Healthy(ish) Chocolate cupcakes

These yummy cupcakes contain no refined sugar (except the teeny bit in the chocolate) and are full of ingredients that actually do you good. I measured them out into my fitness pal and they are about 180 cals in small cupcake cases. 
The base for these was this recipe http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/06/26/double-chocolate-zucchini-bread/ which us an excellent recipe well worth making but I made a few tweaks to lighten them up.

They are fudgey and moist but don’t have the extreme sweetness of normal cupcakes.

Ingredients:

Dry: 

35g wholemeal flour

40g plain flour

25g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8tsp salt

50g – 85% cocoa (or higher) chocolate chopped into chunks

Wet ingredients:

1 large egg

45g greek yogurt

150g courgette grated finely

1tsp vanilla

30ml rapeseed oil

25ml maple syrup

25ml honey

1/2 tsp instant coffee made with 2 tablespoon of water

Method:

1) First, grate the courgette and spread a kitchen towel on a plate. Sprwad out the courgette on the towel and place another towel on top. Press down and leave until needed to remove some of the moisture.

2) Next, sift dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.

3) Then, in a small bowl or jug, whisk the wet ingredients (not the courgette) together well. 

4) After that, pour the wet ingreduents gradually into the dry and mix.

5) Finally, fold in the courgette with a spoon.

6) Spoon into small cupcake cases and bake 177C for 15mins ir until a knife comes out clean.

For the icing:
125g Philadelphia lightest

10g cocoa powder

10ml maple syrup 

5ml sweet freedom syrup

With a hand or stand mixer whip together (I use a paddle attachment) the Philadelphia and cocoa adding the maple and syrup to taste. If it is not thick enough add a little more cocoa. Then spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.

Enjoy!

Soft and chewy brown butter cookie bars

Love cookies but get fed up with all the chilling and waiting? Want some cookie goodness now? Then these cookie bars are for you. All the cookie goodness you want but far easier and quicker.

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I used this recipe for the cookie bars

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

but as usual I can’t just use a recipe. I have to tweak it! I had read about Sally’s brown butter cookies and the great flavour of brown butter so I decided to apply it to these cookie bars instead. I am definitely a brown butter convert! Oh my – the mixture of wet ingredients – trust me you’ll want to eat it with a spoon! So caramelly and delicious from the brown butter.

I found the method for the brown butter here:

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I followed the top recipe exactly except I replaced the melted butter with browned butter; used chopped dark chocolate instead of chips (my local shop didn’t have any and I prefer dark chocolate anyway) and added 3-4 tablespoons of skimmed milk before adding the chocolate to combat the loss of moisture from browning the butter (see Sally’s brown butter cookie recipe above for more info on that).

My photos of this recipe:

  1. Mixing the dry ingredients (I used my mixer which is not necessary but as I said, I was looking for an easy option today):

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2. Browning the butter:

Note the difference in colour between picture 1 and 2. The first is just melted, the second browned. It took about 6 minutes with regular stirring to achieve this on a pretty low heat. Sally’s recipe said to leave the brown bits in the bottom but as you can see I scraped and added mine as they seemed to contain the most flavour.

3. Whisking in the sugar:

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4. Adding the eggs and vanilla. (This is the point where I could eat it with a spoon – mmmm!)

5. Adding the wet ingredients to the dry and then the milk:

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6. Adding the chopped chocolate:

7. Pressing into a prepared tin:

8. Baked for just 30 mins at 175C umtil a skewer came out clean:

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9. Chopped into delicious chewy cookie rectangles after leaving to cool for an hour:

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Swirl Cookies

I made these cookies this week, using this recipe: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/27/double-chocolate-chip-swirl-cookies/

I won’t bore you with how because there is plenty if detail on her post. Basically you make the two doughs, roll into balls and smash together, then bake.

I will, however,  share a few thoughts on these cookies.

– They are a great make ahead treat. I needed some for a friend on Wednesday and for a family visit to my great aunt on Thursday so I made them Tuesday and just kept them in the fridge ready to pull out roll and bake whenever I needed. The original post also said you can freeze balls and bake from frozen – that I have to try!

– With my oven the longer baking time was necessary as I found the 9 minute batch a bit too squidgy almost uncooked. I found 11 to 12 mins perfect. However the batch I forgot about that had nearly half an hour were my husband’s favourite batch – he liked them crispy!

– I used a silicon baking tray. I’ve wanted one for ages, especially for when I bake cookies but I couldn’t find a cheap one that wasn’t floppy. I finally submitted and paid full price for the Lakeland one. It is really good, great non stick and easy clean but a bit small. I could only bake 4 cookies at a time!

Profiteroles with double sauce

Profiteroles are my husband’s absolute favourite dessert so I decided to try and make them for our 2nd wedding anniversary. 
I followed the recipe at 

Chocolate Profiteroles

This recipe worked brilliantly but doesn’t include many photos so here are mine. 

Even though this recipe doesn’t state to, I’d read to measure the flour onto baking parchment so you can easily pour it in.

It took a good few minutes to melt the butter entirely in the water.

It came to the boil quite quickly after that but I wasn’t sure if it was actually boiling as it only boils in the spaces between the butter.

I then tipped in the flour and stirred vigourously.

This was fine as the ball stage although it doesn’t necessarily form into one ball. Once it was no longer sticking to the sides, it was ready. 

It doesn’t say how long to cool for in this recipe so I read another that recommended 4-5 minutes. I used my mixer to add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until the first was fully combined before adding the next. It goes a bit curdly at first but if you keep mixing it, it becomes smooth. 

The final mixture was like a thick cake batter consistency.

I used a plain nozzle to pipe them. My friend had warned me to space them well and not pipe too big as they grow a lot. This advice really helped. I only had 1 flat baking tray so I baked in 2 batches.

I baked as in the recipe: 10 minutes at 200, 10 at 170 but after letting the steam out I only returned them to the oven for 5 minutes as I didn’t want them too crispy. 

I let the steam out by piercing with end of a flower nail. I wiggled it around a bit so it would be a big enough hole to pipe into.

I used the same nozzle to pipe the cream. I’m not a fan of fresh cream so I used a little icing sugar to sweeten it and added some vanilla bean paste too. 

I worried that they would be underfilled so I really pushed until there was no more space. They were very well filled perhaps a little too well!

The recipe above did not provide enough cream to fill these so I would get a little more double cream than stated. 

I used the ganache sauce  recipe from above too but added a couple of teaspoons of butter for shine. The recipe above says to reheat over a pan of water but I found 10 second bursts in the microwave worked well too. 

The other sauce I made was this one:

Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe.

A word of caution – really stick to the times. I didn’t and the sauce went really solid as it cooled. I could bring it back by boiling in the micriwave but it wasn’t ideal for dipping although it was fine for drizzling.

I stacked the tower using fairly cool ganache and then loosened the ganache in the microwave before drizzling.

I finished off with edible gold glitter (Poundland’s Jane Asher version is the best I’ve found).

30th Birthday Football Cake

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I made this cake for a friend’s son for his 30th Birthday party. He is a big Cobblers fan so his wife wanted a cake using this theme. Here’s how I made it:

The first things I did were make the cupcake toppers and cover the board in fondant. These were completed a few days ahead to ensure they had time to dry.

I used readymade burgundy gumpaste but I didn’t have a shirt cutter so I drew one on card and cut around it to get them all the same size. I then used my click together letter impressions to write the name and number. Last of all I painted on the white gel colour. Unfortunately the red of the gumpaste bled into the white and it became a little pinky so I decided to stick fondant over the top instead.

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I covered the board in white fondant by partially rolling it out then placing on the board and rolling until it covered the edges. I then cut around the outside and smoothed it with my palm. I left it a few days to dry.

The next job was to bake the main cake. It was a red velvet cake and this recipe makes 4 layers but for this cake I only needed 3. To bake even layers I always measure the bowl beforehand then once mixed, I weigh the bowl and mixture and subtract the weight of the bowl. I then divide the amount by 4 and measure that much into the tin.

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As the recipe makes layer cakes I chose not to torte these but just levelled off the tops once they had cooled.

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I wanted to make this a surprise inside cake so I cut a hole out of the middle of each of the bottom 2 tiers. As I knew I would be placing the football cake on top too I also placed a support in the middle.

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I placed chocolate footballs inside then stacked the final cake on top, cutting the dowel down to size.

I then crumb coated the whole cake and placed in the fridge to set and crust. Once crusted, I placed a heavy book on top to help it settle and avoid any filling bulges. I then added a final coat of buttercream and again let it set and crust in the fridge.

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During all that time in the fridge, I baked the half sphere cake and cupcakes from chocolate sponge. I used Delia’s all in one recipe but replaced a quarter of the flour with cocoa powder and added a bit of buttermilk. I greased the tin well and placed a cross of strips of baking paper across the middle. As the tin is quite deep, I also used a greased flower nail as a heating core. This was also crumb coated, left to crust and given a final coat which was also left to crust.

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Next, I covered the sides with fondant. My skills need a little work here as I had to use a join. I then placed it on the covered board and let it dry for a while before adding the scarf, letters, numbers and stars. I also added another shirt and some modelled football boots. I also added the other 5 dowels (bubble straws) and cut each one to the same height. For a final touch I added personalised ribbon around the edge of the board with double sided tape.

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I didn’t cover all the way to the top as I knew it would be covered by the grass.

The final step was to decorate the football. I used a tutorial on the Lakeland site which explained that the pentagons and hexagons needed 35mm sides. Using the ruler in Word, I measured out the shapes. I copied the pentagon onto card but just cut out the hexagon on paper. I rolled out ready coloured black fondant and then left it to dry a little. Next, I cut the pentagon shapes out and left them to dry a bit so they would hold their shape but still be flexible. Finally, I stuck the first pentagon at the top and using the paper hexagon as a guide, I used a knife to place in the sides of the hexagons. I placed the other 5 pentagons at each join.

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Lastly I coloured the edges of the cake green with a little green buttercream and placed the football on top. After that, I used more green buttercream to hide the join and board with a knife. Lastly, I used a grass tip to pipe grass around the edge.

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I also piped rosettes on the cupcakes and placed the toppers on top.

Tada!

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Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

2016-04-02 09.28.52Gooey, chocolatey, mashmallowy goodness. These cupcakes are decadently delicious. I’m not going to go into lots of detail about how to make them as they aren’t my recipe. You can find the full recipe here with lots of detail and pictures: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/05/22/marshmallow-filled-smores-cupcakes/

I call them hot chocolate cupcakes as I leave out the crackers as smores aren’t really a thing in the UK.

I do however have a few tips:

  1. Make more filling than the recipe. I’m probably just greedy but the marshmallow filling is the best bit and I struggled to stretch it to the whole batch. Bizarrely when I made a double batch I had some left over!
  2. When making the cupcakes, I would add the liquid in more than 2 batches as the batter can end up really lumpy. I wished I’d added it far more gradually.
  3. If you refrigerate these, I would take them out before serving as the filling and frosting tastes best at room temperature.

The baked cakes:

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The marshmallow filling:

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Filling the cupcakes:

 

I toasted the marshmallows under a grill so I had to watch them carefully. Remember these are suitable for vegetarians other than the marshmallows.

Lucy’s Boho Birthday Cake

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I made this cake for my lovely friend Lucy for her Boho style surprise party.

It had a pink 4 layer ombre sponge base and a lemon fruitcake top tier (I will post this recipe soon).

This cake took a long time to make – just the baking was a good few hours. The other thing to note is you need lots and lots of buttercream for this cake even more than I thought. I had to send my hubby out for more butter!

They were filled with jam and buttercream and lemon curd and buttercream with stiffer icing (more icing sugar added) used as a dam and piped around the outside of each cake.

The icing was fairly easy – just a thick crumb coat of fairly stiff icing so you can’t see any cake through, followed by a thick coat of thinner icing roughly swirled and dabbed on. After each coat the cakes had a half hour in the fridge and a half hour on the counter to allow the icing to crust. I used the hummingbird bakery buttercream recipe but used about 2 tablespoons more liquid for the thinner batch.

The cakes were 9 inch and seven inch. I purchased a 10 inch cake tin to get a bigger gap between the tiers but it wouldn’t bake properly. I won’t be buying Masterclass tins again!

The decoration was summer flowers which were made ahead out if modelling paste. The tiny blue flowers used a cutter and I rolled each petal gently on a foam mat with the small end of the ball tool. I dotted a little silver lustre in the middle.

The pansies I used a violet cutter and again thinned carefully with the ball tool on the foam pad. I used various petal dusts to colour the petals, brushing them on dry. I then dried them in a supermarket apple tray so they would curve out from the middle.

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The roses I will add another post explaining how they were made. Here you go:
https://louscreabaketions.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/sugar-roses-with-the-easiest-rose-cutter/
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The butterflies were wafer paper ones I’d ordered for another cake but they were the wrong colour so I used dusts and vodka to repaint them. I dried them over a folded piece of card after gently folding.

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The small dog was also made from modelling paste coloured with gel colours or wilton colour right system. I used Trex to stop him drying out as I made him.

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The fairy door and grass were made from coloured fondant and the gold details were made from gold lustre dust and vodka painted on.

The decorations were all attached with a icing sugar and water paste.

The ribbon was burlap and I attached a strip of baking paper behind it to avoid fibres getting on the icing. It was attached to the outside of the board with double sided tape.

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