend pouring the excess liquid that settles on the top down the sink. Then scoop the cream cheese into a square of muslin and gather the cloth up and twist. Holding it over a bowl or the sink, squeeze so the liquid starts dripping out. I managed to get roughly 2 tablespoons of excess liquid out of mine. Be careful to not get carried away and squeeze too hard though or else you’ll get small pieces of cheese coming through the muslin

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  1. Put the muslin ball on some kitchen paper to let it dry further
  2. In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. You want it to be incredibly soft but not completely melted. It should still be partially solid

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  1. Whisk the butter until it is completely liquid and smooth

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  1. Unwrap the cream cheese from the muslin and add it into the butter mixture. Whisk until completely combined

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  1. Using a wooden spoon, begin adding the icing sugar. Sieve roughly 150g of icing sugar into the butter mixture at a time. Keep adding icing sugar until you have a thick consistency – I used 500g until the frosting was thick enough to not fall off the spoon. At first it might look a little lumpy, but keep going and you will have the most amazing thick cream frosting

The frosting was perfect for my funfetti cake and my friend really liked it. She said it was the best cake she had ever had which is high praise indeed! Although I know lots of people love buttercream, if I had it my way I would frost all cakes with this cream cheese frosting. It really is delicious and I am glad Kerry shared such a fantastic recipe on her blog.

I’d love to hear whether you are a buttercream or cream cheese frosting fan; please leave me a comment with your favourite.

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Please check out the original thick cream cheese frosting recipe on Kerry Cook’s blog http://kerrycooks.com/foolproof-thick-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe/.

Valentine’s Cupcakes

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What better to receive on Valentine’s Day than a lovely cupcake with a red heart inside? I saw these when I was looking for ideas for Valentine’s cupcakes on Pinterest. I really love Pinterest because it is such a quick and easy way of looking and storing recipes/ideas/things you like. I use it to pin recipes that I have made and want to share and also recipes that other people have made and I want to try. I am awful at finding a recipe I want to make but then forgetting which blog or website I found it on and then I have no way of finding it again. Pinterest gives me a place to keep them all together. Its not just for recipes, I have pins for house ideas for example too.

These cupcakes were initially pinned by Lauren Conrad – not someone I would usually look to for baking ideas to be honest, but I really liked the idea. She did include a recipe on her website (www.laurenconrad.com) but I always prefer to use my usual vanilla cupcake recipe. Plus I have no idea what ‘cake flour’ is even after googling!

The cupcakes are definitely something different and a little bit special. It is great to see people’s faces when they bite into them and realise there is a heart inside. I practised the cupcakes a few weeks ago because I wanted to make sure they came out ok before I took on orders. They were a little bit of a faff at first – trying to make sure the red cake heart stayed standing when I was adding the rest of the cake mix worried me because it looked a little messy. I think this was because my cake batter looked thicker than the one used in the original recipe which is why mine didn’t maybe look as neat. When they came out of the oven though I needn’t have worried because they looked lovely. As i went on I got the hang of it and became quicker.

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.

For the red cake
75g margarine
75g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g self raising flour
Red food colouring

  1. 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 bake in the oven for approximately 14 minutes. It doesn’t matter if the cake is slightly under baked as it is going to be baked again
  6. Allow the cake to cool slightly

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  1. While you are waiting for the red cake to cool, make the plain cake batter. The recipe for this is here http://www.curlyscooking.co.uk/?p=37
  2. Once the red cake has cooled, cut out hearts using a small heart shaped cutter

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  1. Line a cupcake tin with cases and fill each case approximately ¼ full with the plain cake batter
  2. Place one red heart that you have cut out standing up in each cupcake case

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  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

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  1. Bake in the oven for 14 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before decorating

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You want to get a nice bright red colour so it really stands out so don’t be afraid of using quite a bit of colouring. I use Wilton gel colours which give a great colour but you do need to use quite a bit. I recommend adding a little bit each time because you can always add more but you can’t remove any!

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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. I then rolled out some red fondant icing and cut our a mini heart to add a bit of colour and to hide the end of the buttercream. The buttercream recipe I used is the same one I used in the vanilla cupcake recipe (http://www.curlyscooking.co.uk/?p=37).

I have been pleasantly surprised with how many orders I have received for these. I’m good at coming up with ideas without actually realising how long it will take me to bake it all! I thought I would get a couple of orders, but ended up making 60 cupcakes. I definitely didn’t help myself by choosing these cupcakes as it isn’t the quickest recipe because you have to make the red cake for the hearts first. Although they took a while, I am glad I made these cupcakes because of how great they look when you bite into them.

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With a lot of help from my Mum, we handmade each cupcake box. I am so happy with how these looked because I think a nice looking box really adds to the whole look of the cupcakes. They did take us hours so I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to make them; especially as my Mum did a lot of the initial cutting while I was at work. We did have a nice time chatting away while we made them (I also got a lesson in how to use scissors…) but I think there’s only so much time Mum can cope with me for!

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Mixed Berry and Cinnamon Muffins

Whole berry muffin 2

Photo by Greedy Betty

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year celebrating with your family and friends and eating lots of delicious food. Like a lot of people, I don’t set New Year’s resolutions but have things I would like to achieve. This year, like last year, my aim is to become healthier. For the first six months I did really well last year and was pleased with my progress, but after a lovely holiday to Mexico, I really struggled to get back into the right frame of mind. So after realising I can do it, my aim this year is to go further and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I do believe in treating yourself every so often though so there will still be recipes for when only naughty food will do!

This is a great first recipe for 2015. It is another in my search for a tasty but healthy muffin. I came across this recipe in Lorraine Pascale’s ‘A Lighter Way to Bake’. My Mum bought me the book for my birthday and up until then I hadn’t heard of Lorraine. In the book she takes popular recipes that she has tweaked and made healthier. One thing I really like is that is not only shows you how many calories are in a serving, but it also states how many calories you would typically find in the usual recipe. I find this interesting because if I’m being good, I like to know just how good I’m being!

This recipe has a fantastically low 155 calories per muffin but you can tell it is a healthy muffin. Due to the lack of sugar and the only sweetness coming from the maple syrup, the muffins weren’t as sweet as I would usually want a muffin to be.  Not only are they low in calories, they also use wholemeal flour which is a plus! I did enjoy them and I will make them again – especially as they are so healthy.

The very talented Greedy Betty took the photos of the finished muffins which she also made. As a food blogger, how good the photographs are really affects how appealing your recipe is. Having a talented photographer to take great photos is a great help and is a service Greedy Betty provides (more details at the bottom).

For the muffins
300g wholewheat plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
2 egg whites
200ml semi skimmed milk
100g low fat natural yogurt
50ml sunflower oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
200g frozen summer berry mix

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, 180ºC fan and line a 12 hole muffin tin with liners
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a bowl and mix
  3. Beat the egg and egg whites together and then add the milk, yogurt, oil and maple syrup and beat again until combined and smooth
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix, it will be quite sloppy
  5. Gently fold in two thirds of the frozen berry mix

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  1. Divide the mix between the liners and scatter the remaining berries over the top of the muffin mix and gently press them in

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  1. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin briefly before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

Whole berry muffin 1

Photo by Greedy Betty.  Discounted rates for food bloggers available. Details on  http://greedybetty.com/about/