26 May 2013

UP cupcakes

You may have worked out by now, dry cake is just a small pet peeve of mine. It's so disappointing. When you sit down to a really good looking piece of cake and in your mind you're thinking just how great it's going to be then you have the first bite and...meh, it's dry. Massive waste of cake-imaging and excitement. So this recipe right here, it's definitely not for a dry cake. In fact, these little gems or so dang moist and the chocolate flavour is so intense, this recipe might have just snuck it's way into my top 5 recipes. Oooo bold statement. 

I had intended to go all-out with the decoration with these UP themed cupcakes but I certainly got hit by serious tiredness last night that I sadly never got round to it. Do you ever suddenly just feel crazy tired and like it takes so much effort just to lift a limb? Maybe it's just me, but that's how I felt either way. Anyway, I'm going to create a little mental picture for you so you can at least imagine the finished effect. All the little cupcakes would be beautifully arranged on a sky blue board with the little house down at the bottom. There would be strings coming up from the roof of the house onto the bases of the cupcakes. It would be an edible version of the coolest house ever. 

I started by making up a cup of coffee and then pouring it over 50 grams of dark chocolate and leaving it for 5 minutes to melt

Whilst the chocolate was melting I whisked an egg until it was slightly fluffy and airy. To that I added the sour cream, oil and vanilla and then mixed it all until it was evenly combined

I then poured in the chocolate and coffee mixture and beat until it was fully mixed in

In a separate bowl I whisked together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, two sugars and cocoa powder

I folded all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until I had quite a runny batter

I divided the batter between 12 regular cupcake cases and 9 mini ones

Once they were cool the cupcakes were topped with multiple shades of vanilla buttercream

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 cup coffee
50g dark chocolate
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar

Preheat the oven to fan 150
If you want bigger, doming at the top cupcakes just line a 12-hole cupcake pan, if you want flatter cupcakes like I did, line a few extra too
Make a cup of coffee. Chop up the chocolate into small chunks then pour the coffee over and set aside to cool for five minutes
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the egg slightly to make it frothy. Then add the sour cream, oil and vanilla and beat together
Stir the chocolate mixture slightly to make sure it is also evenly melted then pour into the egg and sour cream mixture. Stir together until evenly combined
In a smaller bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, two sugars and cocoa powder. Fold this into the wet ingredients, making sure not to over-beat the batter
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Since the oven is at a slightly lower temperature than usual, I left mine in for the full 25 minutes. They are done when an inserted skewer comes out clean...or with only a few teeny tiny crumbs
Leave them in the tin for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely 

Icing Ingredients:
100g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp milk
lots of food colours

Cut the softened butter into small chunks. Add the icing sugar and beat together until fully combined. Add the vanilla and milk and then beat with an electric whisk for a few minutes until fluffy
Now go to town with the colours. I had a pink, red, blue and yellow then made up a green and a purple

Here's a little snap of my pre-tiredness plan

2 May 2013

Chocolate and Caramel Layer Cake

My little brother came back from doing his exams last night. I thought, being the lovely sister I am, that I would make him a 'well done' cake for all his hard work. 
For the past five or six weeks, basically my entire Easter holiday, he's been begging me to make this cake...sort of (I'll explain later). 
About two years ago my mum and I made a cake really similar to this and he was mad about it. I haven't made one like it since so it seemed like the best time to try it again. Except I didn't have half the ingredients. So I made it up...but he doesn't know that his cake was a bit of a wild experiment. It turned out good anyway.  
This is a triple layered cake with a vanilla, a caramel and a chocolate sponge filled with salted caramel buttercream and topped with chocolate buttercream, a caramel drizzle and white chocolate letters.

I started with the vanilla and chocolate cake layers. Well, that's a lie, I started with the caramel sauce but failed to take any photos of that so I'll talk about that later.
Okay, back to the cake; it started with creaming butter and sugar

I then added the eggs and vanilla

Followed by the milk

and then the flour, baking powder and ground almonds and folding that in until it was fully incorporated

I then divided the batter in two and added cocoa to one half

I spooned the batter into the tins and baked them for 20 minutes

The process was pretty much the same for the caramel cake layer except a little brown sugar was thrown in, along with some caramel for good measure

For the salted caramel buttercream filling I whipped up a standard buttercream with equals parts butter and icing sugar and poured in about a quarter of the caramel sauce I'd made earlier

I then spread some of that buttercream all over the vanilla sponge, topped it with a drizzle of caramel sauce and went to town sprinkling the salt

I topped that with the caramel cake layer and did the whole thing again

I finished off by adding the chocolate cake layer and covering that with chocolate buttercream and topping that with a caramel drizzle and some white chocolate letters

Vanilla and Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
125g butter
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
50ml milk
100g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
1/2tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to fan 160 (or 180 normal oven)
Grease and line 2 8inch round cake tins
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until just incorporated
Add the milk and mix again
Fold in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder
Divide the batter in 2 and add the cocoa to one half
Spoon the batters into the tins and bake for 20 minutes until the cakes spring back when pressed and are shrinking away from the sides of the tin slightly
Leave to cool in the tins for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely

Caramel Cake Ingredients:
75g butter
50g soft light brown sugar
25g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2tsp vanilla extract
25ml milk
2 tbsp caramel
50g self-raising flour
25g ground almonds
1/4tsp baking powder

Follow the vanilla and chocolate cake method, adding the caramel at the same time as the milk

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
75g butter
50g soft light brown sugar
50g golden syrup
50g caster sugar 
125ml evaporated milk (because I didn't have any double cream)

Melt together the sugars, butter and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan
Once they are all fully melted, bring to a boil then simmer for 3 minutes
Add the evaporated milk then boil for a further minute
Pour into a jug and leave to cool

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients:
50g butter
50g icing sugar
20ml caramel sauce

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until fully combined
Add the caramel sauce and beat again
Spread half over the vanilla sponge
Drizzle over some more caramel sauce then sprinkle with Fleur de Sel

Repeat with the caramel cake layer

I used the same chocolate buttercream recipe as the one I put in on the previous recipe, Brown Sugar Cupcakes
It went on top of the chocolate cake layer, was drizzled with more caramel sauce and finished off with white chocolate letters I piped myself

Enough writing about the cake, time to eat a slice...or two