Spiced Vanilla Mug Cake

Living on my own has given me a bit of a single-portion obsession. It’s a self-preservation thing. You see, wanting to ‘have my cake and eat it too’ has never been something I’ve suffered from. I am very happy to gazzouffel* the whole darned thing. (Sentimentality is for memories and movies, not things that belong in my belly.) So the only way to save my waistline and my soul — you know, veggies for the body, cake for the soul — was to develop a love of tiny desserts. Ones that I can finish without inducing a sugar coma.

Enter the fabled Mug Cake.

I’ve played around with different mug cake recipes but, I’ll admit, they would only be considered a single portion to someone going through a break-up or over 6 ft tall. They were delicious, but just too big, so I started tinkering. And here is the result: a dainty, light, perfectly-portioned delight in a mug. The Spiced Vanilla Mug Cake.

*It is only in writing this post that I realise gazzouffel may not be a real word. All my life I have thought it was… but no matter how I spelt it, I couldn’t find it on google. If someone can help me out with this, I’d be eternally grateful. Or at least grateful until I forget…

DSCN6480

Ingredients:
2 tsp melted butter
4 tsp brown sugar
a touch of cinnamon
a touch of nutmeg
a touch of allspice
pinch salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp self-raising flour
2 tbsp milk

Before we get started, let’s talk about what I mean by a ‘a touch of’ as regards the spices. The picture below shows the amount of Allspice I used. It is a seriously small amount. The measuring spoon pictured is only 1/8 tsp… so I put in like… less than 1/32 tsp. I used the same amount of nutmeg and about twice as much cinnamon, since it isn’t as overpowering a spice.

DSCN6472

Now for the baking!

Melt the butter (2 tsp or a tad more) in a microwaveable cup or bowl. Add the brown sugar (4 tsp), spices, salt, and vanilla (1/4 tsp). Stir in the self-raising flour (2 tbsp). Add the milk (2 tbsp) and combine.

DSCN6474

Pour the batter into a mug.

DSCN6478And microwave for 1-2 minutes. Mine took 1min 20sec.

Add a dollop of ice-cream or whipped cream and enjoy!

DSCN6481

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Ever decided to bake from your own blog? I sure have. Result? Frustration! Why, oh why, did I not list the amount of each ingredient in the step-by-step instructions, as well as in the list at the beginning. WHY?! Because I wanted people to spend all their time scrolling up and down???? *ahem* Apologies all round. I am going to fix all previous posts as soon as this one is published! Klepto’s honour 😀

Rant done. Onto the matter at hand: OMG DE-FREAKING-LICIOUS CUPCAKES

IMG_0331

What was that a photo of? Oh, only THE BEST caramel frosting I have had in my life, lovingly settled in a swirly fashion atop those indescribably delightful chocolate cupcakes I wrote about in my VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

As such, I won’t be reposting the chocolate cupcake process. Refer back to my previous chocolate cupcake recipe, but cut the cook time to 16 minutes if you are making mini cupcakes like I decided to do. I also put a secret treat in the centre of these mini ones. So, once you’ve mixed up your batter, jump back here before you start spooning them into your muffin tray!

MMmmm. I’m having flavour flashbacks. They were just so light and so fluffy and definitely delectable enough to lure Hansel and Gretel right into my oven.

Caramel Frosting Ingredients:
114 g salted butter
220 g dark brown sugar
80 ml milk
360 g confectioner’s sugar
an extra few tablespoons of milk

With one batch of frosting, I had enough to decorate 80 mini cupcakes!

Melt the butter (114 g) in a small saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar (220 g) and milk (80 ml). Stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then allow to bubble for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

CaramelFrostingQuadrantWhite

Pour your caramel into a large bowl and allow to cool. Using an electrical mixer, beat in the confectioners sugar (360 g total) in three equal parts. Before turning the hand mixer on, I stirred in the icing sugar a bit, then covered both the bowl and the mixer with a towel for beating. This, combined with turning on my extractor fan, helped me avoid the light coating of icing sugar that so often covers my kitchen and my lungs.

CaramelFrostingQuadrantsmaller

Once your confectioner’s sugar is all beat in, tightly cover the frosting with cling film until you are ready to decorate, as contact with air quickly dries it out.

Just before you are ready to use it, beat in some milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it is soft enough to pipe but still firm enough to hold its shape. (I used 3 tbsp, but this will vary.)

Now back to CUPCAKES!

You’ve just finished mixing up your cupcake batter and are ready to spoon it into adorable mini muffin trays. But first, these little scrumpties (I tried to make scrumptious into a noun… Def: scrumptious and adorable baked goods) were filled with a tiny secret: Cadbury Nibbles hidden in the centre!

One batch of batter makes 40 mini cupcakes, so cut 40 Nibbles in half.

IMG_0303

The first method I tried just led to sunken Nibbles at the bottom of my cupcakes, but as I found out in my second batch (I was making 80 cupcakes and one batch is only 40, hence the second. Sadly, by then, I wasn’t being as vigilant with my photo-documentation) the best thing to do is to put two teaspoons of batter into each cup, then press the two half Nibbles together, side by side, and push them gently into the top of the batter. You want to be able to see the tops of the Nibbles.

The following picture doesn’t showcase the peeking out Nibbles, but it does show how much room the cupcakes need to expand. These little babies rise, so give them a good 1/3 of growing room!

ChocolateCupcakeswithCaramelIcing03

Pop them in the oven (160 C fan) for 16 minutes and the Nibbles-ified cupcakes will look like:

IMG_0322

Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and leave them until they are completely cool.

Now, as mentioned before, make your icing soft enough to pipe, transfer it to a piping bag, select your preferred nib, and get piping!

IMG_0342

IMG_0325

Chocolate Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

We all have someone in our lives — or many someones — who can never eat too much chocolate. And we all seem to know one (seriously deranged) person who, dare I say it, prefers…unchocolate-y things. Enter the chocolate/lemon flavour combo. These turned out LIGHT, FLUFFY, and CHOCOLATEY. A perfect classic chocolate cupcake recipe.

photo-14

As per, I’ve swiped both recipes from somewhere in the ether and changed them up to please me. Feel free to do the same. No need to reveal your source 😉

Pre-heat the oven to 160 C fan (180 C non-fan)

Ingredients:
100 g butter, salted (at room temperature)
280 g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
60 g cocoa powder (for baking)
1 tbsp instant coffee (heaping)
120 ml boiling water
120 ml water
225 g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

In a bowl, briefly cream your butter (100g), then add half of the sugar and beat for a minute. Add the rest of the sugar (280 g total) and beat for another minute until light and fluffy.

Creaming butter and sugar

Add one of the eggs and beat for a minute.

photo-8

Add the second egg and the vanilla (2 tsp) and beat for a final minute until nice and smooth.

photo-2

In a separate bowl (or measuring cup!) whisk together cocoa powder (60 g) and instant coffee (1 heaping tbsp) into the boiling water (120 ml) until lump free.

photo-7

Add the cold water (120 ml) and mix well.

photo-3

In a third bowl, sift together your flour (225 g), baking soda (1 tsp), and baking powder (1/2 tsp).

Take your creamed butter and add half of your flour mixture and half of your chocolate mixture.

photo-4

Beat together on low. Add the rest of the flour and chocolate mixtures and beat until just blended. Too much blending makes for tough cupcakes.

(If you are lucky enough to have a lovely stand mixer or good quality hand mixer, beat on low. If, like me, you have a cheap one with no proper low setting, I suggest just using a whisk. To eliminate risk….of over beating… I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist the rhyme.)

photo-5

If you are making the chocolate caramel mini cupcakes, jump back to that post now.

I divided the batter evenly in a 12 hole muffin pan that I lined with cupcake liners, but it could easily be spread between more, as I had to saw off the tops to get a nicer surface for icing (I’m thinking they’ll be used in a Chocolate Bailey’s Trifle…wouldn’t want to waste all those cupcake tops!)

Cook for 25 minutes (possibly less if you are dividing the batter between more muffin holes) and let them cool completely on a wire rack before you ice them.

photo-11

Now… for the LEMON BUTTERCREAM!

For this recipe, I had to borrow a friend’s standmixer — my wee handheld mixer just can’t handle buttercream. I actually made the icing three months ago for a flatmate’s birthday cake, so there are no photos of the process. But, I can tell you that it freezes like an absolute dream! Make it now, wrap it tightly in cling film and seal it in a plastic container, and you’ll have icing that is good for months.

Ingredients:
230 g butter (room temperature)
500 g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp milk (or cream)

Cream your butter (230 g), just like you did for the cakes. Then slowly add you icing sugar (500 g total). I did it one cup at a time. Add in the lemon zest and juice and blend thoroughly. I wanted my buttercream to be a bit more spreadable, so I added 2 tbsp of milk and blended — but you can play around with that as you like. Remember, with icing sugar, a little liquid goes a long way!

Raspberries go well with both lemon and chocolate, so it just makes sense that the three together are delicious. Thus, on a whim, some raspberries made it into my decorating stage.

Et voilà!

ChocolateLemonCupcakesAerialLrg

photo-18