Sunday, 29 May 2011

May Bake It Club: Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I've been wanting to do the Bake It! club again pretty much every month since the last time I did it in November but every time the recipe went up I thought it looked great but always found some reason why it didn't happen. When this month's recipe of Lemon Meringue Cupcakes went up I thought it would be the same, since meringue is something I have been trying to hide from, but since I had 4 eggs left over from last week I took it as a sign that I should face my demons!

These were so quick and easy to make, but for some reason my cupcakes sank in the middle! I really didn't understand it - I had put the oven on to my usual cupcakes temp of 180c but after 15 minutes they didn't look anywhere near ready... then I left them in too long and I thought it was going to be a complete disaster. They tasted quite nice though and as they'd been in too long they had a sweet crust on the top which I actually quite liked!

So I ploughed on and made my meringue, which was a great excuse to try out my electric mixer which I got for Christmas and hadn't yet used (I'm such a tech-phobe, I am still beating everything by hand...). After a horrendous experience trying to separate the eggs myself I was sure they wouldn't whisk properly but eventually the meringue formed. Here they are pre-grilling...

...and post grilling...
I haven't tried any after the addition of the lemon curd and meringue topping since I am not a huge fan of meringue, but Mike assures me they are lovely despite being rather over done! I was planning on giving out the rest to family today but that is if I can prise them out of Mike's hands! Get the recipe here to try them yourself!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bakewell Tart Cupcakes

Recently I've been starting to lose my temper with the baking cupboard - mainly because the thing I'd go in for always seemed to be right at the back, and also because every time I opened the door something seemed to fall out. I always wanted to have a jam-packed baking cupboard, but it seems that I really need to get a bigger cupboard! There has been all sorts of half empty things hanging around in there for ages that I bought for one recipe and never needed again.

And so these Bakewell Tart Cupcakes were born! I had been wondering how to get rid of the almond extract and the glace cherries, and after mulling it over at work, decided to give these a whirl. Now, I know there's probably loads of recipes for similar things in books and on the net, but I decided to just wing it myself to see if I could come up with something edible. And I did! They were very light and fluffy and the almondy flavour was quite strong - was wondering if it would come through, as I hadn't got an ground almonds to add, but I think that would have been almond overkill. I did some with a blob of jam in the middle and some with a layer of jam between the cake and the icing. I think the ones with the jam on top tasted better, but the ones with the jam inside looked better as it kept the icing nice and crisp white.

I palmed some off on Mike to take to work (since neither of us really like Bakewelly stuff), but to my surprise, not even the gannets in his office would eat them! Turns out though, by complete coincidence, there was a baking competition on in his building that day and so they entered them into that. And they came third! I'm not really sure what the entry / judging criteria was - Mike said that some of the cakes were knitted - and apparently the person who organised it got first place! - But either way, I got a cute little trophy!

So here is my very own recipe for Bakewell Tart cupcakes -

150g/5oz butter
150g/5oz caster sugar
175g/6oz self raising flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons almond extract
cherry jam
8 tablespoons icing sugar
12 glace cherries

1. Preheat oven to 180c and line muffin tins with 12 muffin cases.
2. Beat butter and sugar together, then sift in the flour.
3. Add the eggs and almond extract, then beat until light and creamy.
4. If you want jam swirls inside the cakes, half fill the muffin cases with the mixture, place a blob of jam (about a teaspoon) in the centre, top with the remaining mix, and then give the mixture a quick swirl with a skewer.
5. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
6. To decorate, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in tablespoons of warm water, one at a time, until the icing is smooth, spreadable but still nice and thick.
7. (You can spread cherry jam over the top of the cakes at this point if you like, but it will probably give the icing a few red streaks!)
8. Spread a thick layer of icing over each cake, then top with a glace cherry.

I would also like to enter these into English Mum's Big Bakeoff - I am sure there are going to be loads of entries that are a million times more creative than these humble cupcakes, but I'm really proud of them!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

April Round Up and Kreativ Blog Award

Good heavens, where did April go?! This year is just flying by! Just thought I would do a quick round up of what I made in April - nothing was particularly inspiring or exciting, but since I want to document everything I make it's only right to include them (even though I'm dying to rush on to my next post, but patience, patience!)

Firstly, my mum's birthday on the 9th meant a second outing for the Marbled Mocha Cake

since my Mum is also a coffee cake fiend (there is a lot of them about!). It was exactly the same recipe but this time decorated with chocolate curls and Maltesers. It was just as good on the second run, and I felt the marbled effect was more apparent, but I don't know what I did differently - perhaps was just less enthusiastic with the skewer!
Secondly, was Easter. I feel quite sheepish posting my Easter bakes since I have seen so many gorgeous Easter bakes that are in a completely different league to mine. If I'm honest, I was quite lazy - I mostly wanted to chill out over the long weekend(s) and spend less time in the kitchen, so I played it safe.

I had a huge bag of cornflakes left over to use up so went for classic chocolate cornflake nest cakes. I ummed and ahhed about whether to just simply mix melted chocolate with cornflakes but ended up using a recipe including golden syrup and butter. The first batch was made with plain chocolate and I did a second with milk chocolate - the milk chocolate batch were definitely better! A lot less sharp tasting - I struggled to eat the dark chocolate ones.

I also made plain vanilla cupcakes and decorated with buttercream, chocolate eggs and chicks. Again really simple (and the same as last year) but I wanted a big failsafe batch to give as Easter treats for my parents and in-laws.

After seeing what lovely things others had created I definitely have some bookmarked to try out next year. Hopefully Easter will be a bit earlier as this year I was already caked and chocolate-d out after the barrage of birthdays in March/April.

And then finally, THE WEDDING! I had such big plans for a baking extravaganza and had intended on making 3 types of cake plus scones, but in the end I ran out of time so the scones didn't happen, and I ended up just doing some patriotically decorated vanilla cupcakes and the old faithful pineapple upside down cake. I did a bit of an afternoon tea buffet for my Dad and family and so I thought it added to the slightly retro feel. Unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of our union flag adorned living room, or any of us in our posh wedding frocks/suits (my dad stole the show in a sequinned union flag tie!), but here is one of the table!

In April I was also nominated for the Kreativ Blog Award by Natasha from Rambles and Shambles - thank you! I was so chuffed with this especially knowing how many infinitely more creative bloggers there are out there, and with that I am going to do my blog award duty and nominate 7 bloggers - in the creative spirit of the award I'm going to choose some baking blogs / bloggers who bake that inspire me (and fill up my bookmarks folder!):

1. Natasha at Rambles & Shambles (back at you! Is that allowed?! Recent favourite: Easter Rabbit Cupcakes)
2. Chele at Chocolate Teapot (Recent favourite: Strawberries and Cream Scone cake)
3. Kara at Butter Hearts Sugar (Recent favourite: Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes)
4. Maria at The Goddess's Kitchen (Recent favourite: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake)
5. Ruth at The Pink Whisk (Recent favourite: Tea Cup biscuits)
6. Helen at Afeitar (Recent favourite: Malteaser cake)
7. Nic at Nic's Notebook (Recent favourite: Red Velvet cupcakes)
8. The Caked Crusader (Recent favourite: Royal Wedding baking)

OK so I couldn't possibly restrain myself to 7 and I had to pick 8! If I've nominated you, please don't feel inclined to do this aswell, but I just wanted you to know that I love reading your blog and am grateful for you sharing your creations!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...