Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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I am still looking for different ways to use the leftover ground almonds I have (remember my marmalade loaf cake?)  I will probably end up adding it to my muesli mix in the end, but I did manage to use up some of it in these cupcakes.

I found this recipe for chocolate and almond cupcakes on the Sainsbury’s recipes website.  What’s not to love about a chocolate cupcake, eh!!  I wanted to do something slightly different for the frosting though, and peanut butter came to mind.  Chocolate and peanut butter?  Win-win.

Ground almonds in a cake batter always gives a different texture to a standard sponge mixture.  It works very well in a lot of cases.

The recipe itself is the ‘standard cream the butter and sugar, add eggs and then add dry ingredients’ format. Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I added a teaspoon of vanilla paste to the cake batter, because after all, what’s life without a bit of deviation!!

I really do need a holiday.  My focus is not strong and I found myself thinking what the hell and being just a bit too casual about the whole process.  I have made cupcakes plenty of times, and more than enough times to know things can and do go wrong.

This recipe claims to make 12 cupcakes, but I only managed to eke out 10 from the mixture.  You know when you read the ingredients and think….surely not, there’s not enough here….and then you find it really only stretched to 10 cupcakes after all.  I shouldn’t complain because the cupcake recipes I most often use claim to make 12 cupcakes and I get 18 out of them (smug face).

I looked up different recipes for peanut butter frosting but they all had ingredients I didn’t want to use.  In the end I decided to wing it.  I was so convinced the cakes would be a disaster that I didn’t measure what I did.  Dear reader, I put some softened butter in a bowl, threw in some icing sugar, some vanilla essence and whisked it until it was light and fluffy.  Dust cloud alert:  mix well with a spoon before applying the electric whisk! Then I threw in a large quantity of peanut butter and whisked again.  Quantities?  I don’t know.  But it worked.  You can’t go far wrong with a frosting.

The end result:  the cupcake is light and fluffy.  I personally would have preferred a slightly more deep chocolatey flavour, but it’s fine as it is.  I don’t know if that would have been the difference between using cocoa powder versus melted chocolate in the batter.  The frosting is delicious (of course I licked the bowl) it has a good peanut butter flavour, but not overpowering and is not over-sweet.

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

 

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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 🙂

 

Sticky Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

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This is a short post, due to chronic pain and lack of sleep, but I wanted to achieve something. So I baked.

There are three cupcake recipes I go back to time and again. I recently made the lime and coconut cupcakes, which is one of them, and sticky toffee cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream is another.  I haven’t made these for ages, I really don’t know why, since I absolutely love them.  I love cupcakes. I love salted caramel (salt+sweet= a marriage made in heaven). What more can I say!

The “sticky toffee” part comes, as the pudding with the same name, from using dates in the cake batter. And in spite of the name, these cupcakes are beautifully light, but also keep well, without drying out.

And I, in case you hadn’t noticed, LOVE icing.  I am a “would you like a bit of cupcake with your icing?” kind of girl. At least I admit it ; )

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

Lime & Coconut Cupcakes

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My head is still spinning with recent events, and with my chronic pain and insomnia, I am craving flavours that lift my spirits. So, baking it is!

Lime and coconut are one of those marriages made in heaven, they compliment each other beautifully.  This also happens to be one of my three go-to cupcake recipes.

The cupcakes themselves are lime and coconut, whilst the buttercream frosting is lime. And I like my lime nice and sharp, so I managed to double the quantity of fresh lime juice in the recipe.

Fresh and zingy, and coconutty 🙂

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I’ve been wanting to bake these for ages. They are not difficult, but somehow they look more impressive than they are. And, I just wanted to know that I could do them. I have all these amazing ideas in my head, but because I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, I can never achieve what I want.  I do at least know this.  So I try to set myself easy targets.  Most of which I fail.  But life is about trying, isn’t it!

Of course on the day I decided to bake, I couldn’t find a chocolate cupcake recipe that used cocoa powder and not melted chocolate, but finally I found one – and it was one of those throw everyting together and blitz to hell recipes.  First I had to mix the cocoa powder with boiling water to form a paste, and then add everyting else. But the cocoa powder ended up in a solid mass in my mixing bowl. Not to be daunted, I thought I’d soften the butter and mix that with the cocoa powder, before adding the rest of the ingredients.  I put the butter in the oven whilst the oven heated up. And promptly forgot about the butter, and instead threw the eggs into the solid cocoa mess. Suddenly, I remembered the butter, but it was now a hot liquid and I could not add it to the eggs (scrambled cocoa eggs?!?!).  Sigh. I added everything else, and with the electric beaters going I poured the melted butter into the cake batter.  Somehow the cupcakes turned out fine!  Lifes little mercies!.

Cake batter goes into the ice cream cones and is baked as normal, then just a swirl of icing on the top, and there’s your cupcake!  A fab idea for children’s parties too. Chocolate ice cream cone cupcakes.  Just add sprinkles.

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