Vanilla Cupcakes with Fondant Icing

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My thoughts are turning back to baking.  Apart from the greed factor – I LOVE cake – there is something very comforting and satisfying about baking. It’s a combination of the idea, combining the ingredients, the delicious aroma as it bakes, and the wonderful end result. I was torn between tweaking my brownie recipe and baking cupcakes.  The latter won.

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Vanilla – or plain – cupcakes have their moments, and the recipe I found includes ground almonds in the ingredients, which just gives these lovely cakes their extra ooomf!  In fact, I prefer this version to any previous ones and it’s super-easy to make.

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I might have mentioned before that I am an icing girl, and there are not many times I prefer a cake un-iced.  With this particular recipe I like to use a fondant icing, as it compliments rather than detracts from, the cake itself.  I confess that I buy my fondant icing, it is just so much easier to open a packet and roll it out. With the help of a stencil and some edible lustre in blue, pink and gold (of course, gold!!) I have the finished result.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you all a peaceful weekend 🙂

 

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Whisky Mac Cake

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I haven’t baked for a while because the horrors of real life intervened. But in a desperate attempt to restore some sort of normality to my life, I have been going over all my recipes.  It has been tempting to rely on an old favourite.  A many times tried and trusted recipe.  But curiosity overcame me when I saw a recipe for a sticky ginger loaf……and I thought “how can I tweak that recipe….”

A whisky mac is a lovely warming gingery drink and so I thought I’d see how it translated into cake form.  I suspect, like the boozy banana bread recipe, that it will be subtle, but hopefully give the cake just a little something extra.

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This recipe still needs tweaking (I can’t help myself, can I!). I want to swap the butter for oil, maybe add extra dates, and see how I go from there. In the meantime, it is a lovely gingery, slightly sticky cake. Mmmmm….breathe in deeply.

Just right for these “not quite yet summer” days.

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Chocolate peanut butter & caramel brownies

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I’ve had a craving for chocolate, and recently saw a new recipe for chocolate brownies which contained ground almonds.  Of course, delicious as plain brownies are, a little bit of extra “embellishment” is always good!

Brownies are comforting, dense, slightly stodgy, and very adaptable, and whilst my favourite is a chocolate brownie (I have yet to try cheesecake-type brownies, I’m sure I’ll love them too….) I thought a bit of peanut butter (Reese’s Peanut Butter Minis) and caramel (Cadburys Caramel Nibbles) would add a bit more indulgence.

I followed the recipe (unusual for me, I know!) and threw the extras in just before putting the mixture in the oven.  I didn’t have the correct sized baking tin, and so ensued a lot of pulling out, testing, putting back in, re-setting the timer…..you get the picture!

But in the end I achieved my desired, dense, chocolately, slightly sticky, indulgent chocolate peanut butter and caramel brownies.

And the house smells deliciously chocolatey in the process – breathe….. 🙂