Tag Archives: Cupcake

Nutella cupcakes

14 Jan

I’ve travelled around the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, California and Germany – lucky me! – and now it’s back to my kitchen at home.  It’s amazing how much you miss homemade food after many weeks.  Eating out 3 times a day sounds like heaven, but always too much of a good thing is never great so after 2 months, I’m very happy to stay in for a while!

I’m sticking with the cupcakes theme and I may as well use one of my favourite things to come out of a jar – Nutella!  What doesn’t Nutella go well with (I can think of a few) but just ignore that for a moment and just think about the wonders of Nutella.  My personal favourite is just on a spoon and then straight into my mouth!  Mmm heaven.

Makes 12

125 gr unsalted butter at room temperature (don’t try to beat with cold cubes, like I did)
60 gr light brown sugar
50 gr runny honey
1/2 tablespoon coffee
2 tablespoons milk
60 gr Nutella (mmm Nutella)
2 large eggs
160 gr plain flour
40 gr cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
extra melted butter 
 
For the icing / frosting:
150 gr cream cheese (don’t bother with fat-free!)
150 gr Nutella (mmm Nutella)
350 gr icing sugar
1/2 tablespoon soft butter
 

Preheat your oven to 175 C (350 F).

Place 12 cupcake liners into a muffin tray and brush liners with melted butter.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, or upright mixer, mix the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy.  Should take about 3 minutes on a medium speed.  Add the coffee, milk and Nutella as the whisk on a low-speed.  Then add the eggs, one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients and then add to the other bowl.  Fold the mixture slowly until well combined. Divide among the cupcake liners and bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes.

For the icing / frosting, blend all the ingredients together.  Add a dash of milk if you need, but I didn’t.  Add to a piping bag and pipe using a medium nozzle.  I piped from the outside in, with the piping bag upright.  Enjoy!

nutella cupcakes

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Cupcake decorations

8 Nov

Aside for a dollop of icing, I had no real experience of decorating a cupcake.  Be it buttercream, sugarcraft or ganache, in comparison, my cupcakes looked very, very ordinary.  Just thinking about sugarcraft scared the daylights out of me.  It was some foreign skill that would take me years to master.

After a day long decorating class, I’m happy to say that it isn’t as hard as the outcome looks.  It will still take me years to master, but a few basics make cupcakes look extra special, as the photo’s prove.

One thing I did learn about sugarcraft, however, is that the skill is in the moulds.  Whoever thought of and created each mould or cutter has all the skills, while the rest of us benefit from their imagination.  There are quite a few tools that you need to buy, just for a beginner, but they are all relatively inexpensive.

The tools we used were:

The food items we used were:

On top of a vanilla sponge cupcake with buttercream icing:

For the butterflies

Roll out your chosen colour of flower paste thinly.  You know that it’s thin enough when you hold up the paste with one finger.  If it drapes nicely over your finger, it’s the right thickness.  If it is still a bit stiff, you need to roll it out more.  If it’s too thin, your finger will rip a hole.

With your butterfly cutter, cut out a shape.  Lightly glue the surface with a brush and sprinkle on some edible glitter.  Dry the butterflies on some folded cardboard, so they dry to the desired shape.  They will need a couple of hours to dry before adding to the top of a cupcake.

For the daisies

As above, roll out the flower paste thinly.  Cut out the four different sizes of daisies.  Lay these on a celpad.

With the two smaller daisies, with the ball tool, push the centre slightly, so the petals curve upwards.  With the two larger daisies, use the bone tool and from the tip of each petal to the inside (avoiding the centre) gently push down, so that the petals curve upwards.  To layer these together, secure with a little edible glue.  Leave these to dry and attach with royal icing.

For the hydrangea

Similar to the daisies, roll out the flower paste and then cut out the various sizes.  Then using the mould, press these into the desired shape.  As they don’t sit flat, it’s best to dry them on top of crushed greaseproof paper.

Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes: it’s hard work when you don’t have any gadgets

2 Feb

Over the last couple of weeks, I have made quite a few purchases for baking.  Cookbooks a plenty, cupcake liners, muffin tins, spatula, etc.  However, I believe that there are many more items that I need to fill the kitchen cupboards with and this was made quite clear while attempting my first batch of cupcakes.

When choosing which type of cupcakes to bake first, I had to go Red Velvet.  They feature in every cupcake cafe in London and I can never resist them.

The initial “red” paste was fun to make.  Being a cook for over a decade (as opposed to a baker), I’ve never created something that really looks like blood in the kitchen before.  It was a relatively childish amusement.

The tricky part, however was trying to beat ingredients until they’re fluffy and continuing for many, many, many minutes while adding all the other ingredients one by one…. by a hand held whisk.  Not an egg beater that you wind by hand, or even better an electronic egg beater, or better still a kitchenaid (every baker’s dream gadget, I’m beginning to learn), but something that I use to lightly whisk eggs for scrambled eggs.  I had to beg my boyfriend to help share the burden, 1 minute of whisking each.  In front of the TV, as it took AGES!  So my advice is to, beg, borrow or buy if you don’t already have an electric gadget to help you.  Unless of course, you really want to get rid of those bingo wings.

Red Velvet Cupcakes (makes 24)

2 1/2 cups sifted cake / plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
30 ml red food colouring
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarb soda)

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).  Line two 12 cup muffin tins or silicone pans with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In a smaller bowl, mix food colouring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps and set aside.

In a large bowl, using (NOT a hand whisk) a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.  Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of buttermilk.  Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk.  End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda – it will fizz up.  Add this to the cake batter and stir well to combine.  Fill cupcake cups with cake batter until they’re 3/4 full.  Place muffin tins in your preheated oven.  Bake for approx 20 min.  They are cooked when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back.

Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting / icing.

Frosting ingredients

1 package light cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup icing (confectioners’) sugar

Mix all ingredients together and ice the cooled cupcakes.  Enjoy!