On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


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Moro Gold Max Caramel Cupcakes

The wrapper says “A fistful of maximum caramel awesome”. I love caramel and this blog post is the one I’m submitting to Sweet New Zealand’s, December monthly blogging event hosted by Lucy of Kitchen Maid.

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I saw a photo on Pintrest for Snickers Cupcakes, but Mr Fussy doesn’t like nuts so I was going to swap Snickers for Mars Bars. But then I spotted Moro Gold MaxCaramel. I’d rather something that was more New Zealand based so the Moro Gold it was.

In the end I didn’t use the recipe for the Snickers cupcakes at all, but I did for the caramel sauce, and the method of decoration.

The cupcakes and decoration is a 4 stage affair:

  1. Make caramel sauce
  2. Make cupcakes
  3. Prepare filling
  4. Ice and decorate.

It’s not something you will whip up in a jiffy, but you will be rewarded, especially if you love caramel like I do.

I used this recipe for the cupcakes. I had varying success of making caramel. The first I burnt, then the second I was so afraid of burning it that I didn’t cook it enough and it tasted of butter and cream. In the end I took out the recipe/instructions from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert for making a dry caramel, and added my second “caramel” for the wet ingredients to the dry caramel. Then I didn’t want to use it because it was fantastic and I wanted to just spoon the stuff straight into my mouth and not share. But I came to my senses.

I used two Moro Gold Maxcaramel bars for this recipe, including the larger sized pieces on top of the cupcakes.

I ended up with 33 cupcakes from the recipe I used. I have frozen 13 of them, we ate 3 of them, and 1 unadorned cupcake for quality control. That leaves 16 which will make their way to work tomorrow.

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The caramel sauce is used to bind the filling (which you can’t see under the icing) and it’s also in the frosting as well as dribbled over the top of the icing.

There’s a lot of caramel but you wont be overwhelmed by it. The chocolate cupcake is made with Dutch processed chocolate and it’s a rich chocolate flavour. The icing is made with cream cheese which should tone down the sweetness of the buttercream but it was still quite sweet.

Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes – originally by Hershey’s

(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes though I got more. My cupcake liners have a 5cm base)

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all standard flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available – I used Equagold)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup blue top milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil – I used Canola
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract – I used Hansells
  • 1 cup boiling water

Filling:

  • 2 Moro Gold MaxGold novelty bars
  • 1/3 cup of Caramel Sauce (see this recipe for the sauce)

Decoration:

  • 1/3 cup of Caramel Sauce

Frosting: – adapted from this recipe

  • 113gm butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
  • 250gm cream cheese cut into cubes (directly from fridge)
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 to 4 Tbs cream, or milk – as much as needed to get the right consistency for decorating

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  • Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  • Heat oven to 175 deg Celsius.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla essence.
  • Beat on medium speed for one minute.
  • Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
  • Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  (I put the batter into a large measuring cup then poured the batter into the liners.)
  • Bake cupcakes for approximately 18-22 minutes.
  • Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Filling:

  • Chop the Moro bars into small pieces. I cut the bar in half lengthwise, then in half again, then chopped the lengths to make small pieces.
  • Mix together the Caramel sauce with the chopped up Moro bars:

Frosting:

  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly.
  • Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the caramel sauce and mix until incorporated.
    Add vanilla extract and icing sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
    Slowly add the cream or milk, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
    Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
    Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

Assembly

  • With a paring knife remove the centres in a cone type shape. Don’t cut to the very bottom, just enough to make a hole that you can fill with a little of the filling, less than a 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Spoon the filling into the cavity.
  • Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcake, making sure you start wider than the cone you’ve cut and filled. I used a Wilton 1M tip.
  • Place 1/3 of a cup of Caramel sauce into a Glad zip lock bag. Snip a very small piece from the corner for which you’ll drizzle the caramel over the frosting.

Can you believe that today was the first time in the 5 years of living in this house, with a brand new oven installed, that I baked with the “bake” function. I was hoping to see an improvement with the doming of cupcakes. It wasn’t to be. In fact they looked worse than usual. I wasn’t concerned because I knew the centres would be removed.

BeforeAfter

The texture of the cupcake is light but not crumbly. It will stick to cupcake liners so look out for greased liners. Otherwise you’ll end up like us nibbling away at the liner. And you don’t want to do that with company around.

The chocolate flavour was spot on. It was decadent without being over the top.

The cupcakes got the thumbs up from Mr Fussy and my MIL. And I enjoyed mine too!

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sweetnz

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Mac & Cheese–has it changed in 20+ years

Americans seem obsessed about a few food groups. Mac & Cheese falls into one of them.

I’ve not had Macaroni and Cheese since I was a teenager at home. And my recollection of it didn’t warrant making the sort of fuss I’ve seen of pins on Pinterest.

But given all the hoopla I decided I’d give it a crack. I’d mentioned to Mr Fussy yesterday that I would make it one night this weekend. He was not enthusiastic, to say the least. I told him I’d put bacon in it and some good cheese and it wouldn’t be so bad.

Then today after a little more grumbling and a particular comment it dawned on me that he hadn’t actually had macaroni and cheese. So I asked straight out. And you know what? He’d formed his opinion based on comments others had made. He’d Never Had It Himself!

Yes, he’s one of those people. Screws his nose up when he’s not tried it. Though I’m not much better, truth be told.

I thought I had bookmarked the recipe I was going to make but I couldn’t find it. I searched online and came up with one that sounded like it would be just fine. But then I looked at Pinterest, I’m not sure why when I’d made up my mind. And then I changed my mind.

I’ve been following Jenny Flake’s blog and Twitter for a month or so now. Her blog is called Picky Palate. Can you think why I might be interested in her blog? Mr Fussy. Jenny had a Mac & Cheese recipe. And it’s that recipe I adapted to make tonight’s dinner.

MacCheese

 

Macaroni & Cheese – adapted from Picky Palate

Ingredients

  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 6 ½ Tbs Butter, divided
    ¼ Cup plus 2 Tbls Flour
    3 Cups milk
    2 ¼ c grated cheese, mine was made up with Cheshire – 250gm, Gruyere 100gm balance Colby
    ¾ c bread crumbs
    ¼ c Parmesan Reggiano, grated
    salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 175 deg Celsius.
  • Fry the bacon in 1 Tbs butter, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate with a paper towel.
  • Don’t wipe out the fry pan. Add 4 1/2 Tbs of butter.
  • Bring 2 litres of salted water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook as per packet instructions.
  • Add the flour, stirring, cook together for a minute or so. Careful not to brown the mixture, though it will pick up colour from the fat left from the bacon.
  • Add the milk, whisking to avoid lumps.
  • Pour the mixture into a 4 litre sauce pan.
  • Bring mixture to a boil and continue whisking. Lower heat and simmer for about five minutes until it thickens.
  • While the milk is simmering clean the fry pan, then combine 2 Tbs butter and the bread crumbs, and melt together.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese. This adds another layer of flavour.
  • Cook until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.
  • When the sauce is ready, add the cheeses. Stir everything together until the cheese has melted. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Season with salt and black pepper and stir to combine.
  • Add the macaroni and bacon to the cheese sauce, mix it well, and when it’s nicely incorporated, spoon it out into a cooking dish.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumbs on the top. Pat the breadcrumbs down with your hand to make sure it’s nice and evenly dispersed all over the surface. The topping becomes very crunchy when it bakes.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
  • Ingredients

As we were making this (Mr Fussy was in charge of grating the cheeses) I asked Mr Fussy what he thought of the cheese sauce. He wasn’t convinced. He thought one of them tasted a bit strange.

When we came to eat (that means when I was finished taking photos) I asked what he thought. He said the bacon really made it.

BeforeAfter1

When Mr Fussy had finished and we were cleaning up I asked if he’d have it again. He said “Yeah, probably”. To which I did an eye roll. My MIL said that she’d never liked pasta and so never made Mac & Cheese for the family. She was dealing with her own Mr Fussy. But now she likes Pasta, which is good because we’ve been eating it at least once a week. Mr Fussy said he’d never had pasta until meeting me.

For a weekend/light meal, this would easily go 4 ways, if you’re serving it with a salad then you’ll likely stretch it even further. We were all full after dinner, but saved room for Strawberry Ice Cream, of course! There’s enough left over for a very generous meal for one.

AllGone

I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with Cheshire cheese. The one we bought was made in Geraldine. We picked this particular cheese, which was with the Gruyere and Havarti cheeses, because it reminded us of our trip to Chester when we visited with Mr Fussy’s Aunt and Uncle during May this year. This cheese has sat in the fridge for about a month just waiting for the right time to use it. The cheese sauce in this Mac & Cheese was very rich and full of flavour. It’s fair to say Mac & Cheese today is very different to what I had as a teen. Can you believe I had Reggiano cheese in my fridge? I bought it last Saturday from the Mediterranean Food Warehouse. And we had Gruyere. Yay for me.


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Strawberry Ice Cream–the real deal

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In New Zealand we’re pretty spoilt with Tip Top ice cream. Actually there’s loads more companies now producing top quality ice creams. Our dairy industry is romping along. Although the carbon emissions aren’t something we want to acknowledge and deal to, as a country.

The quality of our dairy products are supreme. And that means that any ice cream you make is going to taste really good. Adding fresh fruit just makes it a little more special and adds that little extra oomph to the luxurious taste and texture of creamy ice cream.

Although we’re seeing strawberries make an appearance in the supermarkets, it’s really a little early in the season to get those really sweet juicy strawberries. But it wont be long now, and then the supermarkets will hike the prices up just in time for Christmas Day. Now there’s a surprise.

I admit that of the two punnets of strawberries I bought, the 4 strawberries I left aside and ate a la natural caused my face to twist in an unnatural way, just a little.

That aside, the ice cream is really great. If there’s one changed I’d make (and I’m sure I’ll make this ice cream again) is to pulse the food processor a few more times for the strawberries I added during the last 5 minutes of making the ice cream.

InTheMaking

This was the second time I used the ice cream maker. The first was with the Rum & Raisin ice cream. That refused to thicken and freeze thanks to the abundance of alcohol in the recipe. But it wasn’t a waste and I revived it.

Rum and Raisin ice cream isn’t really to my liking. But this Strawberry ice cream sure is.

I started out with a vanilla ice cream from David Lebovitz’s website and changed it, then changed it a bit more by adding pureed strawberries and chopped strawberries. This is another custard based ice cream and this time I felt like I got to the right place with “coat the back of a spoon”. It did take a lot of time I felt. I think that’s down to our pots. They are induction pots. Fantastic for even cooking and induction cooking, not so good for making custard. As I found out when I made what was meant to be the “consistency of pudding” for the Black Forest Cake.

Strawberry Ice Cream – inspired by David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 250ml milk – blue top
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 500ml cream – 35% fat
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 punnets fresh Strawberries – around 500gm, 350gm pureed, remainder chopped
  • 2 dessert spoons icing sugar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Instructions

  • Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan.
  • To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2 litre bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
  • Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
  • Hull the Strawberries and place 350gm into the food processor with the 2 dessert spoons of icing sugar. Puree.
  • Strain the puree to remove the pips and put the puree into the fridge to chill.
  • Put the remainder Strawberries into the food processor and pulse to the desired size. Squeeze some lemon juice over and stir. Then place the chopped Strawberries into the fridge to keep cold.
  • Right before making the ice cream, stir the pureed Strawberries into the custard.
  • Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Add the chopped Strawberries 5 minutes before the ice cream is finished churning.

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Serve the ice cream as you please. I’m going to try some of the Strawberry and Champagne Chocolate sauce.

But for tonight we just tucked into the Strawberry Ice Cream as it came out of the container.

The ice cream straight from the maker wasn’t hard enough for my likes so it was put into the freezer overnight. Then I tested it this morning. Mr Fussy was laughing at my choice of “breakfast”. But the teaspoon of ice cream I took was purely for quality control.

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I’m just sad we don’t have enough freezer space to make more ice cream. We have two upright freezers and still don’t have enough room. Don’t ask where we’ll be putting a Turkey.

Enjoy

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Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day–it’s true

I’ve really enjoyed the Crusty No Knead bread. And I’ve made some changes to make it easier to work with, with a slightly less chewy crust and not so difficult to cut.

Thanks to using the Yellow Lid Edmonds Yeast and High Grade Flour.

But during my “refinement phase” I came across a similar sort of recipe, same ingredients but different method. Its Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day (AB5M).

The similarities are that they are dead easy and quick to make, and they’re baked in the oven after a period of time just sitting about, and both baked in a cast iron pot. Though the AB5M is usually baked on a pizza stone of the like.

CastIronBaked

I have to admit to being a little apprehensive about how this would turn out. First there’s the stickiness of the dough which I then have to mould/shape into a ball. There’s a bit of an art to this, but as I found out, it’s not tricky. And the dough wasn’t so sticky that you were left juggling a slimy misbehaved piece of dough.

Ready2Roll

I know that photo looks like everything I said it wasn’t. But it’s true. It wasn’t difficult to handle, it wasn’t a soupy mess. And it did come together to form a ball with relative ease. I admit to having watched a video of theirs a few times to make sure I really understood the action of forming a ball.

Balls

I need man hands. The first bit of dough I formed into a ball (the one of the left) was just a big roll rather than a loaf of bread. And even though I grabbed a much larger piece of dough, it was still on the smallish side. However it did work out perfect for the 3 of us for lunch.

Stretch

You place the ball you’ve formed onto a piece of baking paper, which I sprinkled with Semolina Flour (ordinary flour will do), let it rest for 40 minutes, sprinkle a bit of flour over the all, use the bread knife to make some slashes in it (which is really important) and dump the lot into the heated cast iron pot.

Bob’s your Uncle!

BeforeAfter

You can get the “Master” recipe for the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day here.

I’ve just made some more this evening after work. And it’s truly no more than 5 minutes to get it sorted and ready for the oven. I’m going to be enjoying my sammies tomorrow. These are not them though. These were the sandwiches made on Sunday with my very first loaf. Dress up the bread as you like or have it with a really good quality Olive Oil.

Sammies

This recipe is a keeper. So much so that I’ve bought a plastic container specifically for the purpose of keeping this dough in the fridge.

And I can confirm the smell of the yeast at least is more pronounced with a longer period of sitting around.

And lastly, being that I love kitchen gadgets, I’m going to buy the Danish Whisk which you can get on TradeMe.


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French Toast

I had a bit of the Crusty No Knead bread left over and had already ear marked it (in my mind) as French Toast for breakfast on Sunday. Mr Fussy would have his Honey Puffs as pre usual and my MIL had already headed to church. So it was just me.

The recipe is really basic and quick to pull together. The hardest thing is waiting around until the bread has soaked up all that loveliness.

Soaking

French Toast for One

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbs Castor Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • Orange zest to suit your taste
  • Knob of butter for frying
  • Icing sugar to dust over
  • Maple syrup for serving
  • Garnish with fruit if you desire

Instructions

  • In the same dish you’ll soak the bread in, whisk together the milk, castor sugar, egg, vanilla essence and orange zest
  • Leave the bread to soak 5-15 minutes, turning the bread once during this time
  • Heat a fry pan (skillet if you’re American) to medium
  • Add a little butter to the pan
  • Place the bread in the pan and fry a couple of minutes each side – it will depend on the heat of the fry pan/element
  • Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, a splash of maple syrup and fruit if desired

FrenchToast

I cannot quite work out why my bananas are so bright yellow. I think I should have fried them before adding the maple syrup to the pan.

It tasted great though, and I loved the addition of the cranberries from the Crusty bread.

Cranberries


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Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

I’ve been looking at ice cream makers for months now. In the beginning I would look every day at the same website. I wanted one bad.

Then Chris visited Christchurch and we dawdled our way around The Homestore at Merivale Mall and I saw the ice cream maker. And it was very plastic-y looking. The coloured units were much worse.

Then I started to get email updates from the website I’d been looking on a daily basis. And they had the next model up on special. But still I didn’t get it.

But I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner for a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker, so I’ll have to find something else to drool over on a daily basis (I’ve got a list!).

In anticipation of getting an Ice Cream maker I’d been pinning a few recipes. I found one during the week for Rum & Raisin Ice Cream. I know it’s a favourite of Mums, and Mr Fussy is very keen on Whittaker’s Rum & Raisin chocolate so he must therefore be a fan of those flavour combinations in ice cream, right?

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There’s two camps when it comes to making the base of an ice cream, and I chose the more fiddly custard ice cream. I’m not easily put off the perceived trickier road.

However having never made a custard base for an ice cream I had to hope the instructions, and more importantly, my interpretation of them, were correct.

Ingredients

I had my handy dandy thermometer to use to ensure the custard reached 170-175 deg F. But I never quite felt like I got the “coat the back of a spoon” visual. But I soldiered on.

Ingredients1

I put the custard into the fridge and went out, and Mr Fussy and I bought a car. You know, something to help pass the time of day while you wait for your custard to get cold.

Custard

Now came the most anticipated moment. Getting to use the new Ice Cream maker. It said 25-35 minutes. I could be that patient. But at 45 minutes when there was no sign of a single icicle I decided my ice cream was doomed. And as I read the instruction book and found those words that basically forbid adding alcohol (until the last 5 minutes) I knew why it just wasn’t to be.

However I wasn’t prepared to toss it all down the drain without seeing if I could rescue the custard.

So having checked online and found nothing in my brief moments of searching I poured it into the mixing bowl and spent 15 minutes whipping it, and finally we had enough air whipped in there that I had hope it wasn’t completely doomed. And I know you’re all quite observant and noticed the photo at the top, you can see that it sort of came out OK.

I used this recipe on the Saveur website.

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We weren’t out of the woods though. I knew I’d have to take a peek several hours later to see if it was going to freeze, or would I be left with a thickened cream. And if so, what would I use it with?

After 4 hours it was starting to show promise. I gave it a stir.

This morning I was hoping for great things. All the raisins had sunk, that didn’t surprise me but it wasn’t really hard enough. I gave it another stir, sort of folding it to get those drunken raisins to incorporate better.

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And there they are, peeking through what ended up being a little bit icy. Despite having pat it all down to make it flat and even on top I suspect folding the almost ice cream put enough air between the folds that it iced a bit.

I’ve never had Rum & Raisin Ice Cream, though I’ve shared a few cakes of Whittaker’s Rum & Raisin chocolate before.

Mum said it was really nice and commented on the taste of rum and that the raisins were whole. Mum said usually the raisins have been chopped. I had some jumbo raisins in there.

Mr Fussy said there was a very distinct flavour of rum given he knew there was vanilla in there. Talking of which you can see those little vanilla beans in the melted ice cream.

IceCream5

So it’s back to the drawing board for me. I’m keen as to use the Ice Cream maker ASAP to prove that it was the alcohol and not a malfunction of the machine. I’ve discussed adding the top of the Christmas Cake (I need to slice a bit off to make it flat) but Mr Fussy screwed his nose up not understanding why you’d make Cookies and Cream ice cream, so why would you add bits of cake.

Something fruity then? Maybe I can pick up some cheap strawberries again.

If you’ve got a favourite recipe let me know. I’m happy to work my way through a list.


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Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Apologies for having three posts in a row on cupcakes. I’ve baked and cooked other things in between, even made ice cream, but haven’t gotten around to editing photos and writing them up …. yet.

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While grocery shopping we picked up some strawberries. It’s a bit soon for the really fragrant sweet strawberries but they still look good. I grabbed an extra punnet so I could make Strawberry cupcakes.

Strawbs

I’ve finally managed to get one of those Strawberry hullers. Mum had mentioned one she had found to be perfect for getting the whole thing out, and you can see how well it works (you can buy them from Stevens). I’d been given one many years ago but it did nothing but pull at the greenery and even then it usually broke it all off, so I gave up on it. But this one is a keeper. Mr Fussy isn’t yet a convert, he chops the tops off for the strawberries he adds to his fruit salads for work.

Let me say it now, the strawberries need to be chopped up a lot more than I’m showing. While I chopped them a bit finer than the photo, they still needed more chopping. Much of the fruit sunk to the bottom, but it was like eating sweet stewed bits of strawberry and reminded me of those Strawberry Rhubarb pies I make. I must make one of those again soon.

Stewed (2)

I adapted the Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe a smidge (again). Obviously there’s the inclusion of Strawberries. The batter was still very much enjoyable by the spoonful. It seems I’ve picked up a nasty habit.

Cupcake3

I found a few items at Briscoes on Friday. Wouldn’t you know it, they had a sale. If you’re not from New Zealand you wont understand my sarcasm. Mr Fussy calls the little glass dish a bug catcher. The cat has been giving it the beady eye all night too wondering what is inside and whether it’s likely to move.

Anyway, the reason for yet another cupcake recipe was more so I could have another chance to practice my icing.

I’m quite keen to get a rose swirl piped. I did give it a shot in my Ginger and spice cupcake recipe but it didn’t work. So I bought a 2D Wilton tip thinking that might make a difference. But having watched some of Lydia’s tutorials I think it’s more the speed at which I’m pulling the icing tip around the cupcake.

Anyway, I think I’m slowly getting there. It’s one of those things that I need to practice some more. So I guess that means more cupcakes.

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Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from the recipe The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake by Cupcake Project

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 175 gm all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 57 gm unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Greek style yoghurt 
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup blue top milk

1 cup of finely chopped strawberries

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 175 C.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the sugar and mix until well combined.
  • Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yoghurt, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  • Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be quite liquidy. 
  • Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  • Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  
  • When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack to cool.

 

This time I decided to use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB) for the icing. In the past I’ve made a Buttercream icing with icing sugar and butter.  SMB is quite different and it takes a lot longer and it’s a bit fiddlier.  Most people who have commented on various posts discussing SMB claim that it’s worth the extra effort. The taste is in my opinion a lot sweeter, but it does seem more silky.

When all is said and done I haven’t found quite the right icing, but I’m undeterred and will continue to try different recipes.

 

I wont go into the recipe that I used, but I followed along to Sweetapolita’s tutorial and it worked just fine. It didn’t curdle (small prayer went up) and it piped well enough, though it was reluctant to sweep to an end. To end the Rose swirl you continue to pull the icing but not push more icing out. The SMB just sort of broke when I stopped pushing more icing out.

icing

Once the SMB was ready I then halved the amount and coloured one half. I did my best to put dollops of the plain on one side of the piping bag and on the other side the coloured icing. It sort of worked. But I ran out of icing well before I had iced all the cupcakes I baked.  I’d taken the recipe which called for 10 egg whites and whittled it all down to 2 egg whites (I adjusted all proportions to 1/5th).

I should have ended up with 2 cups of icing which I thought would be sufficient for the 22 cupcakes the recipe made (I only filled the liners 1/2 to make sure they didn’t creep above the liner/silicone cup). I really don’t think I got 2 cups of icing so make your adjustments as you see fit.

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