Pear, Almond and Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

36th BDay Cupcakes CollageHello Lovelies,

Today I bring you the recipe for pear, almond and chocolate cupcakes. I made these for my Mr’s birthday. I asked him to pick three flavours and then I would turn them into a cupcake for him. This is what I came up with…36 BDay Cupcakes 01

You will need:

For the sponge:

275g self raising flour

175g soft brown sugar

100ml vegetable oil

200ml non dairy milk (soy or oat tend to work best)

1 tsp baking powder

1tps almond extract

30g ground almonds

1 pear, peeled and chopped

100g dark chocolate chips

For the frosting:

250g icing sugar

100g non-dairy spread

30g cocoa powder

Edible shimmer and chocolate decorations (optional)

What to do:

Pre-heat the oven to 200’c and line a 12 hole muffin pan with muffin cases.

1) sieve the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add the ground almonds and sugar, mix together.36 BDay Cupcakes 02

2) In  a jug, whisk together the oil, non dairy milk and almond extract. Add to the dry ingredients.36 BDay Cupcakes 05

3) Add in the chopped pear and chocolate chips and stir the whole mixture until just mixed.36 BDay Cupcakes 06

4) Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (I use an ice-cream scoop to ensure my cupcakes are roughly the same size).36 BDay Cupcakes 07

5) Put onto the middle shelf in the oven for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean.36 BDay Cupcakes 09

6) Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. In the meantime, combine all the frosting ingredient in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Put in the fridge until the cakes are cooled.36 BDay Cupcakes 08

7) Pipe a swirl of the frosting onto each cake. Finish off with a little edible lustre and a chocolate decoration if you like.36 BDay Cupcakes 11

8) Stuff them in your face.36 BDay Cupcakes 10

 

Deadly Cupcakes Recipe

Choc Chill + Orange Cupcakes 18Hello Lovelies,

Today, as promised, I bring you the recipe for the deadly cupcakes I made for this week’s Death Jam. I love chocolate and chilli together, I love chocolate and orange together but here I have combined all three. The chilli adds a kick and the heat and the orange undercuts with a slight tang to prevent the chilli from being overpowering. These goodies pack quite a punch, definitely not one for those of you who prefer milder flavours. So, dare you try them?Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 01

You will Need:

For the Sponge:

275g self raising flour

175g soft brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

30g cocoa

1- 1 1/2tsp hot chilli powder (depends how spicy you like things)

zest and juice of 1 large orange

approx 100-150ml of vegan milk (I used soy here)

100ml of vegetable or sunflower oil

1 tsp of orange extract

For the filling and topping:

100g of vegan spread

200g of icing sugar

1 tsp of orange extract

orange food colouring gel

1-2 tbs of water

fondant icing (I used pre-rolled ‘cos I was being lazy)

cocoa powder and chilli powder for dusting

Other:

A cupcake corer or apple corer will come in handy. Piping bag and medium plain nozzle (use a food bag with one of the bottom corners cut out if you don’t have a piping set). Cookie cutter the same size as the top of your muffin cases. You will also need some card, a pencil, a ruler and a craft knife if you plan on making a stencil for the top.

What to do:

Pre-heat your oven to 200’c and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases.

1) Measure out the flour, cocoa, baking powder and chilli powder and sift together into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and stir gently until mixed.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 02

2) Wash the orange and then grate the zest into a shallow bowl. Cut the orange in half and juice it. Set the juice aside for a moment.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 03

3) In a large measuring jug, pour in the oil, then add the orange juice, finally, pour in the milk until the liquid reaches 300ml. Add the 1tsp of orange extract. Whisk briskly together.

4) Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (do not over mix). Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (I use an ice-cream scoop to ensure my cakes are equally sized) and then transfer to the middle tray of your oven for 18-22 minutes.

5) The muffins are ready when  a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. I usually check mine at 18 minutes (make sure you shut the oven door while you test your cakes!) and if they are not quite done I will put them back in and check on them for after 2 more minutes until they are ready.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 04

6) Place the muffins on a wire rack and leave them to cool almost completely before using a bread knife to slice the tops off (if you do it when they are stone cold, the tops will be a little harder to slice off). Then use your corer to remove the middle of each cake. Put the tops and cake holes in an airtight container and save for another recipe or cheeky snack. Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 06

Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 087) Leave the cakes to cool completely. In the meantime, measure out the frosting ingredients and put into a medium mixing bowl. Using a metal spoon gently combine the ingredients. Once roughly combined, add a couple of drops of the food colouring gel and the orange extract. Using a hand or electric whisk, whip up the frosting until it is super fluffy and the food colouring in integrated. Add the water in if needed to get the required consistency. The frosting should form soft peaks. It shouldn’t be too stiff or too runny.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 09

8) Fill the piping bag with the frosting (it helps if you put the bag in a large glass to hold it upright while you fill it). Pipe frosting into the middle of each cake until a little spills over the top.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 10 Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 11

9) Use a pallet knife to spread the excess frosting out over the top of the cakes. This is what will help your fondant discs stick. Roll out your fondant icing (or unroll it if it’s pre-rolled like mine was) to about 3-4mm thick. Use your cookie cutter to cut out 12 discs (I used a wine glass as I didn’t have the right sized cookie cutter). Use a pallet knife to pick up the discs and place them on top of your cakes.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 12 Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 13 Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 14

10) This is when I made my stencil. I drew out a circle the same size as my fondant discs and sketched out a skull shape. I used my stanley knife to cut out the shape. I then cut the card, leaving enough space around the circle to ensure that only the centre of the fondant gets dusted.

11) Mix together 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder into a small bowl. Place your wire rack over a baking tray to catch excess cocoa, place the template over your first cupcake. Using a small sieve or shaker (I used my loose tea strainer), dust each cake gently. Carefully remove the stencil and shake off the excess cocoa mix, put the cake aside. Repeat for each cupcake.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 16 Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 15 Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 17

* Of course, the final two steps are completely optional. If you don’t want to use a stencil, you can simply dust it without one. Or, you can omit the fondant topping altogether and instead, frost the top of the cake. If you do, ensure that you double the frosting recipe so that you have enough. Then dust the swirly peaks of frosting instead. I think I’ll try that the next time I make this recipe.Choc Chilli + Orange Cupcakes 19

Well, that’s the recipe. Let me know how you get on with it, I always welcome feedback as it helps me refine my recipes. I also like to see what twists you put on it. That’s all for today, thank you kindly for reading.

MHB

-x-

GingerDEAD Men

Hello Lovelies! Today’s post is all about gingerbread men, well, gingerDEAD men more like! My boyfriend’s sister bought me an awesome gingerbread man cookie cutter with a skeleton stamp for my birthday and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Of course, you can make regular gingerbread people or any other shape you like with this recipe. I’ve never made vegan gingerbread before so I went to work researching different recipes and having a tinker. Here is what I came up with…

Makes about 8-10 cookies.

What you need:

250g plain flour

60ml black treacle

2 tbls vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp nutmeg

1tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ginger

60g vegan margarine

100g soft brown sugar

1-4 tbsp of vegan milk substitute

1 tube of white decorating icing

OR

75g of icing sugar mixed up with water to a thin-ish piping consistency

 

What to do:

1) In a bowl mix together the treacle and oil. Stir in the sugar until well combined.

 

2) Beat in the margarine until light, fluffy and pale.

3) In another bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

 

4) Slowly add this to the wet mix bit by bit. Mixing with your hands to work into a dough as it gets drier. If you find that it’s not coming together very well, add a tablespoon of milk substitute at a time until you get a semi-sticky and firm dough. The mixture should come away from the sides of the bowl easily.

 

5) Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

 

Pre-heat oven to 180’c and line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.

Cut 2 large square of baking paper to roll the dough between.

6) Unwrap the dough once chilled and roll out to 1cm thickness between the 2 large pieces of baking paper cut earlier.

 

7) Use your cutter to cut your gingerdead men, keeping them as close together as you can. Stamp each cookie firmly with the other side of the cutter (of course, you can leave this part out if you are making regular gingerbread people).

 

8) Use a small knife to take away the excess dough between the cookies and put aside to re-roll. Roll out the remaining dough and keep cutting cookies until it’s all used up.

9) Transfer cookies to the baking sheets and put in the oven, bake for 8-11 minutes (8 minutes for chewy, softer gingerbread and 10-11 minutes for a more traditional crunchy gingerbread).

 

10) Once baked, leave for 5 minutes to cool slightly and then transfer to a wire rack. While the cookies are still warm, pipe the icing into the stamped-out channel and allow the icing to melt slightly into all the nooks and crannies.

 

And that’s it, ready for nomming and great with a cup of tea as always.

I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy with my recipe, I think I will keep tinkering away until I think I’ve nailed it. I will then post my results again for you to try. In the meantime, let me know how you get on with this recipe. I’m always looking for suggestions to improve my recipes!

Happy baking :)

 

Banana Muffins with Peanut Buttercream Frosting Dipped in Chocolate

Hello Lovelies, here’s my latest creation; Banana muffins with a peanut buttercream frosting, finished off with a coating of melted dark chocolate. Delicious! I love how the chocolate cracks as you bite into it to give way to a smooth and creamy frosting that sticks to the roof of your mouth, cut through with the moist banana cake beneath, oh my, I’m making my mouth water. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe for you to try.

 

You Will Need:

For the Muffins-

275g of self raising flour

175g of soft brown sugar

2 super ripe bananas

100ml of vegetable oil

200ml of soy or rice milk

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

For the Topping-

60g vegan spread

6 tbls shortening

1 tsp vanilla extract

140g icing sugar

170g smooth peanut butter

200g dark chocolate for dipping

3 tbls vegetable oil

Line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases. Preheat the oven to 200c/400f

1) Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

 

2) Smoosh the bananas and put aside.

3) In a jug or bowl, whisk together the oil, ‘milk’ and vanilla extract and quickly add to the dry ingredients.

4) Add the bananas too and mix until just combined.

5) Fill your paper cases. I use an ice cream scoop when making muffins as I find it deposits exactly the right amount of batter.

 

6) Place in the oven and cook for 18-20 minutes. Check with a skewer/toothpick to make sure the muffins are done before removing from the oven. If they are still a little too wet, put them back in for 2 minutes and check again.

7) Place on a wire rack to cool completely before adding your buttercream.

8) For the buttercream, in a small mixing bowl stir together the spread, shortening, vanilla extract and peanut butter until well combined.

9) add the icing sugar to this mix and beat until light and fluffy. Put into the fridge to firm up slightly.

10) Pipe a swirl of buttercream onto the top of each muffin and then put muffins in the fridge while melting the chocolate topping.

 

11) In a glass bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the broken pieces of chocolate and vegetable oil together slowly, taking off the heat occasionally if necessary. Pour chocolate into a mug or very small bowl.

12) Remove the cooled muffins from the fridge and dip the tops immediately into the chocolate. Allow the excess to drip off before placing back on the wire rack. Once all muffins are dipped, transfer back to the fridge to allow the chocolate to set.

 

And there you have it, tasty muffins to enjoy with tea or coffee or with a scoop of ice-cream for dessert.
These cakes were super yummy but the next time I make them I think I will add a dollop of caremelised bananas in the centre. I’m a sucker for a filling, I think it harks back to my love of jammie doughnuts as a child.
Let me know how you get on if you try out my recipe and as always lovelies, happy baking! x

Scotch Pancakes

So, um yeah. It’s been a looong time. Between an ant infestation in the kitchen (EEEUW) and starting my own business, baking had to take a back seat. But it’s a new year and I now have a bit more free time too, so baking resumes. Yay! I really missed creating tasty treats for my nearest and dearest and have come to realise that I need it to help me relax and unwind.

This is a quick post about my post birthday party breakfast. Pancakes, nom! I knocked this recipe up real quick and thought you might like to try it too. It’s super quick and easy!

You will need:

For pancakes-

8 Tbls of self raising flour

1 Tsp of baking powder

300ml of soy milk

1 Tsp of good quality vanilla extract

pinch of fine salt

For Topping-

One ripe banana

Agave syrup (I used honey flavoured) or maple syrup

Chocolate

Vanilla Ice-cream (I used Swedish Glace)

 

Equipment:

1 Measuring jug

Metal whisk

Small frying pan

Small amount of sunflower or vegetable oil

Ladle

1. Wipe the frying pan with a piece of kitchen towel soaked in oil to prep. In the jug, measure out 300ml of soy milk and then add in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and salt.

2. Briskly whisk the mixture to ensure it is completely combined and has no lumps in it.

3. Heat the frying pan until it smokes. Test a drop of batter to ensure the pan is hot enough.

Once ready, add about 2/3 of a ladle of batter to the pan and swirl it to fit the entire pan base. If you are using a big frying pan you may not want to do this as these are meant to be puffy Dutch style pancakes rather than thin crepes.

4. Once bubbles have appeared all over the surface of the pancake and it slips around easily in the pan, turn it over and cook the other side.

 

5. Turn out the pancake onto a plate or cookie sheet and put in the oven on a very low heat just to keep them warm while you cook the rest.

 6. Use up the batter, this recipe should make 6 pancakes. Stack with pieces of chocolate in between each layer (I only had caramel choccies so I added one of these on the top pancake and melted it in the frying pan). Mmmmm, melty.

7. Top off with a scoop of ice-cream, slices of banana and a drizzle of agave or maple syrup. Et Voila! Tasty vegan pancakey brekkie!

 

 Happy baking dollies!

French Fancies

Hello Lovelies,

Apologies for my absence, I’ve been a little under the weather and I was also away on a make-up course. So, now I’m back to let you know how my French Fancies came out as part of my Petit Fours series this summer. This was my second attempt at French Fancies and they still came out a little wonky though. I think I may nail it the third try (third time’s a charm right?). I took the recipe from Deb over at Maple Spice, I followed it to the letter the first time, then made some changes the second. As I said, I think I’ll nail it the third time as there are a few further tweaks I would make, I will add the notes on these at the end. In the meantime, happy baking :)

 

You will Need:

Sponge.

250ml soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

30g vegan margarine (I used Pure)

140g soft brown sugar

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Line a 11″ x 7.5″ Jelly Roll / Swiss Roll tin with baking paper and set aside.
Pre-heat your oven to 180’c

1) Combine the cider vinegar and soy milk in a glass or plastic bowl (not metal as it may give your ‘buttermilk’ a slight metallic tang). Set aside to curdle.

2) Mix together the spread and the sugar, add in the vegetable oil and the vanilla extract.

3) In a separate bowl sift together all of fine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarb), then stir through the sea salt.

4) Alternatively stir in the dry ingredients and your ‘buttermilk’. Be careful not to over mix.

5) Pour into the jelly roll tin and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. The sponge should be light golden and have a firm spring when touched.

6) Turn out the sponge once slightly cooler. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about an hour. This will firm up the sponge in preparation for cutting into our little cubes.

You will need:

For the filling /top
2 Tbsp shortening (I used Trex)

2 Tbsp of vegan spread (again, I used Pure)

100g icing sugar

1/2 Tsp vanilla extract.

Raspberry jam (smooth)

Marzipan (about a fist sized chunk)

Icing sugar (for dusting the work surface)

7) While the sponge is chilling, prepare your butter cream filling by simply mixing all the ingredients well until fluffy. Put this in the fridge also to firm up.

8) Take the sponge from the fridge, unwrap and cut the crusty sides off so you get a nice neat rectangle (nom the crusts). Cut the sponge in half (I’m a bit finicky so I used a ruler to get mine exact).

9) Spread one half with a thin layer of butter cream and the other with a thin layer of jam. Place one on top of the other and press down gently. Ensure that they fit nicely and that you still have a neat rectangular shape.

10) Sprinkle icing sugar onto your work surface (ensure that it is completely dry first) and roll out your marzipan so it is big enough to cover the top of your sponge. Spread a very thin layer of jam over the top of your sponge to make it sticky. Gently lay the marzipan on top and trim off the excess at the sides.

11) Mark out your 1″ squares on the marzipan and with a ruler and a long, sharp knife cut out your cubes. Be sure to wipe the knife between each slice as it will get covered in butter cream and jam. Put your cut cubes into the fridge while you mix up your fondant.


You will need:
Fondant/Decorating.

375g fondant icing sugar

1/2 Tsp cocoa

1 Tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 Tsp vanilla extract

6 Tbsp of hot water
Pink food colour gel

Yellow food colour gel

Tube of white icing

Tube of chocolate incing

(make sure you check that all colourings and pre-mixed icings you use are vegan).

12) Measure out 125g of fondant icing sugar per colour/flavour. In one, add just a touch of yellow gel colouring (I use the tip of a chopstick for this) and the lemon juice. Stir in the hot water until you get a thick yet pourable icing. Do the same for the others but adding cocoa for the chocolate fondant and pink colouring gel and vanilla extract for the pink fondant.

13) Remove your cubes from the fridge. Set them out on a wire rack over a baking tray. Gently pour the fondant over each cube, being sure to cover all sides. You can re-use fondant that falls onto the tray below. Cover each colour separately so not to get the icings mixed together.

14) Put the now covered cubes back into the fridge and allow to set for 30-45 minutes. Once set you can pipe little squiggles over the top of each French Fancy to decorate. I used chocolate on the yellow and pink ones and white on the chocolate ones. And enjoy!

NOTES: As I mentioned in the introduction to this recipe, I would make some further changes when I make these for a third time.

a) I would use either jam or butter cream in the middle rather than both, as they slid over each other making the sponge unstable, even after chilling for quite some time to firm the butter cream up.

b) I would also use a much thinner spreading of the filling to also reduce the amount of sponge slippage.

c) I will probably cut the cubes 1 1/2″ or 2″ next time, this will also make them more stable.

d) I will also place each cube on a fork over each bowl of fondant and pour over the fondant. I believe this will give a more even coverage, reduce fondant wastage and also be a little less messy. I couldn’t put the ones I made this time onto a fork as they were just too small and unstable to stay on.

Petit Breasts

Hello Lovelies!
Here’s the second installment in my Petit Fours series. I wasn’t going to do whoopie pies twice, but I ended making some for the lovely Celine Chaplin’s Strawberry Tea Party for Breast Cancer Care so I may as well blog about them. These are Cherry and Almond Whoopie Boobies. More Petit Breasts than Petit Fours ;) I used a melon baller this time and my whoopies came out the right size and much more evenly shaped, yay! I have veganised this recipe once again from Claire Ptak’s
‘The Whoopie Pie Book’. I took the basic recipe for her Walnut Whip Whoopie and changed it to almonds instead and used a fruity filling. So, here we go…

This recipe can make up to 9 large whoopies (10cm wide) or 24 small Petit Four sized whoopies (about 5cm wide). So feel free to make the bigger ones if you wish.*

You will need:
For the whoopie.

300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of salt
125g of soft vegan spread
1 tsp almond extract
200ml soya milk
1 tblsp cider vinegar
200g ground almonds
20g of egg replacer (or however much the instructions say you need for 1 egg’s worth)
55-65ml of water

For the ‘Buttercream‘. 50ml of unstrained cherry puree (about 80g of stoned cherries)
90g of very soft vegan spread
500-750g of icing sugar
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of
fresh lemon juice Plus.
24 natural colour glace cherries for the nipples.
Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

Do not pre-heat the oven until you have put the batter in the fridge to chill as this just wastes energy and money putting it on now. 1)Put the 200ml of soya milk in a small glass or plastic bowl (not metal as the mixture may react and create a metallic tatse). Add in the 1 tblsp of cider vinegar and leave for 5-10 minutes to curdle.

2) In a medium sized bowl sift together the flour, egg replacer and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the salt and set aside.

3) In another bowl (make sure it’s a large one) cream together the spread and sugar until light and fluffy. You can use an electric whisker with a flat beater if you like, I just used a large wooden spoon and a lot of welly!

4) Add the 1 tsp of almond extract to the ‘buttermilk’ mixture and add half of this to the butter/sugar mix.

5)Add into this the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add in the remaining ‘buttermilk’ mixture until well combined. Fold in the ground almonds. Put the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven now.

6) For the buttercream, mix together the spread and 300g of icing sugar until light and fluffy. You can do this with a free standing mixer with a flat beater if you wish. I just did it by hand with a wooden spoon again (hey, it worked well enough in the old days).

7) Gradually add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and the cherry puree.

8) Gradually stir in a further 200g of icing sugar to the mix until it is fluffy again. If you feel the mixture is too soft, simply add in more of the icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks (I only needed to use 500g of icing sugar). Put in the fridge to stiffen up a bit.

9) Once the batter is nice and chilled, drop 24 x 5cm blobs (using a spoon or melon baller) onto the trays about 5cm apart. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes* so that the whoopies are left with an indentation in the top when you press them with your finger. I baked the whoopies in 4 single batches of 12.

10) Allow whoopies to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack. Once completely cooled, you can spread or pipe a generous dollop of the buttercream (stir when taken out of the fridge to make fluffy again) onto the upturned side of half the whoopies and place another on top. Use a tiny amount of the frosting that’s left over to affix the cherry nipples to the top of each whoopie. And there you have it, Whoopie Boobies.

 

*If making the larger whoopies, allow 10-12 minutes for baking.

Making Whoopie

Hello Lovelies!
So here is the first blog post on my new Petit Fours series. Kicking off with the delightfully named Whoopie Pie. The Amish are given credit for inventing these tasty treats, it’s rumoured they were so named because when a child (or indeed a husband) found one in their lunch box they would shout ‘Whoopie!’ in excitement. Cute! Whoopie pies are not technically a Petit Four. They most certainly are not French, but if you make them small enough they can become a Petit Four. Red Velvet whoopies are one of the Petit Fours being served in Starbucks at the moment. So rather than simply copy them and bake the same, I thought I would have a go at making strawberry whoopies, yum! I have veganised this recipe from Claire Ptak’s gorgeous book ‘The Whoopie Pie Book. So, here we go…

This recipe calls for 1 egg and buttermilk, so to make it vegan I used 1 eggs worth of egg replacer (my first time ever using it might I add) and mixed up some vegan ‘buttermilk’.

This recipe can make up to 9 large whoopies (10cm wide) or 24 small Petit Four sized whoopies (about 5cm wide). So feel free to make the bigger ones if you wish.*

You will need:
For the whoopie.
100g of fresh ripe strawberries
300g of plain flour
1 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt (argh, I hate stupid measurements like this, just chuck in a pinch!)
200g of light brown sugar
75ml of vegetable oil
65ml of soya milk
1 tsp of cider vinegar
20g of egg replacer (or however much the instructions say you need for 1 egg’s worth)

icing for dusting (optional, I forgot about this step as I was so eager to eat them!)

55-65ml of water

For the ‘Buttercream‘.

50ml of unstrained strawberry puree (about 80g of unhulled berries)
90g of very soft vegan spread
500-750g of icing sugar
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

Do not pre-heat the oven until you have put the batter in the fridge to chill as this just wastes energy and money putting it on now.

 1)Put the 65ml of soya milk in a small glass or plastic bowl (not metal as the mixture may react and create a metallic tatse, yuck!). Add in the 1 tsp of cider vinegar and leave for 5-10 minutes to curdle.

2) Mash the strawberries or blitz them in a food processor until chopped, not pureed. Set aside.

3) In a medium to large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and egg replacer (to ensure it is evenly distributed). Stir in the salt and set the bowl aside.

4) In another bowl (make sure it’s a big one) mix together the sugar and the oil really well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the strawberries and your ‘buttermilk’ until just combined.

5) Fold in the flour in two parts, try not to over mix the batter. Finally, add in 55-65ml of water (for the egg replacer), depending on how gloopy the batter is. You don’t want it to be runny as the whoopies won’t hold their shape on the baking tray. Put the mixture in the fridge for it to chill for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven now.

6) For the buttercream, mix together the spread and 300g of icing sugar until light and fluffy. You can do this with a free standing mixer with a flat beater if you wish. I just did it by hand with a wooden spoon.

7) Gradually add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and the strawberry puree.

8) Gradually stir in a further 200g of icing sugar to the mix until it is fluffy again. If you feel the mixture is too soft, simply add in more of the icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks (I only needed to use 500g of icing sugar).Put in the fridge to stiffen up a bit.

 


9) Once the batter is nice and chilled, drop 24 x 5cm blobs (using a spoon or melon baller) onto the trays about 5cm apart. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes** so that the whoopies are left with a wee indentation in the top when you press them with your finger. Make sure you bake in two batches if your oven is not big enough rather than baking on two levels. The lower whoopies will only be less cooked otherwise.

10) Allow whoopies to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack. Once completely cooled, you can spread or pipe a generous dollop of the buttercream (stir when taken out of the fridge to make fluffy again) onto the upturned side of half the whoopies and place another on top. Et Voila! Yummy Strawberry Whoopie Petit Fours! :)

*I made mine a bit too big (more Grande Fours than Petit Fours I guess) so I got about 14 medium whoopies from this batch (they are about 7cm wide). I think next time I will use a small melon baller to create the Petit Four size whoopies, also, it will make them a lot neater and uniform in size (as you can see from my photos they all came out a bit wonky).

**If making the larger whoopies, allow 10-12 minutes for baking.

Petit Fours

Hello Lovelies,

I have decided to do a series of posts related to Petit Fours. I was inspired by a trip to Starbucks where they were selling a variety of petit fours to enjoy with your coffee. Unfortunately but rather unsurprisingly these were not vegan. So, I got to thinking, what with me trying to make French Fancies which are themselves a type of petit four, why not go a step further and create a whole selection of them? That way the blog will have more focus, as at the moment I am baking rather sporadically and usually on a whim.

‘So what exactly is a petit four?’ I hear you ask.

A petit four (French for ‘small oven’) is a small confection that is usually offered at the end of a meal. Nowadays they pop up at coffee shops and tea parties all over the place (why wait until dinner time when you can have them with your afternoon tea?!). From what I can gather they became very popular during 18th Century France. The small treats would be baked during the oven cooling process. The brick ovens were run on coal which was expensive, so the petit fours allowed patisseries to utilise as much heat as possible to get the most out of their fuel.

There are several sub-categories of petit four.

*Petit Four Sec – sec meaning ‘dry’ and is the term used for small delicate biscuits, meringues, macaroons and puff pastries.

*Petit Four Glace – meaning ‘iced’, these are teeny cakes covered in fondant or glace icing (such as French Fancies), tartlets and little eclairs.

*Petit Four Sales – these are savoury, bite-sized goodies of the variety found at cocktail parties and soirees.

*Mignardises – could kind of be counted as a type of petit four. They are miniature desserts. Yum!

So, I will be baking my first petit four of the series this evening. I am starting with strawberry whoopie pies. Keep your peepers peeled for my post tomorrow on the recipe and how they turned out .

Put the lime in the coconut…

Thanks to the song ‘Put the lime in the coconut’ by Harry Nilsson, you could be forgiven for thinking that this flavour combination is a huge no no. But it is sublime! I found this coconut and lime bundt cake recipe over on the lovely MapleSpice blog by Debbie Walsh. Debbie in turn took this from a BBC recipe. It’s the first time I have made it so I’ll be looking to play about with it and make it my own eventually. But I usually start with an existing recipe. The recipe calls for a blend of coconut cream and coconut milk, I used just coconut milk as I couldn’t get hold of the cream. Also, use golden caster sugar if you can, I only had white which is not as good (but will do in a pinch). So, here it is.

 

You will need: For the sponge.

140g vegan margarine (I use the ‘Pure’ spread)

140g golden caster sugar

50ml coconut cream, heated just until liquid (use 150ml of coconut milk if you can’t get cream)

100ml full fat coconut milk

juice and zest of 1 lime

50g unsweetened desiccated coconut

85g fine cornmeal (polenta)

2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt (heck, who knows how to measure this? I just chuck in a pinch!)

140g plain flour

 

For the icing.

210g icing sugar (I ended up using 240g)

juice and zest of 1 lime

about 4 Tbsp full fat coconut milk (add one at a time, I found that 3 Tbsp made it a bit too runny, and that’s with me adding in 30g of extra icing sugar too!).

‘Butter’ and flour the bundt tin and put aside for now.

(I only have a 9″ bundt tin so the cake came out a little thin. If you have a 7″ 0r 8″ bundt tin I recommend that you use that instead).

Pre-heat the oven to 180’C.

Ok, so here’s what you need to do…

1) In a medium bowl, sieve in the flour, then add the corn meal, dessicated coconut, salt and baking powder and mix together gently.*

2) Cream together the spread and caster sugar until it is nice and fluffy, like so.

 

3) Add in the lime juice, lime zest and the coconut cream and whisk well. Add in the coconut milk** and mix until fully incorporated (sounds so business-like, lol). You end up with a rather gross, curdled looking mix, but don’t panic!

 

4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t over mix.

5) Spoon the mixture into your prepared cake tin and level it out with a spatula. A spatula is essential for getting as much of the cake mix out of the bowl too (unless you want to lick the bowl clean of course! Yum!).

 

6) Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. The top should be firm, lightly golden and a toothpick should come out clean (the original BBC recipe calls for a 1 hour cooking time, but Debbie says to cut this time down and I agree. Unless you want cake with the consistency of a brick).

7) Remove from the oven and leave for about 5 minutes to cool a little. Turn out onto a wire rack (this bit was tricky for me as the cake didn’t rise much, so the sides were deep on each side still and it nearly broke). Leave to cool completely. Turn cake over so the flat side is the bottom and the bumpy side is the top :)

 

8) For the icing, mix together the sugar and lime juice and zest. Then add a tablespoonful of coconut milk at a time. Spread this over the cake and allow some to drip down the sides. To be honest I didn’t have much choice in this as the icing was pretty runny. Next time I would add slightly less lime juice and then put the icing in the fridge to stiffen slightly.

 

And so there you have it. The resulting cake was actually more moist than I thought it would be. Very slightly crumbly and extremely yummy. It tasted even better the next day too. I guess it would last at least 3 days in an air-tight container in the fridge. I wouldn’t know though as it was all gone in little over a day!

 

* I put this instruction first rather than third as I think the sooner you add it to the wet ingredients the better.

** The recipe states that you add in the coconut milk a bit at a time but I didn’t really see what the benefit was. The mix started to curdle straight away, even though I added in a small amount of the coconut milk at the beginning.