Category Archives: Cupcakes & Muffins

Nutella Stuffed Muffins

Delicious fluffy muffins with a big spoonful of Nutella inside. These Nutella Stuffed Muffins are tasty at any time of day, but make an extra special breakfast. 
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I LOVE Nutella. I think it is possibly one of the greatest things ever invented. I’m not one of those people you see in the advert that likes to eat Nutella on toast for breakfast, no way. My favourite way to eat Nutella without a doubt is with a spoon straight from the jar. This is why it is very dangerous for me to have Nutella in the house because it sits in the cupboard tempting me.

My lovely friend Millie, bought me the cutest heart shaped spoon which she had engraved with ‘Nutella spoon’ because she knows how much I love it. I now have to use that spoon every time I have Nutella and it makes me think of Millie.

As I have mentioned before, I like to have a muffin for breakfast and am trying to find healthier recipes for muffins. When I was thinking of different flavoured muffins, Nutella popped into my head. Now I know what you’re thinking – Nutella is not healthy. I’m not trying to claim it is, but by using yogurt in the recipe it reduces some of the fat and you only need a teaspoon full of Nutella. Depending on how generous you are with the Nutella will change how many calories are in the muffins, but if you use a level teaspoon the muffins are roughly 270 calories. In my quest to find a tasty, healthy muffin I know 270 calories is still not great, but it is less than the blueberry muffins I made so it is a start!

The muffins were lovely and fluffy with amazing Nutella goodness. I freeze them and the night before I want one, take it out and leave it on the side to defrost. This does mean they aren’t as fluffy as when they were first baked but I don’t want to eat 12 muffins in one sitting!

Depending on how big you make them, this mix will make between 12 and 14 muffins.2014-09-08 20.22.19

2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup no fat Greek yogurt
12-14 tsp Nutella

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a muffin tin with liners
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, eggs and yogurt
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined

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  1. Fill the cases half way with mix and then add a level teaspoon of Nutella into the middle of each muffin. Cover the Nutella with the remaining muffin mix

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  1. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

Oreo Cupcakes

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I had seen a number of posts online where people had used mini Oreos on various cakes and thought they looked incredibly cute. I came across them in a shop the other day and instantly knew I wanted to make Oreo cupcakes with a mini Oreo on top. You could use a normal sized Oreo, but it doesn’t look as cute.

There are quite a few different recipes online for Oreo cupcakes so it was a case of looking around and finding the one I liked the sound of. I decided to make the recipe by Good Food Channel (http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/657083). A few of the other recipes I had looked at said the cupcakes were too sweet or they hadn’t come out right. All of the recipes used cream cheese in the frosting which I thought sounded a little strange – cheese and chocolate, but it really works!

The original recipe said to use half an Oreo, but why would you use half when you can use the whole thing?! Yes I was feeling greedy, but I thought it would look better when you saw the inside of the cupcake.

For the cupcakes
11 large Oreo cookies
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Line a muffin tin with 11 paper cases and put an Oreo in the bottom of each case

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  1. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until  pale and fluffy
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder and add to the mixture along with the eggs. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Add the milk and mix to combine
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

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For the frosting
50g butter, softened
80g full fat cream cheese
175g icing sugar
6 large Oreo cookies
11 mini Oreos to decorate

  1. If you have a food processor, whizz the large Oreos into fine crumbs. If like me you don’t have a food processor, but them in a sealed sandwich bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Make sure the crumbs are quite fine or else they will get stuck in the nozzle when you are piping
  2. Beat the butter, cream cheese and icing sugar together. Gently fold in the Oreo crumbs, be careful to not over mix. If the frosting is a little runny, put it in the fridge to chill for 15 mins or so

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  1. After you have piped the frosting onto the cupcakes, decorate each with a mini Oreo

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If you are making them in advanced, wait until you are about to serve them before you decorate with the mini Oreo as it can become a bit soft if you do this in advanced.

These cupcakes went down really well and are a must if you are an Oreo fan!

 

Vanilla cake pops

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As well as other baking goodies, Rien’s sister bought me a cake pop making kit for my birthday. Included in the kit was a silicone cake pop mould to make it even easier. The other way to make cake pops is to make a normal cake and then crumble it up with frosting and shape into balls – like I did in my cake ball recipe. I really liked how simple the silicone mould was to use and that it kept the cake moist and light. You can buy silicon cake moulds very cheaply at supermarkets and Poundland; I recommend buying one to make your life easier!

I decided to make these when my friend Tasha was coming over so that we could both decorate them. You can use any flavour cake mix that you want, but I definitely recommend using Candy Melts for the icing. Candy Melts are chocolate coins which when melted give a lovely creamy consistency. What is really great about them is that they come in a wide variety of colours so there are lots to chose from. You will also need cake pop sticks to insert into the cake. You can buy both online or in Hobby Craft and Lakeland.

For the cake:
75g margarine
75g caster sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
75g self raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC (160ºC fan assisted). Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Add the flour and mix until combined
  3. Fill the mould with the cake mix – I did this using a teaspoon. Fill them so that the mix is just below the top of the mould. If you overfill them, the mix will seep out and you won’t have the shape you need

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  1. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool

For the icing
1 pack of Candy Melts
vegetable oil

  1. Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave for short periods of time making sure you stir in between each melt. This will help ensure it doesn’t become grainy
  2. Once melted, add enough vegetable oil to get a smooth consistency that will coat the back of a spoon. It needs to be runny enough to coat the cake evenly so there isn’t a set amount of oil to use, just keep adding a little as you go

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  1. Dip each stick in the melted chocolate so roughly 2cm of the stick is covered. Insert the stick 1cm into the cake ball and put in the fridge to firm up

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  1. Once the chocolate has hardened, dip each cake pop into the remaining Candy Melts so that the cake is completely covered. Tap the stick against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate – this is where your cake will fall of the stick if it hasn’t hardened long enough. If this happens, you will be forced to eat it to hide the evidence and put the rest of the cake pops back into the fridge to chill for longer
  2. When you have iced each cake pop in the Candy Melts, decorate them however you would like

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Honey , Fig & Mascarpone Cupcakes

Cat Cupcake(photo by me)

This is the second recipe I made for my photography session with @GreedyBetty. As soon as I saw this recipe I thought it looked beautiful, and to me it sounded more sophisticated and unusual compared to a lot of cupcakes. When I told people I was making these cupcakes, some people weren’t instantly excited by the idea. To my surprise this was because they hadn’t actually tried a fig before! These cupcakes managed to convert them – not only did they like the honey cupcake with the mascarpone, but they really liked the fig!

They also photographed beautifully – obviously with the help of Betty and her fantastic photography skills!

For the cupcakes
1 3/4 cups plain flour 
½ cup honey
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup soured cream
2/3 whole milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line 2 cupcake tins with 16 cupcake cases and set aside
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside
  3. In a different bowl, beat together the butter, honey, soured cream, vanilla paste and extract
  4. Add one egg at a time, mixing after each addition. With the mixing speed on low, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the milk and beat until just combined
  5. Spoon the batter into the cases filling them 2/3 of the way

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  1. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in their tin for 5 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack

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For the frosting
8oz mascarpone cheese
1 cup double cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk the mascarpone cheese with the double cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract on a low speed
  2. Beat for 2-3 minutes gradually increasing the speed to medium-high until it forms soft peaks. Be careful to not mix too much or the mix will curdle
  3. Frost the cooled cupcakes

You can either simply decorate the cupcake with half a fig like I did, or do as the original recipe suggested and caramelize the figs. The original recipe can be found at http://www.stylemepretty.com/living/2012/10/28/fall-recipe-honey-cupcakes-w-marscarpone-frosting-carmelized-figs/

These cupcakes are the perfect combination of sweet, followed by a slight savoury flavour from the frosting and the burst of freshness from the fig. They really were delicious and I was so proud of how the photographs turned out.

Cat Fig 1

(photo by me)

Fig Cupcake 1 copy

(photo by Betty)

Cupcake B

(photo by Betty)

Cupcake A

(photo by Betty)

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Pimm’s Cupcakes

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?

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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!

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For the cupcakes
100g margarine
150g caster sugar 
150g self raising flour
3 tbsp Pimm’s
2 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC
  2. Mix the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and Pimm’s and mix again and then add the flour
  3. When combined, divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases
  4. Bake for 20 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

For the buttercream
100g butter
225g icing sugar
2 – 3 tbsp Pimm’s

  1. Mix the butter and icing sugar together until combined
  2. Add the Pimm’s one tablespoon at a time until you get the correct consistency for piping
  3. Pipe onto the cupcakes and decorate; I kept it simple with a slice of strawberry

 

 

Nutella Buttercream

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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

  1. Beat together the butter until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the Nutella and cocoa powder and beat again to combine
  3. Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar and mix slowly until combined
  4. 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

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Cheese & Onion Chutney Muffins

Fluffy savoury muffins with onion chutney – the perfect snack. If you are a cheese fan, my Cheese & Onion Chutney Muffins are definitely for you!2015-06-02 20.00.27

I made these Cheese & Onion Chutney Muffins to take into work quite a few months ago because they are all cheese fanatics. To say they went down well is an understatement! Since then, one person in particular keeps asking when I am next making them. I finally caved in and made them again. Rien is not very happy that I’m taking them into work and has asked a couple of times if there are any spares so it looks like I might be making them again pretty soon!

One of the things I like about these muffins is that you don’t need any fancy equipment like a mixer. They are also really quick and east to make. The most strenuous task is grating some cheese! How easy they are makes them a perfect muffin to whip up if you have guests coming (or if you fancy a treat!).

You can use whatever chutney that you would usually like to eat with cheese, but personally onion chutney is always a winner. In mine I like to use my homemade onion chutney – who doesn’t like the flavours of cheese and onion? Don’t get too carried away and put a huge amount of chutney in the middle of each muffin because it will just spill put and could burn.

The mix is enough to make 12 muffins even though it may not look like it will. Put roughly one tablespoon of the mix in the bottom of each muffin before you add the chutney and then divide the remaining mix. These don’t make the biggest muffins so you can always make a few less, but larger muffins. I like to keep a small amount of cheese back to sprinkle on top because it makes them look nice and also adds a tasty toasted cheese flavour – yum!
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Makes 12 muffins
175g plain flour
120g cheddar cheese, grated
80ml semi-skimmed milk
60ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
your chosen chutney

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (fan assisted, 210ºC non fan) and line a muffin tin with cases
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the grated cheese
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk, oil and wholegrain mustard together
  4. Stir the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined – don’t overwork it

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  1. Spoon a tablespoon of mixture into the muffin cases and spread it out so it completely covers the bottom of the cases

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  1. Put a small amount of chutney in the centre of each muffin case – no more than a level teaspoon

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  1. Spoon the rest of the mixture in the muffin cases, taking care to try and keep the chutney in the centre

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  1. Bake in oven for 18 minutes until golden brown and they have a nice crust on top

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  1. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before eating – hot chutney burns!

 

Domesticated Momster

Chocolate Covered Red Velvet Cake Balls

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I saw this recipe when I was looking for recipes and instantly wanted to make them. I’ve wanted to try red velvet cakes for a while and thought these cake balls were a little bit different. I was initially calling them cake pops but my sister and brother in law told me off saying they weren’t pops because they weren’t on sticks!

I decided to make these on Friday evening because we were going to see both mine and Rien’s family over the weekend. One piece of advice if you’re going to make these – do not start making them at 8pm! I was up until midnight finishing them off. At the time I was saying I would never make these again and I don’t know why I wanted to make them in the first place. This wasn’t because of the recipe, but just the stupid time I decided to make them! Make them when you have plenty of time because there are a few stages where the cake needs to cool before you can move onto the next step. They are a little bit of effort but I think they’re worth it.

It was World Baking Day on the 18th May which was trying to encourage people to bake for those they love. I thought these were the perfect things to make because the original recipe decorated them with little hearts.

The original recipe can be found at http://www.bestyummyrecipes.com/red-velvet-cake-balls/

 For the cake:

2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Red food colouring

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease or line a 9×13 inch cake tin
  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Keep whisking until completely combined which will take a minute or so because of the oil
  3. In another bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Mix until combined
  4. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean

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  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl

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For the frosting:

1/3 cup double cream
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar

  1. Beat the cream and sugar until smooth. Add butter and vanilla and continue to beat until mixture forms soft peaks
  2. Add the frosting and mix with your hands

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  1. Scoop out a small handful and roll into a small ball with your hands. Place on tray lined with wax paper. Keep doing this until you have used all of the mix

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  1. Put them in the freezer to firm up for 30-40 minutes

400g milk chocolate

  1. As the cake balls are cooling in the freezer, melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water
  2. Carefully poke each ball with a skewer and dip into the melted chocolate.. Once covered remove and softly tap until the excess chocolate falls off
  3. When the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle any toppings you are using onto the balls. I used sugar hearts and red glitter
  4. Place on a baking sheet and chill until firm

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I used 2 tubes of red colour gel from the supermarket for this recipe because I didn’t want to use all of my good Wilton gel colour. As you can see the colour started off a bright red colour but after cooking it went a darker red. When I make these again, I think I will use the Wilton colour gel to try and get an even brighter red colour so that when the cake is cooked it maintains its vibrancy.

One thing I really liked about this recipe was that it didn’t matter how the cake looked when it came out of the oven. As you were crumbling the cake, it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect looking or if it didn’t come out of the tin properly. This is always an advantage!

Buttercream Roses

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For a while now I have wanted to have a go at buttercream roses. I think they look really pretty and quite professional. I have watched countless videos on Youtube that people have posted showing how to do them and they all made them look simple so I thought I would give them a go. First I had to decide which piping tip to buy – not as simple as it sounds. There are lots of different petal tips to choose from but I decided on the Wilton 125 tip which is also known as a large petal tip. You need a large tip or else the petals don’t have the size and effect you need to make a rose.

I am by no means an expert at these roses, but I can pass on the tips I have gathered from along the way!

You can use any cupcake recipe, but I used a basic vanilla cupcake as in my opinion, the rose is the star of the show so you don’t want a complicated cupcake. I used the buttercream recipe featured in the vanilla cupcake recipe just without the milk. You need a thick buttercream so the petals don’t collapse and the milk would make it a little too soft.

You need to make sure the buttercream doesn’t get too warm or again, the petals won’t hold up and you will end up with a messy blob instead of a rose. I put a small amount of buttercream in the piping bag, just enough to do one cupcake because when you’re holding the piping bag, the warmth from your hand heats the buttercream.

I start by spreading a very small amount of the buttercream in the centre of each cupcake as this makes it a lot easier for the first bud of the rose to stick. When you have done this, hold the piping bag so that the thicker end of the tip is closest to the cupcake. Applying even pressure, turn the cupcake to create a bud effect.

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Once you have created your bud, you can then start with the petals. I have found it is best to use odd numbers – 3 petals on the first, then 5, then 7 etc. When piping each petal, start at the base of the cupcake and pipe in a very slight arch. I pull slightly outwards with the piping bag to create a more open looking rose. Keep going with the petals until you reach the edge of the cupcake.

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As you add more petals, make sure you start each petal from the base of the cupcake as this will keep the rose looking good from all angles.

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As you need quite a lot of buttercream to create the roses, I made two batches of the buttercream making them two slightly different shades of pink. They do take a little while but take your time and you can end up with some really realistic looking cupcakes.

 

Vanilla & Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

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For around 5 years, my parent’s have had chickens which are great egg-layers. On Good Friday we all went to choose a few more to add to the coop which was quite fitting for Easter. I always thought one egg was similar to another but after trying the eggs my parent’s chickens’ lay, there really is no comparison. It really is worth buying free range eggs – you will notice the difference!

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 This is the original chicken I chose – the Ginger Ninga; Mamma Bimbawaki or Bimbles for short.

Like I said before, Easter is definitely the time to do lots of baking which is exactly what I did. I spent 4 days in a row baking one thing or another to give as presents. Rien’s family love cupcakes so I decided to do two variations for them; chocolate chip and vanilla.

For the vanilla cupcakes, I used the recipe I have previously posted. For the chocolate chips cupcakes I used a recipe I found on a woman called Eileen Goodall’s blog (http://eileengoodall.hubpages.com/hub/Chocolate-Chip-Cupcake-Recipe). The only change I made was to use milk chocolate chips instead of plain. They turned out really well and I will definitely be using the recipe again!

For the cake
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
100g milk chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 190ºC
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract
  3. Add the eggs one at a time mixing thoroughly in-between
  4. Add the flour and when completely incorporated, add the chocolate chips

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  1. Spoon the mix into 8 large cupcake cases, I use an ice cream scoop to get even amounts in each case and I find it easier. Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins. When a toothpick comes out clean they are done

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  1. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack

For the buttercream
I used half the quantity of icing I used in the vanilla cupcake post. I used a green gel colour because I wanted to create a grass effect which I acheived by using a Wilton 233 tip. I then finished them with a Malteasers bunny and a few Mini Eggs.

I decorated the vanilla cupcakes with a large star nozzle tip to give a grooved affect to the butter cream. I then finished them off with a Mini Egg. You can’t really see from the photo, but I used Easter egg printed cupcake cases.

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Everyone seemed to really like the cakes and I think it is sometimes nice to have a cupcake to break up all of the chocolate that gets eaten over Easter!