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!

Smarties cupcakes

Smarties cupcakes


Smarties cupcakes

Enjoy!

Love S & P xx

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New Cake Toppers – Sweet Little Girls!

IMG_6481A lovely work friend, Patsy, recently asked me to bake her a cake for her father’s 60th – (eeek, pressure!).

I was both very excited and very nervous about this bake – what if I messed it up?!

To add to the nervous, Patsy requested a carrot cake – amazing choice but I’d never made a carrot cake! Cor blimey! This felt like I was starting to bite off more than I could chew! (excuse the pun)!

Today I am going to focus on the cake toppers that I made for the cake – 4 in total – each to look like one of Patsy’s beautiful nieces!

Patsy sent through the pictures and I set to work on 2 blondes and 2 brunettes, each in different sizes with different coloured dresses, hair styles and eye colours!

It took 22 hours over 2 weeks, copious cups of tea and more than a few swear words over my ridiculously unsteady hand (the faces are hand painted)! but here are the finished products…..I am very proud of them 🙂 I hope you like them!

 

Carrot cake recipe and pictures to follow shortly!

Enjoy!

Love S & P x

Lemon & Blueberry Drizzle Cake…

IMG_3881Ahhhh…..back to reality….with a bump! Back at work this week and I’m spending most of my time chasing my tail.

Oh well, it was worth it 🙂

Some lovely friends had us over for dinner last Monday and they cooked us Jamie Oliver’s Crispy Parma Pork – It was completely delicious and afterwards we played a zombie board game! We survived! Woo! Thank you Pete & Nat! ♡

For some reason, its taken me an age to write this post…I have been busy, but no more so than usual. We’ve been to 3 gigs this week so that might have something to do with it! We have been lucky enough to see We are Scientists, Chvrches and Maximo Park 🙂  All amazing and all worth a listen (I’ve chosen some of there more popular tracks).

As much as I apologise for making you wait for this recipe…..it is most definitely one worth waiting for! I am often asked for this recipe and it is one of my most requested! Its the perfect balance of yummy zest and soft, gooey blueberries! Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

225g Unsalted butter (softened)
225g Golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g Self raising flour
Finely grated rind & Juice of 1 lemon
25g Ground almonds
200g Fresh blueberries

For the topping:

Juice of 2 lemons
115g of Golden Caster Sugar

Recipe:

1. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch square cake tin and preheat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas mark 4.

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

IMG_38503. Gradually add in the beaten eggs, a little at a time.

Tip: Add a little of the flour towards the end to prevent curdling.

4. Beat in the lemon rind, flour and ground almonds.

5. Slowly add the lemon juice, a little at a time. You will need around 75-100ml.

6. Fold in 135g of the blueberries, distributing as evenly as possible, and pour in to the prepared tin.

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7. Once you have poured the mixture in to the tin, smooth the surface and scatter the remaining blueberries on top.

8. Bake in the over for an hour and firm to the touch, or until a skewer inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean.

9. To make the topping, place the lemon juice and sugar in to a bowl and mix together.

Tip: You will need to make the topping 10 minutes before your cake is due to be removed from the oven.

10. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a skewer (go deep!) and pour the lemon mixture all over the cake.

11. Leave the cake to cool in the tin until completely cool.

12. I decided to add some smatterings of icing to mine, so I just whipped up a bowl and used a fork to ‘flick’ the icing across the cake.

13. Serve & Enjoy!

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Love S & P x

Lovely, yummy, jammy cookies!

IMG_3097It’s that time of the week again when I get my bake on! 🙂 

As you already know I’ve gone down the valentines route a little already with my Jammy Dodger Cupcakes but I’m not done with the romantic notion of valentines yet! Its so easy to make and bake things with a theme and when love is in the air its really fun to play around with different ideas and ways of decorating…!

 

I’ve decided to keep it simple this time around and have opted for jammy hearts!

They are sweet and tasty and pretty to look at!

Tip: With this recipe it’s important to buy a really good quality jam as it will be doing most of the ‘talking’ for these bakes! 🙂

I have lots more ideas in the pipeline so will try to bake and blog as much as my work and social life permit 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients: 

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Jar of quality strawberry or raspberry jam

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy.

3. Add the egg and beat in to the mixture until well combined.

4. Connect the dough hook to your stand mixer and sift the flour and baking powder in to the butter mixture. Add the milk and mix until combined.

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Tip: This dough can seem like it takes a long time to come together but it will get there eventually! If it sees like it is too sticky you and add another tablespoon of flour and perhaps try kneading with your hands to help bring it together.

5. Turn your dough out on a light floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/2 and inch in thickness.

6. Take the larger of your heart shaped cutters and cut out as many heart shape as you can.

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7. Gently place your dough hearts on the prepared baking tray. You might not be able to fit them all on at once.

 

Tip: It will be easier if you have a spatular to help lift the dough hearts off the surface – but be careful with them.

8. Now that your dough hearts are on a baking tray it will be easier to cut out the middles. Take the smaller heart shaped cutter and carefully cut out hearts from the middle of half of the cookies on your baking tray.

Remember: You will only need to cut small hearts out of the middle of HALF of your cookies. You need to make sure that they other half are left as whole hearts.

9. Place your baking tray in the oven and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Once your cookies have finished baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring on to a wire rack to cool completely.

11. Take the heart shaped cookies with the holes in the middle and careful use a sieve to cover them in icing sugar.

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12. Next, take a whole heart cookies and using a teaspoon, place a small dollop of raspberry or strawberry in the middle of the biscuit.

13. Take the other half of the cookies with holes in the middle and place them over the whole cookies so that the jam is visible from the middle of the heart.

14. Enjoy!

Love S & P x

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Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

IMG_1226So this week it was another friends birthday….the lovely Marielle!

Marielle didn’t really want to do much for her birthday, she just wanted to keep things really low key – so, I decided to bake her some yummy cakes! It’s simply not a birthday without cake! Marielle and Joe used to be our neighbours and have helped us out quite a lot over the years – especially with little Georgie so I decided to try and make something a bit special and a little different! 🙂

I dont know many people that dont rate a good old Terry’s Chocolate Orange so I decided to try and mastermind some cupcakes for her based around a classic treat!

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These are a little different as 3 layers make up the cupcake; 2 chocolate and 1 orange so a little patience is needed!

I’d never made these before so I was taking a bit of a risk as I decided to adapt another recipe that I use to make a big chocolate & orange marble cake….anyway……here goes!

Ingredients: 

For the Chocolate & Orange Cupcakes (fills 12 muffin sized cases) 

  • 260g soft butter (room temp)
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 260g self raising flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1.5 oranges (grated orange rind only)

For the Buttercream Icing

  • 175g soft butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 100g melted plain chocolate
  • 1.5 tsp orange extract
  • A Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Recipe:

1. Preheat your oven to 140 fan/160 or Gas 3

2. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with muffin cases

3. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy – dont forget the butter should be room temp – (you cant also use an electric hand mixer)

Tip: Mix for a good 5 minutes –  this is what makes the cupcakes big and fluffy!

4. Add the eggs two at a time and sift in a quarter of the flour into the butter mixture and beat until well combined

5. Repeat until all eggs and flour are used up

6. Split the mixture into two bowls equally

Tip: You can weigh them if you want to make super sure they are the same.

7. Add 30g of cocoa and 1 tbsp of milk to one portion and mix to combine all the ingredients throughly

8. Add orange extract and rind to the other portion and mix to combine throughly

Tip: You could also add a small amount of orange food colouring to give it the extra wow factor when eaten!

9. Take two spoons and alternate dollops of chocolate and orange mixture into the muffin cases – I did 1 tablespoon full of chocolate, followed by 1 tablespoon full of orange and then 1 more of chocolate again on top.

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Remember: Your muffin cases want to be filled about 2/3rds full (or just a little over) so try not to under or over fill!

Tip: Looking back it might have been easier and quicker to put the mixture into 2 piping bags and piped the muffin cases….

10. Place the muffin tray in the oven on the middle shelf for approx 40 minutes (all ovens vary so check your cake after 20 mins) IMG_1211

11. Your cupcakes are ready when the skewer can be inserted into the cake and it come out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool for around an hour.

Tip: Dont worry if they seem to take a little longer in the oven!

12.  Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water – once melted set aside to cool slightly

13. Beat the butter and icing sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy

14. Pour the chocolate into the buttercream mixture in small quantities and mix as you add to ensure that you incorporate all of the chocolate

15. Add the orange extract and beat one last time

16. Fill a piping bag with your buttercream icing and using a nozzle of your choice (I went for a classic star shaped one) ice away before adding a segment of the chocolate orange to each cupcake 🙂

17. Enjoy!

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Love S & P x