Blueberries and White Chocolate Chips Cupcakes with Pink Meringue Kisses

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My daughter and her friend baked blueberry-chocolate chips muffins on Thursday, and I put aside a few. They took care of the rest, meaning they decorated them and eat most of them. They did a very good job, and the muffins were delicious. The best part of all was that they genuinely had lots of fun in the kitchen!

 

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I had two egg whites in the fridge from the previous day so I thought I will use them to make meringue kisses. I don’t remember ever making them before, and there sure is room for improvement. They cracked, and I need to be more careful next time, although I’m not sure why it happened. But, they look adorable nonetheless, and tasted wonderful, so it’s not all that bad after all.
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Ingredients:
-125 g butter, softened at room temperature
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1+1/3 cup flour
-1/3 cup milk
-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
-2 teaspoon baking powder
100 g white chocolate chips
-200 g fresh blueberries
Frosting:
-300 ml whipped double cream
-2 egg whites
-150 g white caster sugar
-pink food colour
Method:
Preheat the oven. Line your cupcake pan with the cases.
In a bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the vanilla, flour and milk, and beat with the electric mixer until combined, but be careful do not over-mix, because it will become dry and sort of a bread.
Add the chocolate chips and blueberries and stir until it’s all incorporated.
Use an ice cream scoop and divide the mixture evenly in your cupcake cases,  fill them only 3/4.
Bake them for around 20 minutes, half way through you can turn your tray in the oven, but don’t open the oven in the first 10 minutes of baking, this is important!
Take them out from the oven, and you can leave the cupcakes in the pan for about 5 minutes before you transfer them on a wire rack.
Whip the egg whites adding the sugar above a pan of hot boiling water. This way the sugar will dissolve quickly and you get a shiny, smooth mixture. Transfer into a piping bag, cut the end (about the size of a 5 pence) then pipe the egg cream on a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Bake until it’s dry and comes off easily from the paper.
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Espresso Chocolate Cake

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This is a white chocolate cream cake with the taste of coffee. If you love chocolate and you love coffee, then what could be better then a chocolate that tastes like coffee? A chocolate cake which tastes like coffee, maybe…? Right. You came to the right place.
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I brought this delicious espresso chocolate from Hungary thinking that I will not just eat it, but bake a light sponge cake then fill it with espresso ganache. I was very pleased with it, and the family appreciated it above expectations, even the kids (because we all know how kids approach coffee….) .
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Ingredients:
5 large eggs, separated
5 Tbs flour
5 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt
(I put a few drops of yellow food colour to get this yellow sponge – optional)
Filling:
600 ml double cream
150 g espresso white chocolate
Decoration:
whipped double cream and food colour of your choice
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Method:
You need to prepare the filling for this cake one day before baking and decorating.
Warm up 600 ml double cream in a sauce pan, add the espresso chocolate broken into small pieces. Don’t boil it, just keep on the stove stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted completed.
Next day:
Preheat your oven. In a large bowl start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of salt adding the sugar. Whip until you get a firm consistency.
Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks one at a time, whipping a few seconds after each one.
Add the flour (first mix with the baking powder) carefully. Don’t use the electric mixer anymore, just a large spoon to combine the egg mixture with the flour. Once ready, divide the batter equally in 4 baking pans, or large paper baking cases, like I did. This way I didn’t have to cut layers after baking, because I had them all four ready made.
I baked two layers first for about 20 minutes, then the other two. Let your cake cool completely.
To cover this cake, I divided double cream in five portions and coloured them each individually. I started applying the top layer first, the yellow, then went to the bottom and put the dark purple, followed by light purple, blue, green, and finally more yellow. Then I carefully blended the colours here and there. No need to be too accurate here, be creative, even a little messy and you’ll get a lovely, ombre or rainbow coloured unique looking cake.
This cake is light, is creamy, it tastes like coffee with cream, it’s perfect, and I couldn’t ask for more!
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Nostalgia – Time travelling to the past

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I got a few vintage crochet lace mats and doilies from my mother which she got from my grandmother, which she got from my great grandmother, who made them…..yeah, we’re talking about old stuff here, very old! And beautiful 🙂

 

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When I saw them, I knew I have to use them as a background for a batch of shabby chick cupcakes. I’m not all into this vintage design, but sometimes it feels good and relaxing to go through old black & white family photos, remembering our dear relatives who were around when we were kids, and those who we never met but we were told countless stories about.

 

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Here is my great grandmother, standing in a white dress on the right of the framed photo. She died before I was born at the age of 82. She was 16 when she posed for this photograph….I never knew her, but I know she was the mother of my dear grandfather, and I LOVED her, and I treasure her photograph, which is in fact my absolute favourite of all the old family photos we have. The photo was taken in 1906, and every time I look at it, makes me wonder about that particular day….what was she thinking, how did she spent the rest of her day, how was she feeling, did she ever imagined that one day her photo will end up in her great granddaughter’s wall who she will never meet, but will think the world of her nonetheless….

 

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No recipe here today guys. I only baked these for the sake of remembering and reflecting on the old times.

Very therapeutic 🙂

 

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Light Summer Cupcakes with Elderflowers

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Although it is officially Autumn already, I bring you these light and fluffy elderflower cupcakes which is a classic representation of the Summer. But, as you might notice, I way away for pretty much the whole season. My last post was sometime at the beginning of July. Not only that I haven’t posted anything during these weeks, but I haven’t baked anything either. Too much going on, and we were away for our annual holidays abroad, plus we were not really craving sweet cakes. That’s one good thing about the summer amongst the endless other things 😉 Oh, how I wish it would be always summer!

 

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Back to the table, I present you these easy, light, little cakes. As innocent as they look, they have a strong character when you taste them. I put lots of fresh elderflowers in the batter, I picked them myself from the bushes in front of the house. And also used elderflower cordial to flavor the frosting cream. They are a must try for those who like the taste of elderflowers.

 

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I used my basic vanilla recipe and threw in lots of small flowers. I didn’t wash the flowers to keep all the flavors, but I picked from a place where there is no road traffic, so they were relatively clean, then I just cut of the little flowers from the stem.

 

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Ingredients:

-125 g butter, softened at room temperature
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1+1/3 cup flour
-1/3 cup milk
-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
-2 teaspoon baking powder
elderflowers (1/2 – 1 cup)
Frosting:
-300 ml double cream
-2-3 Tbsp elderflower cordial
Method:
Preheat the oven. Line your cupcake pan with the cases.
In a bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the vanilla, flour and milk, and beat with the electric mixer until combined, but be careful DO NOT OVER-MIX, because it will become dry and sort of a bread (take Laura Vitale’s word for that🙂)
Sprinkle in the flowers and stir until it’s all incorporated.
Use an ice cream scoop -if you have, and divide the mixture evenly in your cupcake cases, but fill them only 3/4.
Bake them for around 20 minutes, half way through you can turn your tray in the oven, but NEVER open the oven in the first 10 minutes of baking, this is important!
Take them out from the oven, but leave the cupcakes in the pan for about 5 minutes before you transfer them on a wire rack.
After they are cold, whip the double cream adding gradually the preferred amount of cordial.

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Walnut Cream Cheese Cake

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I had three layers of thin walnut cake in my freezer, and all I did now was whip a pack of Mascarpone cream cheese with double cream and few tablespoon of ground walnuts and sugar. Oh, and some vanilla extract to make it even better 🙂
This cake was gone by the evening…
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Ingredients for the filling:
250 g pack of Mascarpone cream cheese
600 ml double cream
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 Tbsp mixture of ground walnuts and brown sugar
I actually might have put more than that, because I wanted lots of walnuts in the cream, but everyone can adjust the quantity to fit their personal preference.
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Ingredients for the cake:
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
This quantity will result in a pretty big cake, with thicker layers than mine here. So, if you want thin layers then you should use only half of the ingredients. I had mine baked weeks ago, and when assembling my cake back then I had to cut of the excess since it would have been much thicker then I wanted for that particularly cake. I freezed those cutoffs, and now only took them out and made a filling.
Method:
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
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Happy Fathers Day!

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This is a no-bake desert, but very rich and full of flavours. I meant to try for a long time to use After eight chocolates to make little square boxes, but I didn’t really know how until I found the little Millionaire’s squares in the store. It turned out they were the perfect match, same size.

 

I only whipped some double cream and threw in some gold chocolate sprinkles with fresh strawberries to create the picture perfect.
Happy Fathers Day!

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Individual Mini Black Forest Cakes

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I have a book called “The best – ever book of cakes” written by Ann Nicol. It’s big, it’s lovely, and full with great recipes of all sorts, yet I only baked twice from it. First time 3 years ago, just one day before my due date with my youngest daughter, and now for the second time, when my little girl is almost 3. Both times the same recipe, the Black Forest Gateau. The only changes I made was that this time I made mini cakes instead of one large. More time consuming, but totally worth it. I have a post about my large cake from 3 years ago, but I wasn’t in the mood to copy down the recipe from the book back then (baby anxiety, I guess), but I’ll do it this time, because I really think that this recipe worth the trouble.

 

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Ingredients:
-75 g melted butter
-5 eggs
-175 g caster sugar
-50 g flour, sifted
-50 g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
Filling and topping:
-6 Tbsp Kirsch
-600 ml double cream
-425 g can black cherries, drained, pitted and chopped
Decoration:
-plain chocolate curls or shreds
-fresh cherries with stems
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Method:
Preheat the oven. Grease and line a large tray bake tin with baking paper. If you make a round cake then use two 20 cm/8in round deep cake tins.
Put the egg and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pale and leaves a trail when the beaters are lifted.
Sift together the flour and cocoa powder, then sift again into the whisked mixture. Fold in gently using a metal spoon and a figure-of-eight motion.
Slowly pour in the cooled melted butter and fold in gently.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin, or tins, and smooth level. Bake for 30 minutes, until springy to the touch.
Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool. Peel off the lining paper.
I used a 6 cm diameter cooking ring/cutter to cut out my mini cake layers. If you bake one large cake, then cut each round cake in half horizontally, so you’ll end up with four layers of cake. Sprinkle evenly with the Kirsch.
In a large bowl, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. The original recipe tells you to mix the chopped, drained cherries into the whipped cream, but I just put the cherries first on the cake then I put the cream on top. And I did this on every little cake layer before I stacked them.
Finish off with a layer of whipped cream on the sides and on the top. Decorate with chocolate curls. My chocolate curls were not chocolate curls at all, I only made flakes using a vegetable peeler, and since the chocolate started to melt in my hands, they were not exactly what I had in mind, but maybe next time they will turn out better.
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