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Mini Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Christmas Tried and Tested: Mini Cupcake Maker Review


It’s official, Christmas is only a month away, and I’m pleased to say I’ve got almost all of my Christmas shopping done – or at least planned.  I’m on fire this year!  I used to love Christmas shopping. I still do, but it seems like the shopping malls are so much more chaotic over here in the UK (especially the parking lots!), so I’ve resorted to doing most of my shopping online this year.  There’s loads of great online shops in the UK that sell some really unique things – something I don’t really remember having when I lived in Canada (yes we had online store, just not very good ones – at the time). So if you’re like me and don’t feel like braving the masses this year, then you’re in luck because I’ve got some great reviews coming your way that should hopefully help ease the shopping process for you!


First up is something I would have killed for when I was younger, and even though I’m a bit older now I still think it’s pretty cool.  This awesome mini pink cupcake maker was sent to me by the fabulous folks over at Find Me A Gift.  It bakes 7 mini cupcakes in a matter of minutes. No need to heat up the oven!  


I loved the fact that I could use our oven to cook dinner, and at the same time bake dessert using this mini cupcake maker on our countertop.  I ended up making some chocolate malt cupcakes that have been on my “to bake list” for at least two years now. They baked up great in this little machine – nice and moist with perfectly domed tops (which I’m sure also has a lot to do with the recipe).  I think my only point of criticism is that the cupcakes were small – I prefer regular sized cupcakes unless I’m at a party or somewhere where there’ll be multiple desserts.  But I can totally see this cupcake maker becoming the centre of attention at a girls slumber party where everyone could get a chance to bake and decorate a few cupcakes.


Chocolate Malt Cupcakes
Recipe from That Winsome Girl

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cups Flour 
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder 
1/2 Cup Castor Sugar 
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 Cup Whole Milk 
1 1/2 Cups Malted Milk Powder 
1 Cup Oil 
3 Eggs, room temperature 
1 Cup Sour Cream, room temperature 
1 tspVanilla Extract

Buttercream Ingredients:

1 Cup Butter,room temperature 
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening (Crisco or Trex), room temperature 
1/2 Cup Malted Milk Powder 
4 Tbsp Cocoa Powder 
5 Cups Icing Sugar, sifted

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins (or mini cupcake maker) with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, brown and white sugars, baking soda and salt. Set aside.  


2.  In another bowl, whisk the milk and malted milk powder together until the powder is dissolved.   With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the flour mixture, milk mixture and oil until combined.

3.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.  Add in sour cream and vanilla, and beat just until combined.

4.  Divide batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean. Cool before icing.

5.  While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and shorting together for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Sprinkle in the malted milk powder and cocoa powder. Whip for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time, letting it incorporate until the frosting becomes thick and stiff before piping onto your cooled cupcakes.    


Overall I was really impressed with the this little gadget.  I can totally see it on the top of many girls Christmas lists this year, especially those aged about 8 – 14, but really anyone can use it.  And at only £16.99 it’s not going to break the bank. As for the recipe, while I thought it was good it wasn’t my favourite.  The flavours were quite subtle, and I prefer a richer more chocolately flavour.  My Malteser (aka Whoppers) loving friends thought they were great though.     

Thanks to Find Me A Gift for providing me with the mini cupcake maker for review. 


Peggy Porschen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes



First things first.  It’s national cupcake week.  So obviously you know what that means. Cupcakes. Cupcakes, and more cupcakes.  They’ve been everywhere this week.  On Twitter, on TV, and online – even more than they already were before.  

So as we near the end of cupcake week I figured it was only right that I provide you all with some cupcakes for your viewing (and baking!) pleasure.

But I do have a confession to make. I actually made these cupcakes for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I just never managed to post them until now. 

Both the recipe and the decorating idea for these chocolate cupcakes comes from Peggy Porschen’s latest book Boutique Baking.  I’m a huge fan of this book – it’s got a load of great recipes and decorating ideas, and it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve come across lately.  If you’re interested, you can read my review of Boutique Baking here.  


As is the case with every recipe of Peggy’s that I’ve tried, these cupcakes were delicious.  The chocolate cake was so soft and fluffy, and the chocolate cream cheese icing was as well. 

I’ve found that all of the icings on the cupcakes I’ve purchased from Peggy’s parlour are so soft and fluffy that they don’t fair that well in the heat or while being transported home on the train.  While the icing is absolutely delicious, it is very soft and tends to slide off the cupcakes while I carry them around London in their box.

The icing on these cupcakes was so yummy, but it was very soft.  You can see it in my pictures here – the icing started out stiffer, but softened up and started “drooping” a bit while I was taking the pictures because it was so hot in our living room.  But don’t let that detour you from making these – they’re really delicious, so just make sure you keep them in a cool place and don’t bounce them around if you need to transport them anywhere.  Besides, you’ll probably want to keep them all to yourself anyway!

The other thing I loved about these cupcakes was their little decorations.  Aren’t they cute!  And guess what – I made them!  Well, kind of.  They’re made out of sheets of candy paper (rice paper) which is widely available here in the UK.  I picked up a big package of multi coloured sheets in Top Shop of all places.  


I sprayed the candy sheets with a coating of silver lustre spray, and then used a craft punch to punch out the little crowns (in honour of the Diamond Jubilee – although I’ve always been a big fan of crowns in general which is why I had the punch).

I do have a few words of caution before you make these cupcakes – see my notes at the bottom of the recipe.


Peggy Porschen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Frosting:

140ml whipping cream 
160g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa) 
1 tbsp glucose 
200g full-fat cream cheese (I used the new Cadbury Chocolate Cream Cheese instead)
200g salted butter, softened 
450g icing sugar, sifted 

For the Cake:

125g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa) 
165ml milk 
285g light brown sugar 
105g unsalted butter, softened 
2 large eggs 
180g plain flour 
pinch of salt 
½ tsp baking powder 
½ tsp baking of soda 
8g cocoa powder

For the Decorations:

2-3 Sheets of rice paper
Edible Pearlised Lustre Spray
Craft Punch

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven 320ºF (160ºC) and prepare your cupcake pans. Set aside and make the icing.

To Make the Icing:

1.  Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until barely simmering. Place the chocolate and glucose into a bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Whisk carefully until smooth, shiny, and all the chocolate is melted. Leave to set at room temp. The ganache should have the consistency of soft chocolate butter.

2.  Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, set aside. 

3.  Cream the butter and icing sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Add the ganache, a little at a time, to the buttercream mixture, and mix on medium-high speed until combined. Gently stir 1/3 of the chocolate buttercream into the cream cheese. Slowly whisk the remainder of the buttercream, and add the chocolate cream cheese in two batches.  Make sure not to overwork the frosting, or it will split. Chill until set!

To Make the Cake:

1.  Place the chocolate, milk, and half the sugar in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil while stirring. 

2.  Cream the butter and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).  Lightly beat the eggs together then slowly mix into the butter mixture, making sure they don’t curdle.

3.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa together, and then add them to the butter mixture in two batches. Mix slowly until just combined. 

4.  Slowly add the hot chocolate mixture into the batter and mix. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula to make sure it’s well combined. The batter should be liquidy.  

Pour into the cases so they’re 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cupcakes fully cool before icing and decorating.

To Decorate: 

1.  Spay the smooth side of your rice paper sheets with a  thin, but even coating of lustre spray.  It might help to weigh the ends of your paper sheets down with butter knives so they don’t curl up because of the moisture.

2.  Let the rice paper sheets dry, and then use your craft punch (mine was from Martha Stewart) to punch out shapes from the edible paper like you would a normal piece of paper.  Set your punched decorations aside.

3.  Pipe the chilled frosting onto your cupcakes using a piping bag and a large star tip, or simply spread it on top with a knife or off set spatula.  Place your edible paper decorations on top.

These decorations are the funnest, and easiest things to make.  What a clever idea – I love that you can make so many different designs!


**  A few notes:  The book says this recipe will make approximately 24 cupcakes, but I only got 16, and I made them the exact same size I make all of my cupcakes.  I can also confirm they were almost identical in size to the ones sold in Peggy’s Parlour, so I’m not sure why the recipe estimated they make 24.

Also, I’m pretty sure I had to bake my cupcakes for closer to 20 minutes before they were fully cooked.

Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.  They’re delicious, and I highly recommend making them.

If you do make Peggy’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes and decorate them with a rice paper punch out, I’d love to see a picture of them.  Feel free to leave a comment below with the link, or you can also post them onto my Facebook page here so I can see them!

Mint Oreo Cupcakes


I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to bake these cupcakes.  It’s probably been close to two years, but I really can’t say for sure. The original recipe called for regular Oreo’s, but I had a package of mint Oreo cookies sitting on my baking shelf for over 6 months just screaming to be used.  I’d picked them up during a recent trip to the States, knowing that they were destined to become the “star ingredient” in one of my future baking creations. I’d struggled to decide what I should make with the mint Oreos – the possibilities were endless. Milk shakes, cheesecakes, brownies, Oreo truffles, cookies, etc., but in the end the cupcakes won.  It had been ages since I baked cupcakes, and ever since I saw these Oreo cupcakes online, I knew I just had to make them.  I also knew that the addition of mint would make them irresistible.  


These cupcakes required me to use the majority of my coveted package of mint Oreos (FYI: UK Oreo packages are a third of the size of the US package above!), something I was a little reluctant in doing. What if they didn’t turn out? I would have “wasted” my precious mint Oreos.

I’m going to be honest and say that I was actually quite hesitant about making this recipe because it said to whip the butter for a few minutes and then mix in the milk and vanilla.  This resulted in a cold liquidy and lumpy buttery mess.  Almost every other cupcake recipe I’ve made called for the butter to be creamed with the sugar.  I continued making them, and I’m glad I did because they turned out great!  The cake was a tiny bit denser than the other cupcakes I bake, but not in a bad way.  It was still nice and moist, and the Oreo’s were studded throughout the cupcake.  The only thing I wish I could change was that a lot of the whole Oreo’s that lined the bottom of the cupcakes stuck to the paper a little bit, which made them hard to remove from the liners.  If anyone has a tip to prevent this please let me know!  I was thinking that pouring a tablespoon of batter into the paper liners before placing the Oreo’s in may help?

I can’t wait to try this recipe with other Oreo flavours.  Unfortunately in the UK the only flavours available are regular and chocolate, but from what I remember mint, peanut butter, golden, and seasonal varieties are all available in the US. How unfair!



Mint Oreo Cupcakes
Slightly Adapted from Beantown Baker

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup (250ml) Milk 
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 1/4 Cups (280g) Flour, plus 2 Tbsp for the Oreo chunks
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt 
1 2/3 Cup (375g) Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites, at room temperature

1 pkg Mint Oreo Cookies (~45 cookies)


Instructions: 

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan. 

2.  Twist apart 24 Oreos. Place the wafer with filling on it, filling side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Cut other wafers in half. Save 24 halves to place in the frosting. Crush the other wafer halves, also for garnishing.
Cut the remaining Oreo cookies into quarters with a sharp knife. Toss with 2 Tbsp flour and set aside.
3.  In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine.
4.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5.  Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites. Beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the quartered cookies.
6.  Fill the cupcake lines three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.
Mint Buttercream Icing


Ingredients:

1 Cup + 2 Tbsp (250g) Butter, room temperature
5 1/2 Cups (700g) Icing Sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 – 1 tsp mint extract (depending on how strong you want it)
2 – 4 Tbsp Milk
Green food colouring (optional)


Instructions: 



1.  In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and a 1/2 cup (65g) of the icing sugar together until well combined. Continue to add the icing sugar to the butter mixture 1/2 a cup at a time. Once the buttercream mixture starts to get a bit stiff, add the vanilla and mint extracts, and 2 tablespoons of the milk,.  Repeat these steps until all of the icing sugar is incorporated into the butter mixture.  You may want to add in more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. 

Lemon Cupcakes With Fruity Meringue Nests

I’ve had the idea for these cupcakes for ages now, so it was about time I actually got around to making them.  After all it’s been nearly 2 months since I’ve made a cupcake. How very odd of me!


These cupcakes are the perfect summer time treat.  A delicious and moist lemon cupcake with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, topped off with a homemade meringue nest that I filled with lemon curd and fresh raspberries and strawberries.  AMAZING!!!  They were even more delicious than I imagined they would be.

These cupcakes were the perfect excuse to try making my own meringue nests – one of my many bookmarked recipes from “Desserts” by Gordon Ramsey.  I must point out that this book is not a new release, but the most recent re-print of Gordon Ramsay’s book previously titled “Just Desserts”.  Despite the original release of this book being over 10 years ago, I would definitely recommend it as it’s got some very solid recipes and techniques such as Pear Tatin, Chocolate Torte, Puff Pastry, Creme Patissiere, Brioche, Lady Fingers, Chocolate Truffles – the list goes on and on.  


Desserts is split into 8 chapters: Fruit, Ices and Creams, Mousses Bavarois and Souffles, Crepes and Batters, Homely Puddings, Accompaniments and Chocolates, and Basics.  I think probably the most useful chapter for me would have to be the Basics chapter because it covers things that I’ve wanted to make for ages, but have just never got around to such as pastries, pastry cremes, and Choux Pastry – which is actually supposed to be very easy.

Summer Berry Filo Horns
There are so many delicious looking recipes in this book I can’t wait to make some of the others.  If the rest of Gordon’s recipes are as delicious and simple to make as the meringue nests (or Vacherins as they’re called in the book) were, then I’m sure I’ll be getting a lot of use out of “Desserts.”

In order to make these cupcakes I’d recommend preparing the meringue nests a day in advance – you don’t have to, but because they take at least 2 hours to bake, so keep that in mind.  


Lemon Cupcakes with Fruity Meringue Nests

Meringue Nests:

3 Large Egg Whites
Small squeeze of Lemon Juice – approx 1/2 tsp
150gr Castor Sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 230ºF (110ºC).  Pour the egg whites and lemon juice into a clean bowl (make sure there is absolutely NO grease, otherwise your egg whites will not whip properly). Using an electric mixer, whisk the whites until they double in volume and hold a peak when the whisk is drawn through them.  While the mixer is still running and add the sugar a tbsp at a time, incorporating completely before adding the next. Whisk until all the sugar has been added and the whites are stiff and glossy. 

2.  Trim a sheet of parchment paper so that it fits onto your baking pan. Using a pencil, draw medium sized circles the size of the top of a cupcake (about 2.5 inches) onto the parchment, and flip the sheet over so the pencilled side is facing down. Spoon the meringue into a large piping bag fitted with a nozzle (I used a Wilton #18 nozzle) and begin to pipe your nests.  Start in the middle of the pencilled circle working your way out to the edge in a spiral motion.  Once you’ve got the correct base size start building up the walls of your nests by piping around the outside edge 2 or 3 times.  Bake the meringue nests for 2 hrs until they are crisp and lift off the paper easily. Leave to cool completely.  


Lemon Cupcakes:


1 1/2 Cups (188g) Self Raising Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, softened
1 Cup (225) Castor Sugar
2 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
1/2 Cup (125ml) Whole Milk, divided
1 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp Lemon Juice


1.  Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC), and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.  Sift the self-rising flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside. 


2.  In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until they’re light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next one.  Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. 


3.  Gently beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating with half the milk and half the lemon juice after each of the first 2 additions of flour. Beat until just combined.  **Do not over mix. 


4.  Pour the cupcake batter into the paper liners so they’re about 3/4 full (I weigh mine out on a scale so they’re all the same size – usually between 55g-60g each).  Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean – about 17 minutes.   Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling a rack, and cool completely before moving on to the assembly stage.


Sweetened Whipped Cream: 

3/4 Cup (175ml) Whipping Cream or Double Cream
2-3 Tbsp Icing Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1.  Whip the cream with an electric whisk until it’s slightly thickened.  Add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract, and whip until thickened.  Just make sure not to over whip or it will turn into butter. 

To Assemble The Cupcakes: 

Meringue Nests
Lemon Curd
Fresh fruit of your choice (I used raspberries and strawberries)
Lemon Cupcakes
Whipped Cream

1.  Fill each meringue nest with 2-3 tablespoons of Lemon Curd and top with freshly cut fruit.


2.  Take your lemon cupcakes and add a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream onto the top of each one.  

3.  Place the meringue nests on top of the whipped cream topped cupcake, and serve immediately.  

**The meringue nests will begin to dissolve once they begin to absorb the moisture from the fruit, lemon curd and whipped cream, so only assemble the number that you need.

Royal Wedding Cupcakes

With Royal Wedding fever now in full swing, and only 4 days left until the big day I thought I’d share a few cupcakes decorating ideas I put together.  Here in the UK we’ve been lucky enough to be given the day off as a national holiday (thanks Will & Kate!), so there will be thousands of viewing parties and the occasional street party going on so we can all help share in the celebrations.  But – those parties just don’t apply to the people living in the UK.  That’s right, all across the world friends will be getting together to watch the Royal Wedding and share in the festivities.  And what better way to celebrate than with cupcakes! 



For simplicities sake I decided to use Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, but really – is there any other way to celebrate than with chocolate cake???  These cupcakes are super easy to bake, and since they only use one bowl you can use the extra bit of time to spend decorating rather than washing up.

The best thing about these cupcakes (aside from the fact they taste amazing) is that you can make all of the decorations yourself – even the little flags!  I’ve included a printable template for those below.  Instructions for the flowers and glittery balls are also below.


Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup (94g) Cocoa Powder 
1 1/2 Cups (188g) Flour 
1 1/2 Cups (338g) Sugar 
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda 
3/4 tsp Baking Powder 
3/4 tsp Salt 
2 Eggs 
3/4 Cup (178ml) Warm Water 
3/4 Cup (178ml) Buttermilk 
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Buttercream recipe of your choice – I just used plain vanilla


Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 2 – 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

2.  Divide the batter evenly among 2 lined cupcake pans (24 individual cupcakes), filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before icing and decorating.

3.  Pipe big swirls of buttercream icing onto the cupcakes and decorate using one of the below ideas.

Royal Wedding Sugarpaste Flowers


These flowers look a lot harder than they actually are – in fact they’re super easy, but you will need a special silicone mold and flower cutters to make them.  I bought my cutter and mold set a year or so ago, but unfortunately I can’t find the mold on the company website anymore.   The mold is called the 5 petal blossom veiner, so I’d suggest having a look around your local sugar craft supply store or eBay to see if they have it.  The cutters are a set of 2 different sized petunia cutters – available here

You’ll also need a few other things pictured below – edible pearls for the centers of the flowers, edible pearl lustre dust, and sugar floral paste & gel colours – both pictured here.


First you’ll need to colour your floral paste with a gel paste, and then roll it out so it’s nice and thin before (see here for an example) using the petunia cutters to cut out your flowers.  Next you’ll need to dust your flower silicone mold to prevent the flower paste from sticking – if you want your flowers to have a subtle sparkle to them dust the mold with silver lustre dust.  If you’d prefer them not to have any sparkle then lightly dust your mold with cornstarch (corn flour).  Place the flat floral paste flower cut out into the bottom of the mold, then place the top half of the mold on top of the bottom half and press firmly and evenly to create your flower shape.  Carefully lift off the top of the mold, and then gently peel the floral paste flower from the bottom half making sure you keep it’s newly formed shape.  Dry them upside down for at least half an hour to ensure they keep their shape.  Lastly you’ll need to give your flower a center by adding an edible pearl (or silver ball).  You can glue the pearls into the centers by using a tiny dot of icing.

Once your flowers are dry and your centers are stuck in place you can place them on top of your cupcakes to give them an elegant Royal Wedding look.  


Glitter Covered Balls


Another one of my favourite decorations are glittery balls.  These are so easy!  Simply roll a tiny bit of sugarpaste into a ball using your hands.  Next, brush each ball with a bit of edible glue (not pictured, but available at sugar craft stores & Hobby Craft in the UK).  Once the balls are coated in edible glue, simply drop them into a jar of edible glitter and roll them around until they’re entirely coated in glitter.  Use tweezers to carefully pick up the glitter covered ball, tapping off any excess glitter so it falls back into the jar, and then place them on your cupcakes.


Union Jack Cupcake Flags


Now I understand that not everyone has time to order the flower mold before the Royal Wedding, or even the desire to spend the time making those little flowers.  So, if you’re one of those people, then these Union Jack flags are for you!  They’re seriously easy to make.  I’ve done the hardest part for you be creating the flag template, which I’ve attached below so you can download and print it yourself.


** To download – click the orange download button on the top right hand corner of the PDP preview above.


After you’ve printed off the cupcake flags, simply cut them out along the faint dotted line, use a glue stick to cover the plain back side with glue and then place a toothpick in the middle of the paper & fold the paper over to form the flag.  See!  Told you they were simple!  Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the Royal Wedding!


This post also appears on the fabulously delicious website Cupcakes Take The Cake