Earl Grey Cupcakes

Sooo…it’s been a while.

However, I have a halfway decent excuse for not posting for half a century this time: I’ve been trying out a new recipe and it just hasn’t been cooperating with me. When I finally master it, I will be sharing it with you on this blog but in the meantime, you’ll just have to make do with this.

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These cupcakes are very subtly flavoured with Earl Grey teabags and the sponge is lovely and light, despite there being no creaming involved. You can use any kind of teabags you want; herbal or fruit teabags can be used if you aren’t a fan of Earl Grey. I have some peppermint and liquorice teabags in the cupboard at the moment so I might have another go at this recipe using those.

I’m starting a new full-time job on Monday so I’m not sure what the frequency of my posts will be like in the next few weeks but I will try my best to keep posting once a week.

Makes 12-16 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the sponge:

3 Earl Grey teabags

3tbsp just-boiled water

80g unsalted butter, softened

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

200ml whole milk

2 large eggs

For the frosting:

50ml whole milk

500g icing sugar

160g unsalted butter, softened

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Recipe

  1. Place the teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water, then leave to brew for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Use a hand-held electric whisk to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand. Add the brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from the teabags into the milk mixture, then set the teabags aside for the frosting.
  4. Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Then mix on a medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
  5. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. If there is batter left over, spoon it into more cases in a separate tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooking, place the used teabags in a small bowl with the milk for the frosting and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and give them a good squeeze to extract maximum flavour.
  7. Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is still powdery. Pour in the tea-infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy.
  8. Divide the frosting between the cold cupcakes, smoothing the tops and swirling with a palette knife.

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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

 

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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

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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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Blueberry and Soured Cream Loaf

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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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Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

As promised, here is another recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book Cake Days. After many attempts at making cookies that invariably ended in a hot mess on a baking tray, I tried this recipe and had great success with it. The batter isn’t runny like many others I’ve tried and holds its shape while baking, leading to lovely and round cookies. To make them slightly softer and chewier, I used dark brown sugar in place of light brown. You can adjust the amount of cranberries and white chocolate chips that you use according to your personal taste – I didn’t want mine to be too sweet so used smaller quantities than recommended by the original recipe.

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I got 8 large cookies from this recipe.

  • 135g unsalted butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 190g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (I left this out)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 60g white chocolate

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

Using a whisk, cream the butter and two types of sugar together until smooth and well-combined before breaking in the egg and adding the vanilla essence. Mix well.

Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda together, then add half of this to the butter and sugar mixture and mix by hand. Add the second half and continue mixing until a dough forms. Finally stir in the cranberries and white chocolate.

Break off pieces of the dough and roll into balls about 3-4cm. Place on the baking sheets, making sure to leave enough space between balls for them to spread out whilst in the oven. I’d recommend putting no more than six cookies on each baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. As soon they turn light golden on top, remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack – they should solidify as they cool, which gives them a chewy texture.

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Enjoy!

 

 

Boston Cream Cupcakes

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As soon as I laid eyes on this recipe, I knew I had to try it! Taking flavour inspiration from the Boston cream pie, these light vanilla sponges are filled with a vanilla custard and topped with rich chocolate frosting. Although the typical method of creaming butter and sugar together first to incorporate air isn’t used here, the cakes are amazingly airy and delicate, and as an added bonus (as if I needed to say more) they stay wonderfully moist in an airtight container for a good few days – I actually thought they tasted better the day after I baked them.

I discovered these beauties in Cake Days, a book of recipes from the brilliant Hummingbird Bakery, which you can purchase here.  It’s full of really interesting flavour combinations and I can guarantee that I’ll be posting many more recipes from the book on this blog in the weeks to come!

NB: If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet, simply change the ratio of icing sugar to cocoa powder, but make sure that the two quantities should still add up to 500g.

 

Makes about 12-16 Cupcakes

 

For the sponge:

•80g unsalted butter, softened

•280g caster sugar

•240g plain flour

•1 tbsp baking powder

•¼ tsp salt

•240ml whole milk

•2 large eggs

•1 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the filling:

•250ml whole milk

•½ tsp vanilla extract

•2 large egg yolks

•50g caster sugar

•1 tbsp plain flour

•1 tbsp corn flour

 

For the frosting:

•400g icing sugar

•100g cocoa powder

•160g unsalted butter, softened

•80ml whole milk

 

Equipment

•One or two 12-hole muffin tins

•Piping bag

•Muffin cases

 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the mixture starts to look like fine breadcrumbs.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a jug, then pour in ¾ of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until the mixture becomes smooth and thick, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until combined and smooth.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them by two-thirds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the filling. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a saucepan and bring to the boil. In the meantime, whisk the rest of the ingredients by hand in a bowl until smooth and well combined.

Once the milk is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and pour 4-5 tablespoons of the mixture from it into the egg yolk mixture to loosen, then add this mixture to the pan of hot milk, stirring well.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly so that lumps do not form. Boil for at least a minute to make sure that the flour is cooked out completely. Once thickened, tip the custard into a bowl and leave to cool completely for 30-40 minutes.

To make the frosting, use an electric whisk to beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter at a low speed until it takes on a sandy texture. Add the milk slowly before increasing the speed to high and whisk until the frosting becomes soft and fluffy.

Using a sharp knife, make a hole in the centre of each cupcake about 2cm in diameter and 3cm deep, keeping the scooped-out pieces of sponge. Spoon the custard into the hole in each cake, then replace the sponge lid, trimming it to ensure the top is fairly level.

Smooth the frosting over the tops of the cupcakes with a a palette knife and add a swirl. Sprinkle with grated chocolate to decorate.

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Let me know how you get on if you try this recipe!