Friday, 30 May 2014

Lemon Berry Ice Cream Cupcakes

The idea for these ice cream cupcakes came from creating a summer recipe to pair with a glass of Chablis Wine for the Chablis Wine Blogger Challenge. The Petit Chablis is a young wine and has floral and citrus notes. I started thinking about cake pairings and decided on a light and fruity bake. As it's almost summer, I thought it would be fun to bake them in ice cream cones. Instead of my usual buttercream icing, I decided on a yoghurt berry topping to keep it light, refreshing and healthy. The flavours also pair well with the Petit Chablis and would be perfect for a summer garden party or BBQ. The sponge is light and lemony and pairs well with the slightly tangy berry topping. Everyone thought the cakes were light and refreshing just like the wine! 

golden caster sugar, self raising flour, cornflour, butter, eggs, lemon, fat free greek yoghurt, berry assortment 

 Chablis and Petit Chablis wines 

 ready to go in the oven 

 making the berry compote 

 fresh from the oven 

 loosen up the yoghurt by stirring with a spoon in a bowl 

 add the berry compote 

 delicious berry yoghurt 

 Perfect with a glass of wine 

Makes 10 ice cream cupcakes

For the cupcakes
10 ice cream cones with a flat base
115g golden caster sugar
115g self-raising flour, sifted
15g cornflour
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the topping
2 x 170g pot of fat free greek yoghurt
Selection of berries - I used strawberries, blackberries and blueberries -approximately 120g
1 tablespoon of caster sugar (or to taste) 
  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice. 
  • Add the flour and cornflour  
  • Spoon into ice cream cones until 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely. 
  • In the meantime, make the berry compote by placing all the berries in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar.
  • Simmer on a low heat until the sauce thickens and it turns into a syrup. This will take approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Place the yoghurt in a large bowl and loosen it by stirring it through with a spoon. 
  • Add the berry compote and swirl it gently.
  • Place the yoghurt berry mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and place 1 large 'star' on top of each cupcake.
  • Decorate with sprinkles.
Disclaimer: I was sent a bottle of Petit Chablis and Chablis wine for the blogger challenge. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

AlphaBakes "E" Roundup

Welcome to the E round up of AlphaBakes. Even though it's our second time using the letter E, we've had some really creative entries that are completely different to the first round of E Alphabakes. I wonder what else you will come up with if we go through this a third time?! Remember to check out Caroline's blog on 1st June to find out what letter we are using next month. 

First up is myself with an Eton Mess. I had planned to make an Eton Mess cake as well but ran out of time. This classic dessert is perfect to throw together at short notice and really spells out summer. I used ready made meringues, fresh strawberries, strawberry jam and whipped cream laced with strawberry jam. 

Next is Caroline's mum, Jacqueline with her Chocolate Easter Cake. I love the tin that she used which looks like my petal bundt tin as it creates such beautiful shapes. Plus look at all that lovely chocolate dripping down the cake. 

Sudha from Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous sent in Eggless Oatmeal Almond Butter Cookies. She baked this to celebrate the beauty that is her little one who says that 'losing your imagination is worse than being deaf and blind'. These delicious cookies were created on the spot without a plan or recipe. 

Sarah James from Tales from the Kitchen Shed made these gorgeous Everyday Bread Rolls which are also called Ted's rolls named after her father in law. She makes these almost everyday as they are very easy to make and they freeze well too. She has great step by step pictures on her blog so do head on over. 

We have two amazing entries from The Dream Baker. Custard pudding which contains lots of eggs as the key ingredient. There are beautiful step by step photos on her blog so if you want to know how to make one of these beauties, head on over and check it out. 

Her second entry is Shortcrust Egg Tarts. Her mum used to bake fruit egg tarts and these are reminiscent of those happy childhood days. The recipe is adapted from one of the first food blogs she stumbled upon which has been kept in an ever growing collection of recipes to make. 

Jean from Baking in Franglais made this Economical Chocolate Cake for less than £1!! I'm impressed that she made a buttercream icing for the cake and it looks miles better compared to the shop bought cake which also costs £1. 

Sue from Mainly Baking came up with this Apple and Pistachio Cake with Elderflower Drizzle. The flavour combination sounds delicious and she says that although subtle the cake was lighter than expected and very tasty. It was also fortuitous that her elder tree was in bloom so she could add a bunch of elderflowers to the picture. 

Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary sent in these Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies. Where's the E I hear you ask? Well there's 2 eggs in the ingredients and they are also Essential Eating for Every Explorer! Elizabeth and her youngest went out for an adventure in the woods and packed a picnic lunch including these tasty cookies. They are a staple from her own childhood forest adventuring. 

Jane from Fromage Homage made Elderflower Cheesecake.  She gathered the elderflower herself and used a BBC recipe as her inspiration. Read her post to find out more about the ancient tradition of 'dropping the cheesecake'! This time last year, she made a Sambocade which is a medieval elderflower and cheese tart which is a worth a look in too.

Stuart from Cakeyboi made these cute Lemon and white chocolate meringue cookies. The key ingredient of course is egg whites. He was looking for something lighter hence these lemon meringues but added in some white chocolate to 'pimp it up'!

Next is my co host Caroline from Caroline Makes with an Engagement Cake with hidden heart. She bought a Wilton Tasty-Fill Heart Pan ages ago and finally got round to using it for a colleague who recently got engaged. She made a chocolate cake and filled it with pink buttercream and then covered the cake with cream cheese frosting and heart sprinkles.

Alexandra from The Lass in the Apron made some Everyday Double Chocolate Cookies. She used her mother's 'world-traveling oatmeal-chocolate chip-walnut cookie recipe' and since her mother is allergic to eggs, the recipe contains no eggs. It's a very versatile recipe and can be the basis of many recipes. For this recipe, she used rice krispies for extra crunch, cocoa powder and chocolate chunks for extra chocolate flavour.

Next we have Eclair Cupcakes from Kate from the Gluten Free Alchemist. These cupcakes are based on her love of Cadbury's eclairs which are chewy toffee filled with a chocolate centre. The sponge is rich with real toffee and there is a hidden dark chocolate ganache filling inside. She's decorated them with a sprinkling of icing sugar, a chocolate button and a piece of toffee.

Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than ... made honey and chocolate chip cupcakes for us. The E is from locally grown English honey which she bought from a PhD student. The honey is clearly the star here and she kept the decorations simple to showcase the honey.

For a change, we have a savoury entry from Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen who made Savoury Nettle and Blue Cheese 'Eccles' Cake. If you are not familiar with Eccles cake, do head on to her blog where she explains it beautifully. It is traditionally filled with currants or raisins but her savoury version is made with Stilton cheese, nettles, ground elder and spinach.

Fiona from Let Them Eat Cake made some Earl Grey and lemon scones. She soaked the raisins overnight in earl grey tea and baked them into a scone with lots of lemon zest. The flavours complement each other beautifully and the earl grey added a lovely fragrance to the scones.

That's all the Excellent 'E' entries for this round of AlphaBakes. Make sure you check out Caroline's blog on 1st June to find out what letter we are using next month.

Monday, 26 May 2014

SRC: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

It's the fourth Monday of the month which means that it's Secret Recipe Club Group D Reveal day! I love the Secret Recipe Club and look forward to reveal day every month. The concept is simple each blog is assigned another blog in secret and the idea is that you choose a recipe to make from your secret blog and reveal it on the same day.

My assignment this month is I am a Honey Bee written by Nicole or Nic as she is better known from Boston. You can read more about her here including 28 random things about her! Her blog is about cooking, crafts and life in general. There is a mixure of recipes, craft projects, dining out, family updates and more. It's definitely worth a read. 

As usual, I had difficulty choosing just one recipe as there were so many I wanted to make. However, this chocolate chip cookie bar caught my eye. I love chocolate chip cookies and this looked like a better version. Plus I wanted to try out my individual brownie pan which I've had for ages but have never used until now. I couldn't find any colourful chocolate chips here so I used a mixture of dark, milk and white chocolate chips and some coloured confetti sprinkles. I brought them to work for an event and they were very well received. The bars were crispy and you could definitely taste the different chocolate chips. The confetti added a fun burst of colour and they were all eaten within a short space of time. 

 adding the chocolate chips and confetti sprinkles

 My new individual brownie pan 

 fresh from the oven 

 Each bar has a crisp edge 

 You can see the different chocolate chips and the coloured confetti sprinkles

Recipe adapted very slightly from I am a Honey Bee 

280g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
226g butter
165g caster sugar
150g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g dark chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate chips
100g white chocolate chips
1 x box of coloured confetti sprinkles

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 
  • Add in the vanilla extract.
  • Beat in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Finally stir in the chocolate chips and confetti sprinkles.
  • Divide evenly into a greased individual brownie tin (or you can use a square tin) and bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Chocolate and Mint Ice Cream Cupcakes

In addition to the Chocolate and Mint Giant Cupcake that I baked for the Macmillan Information Centre, I also made these chocolate and mint ice cream cupcakes. I used the same chocolate cake mixture and mint buttercream icing but I added chocolate chips to the buttercream icing to make it a mint chocolate chip icing! I also made some chocolate ganache to go on top and decorated it with sprinkles and a cherry on top. 

I'm entering this to Treat Petite hosted by Kat from The Baking Explorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi. The theme this month is 'Who will you bake for?' in conjunction with World Baking Day on May 18th. I baked these for my local Macmillan Information Centre and I hope they were impressed with them. 

I'm also sending it to the Biscuit Barrel Challenge hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... The theme this month is favourites. Chocolate and mint is one of my favourite flavour combinations and I also love ice cream and ice cream cupcakes. 

This would also fit in nicely with this month's Calendar Cakes challenge hosted by Rachel from Dolly Bakes as the theme is Bank Holiday Bakes and we are asked to share what we make to relax, share with friends or take on picnics. 

 I used some foil to support the ice cream cones whilst baking. Try not to overfill the cones as I did here - 2/3 full is more than enough 

 I used an ice cream scoop to place a scoop of mint chocolate chip icing on top 

 Drizzled some ganache on top 

 added some sprinkles 

 and a cherry on top! You can also pipe a 'star' of whipped cream before adding the cherry for added decadence. 

 I used the ganache as a 'glue' to stick the cones to a cake board. They were still a little wobbly and have to be transported with great care. 

For the chocolate cake, follow the link for Nigella's Old fashioned chocolate cake - I used about 1/2 a cake recipe to make 9 ice cream cones - as mentioned in my previous post, I made a double recipe and used it to make 1 giant cupcake and 9 ice cream cones.

For the buttercream frosting - feel free to halve the quantities, I made a large batch as I needed it for my giant cupcake and these ice cream cupcakes

300g butter
600g icing sugar
1 tablespoon peppermint extract + 1 teaspoon (or adjust to taste)
a few drops of milk
green food colouring
100g chocolate chips 

For the chocolate ganache
100mls double cream
75g dark chocolate, chopped 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Prepare the cake batter as instructed.
  • Place a ring of foil as shown to support the ice cream cones in a cupcake tin. 
  • Carefully fill each ice cream cone until about 2/3 full - do not overfill as the cake will spill over. 
  • Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely before decorating. 
  • Make the icing by beating the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Add in the peppermint extract and green food colouring. You may need to add a few drops of milk depending on the consistency required.
  • Finally stir in the chocolate chips by hand. 
  • To make the chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan until just boiling. 
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted.
  • Keep stirring until smooth. 
  • Decorate as shown above 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Chocolate and Mint Giant Cupcake

I was asked if I could bake something for my local Macmillan Information Centre's official opening. Macmillan is a great charity in support of a worthy cause. Their colours are green so I decided to make a giant green cupcake consisting of a chocolate cake, mint buttercream icing and a green candy melt shell. I decorated it with coloured stars and a giant white chocolate star on top. I also bought a green cake board to go with it. The cake is my favourite Nigella's old fashioned chocolate cake

I'm sending it to Love Cake hosted by JibberJabberUK. The theme this month is flowers and as this has rose piping on top, I hope it qualifies.

 green candy melts for the shell. See my previous post for more detailed instructions on creating a candy melt shell

 cakes ready to go in the oven

 candy melt shell

 I split the cake and filled it with mint buttercream icing - remember to trim the cake before placing into the shell otherwise it won't fit!

 Then placed the other half of the cake on top

 I smoothed more buttercream icing on top 

 and placed the top layer of the cake on top of that

  I piped roses on the giant cupcake and decorated it with star sprinkles

For the chocolate cake, follow the link for Nigella's Old fashioned chocolate cake - I made a double recipe as I also used for something else but my guess is you will need approximately 1.5 recipes to make this giant cupcake

For the buttercream frosting - feel free to halve the quantities, I made a large batch as I needed it for another project soon to be revealed

300g butter
600g icing sugar
1 tablespoon peppermint extract + 1 teaspoon (or adjust to taste) 
a few drops of milk
green food colouring