Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

It is officially cold and miserable. There is no going back now, winter weather is setting in. I have already got the slow cook out, bought my winter coat and stocked up on hot chocolate.

hot chocolate cupcakes

This Sunday, as the rain hammered down and the skies remained overcast and grey all day long, I decided to scuttle into the kitchen and bake to help brighten up the day. Having a look around at what I had, I settled on a Hot Chocolate recipe from my Hummingbird Bakery book, seeing as Hot Chocolate is the only thing that seems to be bursting out of all of my cupboards at the moment.

hot chocolate cupcakes

The inspiration for the frosting came from a recent post on PeanutButtered. Their Mr Whippy recipe was far more fancy than mine (I had to adapt it to what I had available, and also convert the American cups to English grams which turned into a bit of a guessing game) so I won’t disown you if you try theirs first.


To make this version, you’ll need:

240ml of Semi-skimmed Milk
25g of Hot Chocolate
80g Unsalted Butter
665g Caster Sugar
240g Plain Flour
1 tbsp of Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 large Eggs
6 large Egg Whites
1 Vanilla Pod
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartare
100g of Milk Chocolate
1 tbsp of Vegetable Oil

Gently heat the milk in a pan with the hot chocolate until completely dissolved, set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, 280g of the sugar, the flour, baking powder and salt into fine breadcrumbs.

Once the hot chocolate has cooled down, whisk in the 2 eggs. Combine this wet mixture with the dry ingredients until completely smooth. Pop into cases and bake for 20 mins at 180*.

Now the slightly trickier bit… For the frosting, pop the remaining caster sugar, egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartare in a heatproof bowl and whisk until fluffy. Once the mixture starts to increase in size and turn pale, sit it over a simmering pan of water (don’t let it boil!) and continue to whisk until stiff peaks begin to form. When you have stiff peaks, take off the heat and continue to whisk for another minute. Transfer to a piping bag and cover your hot chocolate cupcakes however you fancy.

Pop the piped cupcakes in the fridge to set whilst you prep the last little bit.

Melt the chocolate and oil over a bain-marie until completely smooth, then leave to cool before covering the cupcakes. The girls from PeanutButtered went for complete indulgence by entirely immersing their cupcakes in the chocolate mixture. I started that way, then went for the complacent squiggle across the top with a teaspoon.

hot chocolate cupcakes hot chocolate cupcakes

What do you think? Do you like them?

Cinnamon Banana Bread

After quite a few hectic days of cocktails and eating out in London, I was craving something warm, cosy and home cooked. I have had quite a lot of evening events with work as well, so eating a ‘proper’ dinner at home has been, and will be, non-existent for the next few days.

To combat my cravings, I knocked out my trusty Cinnamon Banana Bread.

Banana and Cinnamon Bread

Most people usually combine banana bread with walnut or pecans, but this is quite a nice alternative if your looking for something slightly lighter with a bit of a warmth to it. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up.

A beautifully comforting slice of calm, amidst a busy week!


If you fancy having a go, you will need:

3 Bananas (the older and blacker they are, the tastier the bread!)
50 ml Milk
100g Butter
150g Light Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
250g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon

Mush the bananas and milk together in a bowl, and cream the sugar and butter in another. Combine together and then mix in all the other ingredients. You want a well combined mixture, but it should still be pretty lumpy. Stick it in a lined loaf tin, and sprinkle a little more Cinnamon over the top. Then pop it in the oven at 180* for approx. 50-60 minutes and voila…

Chocolate Celebration Cake

I sort of amalgamated three recipes for this Chocolate Celebration Cake.

The look and design I stole from Lorraine Pascale’s ‘I Can’t Believe You Made That’ cake, for the sponge I have used a trusty BBC GoodFood recipe, and the filling and icing I have perfected (to my taste at least) over the years after many different attempts.

chocolate celebration cake

This cake was made for birthdays. Make sure you at least have an event where lots of people are attending if you plan to make this… Mainly to ensure that you have to share it. That way you don’t end up eating it all (more than temping enough to do) and giving yourself a coronary, but you also get to show of your creation at the same time (win!).

chocolate celebration cake

This bake is definitely a crowd pleaser and it’s a fantastic way to cut personalised slices too- one finger or four?


My filling is a simple chocolate buttercream. :

250g of Icing Sugar
100g of good quality Milk Chocolate
50g Butter

Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie. Once it is completely melted and smooth, leave to cool slightly on the side. Beat together the butter and icing sugar. Slowly add in the melted chocolate until your mixture smooths out completely. Use this as the filling to sandwich layers together.

The chocolate icing requires:

400g of Chocolate (I normally use half Milk Chocolate, half Dark Chocolate, but it depends on individual taste)
200g of Double Cream
50g of Butter

Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain-marie and once it is completely melted, take off the heat. Pour in the double cream and whisk until the mixture becomes glossy and starts to thicken. Plonk the whole lot on top of the little cake tower and use a spatula to smooth the mixture down the sides along the top. I went with a cheaper alternative to Lorraines cigarillo’s- the chocolate finger. Fix them along the outside of the cake, and secure with ribbon. As the icing dries, the chocolate fingers will be fixed rigidly in place.

 

White Chocolate and Cherry Cookies

White Chocolate and Cherry cookies are quick and easy, perfect for sharing, and almost impossible to get wrong.

white chocolate and cherry cookie

This bake started out life as a Hummingbird Bakery recipe, which uses dried cranberries instead of cherry, slightly less cinnamon and half soft brown sugar. True to form though, I have sweetened the original in an attempt to satisfy my love for all things naughty.


140g Butter
160g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
195g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
100g of Glacé Cherries
100g of White Chocolate

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and fold in until completely combined. Sift in the flour, salt, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda and mix until the dough starts to come together. Roughly chop up the chocolate and cherries and fold into the mixture. Break off small balls of dough and roll them into circular shapes. Blob these onto a buttered and lined tray in circular (ish) balls and baked them at 180 degrees for 15mins.

Chocolatey Love

Look what I found!

Is this not the most awesome chocolate packaging design, EVER?

Chocolate Marketing (2)
Chocolate Marketing (1)

I defy you to find better!

Marbled Malteser Muffins

Deliciously indulgent Banana and Chocolate soul food at its finest.

banana swirl malteser muffin

I got the inspiration for this weeks baking creation, and the core recipe from one of the blogs I follow on a regular basis, The Londoner. You can find the original recipe for Rosie’s banana and Nutella swirl muffins here which are truly delicious and worth a try if you (like me) enjoy the little indulgences baking can bring.

I do have an insatiable sweet tooth though… So after making Rosie’s muffins, I couldn’t help trying again but this time adding in a little more naughtiness (as per) to make it extra calorific and enticing!

banana swirl malteser muffin

My conscience is sat on my hips right now tutting and knowing I will regret this second helping as I write… but it tastes good so hell to it!


My slightly adapted recipes calls for:
250g self raising flour
160g granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
113g melted unsalted butter
3 large ripe bananas
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
4 tbsp Nutella
1 bag of Maltesers

Sieve the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon into a bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the 2 eggs and mix in the melted butter, mashed bananas and vanilla. Once combined, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir it all together until just combined. Divide equally between your muffin cases.

Lightly squish the Maltesers, plop a spoonful of Malteser mash and another teaspoon of Nutella in the middle of each muffin and swirl.

Pop them in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20mins (dependent on ovens) until they are all golden brown and delicious. The waiting is the hardest part of this bake!!

banana swirl malteser muffin

 

Cream Tea, Anyone?

scone recipe

My trusty scone recipe started out life on the BBC GoodFood website. Over the years though, it’s had a few tweaks here and there.

Scone Recipe


This recipe will produce 12 good-sized (and by good-sized I mean LARGE) scones.

360g Self Raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
95g Butter, cold
3 tablespoons of caster sugar (heaped!)
175ml of Semi-Skimmed Milk, warmed through
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
(and whatever filling your heart desires!)

Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl along with the butter. Mix with hands until it becomes a fine breadcrumb texture. Next mix in the sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the warmed milk and vanilla extract. Make a well in the flour bowl and pour the liquid into it. Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix together until it forms a slightly wet dough.

Once the mixture has come together, turn out on to a lightly floured surface and gently knead. As soon as the dough starts to smooth out – stop. Roll the dough to about a 4-5cms thickness and cut out your scones.

Place them on a greased and floured tray and bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.