Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Basil Syrup Injection

Another summer surprise. If only the British weather could make its mind up. This summer has just been the worst so far, honestly, it just cannot make its mind up. Last weeks bake was fitting of the weather, this weeks bake a little less so. It had to be done though. The fresh ingredients were sitting in the fridge staring at me, if they weren’t used a certain small person would of dived straight in and there would of been nothing left to bake with. That’s how things normally pan out in our house. Fresh fruit, gone in 60 seconds. Berries, definitely.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Basil Syrup
yields 16 standard cupcakes

20120627-223650.jpg

I suppose a lot of people wouldn’t put basil and strawberry together, but then again, a lot of people would. Maybe not so much in a cake, but it does work. Basil syrup is amazing stuff, it’s also gorgeous with brownies. At a family meal this past new year me, my mum and younger sister wracked our brains for a good pudding. This is where basil syrup came from, although granted, it wasn’t our idea. We found it all over the Internet ‘for use in cocktails’. Yes, of course. But we can use it elsewhere. So we did. Brownies (baked by yours truly), basil syrup (made by yours truly) and mango ice cream (made by my little sister). It was the best after dinner treat ever. I’ve been itching to use the syrup since. So today I did. And it hasn’t failed!

You will need;
Weighing scales
A blender
A whisk
A large bowl
Cupcake tin
Cupcake cases
220g fresh strawberries
2 eggs
200g sugar
1tsp vanilla
80ml vegetable oil
200g plain flour
1tsp baking powder

First preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (190c). You need to start by blending your strawberries into a smooth purée in the large bowl, to this add 2 eggs, the sugar, vanilla and vegetable oil. Whisk until frothy and fully incorporated. To this add the flour and baking powder, combine and spoon into individual cake cases. Bake for 15 minutes until soft and springy.

For the syrup; add 1 cup water, 1 1/2 cup sugar and half bunch of fresh chopped basil to a pan and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes until you have a thick syrup. Once cool inject into cupcakes using a syringe or cut a hole in cakes and spoon in.

I topped mine with a plain buttercream icing just to cover the basil overflow.

20120627-223642.jpg

Pistachio & Rose Cupcakes

Hello summer. The weather was beautiful today, perfect for this flavour combination. I’m a lover of Turkish delight. Whoever isn’t is mad, plain mad. It’s amazing stuff. Pistachio and rose are my two favourite flavours, although its easy to find rose everywhere in the UK, I find it very hard to find pistachio flavour, why? Granted I don’t look very hard, I’m sure it’s here somewhere but I never happen to fall upon it in my not so distant travels.

When we were younger we travelled quite a lot, me and my younger sister now both agree with took this very much for granted. I’d love to do it all again now with my new found outlook on life. If I ever win the lottery, I’m travelling the world and showing my little girl all the things I never appreciated. Sorry mum and dad. Anyway, we once went to New Zealand. Of all things I remember Turkish delight being a part of this holiday – although I could be making this up or I could of dreamt it. There was this little hatch type shop, across from a Indian restaurant we had eaten at, it served Turkish delight cut straight from mammoth blocks right into a little paper bag, now that is my idea of heaven. I had to have it, and indeed I got it. Daddy’s girl, I am.

Pistachio & Rose Cupcakes
yields 16 cupcakes

20120620-163530.jpg

This is like a cupcake made for a warm Arabian night. I got so excited by the smell of just the pistachio, let alone the cooking stage. I don’t think you can find a better match. They look perfect too. The flavours aren’t overwhelming, it’s a really delicate balance so that you can taste both flavours in there, you don’t want to drown out the pistachio with the rose. It can be easily done. I’d definitely say to anyone to give this a try, it’s a beautiful cake. Do let me know what you think if you try it.

You will need;
Large mixing bowl
Weighing scales
Measuring jug
Small mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Wire rack
Cupcake cases
Cupcake tin
150g plain flour
70g unshelled unsalted pistachios
2tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
100ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
175g sugar
110g butter
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (190c). Start by bashing your pistachios into crumbs (I just stuck them in the small bowl and used the end of a rolling pin to crush them) leave some bigger for added texture. When you’ve done this add in the flour, salt and baking soda and stir together. In the large mixing bowl cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. In the jug mix together your milk and vanilla extract. Now your going to add all the ingredients together. Into the butter, sugar and egg mix you need to add the milk mix and dry ingredients in stages until its all come together. Spoon into your cases and pop into the oven for 15 minutes.

For the buttercream I did a standard buttercream, butter and icing sugar to the right consistency to pipe. Then added enough rose syrup for the desired flavour. As syrup strengths differ I can’t really specify what amount to use. I use KTC rose syrup, available in the world food section in larger asda stores. Of this I used around 2tsps for the right balance against the pistachio. If you continuously taste it, or have a cooled cake on hand to taste it with you should get the right balance fine.

Enjoy, I know I will.

20120620-163615.jpg 20120620-163542.jpg

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cupcakes

So… tomorrow is Fathers day in the UK. Bakers at the ready. I have memories of todays recipe, from childhood. I can remember the taste and having this before. A longterm friend of Mum must be the culprit baker. Regardless of how odd it may be it does work, genuinely. The recipe comes from deep within the pages of ‘how to be a domestic goddess’ by Nigella Lawson. Not sure if this constitutes becoming a domestic goddess – loading guests/friends/kids and the unannounced with the biggest sugar rush they will ever get from a cake – but okay!

For those that are new to such a concoction I introduce to you;

Chocolate Coca-Cola Cupcakes
yields 18 standard size cupcakes

20120616-231334.jpg

I would recommend any baker looking for a seriously moist but not at all oily cupcake to give this a try. The chocolate flavour is barely there, I struggle with calling this chocolate at all infact but I know it’s in there, I put it there. It’s subtle caramel undertones expected from coke, not much sweetness – considering what your adding to the cake you expect it to be very sickly sweet. I’ve topped mine today with a Coca-Cola buttercream and a cola syrup. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

You will need;
A large mixing bowl
A measuring jug
A heavy bottom pan
A sieve
Weighing scales
A wooden spoon
A metal spoon
Cupcake tin
18 paper cases
200g plain flour
250g caster sugar (white or golden)
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4tsp salt
125ml buttermilk
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
125g butter (I always happen to use salted, but unsalted is fine)
2tbsp quality cocoa powder
175ml Coca-Cola

Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (180c)
Firstly your going to sieve together the flour and bicarbonate, straight into the mixing mixing bowl. Next, add the sugar and salt. Over in your measuring jug beat the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated. Separately, get your pan warm on a low heat, melt the butter with cocoa powder and Coca-Cola. When this has all melted beat into the dry ingredients until smooth and velvety, do the same again with the buttermilk mixture from the jug. When all the ingredients are combined its ready to be poured into cupcake cases. I filled mine 3/4 and they came out perfect. Simply pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Decorate as desired. I experimented at this point, coming up with Coca-Cola buttercream by adding icing sugar and cola to 100g of softened butter until I reached the taste and texture I required to pipe. I also put around 100ml of cola and 40g of sugar into a pan and heated over a low heat, reducing to a thick toffee like syrup. On a few I drizzled over the buttercream (after cooled) on others I experimented further. Finding it hardened enough when swirled into water and quickly dried off to stand in the cupcake I did this on a few too.

20120616-231347.jpg

I didn’t mention my daughter was assistant baker throughout the whole bake and made the biggest mess ever of the kitchen – flour clouds, sugar rain. But after, all I heard was..
“Mummy, I’m going to lick this bowl for about an hour, while the cakes cook”. Okay.
All in a successful bake for the special daddy in our house.

Blueberry Marshmallow Cupcakes

I think I dreamt about these last night, during the tossing and turning, added to the toddler kicking me after howling to get in our bed early morning *yawn*. To keep her entertained today we baked – together. She always loves to get involved where blueberries are concerned. I’m suprised she hasnt turned into a blueberry, the rate she gets through them. Im also suprised there were some left in the fridge to do this bake. What a suprising day! Wish I could call these muffins, but im afraid that would be baking fraud. The rise and texture isnt in keeping with a muffin although you rarely seen fruit in a cupcake. But im not going to commit a crime and call this a muffin, maybe a muffin recipe to follow in the coming weeks. To bake this yummyness, follow the steps below..

Blueberry & Marshmallow Cupcakes

20120120-154559.jpg

You will need;

A large mixing bowl.
A wooden spoon.
Weighing scales.
A toddler – optional.
12 deep muffin cases.
12 hole baking tray.
250g of salted butter.
250g of caster sugar.
220g of self raising flour.
1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract.
4 tbsp of milk.
blueberries – preferably fresh, but frozen would be fine id imagine – amount optional
mini marshmallows – amount optional
a few pinches of dark brown sugar

To start preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180 celcius. In your mixing bowl cream your butter until smooth, then beat in the sugar until fluffy and fully incorporated. Mind toddler fingers (!), if using, they like to dip and lick already. For the next stage I like to add 1 egg and 1/4 of the flour together and incorporate in batches, repeat until youve added all your eggs. After measure out your milk and vanilla and gently fold into the mixture. Add the desired amount of blueberries and marshmallow and set bowl to the side. Be quick here, if using optional toddler, they will take handfuls when your back is turned. Place each muffin case in the allocated slot for baking. Fill each one 3/4s full, allow a little space for a rise. WARNING – dont be a spoil sport, allow the toddler to get its head in the bowl and clean it for you! My daughter told me off for using all the mixture in all the cases and demanded some was put back into the bowl. Beggar! Sprinkle each cake with a pinch or 2 of dark brown sugar for a nice crunchy top and golden colour. Throw in the oven for between 30-40 minutes until risen and golden, or until cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes or so and enjoy with a nice cup of tea, I like earl grey with blueberry, lovely!

Hope youve enjoyed todays bake, I know we have. Try it, its beautiful. So beautiful infact they probably wont last very long at all, even in a household of 2 or 3. I might even suggest doubling the measurements for a household of over 4, they deserve it! Please feel free to follow, comment and share on..

Chocolate Oil Cake w/ A Cheeky Almond Addition

Nightmare! Open fridge, no butter.. Hate it when this happens. But my baking revolves round a strict budget, so when there’s no butter, I mean there is NO BUTTER.

I want to bake, there is a way around my butter free fridge. One word, oil. It is your friend. If you want a light fluffy cake. I’m talking, it feels like you have a cloud in your mouth (yes, a cloud!).

Chocolate Oil Cake & A Cheeky Almond Addition

20120114-144218.jpg

So I have a need to bake, I’m an addict. Today is this moist, fluffy chocolate cake. I’m making into cupcakes today, and adding ground almond to half the mixture for an added something. If you want to try this recipe follow as below, it’s the perfect treat for someone that cannot have diary, and it’s a delicious treat for anyone (they won’t even notice the missing egg, or butter – I promise).

You will need;

A wooden spoon.
A large mixing bowl.
A sieve.
12 hole muffin tray.
Weighing scales.
24 cupcake cases.
250g white sugar.
230g of plain flour.
3g baking powder.
3g bicarbonate of soda.
A pinch of salt.
40g cocoa powder.
280ml of water.
150ml of vegetable oil.
2tsp quality vanilla extract.
1.5tsp distilled vinegar.
Optional 100g of ground almond (to be added to remaining mixture, after 12 cupcakes produced)

Go ahead, rev that oven up. Gas mark 4/180 Celsius is best. Get your bowl ready and sieve all the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Measure and pour in all your wet ingredients and beat (I beat by hand when not using butter, but a mixer will do the same job). Don’t worry about the consistency, this is a runny mixture. Voila cake mix done! Arrange your cupcake case into their allocated slot in the tray. Fill each cake about half to 2/3s full to allow space for the rise. Bake for around 20-25 minutes until they spring back when touched and pull out onto a wire rack to cool. I only used half the mix for 12 cupcakes so for the last batch I added around 100g of ground almond to the remaining mixture and place as before in the cupcake tray. Your can add any topping to your finished cupcake. I’m undecided yet, so I’ll leave this to use. Be adventurous and let your creative juices flow. A vanilla buttercream would work well, although the cakes will no longer be dairy free.

Happy baking! Please come back soon for more recipes. Enjoy your cakes, and always be proud of your make. It’s too easy to stroll to the shop and pick up your favourite packet mix or ready made cake.