Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Hiya,

Summer is just flying by and I can’t believe the mornings are already feeling a little bit crisper, I’m not ready for the cold weather but I have already started planning Septembers posts and they are going to be all bright & cheerful, so there is something to look forward to.

Tuesday 15 August is National Lemon Meringue Pie day which I love to celebrate but I decided to mix it up a little so I have a Lemon Meringue Cupcake recipe for you instead. They don’t keep well so I’m sharing a half a recipe but if you’d like the full one just pop me a message and I’ll be glad to share.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

113g butter (softened)

113g caster sugar

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

113g plain flour

1tsp baking powder (heaped)

Line a muffin tin with 9 paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs and mix in well.

Add vanilla extract and mix.

Sieve and combine the flour and baking powder. Add this to the mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated.

Soon into the prepared muffin tray. I always weigh mine and put 50g of mixture into each wrapper.

Bake at 175°C for 20 mins.

Remove from the oven & cool for 5 mins.

Meringue topping

2 egg whites

50g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

Pour the egg whites into a clean mixing bowl and start to beat. Add a pinch of salt.

Once foamy slowly start to add your sugar while the mixer is going. Continue to beat until you reach stiff peaks or the mixture won’t move if you turn the bowl upside down.

Spoon into a piping bag and put to the side.

Turn the oven temperature up to 230°C.

Hollow out your cupcakes and fill with lemon curd.

Pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes.

Place in the oven for 5 mins until the meringue looks lightly toasted.

Allow to cool before enjoying within 2 days.

Cxx

Kawaii Cactus Macarons

Kawaii Cactus Macarons

Hiya!

I have really got into my groove with making macarons and really love them but plain round macarons are never going to satisfy my creativity. Yes, you can make them in any colour of your dreams and any flavour combination you can think of but with a little bit of patience you can make them any shape you desire too. There are some amazing macaron/food artists out there and they really inspire me to try a little harder and bake something super cute!

There is a lot of mystery around making very temperamental macarons but I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learnt. These are my opinions from trial and error and research I’ve found online. As much as I wish I was a French Patissier, I am not.

This is the macaron recipe I used for these super cute cactus macs.

French Macaron Recipe

100g egg whites (aged for 24 hours)
130g ground almonds
130g icing sugar
90g caster sugar
A pinch of salt

Age the egg whites for 24 hours. This means separate the whites from the yolks into a clean oil free bowl. Cover the egg whites with cling film and poke a few holes in the top. Place back in the fridge for 24 hours.

Draw up a macaron template. Keep in mind that your baking time will increase if you make them larger than 1.5″ or may decrease if you have any delicate pieces sticking off. Also take into account that the back will need to match up to the front, if your front has lots of details you may want to consider making a simplified back. For e.g. my cacti only had arms on the front not the back.

When ready to make your macarons take the egg whites out the fridge first, before you do anything else, giving them time to warm up to room temperature.

Weight your caster sugar into a small bowl.
Weight and sieve your icing sugar and into the same bowl weigh and sieve your ground almonds. I’ve yet to buy a bag of ground almonds where the whole bag will pass through the sieve, almost half is always too big. If you place the required weight of almonds into a food processor along with a couple tablespoons of your weighed out icing sugar and blend, they will become smaller and usable in macarons. Waste not, want not.

Time to whip the egg whites. If you get this part right, the rest will go smoother! When they start to foam add a pinch of salt. When you start to see trails in the egg white, left by the whisk, slowly add your caster sugar. Whip until stiff peaks. These are short sharp peaks that do not fold over on themselves. The meringue looks solid white and marshmallow like. If you tip the bowl, it won’t slide.

A lot of recipes recommend that you add colour just before reaching this stage but then you end up with everything one colour. I prefer to halve the almond and icing sugar mixture into 2 bowls and then halve the meringue mixture into each bowl. Knowing how much your bowl weighs empty will make this easy. I then add the colouring on top of the meringue before starting to fold the mixture together.

Macronage: there are many videos online showing this and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to make a video but for now, fold, fold, fold, no mixing as you want to keep as much air in the macarons as possible while still reaching a ribbon like dropping stage with the mixture. If you don’t mix enough your macarons will not become smooth on top. Mix too much and your mixture will spread too much. There is no trick here, only practice will help you know when the mixture is ready.

I always thought that once the mixture was ready you had to be super quick to use it and had to use a large piping tip so as not to deflate the mixture. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. With a smaller opening in the piping bag you can get much more detail on your macs. To add additional details on top of the macs or with visible join lines you need to wait for your base to dry first. This surprisingly does not ruin the mixture which has been patiently waiting for you in the piping bag. I piped a second tray of macs after the first was already in the oven and you could not tell the difference between the mixture that was piped straight away or the mixture that sat around for 30 mins.

Baking temperature, time and place in the oven is all very volatile as all ovens are so different. Using an oven thermometer gives you a bit more control over the temp as you can usually see any changes in temperature in more detail. Start with your tray in the middle and next try your tray at the bottom, see what works better for you. Sit in front of your oven the first few times and see what your macs are doing. You may need to turn the tray half way through if your oven has a hotter spot.

Bake at 160°C for 10-12 mins.

If you’ve read to the end of this, I hope you found it useful. If you are a French Patissier please don’t shake your head too much if I don’t do things the right way, this is how it works for me.
If you decide to make macarons after reading this please tag me in a pic as I’d love to see.

Cxx

Baked Blueberry Cheesecake

Baked Blueberry Cheesecake

Hiya!

Yesterday was National Cheesecake Day, how exciting that Cheesecake has it’s own day! I just love all of these mini celebrations from around the world, I think it is a great way to show unity and togetherness with different people from around the world.

I love cheesecake, especially my Mom’s cheesecake. It always turns out better than mine and I don’t get to eat it very often but when we visited South Africa last month I was lucky enough to get some! So this time I decided to mix it up a little and add the blueberries to my cheesecake and it turned out great.

Baked Blueberry Cheese Cake

Prepare an 8″ pie dish or springform tin. If using the spring form tin, be sure to line the sides with a layer of baking paper, ensuring it goes just down into the join of the base and the side to decrease any leakage.

Blueberries:
200g fresh blueberries
50g caster sugar

Wash and place the blueberries into a saucepan.
Cover with sugar and heat on medium until it starts to bubble.
Give it a stir and leave it to simmer for 3-4 mins.
Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit until required.

Pie case:
125g butter (softened)
45g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
135g plain flour

Cream the butter and sugar until pale.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add sifted flour and baking powder.
Spread the dough into the spring form tin. I used an offset spatula to get it level.
Use a teaspoon to drip half the blueberry mixture onto the uncooked base and spread it around a bit.

Filling:
450g cream cheese
2 eggs
45g caster sugar
30g plain flour
200ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of half a lemon

Beat the cream cheese and eggs very well.

Add sugar and mix, add flour and mix.
Pour in the milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix well.
This mixture will be very runny and if you use a spring form tin you will need to be quick about getting it into the preheated oven.

Pour the filling gently onto the uncooked base.
Bake at 180° for 25-30 mins until the mixture is set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 mins. Add the remaining blueberry mixture to the top of the cheesecake with a teaspoon.
Once completely cool, place it into the fridge as it really does taste best cold!

Enjoy your Baked Blueberry Cheesecake!

Cxx

Unicorn Sugar Cookies

Unicorn Sugar Cookies

Hiya!

A while back on Instagram I shared a unicorn cookie cutter with you. I was very excited as I very seldom buy a cookie cutter, I usually cut cookies by hand. This was also very special as it was for my daughter’s birthday, which was 3 days after we got back from our vacation. So planning ahead I used some advice I read about in Sweet Ambs blog. She makes her cookie mix ahead of time for a big order, cuts the cookies out and then freezes the cut cookies. When you’re ready to go just grab them out the freezer, lay them on the cookie tray while the oven heats up and you’re good to go!

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When I was baking to order I used to ice cookies every week and I’ve really missed this, I’m also really out of practice! But my biggest challenge with the icing was making my own royal icing from scratch! In the UK you can buy royal icing powdered sugar where you just add the required amount of water & beat. I got used to the consistency that worked for me and could whip up a batch in no time. After much research I chose to use Sweet Sugar Belle’s recipe. I follow her on Instagram and her cookies always look amazing!!!

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My inspiration for these cookies, other than my daughter’s love of unicorns, was Miss Doughmestic. Her cookies always look too good to eat and it was here that I first saw this cutter and knew I needed it!

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I used my Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Recipe for these cookies and I do not think the taste or texture was compromised by freezing the raw cookies, I would definitely do it again.

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Cinnamon Sugar Cookies Recipes

225g butter (softened)
225g caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
425g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

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Cream the butter and sugar until incorporated, don’t over do it as you want the cookies to hold their shape and not expand too much during baking. Scrape down the sides and mix again.

Add the egg, combine, scrape down the sides and mix again.

Add the vanilla extract and combine.

Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix on a low speed for 30 sec, when it clumps together it’s ready.

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Roll out a sheet of parchment paper the size of your fridge shelf, cut two. Place the cookie dough on one sheet and flatten with your hand. Place the second sheet on top and roll out your cookie dough to around 5mm thick.

Place the dough flat on a shelf in the fridge for at least an hour and it will harden up making cookies much easier to cut and move to a baking tray ready for the freezer.

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Once frozen, stack the cookies and either seal in a ziplock bag or cling film.

To bake, preheat the oven to 170°C and place frozen cookies on a baking tray for a few minutes to defrost. Depending on the size of your cookies, bake for 8-12 mins.

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Once cooled you can begin to decorate your cookies. Royal icing skills definitely improve with practice, this is the first time I’ve used textured tips and I always hope to get better. Some of the works of art out there are just amazing! I hope you enjoy my friendly little unicorns!

Cxx

Variety is the Spice of Life Cupcakes

Variety is the Spice of Life Cupcakes

Hiya!

I’ve just got back from 2 weeks in South Africa and while it was great to see family, I really missed my baking! So to make up for missing 2 weeks, this is a bumper post with not one but two special recipes and optional varieties!

My daughter’s birthday is 4 days before my husband’s and they obviously have very different tastes but baking 2 full size birthday cakes within one week is a little more than even I can eat!

So… my answer is cupcakes and half my standard recipe so that you can make a variety of flavours. Each recipe will give you 9 cupcakes and I recommend putting 50g of cake mix into each cupcake wrapper to give you that pretty little dome. I over filled the sprinkles cupcakes and they ended up all flat in top.

Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes

113g butter (softened)
113g caster sugar
2 eggs
113g plain flour
1tsp baking powder (heaped)
1tsp vanilla extract
90g sprinkles

Chocolate Sour Cherry Cupcakes

113g butter (softened)
113g caster sugar
2 eggs
113g plain flour
1tsp baking powder (heaped)
2TBS cocoa powder
90g sour cherries (drained & chopped)

Method

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time mixing between each addition. Add the vanilla extract for the vanilla cupcakes. Scrape down the sides and ensure everything is well combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa (for the chocolate cupcakes). Pour it into the butter mix and combine on a low speed.

Scrape down the side and add sprinkles to the vanilla cupcake mix or sour cherries to the chocolate cupcake mix. Mix well.

Spoon mixture into your prepared cupcake pan.

Bake at 170°C for 18 mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack while you make the icing.

American Buttercream Recipe

275g butter (softened)
550g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2TBS cocoa powder
1TBS milk

Beat the butter for 3 mins. Sift the icing sugar into the butter and beat for 8 mins. So ode the icing in half.

Add vanilla extract to one half for the Sprinkle Cupcakes. Add cocoa powder and 1 TBS of milk to the other half for the Chocolate Cupcakes.

Pipe butter cream onto cupcakes and decorate as desired.

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To change up these recipes; Sprinkles could be replaced with glacé cherries, chocolate chips or lemon zest. Sour cherries could be replaced with caramel chips, peppermint extract or peacan nuts. Whatever your heart desires.

P.S. I used a silicon mold and candy melts to make the mermaid tails, I then sprayed them with silver food spray.

Enjoy offering a a variety of cupcakes at your next party or family gathering!

Cxx

Coffee Meringue Dessert Stack

Coffee Meringue Dessert Stack

Hiya!

I have a very short post for you tonight as I am currently on holiday in South Africa.

There are so many very beautiful miniature cakes around that I decided to make an adult gluten free version. Pastel meringue disks layered with coffee cream!

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Meringue Recipe

3 egg whites

Caster sugar (double the weight of the egg whites)

1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C, weigh your egg whites into your mixing bowl and allow to warm to room temperature.

Weigh double the amount of caster sugar as the weight of your eggs in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven for 5 mins.

Start to beat your egg whites and when they look foamy remove the sugar from the oven and turn the temp down to 100°C.

Spoon the hot sugar slowly into the egg whites while beating, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Add vanilla extract.

Once you reach stiff peak stage (short pointy peaks that do not fall back on themselves) stop and divide the mixture into 4 smaller bowls.

Choose 4 gel food colours and start to colour your meringue. The colour will fade slightly with baking, so you may want to make it slightly brighter than you want them to turn out.

I drew round circles (about 4″ wide) on my baking paper, turned the paper upside down and pipped 3 circles of meringue in each colour. I kept the pink for the tops of the meringue and pipped these with a 1M Wilton piping tip to look like flowers.

Bake at 100°C for 1hour 30mins.

Allow to cool completely before starting the filling.

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Coffee Cream Filling

250ml whipping cream

1tsp caster sugar

1tsp instant coffee (heaped)

Pour the cream into a bowl to whip.

Add caster sugar and coffee.

Start whipping, once it is thick enough that it doesn’t slide when you tip the bowl you are done but be careful not to over whip of you’ll end up with coffee butter!

Place a tip in a piping bag and full it with the coffee cream.

Pipe a circle of coffee cream onto your first meringue disk and then stack and fill the rest. There is a piping & stacking video on Instagram and Facebook.

Once you’ve stacked them, they will need to be kept in the fridge and eaten with 2 hours before the meringue begins to dissolve with the moisture from the cream.

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Enjoy as a light summer dessert and think about me as it is the middle of winter in South Africa!

xx

Raspberry & White Chocolate Unicorn Cake

Raspberry & White Chocolate Unicorn Cake

Hiya,

I’m super excited about this week! I’ve wanted to make a unicorn cake for ages and finally I did! Also there are 4 more sleeps (can you tell I have kids?) until we go on holiday to South Africa and I get to see my family! Yay!

Firstly you will need some gumpaste or florist paste which dries hard, to make your horn & ears. I used white as finding colours can be difficult. I rolled a tube of gumpaste with either end tapered to a point, folded it in half and then twisted it together. I pushed a cake pop stick up the middle so that I could secure the horn to the cake. I also used a tiny bit is edible glue to stick the horn so that it didn’t unravel as it dried. You need to make the horn well ahead of time as it is thick and takes a while to dry.

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Next I rolled out some gumpaste and used a raindrop shaped cutter to cut out the ears. I coloured the center in with pink edible marker and pinched the bottom closed to make the ear shape.

Once the horn was dry I used gold food paint to paint it gold.

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Raspberry and Vanilla Cake Recipe

(makes 3 x 6″ round cakes)

338g butter softened

338g caster sugar

6 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

338g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

60g freeze dried raspberries

Cream the butter & sugar together until pale and fluffy

Add 1 egg at a time, mixing it in before adding the next.

Add vanilla extract. Ensure with each step that you scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is well mixed.

Sift flour & baking powder and add to the butter mixture, mix until just combined.

Time to add the freeze dried raspberries! The bag I bought were all whole raspberries which are pretty for decoration but better crushed for a cake. Tip the raspberry pieces into the mixture and mix until evenly combined.

I always line the base of my cake tins as the cake comes out so easily this way. Divide the mixture evenly between your tins and level using an offset spatula.

Bake at 160°C for 30-35 mins. Check the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake, it should come out clean. If you think the top of the cake is starting to look too dark but the cake is not ready yet, place a sheet of baking paper over the top while in the oven.

Remove from the oven & cool in the tin for 5 mins before removing to a wire rack.

I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream to decorate the cake, you can find my recipe in the link above and I made 1 and a half times the recipe. I melted and cooled 2/3 cup of white chocolate and slowly poured into into the completed icing.

In 3 smaller bowls I placed 100g of icing each and coloured each bowl a different colour, pink, teal & lilac.

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Level your cake layers to all the same size and I also trimmed off the darker outer layer and the base using a bread knife.

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Stack & crumb coat your cake and place in the fridge for an hour. It was super hot the day I did this and I was terrified the finished cake was going to slide apart as once the horn & ears go on, it cannot go back into the fridge!

Ice the outer layer of your cake and level the top. I placed the horns and ears on before I started piping. Pipe your unicorns mane using the different coloured icing, I also used 3 different piping tips.

Colour a small amount of left over icing black for the eyes. I used a round cookie cutter to mark out where the eyes should be and then pipped the eyes using a 2 piping tip.

Stand back & admire your magical unicorn. I was lucky enough to receive a picture of my cake at the venue, which made me very happy!

Cxx

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