Apple Cinnamon rolls

I am already in Autumn mood; the weather is cold and rainy and damp and hardly any sunshine anymore and it’s so windy that I am fearing for my five apples on my apple tree. The tree is only in its second year so I’m very pleased with how many apples it grew.

They still need a bit (I think? I’ve no idea when it comes to apple trees, I don’t even know what variety it is as I threw the tag away when I planted the tree, I was just so excited to have my own apple tree in my garden) so on Sunday I thought what could I do with five apples? I was looking through many recipes trying to find one that appealed to me. I am not keen on too much apple in or on a cake, the apple can’t be puréed, it still has to have a bite. And no raisins either in my baked goods, yuk, raisins freak me out.

I came across these Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls and don’t they look tasty?

I followed the recipe but I used half roasted walnuts and half roasted hazelnuts as I wanted to use up an open pack of hazelnuts. The rolls turned out fine, but the next time I’ll be using less flour (6.5 cups = ca 815 gram) as I felt there was too much flour in my dough. I will also make more of the filling. Since there was so much dough I had to roll it out quite big in order to get the thinness of it. Now that I think of it, I could have just rolled out less dough. Duh! Anyway, I’ll still make more of the filling as it tastes divine. I used one and a half Granny Smith Apple and one Braeburn Apple.

And of course, every oven is different. Mine was hot from dinner so I should have known better and left the rolls in for less than 20 minutes as I think they are a teeny-weeny bit overbaked. Not that they don’t taste nice, they are gooey and sticky and cinnamonny and the sharpness of the apples cuts through the sweetness beautifully. All in all I still count them as a success!

For the glaze I simply used powdered sugar and some water and a few drops of rum flavour as I had drunk all the cider a few days before. The rum flavour goes very well with the cinnamon and the apples!

Have a go at them, they are time consuming as you have to let the dough rise twice but nobody forces you to do anything during that time, so you can just chill out while the yeast does its magic!



Cupcakes for book lovers


I had come across some pictures of book cupcakes on facebook a while ago and thought that these would be perfect for my sister, who lives and breathes books (she’s a bookseller) and even better, her birthday was coming up! I enquired if I could buy just the books as I would like to bake the cupcakes myself but the answer was no so I ended up looking at these sugary books a bit longer and then decided that they aren’t that difficult to make and I might as well do them myself.

The first few books were quite chunky but once you’ve done a few books you get the hang of it. I made 24 books without the titles in about three hours and then left them to dry for a couple of weeks. The book titles were down sized and printed on sugar paper and then cut out with scissors and simply glued on with edible glue. I made some simple discs out of sugarpaste for the books to rest on and so that they could be taken off before eating the cupcakes; even though the books are all made out of sugarpaste I wouldn’t want to eat them… a) they don’t taste like anything, just sweet and b) they are simply too good looking to be eaten!!!



Fancy cake or muffin toppers

I came across this fabulous tutorial on how to make some marbled chocolate decoration, really easy to make and impressive to look at so I decided I try it out!

Once I had the hang of it I made all sorts of shapes.

For the chocolate muffins I used my trusted recipe from The Pink Whisk, which works every time. If you use this recipe for cupcakes and you don’t overload your cases you get 24 cupcakes out of the batter. In case you make these delicious muffins, you get 12 out of them and have a few spoonfuls left to eat.  It tastes divine just on its own. Very much like chocolate mousse!


Key lime cupcakes with lime buttercream frosting

I got hold of a batch of key limes (they are smaller than normal limes and more yellow) and used them to make cupcakes.

Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
about 3 tbsp of lime zest

1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and line your cupcake tray with paper cases.
I ususally start with putting all the dry ingredients into one bowl and giving it a quick stir.
In a bigger bowl I crack in the eggs and the rest of the wet ingredients. Whisk them until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients. Stir them in with a fork to make sure that they are just combined, don’t overmix the batter. Spoon into your cupcake cases and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. My oven had been on all morning so they were ready in 15 minutes.
Let them cool entirely before you pipe on the buttercream frosting:

40g butter
250g icing sugar
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp lime zest

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add about half of the icing sugar to it. Beat well. Slowly beat in the milk and the lemon extract. Then add the rest of the icing sugar and the zest. Add more sugar or milk if needed to make a good consistency.
Fill a piping bag, chose your favourite nozzle and decorate away. I grated some more lime zest over the cupcakes once I had finished with the rosettes.

Red and black currant muffins

Yesterday morning I baked some red and black currant muffins. This time they turned out just as I imagined they would! They were moist and tasty and didn’t make me go “mhm, needs improving”.
For a batch of 12 you will need:

½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of vanilla sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp vanilla paste
½ tsp almond extract
1 ½ cups of red and black currants 

1 ½ tsp sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven (375°F, Gasmark 5- 6, 190°C)
Crack an egg into one bowl, beat it well then add the sugar and combine the two. Add the milk, vanilla essence, vanilla paste and almond extract and the oil. Mix all very well together.
In another bowl mix the flour with the baking powder. Add this to the sugar mixture and combine, making sure that there are no flour lumps. Lastly fold in the berries.
Line a muffin tray with paper cases and spoon the batter into them (about two thirds full).
Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffins.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Blackcurrant and raspberry muffins

I found blackcurrants in the supermarket and was overjoyed. My grandmother used to have currant bushes, white, red and black. Every year in the summer we would all go and pick the ripe, plump berries. Later on my grandmother would make jam out of the black currants and use the red and white ones for a baked tart. It’s not that easy finding black currants so I bought two punnets. I ate one of them and decided I would use the other punnet for making some muffins. Apart from raspberry muffins the other day I am totally  new to the fruity/berry muffin business. Thanks to the trusty internet I soon found a recipe that appealed to me:

New Thinking on Food – Blackcurrant muffins

I followed the recipe apart from the milk (I don’t have soymilk at home, yuk, yuk, yuk) and I’m sorry, I cannot bake muffins without at least one egg, but I didn’t want to screw up the recipe so in went one egg yolk as a compromise. I also added a handful or raspberries, mainly because they had to go!
I tried one once the muffins had cooled down and while it tasted nice, well, it only tasted nice. Definitely room for improvement I thought. I will have to bake them again with some of my own adjustments.

Vanilla Raspberry Muffin

Kent raspberries two punnets for the price of one. I couldn’t resist. They were red and ripe and firm and when I opened the lids of the punnets a sweet smell emerged making my mouth water! They looked too delicous to not have a handful each but I managed to save the rest to make some raspberry muffins.
I’ve never made any fruit containing muffins before so I simply googled for a recipe and took the first one!
It was from the Good to know Recipe website and I followed it through (apart from adding a teaspoon of vanilla essence to it and replacing the sugar with vanilla sugar) but I got a bit confused by the instruction to
Coarsely grate the chilled butter into the bowl and stir with a fork to coat in the flour mixture.
I had chilled butter but I wasn’t sure about the grating of it, so I just chopped it finely and kind of rubbed it into the flour with my fingers.
Beat together the egg and milk then pour into the bowl. Mix lightly with a fork until just combined. Take care not to over-beat the mixture – it should still be a little lumpy. Gently fold in the raspberries.
I did all that but there were quite a lot of lumps of butter and flour mix floating around in the batter so I wasn’t too sure how this was all going to work out.
I spooned the batter into my tulip wraps and I got 11 of them filled. I might have put too much into some of the cases so ok, I guess you do get 12 muffins out of it.
They took about 28 minutes and when I took them out I sprinkled some sugar onto them. I couldn’t wait until they had cooled down to try one…. sweeet dough, vanilla laced… and the sharpness of the raspberries …oh yes, this recipe makes very fine muffins!

White chocolate and lime cupcakes

I came across this recipe a while ago and seeing that I love limes I thought I try it out. The original recipe was for 20-24 cupcakes which were too many for me, I just wanted 12 cupcakes! It took me quite some time to scale down the amounts (fractions were never my strong point) and I adjusted them again while baking the cupcakes.

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

100g white chocolate, chopped
zest of two limes
juice of 1 to 1 and ½ limes (depends on the size of your limes)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
80g butter (room temperature)
½ cup of sugar
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup of milk

Preheat your oven to Gas 3-4, 325°F or about 160°C

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Zest your limes and add the juice to the lime zest. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a bowl over hot water or in the microwave on high heat in 20-30 second intervals. If you use your microwave to melt the chocolate remember to stir the chocolate with a fork between the intervals. Once the chocolate is all melted and smooth and creamy set it aside to slightly cool down.
In a bowl mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the white chocolate and vanilla extract. Then add the lime zest and juice. Then add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk, then repeat and finally add in the last third of the flour. Mix until everything is just combined.
Fill your cupcake cases (I used tulip wrappers) about half way up and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until ready. Check with a wooden skewer, if it comes out clean, take them out of the oven. Let them cool down completely before you frost them!

For the frosting:
100g of cream cheese, room temperature
30g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g of white chocolate, chopped
½ tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1 lime
zest of 3 limes
1 ½ cups icing sugar

Melt your white chocolate first and set aside. Whisk the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the melted chocolate, vanilla, lime zest and some of the lime juice. Slowly beat in the icing sugar until the frosting is smooth. If the frosting is too thick or not limey enough add more lime juice. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.
Fill a piping bag with the frosting and decorate your cupcakes. Lastly I sprinkled some fresh lime zest over them. The cupcakes turned out to be wonderfully moist and you could totally taste the white chocolate. And of course the lime!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

Ever since I made a four layered red velvet cake for my friend Mim and forgot to add enough red food colouring I wanted to make this cake again just to see if it really turns out red. Then I thought why not make cupcakes?

They turned out a bit too buttery for my taste but that’s just me, so far everyone else liked it!

For the Cupcakes you will need:

60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

50g butter, at room temperature
100g mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
100g cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to Gas mark 4/180°C. Line a standard muffin/cupcake tray with paper cupcake cups.
On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Add the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.
Fill the cupcake liners to about 2/3 and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting simply whisk together the vanilla extract, butter, cream cheese and mascarpone cheese and beat for about 5 minutes until all is completely smooth. Slowly add the icing sugar and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Then get creative with a piping bag and sugar sprinkles!

By far the easiest chocolate muffins I’ve ever made

I saw the recipe at the Pink Whisk and as I had just bought the tulip wrappers there was no way I could resist baking these chocolate muffins, even though the recipe asks for two different kinds of flour! I did make a few changes to the recipe; I used 200g of caster sugar and 100g of vanilla sugar.
They are so easy to make and I was impressed by the creaminess of the batter… 
The recipe is for 12 muffins but I actually got 16 out of the batter! Maybe I was too careful filling my wrappers!
165g butter, softened

300g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, large
70g self raising flour
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g cocoa powder
225ml milk
25ml malt vinegar
100g good dark chocolate broken into chunks

and for the filling you will need

150ml double cream
150g dark chocolate chopped into small pieces

Measure out the milk and add the vinegar to it. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4. Prepare your muffin tray by putting the tulip wrappers into each hole. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Put all dry ingredients into a bowl, give it a good stir then add to the wet mix. Finally pour in the milk/vinegar mixture and whisk until smooth. Fill your tulip cases about two thirds full. Sprinkle the chocolate chunks on top of the muffins.
Bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until done.
Take the muffins out and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes. Take a thin, sharp knife and stick it through one of the cracks into the muffin. Wiggle it around a bit to make space for the chocolate filling. Let the muffins cool completely. 
For the filling simply heat the cream in a sauce pan until it nearly boils, then take it off the heat and add the chopped dark chocolate. All the mixture to stand for a few minutes, then stir it all together until you have a smooth and glossy ganache. Leave it for about 15 minutes, then fill your injector (a big syringe with a long metal needle at the end) with the chocolate ganache and fill your muffins where you earlier made a cut with the knife. Stop injecting when the chocolate oozes out of the top.