Festive Fortnight [8]: Gingerbread Cupcakes

These gingerbread cupcakes were a hit! I made them for a birthday party and everybody loved them. I have to say, I was amazed by how incredibly delicious they turned out. I’m not the biggest fan of cupcakes (I’m of the opinion that frosting is highly overrated) so I don’t make them that often, which made this recipe a bit of an experiment. But it was definitely a succesful one!

The molasses are the big winner in this recipe, I think. Of course, they’re quite integral to gingerbread cookies and thus to gingerbread cupcakes, but I’m in awe with just how much extra depth the molasses bring to the flavour. The ginger also definitely comes through, which I love, and it makes sure the cupcakes don’t taste too sweet.

Then in comes the frosting; it’s a cream cheese frosting and it’s incredibly soft and smooth. The dash of cinnamon adds that extra little something and makes these cupcakes fingerlicking good. I mean, I don’t want to blow my own trumpet too much, but I’m pretty darn proud of these!

Those tiny little cookies on top are a Dutch ‘delicacy’. They’re tiny speculaas cookies (similar to gingerbread) which are generally eaten on sandwiches (I know – but it’s delicious!). I actually wanted to use Christmas sprinkles, but couldn’t find them, so these were a makeshift solution. It looks pretty cute, though, I think!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

We all have that one friend who seems to have a black hole for a stomach. You know, that person who can just keep eating forever. Oh, and the most frustrating thing: they always stay super thin! That’s my friend Wesley. For the last couple of years I’ve always baked something for his birthday party. When I asked him what he wanted this year, he said “something with peanut butter”.

And something with peanut butter he got. I’d been wanting to bake peanut butter cupcakes for a while now, so this was a good excuse! I put together a recipe, which went pretty well, but the actual baking went a bit less smoothly. I dropped the bowl with the batter, sending spatters of peanut butter-y goodness flying through my kitchen. (Disclaimer: I did not put those back in the bowl. Most of the batter simply stayed put.) Then my batter turned out to be much too dough-like, and I didn’t have any milk, so I threw in some yogurt, hoping for the best.

In the end, they came out perfectly! I decorated them with the frosting, and transported them to my friend’s house in my cake carry thingy while riding my bike. I almost hit about five different people because I found out my left brake wasn’t working very well, but it was fine. And then we went from my friend’s house to the party. Just before the entrance, someone (hint: it wasn’t me) dropped the cake carry thing upside down, smooshing the frosting and breaking the thing. I was a bit bummed, but they were still a hit, and I’d taken pictures before I left anyway, so all was well (seriously Esmé, it’s all good)! They kind of looked like turds anyway (it had to be said).

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Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday I baked something for the first time since my birthday. That’s over three weeks without any baked goodies from yours truly! I’ve been a bit too busy to create new recipes over the past few weeks, so it was so nice to finally be able to get back into the kitchen and bake my heart out yesterday. Like I’ve said before, baking has a therapeutic effect on me and I felt strangely energised after I finished these cupcakes – ready to take on the world again!

I hardly ever bake cupcakes because I’m not a huge fan of frosting – I absolutely detest buttercream (way too much butter!). All of the cream cheese frosting recipes I came across during my research still incorporated quite a bit of butter, and I wanted no butter at all (can you tell I have a thing about butter?). So I decided to see what happened if I only used cream cheese for the frosting instead of also adding butter.

The result? A delicious frosting that even I like! I was afraid it might be a bit too runny, but, while it’s not as firm as buttercream, it works perfectly as frosting for a cupcake. A very succesful experiment, if you ask me.

Now about the cupcake itself: I modified my carrot cake recipe for this recipe and the cupcakes came out absolutely lovely. The cinnamon frosting adds the finishing touch – it’s a perfect treat for this time of year.
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Pretty in Pink: Raspberry Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I bought a kilo of frozen raspberries for less than 4 euros. You can imagine I was quite pleased with myself! I love raspberries, but they’re always so ridiculously expensive, if you want fresh ones. Even frozen raspberries aren’t very cheap, usually. So, yes, I was very happy with this purchase, to say the least.

I’ve used a bunch of them to make smoothies, but decided to bake something with them this week: cupcakes, to be exact. I didn’t realise exactly how pink they’d turn out, so, in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen pink paper cases to bake them in. They still look scrumptious, though! Plus, the colour of the icing is completely natural: all you need is some raspberry juice.

I slightly altered this recipe for the cupcakes, which is always foolproof, and they came out looking pretty darn delicious. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry, and only had time to ice three of the cupcakes (the others needed to bake a little longer) after trying to let them cool more quickly by holding the plate out of the window. Oh well, it happens.

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An Easter Carrot Cake (with pecans)

Happy Easter everyone! How was your day? Lots of chocolate, I suppose?

What with Easter being a perfect holiday for delicious baked goods, I figured I had to bake something scrumptious this weekend. My mind went immediately to a carrot cake, a bake I’d never made before and seemed perfect for Easter. I think the thought process went something like “carrot – rabbits – Easter bunny”, although that didn’t happen deliberately.

Anyway, on Saturday morning I browsed through some of my baking books and the internet and eventually I put together my own recipe, for what I thought would make a delicious carrot cake with pecans and a nice lemon-y frosting.

It was very easy to make and came out absolutely wonderful! The cake has a beautiful texture and a nice cinnamon taste which is complemented in a lovely way by the frosting, which has a hint of lemon. If you want the cinnamon taste to be less dominant, just use a bit less cinnamon (obvious, eh?) or perhaps a bit more ginger for a more ginger-y taste.

I am very proud of how this cake turned out, I hope you’ll like it too if you decide to make it!

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You’ll need…For the cake (approx. 10 servings)

– 3 eggs

– 150 ml sunflower/vegetable oil

– 100 g white sugar

– 100 g light brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavouring

P1010026– 125 g flour

– 2 teaspoons of baking powder

– a pinch of salt

– 1,5 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

– 0,5 teaspoon of ground ginger

– 165 g grated carrots

– 50 g chopped pecans

For the frosting:

– 200 g cream cheese

– 1 tablespoon of buttermilk

– 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla flavouring

– 220 g icing sugar

– zest of half a lemon

Also:

– a springform tin (22 cm)

– parchment paper

– and an oven, of course! This cake needs to be baked at 175 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla First of all, you need to beat together the eggs and the sunflower (or vegetable) oil, and then add the two types of sugar and the vanilla flavouring and mix until everything is evenly mixed. I just used a whisk for everything.

2. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger Next up, you’ll have to add the flour and the baking powder and mix it through, and do the same with the salt, the cinnamon and the ginger. As I said above, you can adjust the amounts of cinnamon and ginger to your taste.

3. Add carrots and pecans Now, stir in the grated carrots and then also add the chopped pecans. Mix everything until your mixture is nice and smooth, which shouldn’t be too difficult; such an easy recipe, and so delicious!

P10100294. Prepare the tin and bake the cake Line the base of your springform tin with parchment paper and grease and flour the entire tin. Then pour in the mixture for your cake. You’ll probably won’t have to smooth anything because the mixture is quite runny. Put your cake into the preheated oven and bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check the cake after the first 35 minutes by inserting a skewer; if it comes out wet you’ll need to bake the cake a bit longer. If that’s the case, just check again after 5 extra minutes of baking.

5. Make the frosting After your cake has cooled you can coat it with the frosting, which you prepare by mixing the cream cheese, buttermilk and vanilla flavouring together with an electric mixer, after which you gradually mix the icing sugar through it. Then add the zest of about half a lemon. Just gradually add the zest and taste after mixing if you think it’s right!

And that’s all to make this delicious easter carrot cake! Enjoy!

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I had quite a bit of frosting left over since I don’t usually use a lot of frosting (and it was just too much), so I whipped up a small batch of cupcakes to coat with the remaining lemon frosting. I decorated them with the limited edition of Easter M&M’s.

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A Cupcake Celebration

One of my best friends spent the whole of last semester in Newcastle, studying abroad. I really missed her, and am glad she’s back again so we can get back to watching (Disney) films, drinking tea and talking for ages. She’s been back since the start of this semester and on Tuesday she texted me saying she’d passed all her courses in Newcastle and asking me if we could celebrate by baking something together the next day.

Who am I to say no to such an offer, right?

So, we decided to bake some cupcakes, and invite over the other two friends from our little group to help us decorate and celebrate and have fun! Which we did!

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We used this recipe to make the cupcakes, and they came out absolutely beautiful and delicious…

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…And then we continued to ruin them with buttercream (with red and blue food colouring) and sprinkles (which had practically all passed their expiration date — but eh, it’s only sugar)!

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I’m just kidding, they weren’t really ruined. But I think we all agreed they tasted better without the sugar overload.

They looked pretty darn cute, though! Albeit quite rainbow-and-unicorny, but that’s fine. We all need some rainbows and unicorns in our lives from time to time, right?

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