Baking time!

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This blog has been neglected for far too long. Unfortunately living in Real Life means that baking comes secondary to my job and the like.

I’ve made vanilla cupcakes for my friend’s birthday using Bluebell’s Cakery recipe.

I was struggling to use my heart stencil to create a defined heart on the buttercream. I tried using hundreds and thousands to no avail but then I had a stroke of genius and mixed petal powder with sugar and tapped it out onto the stencil.

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Carrot Cupcakes

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I’m terrible. I promise baked goods to the world but very rarely do I deliver on my promises.

My friend is leaving the country so to fulfill my oath, I am finally making him carrot cupcakes.

I decided to be good this time and photograph my journey.

I found the recipe here.
If I made it again, I’d use slightly less carrot and slightly more walnuts. I’ve reflected this in the recipe below.
This recipe made 30 standard size cupcakes. I would usually halve it.

You’ll need:

Cupcake Ingredients:
5 carrots, grated
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups caster sugar
½ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Icing
150 g cream cheese.
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp whole milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line three 12 hole muffin trays with papers.

Peel and grate carrots.

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Blend walnuts to chop them up, add to the grated carrots.

In a bowl whip eggs and both sugars together until creamy. Add the flour and other dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix on a low speed until incorporated.

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Pour in oil slowly until everything is mixed. Turn speed to medium and mix for a few minutes.

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Fold in grated carrots and walnuts.

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Spoon mixture into cupcake cases til 2/3 full.

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Bake for 24 minutes until the cake springs back when touched.

Icing:

Mix butter and icing sugar together. Slowly mix in the cream cheese. Once everything is combined, put in the vanilla paste and mix.
Put in the milk and turn to medium-high speed. Mix for five minutes until fluffy.

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Grasshopper Pie

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My sister bought a recipe magazine from the supermarket and insisted that I make her Grasshopper Pie.

And so I did.

This is a pie made from marshmallows, cream and mint.  It was really sweet and while tasty, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to make it again.

Ingredients
For the pie shell:
150 g oreos
100 g dark chocolate (I used whittakers)
50 g melted butter

crush the oreos (I blended mine, but you could wrap them in a tea towel and go over them with a rolling pin until they were crushed) , melt the butter and dark chocolate and mix until it resembles pie pastry.

For the filling:

3 cups white marshmallows
1/2 cup whole milk
few drops peppermint essence
1 1/2 cups thickened cream
Green food coloring, optional

and a peppermint crisp to decorate, you could also use mint aero.

Directions
1. Blend or process the cookies and chocolate in a food processor until they form a crumb mixture. Add the butter and process until the mixture starts to clump together.

2. Press the mixture into a  tart pan. I made 4 individual pies. Make sure the base is not too thick and it is smooth.

3.Melt the marshmallows in a saucepan over low gentle heat along with the milk. Once the milk starts to foam (not boil), take off the heat and keep stirring until the marshmallows blend into the milk to make a smooth mixture. This takes forever, be patient and keep stirring.

4. Once they’re all nice and melty, leave to cool and then whisk in the peppermint essence.

5. Whisk up the cream until it holds soft peaks, and then add in the cooled marshmallow mixture.

6. Halve the mixture and add in the green food colouring.

7. Drop green and white mixture into chilled pie crusts and swirl with a tooth pick.

8. Leave to chill for 4 hours. Once you’re ready to serve, crumble a peppermint crisp over the top.

Yum.

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Macaron Recipe

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As I’ve been so successful the past few days, I now think I’ve got macarons down! Until the next time I try and they fail miserably XP

Ingredients

1 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 medium egg whites, aged if possible.
¼ cup caster  sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla/2  table spoons cocoa *** when adding the flavours, add wet ones like vanilla to the egg white mixture and dry ones like cocoa to icing sugar/ground almonds.

Butter cream filling

3/4 cup icing sugar
about 50 g softened unsalted butter
1 tablespoon milk

Chocolate ganache

100 g chocolate (I like Whittaker’s creamy milk)
1/2 cup cream

Preheat oven to 150°C.
Line baking sheets with baking paper.
Set up your piping bag with a round tip in a tall glass.

1. In a food processor blend the icing sugar and ground almond.
2. Sift the icing sugar/almond mix three times in to a bowl and set aside.
3. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add caster sugar. Keep whipping until glossy with firm peaks.

P1040361 soft peaks

P1040362firm and glossy

4. Fold a third of the almond mixture into meringue using cutting and scooping actions. Continue until all the almond mixture is incorporated. This is a crucial step, undermixing will make your macarons peak and crack and overmixing will make it too runny to pipe. You want it to be like lava.

P1040363  with 2/3 of the mixture inP1040364  at its ‘lava’ stage

5. pipe circles onto baking sheets. Once you are done whack the baking sheet on the bench to get rid of air pockets. Leave macarons to sit for 30-40 mins.

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6. Bake for 10-15 mins.

7. Leave the macarons on the baking paper and put on a wire rack.

For the frosting, mix all ingredients together and add colouring if you’d like.

Sandwich macaron halves together. Yay! Done!

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Red Velvet

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I am the master of red velvet. I’ve memorized the recipe I’ve made so many cupcakes and cakes.

I use this Hummingbird recipe.
You will need

60g unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup  caster sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1 tablespoon  cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar

have your cupcake tray lined and ready to go.

Cream cheese frosting is always delicious with Red Velvet.

For the frosting:
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C.

2. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar together until it’s fluffy and light. Add the egg in slowly and beat until its all incorporated.

3. In a small bowl (or I use a cup) mix the red food colouring , cocoa and vanilla together to make a paste. Add to the batter. Pour in half of the buttermilk.

4. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. once you have a smooth mixture, add the baking soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed.  Your mixture should look smooth. Once you’re all done, turn off your mixer and start spooning mixture in to liners.

5. Bake in oven for 20-25 mins for standard cupcakes and about 12 mins for mini cupcakes.

6. When your cupcakes are out of the oven, make the frosting but creaming the butter  and slowly adding the icing sugar. Once they’re all mixed, add the cream cheese and mix together. You don’t want to mix this frosting too much or it will go runny.

7. Decorate cupcakes however you want. My favourite icing tip is the Wilton 1M.

These are some halloween cupcakes I made last year.
To make coloured frosting, just put in some gel colours.

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