cupcakes

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.