Black Forest Cupcakes

Rich, chocolate cupcakes filled with a sweet cherry compote, topped with light, whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a fresh cherrythumb_DSC05624_1024 I love the combination of chocolate, cherries and cream, so as it’s cherry season I couldn’t resist making some black forest cupcakes.

These are a lot easier than making a full-on gateau, but they are still super decedant, and make a wonderful dessert. thumb_DSC05619_1024 This was a really lovely way to use the cherries, so if your looking for a cherry themed dessert then I definitely recommend these.

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday this week, hosted by Angie, Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: To minimize the effort for these cupcakes, you could use a jar of shop-bought jam rather than making the compote. I also think that drizzling the cupcakes in melted dark chocolate would make them even more delicious!

thumb_DSC05616_1024 Ingredients: Makes 12 Cupcakes

The Sponge:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50ml milk

The Cherry Compote:

  • 150g cherries, pitted
  • 1tbsp sugar

The Topping:

  • 400ml whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • chocolate curls
  • 12 cherries

thumb_DSC05615_1024 To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12 hole tray with muffin cakes.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the cocoa powder. Finally add the flour and milk, mix to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the cases, until they are 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until cooked though.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. thumb_IMAG0612_1024

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The Cherry Compote:

In a small pan combine the cherries and sugar and cook over a high heat for 5-10 minutes, until the cherries begin to break down. Then transfer to a small food processor and blend to form a smooth mixture. Set aside to cool.

The Cream:

Whisk the double cream until it forms stiff peaks, then mix in the icing sugar. Spoon the cream into a piping bag with a circular nozzle.

Assembling:

Cut a hole into the top of each cupcake, a few cm wide and deep. Fill with a heaped tsp of the cherry compote.

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Lemon and Elderflower Madelines

Sweet, lemony madelines, dipped in a fragrant elderflower icing.

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This was my first attempt at incorporating my elderflower cordial into some baking and I think it has worked really well!

I decided that the saftest combination for elderflower was lemon, so I’ve made some lemony madelines and used elderflower in the icing, so give it a subtle flowery flavour!

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These are a perfect summery treat, and I brought mine along to a picnic at rose hill in London at the weekend. The cakes were very much appreciated by my friends and they were the perfect snack for sitting in the sunshine! (Unfortunately I am now VERY sunburned!)

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday this week hosted by Angie, hope everyone has a lovely Friday!

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Variations:  There are endless possibilities with madelines! A friend of mine made orange madelines and dipped them in dark chocolate, which was delicious. You could also use lavender to flavour the sponge for an alternative floral taste.

Ingredients: Makes 24 Madelines

The Sponge:

  • 3 eggs
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 lemon
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 200g butter, melted

The Elderflower icing:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp elderflower cordial

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To Make:

The Madelines:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 12 hole madeline tray

Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and frothy. Fold in the flour, butter, milk and lemon zest. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Spoon the mixture into  the prepared tray, until each hole is about 3/4 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and cooked though. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.

The Icing:

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the elderflower cordial one tbsp at a time, to form a thick paste.

Dip each madeline into the icing, and leave to set on the wire rack.

Serve once the icing has dried and enjoy!

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German Strawberry Cake

Light ladyfinger sponges, sandwiched together with sweet, vanillary creme patisserie, topped with fresh strawberries and jelly, coated in freshly whipped cream and toasted almonds.

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Strawberry cake is one of my must have desserts when I’m holiday in Germany. It’s such a lovely summery cake to have after a long walk!

I’ve been trying to recreate it at home for a few years now, but I never felt like I had quite got it right. But now I am a bit more experienced in different techniques, I thought I’d try again. And this time I think I’ve finally nailled it!

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I think the key to this dessert is making the sponge really light, so the cake is not stodgy or dense under all the cream and fruit.

I found the jelly topping the most difficult part of this dessert. First time round I had a bit of a disaster when I took it out of the fridge to early and it collapsed! So I would recommend making up the jelly with more gelatine or less water so that it sets very firmly. I used half the amount of water suggested on the packaging the second time round, and it came out really well.

As my family enjoyed this cake so much I thought I would bring it along to Fiesta Friday #75 hosted by  and co-hosted by Josette @ thebrookcook and Julie @ Hostess at Heart. Happy Friday everyone!

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Variations: You could use a different summer fruit for the top of the cake, raspberries or cherries would be really good. You could also exchange the creme patisserie for whipped cream and strawberry jam, to make this a bit simpler to make!

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Ingredients: Serves 8-10

The Ladyfinger Sponge:

  • 4 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour

Creme Patisserie:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 220ml full fat milk

Strawberry topping:

  • 12 strawberries, sliced lengthways
  • 1 sachet of strawberry quick jel or strawberry jelly.

Coating:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g toasted flaked almonds

Equipment:

  • spring form or loose bottomed cake tin
  • piping bag with star shaped nozzle

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To Make:

The Ladyfinger Sponges:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line three baking trays with greaseproof paper. Draw three circles on the grease proof paper, the same size as your loose bottomed or spring form cake tin.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add 80g caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Pour into the egg whites  and fold in. Then fold in the flour.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a circular nozzle. Pipe 3 large circles of batter ono the baking trays, within the lines of the drawn on circles.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown, leave to cool on a wire rack before assembling.

The Creme Patisserie:

Heat the milk over a medium heat until almost boiling. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs, sugar and flours in a large bowl until it forms a smooth paste.

Pour the hot milk over the paste bit at a time, whisking continuously, until completely combined. Return the mixture to the pan, and cook over a medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.

Remove from the heat and pour back into the bowl. Stir in 1tbsp of butter until melted and combined.

Cover the top of the mixture with clingfilm and chill completely in the fridge before using.

The Strawberry Topping:

Place one of the sponges back into the cake tin, and arrange a layer of strawberries on top, in an overlapping radial pattern.

Make up the jelly according to the packet instructions (Try to use less water/more gelatine to make sure it sets firmly – I used half the amount of suggested water), and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then pour over the strawberries. Leave to set completely in the fridge.

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Assembling:

Place one of the sponges on a cake stand and spread over half the creme patisserie, then place on the second sponge, and spread over the rest of the creme patisserie. take the strawberry layer out of the fridge, and carefully slide this on top of the sponges.

Whip the double cream until stiff peaks form, then use a pallet knife to spread a layer around the sides of the cake. Then coat the outside of the cake with a layer of toasted almonds.

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Spoon the rest of the double cream into a clean piping bag with a star shaped nozzle, and pipe a ring of stars around the top and bottom of the cake.

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Cut into 8-10 slices and serve!

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Peach & Pecan Crumble Pie Bars

Buttery, shortbread base, topped with slices of sweet peaches, covered in a nutty, oaty, pecan crumble.

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Peaches are finally in season, so I couldn’t resist buying a few punnets for some baking!

I loved the idea of making a peach pie, but I wanted to do something a bit less complex, and that could be sliced up and given away more easily, so I decided to make peach pie bars.

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To add a bit more flavour to my bake,I decided to add a pecan crumble topping, which gives a lovely nutty flavour and crunchy texture to the pie bars.

These were a delicious hot dessert, and even good just sliced up cold! If your looking for the flavour of a pie without the effort then I recommend these!

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I will be bringing my peach pie bars to Fiesta Friday#74 this week, hosted by Loretta @ Safari Of The Mind and Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking.

Happy Friday!

Variations: You could use any fruit in these bars, apple or pear would be good, and you could add some berries!

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Ingredients: Makes 15 slices

Shortbread:

  • 250g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour

Peaches:

  • 4-5 peaches, peeled, stoned and sliced

Pecan crumble:

  • 150g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300g flour
  • 1 handful of porridge oats
  • 50g crushed pecans

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To Make:

The Shortbread:

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line a rectangular brownie dish.

Rub together the butter, flour and sugar to form a breadcrumb-like consistency.

Press the mixture into the baking dish, covering the entire area.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

The Peach Filling:

Lay the sliced peaches over the top of the shortbread, until completely covered, return to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

The Crumble Topping:

Rub together the butter, sugar and flour to form a breadcrumb like consistency. Then stir through the oats and pecans.

Pour the crumble mixture over the peaches and make sure they are completely covered.

Return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool slightly, then remove from the tin and slice into 12-15 squares.

Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

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Chocolate and Banana Rolls

Sweet bread rolls filled with banana and rich dark chocolate, covered in melted chocolate drizzles.

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At the end of the week, I find myself (as usual!) with for a bunch of over ripe bannanas. The past few times I have used the bananas in cakes (banana milkshake cupcakes and salted caramel and banana blondies), so this time I decided to completely break with tradition and use the bananas in some bread!

It’s been a while since I made some sweet breakfast rolls so I thought I’d see how banana and chocolate swirls would turn out. And I would definately say it was a success!

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I think I might actually prefer these to cinnamon rolls, as all the chocolate just makes them that bit more luxurious and indulgent for breakfast!

I’m going to be taking these over to Fiesta Friday #72 this week hosted by Quinn @Dad Whats 4 Dinner and Naina @Spice in the City! Hope to see you there 🙂

Variations: You could use milk or white chocolate for a sweeter filling, and you could change the bananas to any other fruit, I think raspberries would be delicious!

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Rolls:

The Dough:

  • 500g Strong White Flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 12g Fast Action Yeast
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 250ml Milk
  • 1 Egg

The Filling:

  • 3 Bananas
  • 50 Butter
  • 50g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 100g Dark Chocolate

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To Make:

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk and egg in a large bowl, and mix to form a rough dough. Turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and prove for 1 hour.

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Combine the butter, sugar and coca powder in a small pan, and heat until melted and combined. Slice the bannana into thin rounds, and break the chocolate into chunks.

Turn out the proved dough, knock out the air and stretch into a large rectangle.

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Brush over the butter and sugar mixture in a thin layer, completely covering the dough. Then lay over the banana chunks and chocolate. Roll up the dough and divide into 12 rolls.

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Place the rolls on oiled baking trays, cover in clingfilm, and prove for a further hour.

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Preheat the oven to 180C, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

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Transfer to a wire rack to cool, serve as they are, or drizzle with some melted dark chocolate for an extra chocolatey finish!

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Parma Violet Cupcakes

Soft, fluffy cupcakes flavoured with lilac syrup and parma violets, topped with a creamy violet buttercream, decorated with violet sprinkles and a parma violet

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As promised, I have made some parma violet cupcakes with my lilac syrup!

Parma violets were definitely one of my favourite sweets when I was little, and whenever I come across them in sweet shops now, I’m always very tempted to buy a pack! When I tasted my lilac syrup, it reminded me so much of parma violets that it inspired me to make some parma violet cupcakes!

I was delighted that I managed to get hold of some parma violets in a little sweet shop where I live, so I bought a few packets for these cupcakes.

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I brought these into work and people were really excited by the flavour, and seemed to enjoy them. So if you are looking for a fun and exciting cupcake that is a bit of a blast from the past, then I fully recommend this recipe!

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday #71!

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Variations: If you don’t want to make lilac syrup, you can just use parma violets and increase the sugar content of the cupcakes.

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Ingredients: Makes 18 cupcakes

The Sponge:

  • 150g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100ml lilac syrup
  • 1 pack of parma violets
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g self raising flour

The Buttercream:

  • 100g butter
  • 100ml lilac syrup
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 1 pack of parma violets
  • violet gel food colouring

Decorations:

  • 1 pack of parma violets
  • violet sprinkles

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To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C, line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases and crush the parma violets to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then fold in the eggs, syrup and parma violets. Finally fold in the flour.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases until 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.

The Buttercream:

Crush the parma violets to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.

Whisk together the butter and icing sugar, and then mix in the syrup, parma violets and food colouring.

The mixture should be smooth, glossy and able to hold its shape (add more icing sugar if necessary)

Decorating:

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake.

Scatter over the violet sprinkles and then top each cupcake with a parma violet.

Serve and enjoy!

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes

Moist and nutty peanut cupcakes, topped with a creamy chocolate buttercream and sweet, crunchy peanut brittle.

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Bank Holiday Monday meant lots of extra time for baking, and as I was away on holiday last week, I was raring to get back to the kitchen!

I have bean meaning to make a chocolate and peanut butter dessert for a while, and I recently had an amazing dessert of chocolate fondant and peanut butter ice cream, which reminded me of what a delicious combination it is! This weekend I decided that it was time to get out the peanut butter!

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I made a peanut butter flavoured cupcake, topped with a chocolate buttercream, and for a bit of extra fun, I made peanut brittle for decoration.

I took these into work and everyone loved the flavours and was super impressed with the peanut brittle, so a great recipe if you want to show off your baking skills to your friends!

I will be bringing them along to Fiesta Friday#70 this week, hopefully people will be just as impressed!

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Variations: You could use any other nut butter in the sponge – chocolate and hazelnut would be a lovely combination.

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Large cupcakes

The Sponge:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2tbsp peanut butter
  • 100g peanuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour

The Peanut Brittle:

  • 100g peanuts
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

The Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 200g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder

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To Make:

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The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with muffin cases.

Blitz the peanuts in a small blender to a coarse powder.

Cream together the butter, sugar and peanut butter, until light and fluffy. Then fold in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the ground peanuts and flour.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases until 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, untill cooked through and golden brown.

Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.

The Peanut Brittle:

Grease and line a baking tray.

In a small pan combine the sugar and water, cook over a medium heat until the mixture turns a dark golden brown colour, stir in the peanuts.

Pour the peanut mixture onto the baking tray and smooth out into a thin layer, leave to cool completely, until hard.

Blitz half the brittle into a coarse powder, and smash the other half into small clusters.

The Buttercream:

Whisk together the butter, coca powder and icing sugar, until smooth and glossy. It should hold its shape when mixed.

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Assembling:

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle and pipe a swirl of buttercream onto the top of each cake.

Sprinkle some of the blended peanut brittle over the top of each cake, and then decorate with a few pieces of peanut brittle.

Serve up the cupcakes, and enjoy!

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Banana and Salted Caramel Blondies

Soft, fudgy blondies flavoured with banana, dark chocolate chips and a swirl of sticky salted caramel.

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This weekend, I found myself in the common scenario, of ending the week with a bunch of overlooked and over ripe bananas, which were just begging to be baked into a cake!

Last time I had leftover bananas, I decided to be a bit adventurous and make banana milkshake cupcakes rather than a banana bread, so this time I thought I would try and do something equally as exciting.

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I decided that banana and salted caramel would make a really good combination, so I ended up making banana blondies, with a lovely gooey swirl of salted caramel. And voilla, my old bananas were transformed into a deliciously sweet dessert!

These are a great weekend recipe,and I’m sure if you brought them along to a party – like fiesta friday – they would be much appreciated!

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Variations: I think a some pecans or hazelnuts would taste great in this recipe, or even a swirl of peanut butter!

Ingredients: Makes 12 generously sized slices

The Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1tbsp water
  • 100ml double cream
  • 75g butter
  • 1/2 a tsp of salt

The Blondies

  • 125g butter
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 100g dark chocolate

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To Make:

The Caramel Sauce:

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until it has turned a deep golden brown colour (about 130C on a sugar thermometer)

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Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cream and salt, set aside. (onced it has cooled a little, taste to check the salt taste is strong enough for you!)

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The Blondies:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a rectangular baking tray.

Melt together the white chocolate and butter in a small pan over a low heat.

Combine the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl until fully incorporated, then fold in the chocolate mixture.

Mix in the mashed banana, flour, and finally the dark chocolate chips.

Pour into the prepared tin, and then pour in the salted caramel sauce, ripple this into the cake batter with a wooden spoon.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Leave to cool completely, then it into 12-14 slices to serve!

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Piña Colada Cupcakes

Light, fluffy cupcakes, flavoured with lime and pineapple, topped with coconut buttercream, decorated with a pineapple wedge and a glacé cherry. 

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Who doesn’t love the creamy deliciousness of a piña colada? Well it’s even better when all those tropical flavours are in a cake!

While deciding that to make with my pineapple and lime jam, it struck me that with just a bit of coconut, I would have all the flavours of a piña colada in a cake! So I decided to make some piña colada flavoured cupcakes.

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I knew they would be tasty, but I didn’t expect them to be this good! They are definitely some of the best cupcakes I have ever made, so I really recommend this recipe!

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Variations:

If you don’t want to make the jam, you could use some chopped fresh pineapple, and lime juice and zest to flavour the cupcakes instead. Replace the jam with 150g caster sugar, the zest and juice of 2 limes, and a few tbsp of fresh pineapple.

These are non alcoholic cakes, but you could brush the top of the sponge with sow rum or malibu, before icing, to give them a bit of a kick!

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Ingredients: Makes 16 cupcakes

The Sponge:

  • 150g Butter
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 200g Pineapple and lime jam
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150g Self Raising Flour

The Butter Cream:

  • 100g Coconut Cream
  • 350g Icing Sugar

Decorating:

  • Chunks of fresh Pineapple
  • Glacé Cherries
  • 4tbsp Desiccated Coconut, toasted

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

Cream together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy, then add the pineapple and lime jam. Add the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, until 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.

The Buttercream:

Beat the coconut cream and icing sugar together with an electric whisk, until light and creamy – you need to get it quite a bit thicker than normal buttercream, as the coconut cream melts much more easily than butter.

Stir in a few tbsp of dedicated coconut.

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle, and pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake.

Decorating:

Top each cupcake with a glacé cherry and a wedge of pineapple. Then sprinkle over some desiccated coconut.

Serve (with a fork!) and enjoy the tropical bliss!

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