Chocolate orange cupcakes

After my rant about overly sweet cupcakes the other day I decided to try to make some that are just sweet enough for my taste. I had used golden icing sugar a while ago for frosting for a chocolate coffee loaf cake, which seemed to make the frosting a bit more mellow and not as sweet as normal icing sugar.

I decided to use a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe book that I adapted. I also halved the amount of frosting, as I always seem to end up with loads left over plus the kids prefer the cupcakes without frosting anyway. I’m happy to report the result was a resounding success!

Chocolate orange cupcakes

Chocolate orange cupcakes
Ingredients
75g butter
200g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
250g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
240ml milk

Method
1) Preheat oven to 190C and fill a muffin tin with muffin cases
2) Mix together butter and the two sugars until fully combined
3) Beat in one egg at the time, followed by the vanilla essence
4) Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add in batches, alternating with the milk. Combine until smooth
5) Divide the mixture between the muffin cases, bake for 18-20 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean

Orange Frosting
(NOTE: This is a half batch of frosting and will not cover all the cupcakes in the recipe above)
Ingredients
350g golden icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, soften
125g full-fat cream cheese
grated zest of 1 orange

Method
1) Whisk the softened butter and  icing sugar until crumbly
2) Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth and light
3) Add the orange zest and combine until thoroughly mixed in

Chocolate orange cupcake

Fresh From The Oven Challenge – Pita bread

One of the things I love to bake the most is bread (although not evident on the blog yet, but stay tuned!)

When I found this months challenge for pita bread from Fresh from the oven, hosted by Slice of my life, I decided to have a go. My mum used to bake pita bread every once in a while when we were little, but I had never tried to. When I saw this challenge however, I though it was about time to have a go. Particularly as hubby had bought some wholemeal pita breads the other week, which didn’t go down well at all with the kids, so I figured I couldn’t do worse than those!

The end result turned out pretty well, even though munchkin complained the first batch were too chewy and the second batch too soft – it’s not easy to please a 5-year-old! But she still ate them so they couldn’t have been too bad!!

Pita bread
Ingredients
1 sachet fast action dried yeast (7g)
1.3 liter flour
500 ml tepid water
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
2) Mix salt, flour and yeast
3) Add the water, honey and olive oil and mix to a smooth dough
4) Let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size
5) Turn the  dough out on a floured worktop and divide it into 8 pieces
6) Rest the dough for about 20 mins
7) Roll out into round cakes, about 10 centimeters in diameter.
8) Bake for about 8 mins, until golden and puffed up
9) Cool on a rack

Pita bread 

 

Blueberry, lime and coconut muffins

Although I generally think cupcakes are very pretty, I usually find them far too sweet, or rather the frosting is overly sweet and the cupcakes tend to be a bit bland. I always hope they will be as delicious and full of flavour as they seem to be on shows like Cupcake Wars or Unique Sweets (can you tell I have a bit of a Food Network habit?!) but so far I haven’t come across any of them in my corner of the world. Anyway, rant over.

These are my favourite muffins – full of flavour and just the right side of sweet!  To jazz them up a bit, you could possibly mix a bit of lime juice and icing sugar and drizzle over.

Blueberry, lime and coconut muffins

Blueberry, lime and coconut muffins
Ingredients
2 eggs
200 ml sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar or ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
350 ml flour
100 ml milk
50 g  butter
50 ml dessicated coconut
zest of 1 lime
100-150ml blueberries

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 225°C
2) Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Add vanilla sugar/extract, baking powder and flour
4) Add the milk and butter
5) Add the dessicated coconut, lime zest and blueberries
6) Divide the batter into the paper cases
7) Bake for 15 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack

Cookies and cake

Back to work again after a very busy weekend; two birthday parties, a trip to a local country park (and that was just for munchkin!) followed by a Father’s Day celebration.

I decided to make some cookies for munchkin to bring as a treat on her outing, so made her White chocolate and cranberry cookies.

Ingredients
125 g soft unsalted butter
125 g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
175 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
100 g white chocolate, cut onto chunks
40 g dried cranberries

Method
1) Preheat oven to 150C
2) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the condensed milk, then add the flour and a pinch of salt
4 ) Stir in the chocolate chunks and dried cranberries
5) Roll into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet
6) Flatten them slightly then bake for about 25 mins, or slightly longer if wanting crisper cookies
7) Cool on a rack, then enjoy!

White chocolate and cranberry cookies

I also made hubby his favourite cake – Coconut cake, in honour of Father’s Day.  I adapted the recipe slightly to see how it would work without the traditional vanilla sugar in the icing, as it is quite unusual outside the Nordic countries, and I’m happy to report it works just as well! I had originally posted this recipe in my Easter baking post back in April, but here is the revised recipe.

Ingredients – Cake 
2 eggs
200 ml sugar
200 ml flour
2 tsp baking powder
100 ml boiling water

Icing
75 g butter, cubed
100 ml caster sugar
1 tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yoke

Decoration
Desiccated coconut

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175ºC
2) Grease and line a tin
3) Cream eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
4) Add flour, baking powder and the boiling water
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
6) While the cake is baking, simmer the butter, sugar, egg yolk, icing sugar and vanilla extract on low heat while stirring constantly until thickened
7) Spread the warm icing over the warm cake
8) Scatter desiccated coconut over the cake

Coconut cake_revised

This is a very popular cake in the family so half of it was gone by the time I manage to take a picture of it!

Moreish double chocolate chip cookies

When going on a picnic you need to include something sweet. Preferably a cake or cookies of some sort and definitely something chocolatey! I made these moreish double chocolate chop cookies for a recent picnic with a friend and they went down a treat with both kids and adults alike.

I accidentally forgot them in the oven though (I know, how is that even possible when the whole house is filling up with divine chocolate aromas?!) so they were probably in for about 10 minutes longer than what they were supposed to, but that just seemed to have improved the flavour, or rather the texture of them. They were supposed to have ‘firm edges and a soft middle’ according to the recipe but, as I prefer my cookies crisp rather than chewy, they turned out perfect!

Double chocolate chop cookie stack

Ingredients
125 g soft unsalted butter
125 g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
125 g self-raising flour
50 g cocoa
pinch of salt
100 g white chocolate, cut onto chunks

Method
1) Preheat oven to 150C
2) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the condensed milk, then add the flour, cocoa and a pinch of salt
4 ) Stir in the chocolate chunks
5) Roll into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet
6) Flatten them slightly then bake for about 25 mins, or slightly longer if wanting crisper cookies
7) Cool on a rack and enjoy with a big glass of milk, or a cuppa

Double chocolate chop cookies

Jubilee cake

I don’t really need a reason for making a cake, but the Queen’s Jubilee last weekend provided a good excuse to make a summer berry cake. I had hoped it would last until the 6th June, as that is the Independence day in Sweden, but the cake was so good it didn’t last that long!

Jubilee cake

Ingredients
2 eggs
250 ml sugar
3 tsp baking powder
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
80 gram butter
225 ml milk
200-300 ml whipping or double cream
3-4 tbsp jam
summer berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175ºC
2) Grease and line a tin
3) Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
4) Add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest
5) Melt the butter and add the milk, add hot to the batter and mix until smooth
6) Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7) Once cooled, cut in half and spread the jam on the bottom layer
8) Spread whipped cream over the jam and add a layer of sliced strawberries.
9) Add the top layer, cover with the remaining whipped cream and decorate with berries.

Jubilee cake slice

Rhubarb crumble with a twist

Rhubarb is one of my favourite vegetables, although I consider it more a fruit than a vegetable. I love that you can still only get it when in season, unlike so many other fruits and berries these days.

One of my favourite things to make with rhubarb is a crumble. My mum made a delicious one a few years ago when she was visiting, which quickly became the only rhubarb crumble I now make. It is a bit unusual in that it has almonds and sunflower seeds in the crumble mixture, which gives it a lovely crunch. It also makes it feel more healthy, or so I tell myself, so all the more reason to come back for seconds!! 🙂

Rhubarb crumble with a twist

The recipe is originally from a Swedish recipe site – Tasteline.

Ingredients:
500 grams of rhubarb
150 ml granulated sugar
2 tablespoons potato flour (or corn flour)
100 grams butter
150 ml oats
150 ml flour
25 grams  almonds
25 grams sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
0.5 tsp salt

Method
1)  Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
2)  Peel the rhubarb if it is rough and cut into small pieces. Mix with sugar and potato (or corn) flour and place in a buttered dish.
3)  Melt butter and mix into the dry ingredients. Pinch together with clean fingers and spread over the rhubarb.
4) Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumble is golden.
5)  Serve warm with a good vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream

This year we are trying to grow our own rhubarb, something that hasn’t been a complete success. It started quite well with one of the three plants coming along nicely with a single tender stem, but then suddenly it disappeared – one of the garden gnomes must have decided to have a nightly feast on it. 😉

1st rhubarb plant

To my delight I noticed there is a new shoot coming through a few days ago, and today I saw there is yet another one coming through next to it! (Not in the photo though as that was taken when I first noticed the new shoot coming through…)  We need to get some netting now to put over them so that no-one pinches them again. If anyone fancy pulling up some of the weeds on the other hand, they are more than welcome! 🙂

2nd rhubarb plant