Thursday, 27 January 2011

Chocolate box brownies.

Hey, this week I've been itching to bake! everyday I've come home from work and scoured the cupboards for ingredients to make something only to find there's always a few things missing (Itching to bake, too lazy to shop)

So today I cracked, and determined I stomped into the kitchen saying, no! there must be some ingredients in here to make something tasty, anything baked, Preferably chocolate. Then I found the remains or a box of Quality Street left over from Christmas, usually they wouldn't last a few days but I must have hid them for my own sake. And I remembered a great idea to use up extra chocolates courtesy of C from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking and that was to make a chocolate box cake. The idea is really simple, you just make a tray bake cake or brownie and then ice it and top each section with a different chocolate. The idea is that you then save the menu from the box of chocolates and let people choose there own piece. Well I deferred from the idea a bit as as all of my chocolates were wrapped so I had to unwrap them which meant you couldn't follow the menu but each piece is still topped with a different choccie giving a good variety and choice.

I chose to make a low fat chocolate brownie (I didn't have enough butter for regular) topped with vanilla buttercream. Mine pales in comparison to C's glorious efforts as mine was a little rushed and unplanned but I love this idea and will definitely try it again when I have some fancier chocolates. Any way here it is:

Yep I went and made a low fat brownie then topped it with icing and chocolates (I also added more sugar) yup that's definitely the way to go!

here's the recipe:

(I used cups rather than grams today)

1 cup Flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp Cocoa
3/4 Cup of sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
1/2 cup of low fat yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (This was a last minute addition as I was short on vanilla but it tasted good)
1 1/2 tbsp Sunflower oil
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180degC and line a baking tray with paper. Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl.
Mix in the yogurt, eggs, almond essence (or vanilla) oil and milk and mix well until all the ingredients are combined. Pour into the pan and level and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool and then ice with your preferred frosting.
I used vanilla (I had used the rest of my cocoa on the cake any way) which is just a little butter (As i only had a little anyway), icing sugar milk and a few drops of vanilla. (I've posted the recipe a few times on this blog before.) 

Then top with your left over chocolates! If you have a menu card from the box remember to keep hold of it. And that's it my thrown together cake from leftover chocolates and not many ingredients in the house.

What I've learnt tonight though is that I really need to stop being so lazy and do a food shop to re-stock. hehehe

Oooh you'll also notice I now have a little handy button at the end of each blog that allows you to print the recipes it's very handy as you can choose to print with or without pictures and you can delete whole paragraphs of my inane ramblings with just one click so just keeping the important recipe bit! 

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Choca Mocha Caramel Cake

This blog should have been posted allot earlier today but I got distracted catching up on all the blogs I subscribe to and finding some new blogs to read that I lost track of time. I also now have a list as long as my arm of tasty treats I want to make, I've recently started writing them all down as I found I was forgetting about all the great recipes I'd seen, the problem is there seems to be so many recipes so little time! I tend to bake once or twice a week (otherwise I'd bankrupt myself buying ingredients) yet each week I see about 5 -6 recipes I want to try! There's just to many hehehe.

My baking endeavor of this week just goes to show how long the list of things I want to make is as boyfriend requested I make this particular cake back in November and I've put it off till now (bad girlfriend) but this weekend he got his cake and here it is, Mocha caramel Cake:

I was a little impatient (as ever) in putting on the icing and should have really waited for it to thicken more but this cake is still super yummy, super sweet and very moreish with its chunks of caramel chocolate and hint of coffee. Its meant to be made as 1 cake however I didn't have a deep enough cake tin (really need to invest in one) so I made two thinner cakes and sandwiched them together with some of the icing.

Here's how it's made: (Recipe via good food)

2tsp Instant coffee granules
2tbsp Cocoa powder
4tbsp Hot water
175g Butter at room temp
175g Golden Caster sugar
2 eggs
2tbsp Golden syrup
200g Self raising flour
100g Chocolate caramel bars.

For the icing:
100g Chocolate caramel bars
50g Butter
2tbsp Milk
100g Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180deg C. Grease and line a 8in round cake tin. Measure the coffee and cocoa into a cup, add the hot water and mix to a smooth paste. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, syrup, flour, milk and cocoa paste in a large mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Break the caramel bars into sections and stir into the mixture.

Turn the mixture into the tin and bake for 35- 40 mins until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in the tin for 5 mins then remove from the tin and lining and cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, break up the caramel bars and put in a small pan with the butter and milk. Gently heat while stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the icing sugar. If it doesn't dissolve straight away just keep stirring (I still had a few little lumps after a while so I simply sieved the mix into a bowl.) Leave the Icing to cool until it thickens enough to leave a trail when you lift a spoon. This is where I was impatient so I'd recommend giving it enough time to thicken enough so as allot doesn't run of as you'll end up with a too thin layer of icing. Spread the icing over the cake leaving it to run down the sides, then leave to set.

And that's it! Nom nom nom. I also found an old pic of a birthday cake I made for a friend a while back so I thought I'd post this too. The logo on it is basically the logo of his fave band, of which I'd decided to put on the cake without realising how fiddly it was. It was a bit of a rush job (surprise party and small window of time) but It could have been better but worked out OK, apart from having black fingers from the food colouring for days. Here it is:

I also wanted to post about all the lovely baking books I've received lately but I think I'll save that for a separate blog as it's getting late and this blog is getting long.

So bye for now I'm off to break my diet and enjoy a slice of Mocha caramel cake with a cup of tea.

Cupcake Kris


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Lemon cupcakes, full fat goodness.

Okay resolutions over, bring back the butter! hehehe Well in general I've still been keeping up my resolution with going to the gym and Zumba classes so I figure that's enough to deserve to go back to full fat baking. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

I'm constantly thinking of ideas for cakes I want to bake on websites, books or just as I think of them but the problem I always have is that there are so many things that when it comes to bake I can never remember anything I intended to bake. I've solved that problem with the help of my mum who bought me the cutest whiteboard edged with cupcakes, so now that is hung up in the kitchen with a rather large list of cakes written on it so now I feel organised as when I see a wonderful post on someones blog (and there are so many) or have an idea of what to make I can write it right there on a board in the kitchen to remind myself, I love it, perfect for a scatterbrain like me.

So this week I wanted to make something different and one of the many things written on my board but well, I didn't get round to it, oops. But I did have a very good reason. It was my boyfriends Nana's birthday and he had requested I make her a lemon drizzle cake and my mum also requested I make some cupcakes to cheer up my sick grandma so I stuck to lemon cupcakes as I knew she would like them.  So nothing to different this week, but the lemon cupcakes were yummy so that's good enough for me! and here they are:

 This is a similar recipe to the lemon meringue cupcakes I made a while back but without the liquid centre.

And here's how they're made:
Makes 12:

120g Plain flour
150g Caster sugar
1 1/2 tsps Baking powder
zest of 1 1/2 Lemons
40g unsalted butter at room temperature.
good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
120ml whole milk
1 egg

For the frosting:
250g Icing sugar
80g Butter
2 tablespoons of Lemon zest
25ml whole milk
Couple of drops of Yellow food colouring (optional)

Pre heat oven to 170 deg C. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and butter into a bowl and beat together until everything is combined and you have a sandy consistency.  Gradually add the milk and beat until just combined. Add the egg and a good squeeze of lemon juice and beat until combined.

Spoon the mixture into cases until 2/3 full and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. leave to cool whilst you make the icing.

Beat together the icing sugar, butter lemon zest and food colouring, then slowly beat in the milk until you have the correct consistency and the icing is light and fluffy. Pipe or spread over cooled cakes. You can then decorate with a few shavings of lemon zest.

I decided to make little sugar flowers to decorate mine and I did this by rolling out some ready to roll icing I coloured then cutting out 5 small oval shapes then pinching the ends to make the petals then making a small ball for the middle of the flower.

Also I didn't but if you like, scooping out a little of the baked cakes and replacing with a dollop of lemon curd makes the cakes just that little more tangy.

And that's it for this week. No off to consult my whiteboard to decide what to bake next. 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Skinny Chocolate and Cranberry Muffins. Resolution friendly!

Hi folks!

So I thought as it's January and a month where traditionally allot of people (me included) make a resolution to loose some weight that I would try a low fat cake recipe for this blog. So after looking through a few recipes I found one that looked tasty as well as easy and didn't use to many ingredients, Perfect!

The recipe I decided on was Chocolate and Cranberry muffins, so I can still get my chocolate fix without all the guilt that comes afterward. And I have to say, though not as rich as some full fat cakes (obviously) that they taste great. With some low fat desserts I find I eat it thinking, I'm eating this because it's low fat when I'd rather have more of a treat. But these do feel like a treat but without the guilt, and they don't feel like a substitution for something fattier.

So the facts, well they contain no butter and each muffin contains just 6 grams of fat with only 1g of saturated fat (The bad kind of fat) and for all you calorie counters there's 206 calories per cake.  So still enough fat and calories for it to be yummy but not enough for major guilt to set in and a mammoth gym session just to burn 1 off.

Any way here they are :

I almost forgot to take the picture I was too busy eating one.

And here's how they're made:

250g Self raising flour
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
85g light muscovado sugar
85g dried cranberries
25g dark chocolate (It was very hard for me not to add allot more)
125g low fat yogurt
125ml skimmed milk
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 egg, beaten 

Pre heat the oven to 180 degC. Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar into a bowl and mix together till combined. Mix in the cranberries. In a separate bowl, melt the chocolate in  the microwave for a couple of minutes or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, put to one side.
Mix the yogurt and milk together with the oil and egg. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the liquid. Drizzle half the chocolate over them ix and gently fold until swirled, then repeat with the remaining chocolate.

Spoon into 12 muffin cases and bake for about 20 minutes until risen and baked through.

And that's it.

I know I've wrote allot in my last two blogs about all the great cupcake related gift's I received for Christmas, well I got some more! (I know still getting Christmas presents, great huh?) My friend Mandie bought me a load of presents all with a cupcake theme including a few books, a cupcake cup and some cup cake bath salts. I'll definitely be posting a pic of at least one of the books on the next blog but as I've forgotten to take a pic of it up to now here's another pic of the cakes instead hehehe.

Well that's it for today, keep baking and good luck with all your resolutions whatever they may be! me? I'll probably be back to full fat icing topped cakes by next week.

Cupcake Kris. xx

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Pear and Mincemeat Crumble Cake.

Happy new year everyone and hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a great holiday. I had a great time over the holiday and ate way to much tasty food.
I also received lots of cool gifts. and as I mentioned in my last blog my friends know me so well so I receive allot of cupcake themed gifts. One in particular that I liked was just a small gift my Boyfriend got me as a joke, see I'm a very clumsy person and I'm forever hurting, cutting or burning myself so he thought that these might come in handy:

Inside it's full of different size plasters with Cupcakes on!

I also got a sewing machine for Christmas which I thought was really cool so as well as baking this week I've also been attempting to make my first dress and It's nearly finished.

With new year gone and my resolutions made I then headed to the kitchen to bake something that would make me break at least one of my many resolutions by making me eat copious amounts of cake. Usually at Christmas I run out of mincemeat before I've made all the mince pies I want however this year I stocked up on the stuff a little to much and found myself with a jar and a half left so I wanted a recipe that would use up some of it to save it hanging around in my cupboard.
I could have just made more mince pies, but I was a little bored with them so I went searching for a recipe and I found one using Good Food's cake app for the I phone. It's a brilliant little app that I made my boyfriend download for me, It has loads of cake recipes and when you select one it shows you all the information you need, you can save the recipe to a favorites section, add the ingredients to a shopping list and even set a timer to use whilst the cake is baking. So I found a recipe for a pear and mincemeat crumble cake and here it is!

It has chunks of spiced pears and little pockets of mincemeat and It's just delicious eaten warm with custard.

Here's how it's made:

For the pears:
4 firm pears cored and cut into thumb size pieces
3 Tbsps Golden caster sugar
1 Tsp Mixed spice

For the cake:
250g Salted butter
250g Golden caster sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
5 Large eggs
200g Self raising flour
100g Ground almond
7 Tbsp Plain Flour
6 tbsp Mincemeat

Put the pears into a non stick frying pan with 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp water. Cover and cook on a medium heat for 10 mins until just tender, stirring every so often. Once the pears are cooked there shouldn't be any juices. (If there is a bit of juice left drain this away.) Add the mixed spice and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 160 deg C. Butter and line a 20cm round, deep cake tin. Put butter sugar and  into a large bowl and beat together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and flour and beat until smooth, then fold in the ground almond with a spoon. Remove 85g of cake batter and put into a small bowl. Into this add the plain flour and chop together with a cutlery knife to make a soft crumbly mix.

Spoon half the cake mix into the tin, top with half the pears, dot over half the mincemeat then dollop the rest of the cake mix on top. Scatter with remaining pears and mincemeat then top with the crumble mix. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp Sugar and bake for 1 1/2 hours covering with foil after an hour, until golden and baked through. Cool in the tin for 10 mins then cool on a wire rack.

And that's it!

I really didn't have a deep enough cake tin so I filled the tin I had as much as I could leaving a little of everything behind, then I used the left over mixture and fruit to make individual cupcake version which turned out just as nice. Here they are:

And here's a slice of cake ready and waiting to be covered in custard and eaten:

My favorite bit is when you hit a pocket of mincemeat. I really love this recipe as it still gives you all those warm wintery flavours but It's just so much more interesting than mince pies. In fact I'm going to make this cake again at the weekend however substituting apples for the pears because even though I only made this the other day it was passed around family and disappeared very quickly.

Well that's it for now, good luck in keeping to all your resolutions and keep baking regardless.

Cupcake kris