Friday, February 29, 2008

Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup whole milk
Icing:
2/3 cup heavy cream
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup chopped peanuts
Special equipment: a muffin tin with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups and paper liners
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat together peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, then mix until just combined. Divide batter among lined muffin cups (about two-thirds full) and bake in middle of oven until pale golden and a tester inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn cupcakes out onto a rack and cool completely.
To make the Icing while cupcakes cool: Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. To thicken icing to spreading consistency quickly, spread it on a metal baking sheet and chill until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Scrape icing back into bowl and stir until smooth. Spread icing on cupcakes and sprinkle with peanuts.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Individual Peach Upside-Down Cupcake


Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 medium peaches, peeled
1-ounce finely chopped crystallized ginger, approximately
3 tablespoons
2.5 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately
1/2 cup 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving, optional
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Divide 2 tablespoons of the butter between 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside. Evenly divide the brown sugar between the ramekins; sprinkling it into the bottoms of the dishes. Cut each peach into 12 to 14 pieces. Lay the peaches on top of the sugar; evenly dividing them between the dishes and sprinkle with the ginger. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combine. Pour the batter over the peaches; dividing the mixture evenly between the dishes. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from the oven to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each dish and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Repeat with each cake. Serve immediately with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing


Ingredients:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows
Chopped salted peanuts, to decorate, optional
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended.
Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.
Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Peanut Butter Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
Directions:
Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Black Forest Cupcakes



Ingredients: (serves 4)
15 oz can pitted cherries
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
4 double chocolate chip cupcakes
1 tbs kirsch
1 cup double cream
1 oz Cadbury Flake bar, crumbled

Directions:
Drain the cherries and reserve the syrup. Combine the syrup, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly.
Use a small serrated knife to split each cupcake crossways into 3 layers. Place the bottom layer of each cupcake on serving plates. Brush with a little of the kirsch. Top with half the cream, then half the cherries. Continue layering with remaining cupcake, kirsch, cream and cherries. Drizzle over the cherry syrup and sprinkle with Flake to serve.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Munchy Honey Cupcakes


Ingredients:
4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup honey
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup cornflakes
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sultanas

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine butter and honey in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted. (Alternatively, place in a microwave-safe container and microwave on high for 2 minutes.)
Place flour, cornflakes, coconut, rolled oats and sultanas in a bowl. Pour in honey mixture and stir until just combined.
Sit 12 patty cases in a 12-hole cupcake pan. Place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture in each patty case and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Banana Cupcakes with Toffee Pecans

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup mashed ripe banana

Toffee pecans:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
7 oz pecan halves, toasted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease 10 x 3/4 cup capacity cupcake pans.Beat oil, sugar, eggs, flour, bicarbonate of soda and banana with electric mixer for about 4 minutes or until pale in colour.
Pour evenly among prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn onto wire rack to cool.Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in medium pan, cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, simmer about 5 minutes or until a golden brown colour. Arrange pecans on cakes and drizzle with toffee. Leave to cool.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Peach Buttermilk Cupcake


Ingredients: (serves 18)
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar
15 oz caned peach slices in natural juice, drained, diced
1/2 cup spreadable cream cheese, to serve

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease three 6-hole, 1/3-cup capacity cupcake pans.
Place oats, buttermilk, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Sift flour and cinnamon over oat mixture. Add sugar. Stir gently to combine. Fold in peach. Spoon mixture into cupcake holes to completely fill (cupcakes won't rise much, due to the oats).
Bake cupcakes for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Orange & Poppy Seed Cupcakes



Ingredients:
Melted butter, to grease
1 tbs poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
4.5 oz butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tsp finely shredded orange rind
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Icing sugar, to dust

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Brush twelve 1/3-cup capacity non-stick cupcake pans with melted butter to lightly grease. Combine the poppy seeds and 1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Add the poppy-seed mixture along with remaining milk, butter, egg, orange rind and juice, and stir with a metal spoon until just combined (do not overmix).
Spoon the batter among prepared muffin pans. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from oven and turn onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with icing sugar.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Little Apple Cupcakes



Ingredients (serves 6)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 oz reduced-fat margarine
2 1/2 tablespoons SPLENDA Granular Sweetener
1 eggwhite
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, diced
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Combine flour, baking powder, margarine and 1 tablespoon Splenda Granular Sweetener in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add eggwhite and 2 1/2 tablespoons chilled water. Process until dough comes together. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth. Shape into a 2cm-thick round. Wrap in greaseproof paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Combine apple, sultanas, vanilla, 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon Splenda Granular Sweetener in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until apple is tender. Transfer to a bowl. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease six 1/3-cup capacity cupcake holes.
Roll pastry out to 1/8 inch thick. Using an 11cm-round cutter, cut 6 rounds. Use to line muffin holes. Fill with apple mixture.
Press remaining pastry together. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2.5 inch cutter, cut 6 rounds. Place over filling. Fold excess pastry from base of pies over tops, enclosing filling. Brush tops with water. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon Splenda Granular Sweetener. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Serve with ice-cream, if desired.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Apple and Raisin Cupcakes


Ingredients (serves 12)
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 finely chopped pink lady apple, skin on
1/2 cup raisins

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place flour and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil and cinnamon. Stir through apple and raisins.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 12-hole, 1/2 cupcake pan, taking care not to overfill. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Baby Cupcakes



Ingredients (serves 8)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups icing sugar mixture
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp rosewater
1-2 drops pink liquid food colouring
Icing flowers, to decorate
Pink sugar, to decorate

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F . Line 36 11/2 tbs capacity mini muffin pans with paper cases.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stir in the flour and sour cream in alternate batches. Spoon evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked though.
Combine the icing sugar and milk in a bowl until a smooth paste forms. Add the rosewater and stir to combine. Divide into 2 bowls. Add the pink colouring to an icing portion. Spread the icing over the cupcakes. Decorate with icing flowers, and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Serve with coffee.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Warm Banana Cupcakes with Custard


Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1.5 oz butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups prepared custard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease 4 large muffin pans. Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Using a fork, whisk butter, egg, milk, and bananas together in a jug. Add to flour mixture and fold together until just combined.
Spoon into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to serving plates.
Meanwhile, place custard into a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Serve with banana muffins.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Honey and Hazelnut Cupcakes



Ingredients
1 quantity classic cupcake recipe
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted

Directions:
Follow step 1 of classic cupcake recipe. Stir in hazelnuts.
Follow step 2, and add honey.
Bake cupcakes following step 3.
Make icing: Warm honey and milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Add to icing sugar and stir until well combined. Spoon icing over cupcakes. Allow to set

Friday, February 15, 2008

Classic Cupcakes



Ingredients:
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 oz butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Sprinkles and lollies, to decorate

Icing:
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
Pink food colouring, optional
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 12 x 1/3-cup capacity muffin pan. Alternatively, line holes with paper cases. Combine flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center.
Add milk, butter, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture. Using a large metal spoon, stir gently to combine.
Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Make icing: Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add food colouring and water. Stir until smooth and well combined. Spoon icing over cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles and lollies.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Honey Apple Upside-Down Cupcakes


Ingredients
1/2 cup honey
3 small apples
12 oz packet butter cake mix
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 12 x 1/2-cup capacity muffin pan. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of honey into base of each muffin hole.
Thinly slice apples into rounds. Place 2 apple slices into each muffin hole so slices sit flat
Make cake batter following packet directions. Fold through cinnamon. Spoon batter over apple slices. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to stand in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Drizzle each cake with another 1 teaspoon of honey. Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Choc-Chip Baby Cupcakes



Ingredients:
2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
9 oz Nestle milk choc bits
1/4 cup milk
4.5 oz butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups vanilla frosting
1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
12-14 drops blue food colouring

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line thirty-six 1 1/2-tbs capacity mini muffin pans with paper cases.
Combine the flour, sugar and choc bits in large bowl. Combine the milk, butter, egg and vanilla essence in a large jug. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Spoon the mixture among the prepared muffin pans. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Set aside for 2-3 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Set aside for 1 hour to cool completely.
Spread the cupcakes evenly with frosting. Place the coconut in a plastic bag. Add the food colouring to the coconut and shake until well coloured. Sprinkle the cupcakes with coconut to serve.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Strawberry Cupcakes


Ingredients:
1 quantity classic cupcake recipe
9 oz punnet strawberries, hulled, chopped
9 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons pure icing sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Directions:
Lightly grease or line 16 x 1/3-cup capacity muffin holes with paper cases. Follow step 1 of classic cupcake recipe.
Follow step 2, reducing milk to 1/2 cup. Fold through strawberries.
Bake cupcakes following step 3.
Make icing: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. Top each with 1 teaspoonful of jam. Use a teaspoon to swirl jam and icing together. Serve.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Vanilla Cream Cupcakes


Ingredients
4.5 oz butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 12 x 1/3 cup capacity muffin pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, caster sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until pale. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Sift flour over butter mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until almost combined. Stir in milk.
Spoon mixture into muffin holes. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack.
Whip cream. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 1/2 tablespoons of icing sugar.
Cut a shallow cone shape from the top of each cake, leaving a 1cm border. Fill cakes with vanilla cream. Place tops back on. Dust with remaining icing sugar. Serve.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Little Pudding Cupcakes


Ingredients
1/2 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, finely chopped
1/3 cup raisins
2.5 oz sultanas
7 oz mixed glace fruit, finely chopped
1/2 cup brandy
4 oz butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup golden syrup
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
icing sugar, to serve

Directions:
Place all fruit into a heat-proof bowl. Heat brandy in a saucepan until hot. Pour over fruit. Cover. Stand overnight.
Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease a 24 x 1 1/2-tablespoon capacity mini muffin pans.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and syrup until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, nutmeg and cinnamon over fruit. Add breadcrumbs and butter mixture. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into muffin holes. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Repeat with remaining mixture. Dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Strawberry Sour Cream Cakes


Ingredients
4.5 oz butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup light sour cream
9 oz strawberries, hulled, diced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 6 heatproof, 3/4-cup capacity ramekins.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Sift flour over butter mixture and stir gently to combine. Fold through sour cream and strawberries.
Three-quarter fill each ramekin with strawberry batter. Smooth tops. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in ramekins for 5 minutes before turning out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Peach and Almond Bowl Cupcakes


Ingredients
4 peaches
4.5 oz butter, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
3/4 ground almonds
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease 4 x 1-cup capacity ovenproof bowls. Place onto a baking tray.
Cut a cross in base of each peach. Place into a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 5 minutes or until skin begins to lift. Remove to a plate. Use a sharp knife to peel and discard skin. Allow peaches to cool.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, 2/3 cup sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in almonds and flour. Gently stir in milk.
Divide batter between bowls. Press a peach into centre of each. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Serve.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mandarin and Almond Cupcakes


Ingredients
2 large mandarins
4 eggs
9 oz caster sugar
7 oz ground almonds
1 oz fine semolina
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs light olive oil
1 tsp orange blossom water, optional
1 1/2 oz flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup orange breakfast marmalade
1/2 cup honey
1 3/4 oz pistachio kernels, lightly roasted, skins rubbed
1/2 pint double cream or mascarpone

Directions:
Place mandarins in a large saucepan and cover with water. Keep submerged with a plate. Bring to a simmer over low-medium heat and cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove and cool. Cut mandarins in half, remove any pips, then process halves in a food processor until pureed.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease metal pudding moulds. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs and 7 oz sugar until just pale. Using a fine sieve, sift ground almonds, semolina, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt over egg mixture. Add oil, orange blossom water (if using), pureed mandarins and almonds. Fold to combine.
Spoon batter among moulds, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Place on an oven tray and bake on lowest shelf for 20-25 minutes or until dark golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool cakes in tins for 5 minutes, then invert on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place remaining sugar, marmalade, honey and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, then transfer to a small bowl. Dip cakes, 1 at a time, into syrup, avoiding bases, then place on a baking paper-lined tray. Add pistachios to syrup. Top each cake with cream, then spoon over pistachios and remaining syrup. Serve.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mini Chocolate & Pear Cupcakes with Chocolate Sauce



Ingredients
Melted butter, for greasing
3/4 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
6 drained, canned pear halves in natural juice
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 cup skim milk natural yoghurt
2 eggs
2 tbs water

Chocolate sauce
1/3 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
2 1/2 tsp cornflour
1 cup water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F Brush 6 large 3/4-cup muffin pans with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the bases of the greased muffin pans with non-stick baking paper.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of the sugar over the base of each pan. Place 1 pear half, cut-side down, in each pan.
Sift the flour and cocoa together into a medium mixing bowl. Add the yoghurt, eggs, water and remaining sugar. Use electric beaters to whisk on low speed, scraping down the side of the bowl once or twice, until the ingredients are just combined.
Pour the cake mixture evenly over the pears in the pans. Tap the pans on a bench to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before turning onto serving plates.
Meanwhile, to make the chocolate sauce, place the sugar, cocoa and cornflour in a small saucepan and mix well. Gradually stir in the water until smooth. Stir over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Transfer the sauce to a jug and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming.
Pour the chocolate sauce over the cakes and serve immediately. If you would like to serve the cakes for afternoon tea instead of dessert, turn onto a wire rack and set aside until cooled completely. Serve without the sauce.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Cappuccino Cupcakes


Ingredients
Melted butter, to grease
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup freshly brewed espresso coffee, cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk
9 oz ctn mascarpone
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/4 cup icing sugar mixture
2 tbs Kahlua liqueur
Drinking chocolate, to dust

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush eight 1-cup capacity ovenproof tea cups or muffin pans with melted butter to lightly grease.
Use an electric beater to beat together the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the flour, coffee and buttermilk until well combined. Spoon the mixture evenly among the prepared cups or pans. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Set aside for 1 hour to cool completely.
Use a balloon whisk to whisk together the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar in a large bowl until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the Kahlua and whisk until well combined.
Spoon the mascarpone mixture over each cake and spread to the edge. Sprinkle with drinking chocolate to serve

Friday, February 1, 2008

Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Syrup



Ingredients
Melted butter, to grease
4.5 oz butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1/3 cup natural yoghurt
Vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Lemon syrup
1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp coconut essence
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush twelve 1/3 cup capacity muffin pans with melted butter to lightly grease.
Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flours, coconut, lemon rind and yoghurt. Spoon mixture evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, to make the syrup, use a zester to remove rind from lemon. Combine lemon rind and juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens. Remove from heat and add essence.
Drizzle cakes with hot syrup to serve.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Berry Cupcakes


Ingredients
5 oz ground almonds (almond meal)
1 1/4 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup gluten-free plain flour
1 lemon, rind finely grated
5 eggwhites, at room temperature
5 oz butter, melted, cooled
5 oz punnet blueberries or raspberries
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 12 x 1/3-cup capacity muffin pan or an 8 x 1/2-cup capacity mini loaf pan.
Place almonds, sugar, flour and lemon rind into a bowl. Mix well to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggwhites with a fork until frothy. Add to flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in melted butter. Gently fold through berries.
Spoon mixture into holes so they are three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cupcake Icing for a Crowd

1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 pounds confectioners' sugar (3 boxes)
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Food coloring, such as yellow, blue, and red, or your favorite

In the bowl of a large electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until very soft. Meanwhile, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Using a large sifter, sift a pound of confectioners' sugar onto the parchment. This helps prevent clumping, and makes the mixing easier. Lower the speed of the mixer, and, using the parchment as a funnel, pour the sugar into the bowl and mix slowly until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Sift the second pound of sugar onto the parchment sheet. Again at low speed, add the sugar and mix well. Once combined, sift the remaining sugar and add it with the vanilla and mix. Once it is combined, turn the mixer speed up and beat the icing until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
If desired, divide the icing into smaller batches and color with food coloring.
Spread the icing on cooled cupcakes while at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover icing, but be sure to let it come back to room temperature before using. Re-whip the icing to make it fluffy again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes


Ingredients
5 oz butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, peeled, mashed
1 x 7 oz pkt good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup milk
White chocolate curls, to decorate
Chocolate frosting
1 x 7 oz pkt good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thickened cream
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line sixteen 1/3-cup capacity muffin pans with paper cases.
Use an electric beater to beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until just combined. Add the banana and chocolate and stir until well combined. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the flour and milk until well combined. Spoon the mixture evenly among the prepared muffin pans and smooth the surfaces. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the chocolate frosting, place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until almost firm. Use an electric beater to beat the chocolate mixture until pale and fluffy.
Use a round-bladed knife to spread the cupcakes evenly with frosting. Sprinkle with chocolate curls to serve.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Love-Heart Cupcakes


Ingredients
7.7 oz unsalted butter, softened
2 cups, firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 oz dark chocolate, melted, cooled
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
7.oz plain flour
Pure icing sugar, sifted, to dust
17.5 oz packet ready-made icing
2 packets love-heart lollies*
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the patty pan with paper cases. Place butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for about 5 minutes until soft. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and chocolate, stirring in gently (don't over-beat at this stage). Add bicarbonate soda to the flour, then sift into mixture, alternating with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until smooth and just combined.
Fill the paper cases to three-quarters full. Bake for 30 minutes or until risen. Remove and allow to cool.
Dust the workbench with the icing sugar, then roll out icing until 2mm thick. Use a fluted pastry cutter to cut out circles the same size as the top of the cakes. Sit one on top of each cake, moulding to its shape. Press a lolly into the top of each cake.

Friday, January 18, 2008

White Chocolate Mud cupcakes

Ingredients:
4.5 oz butter, chopped
1 x 3.5 oz pkt good-quality white cooking chocolate, chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly whisked
3/4cup plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Silver cachous, to decorate
White chocolate ganache
2 x 6 oz pkts good-quality white cooking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup thickened cream
2-3 drops pink liquid food colouring
Cooking time 35 minutes.
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line twelve 1/3-cup capacity muffin pans with paper cases.
Combine the butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Use a balloon whisk to gently whisk in the egg. Sift the combined flours over the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Pour mixture evenly among prepared muffin pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and set aside for 1 hour to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the white chocolate ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a medium heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until ganache is spreadable. Add the pink food colouring and stir until well combined.
Use a round-bladed knife to spread cupcakes evenly with ganache. Sprinkle with cachous to decorate

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vanilla cupcakes with lemon icing



Cooking Time 20 minutes
Ingredients
4.5 oz butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup almond meal
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cups pure icing sugar
1-1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice
2-3 drops yellow liquid food colouring
Method
Preheat oven to 390 F.
Line twelve 1/3-cup capacity muffin pans with paper cases.
Use an electric beater to beat together the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
Use a large metal spoon to fold in the almond meal, flour and milk, alternately, until just combined. Spoon mixture evenly among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sift icing sugar into a medium bowl. Gradually add the lemon juice, stirring with a wooden spoon until a smooth paste forms. Add the food colouring and stir until well combined. Spread icing evenly over cupcakes. Set aside for 10 minutes to set.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Carrot Pistachio Cake and Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups chopped pistachios
4 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup organic milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
PREPARATION
1. Make the batter: Heat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line an 8-cup muffin pan and set aside. Combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a large bowl. Toss the carrots, apricots, and nuts in the flour mixture and set aside. Whisk together the eggs, olive oil, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Transfer 3 cups of batter to each cake pan and 1/4 cup batter to each cupcake liner. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean - about 40 minutes for cakes and 20 minutes for cupcakes. Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Release cakes from pans and cool completely on the rack. If freezing, skip to Step 2. Frost with your favorite icing.
2.To freeze: Double-wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap or place each one in a large resealable plastic bag, removing excess air. Place cupcakes in a plastic container with an airtight lid and freeze for up to 2 months.

Buttercream will freeze without making the cupcakes soggy, but if you prefer egg-white-based or cream-cheese icings, freeze layers separately, make the icing fresh, and frost the layers after they thaw.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Popcorn Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
1 baked cupcake
White icing
40 mini marshmallows (white or pastel yellow and white)
Yellow food coloring (optional)
Clean paintbrush
Scissors
White construction paper
Blue and red markers
1. Frost the cupcake with white icing. To create each piece of "popcorn," cut one mini marshmallow in half and squish the two pieces back together into a whole mini marshmallow, pinching firmly. Pile the finished popcorn onto the frosted cupcake.
2. For a buttery look, either dilute a drop of yellow food coloring in water and brush it on with a clean paintbrush or mix pastel yellow marshmallows in with the white.
3. To make the band, cut a strip of construction paper about 1 1/4 inches by 8 inches, or to fit your cupcake, and decorate as shown.
4. If you're creating many cupcakes, design just one band and color photocopy it. Wrap the band around the cupcake and secure with tape.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract
1 cup milk
Yield: Makes about 24 standard cupcakes

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line standard muffin pan with baking cups. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter with electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture; mix well. Spoon into baking cups.
Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling rack for 5-8 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely.
Strawberry Filling
Ingredients
1 package (16 oz ) frozen sliced strawberries packed in sugar, thawed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Yield: 2 cups filling.
Directions
Drain strawberries; reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to equal 1¼ cups. In large saucepan, combine strawberry liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Fill cupcakes.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For Raspberry Filling, substitute 1 package (16 oz.) frozen raspberries packed in syrup, thawed, for frozen strawberries.
For Pineapple Filling, substitute 1 can (16 oz.) crushed pineapple in syrup for frozen strawberries.
Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing
Ingredients
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
Yield: Make about 3 cups icing.
Directions
Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Sprinkles Cupcakes



Sprinkles Cupcakes in California is a delight to see and taste. When I first approached the store in Beverly Hills I saw a line about 30 people deep. I then said to my friend that these cupcakes must be amazing if people are willing to wait 20 minutes in line for them. After a wait we finally make it up to the counter to place our order, I was so confused there were 11 different cupcakes to choose from, and they all looked amazing. I felt the pressure from the people in line wanting me to make a quick decision.

I first eat all foods with my eyes, if it looks good then I'm more excited to actually eat it. I Choose one cupcake of each, they were amazing, the cake was moist and mushy, and the butter cream was just that, it tasted like flavored butter. Amazing, my favorite was cinnamon sugar. In addition to great cupcakes the people watching is so much fun, you have all types buying $3 cupcakes, its amazing. Long live the cupcake.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Limoncello Frosting

Cupcakes:
1 box chocolate cake mix Orange juice (instead of water in cake mix)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup diced candied orange peel (about 8 ounces)
Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
(1/2 stick) 2 tablespoons limoncello (you can substitute with 2 tablespoons lemon juice for minors)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 orange, zested
1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel, for garnish
Special equipment:
cupcake liners, 2 muffin pans

To make the cupcakes: mix the chocolate cake mix according to package instructions, substituting orange juice for the water. Toss the chocolate chips with the flour. Fold the chocolate chips and the candied orange peel into the chocolate mixture. Line the muffin pan with the cupcake liners. Fill and bake the cupcakes according to package instructions. Let the cupcakes cool for 1 hour on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting: combine all the ingredients except the candied orange peel in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Using a small spatula, place about 1 tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake. Top with a small sprinkle of candied orange peel.