Muffin, Sweet

Banana “‘Nana! ‘Nana!” Muffins

Oh dear, I’ve been very lax in writing the past few weeks.  With the post Christmas lull and my ‘get slim before 30’ diet (I’m hurtling towards my 30th birthday in August!), my mind has been otherwise occupied.

I have still been baking, a little, despite not having many left who aren’t on diets to eat my baking.

The littlest baker is now 15 months old and learning new words at an alarming rate.  Two of her current favourites are:
Din-dins meaning dinner.  It is best shouted any time you think someone is even thinking about making something to eat, just in case they don’t bring you some. 
Nana meaning banana.  This is squealed in delight at the sight of this yellow fruit. Also combined with pointing and saying word repeatedly till you receive… a ‘nana.

Unfortunately, as you are probably more than aware, bananas ripen at a ridiculous rate and even a small bunch becomes over ripe very quickly.
So to counter this I’ve made the over ripe bananas into banana muffins.

It’s a staple recipe that every baker probably should have made but I never have.  Although this is my first time making them they have come out very light and tasting of banana.

The littlest baker might not automatically shout “nana!” upon sight of them but they should make a nice little treat for her.


This is the recipe I used but I only had 2 smaller bananas so I reduced the flour to 8.5oz instead of 9oz.
I did not add any nuts to this either.

BBC Banana Muffin

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

Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

At the weekend I went to the brilliant Cake International show at the NEC. I didn’t plan to spend much money or really buy anything but I couldn’t help myself because of the amazing things to buy and ended up coming home with a lot lighter purse but a much heavier bag!

Something I bought was a complete impulse purchase and not what I would usually go for – flavoured icing sugar and cocoa powder. The problem was that the ladies at the Sugar and Crumbs stall were so nice to talk to and gave you so many free samples that I was completely hooked, but I can tell you that it is one purchase I definitely don’t regret buying after using their product to make some Black cherry & Chocolate cupcakes.

I bought and used the Black Cherry Cocoa powder as you don’t usually see cherry extract in the shops; although it is more expensive than your usual cocoa powder the flavour is fantastic and you only need to use a very small amount to make a lovely tasting cake that does actually taste of cherry. I often find with some flavoured products that the taste is very artificial, this one isn’t.

Now I am not being paid (I wish!) or been given anything else to endorse this product, I am doing so simply because it tastes fab and I would like more people to enjoy baking with it. Next up, I cant wait to try the Christmas Punch flavoured icing sugar I bought… now what to make with it?


Black Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is stupidly simple to make but the taste will make you smile.

Don't be fooled by the skull and crossbones icing!
Don’t be fooled by the skull and crossbones icing!

4oz Sugar
4oz Margarine
2 eggs
3.5oz Self Raising Flour
1 large tablespoon Black Cherry Chocolate Cocoa Powder from Sugar and Crumbs
1 tablespoon whole milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180c Gas 4

In a bowl cream the sugar and margarine till it becomes pale.
Combine the Cocoa and flour together in a separate bowl.
Add one egg and half of the flour/cocoa, try not to overwork this.
Add the second egg and rest of the flour/cocoa.
Stir in the milk.

Divide the mixture into your cake cases and bake in the oven till the tops of the cake spring back after a gentle poke. This should take 18-20 minutes.
Once cooked, cool on a wire rack.

Decorate with your choice of topping if you like: buttercream, fondant icing, chocolate ganache or just leave plain.

Cupcake, Sweet

The Micro Cupcake

The best things come in small packages.  I’m not always too sure that statement is totally correct but it fits well with what I baked today… The micro cupcake! Ta-dah.  No longer will people say a cupcake is too sweet for them or use the excuse of being on a diet as this cake is good for everyone. 

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I guess now I’ve ‘big’d’ it up you should really try it.

I’ve always had a fascination with objects in miniature size (please, no rude jokes!) Model railway, model villages, the tiny versions of Bournville and Dairy milk chocolate bars you used to get in tins of Roses.  I love the way they are so cute, like full size but shrunk down.  So today when I was making some full size lemon cupcakes I had a little bit of mixture left over.  It would have only really been enough for one or two cakes but I decided to use the petite four cases to make tiny versions.  I’m really happy with how they came out considering they weren’t in a baking tin to cook as I don’t have one that small.  I thought they might spread too much but the cases held really well.

I’m probably really late and these were fashionable last year or something but I think they’d make a great wedding cake or look lovely on a cake stand for afternoon tea.  If only I had a cake box small enough then I’d make more of these cute little cakes.

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.