moist

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

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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.

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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.

Rose & Vanilla Triple Layer Cake

If you have an occasion coming up this is a amazing cake to turn up with. Today Im spending all day in the kitchen to produce a knock out cake for my daughters 3rd birthday tomorrow. I was going to do a tortoise cupcake cake, no need to slice just pull an individual cupcake from the design, ingenius. She decided against that idea but instead opted for a pink cake, typical! Although I think to myself how boring, I came up with a cake that will taste sensual and will look fun. I decided on a 3 layer cake first off! Secondly I thought about flavours, rose popped into my head straight away, I’d been waiting to use it since new year, this was my chance. Finally! So Rose, got that, but what else? How about a different flavour, I instantly thought of a vanilla layer centered in the middle of the 3 layers. Beautiful. So 3 layers consisting of rose flavoured ‘pink’ sponge on top and bottom, with a layer of vanilla sponge in the middle, but what about icing? Vanilla icing? Rose Icing? Possibly even Raspberry? I opted for a pink tinted vanilla buttercream, decoration hit me straight away. Flumps, the barratts marshmallow twists (unsure of their availability in the US or worldwide but they are definitely still avialable in the UK) they are the perfect colour to dress my cake. Topped with pink and white pearls. We should of had glitter too but it was unavailable in my supermarket much to my disappointment.

Im excited for this cake, I am sure its going to look and taste amazing. Votes in tomorrow. If you have an upcoming occasion why not come back and try this recipe. Its adapted by myself from various flavoured sponge cakes across the web, as with most of my recipes unless stated. Would make the perfect alternative wedding cake with its delicate rose flavouring and scent (I hope).

Rose & Vanilla Triple Layer Cake

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You will need;

Basis-
400g of unsalted butter.
400g of caster sugar (Once again I use half brown half white)
400g self rasising flour.
8 medium eggs.
2tsp of baking powder.

Vanilla sponge-
1.5tsp of high quality vanilla extract.
2tbsp of milk.

Rose sponge-
3-4tsp of rose syrup (available in the world food section of large supermarkets)
0.5-1tsp of red food colouring (depending on the depth of colour you wish to achieve)
1tbsp of milk.

Vanilla buttercream-
650g icing sugar
200g butter
.05tsp red food colouring
1tsp vanilla extract
3tbsp milk

Tools-
17inch cake tin with loose bottom.
Wooden spoon.
2 large bowls.
Measuring spoon.
Weighing scales.
Electric mixer.
Baking Paper.

To start, preheat oven to gas mark 4/180 celcius. Cream butter (at room temperature) and sugar together until fluffy, then your going to add 2 eggs with 100g of flour each time until incorporated into the mixture, with the last 100g of flour add the baking powder and blitz. At this point I removed 1/3 of the mixture into a separate bowl. Into the 1/3 of the mixture I added the ‘vanilla ingriedients’ as listed under vanilla sponge until incorporated. Now go back to the bowl containing the 2/3 mixture and add the ‘rose ingriedients’ as above until incorporated fully. I’m using one cake tin for this, so I’m cooking in 3 seperate batches but you dont need to do this if you have 3 of the same tin. Wet the inside of the tin slightly to help the baking paper stick neater, you want it sitting as flat to the sides and bottom as possible. Fill each with 1/3 of the mixtures and bake for 25-30 minutes (rose cake will need up to 50 minutes) until a cake tester comes out clean or when touched the sponge springs back. While the cake is baking get started on your buttercream (feel free to use the provided recipe, or your go to buttercream) all you need to do for this is mix butter and icing sugar and your chosen flavour until you form a thick paste suitable for spreading. Your going to need a lot to cover the whole cake outside and between each layer so be prepared. After each cake comes out leave to cool on a wire rack until completely cooled then remove the baking paper and place on the surface you will be using to carry the cake. It will be quite hard to move from one surface to another after iced and decorated. I want to achieve the flattest ‘stack’ with the cakes so I start with one rose top down, then vanilla top down, finally the other rose top down. With a layer of your buttercream between each. Each layer of buttercream should just overflow a little, you then need to start to cover the whole cake (there are good tutorials for this on youtube if you havent done this before), when finished decorate with whatever you wish, its entirely upto you at this stage.

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Update: Cake was amazing, cut beautifully and the rose was lovely and delicate. Winner all round, definitely worth a try. Just disappointed I didn’t decorate it different now, oh well, next time.