Espresso Cupcakes

I’ve been waiting a while to get back into the Alphabakes challenge… the month always seems to have passed before I have had time to bake something with the chosen letter. This toddler of mine is keeping me busy.

This month the chosen letter with which to bake is ‘E’.

I have chosen some Espresso cupcakes. The recipe comes from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson… oh Nigella I am sorry I haven’t baked from your book for a while, you used to be my bible but I have deviated recently. Nigella never seems to let me down. It’s also been a while since I’ve done cupcakes.

I had planned to bake this the day before but I realised I had bought ground espresso not instant espresso that the recipe called for. A quick trip to the supermarket and I came home with something more instant… but I am not quite sure if this is really instant Espresso… Barista Style Instant Coffee.. but I am going with it.

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I had somewhat of an issue with the dark muscovado sugar I had in the cupboard… it was a bit solid. The packet states leave overnight covered by a damp tea towel to soften, obviously I needed it the moment I took it out of the cupboard. Don’t ask me how I did it… it took a while, but I obtained the required amount of sugar in the end. Anyone know how to soften it up quick smart do let me know!

The recipe calls for mixing butter and dark muscovado sugar, followed with eggs. At this stage things looked a bit unappealing!

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Then adding flour, cocoa and instant espresso coffee powder. Finally some melted dark chocolate was added into the mix and thinned with milk.

After baking 15 minutes these babies were done. I quite quickly sampled and oh Nigella, they are lovely and light in texture and so intensly coffee and not sweet (which I quite like). I have been strictly decaffeinated as I am pregnant and having consumed 2 (perhaps 3 by the time the evening is over), I am not sure how much caffeine I have taken in.. on top of the chocolate in it too… ho hum.

Once cooled I melted dark chocolate with butter and poured it onto them to form a nice flat surface (with a bit of cake shaving and hoovering up). Nigella calls for instant espresso powder in the chocolate but I decided I had probably quite enough coffee kick in them given above.

I think they are quite lovely.

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And so I hereby enter this into February Alphabakes hosted by The more than occasional baker and Caroline Makes

Chocolate Courgette Cake Covered In Chocolate Ganache

For the latest Clandestine Cake Club meeting the theme was Hidden Fruit and Veg. But which fruit or vegetable to use for this??? I debated finding a sweet potato recipe, but as time was approaching I decided on a vegetable I have used before and enjoyed. A Chocolate Courgette cake was beckoning.

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I used a recipe from the BBC Good Food on the internet and that was untested! Chocolate, Hazelnut and Courgette.

You can find the recipe here.

Briefly the cake requires mixing all the dry ingredients in a bowl, mixing the wet ingredients in a bowl (including grated courgette) and then mixing them together. Then baking.

Then for the magic bit… the Ganache. I haven’t done much with ganache before… I’m not sure if I ever have. I had a quick internet look and some say melt the chocolate some say put chocolate into the boiling cream to melt it. I went for the latter and it worked a treat. I was quite please I was able to get a really nice shiny smooth finish.

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The cake tasted really nice and the hazelnuts gave a really nice texture.

As this is covered in Chocolate Ganache I can enter this into a baking challenge. Hoorah! So this is entering into the Classic French challenge on Blue Kitchen Bakes

 

Clandestine Cake Club at Cafe 76 – Hidden Fruit and Veg

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The latest Clandestine Cake Club arrived with the theme of “Hidden Fruit and Veg”. For this I chose a chocolate courgette cake covered in Chocolate ganache (i’ll go into this in another post).

The cake club was held at Cafe 76 on Skipton highstreet. A lovely little cafe/deli with an upstairs seating area for us to use.

The venue opened up in the evening especially for us and were amazing. Lovely tea and coffee to go with out lovely cakes. At first many of the cakes kept their fruit/veg component secret so we could see if we could guess what the magic ingredient was. It soon became apparent that you cannot tell the vegetable that was used to make the cake! But all the cakes were incredibly moist which I would guess come from the use of the vegetables.

The cakes were all set up along a window table.

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The Cakes that came were;

Chocolate Courgette Cake (me)

Chocolate, Cherry and Potato

Sultana, Walnut and courgette

Chocolate courgette and pecan

Chocolate beetroot

Carrot cake (made with polenta)

Carrot and orange cake

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Chocolate featured heavily as did courgette as a vegetable ingredient. All were Yummy! I also had some lovely chats with some lovely friendly people. We had a nice number of around 10 so we could all chat away nicely. Now I have to get on with organising us another get together.

A Mary Berry Swiss Roll

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I have a new baking tin. A fabulous silverwood square multisize baking tin. This is flat packed (great for when you don’t have much storage space). It is 12inchx12inch and has 2 dividers that you can use to subdivide it into any size of cake tin you wish.

For this recipe I used it as a Swiss Roll tin so that I could make the Mary Berry Swiss Roll from Mary Berry’s 100 cakes and bakes book. This was actually quite easy to achieve. It baked up in just 10 minutes as it was so thin and it rolled really easily without splitting. It was my first Swiss Roll and I think I might be attempting more. There is a chocolate recipe in the book I think I might have a go at!

Cake pops

 

For my Birthday last year I was bought a Cake Pop baking tray. I had always quite fancied having a go at cake pops but the idea of making a cake and then destroying it just seemed wrong. So what an easy solution… I could bake cake balls and have the fun of decorating them without the need to do the whole mushing it up with frosting.

So I had a go….

First make the sponge mix (chocolate in this case) and put it in teaspoons worth into the baking tray and fix on the top half so that it rises into ball shapes. This will take a little practice in getting the right amount that doesnt seep out the sides.

 

 

 

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The little cake balls come out as below… I hadn’t quite got the right amount of mixture n to stop it expanding into little saturn like objects – quite cute. I shaved off these little excesses.

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I then set up my decorating station. I was going to dip the balls in melted chocolate and cover with sprinkles. I therefore needed somewhere for them to dry.

 

 

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This was my first attemt and a bit patchy. Plus I need to get experimenting more with chocolate and tempering I think as the following day they dried with white streaks.

 

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Since this I did some toffee apple cake pops which were very successful but I have no photo to share. I made an apple cake mix and then coated them in a toffee sauce. Yummy.

Farewell cake

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This is quite a delayed post but I wanted to upload some of my various cake projects.

This was a cake for my work colleagues when I left after having my daughter. It won’t mean much to anyone but I was a scientist and these were the type of plots of data I used to work with (quite a good representation if I do say so). The cake overall was not as nice as I had envisaged in my head, think I might have to get used to that sort of thing… I always end up not having as much time to devote to it as my design would need and so it gets a bit simplified. My skills also do not quite match up to what I think they are.