Lots of Little Cupcakes!

My regular posts on this blog have gone AWOL but I assure you that there has still been lots of baking going on when possible πŸ™‚ I have been so obsessed with mini cupcakes lately! Instead of a recipe I’ll just explain them because there are so many….!

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These babies above are plain vanilla with vanilla buttercream that I spread on lazily with a knife and sprinkled with confetti, and below are some chocolate ones with piped chocolate buttercream πŸ™‚ It’s the same batch but I added cocoa to half the mixture.

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The cuties above had some lemon zest and juice added to plain vanilla batter and I piped some buttercream flavoured with zest and juice on top, with a slice of more lemon zest.

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I got a bit extravagant when I photographed these ones and added some MAC… why not?! They are plan vanilla with soaked some Monin rose syrup and then some piped Rose Monin-flavoured buttercream and a dried rose petal.

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These ones are just vanilla cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream and a cute pink jellybean on top. And below are a cute mix of them!

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These ones weren’t as pretty as I expected 😦 But hey, they are all chocolate flavoured! I found those white chocolate disks with sprinkles on top at a pick’n’mix in a store close to where I work and I had to use them somehow….!

Anyway, that’s a small update on my baking adventures lately, I promise I have some recipes coming soon!

Happy Easter and happy baking!

Finally, Maca-‘rights’! Belgium Biscuit Macarons

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After years of attempts. Only a handful of attempts, but over the years it took to regain confidence to try again. I’ve never been able to get them off the baking paper. Only once had they made perfect ‘feet’. Only once had they not been hollow. Until a few days ago!

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I did have to put them back in the oven, but that’s what Adriano Zumbo said to do, so… although he did say to use the Italian meringue method, which I didn’t. (shhhhh).

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I went for pink shells to match my pink bowl. It was plastic, and I HATE whipping egg whites in plastic bowls, it almost gives me anxiety, but it was that or a saucepan…..

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Belgium Biscuits are a traditional kiwi afternoon tea treat, with cinnamon-y spiced biscuits and a jam filling. Here, I made the buttercream with the spices and still filled the shells with jam. And painted them too πŸ™‚

 

 

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Belgium Biscuits Macarons
Make these babies and tint them pink:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/macaron-french-macaroon/

Then fill with buttercream:
Whip 50g butter with 1 cup icing sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. Pipe circles on the bottom of half of the shells and dollop some jam in the middle, then place on the top shell.

You can paint them with some red food colouring if you like. This made about 25 macarons πŸ™‚

More recipes to come with my second successful attempt! πŸ˜€

Have a great week!
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Cinnamon Cookies Two Ways: Belgium or Chocolate-Chai Sandwich Cookies

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I love sandwich cookies. You can do so much with them. So many flavours. Maybe that’s why I love macarons…. on that note, if you can make macarons, I salute you. In my eyes, you are a kitchen master.

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Chocolate-chai may seem like an interesting combination, but it’s glorious. You may have tried ‘dirty-chai’ which is chai with coffee, and I will go a step further to say that chocolate-coffee-chai would probably taste great too… Looks like that’s a new project πŸ™‚

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You could easily use these cookies without any filling but why would you not add butter and sugar if you have the time? As long as you are allowed to eat those things, full respect if you can’t πŸ™‚

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Cinnamon Cookies Two Ways
Ingredients:
Cookies:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
100g butter
1 (huge) Tbsp honey, melted
Dash of milk
Icing:
50g butter
1 cup icing sugar
For chocolate-chai option:
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Pinch cardamom
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch black pepper
Dash milk
For the Belgium biscuit option:
Vanilla essence
Pink food colouring
Raspberry jam

Instructions:
Mix together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and coconut sugar until combined. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs. In another bowl, whisk the egg until broken up, then whisk in the honey. Add the egg-honey mix into the dry mixture and knead to combine gently, adding some milk if needed to bring the dough together. Knead very lightly then flatten into a disk and chill for about 10 minutes, until roll-able.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays. (Or just grease them if you are lazy)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 3-4mm thick. Cut out into rounds using your desired cutter (mine was 4cm dimeter fluted circle cutter). Transfer to the trays and bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden and the cookies move when budged slightly. Cool on a wire rack. Depending on the size of your tray, you make have to bake them in batches.

For the icing, you have two courses of action! Both begin with softening the butter and beating the icing sugar until super light and fluffy.
For the chocolate-chai version, add the spices and NOT the cocoa to the icing and mix. Spoon half into a piping bag and pipe into the center of HALF of the cookies, on the not-so-pretty undersides. Don’t pipe right to the edges; that comes now. Add the cocoa to the rest of the icing and pipe the chocolate-chai around the edges, being pretty if you like. Now top with another cookie to complete the sandwich.
For the Belgium biscuit version, divide the icing in half. Add the vanilla to one half and the pink food colouring (tinted to your desire) to the other half. Spoon each colour into a piping bag and on the bottom half of a cookie, pipe alternating dots of icing around the edge. Fill the centre with jam and sandwich another cookie on top.

Makes about 40 cookies all up, and they last well for a few days πŸ™‚


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Have the most wonderful week everyone! πŸ™‚ xx

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Pre-sandwich-ing!

Strawberry Banana Ring Cake with Lemon Frosting

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‘C’ for cake! Also for ‘couldn’t help myself’ as, as you can see, I took a slice of the cake before it was even frosting. Sorry about that.

‘C’ could also stand for ‘confused’ as I forgot to put oil in this cake, but it still turned out really nicely. If you are game, then I would add about 1/2 a cup of olive oil and slightly less water.

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At least the icing is absolutely delicious. It’s quite cool to decorate a cake this way, because you can drape and decorate with almost anything that links to the flavours. Banana chips, fresh strawberries, lemon slices, mint leaves, candied lemon peel, freeze-dried berries…. the list could go on! Here is the recipe, and I hope you have a lovely week πŸ™‚

Banana, Lemon and Strawberry Ring Cake
Ingredients:
Cake:
2&1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Zest of one lemon
3 bananas, mashed
1 punnet/cup strawberries (give or take)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
250mls+ water
Frosting:
75g butter, softened
Zest of one lemon
1 cup+ icing sugar
To decorate:
Geranium leaves/edible flower petals
Kaffir lime leaves
Lemon Zest

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a ring/Bundt tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest until combined.

Blitz the strawberries until smooth, and mix in a bowl with the bananas, eggs and vanilla essence. Mix VERY gently into the dry ingredients along with the water, until the batter is smooth. If the mixture is too thick, then add a bit more water.

Pour into the tin and bake for an hour, until the a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tin for about 20 mins, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

When cool, beat together the butter, lemon zest and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Spread on top of the cake, then decorate with edible flowers, leaves, lemon zest and maybe some more strawberries.

Makes quite a large cake, and lasts well about 3 days.

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Easy Chocolate and Blueberry Birthday Cake (August Birthday Cake #2!)

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Admittedly this was from a while back, but why not use the whole month to celebrate the wonderful food that is birthday cake! I don’t know if you have a favourite thing to bake, but birthday cake is mine πŸ™‚

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Baking just does that, it makes you smile on the inside. While you’re baking AND eating your creations! Of course we do have the odd moment of testing (making macarons the other day -_-) but we still hang in there πŸ™‚
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In the background there, you can see a lovely cheesecake a friend of mine made (she forgot to put the sugar in but I think it tasted perfect! Don’t you love it when things work out?
For some reason I always seem to make different cakes of the same flavour, so I have another more impressive blueberry-chocolate cake to post sometime soon πŸ™‚ In the mean time, here is the recipe!

Easy Blueberry and Chocolate Birthday Cake
Ingredients:
Cake:
300g flour
200g sugar
2 tsp baking soda
40g cocoa
150mls natural oil
3 Tbsp white vinegar
400mls water
Frosting/Filling:
120g frozen blueberries
85g butter
250g icing sugar
To top:
150g dark chocolate

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two 20 cm diameter cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa together. Make a well and pour in the oil and vinegar. Then pour in the water, making a big mess and mix until smooth. Pour one half into each tin and bake for 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tins for about half an hour then unmould and cool on wire racks (you could cool completely in the tin if you can’t be bothered).

Meanwhile, to get the coulis done, put the berries into a saucepan and simmer for about half an hour until thick, juicy and cooked through. Chill completely then whiz then up in a blender or pass then through a fine sieve.

For the frosting, soften the butter and whip, then add the sugar in a bit at a time. Beat until thick and soft, then add the blueberry mixture a little at a time, until you have the right shade/ flavour. Any that is leftover can be used to fill the cake.

To assemble, place the bottom layer of the cake onto the serving plate. Spread half the frosting onto it and also spread any leftover coulis on top. Place in the final layer and slather on the rest of that delicious frosting. Yum!

To serve as I did, melt the chocolate and pour it on top. Now is the time to put in some candles if you are presenting it as a birthday cake, otherwise just dig in.

Makes enough for about 12 people, and I’m sorry but I don’t know how longs it lasts as it only was around for ten minutes after the candles were blown out.

I can tell you however that the cakes uniced last well for a few days and you can easily frost/fill the cake up to 12 hours in advance!

Until next time πŸ™‚

Sami xx

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Lemon & Blueberry Pansy Love Cake

 

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Summer can be so glorious! And nature as well, all that is needed to decorate this cake is some wonderful pansies and then all the flowers do the colour co-ordinating for you πŸ™‚

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IΒ had some leftover crytallised pansies from a pavlova I made (which I just realised I haven’t posted yet!) and wanted to use them on a cake. It worked out better than I had expected, and matched the heavenly blueberry and lemon flavours inside.

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The cake itself is actually vegan, so you could exchange the butter in the frosting for a vegan alternative, and use fresh flowers perhaps! Either way, it is pretty delicious. If you have some different edible flowers to use, or some different jam, go ahead and use that!

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Lemon & Blueberry Pansy Love Cake
Ingredients:
Cake:
225g flour
150g sugar
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 T vinegar
7 T oil
zest of 3 lemons
Β½ cup juice
Β½ cup water
Icing:
100g butter
Zest and juice of a lemon
230g icing sugar
To fill:
Blueberry Jam to fill (half a cup?)
Plus:
Crystallised pansies to decorate

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two 20cm diameter cake tins (if they don’t have removable bottoms then you can just grease them.
Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Make two wells in the mixture and pour the oil into one and the vinegar into the other. In another bowl, combine the zest, juice and water, then pour it all over the other ingredients. Mix until there are no more lumps. Pour half into each cake tin and bake for 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tins.
When ready to ice and assemble, make the frosting. Soften the butter and whip until pale. Add the lemon juice, zest and half the icing sugar and combine. Add the rest of the icing sugar and whip until light and fluffy.
Place the bottom layer of the cake onto the serving plate and spread a thin layer of frosting on top. Now spread on the blueberry jam. Arrange the top layer of cake on top. Ice the cake on top and down the sides. Now arrange the crystallised pansies around on the sides and you are done!
You can ice quite a few hours before assembling. Serves 10.

Enjoy everyone!

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