Monday, 28 May 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Peanutbutter-cup Surprise Cupcakes

Phew what a name!

But an elegant looking cupcake none the less.  

My Mum's birthday is tomorrow, and I recently purchased some super special, posting boxes for cupcakes.... Soooo experiments were to be had!  I put them in the post this morning, I will be on the phone to find out how they looked when she receives them tomorrow, and whether or not they survive their 230 mile trip!

I chose to make my Mum's cupcakes chocolate and peanut butter flavoured as it is one of her favourites, we share a love of peanut butter m & m's and peanut butter cups (both of which are too be found very few and far between in the UK, and are a nightmare to get hold of, very disappointing!).  So it seemed like an apt idea. 

Buuuuuut, I couldn't just make a normal, plain ol' cupcake! Oh no.  So .... I made peanut butter cups, and put them in the middle of some swirled peanut butter cupcake and chocolate cupcake mixes and baked up Swirly Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes, with Peanutbutter Cup Surprises! 

If you like chocolate and peanut butter, or if you are  a fan of Reeses PB cups, and you like cake, well, I tell you, these cakes are gooooooood!  

Here's how to make them!

Peanut Butter Cup Recipe

I started out by making these, as I wanted them to be solid and set, before I baked the cake, ready for them to go all melty again once they went in the oven.

2tbsp smooth peanut butter
1tbsp milk (if you are dairy free, I used rice milk, and dairy free margarine for all of this recipe, just so you know!)
4tbsp icing sugar (plus extra)
200g dark chocolate (I used this much for a thick chocolate coating, you can use less if you wish)
1. Set up 18 very small baking cases on a tray.  
2. Melt half of the dark chocolate and put a half teaspoon to 1 tsp of the chocolate into each baking case.  Tip the case, so that the chocolate runs up the edge of the cases all the way around.  Set aside to harden (you can place in the fridge for a short time to speed this up if you wish).
3. Mix together the peanut butter, milk and icing sugar into a thick paste in a bowl. Add extra icing sugar until the paste is just thick enough to handle (it will be sticky still, and you may need to wash your hands a lot after the next step!)
4. Take teaspoon sized amounts of the peanut butter mixture, and roll into balls, then flatten into discs smaller than the width of the baking cases you are using. 
5. Place these discs into the chocolate coated baking cases.  (If you have extra peanut butter mixture you can either make extra cups, or just add the leftover peanut butter mix into your PB cupcake mixture later to add an extra peanut buttery kick).
6. Melt the remaining dark chocolate, and coat the peanut butter middle with it. 
7. Leave to go completely solid (again you can use the fridge to speed this up).
8.  Once they have hardened completely, you can turn them out from the cases (and sneakily munch a few that look, ummm below par, or whatever excuse you want to use!).

Peanut Butter and Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup Surprise Cake Mixtures

6 oz / 170g butter or margarine
6 oz / 170g caster sugar
6 1/2 oz / 185g self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1/2 oz / 15 g cocoa

1. Preheat the over to 170 c and place muffin cases into a 12 cup muffin tray.
2.Cream together the margarine and sugar.  Whisk in each egg, one at a time, thoroughly mixing between each egg.
3. Add the vanilla essence, baking powder and flour to the mixture and mix well.
4. Split the mixture into two separate bowls, half in each.  Add the peanut butter to one of the bowls and mix in well.  Add the cocoa into the other bowl and mix well.
5. I placed each mixture into a separate piping bag, and taped the two bags together to fill the baking cases with swirled mixture (as on the left).
6.  Swirl in the two mixtures to approximately 1/3 to 1/2 the way up each muffin case.
7.  Place one peanut butter cup upside down in each muffin case, pushing down into the mixture slightly.
8.  Cover the peanut butter cups with more swirled mixture to slightly coat the peanut butter cup.
9.  Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned on top, and the sponge springs back up when pushed down gently.
10.  Once baked leave to cool completely on a wire rack.  In the mean time prepare the icing.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Buttercream
120 grams butter or margarine
300 grams icing sugar (more may be needed for correct consistency)
20 grams of cocoa
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp margarine 

1. In a large bowl mix together the butter, icing sugar and milk to form a basic buttercream icing.
2. Sift the cocoa into the bowl and mix into the icing. 
3. Add more milk or icing sugar to get a consistency that will flow freely through a nozzle in a piping bag, but is thick enough to hold its peaks. 
4. In a separate small bowl mix together the margarine and peanut butter to form a slightly runny paste.
5. Add the peanut butter mix to the chocolate icing.  Swirl together, you can barely mix to get a rippled effect, or you can fully mix to get a monotone icing (sadly I swirled a little too much, so when I added it to the piping bag, the peanut butter vein was lost). 
6. Pipe onto your cooled cupcakes and decorate with whatever you fancy!  A Reese's miniature peanut butter cup would be perfect.

I hope my Mum enjoys them as much as I did!  A yummy treat indeed.  Thanks for reading! 

Zesty Citrus Layered Cake

Another birthday ... another cake.

One of the girl's at work today.  Sadly, my weekend was a tad on the hectic side, so it was a less extravagant affair than the usual.  But never a boring cake!

I made it as beachy as I could, with some yellow sugar crystals for sand, and starfish shaped sweets on top, to make it a little more appealing to the eye, and slightly themed. 

10 minutes after it was brought out it looked like this ....

This was three tiers, top and bottom were orange flavour, and the middle was lemon, all sandwhiced together with some apricot jam.

I made up a batch of buttercream icing, which was flavoured with fresh orange and lemon juices, and spread on thick.

I was told it was very tasty! So hooray for another cake success

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Cake Pops and Push Pops

It's my birthday this week, which has meant some brilliant presents, a few of which seemed to have a, ummmm theme.  As you can see in the picture to the left, I got quite a few brilliant, baking goodies!  Aaaand my Mum made me an amazing birthday cake, yoghurt and lemon flavour mmmm, what a treat! 
I also put in an order for some cake decorating bits and bobs last week, which arrived at the weekend.  So all in all, excitement has been running feverishly high, and my creative cake fires have been very heavily fuelled over the last few days.  
I have been really excited about the idea of trying to make cake pops, and having come across the concept of cake push pops, well, that has just GOT to be tried! Don't you think?!  So I bought myself some pop sticks, and some push pop containers, as well as a few decorating extras.  

Happily enough, I am also on annual leave this week, which is brilliant, because I am soooooo very excited to get to work with some of the new things I have acquired. 

Today I used the red velvet cake recipe from my new book.  I made red velvet and cream cheese frosted cake push pops.  And also white chocolate coated cake pops.  These are a friends birthday present.  Perfect for putting in the post!  

Cake Push Pops

Oh my, these are fun!   You can do so much with them!  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.  You start off with a little plastic push pop container like the picture below.  I bought mine online, but when I went into my local cake decorating shop today , they had them new in (more expensive mind you, but they were there!), so it would seem that they are catching on quick, and available in shops now too.  

I took my baked and ready red velvet sponge, and using one of the pop containers, cut out circles of cake.  These were layered with white cream cheese frosting, piped in, with the top layer of icing swirled as well as I could manage to create a pretty finish.  I then decorated with edible gold glitter and red sugar love heart sprinkles. 
I can't wait to find out how my friend likes them! I think they have made a really cute present, and I just desperately hope that they come out the other end of the postal system still looking cute, and not a complete mess.

Cake Pops

After stumbling across the Bakerella web site a couple of weeks ago, which lead me to making cupcake hamburger meals I have become a little obsessed with her site.  I have been looking at many of the amazing cake pops, and I have been desperate to try some for myself.  

Soooo I went and bought myself some pop sticks in preparation, and when I had my cake offcuts left over from the push pops above, I got to making some!

I crumbled the cake offcuts into a bowl, and added a nice large dollop of the cream cheese frosting, then mixed well.  This created a lovely gooey cake mess, which I then rolled into lollypop sized balls , and left to sit whilst I got everything else ready. 

I melted white chocolate cake covering in my microwave, and got my lollipop sticks stuck into my cake balls, and I got dipping!  Each ball was dipped in the cake covering to coat the whole ball and as little as I could manage of the pop stick (though I must admit I am not the neatest person in the kitchen whilst I'm in the middle of things, and there was a great  deal of runny white chocolate mess going all over the pop sticks, my counters, and well, just about everywhere!).  

I had a handy piece of florists foam block to hand which I was then able to put the  pop sticks into whilst the coating dried.  Soon after removing from the microwave, when the coating was still very warm, some pops needed a second coat after the first had dried, as the coating was so warm and runny it didn't stick on thick enough, once the coating had cooled some though the others went on thicker.
Once the coat on the pops was thick enough I started decorating them.  I chose three different types of decoration.  Sugar love hearts, hundreds and thousands and gold edible glitter.  The love hearts and the hundreds and thousands had to be added whilst the coating was drying, to make sure they would stick.  But the gold glitter I simply applied with a dry paintbrush once the pops were solid.

They came out so much better than my expectations had been, and looked so cute, that I located some little plastic gift bags and ribbon, and they have gone in the birthday box for my friend as well.  Again, I really hope they don't get too bashed, and they arrive still looking good! 

I had a great afternoon's baking, and I'm so glad I got to do some experimenting!  I can't wait to try some more complicated cake pop designs.  There are just so many things that you can do with these!  I might be lead astray from my giant crazy cakes for a while with the thousands of possibilities!   

But another day, as for now it is time I went to get some beauty sleep.  Thanks for reading, please feel free to post any questions or comments.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Rose cupcakes

Rose flavour cupcakes with rose water icing and fondant ... you guessed it, roses!

I thought I would have a little play with some fondant, and some flavourings last night. 

Just a really quick little experiment this time!  I wanted to play with some simple fondant flowers.

I made a normal batch of cupcakes using rose water to flavour them instead of vanilla.  I topped these with a simple icing of icing sugar and  rose water, I made this nice and thick so it wouldn't run too much and spread it evenly to the edges of the cupcake cases. 

The little rose decorations were simple ones made up of fondant cut into ribbon shapes and then rolled up, with the top edges flattened and flared out slightly to make a more realistic shape.

As I used fondant which I had made previously, these cakes didn't take very long to make, so they were a  nice little mid-week evening bake, which kept me happy.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Happy Meal

I really can't take any of the creative credit for these!  I saw them on Bakerella's website and it was a case of, I saw and I had to make! 

These are just the cutest little happy meals, and boy did they make everybody in my office happy.

The burger buns are made up of halved vanilla cupcakes, with super gooey chocolate brownie burger patties, and icing piped on to make some very sugary ketchup and lettuce replacements.

A few sesame seeds sprinkled on the top of each bun, added the perfect touch.

The chips were a sugar biscuit dough, which I rolled out and cut into thin strips and coated in granulated sugar, before baking for 7 minutes at 190 c.  

I quickly learned that the difference between baking for 7 minutes and 8 minutes, was golden cookie to dark brown overdone cookie!

The strips I cut spread out too much, and I decided to cut them in half length ways again to get a thinner french fry shape.  This has to be done VERY QUICKLY after removing from the oven though, otherwise they got very solid very quickly, and I just ended up with shattered biscuit flying over my carpet!

For a full set of instructions on how to make these tasty meals, and for a pdf download of the print outs requried to make the paper containers in which I put them, visit Bakerella's Fast Food Fun page.  
The only real stray from the instructions I made was that I baked all my bits from scratch, unlike Bakerella, who followed the fast food theme, and used packet mixes.  I also took out the extra layer of icing for "mustard", as mine looked a little like ungainly sky scrapers already, and I feared them falling over with any more height! 

Many thanks for the inspiration Bakerella!  I loved making these.
I am looking forward to a new goody baking challenge, I just need a new theme or idea to start from .... hmmm

Thanks for reading, until next time!