Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Double Choc-Mint Christmas Cakes

Happy Christmas Eve to all those in blogasphere. An in honour of the date here are my third day of Christmas cakes.

Very handy, as these was also do as a Cupcake Hero entry. It's been ages since I've done the CCH thing, but this month it's white chocolate so these will work for that too.

The cakes themselves are from my mate JC and are one of the best cake mixes you can use (and I'm not really a chocolate fan)

100g dark cooking chocolate
100ml milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
100g butter, softened
115g (1/2 cup) sugar
2 eggs
150g self raising flour, sifted

Put the chocolate, the milk and cocoa powder in a double boiler and slowly heat until the chocolate has melted. Then take off the heat and allow to cool a little.

Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar. Then add the eggs one at a time, combining each one well. Then mix in the chocolate mix and finally fold the flour through with a metal spoon.

Bake in lined cupcake trays for about 18-20 minutes in a 180 degree oven.

.... next I did a white chocolate and peppermint icing.

melt 160g white chocolate with 60g butter. Let it cool for a little then stir through 120g of sour cream, 260g of sifted icing sugar and a few drops of peppermint essence.

Luckily I had bought some bulls eyes for something else and they hadn't been eaten, so I smashed them up and sprinkled them on top. The photo above is taken in my carrier tray before I took them to work for consumption, but the broken lollies made them all sparkly and lovely.

So have a great day tomorrow, regardless of where you are, or what you happen to do on 25 December. Stay safe and eat too much.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

second day of christmas

On the second day of Christmas, gingerbread cupcakes are the go.

There has been much talk of gingerbread houses, and ginger cake, and I had Chinese beef with ginger, snowpeas and coriander for lunch the other day, so why not I say?!

Gingerbread Cupcakes
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 tpsn baking soda
1tspn grounder ginger
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
90g butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tblspn golden syrup

then simply sift the dry ingredients into a mixer bowl, add the wet and mix together until golden and light. Put into 12 cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 170 degrees

Simple Cream Cheese Icing
Mix 30g butter, 80g cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar, add a squeeze of lemon and a bit of zest.

These were rather nice. Needed more ginger, as the cinnamon flavour sort of took over, but they were still good. Just not particularly ginger. But the spice combination added a Christmas feel. They were a little dry, so I might think about putting a little cream or milk in next time.

What I'd really love to do is the whole gingerbread house thing. Maybe next year.

But also a cat update. Thurston's sulking and crying at the door. Apollo's constantly trying to get out and Tony's eating everything.

I like kittens......

Monday, December 22, 2008

ho ho ho and bah-humbug

On the twelve days of Christmas my true love gave to me....

cupcakes a plenty.

well really, the three days of Christmas. One every day until Christmas Day. which is three! hurrah!

And on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me vanilla caramel cakes.

These are a no-brainer. The cakes are dead simple and come courtesy of the lovely Nigella Lawson.

Put 125g of each butter, sugar and self raising flour in a blender/mixer with two large eggs and a little vanilla extract. Mix. Add just enough milk to make a good batter, about a couple of tablespoons. Put into the liners and bake for about 18 minutes.

The caramel was to use up some of the caramel syrup left over from the last daring bakers challenge (speaking of which this month's as yet as no place on my calendar, but I'll see how I go). I simply mixed about 100g of butter with about 200g of icing sugar, added the syrup and enough cream to form the right consistency.

And this icing was lovely. If you remember (or if you scroll down a couple of posts) I found the official one a little sweet. Don't know what it was, but this was better. Either the butter/sugar ratio suited me more, or simply that it make the correct amount so I wasn't slathering it on.

..... which brings me to the bah-humbug.

Please, I beseech thee. I BEG thee.

If you're a recipe writer can I ask that you do two things.

First - write all the components in the order that you need to make them. If you need a syrup, or a glaze or a puree for the main show, say so up front. Don't make me get half way through and then have you say 'add the syrup, see recipe below'. I know you should read all the way through a recipe first, but darn it I'm a busy, modern, work-a-day kinda gal and I forget these things. Put the syrup first.

Secondly, if I need a cup of syrup, can you give me the recipe for this. Not for three litres of the stuff. There aren't enough mouths in my house to use the left over syrup, and as I'm too Scottish to chuck it away, it sits, dormant, in the back of my fridge for years. Literally.

You may be able to tell I've encountered these problems recently. And I think I've totally stuffed up Christmas Day desert. Maybe I'll make an extra batch of cakes!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

a new addition to the family

I have just got back from the Animal Welfare League. Meet Antonius Pius (or Tony)

and Apollo

Thurston is still to work out that there are two new cats in the study (or he doesn't actually care). Apollo is already fast asleep. Tony's having a bit of a hunt around.

Quite frankly I think Apollo has the right idea....