Category Archives: Cupcakes and Muffins

Vanilla Cupcakes With White Chocolate Buttercream

A few weeks ago I was browsing in the Chinese supermarket and came across a bag full of rose buds in the tea section.  Now I’ve had flower teas before that a Japanese friend brought back from a business trip to China but I’d never had rose tea.  To be honest my mind didn’t come round to making tea with them for a while and I’m still not convinced but my first thought was “OMG, those would look adorable on cupcakes!”  I was really just waiting for the opprotunity, which presented itself last night. 

I thought of using rose water in the cake part but I bought a bottle and one whiff put me off that plan.  Roses are for looking pretty and smelling, not tasting!  I may yet come around and find a use for that rose water but I’m not holding my breath.  I had been thinking of making a white chocolate buttercream to go with the imagined rose cake.  I have no idea why as I didn’t know what rose water tasted like but in my head they went well together.  As it was it was absolutely delicious with vanilla cake.  I’m afraid the photo doesn’t really do them justice for how cute they are as these are the last 4 in existence… we sort of ate the rest. 

Makes 24 smaller muffin/bun cases

For the cake:
250g unsalted butter
250g golden caster sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g self raising flour

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line 2 12 hole muffin tins with small sized muffin liners. 
– Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. 
– Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a jug. 
– Gradually add the egg a splash at a time, mixing well between additions. 
– Fold in the flour until totally combined. 
– Divide the mixture equally between the paper cases, filling about half full. 
– Bake for 20 minutes, either swapping the trays over after 10 minutes or moving the bottom tray up for an extra 5 minutes  at the end. 
– Remove from the tins and leave to cool completely. 

White Chocolate Buttercream

130g white chocolate
180g unsalted butter
190g icing sugar

– Break the chocolate into small chunks and place in a small bowl over a pan of boiling water.  Leave it to melt. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. 
– In a medium sized mixing bowl cream together the butter and icing sugar until there are no lumps left. 
– Add the melted chocolate to the bowl and mix well.  If the mixture seems a little too soft then just add another spoon of icing sugar and mix it in. 

– Pipe the icing onto the cakes amd decorate as you wish!

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Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Up until yesterday I wasn’t too sure what lemon curd actually was.  I just knew my mum liked it and so I set about making Lemon Curd Cupcakes for her for Mothers’ Day.  Turns out lemon curd is delicious!  I love the tangy sweetness of it, the sharpness of the lemon means it’s not too sweet to simply enjoy from the spoon, for instance!  I thought it made a lovely, perky and refreshing cupcake. 

 The key cuteness with these cupcakes it, of course the decorations.  I went on a bit of a drunken internet shopping expedition last month and as a result I now have a bunch of really cute decorations I would normally have deemed far too expensive.  Thank god for Prosecco!  The chicks and eggs were actually not expensive at all.  I got a box of 50 chicks from the pound shop in town and the bag of miniature chocolate eggs came from Tesco.  The chicks are everywhere right now and even if you can’t find these utterly adorable mini-mini eggs then larger ones will look great too. 

Makes 13

(It’s a terrible number but it either makes 13 or I have to try and change the recipe to 196g or something stupid! Think of the extras as a taster!)

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
zest of 1 lemon
200g self raising flour
2 tbsp milk

1 jar lemon curd

90g unsalted butter
190g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin (and 1 ramekin dish for the extra) with paper cases.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until soft and fluffy. 
– Gradually beat in the egg a bit at a time until thoroughly combined. 
– Add most of the lemon zest (about 3/4) andf mix until well distributed. 
– Sift in the flour and fold until just combined. 
– Divide the mixture equally between the cases. 
– Bake for 25 mins.
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

– Meanwhile cream together the butter and icing sugar. 
– Add the milk, remaining lemon zest and 2 tbsp of the lemon curd. 
– Mix until smooth and creamy. 

– When the cupcakes are cool use a paring knife to cut a small circle in the centre of the cake and then remove the core. 
– Slice the top off the core and keep, dispose of the middle bit of cake. 
– Place a spoon of lemon curd in the hole and then put the cap of the core back on to fill the hole. 
– Carefully spread the buttercream on the cupcakes so as not to disturb the cap. 
– Decorate as you wish.  I drizzled lemon curd over as well as usuing the chicks and flowers for a hint of a different texture.

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Malted Cupcakes

I have been playing about with the idea of malted cupcakes for a while now.  I adore Maltersers and Ovaltine and the combination of Malt and Chocolate seemed crying out for a cupcake variation!  I probably could have just googled and had a few recipes at my fingertips but I decided to go my own way with this challenge and see what I could come up with on my own.  I only made a half batch to see how they would turn out but I’ve given the recipe for the full dozen here. 

I made a few alterations to my usual cupcake recipe and I think it’s a very pleasant result.  I’m not doing cartwheels over it yet, I think I’d like to get them a bit maltier for my own taste as I didn’t feel it came through all that strong but others said it was perfectly malty for them so perhaps I simply don’t taste malty flavours so well.  Either way, I liked these!  They are deliciously soft and moist inside with a slight sugar crunch on the top.  The chocolate buttercream lends an edge of sweetness to the soft, malty cake. 

Makes 12

For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, beaten
200g self raising flour
60g Ovaltine (or other powdered malted drink)

For the chocolate buttercream:
120g plain chocolate
150g unsalted butter
160g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

12 Malteasers to decorate

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners. 
– Cream together the butter and the sugars until soft and fluffy. 
– Gradually add the beaten egg a bit at a time, beating well until completely combined between additions. 
– Sift in the flour and Ovaltine then fold in until just combined. 
– Divide the mixture equally between the cases. 
– Bake for 25 minutes, test for doneness with a skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is done. 
– Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. 

While waiting make the buttercream: 
– Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water then allow to cool.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar.
– Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate.
– Beat until glossy and smooth.

– Pipe or spread the buttercream onto the cakes then add a Malteaser to the top of each one.  Enjoy!

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Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

… Well, where to start?

I think it would be best to start with a warning.  Those of you here for inspiration look away now!  The only thing you will find in this post is a cautionary tale of woe. 

I tried to make Raspberry Cheesecake Bars last night.  I enjoyed the last Cheesecake Bars so much I thought that things could only get better.  I had decided that a nice digestive biscuit crust as a base layer would be a fabulolus idea.  It wasn’t.  When I came to unmould them the crumbs stuck to the mould as the silicone had given a bit and the bottoms were bigger than the openings at the top.  I also hadn’t cooked them for long enough and the ones in the very centre of the tray were uncooked.  This was the sad result.

I have to say that some of them made it out of the mould alive and they taste fine, although, on reflection I don’t actually like the digestive bit of cheesecake all that much, but they too look pretty bad!

Another issue was that I had only decided to do the digestive bit as I started and I had made the full quantity of cheesecake mixture.  Since a lot of the space was taken up with digestive I had a lot of leftover mixture.  So I decided to have a go at Cheesecake Cupcakes.  But I ran out of raspberries so they became Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes.  They looked really good as they finished cooking so I turned off the oven and left them for several hours.  When I came back they had shrunk drastically!

The ones that came out best were the ones with the most mixture in them so I think that if I gave this a go in the future I would fill the cases right up to the top to compensate for the shrinkage issues. 

All in all this experiment was a bit of a disaster but that’s what happens sometimes.  And it still all tastes good.  Sometimes the only thing left to do is to scrape it into a bowl and kiss aesthetics goodbye!

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Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

I fancied something quick and simple today.  I have a stash of recipes I can whip up in no time when in need of a sweet treat but I fancied trying something a little bit different today.  I’d seen recipes for brownie bites or cupcakes in several places and thought I’d give it a go.  I didn’t have a specific source in mind so the first recipe I found in my books would win.  Turned out to be the one from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats that I reached first and so I went ahead with that.  I made a few changes, different sugar and chocolate chips instead of walnuts, I have to say it made a lovely light brownie in a convenient cupcake sized portion.  Not quite as goopy as my usual brownie recipe but that’s a good thing as I was after ease of eating and convenience. 

Edit: These get a lot more solid once left overnight.  I suggest eating them straight away (such a hardship!) or giving them a quick nuke in the microwave.  They’re not bad or anything but your jaw does have to work a lot harder if you eat them the next day.   If I make these again I’ll probably only give them 25 mins in the oven as I think they were a little too dry.

Makes 12

225g plain chocolate
85g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
200g light muscovado sugar (looks like wet sand)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
75g white chocolate chips

– First melt the butter and chocolate together in a small bowl or pan.  I place a pyrex bowl over a small pan of boiling water and do it that way.  When it’s smooth take off the heat and leave to cool a little. 
– Then heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
– In a larger bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a whisk.  The more you beat the eggs the better that crispy brownie  topping will be. 
– Add the vanilla extract to the sugar and eggs, continue to beat. 
– Add the flour and mix this in until combined. 
– Then pour in the chocolate and mix thoroughly. 
– Add the chocolate chips and stir through.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, they should be about 2/3 full. 
– Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  The tops will be cracked. 
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin then place on a wire rack to cool completely or, if like me you couldn’t resist the delicious smell wafting from the oven, eat while still warm and lovely! 

*The recipe said soft dark brown sugar… I think they might have been aiming for dark muscovado but I couldn’t find the tin of that so went with the light. 

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Primrose Bakery Cupcakes

I’m sorry for having such a long break between posts but this last week has been rather hectic, I’ve had appointments, blood tests, dinner with a friend and a trip to the cinema not to mention work!  (Please god, don’t mention work!)  One of the other things occupying me was this mammoth cupcake session.  Last week after the disappointment that was The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook I decided to risk buying The Primrose Bakery Cookbook when I came across it by chance.  I am so glad I did!

I tried it out last Sunday night and not only was the recipe I tried easy to do but it also created a delicious cupcake.  I was intregued by the fact that the recipe is very different to most I’ve seen, the traditional sponge ratios go out of the window!  I just tried the vanilla cupcake recipe to begin with but I often think it’s a very good judge of a cookbook to see how they deal with something simple.  If they mess that up then what hope for the more complicated stuff?  I also invested in some decent vanilla extract instead of the cheap stuff I normally buy.  I do think this made a huge difference.  I’ve read a bunch of articles about vanilla flavourings and I’m glad I’ve spent the extra here.  The vanilla really came out as a strong flavour, perhaps a little too strong for some tastes but I’ll know for next time that I don’t need to use as much as I would ordinarily. 

I wasn’t very happy with the decoration on these.  I’ve only managed to find one pink food colouring that doesn’t come out this delightful salmon shade and that’s Asda’s natural pink food colouring.  This one was a posh paste one and I have to say I am far from impressed.  Yes, you only need a tiny bit to colour your mixture but that means I now have a whole pot of the stuff to use in some way and may never finish it!  I did like the stars though, both kinds are from Morrisons, the white ones are white chocolate the coloured ones are sugar.  The white chocolate gave a delightful edge to the flavour of the cupcake, I’m thinking that a white chocolate buttercream may be in my future! 

 

Makes 12 (I doubled it with no problems)

110g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self raising flour
125g plain flour
120ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
– In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until well smooth. 
– Add the eggs one at a time, mixing into the mixture between additions. 
– Sift the flours into a separate, smaller, bowl. 
– Measure out the milk in a jug and then add the vanilla to this.
– Add 1/3 of the flour to the large bowl.  Beat well until combined. 
– Add 1/3 of the milk and beat again. 
– Add another 1/3 of the flour, then another 1/3 of the milk, then the last of the flour and then the last of the milk, beating well between additions. 
– Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.  Fill about 2/3 full. 
– Bake for about 25 mins until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool inthe tin for 5-10 minutes. 
– Then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack. 
– Decorate as you choose.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Mum bought the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook for us last week.  It’s got some great looking recipes in it.  I decided to give Red Velvet Cupcakes a go as I’d been seeing them everywhere and the idea appealed immensely.  I have to say that I liked the end result but I have a lot of reservations about the book.  True, I did produce a brilliant tasting cake and frosting (the frosting is so a keeper) but it was so bloody finniky!  The recipe wasn’t brilliantly written to actually cook from.  I ended up with things behaving oddly and more lumps that you could shake a stick at.  As a result I think I over beat the mixture and so when the cakes were cooling they shrank.  

Also all of the recipes are written to be made with a stand mixer… not everyone has one of those!  I do but it’s a pain in the arse to use, I prefer to do things by hand.  I had to resort to using the electric hand whisk to beat the mixture in an attempt to break up the lumps  as I was starting to get blisters from a wooden spoon/whisk approach.  I honestly can’t see that using a stand mixer would make that much of a difference to the behavious of the mix anyway, if it’s going to clump, it’s going to clump! 

So I’m not generally impressed by the recipe or, consequently, the book.  It did produce a good cake but lacks the predictability and uniformity one aims for in baking.  I doubled the recipe as I needed to provide for 2 offices and that should have given me 2 dozen.  I got a scant 18 and due to the shrinkage issue some of those were a ridiculous size. So all in all I’m not that impressed but I loved Red Velvet Cupcakes as an idea.  Using this recipe as a jumping off point I think I’m going to be having a lot of fun in the future trying to get the perfect one!

Makes 12 (according to the book)

60g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added (or 120ml buttermilk)
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
– In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar together until well combined and the consistency of wet sand. 
– Gradually add the egg, mixing well between additions. 
– In a  separate small bowl mix together the cocoa, food colouring and vanilla extract to form a thick paste. 
– Add the paste to the other mixture.  (This is where it started to go wrong for me.)  Mix until evenly combined (Good Luck!)
– Gradually add half of the buttermilk while mixing.  Beat untill well mixed. 
– Add half the flour and beat until combined. 
– Add the rest of the buttermilk and beat until combined. 
– Add the rest of the flour and beat until combined. 
– Beat until everything is well combined and the mixture is smooth.  (Again, good luck, clumped again for me!)
– Add the salt, bicarbonateof soda and vinegar and quickly (it will fizz!)  mix it in for a few minutes until smooth.  
– Spoon into the cases so they are about 2/3 full. 
– Bake for 20-25 minutes (the sponge will bounce back when touched and a skewer will come out clean). 
– Leave to cool slightly in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
– When cold cover with Cream Cheese Frosting

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