Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

It seems that everyone has a go-to chocolate cake or cupcakes recipe and this one is mine.

It was given to me by a work mate years and years ago, she recited the recipe to me off the top of her head and the result was a fantastic tasting cake that was so easily made and easily adaptable.

You'll notice it is the same (only halved) as my chocolate cake recipe. I've also used it as the base in my Tim Tam Cupcakes, Mint Chocolate High Hat Cupcakes and Creme Egg Cupcakes.

Chocolate CupcakesRose Swirl Chocolate Cupcakes

It really is so easy you practically throw it all in one bowl and mix.

Don't worry about the coffee content in there, it doesn't give the cupcakes a coffee taste at all, just enhances the chocolate taste.

I like to make my own buttermilk as it's not incredibly cheap here and I always have heaps left over when I buy it for a recipe.

Chocolate CupcakesChocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate CupcakesChocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12 Cupcakes

1 cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla essence
1 egg
¼ cup oil
½ cup buttermilk (or ½ cup milk and ½ tbsp. white vinegar)
½ cup black coffee, cooled (made with ½ tsp instant coffee)

110g butter, at room temperature
1 ½ - 2 cups icing sugar
¼ cup cocoa (or to taste)
½ tsp. vanilla essence
2 tbsp. milk

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  • Mix coffee and let it cool down while you make the rest of the mix up.
  • Make homemade buttermilk by combining milk and white vinegar. Let this sit while you make the rest of the mix up, it will be lumpy when you go to use it.
  • Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, oil, coffee (once cooled) and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed until combined.
  • Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute, the mixture will be very runny.
  • Pour into cupcake cases approx. ¾ full and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Leave in tins for 5 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
  • Leave cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream:
  • Beat butter light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Sift icing sugar into a large bowl, add to butter one cup at a time and mix until combined.
  • Sift cocoa into icing and mix until well incorporated, taste test to see if it is chocolatey enough, if not, add more cocoa one Tablespoon at a time.
  • When icing starts to get lumpy add a tablespoon of milk.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Auckland Blues Rugby Cake

The Auckland Blues are the Auckland rugby team and this cake was made for a big fan!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Richie McCaw Cupcake

My work mate has a slight obsession with Richie McCaw, he's a rugby player in the All Blacks team and during the Rugby World Cup he was all our little team at work talked about! Haha!

I asked her if she got a Richie themed cake for her birthday and she said no so I obviously had to do something about that! So when I bought a batch of delicious Vanilla Cupcakes to work I made one very special cupcake for my work mate. She loved it so much she didn't even want to eat!

Happy Birthday Louise!

Richie McCaw Cupcake

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

50th Anniversary Cupcakes

My husband would like to keep his identity a secret on my blog, which is totally fair enough. So, as you know, I just refer to him as "hubby" all the time. I actually never EVER call him Hubby in real life. I think that's right up there with Hun or Sugar. Both of which I would never call my husband. His name starts with S so I'm just going to go with Mr S. I think that sounds cool and sort of like a super hero...actually it sounds a lot more like a villian which is not what I was going for!

SooOoo, Mr S and I will be celebrating our 2nd year anniversary soon. How exciting! It's the cotton anniversary this year, *sarcastically* woohooo, we've got a long way to go to get diamonds unfortunately. We may buy some new comfy bed sheets or possibly clothing of some sort (underwear perhaps?)

It seems such a shame that you have to start over with the counting of years thing when you get married, so no matter how long you were together before marriage, it doesn't matter. We've actually been together six years now which I think is pretty cool! Two years married is still pretty cool but nowhere near as cool as 50!

My mums friend from church contacted me a while back about her 50th wedding anniversary coming up and asked for four dozen cupcakes. The decorating was up to me, it just had to be half chocolate and half vanilla.
I went for a golden and white theme with a little bit of blue. It's a bit hard for me to narrow done my ideas when the choice is up to me but eventually I decided to go with half buttercream and half fondant covered. The fondant ones I wanted to sort of look like a set and was inspired by some cupcake collections I've seen of Hello Naomi's (she is AMAZING by the way!) Judi and Russell loved their cupcakes and said they were the talk of the afternoon at their celebration.

Happy 50th anniversary Judi and Russell! You are a great inspiration to me and Mr S, here is to many more!













Monday, March 19, 2012

Cinnamon Pinwheel Buns

I did it! I finally made cinnamon pinwheel buns! I've been meaning to make these for so long but never knew how or had the right ingredients on hand.

I even made French toast just so I could get my cinnamon-y sugar craving but it wasn't the same.Well now I have finally made them and let me tell you they are so satisfying!

Cinnamon Pinwheel BunsCinnamon Pinwheel Buns
Cinnamon Pinwheel Buns

A while back my amazing friend in the USA sent me the Pioneer Woman cook book (Thanks Alicia!) and ever since then I've been drooling over the recipes and trying to find excuses to use them!

Not that anyone needs an excuse to make these divine buns, but if you need one you can always invite me over mmmkay?

Cinnamon Pinwheel Buns
Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks
Makes 2 batches

470ml Milk
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
1/2 C Sugar
2 1/4 t Active Dry Yeast
4 1/2 C Flour
1/2 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 T Salt
150g Butter, melted
2 T Cinnamon
1 C Sugar
  • Gently heat the milk, oil and sugar over a medium heat then set aside to cool.
  • When milk mixture is lukewarm sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for a minute.
  • Add 4 cups of flour to the mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it is just combined.
  • Cover with a tea towel and leave it to rise in a warm place (like in the window or hot water cupboard) for an hour.
  • Once dough has risen, add baking powder, baking soda, salt and the rest of the flour and stir thoroughly to combine. 
  • Sprinkle some flour on a bench and roll out half the mixture into a large rectangle (or something close to a rectangle).
  • Brush on a generous amount of butter over the dough, try to get it all the way to the edges, your thighs don't want to hear this but the more butter, the yummier!
  • Sprinkle half the cinnamon over the entire dough surface followed by half of the sugar, remember to get it all the way to the edges so there are no boring bits.
  • Roll up the dough nice and tight and secure by pinching the edges together. 
  • Transfer your cinnamony dough log to a chopping board and cut into even pieces about 3cm wide.
  • Repeat the process with the other lot of dough.
  • Grease two cake tins with melted butter and place sliced rolls inside, making sure not to over crowd them.
  • Cover the tin with a tea towel and let them sit for at least 20 minutes to rise again.
  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees C and bake for 13 to 17 minutes until they are golden brown. 
  • While the buns are baking make the maple icing.

Cinnamon Pinwheel BunsCinnamon Pinwheel Buns
Cinnamon Pinwheel BunsCinnamon Pinwheel Buns
Cinnamon Pinwheel Buns
Cinnamon Pinwheel BunsCinnamon Pinwheel Buns

Maple Icing:
450g Icing Sugar
1/4 C Milk
40g Butter, melted (or use  3 T leftover from the dough mixture)
2 T Strong Black Coffee
1T Maple Syrup
  • Sift icing sugar into a large bowl.
  • Add butter, coffee, maple syrup and half of the milk and whisk until combined.
  • Gradually add the rest of the milk until you reach the consistency you like, it should be nice and runny so you can pour it over the buns.
  • Feel free to change up the flavours with more or less coffee and maple syrup according to your tastes.
  • Pour over cinnamon pinwheel buns while they are still warm in the tin. 
  • Enjoy!

Cinnamon Pinwheel BunsCinnamon Pinwheel Buns

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Kitten Pecan

The trouble with having one blog is it makes you think...what else could I blog about? I have had ideas of starting an exercise blog with my Hubby but he's not overly keen and I can't really be bothered, there's already plenty of exercise blogs out there and mine wouldn't make a difference. Then the other day I got thinking about starting up a cat blog! More specifically, a blog just for my little kitty, Pecan. I had ideas on making it written from her perspective and posting all the millions of photos I take of her but then I got real. I don't have time to write another blog! So here I am, I'm going to do a kitty cat blog post on my baking blog! If you would like to see a recipe or a picture of a pretty cake I decorated recently, now is the time to stop reading and come back in a couple of days...

Pecan at the SPCA where we got her

Pecan's first day with us

Peeking a look at Daddy while he's on the laptop

Pecan poses for a photo in her brand new pink collar.

We adopted Pecan from the SPCA on the 29th of November last year (2011) she was sitting in her cage all alone as all her brothers and sisters had already found homes. Pecan had the snuffles which is the cat flu so when we first met her she was coughing and sneezing every few minutes and although it seemed sad, it was incredibly cute! We had a little cuddle then talked it over and decided we thought she was the kitty for us. So the vet gave us some medicine to give to her and we took her home.

Pecan sleeping in her new bed

The flagpole is up!

Sneaking in the laundry basket

Bow tie I bought for Pecan to wear, now she plays with the pink string all the time!

We had no idea what to call this tiny kitten that had now joined our family so when Hubby went off to buy kitten supplies I sat with her racking my brain for ideas and Googling for a suitable name. I really wanted to have a food/baking type name (no surprises there) so I went down the list, I didn't want to call her Cupcake because I could imagine peoples response but somewhere along the line I got the word pecan (we pronounce it PEA- KIN) and thought back to my first time making a pecan pie (only one week earlier) then I thought, well she is certainly cute as a pie! Pecan pie! Thus the name Pecan came about! 

Look at that face!

Pretty pearl beads on little Pecan

Too tired to play anymore

Pecan falls asleep half outside her bed

Pecan was a tiny little bundle of joy that fitted perfect in our home. She got to know us as her mummy and daddy and grew to be quite a sociable little kitty! She had (and still has) her favourite toys, a pink piece of string (yes I know, easy to please) and a knitted mouse that came with her from the SPCA. We bought her lots more toys, the funniest being a tiny yellow tennis ball which Pecan was terrified of! So cute and funny!

Me and my baby!

Super Pecan has a cape!

Pecan on our bed

Peaks gets caught out in the rubbish bin!

So Pecan (or Peaks as we refer to her) is the third member of our cute tiny family. She's in a bit of a naughty teenage stage where she likes to test us, she's also very bitey! She likes being brushed and doesn't mind if you make her a cape then take a bagillion photos of her "flying" in it. At first it was really hard to get a good photo of her, not only because of my (crappy) camera but because she never ever sat still. But now with my fancy shmancy camera I'm able to get some good shots of her and I can safely say I'm never going to stop photographing my cutie pie!

Pecan -our baby!