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

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Death Jam: Review

Death Jam 05Hello Lovelies,

Earlier in the week I attended the Death Jam, organised by Els of Cookie Von Stir. This event is similar to her Deathless Death Cafes, in that there is cake and talk of death but with guest speakers and a slightly (only slightly!) more formal setting. I baked some death themed cakes to add to the collection of goodies being made by various attendees (I’ll be posting the recipe later in the week) and made my way to The Crypt at St Mary’s Parish Church in Islington.Death Jam 01Death Jam 07

The two guest speakers for this first event was Alom Shaha, author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook (a great read, highly recommended), science communicator and film maker and Peter Cave, philosopher, lecturer and fellow of The Royal Society of arts among other things.Death Jam 10

After a quick introduction from Els, Alom kicked off the evening by reading a chapter from his book, a chapter that dealt with death and his rejection of god; the story of the death of his beloved mother at the age of 13. As Alom read and at some times faltered, I was teetering on the edge of tears, despite having read the book before and knowing what was coming. Once he had finished reading, nothing more needed to be said or asked.Death Jam 11

Peter Cave stepped up next and lightened the mood with his power point presentation on philosophy and death. Funny and irreverent, his presentation certainly gave me food for thought and left me wanting to go away and read all of his books.Death Jam 12

After the talks the chairs were cleared away so people could mingle, discuss death and eat copious amounts of home made treats*. There was a wide range of attendees, both young and old, curious and skeptical, religious and atheist; and it was a pleasure to stay and talk with them about their views and feelings on death and why we are here.Death Jam 14

I very much look forward to the next Death Jam which I believe is on the 28th March, though I will post closer to the time when I know for sure. I highly recommend attending, as eating cake and discussing the macabre side of things are a fine and interesting way to spend an evening. Death Jam 03 Death Jam 02The next Deathless Death Cafe (similar thing, minus the guest speakers) is at Pogo Cafe as usual and is being held on Thursday 28th February. That’s all for now, thank you kindly for reading.

MHB

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*Els made a delicious treats too. Here are the recipes for her amazing chocolate fudge cake, chai coconut flapjacks/cherry bakewell flapjacks.

Death Jam 09 Death Jam 04

Birthday Fun.

Birthday Fun 01Hello Lovelies,

It was my birthday last week and I think I have only just fully recovered. I had 4 days of fun and frolics with family, friends and my beau. My actual birthday was on a Thursday, so me and the Mr set off for some gruesome fun at the London Museum’s ‘Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men’. A wonderfully macabre and interesting look at the practice of body snatching/grave robbing and the surgeons who pioneered medical research through nefarious means. On display were a vast array of surgical and post mortem equipment, pickled body parts and skeletons among many other great things. Highly recommended.

Birthday fun 02Birthday fun 03That evening we went for dinner with my mum at Mestizo in Euston. They have a vegan menu and I stuffed my face. My boyfriend had secretly ordered me a birthday cake from Ruby Tuesday, blueberry and lemon flavour, my favourite! The waiting staff brought it out to me with loud music, clapping and cheering. They proceeded to plonk a massive and very heavy sombrero on my head and handed me a double shot of their finest mescal. The food was amazing (I had mole for the first time, it’s delicious) and the atmosphere was great, I can’t wait to go back.Birthday fun 04

Friday the boy and I went to the V&A for the Hollywood Costume exhibition. It was packed because it was closing a couple of days later. I bumped into Honey Wilde and her Beau while there. It took a while for me to register that she was trying to get my attention as I was mesmerised by the Darth Vader costume looming over me. There were two Monroe costumes and they brought me to tears. It was the best exhibition I have seen since the Barbican’s Warhol review in 1997!

Birthday fun 05That evening we went home and had a good home cooked meal and watched a film as I had to be up early the next morning for a pin-up shoot with Tigzy and Ava Bonham Carter.
I hightailed it home from the shoot to get changed and get to my favourite pub, Big Red in Holloway for drinks with friends. Much dancing then ensued at the Buffalo Bar, calling it a night at 2am ‘cos I was broken.

Sunday morning I enjoyed a lie-in, cooked breakfast and lazy afternoon. My boyfriend and I then headed down to Brixton where we met some more friends for Thai food, drinks and a My Bloody Valentine gig at the Electric (yes, it was LOUD!).

Phew! What an amazing time. I was so pooped that I could barely move from the sofa on Monday and Tuesday. Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special! That’s all for now, thank you kindly for reading.

MHB

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