Monday, 22 October 2012

Caramel Filled Curly Wurly & Rolo Cupcakes

Back in the summer when it was time to leave our temp jobs behind in Milton Keynes, we decided it would be fun to bake some cupcakes for the ladies at both the agencies who found us work to begin with.  I sent them emails asking them what their favourite chocolates were and the responses that came back were Curly Wurly's and Rolos! 

So I baked up these chocolate cupcakes, filled them with some caramel or 'carmel' as they say here in Canada! topped them with some caramel frosting which is super tooth achingly sweet which is why you only need a slither! and then topped them with their favourite chocolate bars!

I'd love to tell you the reason why I'm only blogging about them now is because I had planned this carefully and wanted to be blogging about them especially for National Caramel Month! but in fact I'm just playing catch up on my summers baking and it's a happy co incidence that October is National Caramel Month!

I tested out a new chocolate cake recipe as I'm always after finding 'the best' one there is! Jaclyn over at Cooking Classy described it as the unforgettable, perfect chocolate cake recipe and I would have to agree! It was really light and fluffy with the perfect amount of moistness, I'd encourage you all to bake up your own to see what all the fuss is about! 

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting:
Makes 12
Adapted from Cooking Classy

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup salted butter, firm but not cold
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.  Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy for about 3-4 minutes.  Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined.  Measure out buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup and add vanilla extract to milk, then whisk to combine.  Working in 2 separate batches, add buttermilk mixture followed by flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing just unti combined after each addition (batter will be thick).  

Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full.  Bake in a preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of each cupcake comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in baking pan until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

I cut a hole in each cupcake with a knife and scooped out the cake, then filled it with some dulce de leche, and plugged it with a trimmed piece of cake.  

Frost with the recipe below, and finish them off with either a Rolo chopped in half or a piece or Curly Wurly or the chocolate of your choice! 

Caramel Frosting:

60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
220g light soft brown sugar
240g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Place the butter, milk and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan over a high heat and stir to combine.  Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and allow it to boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in half of the icing sugar.  Leave the mixture to cool slightly, then add the remainder of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and stir until it thickens to the desired consistency. 

The icing is best used immediately.  If you do need to make it in advance, thin it with a little double cream and beat well before using.  Alternatively heat the icing for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Banana & Blueberry Bread

I'm not really a blueberry person, I'm not sure why because they are delicious! but it's just not something I find myself every buying! so when I came across a tub of them in the fridge and there were some over ripe bananas on the counter, I knew what had to be done! 

Banana bread is just one of those classics that you can make hundreds of times and never get bored of it! I love being able to experiment with different variations of banana bread and this blueberry one is one of the tastiest and most moist to date! 

If you're a blueberry lover, and even if you're not (like my husband) you will still love this bake! 

Banana & Blueberry Bread:
Serves 10

1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
Grease your loaf tin with butter.

Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla.  Mix well until combined.  Beat in bananas.  With the mixer at low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.  Using a spatula, fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into the loaf pan.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean.  
Remove from the oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Slice, and eat warm with lashings of butter! 

On a funny side note, since I have moved to Vancouver I have been super into blueberries! They have blueberry flavour everything! even gummy bears, which were really tasty! and I now have fresh blueberries for breakfast most mornings with this really delicious pineapple and coconut yoghurt I found in the supermarket! So I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before I whip up another of these loaves!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

United Bakes of America Round 5...and Root Beer Float Brownies!

Sorry I'm late to the game this month! October just snuck up on me!
and here I am with the round up of bakes that were entered this month with a confession to make...remember how I was baking things from the United Bakes of America book? Wanna know where that book is right now? .... it's in my parents attic, in Shropshire! and it didn't get packed into my suitcase over here as it should have done! but it's probably lucky because squeezing your whole life into 46kg is not an easy task to do! more recipes from that book, but the United Bakes challenge will still continue because there is always an American ingredient, recipe or state dish on hand! So for my American bake this month I defaulted back to my number one favourite edible thing to do with America - Root Beer! 

A few months back, Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker, was holidaying around Asia when she stumbled upon some A&W root beer ice cream topper! and being the most amazing blogging friend that she is and knowing of my extreme undying love for A&W she sent me some! 

I have been saving this bottle up for a precious recipe, and yes I did manage to put that in my 46kg of stuff I brought over from England!

and so I present to you Root Beer Float Brownies - an A&W infused brownie topped with vanilla bean frosting (to represent the ice cream part in a float) and finished off with a drizzle of that delicious A&W sauce! 

Root Beer Float Brownies:
Serves 18
From Cookies and Cups

2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 oz chopped semi sweet chocolate
3 oz white chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 oz root beer (I used A&W)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a 15 x 8" baking dish with parchment paper and grease lightly with butter.
Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Over a double boiler (or in a microwave) melt the butter, semi sweet and white chocolates together.
Remove from the heat when just melted and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Using your mixer (sob..or if your Kitchen Aid is back in England, using a spoon!) mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla together.
Slowly add in the cooled chocolate mixture.  
Now add half the flour and half the root beer.  Mix on low, scraping the sides in between.
Repeat with the remaining flour and root beer until just combined.  The batter will look quite thin.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until center is just set.  I checked mine at 22 minutes and they were still gooey, when I checked at 25 no crumbs came out attached to the knife and they had baked too much and were cake like texture! so depending on your oven, definitely check them around the 20 minutes mark as you don't want brownies like mine!
Let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Frosting:
Makes enough to just frost the above, if you want a thicker layer of frosting make a bigger batch.
Adapted from Cupcake Project

2 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp semi skimmed milk

Mix together sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy.
Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute.
If desired, add more icing sugar to make it stiffer.

Frost brownies using a palette knife and then drizzle with the A&W sauce.

On a side note , while making these I realised I had no weighing scales as here in Canada I'm hoping I can just rely on my measuring cups! but then I realised I had no way to measure 6 oz of chocolate from the slab I had bought.  So imagine my delight when I opened up the 225g box to find 8 little squares of individually wrapped chocolate.  1 square = 1 ounce! Problem solved.  

Now let's get on to the other inventive bakes that were entered this month! 

First off the mark was my proud to be a Texan friend, Chandrie.  We met whilst living in North Wales last year and I bonded with her instantly, because after all she was American and I love all things American! She assured me that when she went back home to the States this summer that she would join along with the challenge and true to her word she came up with these Texas-Hot Habanero Cookies! One of the ingredients, aside from chopped up Habanero chillies and choc chips is 'Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce'! I'm not sure I would be brave enough to try these but they'd certainly spice up any event you took them along to! 

Next up, my ever faithful challenge enterer and sender of yummy treats, Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker baked up this oh so delicious looking Peanut Butter Banana Bread. Although we can't agree over a love for coconut, we definitely have lots of other tastebuds in common and I had whipped up a Reese's peanut butter banana bread earlier in the month too - great minds think alike! 

Caroline Makes made these super cute Puppy Dog Cupcakes from the American book 'Hello Cupcake'.    She also used tons of American ingredients that she was able to pick up on her oh so exciting American road trip she went on recently, I'm so jealous! She grabbed some pumpkin marshmallows, chocolate wafers and a Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix that helped her whip these up! 

Finally, my sister Mel managed to sneak these Cookies and Cream Brownies in.  It's a Lorraine Pascale recipe that I have had bookmarked for a while too but she beat me to it! Us Jones girls are HUGE Oreo lovers! I could seriously do with one of these right now, and I love the polka dot plate too! 

So there we have it, I'm hoping that now we're full into 'Fall' season as everyone calls it here that there will be plenty of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Pumpkin/Apple bakes coming up this month and I hope if you are the baker that is whipping them up then you will come and join up to the UBA challenge because we'd love to have you!

Until next time...happy baking! and blogging!


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