Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

After stumbling across and ordering a whoopie pie tin on Amazon (whilst looking for hair curlers…yeah, I don’t know how that happened either), I’ve been dying to try this recipe out. I would stress the importance of not overfilling the holes if you do use a tin; if you do, as I did, you won’t end up with these:

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You’ll have yourself a few of these brutes:

whoopie 3     whoopie 4

Aren’t they pretty?

This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days, but I used this Betty Crocker filling recipe rather than the one provided in the book.

Ingredients

For the sponge:

120g unsalted butter, softened

200g soft dark brown sugar

1 large egg

120ml buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, just add 1 tsp lemon juice to this quantity of milk and leave to stand for five minutes before use)

1 tsp vanilla essence

340g plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

30ml red food colouring (do not, I repeat, DO NOT use ‘natural’ food colouring as it will not be strong enough to produce the red that you want for red velvet)

For the filling:

170g cream cheese

90g unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla essence

120g icing sugar

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Using a handheld electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in texture. Add the egg whilst mixing on a low speed and whisk until fully incorporated.

Mix the buttermilk and vanilla essence together by hand, then pour into the creamed mixture whilst mixing on a low speed. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together and add to the batter in two batches, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the red food colouring and increase the speed before giving the batter a final mix to ensure an even red colour throughout. Refrigerate the batter for 20-30 minutes to allow it to cool and set slightly.

Once cooled, spoon or pipe the batter onto the prepared trays (you’ll probably get eight to ten mounds per tray, each being about 3-5cm across and 2-3cm apart). Bake for 10-13 minutes or until springy to touch, then allow to cool completely.

While the sponges are baking, make the filling. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on a low speed until fully combined. Add the powdered sugar bit by bit until all is incorporated. Beat for 1 minute. Be careful not to overbeat as the cream cheese can quickly cause the mixture to become runny, which is not what we want. Place the filling in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Once the cakes are completely cooled, spread about a tablespoon of filling onto the flat side of one of the sponges, then stick a sponge of similar size on top of it. Repeat with the remaining sponges and filling.

whoopie 1

 

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Doughnut Cupcakes

This recipe is amazingly easy, as well as slightly unusual and, of course, delicious. I made these for afternoon tea with friends and they went down so well; they’re a sophisticated version of a childhood favourite. They don’t taste exactly like doughnuts as they’re baked not fried but as they’re probably easier on your waistline, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I imagine these would be quite good to make if you have small children who want to join in in the kitchen-  it’s a one-bowl recipe that’s relatively fuss-free.

doughnut cupcakes

Ingredients

230g softened butter plus 3 tbsp melted

230g sugar, plus about 25g extra to sprinkle

2 eggs plus 1 yolk

280g self-raising flour

105 ml milk

1/2 tsp baking powder

12 tsp strawberry jam (about half a jar)

doughnut cupcakes 3

Recipe

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Beat together the softened butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk and baking powder in a large bowl until you have a smooth batter.

Line a 12 hole cake tin with cases. Fill the cases two-thirds full with the batter, then make a small dip in the batter and place a teaspoon of jam into it. Cover with another spoonful of cake batter and repeat for the rest of the cupcakes. Bake for 25 mins until golden on top. The sponge should bounce back when lightly pressed.

Brush some melted butter over each cake then sprinkle with caster sugar and serve.

doughnut cupcakes 2doughnut cupcakes 4

 

 

Blondies

I am so sorry for the lack of posts recently! My hiatus over the last couple of weeks has been down to being really busy at work, as well as a last-minute trip abroad to visit family. Please accept my profuse apologies in the form of this recipe, which I think (I’m pretty sure) you’ll enjoy.

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Blondies, for those of you unfamiliar with them, are a white chocolate version of brownies. The pecans prevent them from tasting too sickly-sweet and also give them a pleasantly crunchy texture. When melting the chocolate, I would recommend leaving the butter out of the bain-marie until the chocolate has gotten well on its way to melted, otherwise the butter will melt very quickly and may start to burn if the temperature is not quite right.

This recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and makes about 12 pieces.

Ingredients

150g white chocolate, broken into pieces
125g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
a pinch of salt
120g pecan nuts, chopped

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 33 x 23 x 5cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a bain-marie. Leave until they have melted together to form a smooth mixture.

Remove from heat and add the sugar, stirring until well incorporated. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and stir briskly. The mixture may look like it is starting to split – don’t worry; this is normal. Add the flour, salt and pecan nuts and stir until distributed evenly throughout the mix.

Spoon the mixture into the baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and the centre is still soft. Leave to cool completely and cut into squares.

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Oat and Raisin Cookies

 

oat and raisin

 

Everything you want in a cookie – chewiness, softness and sharp bursts of sweetness – I guarantee this recipe will give to you. The consistency of the dough is always perfect when I make these delectable biscuits; it’s never too runny so as to bake unevenly nor is it stiff and difficult to work with. The oats give the cookies a lower GI so you won’t get a massive sugar rush, meaning that they are somewhat healthier than other non-oat-based treats. The amount of raisins is entirely up to you – the dough itself is not overly sweet so I make sure to add plenty to give it a lift. You can never overcompensate in the sugar department in my humble opinion.

Possible breakfast alternative? You bet.

I borrowed this recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Makes about 12 cookies

oat and raisin 3

Ingredients

  • 270g unsalted butter, softened
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 160g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 380g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 110g rolled oats
  • 220g raisins

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Using a handheld electric whisk, cream the butter and two types of sugar together until lighter in colour and fluffy.

Add the eggs to the creamed mixture one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Beat in the vanilla on a lower speed setting.

Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together in a separate bowl. Stir in the oats. Add to the creamed mixture and beat until well mixed.

Stir in the raisins with a wooden spoon until evenly dispersed.

Arrange equal amounts of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets. Make sure that you leave space between them as they will spread as they bake. Bake for about 12 minutes or until they start to go golden brown and slightly firm.

Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

But why would you do that when you could just eat them warm from the oven?

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Banana Oat and Honey Muffins

 

muffins 4

 

Since starting up this blog, I’ve been doing a massive amount of baking in order to build up recipes to post. This means that my very small family of three has been eating copious and interminable amounts of cake, cookies and other delectable baked goods (even if I do say so myself) which hasn’t raised any complaints…until now. It’s sad to say that my parents – and our waistlines – are all sugared out for the moment. After flicking through a WeightWatchers recipe book that I found at the library and being thoroughly uninspired by the pages of pitifully sad-looking cakes made with cooking spray and low-fat margarine, I stumbled across this recipe which would be the perfect solution to all our problems (ok maybe not ALL of them but you get my drift).

muffins 5

I love these muffins because they aren’t overly sweet or sickly and can be made in advance if you’re off to school, work or uni early in the morning and don’t have time to sit down and eat breakfast. And let’s be honest, any excuse to eat cake at breakfast really should be taken advantage of. Made with oats, bananas and honey instead of sugar, they’re also very healthy so you can have as many as you like (I’m joking…but you probably won’t be able to help yourself). Yoghurt is also used in place of some of the butter which makes them really moist. They can turn out quite dense which I personally like but if you don’t, heating them for a few seconds in the microwave makes them a little lighter. They keep for a fair few days so you can make a large batch and consume them over a week or so.

muffins

I adapted this recipe from Kari’s blog Make it Homemade (here is the original recipe).

This recipe makes 9-10 muffins.

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 4 and ½ tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ripe medium bananas
  • 125g self-raising flour (you can use wholewheat flour if you want to make it even healthier)
  • 65g oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

muffins 2

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a 12-hole muffin tin.

Using a handheld electric whisk, mix the butter, yoghurt and honey until well blended.

Mash the bananas into a pulp and add to the butter mixture before adding the egg and vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add in two batches to the wet ingredients. Add in the oats and mix lightly until all the ingredients are wet.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle with a small amount of oats and some brown sugar if you like.

Bake until golden on top and springy to the touch. Inserting a skewer probably won’t work as the bananas make the muffins very moist and they will remain slightly wet in the middle.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the muffin tin and placing on a wire rack.

muffins 6

 

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

 

raspberry oat bars 4

 

These delicious little squares of pure goodness are almost like jam tarts, with their pastry-like base and topping and the sweet layer of raspberry jam which always seems to taste so much better when it’s been cooked. The addition of oats makes them a little bit healthier and a whole lot yummier. They’re the perfect lazy day bake because they’re just so easy and take so little time – they’re also much too easy to eat. I made these on a Sunday morning – by the afternoon they were gone without so much as a crumb left on the plate, which for my family of three must be a record.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Elissa’s blog, 17 and Baking.

This recipe yields about 12 good-sized squares.

195g self-raising flour

95g light brown sugar

½ tsp salt

150g unsalted butter

1 tsp milk

120g oats

200g jam

 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 9”x9” baking dish.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and using a handheld electric whisk, mix on a low speed until a dough starts to form, then add the milk.

Knead in the oats until well combined.

Put a cupful of dough to the side – this is what will serve as the crumble topping. Press the rest of the dough evenly into the dish.

Spread the jam evenly over the top. If this stage proves difficult, you can try warming the jam for a few seconds in the microwave. Crumble the reserved dough evenly over the top.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until the topping is golden) and cool completely in the dish on a rack. Use a knife to loosen the sides before lifting out and cutting into bars on a board.

 

raspberry oat bars 2

 

Blueberry and Soured Cream Loaf

bsc loaf

This loaf tastes great whilst being really quick and easy to make. The soured cream gives it a slight cream-cheesy tanginess and the blueberries add extra flavour and moisture. It’s normal for the blueberries to sink during baking as you can see from the pictures so don’t worry if that happens to you. It also keeps very well for a few days without drying out.
Once again, this recipe is adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days, which you can buy here. I promise I’ll start posting recipes from other sources soon!

Serves 8-10

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Ingredients
• 190g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
• 190g caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 35ml soured cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 125g fresh blueberries

Recipe
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease your loaf tin with butter and dust with flour.

Using a hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until lighter in colour and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each is added and ensure that you scrape the sides of the bowl often to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together before adding to the creamed mixture in three batches, lightly mixing until just combined. Add the soured cream and stir the blueberries in gently, making sure that they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the sponge is firm and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a short while, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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