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Nutella Cupcakes

Back story: My boyfriend is quite possibly crazy. How else do you explain this?

Photo 19-03-2013 18 13 23

Yep. Five kilos of Nutella, bought for a reason that hasn’t really been explained to me yet. As much as I would like to eat all of it myself (and on Facebook, it has already been suggested that I need to put my head inside the jar and let the chocolatey goodness ooze over my head…I don’t like that idea, too messy), I have started to think about recipes that I can include it. Firstly – don’t trust the internet. I read one recipe which said to spread some Nutella on some greaseproof paper and whack it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen solid, you can chop it up and use the bits as chocolate chips in a cookie recipe. It started melting as soon as I started to peel off the paper and turned my cookies sort of marble-y. Overcooking the cookies slightly didn’t help either.

Since it was Easter last weekend, I thought something cake-y and of course combining Mini Eggs would be a nice treat to take into the office. So, here are my chocolate cupcakes with Nutella frosting.

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(I know, some cakes don’t have two eggs on. They…um…met a delicious end in my mouth while I was cooking. No regrets)

The cake recipe is my trusty sponge mix (previously blogged here) with a little addition. To make this, you’ll need:

125g self-raising flour
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 (…ish – I just dropped it in until it looked chocolate-y enough) tablespoons of cocoa (I use Cadbury’s hot chocolate mix and no one has ever noticed. I wonder if you could use white hot chocolate powder? Next time.)
Milk

To make it, all I ever do is whack all the ingredients in the food processor except for the milk and turn it on. It’s a seriously lazy way to do things, but I only have one bowl to chuck in the dishwasher. (If you’re doing it by hand, or if you like to do things in the right order – cream the sugar and butter together, add the eggs, then the flour, then the vanilla and cocoa) Drip in some milk to bring it all together so it’s more of a cake batter consistency. Try not to eat the whole batch. Pour into cases (I got about 15 little cupcakes out of this mix, but I would probably reduce this to maybe 9-12 if I didn’t have such a big team at work!) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 10-15 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when prodded in. Leave to cool.

While that cools, you can make the frosting. Learn from my mistakes – don’t try to ice a warm cake. Let them cool completely. (Otherwise the butter in the icing melts and you end up with a smoothly iced cake instead of pretty piping)

You’ll need:

250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter – softened
Milk
80g Nutella

Again, I used my food processor for this because I am lazy and it is much tidier and quicker than doing it by hand. I put the icing sugar and butter in the processor and turned it on. There isn’t enough butter at this stage to make it icing-y, so you end up with yellow looking sand. Drip in some milk so it brings it together (not too much!) and once the icing is a nice smooth looking mix, put the Nutella in and blend that in.

I was really quite pleased with my icing on these – I bought a set of giant nozzles on eBay recently and this was the first time I used them. The best thing about giant nozzles is one swirl and you’re done.

The cupcakes went down very well, although I think the icing could have done with a little more icing sugar. (The recipe above is the once I used, but I will try it with maybe 50g more next time.) I also wanted to put some Nutella inside the cake (like you do with a butterfly cake) but had already iced them when I thought of it!

Any suggestions on what to make next?

Making Sushi

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Sushi. You either love it, or hate it. (Although most people who tell me they hate sushi have never actually had it, they just don’t like the idea of fish and seaweed.) When I have the time, I like to make my own sushi, and thought I’d share how I do that with you. I was shown how to make sushi by @guriben who you should all follow because he doesn’t like people to know he is nice really.

This isn’t a super authentic recipe – but it is pretty damn delicious and easy to do. The awesome (and probably quite obvious) thing about making your own sushi is that you can have anything you like in there. Alex doesn’t like wasabi, so I don’t put that on for his rolls. I prefer smoked salmon if I am having fishy rolls, so that’s what I use.

I’ve popped the rest of this under the jump, so if you’re reading the front page, you wont get weighed down with all these photos!

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Pesto Scones

So a few weeks (months?) ago, I joined a few Twitter friends to go on a “Cake Crawl” around Clifton Village. We finished the crawl at Cordial and Grace and because we were all pretty cake’d out by that time, we went for the savoury cream tea option. We had pesto scones with cream cheese and a yummy chutney. I’ve been back a few times since, and had the savoury scones, but I haven’t seen the pesto scones since. I was thinking about an old cookbook this weekend (the only one I had growing up if you don’t count the half binder of microwave cooking magazine issues – which I do not) and one of the few recipes I remembered making was cheese scones. From cheese to pesto – it wasn’t too much of a stretch, and I thought it was worth an experiment. Its a simple recipe using all ingredients that you probably already have (and if you don’t…what do you have in your cupboards?!)

  • 225g / 8oz self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 55g / 2oz butter
  • 90ml/3 fl oz milk
  • 3 tbsp pesto (well, I just added what was left in the jar I had, which was about 3 tbsp. I think I would have added a little more if I could)

Turn the oven on to 220C/Gas Mark 7. Mix together the flour and salt (already done in the ingredients photo) and rub in the butter – remember how you were taught at school? I hate rubbing in butter, normally I just chuck everything into my food processor.

Stir in the pesto and add half the milk. Mix it together to get a dough, adding more milk as needed. (My original recipe said to use 5 fl oz of milk, but I only needed 3 fl oz to make it into a sticky dough. Because the pesto is oily, its something you’ll need to judge yourself if you use more pesto)

Knead the dough on a floured surface to make it a bit more uniform (and a bit less sticky!)

Roll it out…

Cut out as many rounds as possible and put onto a baking tray. Knead the left over dough together and roll out again, cutting out more rounds until its all used up. The mini scones were cut with the smallest cutter – they do shrink a little. Next time, I think I’d use one thats at least 3 inches across.

Brush the tops with milk (if you remember…) and bake for about 12-15 minutes (depending on the size) until they’re well risen and golden.

I ate mine with Philadelphia and a caramelised red onion chutney from M&S that honestly, I would eat from the jar if I could. These are best eaten the same day you make them – they weren’t inedible the next day, they just weren’t as good. If someone is coming round, these would be so easy to put together – they took less than half an hour to make and bake.

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