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.


(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.)

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
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?

10 Hot Things In Bristol

I was *so* excited when I heard Grazia would be doing regional specials, where readers could show off the amazing things in their city. I love finding new things to do in my city – I’ve been here 4 years, but I still feel like there is so much more to explore. As soon as I heard it was on sale, I headed to the shop, picked up a copy and flicked straight to the Bristol section.

Firstly, Bristol is lumped in with Bath. This isn’t unusual, but what was annoying was that the majority of places were in Bath. This unfortunately is also not unusual. Magazines like Grazia and Stylist prefer to talk about Bath because it’s just oh so quaint – Bristol has areas that are prettier than Bath, more varied than Bath and – look, Bath is nice for an occational visit, but Bristol is just a nicer place to be.

With that in mind, I thought I would put together my own list of things you need to visit in Bristol…

Best speakeasy
I’m going to generalise this as BOOZE EMPORIUM (because I like the word emporium) and say that my favourite place for cocktails in Bristol is, hands down, Goldbrick House. They have a decent sized menu of cocktails, and have a gin list of 16 different gins, which I think is a reasonable amount. It’s been my favourite place to go on Park Street for food and drinks for a long time, and their fabulous food nights are pretty brilliant too.

Best Pop Up
This heading was about shops, but what we do well in Bristol is pop up restaurants. 40 Alfred Place is a permament popup venue which I visited last month for Gurrilla Burger with some Twitter friends for sliders. Look at them! They’re so teeny tiny!

Best cup of tea
I don’t feel like I have found the best cup of tea yet. If you’re looking for somewhere with a huge range of tea though, Lahloo Pantry in Clifton Village knows their tea, and also has some pretty good cakes to go along with them.

Best denim
The heading was used to talk about a boutique in Bath, but there are *so* many good boutiques in Bristol. The two main areas to check out would be Park Street and Gloucester Road – perfect way to kill a few hours is just wandering down the road and popping into the interesting shops!

Best for mooching
Clifton Village is a good place to start for a mooch – I could spend hours just wandering around there! Quakers Friars is also a good place, although perhaps a little small for a proper mooch.

Best cakes
Oh, well, now – THIS I know. I mean, erm, this I need to do a lot more research on. Ahem. My favourite place for cupcakes has to be Swinky Sweets, who do things like these cupcake bouquets (you’ve missed my birthday, but I’m sure you can buy them for Christmas) but a very close runner up has to be Cordial and Grace, which had to be my favourite discovery of the cake crawl we did earlier this year.

Best Diner
Perhaps this one is a bit obvious, but ooh, Rocotillos at the top of Park Street has been a long time favourite with my friends and I. Sit in a booth, drink a chocolate and hazelnut milkshake (so thick that your straw stands up in it!), and eat burgers and cheesy fries. (If you can manage it at least – the milkshake fills me up alone!)

Best for a Sunday stroll
The Downs is a lovely area to walk, or for a short stroll (a lunch time one is good!) I love Queens Square

Best Supermarket
I know, a weird heading that obviously wasn’t in Grazia’s version. But how can I say what is awesome about Bristol without talking about the talking supermarket who is a little bit crazy (or the craymart, as I prefer to call it now)? Wai Yee Hong isn’t just quite good at the Twittering though, but also sells seaweed crack and will bring it’s own snacks to a restaurant. (NOM)

Best Social Media Experiment
We do social media here quite a bit. The best way to see what is good about Bristol though is to follow @bristol52, where one citizen takes charge of the account each week and talks about whatever.

So, thats a small part of my Bristol. I know I’ve left stuff out here (I didn’t even touch on Grillstock, my new favourite lunch place – pulled pork baps omg) so what are your favourite things to do in my beautiful city?

Cake or Death?

Toffee something by dichohecho

Cupcakes. Every girl blogger just loves cupcakes, right? Whenever you read a blog about any sort of blogger gathering, its sure to mention the cute cupcakes that were consumed.

Enough already! Cupcakes are fashionable at the moment, and are perhaps becoming a bit over popular. With over popularity, you get so many people entering the market place, but instead of prices dropping (as even the most basic economics lesson will teach you – more suppliers = lower prices) the prices seem to go up!

I asked on Twitter this week if I was the only one feeling this way and thankfully, I’m not. Helen at Afeitar (who is an amazing baker of cupcakes and the like – everytime she posts her latest creations, I feel like I should be baking up a storm myself!) and Lou at Lou Blogs set me off thinking about other sorts of sweet things that could be served instead. What about mini versions of British classics – tiny little jam roly polys, sticky toffee puddings, apple crumbles – yummy little bite sized brownies (which disappear far too quickly or Eton Messes (my faovurite!)

Yum! Much more variation, although still not good for the waist line. Oh well.

I can’t really blog about cupcakes and not mention the lovely little shop on Park Street here in Bristol thats recently opened, called Swinky Sweets. They do so many different flavours of cupcakes (I tried the Earl Grey tea one which was surprisingly delicious!) which makes it a bit different to the usual cupcake shops. In honour of the new Sex and the City movie, they’ve chosen two of their regular flavours and created two new ones to represent the girls.

Cosmopolitan Cupcake: Blitzed cranberries infuse vanilla sponge cake with a hint of lime zest to stand up to the sweetness. Topped with a Cranberry, Orange and Lime Frosting, the only thing missing is the Vodka! An ode to Ms Bradshaw.

Swinky’s Dirty Martini Cupcake: Light chocolate cake is wrapped in martini-chocolate frosting and drizzled in salted caramel! Elegance with a feisty kick and a potential classic. Samantha perhaps?!

Very Vanilla: Sheer simplicity. Unadulterated Madagascan vanilla pods engulf this delicate sponge cake, topped with sumptuous swirls of butter cream frosting! So light and inoffensive, it could be Switzerland! Traditional Vanilla could only be Charlotte

Triple Chocolate: Created by one big child for children and chocolate lovers everywhere, the combination of all three chocolate types satisfies even the most indecisive of individuals! Good old reliable chocolate for Miranda!

Despite what I’ve said above about cupcakes, I can’t resist these flavours!

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