Apple Pie Cupcakes

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So, I have a confession to make.  I am addicted to cooking shows.  Like, bad!  They are great because, I always feel inspired to try new things, but bad because inspiration usually strikes late at night.

Ah, well.

Sidenote–why are competive cooking shows so dramatic?! I get that it is stressful, but they seem to take it a bit overboard.

On Food Network, they have just added the new show Cupcake Wars to the line-up.  Love this show!  It’s just amazing the diversity that one can achieve in such a little cake.  Filling them has taken this form of baking to a whole new level for me. *sigh*  My ass will never be the same.  😛

I looked around for a recipe for apple pie cupcakes, but in the end decided to just mash together my own.  The cake is an adaptation of a pecan pie cake that I found in a Southern Living cookbook; but instead of pecans, I used walnuts.

My vision was to make a cinnamon buttercream, but I ran out of cinnamon ( 😦 ) so, I just used a vanilla buttercream and drizzled some caramel sauce over the top.  This made the cupcake very sweet.  I love it that way, but if it is too much for your palate, consider using freshly whipped cream on top.

apple pie cupcakes

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 batch of walnut cupcakes (recipe follows)

1 batch of caramel apple filling, reserving some of the caramel for garnish (recipe follows)

1 batch of vanilla buttercream frosting

Method:

1. Once cupcakes are cool, make a well in each cake by cutting a cone into the top, then removing the narrow point.

2. Fill each cake with a spoonful of apple pie filling.

3. Frost with the buttercream and drizzle a little caramel on the top.

Walnut Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup milk

1 cup walnut pieces

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350*F (160*C).  Line a muffin tin with baking papers.

2. Cream together butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until blended.  Stir in the vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Sift into the wet ingredients.

4. Add the milk, stirring just enough to incorporate into the batter.

5. Fold in the walnuts.

6. Spoon into baking papers and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Caramel Apple Filling

Ingredients:

3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped very small

1 tbsp butter

4 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Method:

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

2. Add the apples and cook until starting to soften, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and cinnamon.

4.  Stirring every few minutes, cook until the caramel sauce reduces and becomes thick.

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream Frosting

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And, round two of National Cupcake Week bake-off!!

Generally speaking, I tend to make the same kind of cake over and over again.  So, in honor of this most prestigious of holidays, I was on the hunt to branch out and try something just a bit different.  And, purely by chance, I came across the Cupcake Bakeshop.  It was almost a religious moment for me!  😛

So many new and different combinations of cakes to try!  Yum!

The one that screamed out to me first to try was this one.  I love chocolate and mint together! And, per this genius woman’s suggestion, I ousted the ganache filling; so they were actually very easy to make.

Saying that, though, I doubt I will use this cake recipe again.  8 eggs is a bit over the top…

Then again, you could almost call these nutritious!  Antioxidants from the dark chocolate and crazy amounts of protein and iron from the eggs.  😀

Definitely, though, the mint buttercream is worth another go.  It’s a very mild flavor, as it doesn’t call for too much peppermint extract.  What it does add is a really nice cool after feeling in your mouth.

Very yum!

choc cupcakes

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

200g bar of high quality dark chocolate (I used 70%), chopped into small pieces

1 1/2 cups butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

8 eggs

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350*F (175*C). Line a muffin tin with baking cups or grease and flour.

2. Using a ghetto double boiler method,  place the chocolate pieces and butter in a bowl over simmering water.  Stir until everything has melted.  Remove from heat, add the sugar and let cool for ten minutes.

3. Beat the mixture for three minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring for a good 30 seconds in between.

5. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Sift into the wet ingredients, stirring constantly.

6. Spoon into baking cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Mint Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

4-5 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)

1/4 cup milk

1/8 to 1/4 tsp peppermint extract, depending on taste

green food coloring (optional)

Method:

1. Combine the butter and powdered sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer.

2. Add the milk, peppermint extract and enough food coloring to get a light green tint.

3. Frosting should be smooth and spreadable, yet still “peak”.  Adjust by adding extra powdered sugar if too runny or adding milk if too stiff.

4. Pipe onto cool cupcakes and decorate with an edible silver bead.

Recipe taken from: http://cupcakeblog.com/?p=44

Aren’t they pretty?!

cupcake week!!

Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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It’s National Cupcake Week here in the UK!!!!  So, of course, I’ve been celebrating.  Last night, I had a couple of my gal pals over to help bake some cakes.  Nikki (or Mikki, if you ask Myles :P) was kind enough to teach me how to pipe icing onto these cakes, as my decorating skills are rather depressing.  And Stacie….well, she just came to eat some cake!  😀

I first made these lemon curd cupcakes when I was in labor with Spencer.  I had a home birth-best decision EVER!- so, I had plenty of time at home to waste whilst the contractions did their work.  Of course, I couldn’t eat any while everything was going on, but the midwives, my husband and I all had a cake in Spencer’s honor after he was born.  It was kinda like his first ever birth day cake.

So, these cakes are very dear to my heart.  I hope that you enjoy them.     🙂

lemon curd filled cupcakes

Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1 batch of white cupcakes (recipe follows)

lemon curd

1 batch of vanilla buttercream (recipe follows)

sugarpaste flowers to decorate (optional)

Method:

1. Once the cupcakes are cool, make a well in the middle by cutting a cone into the top (wide base on the top) using a sharp knife.  Taking the cone, cut off the narrow bit, reserving the cake top.

2. Fill the well with lemon curd and replace the cake top.

3. Pipe the buttercream frosting onto the cake and finish with a small flower.

 

Simple White Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup milk

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350*F (160*C). Line a muffin tin with baking cups or grease and flour.

2. Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until mixed.

3. Stir in the dry ingredients.

4. Add the milk and stir until well mixed.

5. Spoon batter into each baking cup til they are 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 to 2 tbsp milk

Method:

1. In a small electric mixer, combine the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. This will be dry and crumbly.

2. Add the milk, a tbsp at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable, yet still “peaks”.  If too thin, add powdered sugar; if to thick add milk.

 

 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

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We are a bit pizza-crazy in this house.  The hubby will eat any pizza, but me…I like a good gourmet!  Unfortunately, no new veggie options yet, as I am still lovin ‘the Tricolore too much!  But, here is Paul’s all time favorite pizza.

I’ve made this with and without bacon…both are nice (so I’ve heard) so use your discretion! If you do, be sure to fry it until it is nice and crispy first.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

1 Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (recipe follows)

1 chicken breast

olive oil

a pinch of salt

BBQ sauce

1/2 cup red onions, sliced fine

1 red pepper, diced

fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

parmesan cheese, grated

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400*F (200*C).

2. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper; bake for 25-30 minutes, or until white in the middle.  Cut into cubes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the pizza base by stretching and shaping one portion of dough onto a lightly greased pizza pan.  Thin and crispy is best!

4. Sprinkle the dough with salt and a little drizzle of olive oil. Spread on the BBQ and top with the remaining ingredients.

5. Set the oven to 500*F (260*C). Bake for about 15 minutes or until you get a hollow sound when the crust is tapped.

 

Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1 tsp instant or active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 cups plain flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup olive oil

Method:

1. Place warm water in a bowl; sprinkle yeast over top and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together plain flour, whole wheat flour and salt.

3. Drizzle oil in slowly as you stir, to distribute evenly.

4. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast water. Stir until the dough comes together in a sticky, gooey mass.

5. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and place dough inside.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 2 hours.  Feel free to place in the fridge at this stage for up to 4 days. (It rises just fine)

6.  When ready to use, section into 4 separate doughs for a thin crust, 2 for thick.

 

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Risotto

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While my two year old can eat pretty much the exact same thing every week, Momma needs some variety!  So, I decided to branch out a bit.  This recipe is really great, as it takes minimal extra effort to make something new and visually pleasing for me, whilst making Myles his comfort food.

Plus, I still have pesto in the house.  Waste not, want not!

bello mushrooms with risotto

 

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Risotto

Ingredients:

1 recipe for Parmesan Risotto (excluding the peas)

4 portobello mushrooms, rinsed

olive oil

salt and pepper

pesto

parmesan

a handful of baby spinach leaves

Method:

1. Cook a batch of Parmesan Risotto.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400*F (200*C).

3. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

4. Cook for 20 minutes, flipping over half way through.

5. Remove the mushrooms from the oven; fill with risotto, a tsp of pesto and sprinkle with shaven parmesan.

6. Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves.

 

Corn Chowder

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I need to stop blogging so late at night….my mind turns to mush at around 10pm and I’m left with very little to write.  😛

But, I digress….this is corn chowder.  It is good.

corn chowder

Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

2 medium white potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped fine

1 cup of frozen corn

milk

1 Tbsp butter

salt and pepper

sprig of rosemary or strips of crispy bacon to garnish

Method:

1. Parboil the potatoes in water for 7-8 minutes, or until a knife can just pierce.

2. Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat, add the onion and fry until it is just turning soft. Add the carrot, potatoes, salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add milk to about 1″ above the veg; simmer over low heat until the potato is soft and mushy (about 15 minutes) Make sure to keep at a slow boil as to not scorch the milk!

4. Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.

5. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup leaving some chunks of veg behind. Season to taste and garnish with either a sprig of rosemary or some crispy bacon.

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Sandwich

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God, I love pesto.  It’s just so tasty.  I know it’s cheating, but I have never actually made it myself…I keep meaning to, but then my basil always dies before it produces enough.  One day my ideals will match my gardening prowess.

This sandwich is extremely simple (as are most sandwiches).  It’s really just a true celebration of summer, as it is packed with roasted summer produce.  Yep, I am trying make the most of the last dregs of summer before it completely disappears!

roasted veg and pesto sandwich

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 zucchini (courgette), thinly sliced lengthwise

1 eggplant (aubergine), thinly sliced lengthwie

1 red pepper, cut into long strips

olive oil

salt and pepper

pesto

fresh mozzarella

whole grain baguette

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400*F (200*C). Arrange the vegetables on a baking tray, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges are just turning brown.

2. Assemble the sandwich by cutting down one side of the baguette. Spread pesto on the inside and layer the vegetables and mozzarella inside.  Return to the oven until the cheese is melted.