Mother’s Day cupcakes

Mother's Day cupcakesNow I know what you’re all thinking. “Mothers day was three Sundays ago you numpty”. Yup – guilty as charged! But hopefully you will still enjoy making these, and they are suitable for anytime really…

Overall the cupcakes went very well, with a nice fluffy inside, but still moist. The icing I made didn’t go too badly and the decorations I bought in Sainsbury’s were a big hit with my Mum (and her Mum!).

Half the icing was done nicely with a good shaper to shape it (my Mum did those!). However, when I started icing the other 6 with pink food colouring, it all started to go rather downhill. The first thing that went wrong was the shaper thing I used was too fine so it came out really slowly. Then just to add to my misery, the bag split as I iced the first one so it went everywhere!

Anyway, onto the recipe. Now this was my first ever time using a Cupcake Heaven magazine, and I must admit, I’ll definitely be going back for more. This is the Spring 2015 edition.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

175g unsalted butter

175g caster sugar

175g self-raising flour

3 large eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

225g unsalted butter

450g icing sugar

1tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract.) (TheBakerKid tip: don’t use anything else otherwise the food colouring will not produce the correct colour!)

pink food colouring gel

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12 muffin tin case with paper cupcakes.

Start making the cupcakes like any other ordinary cupcake, starting with the butter and caster sugar until creamy, followed by adding the eggs and vanilla extract. (TheBakerKid tip: If you have tried this recipe and are now doing it for a second time and didn’t particularly like this cupcake recipe, why not try making the Vanilla cupcake recipe that I’ve used before, but stick with the same buttercream icing!). Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and if you are to press lightly with your finger, will bounce back. Once done, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Sift the icing sugar (being careful not to spill it everywhere) in a separate bowl and slowly add to the creamy butter in two stages, alternating with the milk. Make sure you mix at a low speed. When fully incorporated, add the vanilla extract and beat for 3-5 minutes on a high speed.

Divide the buttercream icing equally into 2 separate bowls. Using a cocktail stick, add a little bit of pink food colouring and add to one of the bowls. Stir until the pink colouring is pink enough and there are no streaks of darker pink to be seen. Spoon the buttercream icing into a piping bag with a shaped nozzle that you decide using at the bottom. Pipe the plain white icing onto the first 6, then get a separate piping bag and using a different nozzle pipe the pink icing onto the other 6. Decorate with whatever edible decorations, et voila! You are done.

Please comment on how you get along (although you probably won’t bake them this year for Mothers Day, three weeks late!)

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Raspberry and white chocolate blondies

Raspberry and white chocolate blondieAs I have already explained in my ABOUT page, not all bakes work as well as I hope them to. Everyone has their good and bad days and I’m afraid this bake was in the category bad. I think that the taste of it was simply divine and all of the ingredients worked well together in this tray bake; however I undercooked it by about 10 minutes! Consequently I ended up with a few nice tasting outside pieces that had cooked enough and then the middle sections completely raw. Not one of my finest hours!

I do however, have a reason for it being under baked and that’s because the recipe (from the Lakeland summer 2012 magazine) didn’t tell me how big the tin needed to be. The size of the tin is crucial as I will explain in more detail in another post. Unfortunately for me on this occasion I think I got the size wrong but I know for the future.

I am still going to share with you the recipe but will also explain any modifications I make.

You will need

150g white chocolate, broken up
200g unsalted butter, diced
3 eggs
150g caster sugar (what it suggests) however I suggest about 125g because the white chocolate will be very sweet as well
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
200g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
150g fresh raspberries (although frozen ones will be fine as well just remember to defrost them!)

Oh and i almost forgot you will also need a tin. Now i used a 9 inch but it didn’t work very well so i suggest a ten inch but if i do it again and find a better size i will be sure to inform you

What to do

1)      Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the broken chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of steaming hot water and melt gently, stirring frequently. Remove bowl from the pan and set aside until next needed.

2)      Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat thoroughly until it is a mousse like texture.

3)      Whisk in the melted chocolate from earlier

4)      Sift the flour and baking powder directly onto the mixture and fold in. Stir in the finely chopped chocolate.

5)      Spoon in the prepared tin, spread evenly and level the surface. Scatter the fresh raspberries over the top.

6)      Bake for 25-30 minutes on until golden in colour and the skewer comes out clean

7)      Remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin before cutting and removing. Store in airtight container

Cranberry muffins with a cinnamon sugar topping

Cranberry muffinHi again, my lovely readers!

Today I’m going to talk to you about the muffins I made last weekend, but forgot to share with you! These cupcakes were very light, however in future I need to put a lot less cinnamon sugar topping because it was way too overpowering.

In order for you to try it yourself though, you’re going to need a recipe aren’t you? Well here it is. This recipe is from a booklet called My Baking Journal.

1 egg

100 ml milk
75g unsalted butter softened
150g self-raising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
100g caster sugar
75g frozen cranberries (or dried ones)

PLUS

2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pre heat oven to 180°C and put your muffin cases into the muffin tin. Alternatively you can grease 15 standard muffin cups. Put the egg and milk in a bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined, then beat in the butter. Sift together the flour and baking powder and fold into the butter mixture with the sugar. Mix until smooth but don’t over mix, as this will result in denser muffins. Gently fold in the cranberries. Divide the mixture into the cases- each should be half to ¾ full. (BakerKid tip: I used dried cranberries, which worked fine, although if I used them again I would soak them overnight, so they were plumped up and soft. They had a slight chewiness to them using them straight from the packet).

Mix together the topping ingredients (cinnamon and sugar in plus section above) and sprinkle over the muffins. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until firm to touch. Remove from the oven; allow to cool in the pans for 2-3 minutes before putting on a wire rack. Best eaten immediately or warm.

Part Two: Finishing off Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcakes, thebakerkid

Cupcakes – just out of the oven

So, they’ve come out of the oven now what?

Well, you can put pretty much anything inside vanilla cupcakes (that’s the joy of vanilla!) from jam to chocolate sauce to lemon curd, as well as decorating the top with icing. But don’t forget you have to cool them before you do anything, so after 5 minutes to rest in the baking tray transfer them to a non stick cooling wire.

Personally, I like adding raspberry jam dusting with icing sugar. But you might prefer something else…

Here are some pictures for my method:

I use a table knife usually to scoop out the middle. I did experiment with a special cupcake corer but I think I prefer just doing it by hand with a knife. I will share the results of using the corer in a post soon.
Take care not to put too much jam in – or the top won’t fit on. But also remember not to push the top back on too hard – I’ve made that mistake and it wasn’t pretty!
And the final result is finished with off with a dusting of icing sugar. I use a special sugar shaker, which I recommend you getting too – it’s a lot less messy, and easier to control how much comes out (well, within reason!)

Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes are perhaps the easiest things to bake, yet you can still go wrong. So I am going to run you through the basic steps to get it right.

First you must put the oven on to 180°C (or 160°C for fan assisted ovens) . Once you have done that you need to get a cupcake tin out and put 12 cupcake cases into each gap. Then, if you have one, get the mixer out and put the bowl onto some scales. If you don’t have a mixer then just get a medium sized bowl out and put it on the scales – but that does mean you have to do all the hard work by hand, or with an electric hand mixer. Personally, I have found making them in my Mum’s trusty Kenwood mixer produces the best results. I have also experimented with the mixer attachments to check out results – but we’ll come back to that at another time.

ingredients, margarine, cupcakes

Softened butter/margarine

I am going to share my favourite recipe for cupcakes, which is based on The Great British Bake Off How to Bake book.

creamed marg with sugar, cupcakes

Sugar mixed with marg/ butter

Put 125g of margarine or butter (I usually use marg and am happy with the results, as I find it less greasy)

Now add 175g of caster sugar and mix.

In a separate small bowl whisk 2 large eggs and ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix until combined before adding in sections to the dry mixture.

Now, in a separate bowl, sift 175g self-raising flour (and if you want a pinch of salt too!) into the bowl. Then add 1/3 of the flour into the mixture. After mixing in the flour so you cannot see it any more, (TheBakerKid tip: Do not mix flour into the mixture quickly because otherwise you will knock all the air out of the mixture causing it to become heavy – which you don’t want!), then add a tablespoon of milk.

Once you’ve done that repeat the process, twice more, adding a third of the flour at a time.

You should by now have put all of the flour into the mixture and 3 tablespoons of milk.  Once you are happy you have added all the ingredients, then you can put the mixture into the cases. (If you are a child, I advise you to get help from your mum or dad!). Once all the cupcake cases have mixture in them you need to even them all out so that they are all the same size before putting them in the oven – again get help here to avoid getting burnt.

Bake for 18 minutes before checking to see if they are cooked properly. Cooking time does vary dependent on the type of oven you have. We have a fan assisted oven which tends to be pretty hot, so I tend to cook a bit cooler and for slightly less time. You will need to test this out for your oven to get the best results.

To test if they are done or not, lightly press your finger on it and take it back off again. If it springs back then they are done. If not then they need to go back in the oven for, at max, another 5 minutes, but check after 2 minutes – you don’t want them to overcook.

In the next post I am going to cover what I do to finish off the cupcakes ready for eating!