Cupcake, Sweet

Mincepie Christmas Cupcakes

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I love mincepies and I love cupcakes, so one day when I had a quiet few minutes I thought that it’d be a good idea to combine the two.
A family review of this recipe was “tastes just like a mincepie but without the mouthful of dry pastry”. I am taking that as a compliment and not a critique of my mincepie baking.

Its a very simple recipe to do and you can decorate them as Christmassy as you like!
Mincepie Christmas Cupcakes

This recipe made 11 huge cupcakes for me as I baked them in a muffin case.image

3oz Light Brown Sugar
3oz White sugar
6oz Margarine
6.5oz Self Raising Flour
3 Large Eggs
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
Mincemeat (I didn’t weigh this, it is half teaspoon in each cake)

For buttercream
2 tblsp Butter or Margarine
Lots of icing Sugar
1 tsp Christmas Pudding flavoured Essence (if you don’t have this then you could use Orange, rum, brandy or just vanilla with a little cinnamon is good)

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4, 180c

In a large bowl beat the sugars and margarine together till they become lighter.
Mix the cinnamon and nutmeg together with the flour.
Add an egg and a third of the flour to the sugar and margarine and mix till just combined, do the same with the other eggs and flour.
Try not to overbeat your mixture as this will cause the cupcakes to have too much air and dome up when cooking.

Into each cake case add half a tablespoon of the mixture so it covers the bottom of the case then put half a teaspoon of mincemeat in the middle. Cover with another half tablespoon of cake mixture. If you are using small cases then change the amount so it fits, you want to have the cake cakes approx. 3/4 full.

Bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes, mine took 27 minutes to cook as they were large sized. You can test after 20 minutes by pressing gently on the top, if they spring back up then they are done.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack. You can use this time to either have a cuppa tea or start your buttercream.

In a large bowl add two big tablespoons of butter or margarine (butter is best but if you only have marg then it’ll still work).

Sift in at least 4 large tablespoons of icing sugar and a teaspoon of your chosen flavouring. Very, very slowly mix it all together. Once combined you can add more icing sugar. Add as much as you need till you reach the required taste and consistency.

Put your buttercream into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the top, or just use a knife for the Hummingbird bakery style (if you’re not sure what it is, have a look online – mine never looks as good though)

Decorate with the most festive decorations you feel like! I used red, green and gold flakes and a small icing disc with a snowflake pattern.

Cupcake, Sweet

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Most people don’t like the same things, like Marmite or marzipan they divide opinions; but there is one flavour you always seem to be able to rely on as a crowd pleaser and that is chocolate orange.

Just the smell of it makes me think of Christmas and for me its a happy memory. I love to buy a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and then eat it in bed on a Saturday morning over Christmas, the best bit is the middle stick after you’ve eaten the segments. Mmm.

Anyway, I digress.

I wanted to make some cakes for my cousin and thought instead of the standard vanilla I would make chocolate orange ones.
Its a really easy recipe to do but looks and tastes really good.
I decided to use some Nutella in the buttercream icing to make it more chocolatey and it worked very well.


Chocolate Orange Cupcakesimage

4oz Margarine
4oz Caster Sugar
4oz Self Raising Flour
1oz Cocoa Powder
2 Eggs
1tsp Orange Essence
Handful chocolate chips

For the icing – a very large tablespoon of margarine mixed with 3-4 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1 level tablespoon of cocoa powder. Once this has been mixed together till it is very light add a tablespoon of Nutella and a teaspoon of orange essence.

Pre heat the oven to 180c Gas 4

In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar together till it becomes pale.

In a separate bowl combine the flour and cocoa powder.

Add one egg and a third of the flour and cocoa powder then mix in till just combined.
Do the same with the 2nd egg and flour and cocoa powder.

Stir in the remaining flour along with the orange essence and chocolate chips. You want the consistency to be a little thick but easy to stir. If it looks a little dry add a small drop of milk.

Separate into cake cases and bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes, or until you can press the top of the cakes and they spring back up.

Once cool, top with the chocolate buttercream and decorate how you like. I used gold glitter and a jelly orange slice.

Cake, Sweet

Happy… Cake

As the little-ist baker had gone to her grandparents for the night, I took the opportunity to bake and decorate a cake.
I really fancied a ‘birthday cake’ meaning sponge cake, icing, buttercream and all decorated quite pretty.

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Not my best decorating but the best I could muster at nearly midnight!

As it wasn’t my birthday, or anyone else’s who would share cake with me, and I had no other occasion to celebrate I decided to make a happy…cake.  The idea is that eating cake makes me happy (that is until weigh in day!) and you could fill in the blank with whatever you want to celebrate:
– Happy Tuesday Cake
– Happy Sausage sandwich for dinner Cake
– Happy “oh someone just gave me a piece of” Cake

…you get the idea.

The cake I made was a chocolate sponge with chocolate spread and buttercream filling.  Silly me for deciding to ice a chocolate cake in white icing, on a hot evening whilst sleep deprived at 11:30pm.  I don’t always think too far ahead.  So please forgive the poor icing as it did taste good.

Cupcake, Sweet

What ever happened to the Fairy Cake?

Let me tell you a little story about a cake.
There was once a little cake who everyone loved. You would go to a party and there it would be sitting there happy and unassuming and everyone love the little cake. It was never too fancy for the grandparents to have or too boring for the children; and the cakes name was The Fairy Cake. Then one day a new cake came along and took over the Fairy Cakes place at the party table. It was always well decorated, sometimes even glittery and highly flavoured; and this cakes name was The Cupcake.

Soon everyone forgot about the Fairy Cake, it was never invited to the party anymore and after a while people forgot they could make it. The End.

But don’t be sad! Tonight, whilst the little baker slept, I decided to do a bit of ‘old skool’ baking and made… the fairy cake!

This was the first cake recipe I made when I started high school and I still have the recipe I wrote down about 17 years ago (has it really been that long?!) in my folder of magazine cutout recipes. I even drew a little picture of what it should look like, lest I forget.

Now, don’t get me wrong I love cupcakes and they are fundamentally the same thing as a fairy cake, but I remember that every birthday party I went to as a kid used to have these. They always looked the same, very home made but ultimately very tasty. You have to make sure you don’t overbake them as a dry cake is never very nice and there isn’t the amount of buttercream icing that is used on a cupcake to hide behind. They are very much an as they come cake, nothing fancy but I love them.

Let me know if you have made any cakes which seem to have been forgotten or send me pictures of your fairy cakes!


Fairy Cake

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  • 4oz Sugar
  • 4oz Margarine
  • 4oz Self Raising Flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Vanilla Extract

Buttercream to decorate – margarine mixed with icing sugar and a little vanilla extract. No need to measure, just beat in enough icing sugar till it tastes good.

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC Gas 4

In a bowl cream the sugar and margarine till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time with some of the flour and beat in gently.
Spoon the mix into fairy cake cases (these are the small cupcake ones). You should be able to get 12 out of this mix.

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Test by gently pressing the top, it should spring back up.

Allow to cool and decorate with a little blob of buttercream or icing sugar mixed with a little water. If you’re feeling really retro – add a glacé cherry.

Cake, Sweet

Bread maker Madeira Cake

Have you ever tried to use your bread maker to bake a cake in? I have!

Ever since I had my bread maker for Christmas, I had been curious to try out the recipe that came in the book for a Madeira Cake.  Madeira cake is a pretty heavy sponge recipe anyway but I have to say I wasn’t really too impressed with the results.
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The bread maker obviously doesn’t have eyes or fingers to poke the cake with to see if it is ready so the cake was far too over cooked around the edges.  It was so dry that I filled it with lots of buttercream and jam just to try and give it some moisture.  Luckily the birds seemed very happy to be receiving the end pieces to eat – though I’m surprised they weren’t too heavy to fly afterwards.

The other reason I would advise against making a cake in your bread maker (unless something terrible has happened to your oven and you just have to have cake and you can’t get to a shop to buy one) is that the bread maker only does the baking part.  All the ingredients you have to weight out and mix by hand and then you put it into the bread maker just to bake it for you.
And if you’ve ever baked a single cake you know that it is no hard feat just to put it in the oven, that’s the easy part.

So, my review of my bread maker cake… Don’t do it unless you want a heavy, dry, crumbly cake which is only good for birds.