Screw the chicken soup …. retro cupcakes for the soul.

 

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After a taxing few days at work, I came home tonight feeling a little deflated instead of the usual Friday buzz. Feeling a bit mopey and sorry for myself I decided to make my go to recipe which takes no real thought or effort ….cupcakes! This is the most basic recipe but it works a treat, they always come out light, fluffy and moist and you can mix it up by adding chocolate, nuts, dried fruit or anything you want. Today I just went with plain cupcakes, white icing and hundreds and thousands. After 30 minutes of therapeutic baking all is right with the world again.  🙂

Classic Cupcake Recipes (Makes 6 – 9 Depending on the size of your cases)

120g good quality unsalted butter (softened in the microwave if necessary)

120g caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

120g self raising flour

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C or 160°C fan.

Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy.  Beat it like crazy to get as much air in as possible.

Stir in the eggs with a little flour so the mixture doesn’t split.

Add the vanilla extract and baking powder, stir well making sure everything is well combined.

Add the flour and fold in gently. Do not over mix or you will end up with cakes like bricks!

Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases. My best ever purchase was a spring release ice cream scoop that I use to get perfectly even cupcakes! Fill the scoop, flatten with a knife then release the mixture into the case.

Bake for 17 minutes or until the tops are golden brown in colour. Check they are fully cooked by pushing a knife into the middle of a cupcake. If it comes out clean with no cake mixture stuck they are done.

Leave to cool on a wire rack. Don’t decorate until fully cool (although obviously you may need to test one still warm with a cup of tea at this point 😉 )

Make up the icing sugar with water as instructions on the box. You want a nice thick paste like consistency. Pour the hundreds and thousands onto a plate.

Now the most fun part! Dip your cupcakes into the icing and twist to fully coat. Spread the icing evenly with a knife then dip into the hundreds and thousands.

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Enjoy xxx

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Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

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Well as the title of this post suggests the diet isn’t going overly well.  I saw online Godiva are doing a competition in which you can enter your chocolate recipes. I’ve had an idea to make something along these lines for ages after seeing a triple berry cheesecake in the amazing Peggy Porschen boutique cookbook, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go. Hey if I’m going to cheat I might as well cheat properly!  Salads resume tomorrow, but for the moment enjoy this recipe! It is very easy to make and can be made ahead if you have friends coming round. I used 2 cooking rings which made 2 very generous cheesecakes (1 cheesecake is big enough for 2 people to share). You could use smaller rings or give it a go in a muffin tray to make mini versions.

Ingredients

100g chocolate cookies (I used Tesco Finest)

25g unsalted butter

75g milk chocolate

75g white chocolate (and a little extra to drizzle over the top for decoration)

150g cream cheese

150g ricotta 

Super easy method

Crush the cookies to crumbs. Melt the butter and mix together.

Press the cookie and butter mix  firmly into the bottom of your cooking ring or tin (if your using cooking rings place on a baking tray first). Place in the fridge while you prepare the next layers.

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 Break up the white and milk chocolate into separate bowls. Melt in the microwave taking care not to burn. Leave to cool slightly.

Mix together the ricotta and soft cheese beating well. Spoon half the cheese mixture into the melted milk chocolate and the other half into the melted white chocolate.

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Take the cookie bases out of the fridge. Spoon the white chocolate mixture onto the bases and smooth the top flat.

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Then spoon the milk chocolate layer on top and smooth across with a palate knife.

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About an hour before serving I melted some white chocolate, left to cool slightly then drizzled across the cheesecakes whilst still in the rings.

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To serve place the mould on a plate and carefully run a palate knife around the edge. Once you have broken the seal you should be able to life mould off easily.

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Jumping on the Creme Egg Brownie Bandwagon!

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After seeing these bad boys all over Facebook and Twitter, I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon! Incredibly easy to make (the hardest part is unwrapping all the eggs without scoffing the lot), incredibly bad for you but absolutely delicious! I used my favourite brownie recipe and mini Creme Eggs.

Ingredients

250g butter

100g cocoa powder

500g golden caster sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

100g flour

2 packets of mini Cadburys Creme Eggs

Method

Unwrap the Cadburys Creme Eggs and place in the freezer (this helps them keep egg shaped when baking)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line and grease a baking tin (I used a 20 x 28cm)

Melt the butter, cocoa powder and sugar together on a medium heat in a large pan. You need to stir like crazy to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.

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Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes and then add the eggs a little at a time (if you add when the mixture is still piping hot they may curdle)

Add the flour and combine well.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin, saving a few spoonfuls to help cover the eggs

Decide how you are going to cut your brownies and then place the eggs in the mixture, so each brownie will contain 1 egg.

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Use the left over mixture to spoon over the eggs so they are completely covered.

Bake for 45 minutes (check after 30 mins and cover with more greaseproof paper if they are starting to go to dark on top)

Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Once cool cut into squares. I also melted some white chocolate and made some yellow icing to flick over the top.

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Enjoy!

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