Tag Archives: frosting

MSC: Courgette.. er, Zucchini (ahem) Spice Cupcakes

“Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie”  ~Jim Davis

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This month’s MSC pick was a winner, in my book.. I LOVE carrot cake with cream cheese frosting more than any other edible substance on the planet (a lot) – but I’ve always wanted to swap veg and try using zucchini/courgette instead (look at me being bilingual..skills, innit.)

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The cupcakes baked up beautifully – with a perfect dome, which is impressive given my track record on overfilling..  They were moist and nicely-spiced on their own, but the frosting added that sweet creamy oomph needed to bump ’em up to a nom-worthy status of 3.5/5.  I’ve just now decided that I might start giving these bakes ratings a la bakingblonde – I always love knowing how recipes compare on ingredient availability, difficulty, and taste.. So here goes:
(bear in mind I’m comparing these with other cupcake+frosting recipes)

ingredients = 4/5 (double check you’ve got all the spices)
effort/time = 4.5/5 (half a point for the grating.. although that might be too harsh)
difficulty = 1/5
taste/texture combo =  3.5/5 (carrot still wins, for the extra crunch and natural sweetness.. plus, this was a lot more dense than my c-cake favourite..)

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I made these for a friend’s birthday and it was my first attempt at two-tone frosting.. obviously, practice is needed but they still did the job.  Thanks so much to Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures for such a good pick! And to our lovely leader Betty of EatMyCupcake!Please head over to the MSC clubsite for a look at what the other cupcakers thought about this one!

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Matcha, mochi and more..

Right well…. I promised to post more pics today of the crumble topped banana apple bread I made for yesterday’s Sweet Melissa Sunday deadline, but my live-in photographer had other things to do so that will just have to wait… which means I’ll have to maintain some self-control to ensure there’s still something to take photos of tomorrow. damn.

So instead, I thought I’d post a few recent experiments:

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A few weeks ago we went to a fantastic Japanese restaurant – Bento Box, go – for a friend’s birthday and it sparked a bit of an obsession.. I’d been playing around with the idea of joining the Iron Cupcake London challenge and as this month’s theme happens to be ‘Cupcakes of the World’, I’ve made it my goal to put together a tasty Japanese-themed cupcake fit for the competition.  Now, this is a bit odd because although I grew up in Japan, I never really developed a taste for most of the Japanese foods that friends and family seem to love – e.g. sushi, sashimi, ramen.. and especially green tea, bean paste and most so-called ‘desserts’.

But I’ll try anything in cupcake form.

I came across Chockylit’s recipe for matcha green tea frosting and promptly cycled down (yes, cycled..I was that pumped, haha) to the Japan Centre in Piccadilly Circus for ingredients.  This was an easy cream cheese based frosting and – it still shocks me to say this – it’s DELICIOUS. seriously, I love it. The taste is hard to describe – I’d say the matcha almost adds a nuttiness.. or something.. I added a teaspoon of orange extract in an attempt to get a satsuma-ish theme going and an extra teaspoon of matcha powder just to make sure the green tea flavour came through.

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This is definitely one I plan to use again – for the Iron Cupcake London competition and just for fun.  It went over reeeeeally well with friends.. (Particularly with one friend who I’d describe as a fanatical dessert-hater in fact  – she had 2!!)

* I was going to offer MATCHA POWDER as my ‘most unusual ingredient’ entry for Katiecakes’ fantastic giveaway, but I also picked up this at the Japan Centre:

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No, not the lucky cat.  (ha ha.. what a card I am, eh?).  The package he’s propping up contains Mochiko – glutinous rice flour – which is used to make ‘Mochi’ in Japan.  From what I remember, Mochi is a chewy, mildly sweet bread (?) often filled with sweet bean paste.  Have a look here to get an idea.  I’m guessing that using Mochiko will be my most unusual baking experience – because even though it’s not unusual at all in Japanese cooking, it’s a far cry from my usual bakes and my  typical tastes.

I was NOT a fan of Mochi balls as a child. I always mistook the bean paste for chocolate and felt horribly cheated once I’d bitten in and realized my error.  But the idea of making these Mochi balls, and using whatever filling I fancy, really intrigues me… (though I do intend to try the beanpaste again).  Have a look here, here and here for a few tasty-looking recipes I’ve been considering..

I’ll let you know the verdict once I get around to this one – but in the meantime, check out Katie’s gorgeous blog for a look at what other unusual ingredients her readers have been cooking with! xx

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Soya subs take over my fridge

At this moment I’m stuffing myself with some very un-vegan scones, clotted cream and AMAAAAZING strawberry preserves that I made for tomorrow’s Sweet Melissa Sundays post.  I’m ecstatic- it’s my first SMS post…well, my first bakealong post ever actually, woohoo! But even though it’s past midnight here in the UK by my watch, I’ll have to contain my excitement until the light is better for snapping pics because this stuff is worth it.

But while I’m sitting here in a food coma unable to move, I figure it’s a good chance to write about those vegan cupcakes I mentioned before…

Since my boyfriend’s sister, Ana, went vegan about 9 months ago, I  started looking around for good i-can’t-believe-it’s-soya recipes that didn’t call for bizarre ingredients I’d have no chance of finding here in the UK. The chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream recipes I came across on Baking Bites were absolutely yum, so I really recommend stopping by whether you’re vegan or not.  Both the cake recipe and the frosting recipe are definitely keepers in my book, but I also decided I’d need a good, basic vanilla cake recipe to play with and flavour as I liked.. so the search continued!

Ana has been away saving the world over the last few months, but in anticipation of her return I decided she couldn’t live without ‘Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and neither could I.  Unfortunately (only for me and my buy it seemed), Ana’s best vegan intentions had been squashed during her month long stay in Ghana, and she returned much more open to the joy of eggs and cream.. doh..

BUT I still had a go at some of the recipes in this book – and I’m really glad I did! I tried the golden vanilla cupcakes and the chocolate buttercream recipe, both of which were fantastic.  I admit I was a bit worried when I first took the cakes out of the oven because they looked a bit.. umm..shinier (perhaps?) and more dense than other dairy-full cupcake recipes I’ve used..plus, my boyfriend accused them initially of tasting dry.  But I promise that when paired with the chocolate frosting they’re gorgeous-  slightly moorish and definitely moist enough within the first few days.  (I only say that because I just ate the last one today, 5 days later, and it was admittedly nearing the slightly stale – but I’m sure any cupcake would be by this stage!)

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vegan golden vanilla cupcakes

The basic golden cupcake recipe calls for vanilla and almond extracts, which sound gorgeous, but since I was out of almond I decided to sub 1 tsp orange extract . I also added 1 tsp orange extract to the chocolate buttercream, and although it’s a bit out of character (because I’m generally not a huge fan of the combo – never really took to Terry’s chocolate orange sweets..) I’m glad I did because the flavours were gorgeous – there was a nice contrast between the light not-too-sweet cupcakes and the rich fluffy chocolate frosting, with a subtle orange pulling everything together.

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To be honest, this  frosting was so good that I may have to add it to the Go2 collection..  If anyone wants the recipes, have a google or send me a message!

See you in the morning for SMS!!

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Cupcakes to kick things off

Righto.

So I’ve done it………………finally!

After poring over so many amazing baking blogs in the past few years, I finally jumped on the blogging bandwagon.  And so far I’ve spent the whole evening sorting out a profile, previewing themes, playing with font colours and cropping candidate headers.  So while I meant to write about these babies, (which I’ve chosen reprezent up top too)

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…it’s already midnight and I’ve run out of time to actually write anything meaningful (read: intelligible).

So much for the triumphant first post.

But I’ve got a pile of  photos and recipe reviews ready to share (well.. er, some..) – so more to come soon!

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