Mocha cupcakes

As the weather has started to turn a bit chillier here, I felt it was time to bake something looking forwards to the cooler months. I’ve been slightly addicted to iced mochas this summer, so Mocha cupcakes seemed like the right transition from hot to cold.

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As usual, this is a Hummingbird recipe that I’ve tweaked slightly to suit my own tastes and my oven etc.

Recipe:

240ml milk

15g hot chocolate powder

5g instant espresso powder

80g unsalted butter, softened

280g caster sugar

240g plain flower

1tbsp baking powder

1/4tsp salt

2 large eggs

For the icing:

50ml milk

30g hot chocolate powder

500g icing sugar

160g unsalted butter

Chocolate to decorate

 

  • Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tin with cases.
  • Start off by warming the milk up. Remove from the heat and stir in the hot chocolate and espresso powders until they are fully dissolved. Set this aside while you make the rest of the sponge.
  • Blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter together until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. The softer the butter the easier this will be.
  • Break the eggs into a jug with the milk mixture and whisk by hand. Then stir ¾ of the liquid into the flour mix and combine with an electric hand mix until you have a thick, smooth batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, pour in the remaining milk mixture and combine on a high speed until you have a really velvety batter.
  • Divide the mix between your cases. Don’t fill them up too far or they won’t be as fluffy! Two thirds full is plenty.
  • Bake in the oven for 18-20 mins or until they are risen and springy to the touch. Let your cakes cool completely before icing.
  • To make the icing, warm the milk and stir in the hot chocolate powder. Then blend the icing sugar and butter together to create a fine, sandy mix. Add the hot chocolate and mix until you have a fluffy frosting.
  • Decorate your cakes as you wish! Hummingbird suggest heart shaped chocolates, but I just went for chocolate shavings.

 


 

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

With the end of third year comes a drive to put an end to the library diet and try something new. So I decided to try these chocolate cupcakes from the Healthy Chef. I’ll leave the link down below if you want to check out her website.

For my cupcakes I used:

150g ground almonds
21 g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cold pressed coconut oil
60 ml milk
2 tablespoons honey

cupcaes

1.)   Preheat the oven to 180 C

2.)   Mix together the ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder

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3.)   Add the eggs, vanilla extract, coconut oil (stick it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to melt), milk and honey to the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter

4.)   Spoon into a lined cupcake tin

5.)   Bake for 25 minutes until they’re cooked through

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These cupcakes lack the sweetness of a ‘normal’ cupcake, so I served these with strawberries and some fruit sugar but you can eat them with ice cream, icing or whatever else takes your fantasy.

 

The Healthy Chef: http://www.thehealthychef.com/


 

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

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In between writing essays and wondering what an earth I’m going to get up to when I graduate (so much fun…) I decided to try my hand at making Hot Cross buns. These scrummy spiced buns are the epitome of all Easter treats to me. Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without them.  I actually picked this recipe out of a recent copy Good Housekeeping that my Mum left lying around. They taste great and look adorable, although I think they could do with another handful of fruit just to make them really pop! The great thing about these buns is that, like most of my favourite things in life, you can customize them. If you have a hankering for chocolate and wouldn’t dare giving it up for Lent, then throw some chocolate chips into the mix. Add mixed peel, apples, oranges – all sorts! – into the dough.

So without further ado, here’s how to make Hot Cross buns

 

INGREDIENTS

450g white bread flour

75g caster sugar

7g pack of dried fast-action yeast

300ml full-fat milk

75g butter, melted

1 egg

50g sultanas

Pinch of ground cinnamon

FOR THE TOPPING

50g plain flour

2tbsp sugar

 

1.)    Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.

-          I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but, make sure you keep the salt and yeast separate at this point! Don’t let them mix because the salt will deactivate the yeast and your bake will not be very happy at all!

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2.)    Beat the egg and heat the milk in a saucepan over a gentle heat, and then add to the flour along with the melted butter and the egg.

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3.)    Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth and elastic dough – if you’re using an electric mixer, you should stop mixing once you hear a slapping noise –

-          The mix was very very wet at this point! But not to panic, wetter really is better when it comes to dough.

4.)    Tip your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until your dough is very smooth and stretchy.

-          Lightly flour your hands whilst kneading as this will help stop the dough from sticking to you too much. Another handy tip is to work quickly – the faster you move the dough the less it sticks to the surface.

5.)    When the dough is ready pop it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with Clingfilm. Place it somewhere warm and leave to rise for 1-2 hrs. The dough should be ready once it has doubled in size.

6.)    Push the heel of your hand into the centre of the dough and pour in your fruit and cinnamon. Then knead the dough until the spices and fruit are evenly distributed.

-          I would recommend kneading the dough in the bowl. It’s easier to get the fruit and the dough to stick together if you push it against the side of the bowl.

7.)    Once you’re happy with the dough, cover it again and leave it to rise for 1-1 ½ hours. Pre-heat the oven to 200*C (This is on a fan oven, you may have to adjust according to your own oven)

8.)    It’s now time to shape your buns! Divide your mix into around 12 pieces and shape into balls. Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, leaving plenty of space between each bun as they will spread in the oven. Set the buns to one side whilst you make the topping.

9.)    Mix 50g of plain flour with enough water to make a thick paste that can be piped or spooned. Add more water or flour as needed. Spoon the paste into a piping bag and then go crazy! – or not – Pipe those beautiful crosses onto each bun.

-          Tip on how to fill a piping bag – Rest your piping bag in a pint glass or whatever tall receptacle you have to hand (I used an empty kitchen roll tube resting in a tall bit of Tupperware because I don’t actually own a pint glass. Terrible student, I know) and spoon your pipable mixture in. Anything that comes out of the nozzle will be caught in the bottom of the glass so less mess!

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10.)Bake your buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.  Because of the sugar in the dough they will colour quickly, so I recommend keeping a beady eye on them.

11.)Once they’re done, take them out of the oven and place them on a wire cooling rack.

-          Don’t get rid of the greaseproof paper you lined the trays with just yet! Put them underneath the cooling rack. When you come to glaze the buns it will catch all of the syrup that runs off and so makes tiding up SO much easier!

12.)While the buns are cooling, heat some sugar with some water in a pan over a medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Brush the buns all over so they look all glossy and gorgeous.

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13.)Eat these up warm and just enjoy those little bundles of Easter-yness!


Jaffa Cakes

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This Saturday my housemate and I decided to have a go at baking something new. We wanted something easy, cheap, and most importantly tasty. We turned to Sorted Food for ideas and stumbled across the perfect recipe: Jaffa Cakes!

With only 6 ingredients this is a great student recipe

An orange

Dark Chocolate

Plain flour

2 eggs

Caster sugar

Orange Jelly

http://sortedfood.com/#!/jaffacakes/

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These jaffa cakes were quick and easy to make, and really tasty. Definitely one to try out!

 

Pear and Blueberry Tart.

Surprise surprise, this one also came out of the Hummingbird bakery.

Having said that, I adapted it a little, adding some left over flaked almonds to the mix. The pastry was wonderful, and managed to hold quite a wet filling very well. I made this as a substitute for Christmas pudding (myself being the kid of the family I still haven’t managed to get my tastebuds around Christmas pudding or sprouts). The marzipan and the whisky meant that this tart wasn’t out of place on the menu, however, like the cheesy shortbreads I wouldn’t banish it solely to the festive period. The fruit can be adapted for anything that’s in season, and the recipe is reasonably light so could take pride of place at a summer dinner party also.

Anyway, here’s some pictures to get you going

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Parmesan Shortbreads.

You may have noticed a theme running through this blog…I love all things from the Hummingbird Bakery.

I was particularly excited to see some savoury recipes in their most recent cookbook and had to give these cheesy shortbread biscuits a go.

They were great! I put a little too much pepper in, but the cayenne pepper gives these shortbreads a fireyness to warm the tummy. Perfect with some mulled wine in front of the telly or nibbles at a dinner party, these shortbreads should not be confined to Christmas. They are just too good!

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The Stollen.

Apologies for the radio silence over the last couple of months. Nothing can prepare you for how crazy the final year of uni will be!

I thought for now I would give you a little update on what I baked over the Christmas period, and give you some links for recipes etc. Not everything I made was totally festive, so you could make these all year round if you fancy.

But first off, I have something to admit. I didn’t make a single mince pie this year. Not even one. I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 over Christmas where a woman was encouraging people not to make their own mince pies. Her argument was that we feel we ought to make them, and we don’t make them because we enjoy it. Now I can’t disagree enough. I love making my own mince pies, even if it is shop bought mince and pastry. There’s something festive and wholly therapeutic about sticking on an apron, some Christmas music and getting out your rolling pin. Anyway, long preamble over, I didn’t make mince pies this year because I decided to have a go at making stollen.

I turned to Mr. Paul Hollywood for a recipe and as always it was reliable and tasty. In fact, the only problem I really encountered whilst making the stollen was the lack of marzipan in any of the shops! I really didn’t anticipate a marzipan shortage around Christmas. Nevertheless, I got on the internet and managed to find a simply recipe for homemade marzipan.

As with any recipe which involved proving, it was a long bake and took me most of the day. But as far as I’m concerned, there’s no better way to spend a winter’s day!

So here’s how it turned out

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And here are the recipes I used:

Paul Hollywood: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/stollen_27553

Marzipan: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8164/easy-vanilla-marzipan