Tag Archives: baking

Granny’s Jam Drops

7 Apr

One of my favourite childhood memories is eating home made jam drops. I would carefully nibble the biscuit around the jam centre and once there was no more biscuit to hold I would pop the little jam filled well in my mouth.

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My Rooster also loves jam drops, however until today he had only had the supermarket variety. This is something that needed to change.

The recipe I have is the same recipe my great grandmother (aka Granny) used to make, I think I just remember eating hers, I definitely remember eating Nanny’s and my Mum’s though.

To make them you need

120g butter

3/4 cup of sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of plain flour

2 tsp of baking powder

a splash of milk if needed for consistency

your favourite jam

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Start by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and beat well,

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gradually add flour and baking powder, if necessary add a splash of milk for a smooth consistency, I didn’t need to do this, so you most likely won’t either.


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Roll teaspoon fulls of the dough into balls and place on a lined tray.

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Now you need to make little wells for the jam to sit in.  I found using my knuckle gave the best results, a nice round deep well to hold all that lovely jam.

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Spoon in your favourite jam, we used strawberry.

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Now bake for about 15 minutes at 160ºC

My mini men couldn’t wait to get into these, they hadn’t even cooled before they were munching away on them.

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Rooster declared they were the best jam drops ever, so much better than the supermarket ones, which made me feel happy as he often is not fussed on the home made versions of his favourite bakery/supermarket treats.

I already have a request for a second batch for his soccer carnival next month.

They were just as perfect as I remembered them too.

Gingerbread Part One

22 Dec

I love Christmas time. I love baking new things and old favourites.

Gingerbread is a festive favourite, This year I made both a cake and biscuits. This post will be dedicated to the cake.
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I had never made or tasted gingerbread cake before but the picture in this recipe drew me in and made me believe I needed to eat it.

         Treacle Gingerbread

125g butter, chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) treacle
1/3 cup (70g) dark brown sugar
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (115g) chopped glace ginger
1 1/2 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
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  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 8x30cm bar pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine the butter, treacle and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the flour, glace ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk and treacle mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing a whisked 2 egg whites until they were fluffy, then added about 2 cups of icing sugar and 1 tbs flour and the juice of 1 lemon.

I decorated the cake with a cute little snowman and tree I bought from the supermarket.

The cake tasted delicious, however it was a bit on the dry side. It was really quick to whip up, which I love.


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Drop,back tomorrow and I’ll share the cookies I made!

 

Little Stacks of Heaven

11 Nov

Despite pavlova being a traditional Australian/New Zealand dessert I had never actually tried it until a few years ago. It is a favourite of my husband’s and he often has me whip one up for him.DSC_0972

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with pav it is basically one big pile of meringue which is crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside, topped with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. We are not too fussed on the fluffy middle, to me it has a slight raw egg flavour so I make a variation on the traditional pav by making several thin rounds of meringue and layer them with cream and strawberries to make a pavlova stack.  These thin layers are mostly crunchy with a bit of chewy gooiness in the middle and no raw egg flavour.DSC_0968

As it is my husbands birthday this week (and this happens to be my 100th post)  I thought I would make these cute individual Mini Pavlova Stacks.

The recipe I use is simple and super easy.

6 egg whites, (I can’t bear the waste of throwing away the yolks so they are in the freezer and there may be some ice cream in my near future)

1 1/2  cups of caster sugar

3 tsp cornflourDSC_0949

Whip whites and sugar in an electric mixer on high until thick and glossy, I did it for about 5 minutes.DSC_0952

Line several baking trays with baking paper and sprinkle with cornflour. I also draw circles on the paper to use as a guide when spreading the meringue.
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Spoon or pipe equal amounts of meringue onto the paper and spread it out using the circles to ensure they are all an equal size and shape.

Pop them in an oven preheated to 120 degrees Celsius for roughly an hour, they should sound hollow when tapped. Turn the oven off but don’t remove them just yet, leave the oven door ajar and let them sit in the oven for another hour or so to dry out.DSC_0964

If they don’t readily come away from the paper then they haven’t dried out enough, I just put mine back in the oven for a little longer. However, it is my experience that some meringues just don’t want to play nicely. Out of the 18 rounds I made 2 were not interested in behaving correctly and consequently were smashed.DSC_0963

Now it is time to put the stack together!

Whip up some cream layer one meringue, cream, fruit of your choice, berries, tropical fruits like mango, kiwi and passionfruit or stone fruits like peaches or nectarines are definitely the best, repeat layers twice.DSC_0971

You should definitely serve this fresh and with a scoop of very good quality vanilla ice cream!

Now go and enjoy this heavenly little treat!DSC_0973

Experimenting with Paleo Baking- Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Avocado Icing

29 Jun

I am very skeptical of Paleo Baking. I just can’t imagine how the sugar/dairy/wheat substitutes could ever taste as good as the real thing, I mean avocado as icing? Hmmm. I also don’t want to waste the time and food making something no one wants to eat.
For my first attempt at this I chose a chocolate zucchini cake from Elana’s Pantry. I altered the recipe a little, here’s the original.

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For my cake I swapped out 1/2 a cup of almond meal for tapioca starch, I couldn’t get cacao powder so I used unsweetened cocoa, I also didn’t have vanilla stevia so I used normal stevia and added vanilla essence and I reduced the amount of honey and added two Medjool dates.

To make it is pretty simple, add everything to a food processor and whizz till smooth, then bake in a loaf pan at 170 degrees Celsius for 40-45 minutes.

For the icing I found a recipe on Paleo Spirit.

Since I didn’t have any maple syrup and I didn’t want to use honey I substituted treacle, which is not paleo but I used such a small amount I wasn’t bothered by its inclusion.

The icing was meant to go in the food processor, but since I had already put the bowl into the dish washer and I was in a let’s get this done mood I just mashed it all together with a fork and that worked just fine.

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I had a little taste of the icing before it went on the cake, and I must tell you, I wasn’t impressed, it was bitter like dark chocolate, but I went ahead and put it on the cake (the great thing about this icing is that you don’t need to wait for the cake to cool as it doesn’t melt!) I put a sprinkle of coconut on top to pretty it up and cover up the bitterness.

So, the cake passed the first taste test, Duckman promptly devoured a whole slice when he woke up from his nap, which I took as a good sign.

We were going to my step sisters for lunch today so I took the cake with me and after lunch with a cup of tea we all had a small slice.

The taste surprised me and everyone else. It is rich, chocolatey,moist beyond belief,  fudgey and so yummy! The icing even tasted fine. For a cake with only cocoa it is super rich, it tastes like it has melted dark chocolate in it. It has a subtle sweetness which is a really nice change from the sickly sweet cakes that I normally treat myself with.

Mr Minx didn’t like it, but that was to be expected and Rooster did not try it, apparently he doesn’t like chocolate cake, which was a revelation to me.

It was really great to have a slice of cake knowing that it wasn’t laden with sugar and that it might actually be healthy and it was actually tasty. This cake will be made again.

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Chocolate Zucchini cake with Avocado Icing

Ingredients

  •  ¾ cup Almond meal
  •  ½ cup tapioca starch 
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  •  ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  •  2 large eggs
  •  2 tablespoons coconut oil
  •  ¼ cup honey
  •  2 medjool dates
  • ¼ teaspoon stevia
  •  1 cup zucchini, grated
  •  ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence

Icing

  • ½ avocado
  •  1/3 cup cocoa
  •  ¼ cup treacle

Method
For the cake mix ingredients in food processor until smooth pour into loaf pan and bake at 170° C for 40-45 minutes.
For the icing mash or process all ingredients until smooth. Spread over cake

Ginger and Lime Layer Cake

1 Jun

Friday night dinners are a tradition at my work. To make the pain of having to work a Friday night bearable we order take out, sit together and have a chat and laugh, and often someone brings a little sweet treat to share after our meal.

While looking through my trusty Women’s Weekly Baking Bible last week I spotted a gorgeous little number which I thought would be just perfect for this weeks Friday dessert. For something a little different I decided to stray from the ever popular cupcakes I am known for and make a whole cake.DSC_0675

The picture of the Ginger and Lime Layer cake is what caught my eye, it looked so moist and delicious I just had to try it out.

For the cake you will need

250g butter

1/2 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar

2/3 cup of golden syrup

60g grated ginger

3/4 cup cream

1 cup plain flour

1 cup S.R. flour

1/2 teaspoon of bi-carb soda

To start, melt the butter in a pan and once melted add the sugar, syrup and ginger, stir until the sugar has dissolved.DSC_0640

Next whisk in the cream, flours and bi-carb and definitely have a taste of the batter, it is just like gingerbread!

Pour into a 22cm lined tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius. The recipe says to bake for 40 minutes, which I thought was not long enough for a cake this size….and it wasn’t. Due to all my oven opening to check the cake mine took around an hour, but if I were to bake this again I think that I would check it at 50 minutes and it might be ready.

While the cake is baking prepare a lime syrup using

1/2 cup lime juice

!/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup water

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Bring this to the boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves, allow it to boil for a couple of minutes and remove from heat.

After removing the cake from the oven leave it in the tin and using a skewer poke holes all over then pour the hot syrup over the hot cake, cover and refrigerate until cold.DSC_0654

While waiting for the cake to cool make the marscapone cream which is used between the layers and as the frosting.

Whip 300ml cream with 250g marscapone and 2 teaspoons of lime zest until stiff, refrigerate until needed. DSC_0651

This is the part I hate…cutting the layers. This cake needed three layers so I inserted a skewer and cut along that twice to end up with three layers.

Reline the pan you baked the cake in, lay the first layer into the pan and spread with a layer of the cream, place the second layer on and spread with cream then place the last layer on. At this point I put mine back in the fridge just because I didn’t have time to finish it off, but it could also be removed from the pan if you want, I used a spring form pan to make it easy to get it out.

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Cover the cake with the remaining cream and then coat top and sides with a layer of flaked coconut.

This cake had a lot more steps than my usual cakes and I was nervous taking it to work without having taste tested it first, I was worried about the flavours being too strong, especially the cream being too limey, but hoping the coconut would mellow it out.

And would you believe it I never got to taste it! I went home sick from work last night and left my cake for everyone else to enjoy, so I cannot give you a taste review. You will all have to make it and let me know how it was!

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Salted Chocolate and caramel chip Cupcakes

17 May

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Cupcakes are fast becoming a weekly tradition in my house lately, someone always seems to be asking me “When are you making cupcakes?”

This weeks cupcakes were a flavour experiment.

I used my favourite caramel mud cake recipe and did a few substitutions and additions to come up with heaven in a patty case.

This is a melt and mix style cake, there is nothing I like more than melt and mix baking, so easy and less clean up.

This is the recipe the ingredients in blue are my substitutions or additions

185g butter, cubed

180g white chocolate dark chocolate broken/chopped roughly

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 tbs golden syrup I left this out 

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup S.R. flour

2 eggs

1 pkt caramel chips


5 pinches of sea salt or more or less depending on your taste

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Start by putting the butter, chocolate, sugar, milk and syrup into a saucepan,

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heat and stir until combined.

Now whisk in the flour and eggs

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at this point I put mine in the fridge to cool so that when I added the chips they didn’t melt into the mixture.

Once my mixture had cooled I added the caramel chips and I began to add the salt 1 pinch at a time, stirring and tasting the batter after each addition. If the cakes had been only for me I would have added some more salt, but since I didn’t know how my fussy family would react to salty cupcakes I held back. 5 pinches doesn’t taste overly salty, I can taste it, possibly because I know it is there, but no one else detected it as a distinct flavour.

This recipe will make a 20cm round/square cake, if that is what you want put it in the oven for around an hour at 180 degrees Celsius, if like me, your thing is little bites of deliciousness, mini cupcakes take 15-20 minutes also at 180 degrees Celsius.

When I took mine out of the oven they looked and felt like they might be under cooked

Just a little gooey looking

Just a little gooey looking

but as they cooled they firmed up and looked just perfect, this was confirmed by a taste test.

A pile of perfect little cakes patiently waiting to be iced

A pile of perfect little cakes patiently waiting to be iced

This week I wanted to work on my piping techniques, I used the condensed milk buttercream that I have been making lately and a selection of  Wilton tips to try my hand at a few different piping styles.

Below are my experiments with piping, I have labelled each cake with the tip I used to achieve the look.

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I was very pleased with how my piping came out, although I need to work on getting it in the middle of the cake. I also found that as the buttercream beacame softer from the heat of my hands it lost its shape so I had to put the piping bag in the fridge a couple of times for it to firm up again.

Mr Minx was impressed with my efforts and promptly ate several when he arrived home.

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These little cakes are delightfully delicious. Despite being a dense cake they are not heavy or over powering in flavour,

Even I was not immune to their beguiling and ambrosial qualities.

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Super Sweet Blog Award

5 May

This week I was sweetly surprised to be nominated for the Super Sweet Blog Award by both ladyflowersbysusan and Jaetomk. Thank you very much Ladies, it is an honour.

The rules for the award:

1.Thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and link back to their blog.

2. Answer 5 super sweet questions

3. Include the Super Sweet logo in this post. You see it above.

4. Nominate a baker’s dozen other bloggers for this award.

5. Notify my nominees on their blogs.

Cookies or Cake?

Even though my go to baking item is cupcakes I can’t go past a gooey slightly undercooked cookie, maybe that is the reason I don’t bake cookies very often. I am much more capable of ignoring the beckoning sweetness of a cupcake than that of a cookie.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

There is nothing better than a good quality vanilla ice cream, but there are days where nothing but beautiful rich chocolate will do (also has to be good quality)

Favourite Sweet Treat?

This is hard, there are so many. I really like lollies, particularly Allen’s Snakes Alive or Chicos (these are a chocolate flavoured jellybaby and recently they have become available in caramel)

When do you crave sweet things the most?

Prior to being pregnant I was always a savoury girl, give me cheese and crackers any day, however, while pregnant with The Rooster I ate cake everyday! With Duckman I just wanted chocolate towards the end of the pregnancy and both times I drank Coke ( I never drink coke or anything other than water for that matter when not pregnant). Now I try to contain my indulgences (both sweet and savoury to the weekends)

If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

The brother of one of my primary school friends used to call me Stace-cake and Mr Minx calls me Sweetheart.

Now for my nominations….

  1. We’re calling Shenanigans
  2. Pretty Baking
  3. Sweet simple Stuff
  4. The Sassy Apron
  5. Poppy’s Patisserie/The Bunny Kitchen
  6. HomeLeaLass
  7. Big A Little A
  8. Happy Little Kiwi
  9. Lemongrass and Ginger
  10. Jo the Tart Queen
  11. On to the Plate
  12. Cupcakes are my world
  13. Code Cupcake

Go check these Guys out, there are some great blogs here!

Happy Sunday Peeps!

Anzac Bikkies get a Minxy makeover

24 Apr

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So, a few weeks ago I wrote about being on a 30 day sugar ban, well I decided to end it early, 11 days early in fact. It went well except for a small slip up around day 8.

The reason I decided to bring sugar back was so that I could eat ANZAC Bikkies. With tomorrow being ANZAC Day there is nothing better to do than scoff down an Australian favourite.

For those of you who don’t know what ANZAC is, it stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and on ANZAC Day we remember all those who fought to keep our country free, and we get a lovely day off work!

Yesterday The Rooster asked if we could make ANZAC bikkies and how could I refuse, so here they are.

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These biscuits were made in war time without the addition off egg which was in short supply, they keep well and were often made to send to loved ones who were away fighting

125g butter

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 cup of packed brown sugar

`1 cup of plain flour

3/4 cup coconut

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

1 cup oats

2 tbsp water

and our sneaky little non traditional addition 3/4 cup of white choc chips

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Cut the butter into cubes and add to a medium saucepan

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Add the golden syrup, I think all of Nundah were making these also, the supermarket was out of golden syrup so we had to substitute some treacle

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Stir over medium heat until combined

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It should look like this and smell like decadent caramelly goodness

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Next, add the dry ingredients

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Stir until combined, add some water if needed to so that the mixture is nice and smooth

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The Rooster wanted to add some white choc chips, you don’t have to add these, they are not traditional, or you could choose to add some other non traditional items, like chopped nuts, glace or dried fruit.

Due to the heat in the mixture the choc chips melted and created a marbled effect in the biscuit.

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Roll level tbsp of mixture and place on a baking sheet. Give them plenty of room to grow!

Then bake for around 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or a bit longer if you like a crunchy bikkie.

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When they come out of the oven they will be very gooey so let them cool, this is hard.

Once they have cooled feel free to indulge.

These have been a huge hit in my house tonight, they are so delicious it is hard to stop at one!

Cheesy Fish Crackers

18 Apr

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Yesterday, in between 5, yes 5, loads of laundry, and a trip to the dentist for a bit of root canal I found time to whip up these yummy cheese crackers for The Minimen’s afternoon snack.

I found the recipe here, it was an American recipe so I had to do a bit of translating

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The ingredients are

8oz vintage cheddar grated( I used almost all of a 250g block of cheese)

1/2 a stick of butter ( if Googles conversion is correct this is about 50g)

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup of plain flour

2 tbs chilled water

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First I put the cheese, butter and salt in a bowl, and mixed together till smooth. My poor old electric beaters did not like doing this very much, they made many noises of complaint, but eventually it all combined.

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This is what it looked like

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Then I mixed in the flour, the dough was quite crumbly as you can see above.

Then I added the water and mixed that in, but it left the dough very sticky, so I added flour and kneaded it until it came together in a gorgeous doughy ball of cheesy goodness.

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This is my dough….it needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour now.

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After taking it out of the fridge roll it very thinly on a lightly floured surface, you can cut it into squares or use a small cutter to make shapes, I chose some cute little fishies to try and entice The Minimen into eating them.

imageThey can then go on a baking tray to be cooked them at 180 degrees celsius (375F) for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Mine were cooked for around 15 minutes, if I make them again I would probably give them an extra couple of minutes as they don’t quite have the right amount of crunch.

Other than that I think they taste very similar to store bought cheese biscuits. The Rooster tried them and then turned his nose up, but I expected that. I got a better response from Duckman, who has eaten a bowl full of them.

Using the vintage cheddar gives them probably more of an adult flavour, a milder cheddar might be  a better option if faced with fussy eaters. Or you could keep the vintage and add some dried herbs to create a cracker that would be a perfect accompaniment to some wine and antipasto when you have a kid free moment.

Going green!

16 Mar

As it is St Patrick’s Day on Sunday, my friends from work and I decided to have a little green party last night (we pften have little themed parties, it makes working Friday nights bearable). My offering to the party was green velvet cupcakes. I googled green velvet cupcakes and couldn’t find a recipe that I liked, most of them used oil and I prefer butter for baking, I think the taste and texture are better when you use butter, so I adapted a red velvet cupcake recipe. Image The ingredients are

  • 300g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 315g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 bottle of green colouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla

I didn’t have buttermilk so I made my own, to do this you add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 cup of milk and allow it to sit for a few minutes. The recipe couldn’t be easier, you combine dry ingredients in one bowl, wisk wet together in another then add wet to dry and mix until just combined.

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I was nervous about adding so much food colouring, but I just closed my eyes and poured! I mixed it well then filled my patty papers.

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I baked them for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. I had seen on Pinterest an easy alternative to icing where you placed a marshmallow on the cupcakes a few minutes before taking them out of the oven so they melted. I wanted to try this so I put white marshmallows on half of the cup cakes.

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Once they had cooled I iced the other half with just normal icing, I wanted it quite thick so I added a lot of icing mixture to a couple of spoons of butter and a splash of milk and piled it on top.

The ones at the top of the following picture are the ones with icing and the ones on the bottom are the marshmallow ones.

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So, the verdict…..they are light and fluffy which is great, like their cousin the red velvet cup cake I find them lacking in the taste department. I have never understood the obsession with red velvet cakes I find their flavour to be non-descript, quite sweet and not nearly chocolately enough, this is easily fixed with the addition of more cocoa though. The marshmallow icing, although easy is not pretty enough for me, while flavour is the most vital aspect of baking I do also love great presentation. Also not being the biggest fan of marshmallow I found the flavour to be a little overpowering, but if you like marshmallow you will love this. I much prefer the taste of the more traditional icing.

These have not disappeared as quickly as my watermelon cupcakes disappeared the other week either, I think the colour is too daunting for everyone.

I can’t see these making it into the regular baking rotation, they aren’t a bad cake just not to my taste, but if you like red velvet give them a go, they do have a wonderful texture.

Have a great St Patrick’s day tomorrow!

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