Victoria Sandwich Cupcakes

 

 

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Victoria Sandwich Cupcakes

 

Light fluffy cupcakes with a tangy, sweet jam and cream filling dusted with icing sugar.  Perfect for afternoon tea.

Makes 12

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

4 oz butter (softened)

3 1/2 oz caster sugar

1/3 vanilla pod or 1/2 teaspoon of extract

2 eggs

4 oz self-raising flour

1 oz plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon milk

 

For the filling:

12 tsp good quality raspberry/strawberry jam/preserve

300ml double cream

2 tablespoons icing sugar

 

For the top:

Icing sugar to dust

 

Method

1) Preheat an oven to 160 C. Line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake liners. Sift the flours, salt and baking powder and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar for about 30 seconds using an electric whisk or until slightly pale. Add the vanilla and beat again.  Mix in the eggs one at a time beating each one into the batter before adding the next.  Fold in half of the flour.  Add the milk and combine. Fold in the remaining flour and then use the electric whisk for a quick blast to make sure the batter is well combined and smooth (about ten seconds using an electric whisk). Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake liners and bake on the middle shelf for about 15 minutes.  Insert a toothpick to test if the cakes are cooked through (should come out clean). Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about an hour.

2) Whip the double cream until nearly at the soft peak stage.  Add the icing sugar and whisk together until soft peaks are formed.  If you have over whipped add some milk until it loosens. Fill into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip

3) Use a sharp small knife to cut a cone shape out of the top of each cupcake to create a top and bottom layer. To do this insert the knife, at 45 degrees, close to the top edge of the cake and continue going around with the knife to cut a cone out.

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4) Place the jam in a bowl with a tablespoon of water and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Spread a teaspoon of the heated jam onto the bottom layer of the cupcake.

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5)  Pipe a generous amount of the whipped cream onto the jam filled bottom layer.  Tip: leave some jam exposed in areas so they look even more tempting!

20150213_0855546) Place the top of the cups cakes back on top and press down very gently.   20150213_085653 7) Dust with icing sugar and eat one at once!

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Tiramisu Cupcakes

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Tiramisu Cupcake

A cupcake version of the delicious Italian coffee dessert.  I have made this in a cake version (the header picture) using layers of genoise sponge and a similar cream filling, the only main difference is that I used more mascarpone in the cream filling of the cake version to make it more richer.

There are three main components to this cupcake: the cupcake, the coffee and the mascarpone cream topping.

To make the cupcakes:

Ingredients

8 oz softened butter

7 oz caster sugar

1 vanilla bean pod (but if you don’t have a pod, you can use extract as most of the vanilla flavor will be overtaken by the coffee)

4 eggs at room temperature

10 oz self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

a small splash or two of milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and line 2 cupcake trays with paper cases (approx. 20)

Cream the butter and sugar until pale. Add the vanilla seeds and beat.

While the vanilla infuses into the butter mixture, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

Add the eggs into the creamed butter/sugar mixture one at a time, beating each one in before adding the next

If you are using an electric mixer, do the next step by hand.  Use a spatula to mix in the flour 1/3 at a time, adding a splash of milk ( about a couple of tablespoons)  in between. Finish by using the electric mixer for a 5 second blast to make sure it’s all mixed in.

Load up 20 or so cupcake cases using an ice cream scoop.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until springy to the touch or when an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool down completely.

The next step is to soak the cupcakes with coffee.

Ingredients

1 heaped tablespoon instant coffee

1 tablespoon sugar

300 ml boiling water

cocoa powder to dust

Prick each cupcake with a fork.

Method

Place the coffee and sugar into a measuring jug, pour in  the boiling water and stir.  Alternately you can make up 300ml of fresh ground coffee (2 cups in the espresso machine). Don’t forget to add sugar!

Using a tablespoon, pour 3 to 4 spoons of coffee onto each cupcake. Dust each cupcake moderately with cocoa powder  Allow to cool. In the mean time, make up the cream topping.

To make the mascarpone cream topping:

Ingredients

300ml double cream (cold)

150g soft cheese preferably mascarpone cheese (room temp)

4 tablespoons condensed milk (room temp)

Method

Whip the cream until very soft peaks. Do not over whip.  You want it to a stage where it’s still very floppy and can’t hold any shape yet.  Add the mascarpone and condensed milk. Combine carefully being careful not to over whip.  The end product should be soft peaks.  If you have over whipped, loosen with normal milk and another tablespoon of condensed milk.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle/tip or just cut of the top of the bag.  Pipe a generous amount onto each cupcake. Alternately, if you are very neat, you can spoon the topping on.  Using a hot palette knife*, flatten the topping, trying to make it as smooth and level as you can. Pipe and smooth a few at a time and work fast as the topping may start to set making it hard to pipe out. When they are all done, let them set for ten minutes.

To make the cocoa dusting design use a cappuccino stencil or any thing clean and flat that can be used as a stencil.  I used a grid design. Place the stencil on the cupcake and dust with cocoa powder using a fine sieve. You can if you like, not use a stencil at all and just dust the tops for a more simple look.

Cool and store in the fridge, removing ten minutes before serving.

*to make the palette knife hot, place in boiling water for a minute and wipe off the water before using. Place back into the water after each use.

These cupcakes are easy to make, you don’t need fancy equipment and you can dress them up or down as much as you like. And above all they taste absolutely dreamy!

 

 

 

 

How Much Buttercream?

To frost two dozen cupcakes in a simple Rossette or Swirl:20131012_205627

1 packet or 250g (8oz) Butter

2 cups icing sugar + 1 cup extra

This is not a recipe for buttercream but just a note on how many packets of butter to cupcakes ratio

There are a lot of buttercream recipes online but here is how I make mine:

Cream the softened butter until pale.  Add the seeds of half a vanilla pod. Beat.  Add the icing sugar a half cup at a time until two cups have been incorporated. If the mixture is stiff add more softened butter. If it’s too soft add more icing sugar.

Q: Why does the icing sugar quantity change each time? .

A:

1) Humidity.  On a hot day, the buttercream will be softer

2) Addition of food colour.  Even paste colours thin the buttercream.

3) If you may require a firmer buttercream (a crusting butter cream) that holds its shape for example when using a rose tip to pipe petals

4) If you add any liquids (Vanilla extract, any fresh fruit puree or juice).  Additional icing sugar will be needed to firm up the buttercream.

5) If you add cream cheese (see below)

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a good go-to item to keep in your fridge.  To make a lighter version of a cream cheese frosting, add half a tub (125g/4 oz) to the butter after you’ve creamed it.  The great thing about cream cheese apart from the wonderful flavor it adds to frosting, it actually helps to produce a more smooth consistency. Cream cheese also can save a curdled buttercream.  I don’t like to thin my buttercream using milk because it can cause the whole lot to curdle if you over whip after adding the milk.  If this does happen, try adding a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese and more icing sugar and beat once until blended.

Remember, if you do add milk (I usually use evaporated milk) or cream cheese, your cupcakes will need to be placed in the refrigerator to keep the diary contents fresh. This is the another reason why I usually don’t use milk to thin buttercream and instead use extra butter or better still, just make sure I don’t add too much icing sugar in the first instance.

If you decide to add 4 oz cream cheese to the above butter ratio, you’ll probably be able to ice 34-36 cupcakes. Below is a light cream cheese frosted cupcake coloured in pale green. You can see the consistency of the frosting is lighter and shinier than regular buttercream as in the white rosette in the top picture.

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Take home message

Buttercream is easy to make. It’s just butter and icing sugar. When trying to add anything different to flavor or thin the buttercream, it’s a good idea to keep cream cheese handy incase the added ingredient causes undesirable changes to the consistency.

Black Forest Cupcakes

These are simple to make and alcohol free

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I used this amazing chocolate cupcake recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker:

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/08/19/best-chocolate-cupcakes-recipe/

Its so far the best chocolate cupcake recipe. Its very rich, dense yet very moist.

Or, just use your favourite cupcake recipe

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Cut a cone out from the top of each one.

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You need about a small teaspoon of jam per cupcake. Heat the jam for a few seconds in the microwave.  Cherry jam would be ideal but since I didn’t have any, I used strawberry and placed half a glace cherry in each one with the jam.

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Place the cones back on top and swirl with fresh whipped cream. Decorate with some grated chocolate and a glace cherry.

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Enjoy!

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Lemon Cupcake with Fresh Blueberry Buttercream Frosting

The colour of the frosting comes from the blueberries so no need to add food colours.

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To flavor the butter cream I made a thick concentrated blueberry paste. I personally think a cream cheese frosting may have suited the flavours better. The lemon cupcake was a regular cupcake recipe with the addition of lemon rind and juice.
To make the blueberry paste:
This made three tablespoon of paste with is enough for twelve cupcakes or 2 cups of butter icing
¾ cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
Put these in a pan and set to simmer. Mash and then strain. Put back into the pan.
Next, mix ¾ teaspoon cornflour with 1 tablespoon hot water. Add this to the pan. Boil once and re-strain. Refrigerate. Add to your favourite frosting at the end and mix well.