Smarties Surprise Cupcakes!

Smarties cupcakesSURPRISE! 🙂

I’m posting these little beauties to make up for the fact that I have been away for so long…*sob*…….although, please don’t feel too sorry for me, I have been on my holidays! 🙂

After copious amounts of sunshine and frolicking in the warm waters of Israel and the not so warm waters of the Isle of Wight, we came back to a beautifully warm Leeds (for nearly 2 weeks!!) which was amazing but also meant that it was just too hot to bake in our tiny one-bedroomed shoe box that we call our home!

This week the weather has cooled and I have been able to get my bake on once again, it makes me happy 🙂

These are incredibly chocolatey, they feel like a really indulgent treat…definitely the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made – I will undoubtedly be sticking with this recipe! It’s a Hummingbird one, so not to be sniffed at!

The trick with these is to add the smarties only an hour or so before serving. As the cupcakes are so rich and moist, adding the smarties any earlier will mean they go soft and start to lose their colour, especially after they have been iced.

See below for ingredients and recipe and enjoy 🙂 Let me know what you think! 🙂

Smarties cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:

100g Plain flour
20g Cocoa powder
140g Caster sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
A pinch of salt
40g Unsalted butter (at room temp)
120ml Whole milk
1 Egg
1/4 Tsp Vanilla extract

For the Cupcake topping:

100g Good quality dark chocolate
100g Good quality milk chocolate
225g Unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 Tbsp Whole milk
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
250g Icing sugar (sifted)
2 packets of smarties

Recipe:
(Makes 6 using a muffin tray) 

1. Preheat your oven to 170c (325f) Gas 3

2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in to your stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a big enough bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug and then slowly pour the about half in to the flour mixture. Beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high for a few minute to beat out any lumps

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4. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Continue mixing for a few more minutes until the mixture is smooth

Top tip: Don’t over beat the mixture, it will result in a too heavy sponge

5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases in your muffin tray until 2/3rds full and bake for 20-25 minutes

Top tip: Sometimes it can take slightly longer, keep checking every couple of mins after 20minutes. A skewer interred in the centre should come out clean

6. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the muffin tray for around 15 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool

7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir every couple of minutes until you have a smooth, rich consistency. Leave to cool slightly

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8. In a separate, large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract & icing sugar until smooth – this can take several minutes using an electric hand mixer

9. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy – if it looks too runny, simply keep beating until you reach a suitable consistency

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10. Using a sharp knife, cut a hole out of the middle of each cupcake, in an inverted cone type way

11. Pour in the smarties in to the holes of each cupcake and ice however you wish!

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Smarties cupcakes

Enjoy!

Love S & P xx

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Birthday Cupcakes for a Birthday Girl

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/11588343/?claim=tzb8a42rj58″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a> IMG_2990Well……the last 2 weeks have been busy to say the least! I’ve just finished Jury service which was quite an experience! Absolutely exhausting (and freezing cold!!) but definitely not boring….!

You wouldn’t believe it but I’ve actually done loads of baking of the past 2 weeks…..and I didn’t photograph any of it!! Why? No idea….

I did however get asked by a lovely work colleague to make 36 cupcakes for her daughters 13th birthday party! Naturally I happily obliged and set to work on a bit of a brief….which is exactly what it was! The birthday girl wanted 18 vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing and 18 vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing…..that’s pretty simple then!

I wanted to girly them up a little as I was aware that the birthday girl was indeed a ‘girly girl’. With this in mind I settled on using edible glitter in 2 different colours and using an edible paint in pink to paint the ’13’s’ I would be using as decoration on the cakes.

(Click on the smaller picture of the vanilla cupcake on the right hand side below – looks better when you see it close up!)

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I cut the number 13’s out of white icing 4 days before they were needed in order to let them dry and stiffen and 2 days before the party, I painstakingly painted each number pink!  It took me over an hour to do but I was really happy with the result!

No recipe here as this was just my standard vanilla cupcake recipe but I was so pleased with the results that I wanted to share them with you 🙂

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Its difficult to tell from the snaps (phone camera – sorry!) but there is a ton of glitter on these babies! I also used my
newest piping nozzle – I already know that I shouldn’t love it quite as much as I do!!! 

Thanks,

S & P x

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Queen of Hearts ♥

IMG_2832This week I really just wanted to have a bit of fun with my baking – I wanted to do something different and have a little play around! 🙂

I decided on these scrummy treats, partly because I love Jammy Dodgers and partly because its the run up to Valentine’s Day! Even if you don’t have love for Valentine’s day itself, you still have love for Jammy Dodger’s, right?!

 

With these, I especially love how the jammy dodgers look at the bottom of the muffin cases when they come out of the oven 🙂

These cupcakes are pretty much cup-muffins, huge and very very sweet, not for the faint hearted! They look pretty though and will (hopefully) impress your friends and family 🙂 Give them a whirl and let me know what you think!

So….here’s the heads up – some bits worked, some bits need…..a little improvement! I’m ok with this, as the saying goes – we learn from our mistakes! I was really happy with the cakes in general but when it came to the icing it was far too soft! Forgot the golden rule of not adding too much ‘liquid’ and so completely threw the mixture off when I added the jam in one go!

I managed to sort of save it and later found this really helpful hints and tips website for thickening different types of icing….

Anyway, to the recipe!

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

18 Muffin cases
110g unsalted butter – at room temp
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
120ml semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Full sized Jammy Dodgers

For the topping:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
60ml of semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 tsp of vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
200g raspberry jam
Mini Jammy Dodgers (for decoration)

Recipe:

1. Place a jammy dodger ‘heart down’ in to the bottom of each of the muffin cases.

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2.
 Preheat your oven to 180c or 160c (fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tray with the jammy dodger filled muffin cases.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes between each one.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the self raising and plain flour and put the milk in a jug with the vanilla essence.

6. Add 1/3 of the flours to the butter and sugar mixture, beat well. Add in 1/3 of the milk to the mixture and beat again. Repeat until all flour and milk have been added.

7. Carefully spoon the mixture in to the muffin cases – making sure they are about 2/3rd’s full.

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8. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer should come out clean after being inserted in to the middle of each cake.

9. Remove from oven and leave cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.

10. Once the cakes have cooled – use a shaped cake plunge, or a knife to cut a small hole in to the middle of your cupcakes. I used a heart shaped one.

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11. 
Fill the holes with strawberry jam

Tip: I find it easier to pipe the jam in – makes it a little neater! :)

12. Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.

Remember: Sift in the icing sugar

13. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

14. Gradually add in the 200g of raspberry jam

Tip: This is definitely where I went wrong – try adding the jam in a tablespoon at a time….you will soon know if you have the right consistency. It needs to be thick enough to pipe properly. Why not watch this video 🙂

15. Spoon the mixture in to a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes as desired.

16. Add a mini Jammy dodger to the top of your cakes and devour! 🙂

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Love S & P x

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Simple Engagement Cupcakes

IMG_2738Recently, two very lovely friends of mine, Kate & James got engaged! Congratulations!

During a lovely little family trip to Centre Parcs, James got down on one knee and popped the question in a beautifully fairy light lit part of the forest! Swoon! ❤

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We had the lovely pair over for dinner at ours on Saturday night and Dave cooked an amazing dinner. To start we had, Jamie Oliver’s Camembert stuffed with garlic and rosemary, followed by Tom Kerridge’s slow roast shoulder of lamb with boulangère potatoes and for dessert I had knocked up some cute engagement themed cupcakes!

I decided to keep it simple as we had so much rich, french food on the menu and I didn’t want to overwhelm our guests with mountains of food!

I stuck with my standard vanilla cupcake with strawberry jam in the centre – my new favourite cupcake addition – and a plain vanilla butter cream (from the Primrose Bakery book) before decorating with red icing hearts (that had been cut a good few hours before decoration to allow them to stiffen) and haribo ‘engagement’ rings!

I really wanted to cut the letters ‘J’ & ‘K’ out of black icing but couldn’t find my cutters 😦 Its one I will try next time though, think it would have added a bit more of a personal touch 🙂

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
120ml semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the topping:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
60ml of semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 tsp of vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
Haribo star mix
Red icing

Recipe:

1. Roll out your red icing and using a heart shaped cutter, cup out the required number of hearts needed for your cupcakes.

Tip: The longer you can leave the hearts to dry and stiffen, the better – preferably over night.

2. Preheat your oven to 160c and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes between each one.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the self raising and plain flour and put the milk in a jug with the vanilla essence.

6. Add 1/3 of the flours to the butter and sugar mixture, beat well. Add in 1/3 of the milk to the mixture and beat again. Repeat until all flour and milk have been added.

7. Carefully spoon the mixture in to the cupcake cases – making sure they are about 2/3rd’s full .

8. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer should come out clean after being inserted in to the middle of the cake.

9. Remove from oven and leave cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.

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10. Once the cakes have cooled – use a shaped cake plunge, or a knife to cut a small hole in to the middle of your cupcakes. I used a heart shaped one.

11. Fill the holes with strawberry jam

Tip: I find it easier to pipe the jam in – makes it a little neater! :)

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12. Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.

13. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

14. Spoon the mixture in to a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes as desired.

15. Decorate by placing the red icing heart and a haribo ring on to your cupcake!

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Love S & P x