Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas and Banoffee Cupcakes Recipe

2 days before Christmas and I'm watching the London news as I type and the weather is not looking good. 
90 mph winds and heavy rain, not the best start to Christmas. You want to snuggle up inside with a blanket with a good Christmas film- I'm watching this, which I got for my secret santa gift at work:

Because I'm very very lucky in saying that I'm ahead with my university work! Which means I can take a little break at the festive season. Thank goodness I need a break from the work. 

I'm back in the big smoke aka London, so I've got some time to have coffee with friends, dinner with my family and to do some baking! I wanted to make something a little different. I made banana cupcakes with a caramel buttercream-so banoffee cupcakes! Very yum. 
If you've never heard of banoffee, its an English dessert which has a crumbly biscuit base or pastry base with toffee made from condensed milk, sliced banana and whipped cream. It's a little old school but very tasty!

Banoffee Cupcakes Makes 24 cupcakes (Recipe inspired by The Primrose Bakery Book)

  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 500g golden caster sugar
  • 4 large lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 baking powder
  • 8 ripe bananas, mashed with fork or broken into small pieces (riper the better)

Caramel buttercream:

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 135ml/9 tbsp semi skimmed milk
  • 360g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Christmas sprinkles and glitter
  • Sieve
  • Muffin tins lined with 12 cupcake wrappersx 2
  • Heavy based saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Piping bag fitted with a star nozzle
  • Electric hand mixer/ worktop mixer (which I used this time)
  • bowl x 2
  • Masher
  • tablespoon
  • teaspoon
For the cupcakes:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180c/Gas mark. Line muffin tin with muffin cases
    Step 2. Creamed butter and sugar
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with electric whisk until pale and smooth.
    Step 3 The batter with all the eggs added
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla extract and beat again.
    Step 5. The Cake batter with the flour added
  5. Gradually add the flour and baking powder and beat until well combined.
    Step 6. Mashed banana
    Step 6. The finished batter
  6. Mash the bananas up and add them to the mixture and beat until all combined.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases, filling about 3/4 of the way full. 
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes.
  9. Turn out onto a wire rack and wait for them to be completely cold before icing.
To make the buttercream:
Step 1. Butter, milk and sugar
  1. Combine the butter, milk and brown sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and put on the hob over a high heat. 
  2. Stirring continuously, bring the mixture to a boil.
    Step 3. Allow to boil
  3. Allow it to boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in half of the icing sugar
    Step 4. Add the rest of the icing sugar
  4. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add the rest of the icing sugar and vanilla extract.
    Step 5. Thick and runny icing
  5. Stir until thick and slightly runny. (if it starts to set, put in a microwavable bowl and put on for a few seconds until runny and beat a little. If you need to add a little milk)

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!
Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 6 December 2013

Gluten-Free Birthday Chocolate Cake with a Vanilla Heart

Gluten free cakes. No matter how you want to try gluten free products, in my opinion, aren't as good as the real thing. I was asked to bake a gluten free chocolate cake for a good friend. I like a challenge! It was also a good excuse to use the Tasty-Fill Cake tin from Wilton, that I shoved in the back of the baking cupboard, which I recommend for a special occassion. So this is a nice excuse to back an epic birthday cake which had a heart of buttercream.
I've tried doing this with cake carving last year,which I think was my first baking post (aww memories). It was the hidden heart cake which needed some practice but otherwise tasty! 
While I have you I completely recommend using Doves Farm Gluten Free flour as the end cake result was really good for a gluten free cake. 

Recipe: Make a giant cake (Recipe adapted from Cupcakes from Primrose Bakery)
·       230g dark chocolate at least 70% cocoa solids
·       120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       350g golden caster sugar
·       3 large eggs, separated
·       370g Doves Farm Gluten-Free Plain flour, sifted
·       2 teaspoons gluten free baking power
·       1 ½ teaspoons gluten free bicarbonate of soda
·       ½ teaspoons salt
·       4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       500ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
·       2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

·       220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       120ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
·       2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·       8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       1kg icing sugar, sifted
·       175g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
·       225g unsalted butter
·       1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, room temperature
·       1teaspoon vanilla extract
·       250g icing sugar, sifted
·       Bowl x3
·       Mixer/wooden spoon
·       Measuring Jug
·       Sieve
·       Teaspoon
·       Tablespoon
·       Palette knife
·       Light oil spray for greasing the tin
·       Heatproof bowl
·       Saucepan filled with water
·       Metal spoon
·       Disposal piping bag
·       Scissors
1.    Pre-heat the oven to 170c fan/190c/375f/Gas Mark 5 and grease the tin with the light oil spray.
Step 2. melt the chocolate in a bain marie
2.    Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
Step 3. Cream the butter and sugar
3.    In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which should 3-5 minutes using an electric mixer. Put the egg yolks into the creamed mixture and beat well.
Step 4. Add the melted chocolate to the creamed mix
4.    Add the melted chocolate to the creamed mixture and beat well.
Step 5&6. Combine the dry bits and milk and vanilla
5.    Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in separate bowl all sieved together.  
6.    Combine the milk, and vanilla extract in a jug.
7.    Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added.
8. Clean your whisk!
The Unwhisked Egg Whites
Soft peak egg whites
9. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with a clean whisk, until soft peaks form.
Step 10 the finished batter
10. Carefully fold the egg whites with a metal spoon into the cake batter.
11. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes. Insert a skewer in the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean its done.
12. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about an 1 hour  before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once completely cool, you can ice the cake.
13.  To assemble use a palette knife to spread the icing in the grooves and spread until level.
14.  Put the cakes on top of one another. Then ice the outside of the cake with chocolate icing, making sure that it’s covered, even and nicely iced.
15.Put some of the vanilla buttercream in piping  bag and cut a tiny hole. Start writing your message on top of the cake and top with popping candy and chocolate hearts or other decorations.

  I was so scared it wasn't going to work and then my friend cut it and....
Wow! Heart of Vanilla! My friend did have a wonderful birthday. I was invited on her night out and it was a wonderful night out. I hope you had a great birthday Zoe and I hope you loved the cake! (I'm in the star dress with the fading purple hair. Yes I've done it again. Thats 4 times my hair has been purple in my little lifetime).  
Also I hope your planning your Christmas baking! Check out the siggie below featuring my Christmas dress! 
Merry Christmas Bakers!
Bake On! Penny x
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