Trick or Treat? ….TREAT I hear you shout!


Halloween Treat

With Halloween only a week away, it felt only right to come up with a ‘Spooky Treat’ for those little (or BIG) trick or treaters….and this is what I came up with. Vanilla Cupcakes with a Gooey Gory Jammy Centre, Piped with two-tone Vanilla Frosting and topped with a handcrafted chocolate decoration.

Again the sponge base is my all time favourite cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery…it never fails

Sponge

80g (3oz) Unsalted Butter, softened

280g (10oz) Caster Sugar

240g (8 1/2 oz) Plain Flour

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

240ml (8 1/2 fl oz) Whole Milk

1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

2 Large Eggs

Frosting

500g (1lb 2 oz) Icing Sugar

160g (5 1/2 oz) Unsalted Butter, softened

50ml (1 3/4 fl oz) Whole Milk

1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

Orange Food Colouring (or whatever colours you want to use)

Filling

Good Quality Strawberry Jam

Chocolate Decorations

Large Bar of Milk or Plain Chocolate

Makes 12-16 Cupcakes

Firstly melt the chocolate for the decorations, in a bowl. Either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water (whatever you feel comfortable with – just don’t burn the chocolate).

Whilst this is melting, cut a sheet of baking parchment (large enough to cover a flat baking sheet) and secure to the tray with 4 blobs of melted chocolate.

Now take the melted chocolate and pour into a disposable piping bag, making sure it’s not too hot to handle and not too cold so that its start setting before you pipe it.

Squeeze all the air out of the bag and twist the opening to seal it. Now snip a small amount off the end to create a small opening.

Time for some confidence and remember your first few are bound to be a little shakey…practise and once you get the feel and flow for the chocolate, start to pipe spider webs, Boo or whatever takes your fancy, onto the parchment.

Once you have created your little works of art, pop them into the fridge to set.

Pre-heat the over to 190C (375F) Gas Mark 5 or for fan assisted ovens 180C and line the deep cupcake tin with cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk (or if you’re lucky enough to own a freestanding electric mixer with paddle attachment) gently beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt, until the ingredients are well mixed and look like fine breadcrumbs.

Mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a jug, with a fork. With the whisk or mixer on slow, add three-quarters of the milk mixture into the bowl and make sure all the ingredients are mixed together completely, using a spatula to scrape down the sides. Turn the whisk/mixer up to medium speed and add the rest of the milk mixture and beat again until the batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the cake cases until two-thirds full.

Then pop them into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until they are golden and spring back when touched.

Leave them to cool in the tin for 10 mins, before transferring to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile make the frosting by mixing the icing sugar and butter on low-speed (otherwise you’ll end up with a dust cloud bigger than that famous Icelandic Volcano) until it reaches a sandy consistency. Add the vanilla essence to the milk and pour into the butter and icing (still on a low-speed). Once it is all combined turn the speed up to high and whisk until light and fluffy.

Now split the frosting. Add half (uncoloured) to a disposable piping bag and leave to one side. With the remaining frosting add the colour of your choice, I opted for orange, but green, purple or red would work equally well. Use paste colours though as it doesn’t make the frosting too soft and you get a much deeper, more vibrant colour. Mix the colour in until you get the depth of colour you want.

Time to pop the coloured frosting into another disposable piping bag (I highly recommend Lakeland Limited’s disposable piping bags) and set to one side.

Take another disposable piping bag and fit the nozzle you want, I went for a plain wide nozzle.

Once you have got this set up, snip the ends off the other two filled bag’s and twist the top to remove any air bubbles. I then added a bag clip to both, to stop them coming open when I started piping.

Pop both filled bags into the nozzle fitted bag and put it to one side.

The cakes should now be cool and ready to handle. Using a sharp paring knife cut out a circular plug in the middle (as per the Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Frosting I posted last month) and add a blob of Strawberry Jam. To avoid the jam being pulled out by the piping, I sliced the sponge off the plug I had removed and placed the crisp top back over the jam centre (so it looks like nothing has been done to the cakes).

Gooey Gory Jammie centre

Then for the fun part, the piping. Make sure you’ve got all the air out of the bags by squeezing a bit on to a plate/bowl, have a practise if you need to. Then begin to pipe onto the cupcakes in a spiral motion. I start from the outside and work my way into the middle, finishing with a little peak. This gives a great two-tone effect and varies depending on the nozzle shape you use.

Two Tone Frosting

Head back over to the fridge and take the tray with your chocolate creations out. Gently remove them from the parchment paper (use a thin palette knife if you need to) and pop them onto the piped cakes.

All that’s left now is to stand back and enjoy your creations….oh and keep little fingers from picking at them ūüėČ

BooSpiderweb

Happy Baking and have a treat filled Halloween.

(I promise I won’t take as long to do my next post!!)

Again, feel free to e-mail me with your creations/versions and I’ll pop them into a gallery on the blog.

E-mail me at lottie.thesnowdropbakery@gmail.com

Blueberry & Lemon Loaf


This has to be one of the easiest, tastiest and most well received loaves/cakes I have ever made.

It’s a great cake to bake if you’ve got family or friends coming over….and there are two main reasons for that….Firstly it obviously tastes fantastic…. it’s moist, tangy and filled with pockets of juicy, jammy blueberries and secondly the aroma it sends through the house is amazing….They’ll want a slice of it straight from the loaf tin.

It also travels well….I recently took one camping and it looked and tasted just as impressive on a tin plate, as it did at home.

So now down to the important stuff….the recipe

Blueberry and Lemon Loaf Recipe:

(Makes 1 loaf)

195 grams Plain Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

85 grams unsalted butter, room temperature

150 grams granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)

120 ml milk

200 grams fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

50 grams granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees C for Fan Assisted ovens) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf Tin (9 x 5 x 3 inch) (23 x 13 x 8 cm).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt – This just puts some air and lightness back into the flour (feel free to sieve it, if you want to)

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute).

Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.

Now gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 50 grams of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. If you have extra zest left over, I like to add it to the syrup. It gives a bit of texture to the top of the loaf.

When the loaf is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Before serving give a light dusting of icing sugar, just to make it look even more pretty.

This bread is best served on the day it is made…if it even makes it past cooling down that is….you’ll be surprised how quickly it get devoured.

Now sit down, have a cup of tea and enjoy watching their faces as they tuck into it (maybe treat yourself to a slice as well)