Thursday, 23 April 2009

The 'raspberry' on the top

Well yesterday night was stake leadership. My mom had given me the inspired theme 'something special happens when you put the cherry on the top', I was planning on talking about diligence and going the extra mile so I was going to make a cupcake and offer it to them un-iced and then offer a very attractively iced cupcake. It didn't quite go according to plan, I was running short of time..had woken up at 6am to work on my presentation and then went to work so i ran in the door at the end of the day and By had kindly made the cupcakes for me since he had finished work earlier than me and it was just my job to ice them. I had bought some greaseproof paper to make a makeshift icing bag ..and just like the last time my bag burst and I had to give up on beautifully piped icing! I think it must be because my icing is too thick but i love buttercream and so i'm not sure how best to do it!

Then there was the part where it was supposed to be a cherry on the top, I had bought some glace cherries even though im not a fan..and when it came down to it i decided fresh raspberries would look classier so i decorated with choc buttercream and a raspberry and then i crumbled some flake over the top. They seemed to go down pretty well..and when i got home i iced the plain one i'd used for the lesson and i was amazed at how good the raspberry/choc combo actually is - i will have to make more very soon as they were yummy!

The cupcake recipe is one I use's from a what's cooking chocolate recipe book:

100g/3 1/2 oz generous 1/3 cup butter (softened)
100g/3 1/2 oz/ 7 tbsp caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50g/1 3/4 oz/1/3 cup milk chocolate chips (i used broken up cadburys buttons)
2 tbsp milk
150g/5 1/2 oz/ 1 1/4 cups self raising flour
25g/1oz/1/4 cup cocoa powder

250g icing sugar
125g butter (softened)
30g milk choc (melted)

I found this icing recipe off the usual it didn't work - it was completely thick and hardly chocolately so i added about another 30-40g of milk choc and that seemed to make it less thick and more chocolatey.

South African Romany Minty Choc Fridge Tart

So when By and I celebrated our first year anniversary in Brighton we found The Biltong Hut and bought some Mint Romany Creams (they are South African biscuits for those of you who don't know). We munched them all..and then I saw an awesome recipe on the back of the box for this dessert but unfortunately had just eaten them all so had none to use as ingredients! So I cut out the recipe and kept it in my recipe file and on my recent trip to South Africa I remembered to stock up on some!

I decided to make it when Mel and Arne had come to visit for the weekend and everyone got involved and helped! Mel whipped the cream (as apparently she's the pro at that), By attacked the Romany's with a rolling pin and Arne..watched! so almost everyone helped! 

Romany Minty Choc Fridge Tart:
Serves 9
From Romany Creams biscuit box

1 x 150g pack of marshmallows
1 cup (250ml) semi-skimmed milk
2 large slabs Peppermint Crisp chocolate
1 cup (250ml) whipping cream
1 x 200g pack Mint Choc Romany Creams biscuits, crushed

1 x Peppermint Crisp (to decorate)

Combine marshmallows and milk in a saucepan. Over low heat, stir until marshmallows have melted. Add Peppermint Crisp and stir until metled and mixture is smooth. Allow to cool.
Whip the cream and fold into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Roughly break the Romany's into quarters. Place into a dessert dish and pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the top. Tap dish softly to remove air bubbles. Place in the fridge to set. 
 Decorate with extra Peppermint Crisp if desired.

Mint oreo brownies

So I found a recipe for this on the internet and couldn't resist. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling rich enough to buy some mint oreos off the internet so i used regular oreos but substituted half the chocolate used for mint aero choc so it still had a hint of mint!
It took soo long to cook..probably near to or just over an hour and they burnt slightly around the edge and were still a bit gooey in the middle - i think it's cause i baked them in quite a deep pan so they were probably thicker than they were meant to be...but they were very tasty and I would recommend them to anyone!

It came from a post for 10 different oreo treats you can make
which is a pretty good little read.

Here is the recipe:

Peppermint Cookies n’ Cream Brownies
1 cup butter
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (i used half dairy milk and half mint aero)
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups roughly chopped peppermint oreo-type cookies

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease lightly.
In a medium-large saucepan over low heat, melt together butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla, then turn off heat. Whisk in eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in flour and cocoa powder until mixture is uniform. Stir in peppermint oreo cookies and pour batter into prepared pan. Crush 3-4 additional cookies finely and sprinkle on top of batter, if desired.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, but not coated with batter.
Cool brownies in pan for about 20 minutes, then lift brownies in the foil out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 36 brownies (or 48 bite-sized brownies).

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Where next?

I have been salivating for a while now at the crumbs and dollies website. I was doing some research on behalf of my sister Mel who gets married at the end of July. She is quite keen to do the cupcake thing too for the wedding and I came across c&d and was most impressed by their array of colours they can offer in icing and toppings etc, I spent a whole evening on their blog looking at every past order they've done! and they definitely seem to be the company who have impressed me most and I feel their prices are most reasonable too.
So now I am going to make sure that the next time I happen to go into London that a trip will have to be made via c&d to see if the taste lives up to the appearance!
Above are some of my favourite cakes they have created in the past. I wish I had taken a trip in Nov 2008 when Oreo's were their speciality of the month cake!

8. The Hummingbird Bakery, Portobello Road, London

I believe that my first brush with the elite of cupcakes would have been at this very place. This was going back about 8 years and the cupcake craze hadn't really struck yet so I remember as Mel and I were wondering to Portobello Market we stumbled upon this little bakery and were amazed at the yummy delights we found inside! Whilst they don't have a huge variety like most places do these days they do decorate them really well.
I didn't know it but that cupcake I had that day would have been the first of many many more to come!

7. Citizen Cupcake, San Francisco, USA

During my 04 USA trip with Mel our last leg of the trip found us in San Fra
ncisco, and after all the places we had visited we were pretty poor by this point. So we spent our evenings in Virgin Megastore trying to find some cool new bands and just passing the time by listening to music..when we came across Citizen Cupcake! We were mesmerised straight away by the yummy looking cupcakes..and so our Virgin trips came at more of a price than we thought they would! but it was worth it, it was so long ago now that I can't remember exactly what cake I had but I know it was good. As I was looking on google to find some pictures to put up here I see that branch in the Virgin store in San Fran has since closed down which is a shame but at least we have our memories!

6. Dylan's Candy Bar, New York, USA

I have been to Dylan's twice now..the first time was back in 2004 and then again in 2006. The first time I went with my sister Mel, we loved the shop and looking at all the different candy! and then we thought the cafe part was great and I had never seen such huge cupcakes before!!! So when I found myself back in NYC in 2006 with one of my other sisters Alli I had to take her along and introduce her to the oreo cupcake I had been so impressed with on my first visit! and I took a picture on my phone of me eating it and I've been trying to find it on my computer for ages but it is nowhere to be seen so I found this one from their website instead. Pretty impressive that they can fit TWO full size oreos in the gives you an impression of the size, this had to be a 9/10 defo!

5. My polka dot wedding cupcakes!!

I had decided I definitely wanted a tower of cupcakes for my wedding and since it was polka dot themed..what else could feature but spots! so By's Gran who has made several wedding cakes in the past..although nothing quite like this! took on the task and whilst I was hoping for buttercream frosting (since it is my fave) we decided that would be too much prep on the day so fondant icing it was and Flo dyed some icing fuschia pink and made all the little polka dots. They were chocolate cupcakes with mint flavouring and then a thin layer of jam to stick the icing to the cake and they were certainly a talking point! I was glad too to find fuschia cupcake cases!

4. Angel Food Bakery, Brighton

We were in Brighton for a 2 day break for our 1st anniversary! and we did what we do! We really found so many nice treats that day that I would loved to have tried more than one flavour cupcake at the angel food bakery but due to the fact we had been eating all day long and I was still saving place for a scoop and crumb ice cream I'd eyed up earlier I decided one was all I could manage!
So I went for Oreo again..I really am oreo obsessed - as you can see it had a huge amount of icing especially compared to the one I'd had at the butter cupcake - I was most impressed and it was topped off with a whole oreo rather than just a quarter, a definite 9/10 there.

3. Butter Cupcake Stand, Westfield Shopping Centre, London

When my Dad saw these were £2.50 a cupcake he was less than impressed! even more so when we proceeded to buy a box of 4 for my sisters birthday - I told him as he's a man he just doesn't understand the amazingness of cupcakes! Although the icing is finished off smoothly rather than in the piped way I prefer it is still a really yummy creamy icing and many of their cupcakes are topped off with little flowers/hearts/bananas. I opted for the oreo cupcake - what else! and was not disappointed, an 8/10 for the butter cupcake shop.

2. The Patisserie, Johannesburg, South Africa

This was a lovely little place and the decor was gorgeous. They had an amazing array of goodies and my Aunt was especially fond of their profiteroles filled with custard and iced. I tried their cupcakes (you can see them in the centre of the picture) - they were iced with regular icing and had spring/easter patterns on them. They were pretty good and the icing had a hint of lemon to it but for me it has to be buttercream every time so I would give those a 7/10.

1. 'I Love Cupcake' - Centurion and Parkhurst, Johannesburg - South Africa

Wow I was so impressed with this place. We went to their factory shop in Centurion and I tried this chocolate cupcake with mint buttercream icing and i didn't even realise until I was about to eat it that it was sprinkled with peppermint crisp (my very fave choc bar ever..only available in South Africa!) so that was super exciting and wow it was just an amazing cupcake. We went back to their other store in Johannesburg (I am standing in front of it in the top picture) and I'm afraid to say I was boring and went for another mint one, I was tempted by the granadilla but it had poppy seeds in so I became less keen. Lynne had the caramel one and Mom had the chocolate - they are so attractive and so yummy too.

And so the blogging begins...

I have decided I am well and truly obsessed with cupcakes! I just got back from South Africa and had some of the best cupcakes ever there from a place called 'I love cupcake' and it got me thinking about all the different cupcakes I have enjoyed from around the world! I wish I had taken a photo everytime I had enjoyed a new one..but I thought I would post the few pictures I do have of me experiencing new cupcakes, starting from the most recent...


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