Monday, 29 November 2010

The first of many Mince pies.

This week I started on what will undoubtedly be the first of many mince pies to be made over Christmas. My idea was that I'd be very organised, get a head start, make loads of mince pies and then freeze some so at any opportune moment over the holiday I could get some out the freezer and they would be ready! Well that was the plan any way, but like most of my plans to be organised it went straight out the window just a day after the Mince pies were baked.
This is because there's now just 2 left out of about 30 pies. I made the mistake of putting them near the boyfriend and taking some to work, so now I have to stock up on more ingredients and start again on my Christmas batches.

Any way here they are:
 Now one thing I've always believed is that you don't need allot of fancy equipment to bake, I mean they did without it years ago right? And for someone who loves to bake I have very little equipment. I didn't have a cookie cutter to cut the discs for these pies which wasn't an issue as I simply used the rim of an appropriately sized glass instead.

Now to make these mince pies I just used store bought mince meat as I believe that you can get some really tasty and good value mincemeat in the supermarkets that it really isn't worth the money effort making my own, Maybe I need to taste some homemade mincemeat to be convinced otherwise but until then I'll buy mine.

I simply made up a basic pastry recipe, cut out 24 discs then greased a shallow cupcake dish and placed 12 of the discs in. I then filled each with a teaspoon full of mincemeat and brushed around the edge with beaten egg before placing another disc on top. Then I crimped the edges of the pie together with a fork and brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkled a bit of granulated sugar on top. I baked these in the oven for about 20 mins at 180 deg C or until the pastry was golden brown. Then once cool I dusted the pies with icing sugar.

For my pastry I used

260g Plain flour
110g Butter

Rub these together until you have a sandy consistency then add a table spoon of water and then blend together. Repeat this until you have a smooth dough being careful not to add to much water. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest for an hour before rolling on a floured surface.

And that's it!

Just a simple one for today but they're something that I end up making like a factory production line this time of the year as they go so fast. So fast in fact that boyfriend could wait a couple of minutes when the first batch came out the oven and ended up with a burnt chin from molten hot mincemeat. So remember they are tempting but leave them to cool! hehe!

Bye for now

Cupcake kris. xx

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Lemon Drizzle Loaf

It seems to me I have been making a lot of citrus flavoured treats of late, well a lot for me any way. I have surprised myself as I've always really been an avid devotee towards chocolate. But again this week I found myself zesting a juicing lemons like it was second nature.

The main reason I went for Lemon Drizzle this week is because there was yet another Charity bake sale at work, this time for Children in need. I'd usually make a carrot cake or something similar, but with it being just a week before pay day I needed a cake that the ingredients for would be pretty cheap. So of to tesco I went and came back with the ingredients for a Lemon drizzle cake. (Oh and 24 Peanut butter cookies which I also made for the sale - Recipe for these featured in an earlier blog.)

And here's the Lemon Drizzle Loaf:

 You can see the little bits of crystallized lemon zest over the top.

And here's how it's made:
(Recipe slightly adapted from the Hummingbird bakery recipe)

320g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
350g Plain Flour
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
250ml Milk
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
200g Unsalted Butter, Melted
Juice of half Lemon

For the Lemon Syrup

Juice of 1 1/2 Lemons
Zest of 1 Lemon
75g Caster Sugar
100ml Water

You will need: 23x 13 (or approx 2lb) loaf tin

Preheat oven to 170 deg C. Put the sugar eggs and lemon zest in a bowl and beat until well mixed. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder and mix together. In a jug mix together the milk and vanilla extract. Add one third of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat well, then beat in one third of the milk mix. Repeat this twice until all ingredients are combined. Add the lemon juice and beat all the ingredients together (on a high speed if using an electric mixer) until light and fluffy.
Pour in the melted butter and beat until well combined. 
Pour the mixture into a loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour 15 until golden brown and the sponges springs back when touched.

While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice, zest, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat. Raise the heat and boil until it has reduced by half or until you have a thin syrupy consistency.
When the hot cake comes out of the oven leave to cool slightly in the pan and then turn onto a wire rack, Place this in or over the sink. (this is to catch any drips from the syrup)  Prick the cake all over to make small holes for some syrup to soak into, and I found a great tip from watching Nigella Lawson that the perfect thing to do this with is a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Then pour the syrup all over the top and the excess syrup will run down over the edges into the sink. And that's it. It's a great afternoon tea cake.

See all the syrupy lines down the side of the cake.

That's it

Have fun baking

Cupcake Kris

Monday, 22 November 2010

Pink lemonade cupcakes

Hi folks, hope you all had a good weekend! I'm so glad that my blog is getting more and more views as it goes on and I've passed way over 500 views so far in the short time I've been writing it, but before today's recipe I have a favour, please suggest my blog to people, because who doesn't like cakes!

Any way this weekend I had to bake some cupcakes (as usual!) I originally was going to bake vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with pink icing however I really wanted to do something different and a bit more fun so I decided to make the cakes themselves pink and go for a pink lemonade flavour cupcake with a lemonade butter cream.

There were loads of recipes online for Pink Lemonade cakes that all used a frozen pink lemonade concentrate that doesn't seem to be on sale in the UK so I sort of made this one up as I went along and they worked out really well considering. They also went well with the Chocolate cupcakes I made with them as the Lemonade ones were really refreshing. I got the pale pink colour with some red food colouring but you could just leave them plain.

Here they are:

And inside:

And here's how I made them:

120g Plain Flour
140g Caster Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
40g Unsalted Butter
50ml Milk
60ml Lemonade (Use pink lemonade if you can get it but normal will do fine)
1 Egg
1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
Zest of 1 small lemon
Juice of 1 small lemon
Red food colouring.

Preheat the oven to 170 deg C
Mix together in a bowl the Flour, Caster sugar and Baking Powder, then rub in the butter or mix with an electric hand whisk until you have a sandy consistency.
Then mix in the lemon zest. In a jug whisk together the milk, vanilla and egg and add to the mix and stir until combined.
Then add the lemon juice and lemonade then beat the mix until smooth then add the food colouring a couple of drops at a time whilst stirring until you get the pink colour you want, I went for a very pale pink so I didn't over do it with food colour.
spoon the mix into paper cases 2/3 full and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 Minutes or until when a skewer inserted into a cake comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake these as you will loose the pink colour on top if the cake browns.

For the Icing 
250g Icing Sugar
80g Unsalted Butter
Zest of 1 small lemon
25ml Lemonade

Beat all the ingredients together until smooth and firm, do not over mix. Pipe over cupcakes.

And that's it! Here they are along with the Chocolate cupcakes I made which were pretty much the same as last weeks.

Ok that's it for today

Keep baking

Cupcake Kris


Cupcake on FoodistaCupcake

Friday, 19 November 2010

Chocolate and Ammaretto cupcakes and Christmassy beginings!

I'm feeling in a very Christmassy mood today! I left work early and had a little wander around the town centre and saw so many decorations and good ideas for presents which put me in such a good mood as I love Christmas! (Is it too early to put up my tree?)

And being in a Christmassy mood its got me thinking of all the things I want to bake over the next couple of months and no doubt they will involve allot of Christmassy ingredients so I best stock up on Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and dried fruit etc. I'm already licking my lips at the thought of all the mince pies, gingerbread men and fruit cake I will no doubt make to many off. I'm also thinking about snow men cake pops and about making a gingerbread house as I made a huge one a few years back (complete with boiled sweet stained glass windows) It was a big project but looked great finished. It almost makes me feel the season should be longer to allow for more baking! The food is definitely my favourite part of Christmas.
Let me know what your favourite Christmas treat is, give me some ideas. 

Any way so enough of me getting carried away with Christmas cheer, this week I've been baking more cupcakes. Chocolate and Amaretto cupcakes to be exact. I've been meaning to use Amaretto in a cupcake for a while but I have to admit, these ones came about by accident. Boyfriend sudenly decided late one night that he needed cake and I was in the mood to bake (as usual) so before checking all my ingredients I hurriedly threw together all the dry ingredients before realising I was out of milk, at which point I improvised! And here they are!
I apologise for the really bad pic! I know it just looks like a Chocolate cupcake and this is why we really need smellovision so you can smell the Amaretto hehe!

If I would have planned this cake more ahead I definitely would have made the butter cream better and probably topped it with crushed Amaretti biscuits!

Here's how they're made:

Makes 12.
120g Plain flour
25g Cocoa Powder
150g Caster Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
50g Unsalted Butter
2 Eggs
big glug of Amaretto (About 100ml or until you have a nice consistency)
Few drops of Vanilla extract
Few drops of Almond extract

Preheat the oven to 170 deg . Mix all the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter until you have a sandy consistency.
Whisk the Eggs, Vanilla and almond together in a jug and pour about into the dry mix and beat to combine.Then add the Amaretto gradually until the mixture is smooth, free of lumps and off a good consistency.
Spoon the mixture into paper cases two thirds full and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

For the Amaretto butter cream.
250g Icing Sugar
80g Unsalted Butter
2-3 Tbs Milk
3-4 Tbs Amaretto

Blitz all ingredients together until you get the right consistency  - add more Icing sugar, and Amaretto as needed.

And that's it!
I have to make a few cupcakes for a Christening this weekend too so I've also been practicing getting the right colour pink butter cream. It looks more peach on the pic but it was more of a bubblegum pink, in fact it looked like I'd piped bubblegum right onto the cake.

That's it for now any way! Have a fun weekend and let me know if you bake any thing yummy!

Bye for now
Cupcake Kris 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Banana French toast cupcakes.

It's been a busy week for me and I've been meaning to blog for a few days now but I've been away to the countryside, Where I was super excited to find a cupcake cafe on my travels (I just had to go in) It was Boyfriends birthday, I made Rocky road with my friend and her daughter then yesterday I made Banana French toast cupcakes.

I was browsing through a few of my favourite baking blogs the other day looking for inspiration when I came across a recipe for Banana french toast cupcakes with Maple butter cream on bake and destroys website, and I just had to make them. I love french toast, I love banana and I love maple syrup so I thought what's not to like. Plus they reminded me of another of my favourite deserts which is French donut toast with maple syrup.

The recipe on the site was a vegan recipe (which I un-veganed by using cows milk) so I was a little weary at first as I've never made a cupcake like that before but they worked out perfect, really airy and still moist. The butter cream however is definitely not vegan.

Anyway here they are: 

And here's how their made:
Recipe via Bake and Destroy

As the recipe was American the measurements are in cups, I had never measured like this before so just figured I use a normal cup and fill however much they say, and it worked fine.

1/2 cup mashed over ripe banana
1 & 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup of canola oil (They don't really sell this over here so I used sunflower oil)
2/3 cup of milk (soy or rice if making vegan)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
(Their recipe also called for 1/2 cup of chopped toasted walnuts but I left these out as I'm not a fan of walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C, and line a cupcake pan with liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix well.
In another bowl whisk together the oil, milk, vanilla almond and banana, then stir this mix into the dry ingredients until all the ingredients are combined. (If adding walnuts fold these in now)
Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 20- 22 mins or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan for ten minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

And that's it for the cakes now onto the maple butter cream:

2 cups of icing sugar 
3/4 Cup of unsalted butter
2 1/2 tbsp of Maple syrup
few drops of milk (added a drop at a time until I got the right consistency)

Whip everything together then pipe generously on the cakes. I then sprinkled my cakes with crushed ginger biscuit.

And that's it, Nom nom nom!

I mentioned before about making Rocky road with my friend and her little girl well here that is too:

 I think Rocky road is the perfect thing to make with little kids as it requires no baking so you don't have to worry about hot ovens. So while I melted 400g of milk chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water my friend Nickie helped Alicia throw a big handful of mini marsh mellows into a bowl, followed by a big handful of raisins, some crushed up digestive biscuit a chopped up mars bar, some rice crispies and some chopped glace cherries. Then we poured in the melted chocolate, gave it all a big stir and poured it into a brownie tray lined with greaseproof paper, Alicia then decorated it with pretty sprinkles and we left it to set in the fridge. Then we gobbled it all hehehe!

So that's all for this week, but just before I go look at the super cute hair clip that Boyfriend bought me!

It's a cupcake! super cute huh!

Bye for now!

Cupcake Kris

Monday, 1 November 2010

Spiced raisin bunt cake.

Hi! I spent all of this Saturday morning baking ice cream cone cakes and cake pops for another party so after all that, practicing with biscuit icings, baking bread and making a roast dinner I really didn't plan to bake anything else this weekend but on Sunday night and with few ingredients I found I couldn't help myself.
So I raided the cupboards and found some leftover raisins a quarter a pack of muscovado sugar, got together some spices and threw it all in with some basic ingredients. And it turned out really nice, Boyfriend certainly enjoyed eating about half the cake hehehe. The spices and raisins made it warming and perfect for this time of year, I ate my piece warm and think it would be really nice with custard too.
It's a really easy one so I'd definitely recommend giving this a go. 
Here it is:

And here's how it's made: (note I'm making an educated guess as to how much spices i used as I didn't measure but just kept tasting the batter and adding more depending on my taste, I suggest you do the same)

200g Self raising flour
200g Butter, softened
100g Caster Sugar
100g Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 eggs
2 handfuls of raisins (ok I know this isn't a precise measure however you can add as little or as many as you like)
1 tbsp Cinnamon 
1 tbsp Mixed spice
1/2 tbsp Ginger

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C 
Put the butter, flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until you get a sandy consistency then add the sugars and eggs and beat with an electric whisk until you have a smooth batter.
Add the raisins  and spices and stir until evenly distributed within the batter (At this point I then tasted the batter and added a bit more spice depending on taste)
Grease a bunt cake tin (or just an ordinary cake or loaf tin if you prefer) and pour in the batter.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and turn onto a wire rack to cool.

And there you go! really easy and just a few ingredients. As I said I think it's best warm and would be really yummy served with custard. I also think If you have more ingredients you could be really creative with this, throwing in all sorts of dried fruit, orange zest, liqueurs etc but I like it just how it is, simple and tasty.

Before I go I'll show you my attempts at biscuit icing I mentioned. I've been practicing with flooding icing and once I've gotten better I'll make sure I make a batch and blog about it but for now here's my first attempt.
  Yes that is my fingerprint at the bottom having squished the icing before it set!

Also here's the party cakes I mentioned I make this weekend. There were cake pops

As well as ice cream cone cakes and as it was Halloween I made some with orange icing and topped each one with a spider, bat or pumpkin shaped jelly sweet.

So that was my weekend, It's boyfriends birthday this week too so I 'll have to me making something for that too or he'll feel left out hehehe.

So bye for now, get baking and let me know what you make.
Cupcake Kris