05 November 2017

Gingerbread Cupcakes




I hope everyone is having a great weekend? The weather was being just so good to us, blue skies and trees full of changing colour.  I really feel like Autumn has come in full swing now, the days are much colder and the wind is a lot wilder! With all those changes I always like to start baking for the season. Ginger is one of my go-to flavours and having baked gingerbread men last week, I couldn't help but bake up a batch of these babies!

November is my get prepared for Christmas month, I hate the rush and hustle and bustle that Christmas brings but I absolutely adore the Christmas season. I try to plan and prep and get what I can over and done with in November and really slow down coming up to the big day. These yummy cupcakes really helped with my festive spirit and list making!




Gingerbread Cupcakes


225g self-raising flour
125g light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
280ml buttermilk

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/ 350F or gas mark 4 and line a 12 (or two 6) hole cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugars, and baking powder.
In a separate jug, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Add this into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, don’t over mix. Scoop out even spoons to fill the cupcake liners to 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes and remove form the oven.  Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes then remove each one and leave to cool on a wire rack. Frost when cold.


Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

260g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
40g cream cheese
2tbs maple syrup

Beat together the butter, cream cheese and maple syrup. On a low speed add in the icing sugar, a small bit at a time. 
Mix on medium speed until it comes together. (You could add a little milk if you’ve reached a too stiff consistency.) Keep on mixing until soft and fluffy.

Using a plain piping tip, pipe rounds onto each cupcake and dust lightly in cinnamon. 



29 October 2017

Ghost Cupcakes



Halloween is just around the corner and to help you get ready, Aldi Baking and I have come up with some frightfully great bakes! First up we have this 'fraid of Ghost Cupcakes. Did you know that fraid or fright were used as the collective nouns when describing a group of ghosts? Me neither.. and if the internet is to be trusted, it's the truth!

Back to what we do know though.. and that's baking! So easy to rustle up, these boo-tiful cupcakes are an absolute breeze to make. With a stable go-to vanilla cake recipe forming the base and a frightfully delicious marshmallow frosting on top, these cupcakes are guaranteed treats. No tricks around here!

There are a few steps to follow in putting them together but, nothing too scary I promise! They will not disappoint your little or big monsters when it comes to eating them. 



Vanilla Cupcakes 

125g of room temperature butter
225g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large free range room temperature eggs
125ml buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350F/180C/160C fan or Gas mark 4. Line a 12 tray cupcake pan with cases. 

Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale. Add in an egg, one at a time until the yolks have been incorporated. Add the vanilla.

Dry whisk or sieve your flour and the baking powder together. Add half your dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg combination and then half the buttermilk. Mix until combined and repeat. Be careful not to over mix the batter here as you want them to stay light and fluffy. Just make sure all the ingredients have been mixed together.

Fill your cases to two thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You know they are done when the tops are golden, have a slight spring in them when you gently push down or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear!

Allow to cool on a wire rack until cold and ready to be used. 



Marshmallow Frosting 

275g granulated sugar
3 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk until sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 160 degrees, or the sugar has completely dissolved (if you rub some mixture between your fingers, it will feel silky smooth). While the mixture is still hot, beat on high speed until the frosting forms stiff peaks, and as cooled significantly (about 12 to 16 minutes). Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Transfer the frosting to a large pastry bag and snip off the top. Pipe a high swirl of frosting onto the top of each cupcake, like the picture above.

Transfer the cupcakes to a baking sheet and freeze or refrigerate (but ideally freeze if you can) while preparing the chocolate coating.




Chocolate Coating

340g white chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine the chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl and melt slowly in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water. Transfer to a small (deep) bowl or cup and cool to room temperature.

Remove the cupcakes from the freezer and holding each cupcake by its bottom, quickly dip each cupcake into the chocolate to coat the frosting, remove, turn back around and place on a wire rack. Place two sprinkles in the wet chocolate as eyes.

Let the cupcakes stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 30 minutes uncovered. 

Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.






***Disclaimer: Sponsored Post*** 
Aldi very kindly, provided me with the ingredients to bring this post together.
All comments and views however, are completely my own.

26 October 2017

Zombie Unicorn Cake


Halloween in our house has always been about spooky. My kids like scary and they have always liked to dress up scary for trick or treating. We make spooky snacks and tell made up ghost stories to each other, seeing who can out do last years attempts.

This year, trying to be on trend with drips cakes and unicorns, we decided to merge the two together and add some of our own spooky flair! Zombies are a big part of Halloween conversations so why not make a Zombie Unicorn Cake? Aldi Baking helped us out along the way, providing our ingredients and the platform to make it happen!

It was so much fun coming up with what way our Unicorn Zombie would look, never mind taste but damn, did he taste delicious! Chocolate, raspberries and a super tasty buttercream brought this cake to life with very little hassle.


Chocolate Cake

150g of good plain chocolate (Try the darkest you can handle!)
225g caster sugar
150g coco powder
300g self raising flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 large, free range eggs
60ml hot and strong coffee
225ml vegetable oil
175ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla



Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F or Gas Mark 4. 
Line three 8 inch round cake tins with parchment, or spray with some cake release spray.
Make the coffee, make yourself one and take out 60ml. Pour over the chocolate and allow to melt. When melted add the vanilla and the salt.
Beat the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy. They will increase in size.
Dry whisk all your dry ingredients together. 
Slowly add them to the sugar/egg combination.
Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.
Add the oil and mix until just combined.
Finally fold through the coffee/chocolate combination with a spatula.

This mix is thick but runny so you can pour it into the pans easy.. divide evenly and tap the bottom of the pan gently off the counter to get rid of any bubbles.
When you have the pans filled, bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. You'll know it's done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Drink the coffee you made for yourself a few moments ago.

When the cakes are cooked, allow them to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wire tray and allow to cool FULLY before assembling.


Raspberry Buttercream

227g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
400g sifted icing sugar
100g of fresh raspberries
drop of black food colouring to make it a very pale grey

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. (TIP: pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until very soft.)
Add in the icing sugar a few teacups at a time. Mash through the raspberries, leaving them chunky and bitty and bloody looking. 

Mix the holy moly out of it until light and fluffy. The faster and longer you mix this, the lighter and fluffier it will be.


Once the cake layers are cool, sandwich each layer with a good helping of the buttercream, Finish off the sides and top of the cake with the left over buttercream. Leave to set in the fridge while you make the rest.

Bloody Ganache

100ml of double cream
200g white chocolate
couple drops of red and blue food colouring

Break up the white chocolate and pop it into a heat resistant bowl. Heat the double cream in a small pot until just before boiling, pour over the white chocolate. Cover the bowl over with a plate and allow a few minutes for the chocolate to melt.


Stir until the chocolate and cream are fully mixed, add drops or red and blue food colouring until you get your blood colour. Set aside to thicken.

Hair and Brain Frosting

227g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
400g sifted icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk if needed

Make another batch of buttercream as above but without the raspberries and separate it into four bowls, dying one bowl brain colour pink, a little black for the face details and the other two your choice of unicorn hair colour.




Putting it altogether...

Scoop out a piece of cake and add in a fake plastic eye. Add drips to the top of one half of the cake, allowing it to run over the edges. Pipe on the pink brain buttercream in a swirly pattern mimicking brain swirls. Pipe the other coloured buttercream on to the other side of the cake in rosettes and stars to look like unicorn hair. Pipe on the face using the grey buttercream.

Add a fondant unicorn horn and ear to the top of the cake and leave to set in the fridge.

Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.



***Disclaimer: Sponsored Post*** 
Aldi very kindly, provided me with the ingredients to bring this post together.
All comments and views however, are completely my own.

20 October 2017

Ginger Cake Donuts


I suspect most people will associate gingerbread with Christmas and Winter, but for me it is one super Autumn-ey flavour and perfectly nice for this time of year. With October truly on it's way and the Cake Slice Bakers time of the month swinging around, there was no doubt in my mind what I was baking when it came to choices. 

The Ginger Cake is, as Roger Pizey in World Class Cakesputs it "super-charged". While I omitted the Ginger Wine called for in the original recipe, the rest stayed the same. I had never heard of Ginger Wine, and couldn't find it readily so it didn't make the cut. I added a sweet cinnamon, cream cheese frosting instead. The Donuts were beautifully balanced and based on the oh-ahs that accompanied the tasters lip smacking, I trust they went down a treat. 

I had a half of one, trying to be good and not deviating too far off my build-me-some-muscle gym plan. But honestly every time I meet my trainer he's asking what I have baked this week so I can never get away from it! My work colleagues are the same. It's like they want me to bake and complain I am making them put up weight.

And I love them for it. 


Ginger Cake Donuts- 
makes 18 donuts. Adapted from World Class Cakes page 70

170g butter
200g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
2 eggs
160ml whole milk
290g self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
75g chopped crystalised ginger

Preheat your oven to 325F/160C or Gas mark 3.
Spray a donut pan with non stock spray and leave to one side.
Melt the butter, sugar and corn syrup over a low heat.
Whisk the eggs into the milk. Add this to the melted butter. Mix to combine.
Sift the flour with the ginger and add the crystallized ginger. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined and smooth.

Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe in the donut holes until just before the fill line. Bake in your preheated oven for 13-15 minutes until the tops spring back when touched.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan before tossing out and allow to to cool fully on a wire rack.

Make the frosting.




Cinnamon, Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 

30g full fat cream cheese
1 to 2 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
125g icing sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth. If you need more milk to make it wetter, add in one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Once the donuts have cooled, dip in each one and allow to dry on a wire rack.

*** of course I don't have a picture of the finished forsting before dipping.. It was all too exciting!







Whaadya think?

Pretty autumnal right! Be sure to check out the linky below and see what the other bakers made this month. Happy baking folks!


04 October 2017

Apple Cake



Apples, in my opinion are the perfect autumn cake accompaniment. With windfalls happening often, baking is a great excuse to brave the change in weather, go picking and treat yourself to something warm and comforting. A delicate cinnamon, spiced cake with a soft apple filling, it’s an impeccable start to the autumn season.




Apple Filling

4 large cooking apples
225g brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Peel and core your apples before finely chopping them up into small slices. Add the apples, sugar and cinnamon to a pan and cook over a medium heat until soft. Strain the apples from the juice and allow both to cool.

Make the cake.



Apple Cake

225g self raising flour
125g brown sugar
125g soft butter
1 tsp baking powder
125ml buttermilk
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cake Layers:

Preheat oven to 350F, 180C or Gas Mark 4. Prepare two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. This cake can have a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, so I strongly recommend the parchment paper on the bottom.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, not adding the next until the yolk of the first has disappeared.

Combine the flour, cinnamon and baking powder together, sift through and set to one side.
Add half the flour and milk, mix until just combined. Add the rest and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes on a middle shelf until golden on top, or until a cake tester comes out clear.

Remove the cakes from oven, while still warm poke some holes (using a fork) in the top and generously brush or spoon over the cooled apple syrup.

Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pans, remove to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. 

Mascarpone Frosting

225ml double cream, cold
125g icing sugar
125g mascarpone cheese, chilled
1 tsp vanilla extract

Add the double cream and icing sugar to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.

Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly. Set whipped frosting in the refrigerator until needed.

Assembly:

When the cake layers are cold, place the first layer upside down on a serving plate or cardboard cake round. If your cake has a slight dome in it, use a serrated knife to level it off as best you can before you start frosting.

Using a disposable piping bag, fill it with some frosting and pipe a little wall of frosting around the outside edge of the cake.

Spread some of the cold apple filling evenly on top of the cake layer, inside the frosting wall.  

Add the second layer of cake in the same way, smoothing out the frosting on the sides. Use some left-over frosting to cover and fill the cake, then smooth out the frosting around the sides and top of the cake using an offset spatula. 

Finish off the cake with swirls of frosting and leftover apple syrup.

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.






Wasn't that easy? And genuinely a yummy, warm way to bring in the Autumn season to your home. Happy Autumn Baking!


23 August 2017

Easy, Cheats Bake, Cinnamon Rolls


Sometimes being a grown up is hard. And baking like a grown up is even harder. There are those days where I am ready to just to give in because I don't want to be a grown up baker anymore.

But then you remember that you are an adult and get on with things. Do the short time, painful grown up responsibilities delegated to you, so you can be absolutely ridiculous and have cake for breakfast (or lunch or dinner). And even better have a cheats bake breakfast.. where you literally did the minimal amount of work for delicious results.

These Cinnamon Rolls aren't new, American's have been using Crescent Rolls in all sorts of cheats bakes for years, but they are a new one to me. All you need is a store bought pizza dough base and a handful of ingredients!

I genuinely think that this kind of bake was invented for those who like to eat their feelings and it makes them feel better. But be wise... they are full of calories so not for the super dieters. They need to be eaten in moderation I guess is what I am saying.

But you fine folk know that any way...


Cinnamon Roll Ups
1 pizza dough roll
125g butter melted
75g brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
225g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp maple syrup


Preheat your oven to 350F/180C/160C Fan or Gas Mark 4. Prepare a loaf pan with some parchment and leave to one side.

Combine, in a bowl. the melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.

Unroll the pizza dough and evenly spread the butter mixture all over.

Rolling on the long side, roll the dough back up into a roll. Chop the dough into ten equal pieces and place them beside each other in the loaf pan. Don't worry about gaps, they will spread while baking.



Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls have puffed up and they are golden brown on top. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make the glaze.

Put the icing sugar, milk and syrup into a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Leave to one side until the cinnamon rolls are cooked. Once cooked, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then, serve warm spooning as much icing as you want over each roll.





Did I tell they were easy or what? Soft, cinnamon-ey and gooey goodness all on your plate for breakfast! You will fake being a baker in style!!


 
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