Update time! At last! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last proper update. And well, it’s been a very busy few weeks. From bank holiday shenanigans, to all sorts of gigs and hangs, to a trip to Belgium for Groezrock and jaunts to various bits of the country. Groezrock was the most fun I think I’ve had at a festival ever. And I’ve been to about 20 or something silly like that. It included some of my favourite bands, some of my closest friends and very long (7 years!) overdue Myspace meet-up (HI STEPH. Yup, those are still a thing, even though I deleted mine about 4 years ago).
However, the baking as still continued, even if the blogging hasn’t. So it’s past time that I actually uploaded a recipe. I’ve got a couple more to come soon (I hope). I’m going to start doing a gluten free/diabetes themed bake once a month and the first of those will be up later this week (White chocolate and pecan gluten free blondies). The recipe that I’m uploading now however, is Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. These were done on request for the American lady at work. It was her birthday and she requested a full Boston Cream Pie, which to take in to work and divide out amongst workmates would have just been too awkward/messy. So I decided on individual cupcakes. The key with these is the cream filling, which needs to be properly thick and creamy. Not just your standard whipped cream. Then the topping needs to be a proper chocolate ganache.
These went down a storm and I earned a few brownie points along the way. I found the recipe here. I also have cup measurers now, so as I’m feeling ultra lazy I’m not going to convert from them (for now) sorry! I may at a later date.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 2 pieces
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cupcakes:
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 pieces
¾ cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
¾ cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Start with the Pastry Cream. Heat the cream in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring it to a gentle simmer stirring frequently.
Meanwhile beat together the yolks, salt and sugar. Add the cornstarch and whisk until it’s yellow and thick.
When the cream has reached its full simmer whisk in the yolk mixture. Returning it to the heat and whisking constantly for about 1 to 2 minutes until it’s thick and glossy.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is completely melted. Pour in to a bowl and push clingfilm onto the top of it. Place in the fridge to set. This will take at least 2 hours.
For the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Line a muffin tray with cases.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar baking powder and salt. Add the butter one small piece at a time and continue to mix on a low speed until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides after each one.
Add the milk and vanilla, increasing the speed of your mixer to medium and beat until it’s light and fluffy (around 3 minutes). There should be no lumps remaining.
Fill the cases ¾ full and place in the middle of the pre-heated oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes. A tooth pick inserted into the middle should come out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Ganache. Combine the cream, corn syrup, chocolate and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stirring constantly to prevent it from catching. Mix until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside and allow to cool/thicken at room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
Assembling the cakes. Using a small knife cut a small circle from the middle of the cake, about half way down into the cake. Carefully take this cone out and cut away most of the base so it just has a “lid” left. Using a piping bag/syringe with no nozzle, pipe the cream mixture into the centre of the cake before returning the lid and pushing down to make the top of the cake flat again.
Spoon the ganache over the top of the cakes and place in the fridge them to set.
First of all, sorry for the lack of updates. As I am still laptopless in the evenings it’s kinda getting in the way. I am also no longer with a copy of lightroom, so apologies if the photos aren’t quite so good. My fingers have got so itchy that I’ve actually stayed in work late to get this posted, and likely will be doing so a few times this week (I’ve got Guinness cake and Blue Cheese Scones to write up as well)… Anyway, BROWNIES. My greatest foe (not really, but I had a couple of disasters the other week when I tried making some using various different recipes I found on the old interwebs. I knew I should have stuck to the usual one). I also got myself a new giant brownie pan. So wanted the excuse to make them. I thought I’d keep it simple with some triple chocolate brownies.
I’m fairly sure I’ve ranted before about shop bought brownies being too cakey and how, to me, that’s just not what a brownie is. It should be a gooey, chocolatey mass of awesome.
For a smaller 20cm tin halve the ingredients.
Update (September 2016): This recipe requires some serious whisking, I’d recommend you did this with an electric whisk or at the very least a hand-whisk.
Melt together the butter and dark chocolate, by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture together as it starts to melt, over a low heat. (You can do this stage in the microwave, but I don’t own one). Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
While it is cooling, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted) and grease/line your tin.
Over a medium sized bowl, sieve the flour and cocoa powder in together.
Roughly chop the white and milk chocolate into chips and set aside.
Break the eggs and caster sugar into the bowl of your electric mixer and whisk on high speed until it looks thick and creamy. This can take anywhere between 3 and 8 minutes. When you take out the paddle, as it dribbles onto the surface and leaves a trail for a second or two then it’s perfect.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly folding it until it’s completely incorporated. You want them mixed without knocking out all the air you just added in to the mixture with the whisking.
Sift the flour mix into the egg/chocolate mix and mix until it’s completely combined. Again, being careful not to knock the air out. Followed by the chocolate chips.
Pour this into the prepared pan. Ensuring that it is spread evenly, by pushing it around gently with the spatula.
Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes (20 if using the smaller pan). You’ll be able to see if it is done by wobbling the tray slightly. If the middle wobbles it needs a little longer, so put it back in for another 5 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, still in the tin and leave to cool completely before removing and dividing in to squares.
Love it or hate it, you just can’t escape it. It’s everywhere at the moment, especially today. The day when everyone decides to try and pour scorn on some and adoration on others. I am of course, talking about the day I made Marmite Caramel Cupcakes. It made a line down the middle of the room. Lovers, or haters. And hey, I actually managed to convert some of the haters (in this case at least). The trick to get Marmite into something sweet is to work out what flavours you can take advantage of. It’s such a salty flavour that it works perfectly to add to a caramel. Salted Caramel has seen a huge boom over the last year or so. You can get pretty much anything with salted caramel in or on it. I’m not complaining, I love the stuff. (Oh yeah, it’s Valentine’s day too. So like, hearts and stuff. Pass the gin, pizza and Digimon marathon). I originally found this idea across at Ms Marmite Lover.
So let’s get this in to gear. You will need to do this in several stages. Starting with the Caramel, then the frosting before moving on to the cakes and then filling/decorating them.
Love it or hate it? Marmite. Personally, I fuckin’ love the stuff. It’s Iron Cupcake Leeds this Sunday and because of Valentine’s day the theme is Love or Hate. I’ve been meaning to enter Iron Cupcake for a while now and I want the first time I do to be fun. So I want to do something a bit different. Hence the marmite. There are a couple of ways of incorporating the stuff in to bakes and I have practised one before the weekend, just to see whether it’d work for what I’d need it for. The creation was Marmite and Cheddar muffins, and I then tried frosting them with a couple of different alternatives, unfortunately neither of them really worked all that well.
The “cupcakes” themselves were wonderful. A little lighter than Scones but had a really great flavour (I’d personally put a little bit more marmite in myself to give more of a tang). As I was intending to frost them I didn’t add any extra cheese or marmite to the top, which I’d recommend you doing.
Now the frosting, I tried two different kinds. The first was a “savoury cream cheese frosting” which came out way too creamy and just didn’t go with the cake at all. The recipe for that can be found here. The second was a “Cheddar Cheese” frosting, which worked MUCH better, however I couldn’t get it to thicken and it piped wrong. The recipe for that one can be found here.
These cakes, while tasty, aren’t quite there for me to be taking to a competition. So instead I’m going to try some chocolate cones with a Marmite Caramel Ganache frosting.
It’s January. Therefore everyone is full slap bang in the middle of their “detox”, right? Because obviously, one month of doing vaguely healthier things makes the other 11 months of debauchery and junk food ok (Disclaimer: My lifestyle is awful, I am not judging anyone for trying to be positive). In keeping with this I thought this would be a perfect time to try something from the Hummingbird Bakery book I was given at Christmas. What else says detox like Green Tea? Or Matcha powder (the bloody expensive thing that it is)? Of course, if you mix both of these things with butter, sugar and chocolate they are still healthy, right? Yeah, sure, let’s go with that. Having said that, other than the sugar it’s a fairly small amount of the other ingredients, so these won’t hit the waste quite as much as many of the other things I bake.
I’d advise planning ahead with these too. You need to give the green tea bags plenty of time in the milk (overnight ideally) so that they transfer enough of the flavour across to the cold milk. The matcha powder brings the majority of the green tea flavour and is a great addition to the frosting. I’ve been recommended using it with white chocolate, so I’ll definitely be doing some white chocolate matcha frosting sometime soon.
This makes a particularly small batch of cupcakes, only 12, but the recipe could be very easily doubled or more.
I used more Matcha powder than in this recipe (by accident), if I was doing it again I’d be much more careful. It made the frosting much more bitter. This meant they got much more mixed reviews.
20g Matcha green tea powder, plus extra to decorate (you can buy this from tea shops and specialist Asian supermarkets).
25ml whole milk
Measure out the milk and add the tea bags. Put these in a sealed container in the fridge for several hours in advance (overnight if possible).
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan) and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add the softened butter. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment beat on a low speed until it has a sandy consistency.
Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla together. Slowly add in half of the mixture to the dry mix. Beat on high until there are no lumps. Turn down to a low speed and slowly poor in the rest of the mix. Continue to mix it until it’s smooth.
Spoon in to the cases to about ⅔ full. Place in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They’ll be done when they bounce back when pressed lightly or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tray before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the green tea frosting beat together the sugar, butter and matcha powder until well combined on a medium to low speed. Turn down to a low speed and slowly pour in the milk. Once it is incorporated turn the speed up to high and beat for 5 minutes.