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Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcakes

At the request of a friend, this recipe is skipping the queue and being added to the collection whilst I temporarily have a brain.

This actually originally came from a food magazine that someone brought into work, and was a butterfly cake recipe.  I've never been a fan of them, so I thought 'sod that, I'm making cupcakes instead.  The sponge mix was also originally just plain, with no vanilla or anything - in went the vanilla essence and some diced strawberries.  So really, the only thing left of the original recipe are the measurements.  It seems to have worked, and it didn't kill my test subjects, so I count it as a success!

Vanilla and Strawberry Cupcakes (makes about 10-12):


-  100g  Caster Sugar
-  100g  Butter, softened
-  2  Large Eggs
-  100g  Self Raising Flour
-  1/2tsp  Baking Powder
-  1tbsp  Milk
-  1tsp  Vanilla Essence
-  2 or 3 Fresh Strawberries, cut into a small dice.

For the icing:
-  50g  Butter, softened
-  75g  Icing Sugar
-  2tbsp  Strawberry Jam
-  Silver balls and fresh Strawberries to decorate


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C/170 degrees C (fan oven)/Gas Mark 5
2.  Beat together the sugar and butter, then add the flour and baking powder.  Mix in, then add the eggs and vanilla essence.  Finally gently add in the diced strawberries
3.  Spoon the mix into the cases, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes
4.  When cooked through, cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a rack.
5.  Beat together the icing sugar and butter, then stir in the jam.
6.  Either pipe onto the cupcakes with a nozzle, or spread with a spoon.
7.  Decorate with the silver balls (try not to hurl them on the floor like I did) and a half strawberry.
8.  Enjoy!

Easy Peasy Dinner.

Quite often, what I eat is composed of what's left in the fridge, plus some meat out of the freezer.  Normally that tends to be potatoes and assorted bits of vegetable.  So here I present to you a Fridge Raider dinner.  Experimental and containing ingredients that can change dependant on the contents of your own fridge.

Honey and Mustard Pork on Spring Onion, Leek and Pea Mash

(Serves 2)  Ingredients:

4 pork medallions (or pork loin or leg steaks)
1 dessert spoon of Wholegrain mustard
1 (large) dessert spoon of Honey
(optional extra: 1 clove of crushed garlic)

1/2 a Leek
4 Spring Onions
2 good sized Potatoes
A handful of frozen peas (defrosted)

Salt, Pepper.

1.  Mix the honey, mustard (and garlic if you're using it) in a bowl, add a drop of water if it's really thick.  Place in the pork and coat with the mixture.  Cover and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.

2.  Peel and dice the potatoes, slice the leeks and spring onions, leave to one side.

3.  Heat up the grill and put the potatoes on the stove to boil.  When they are nearly cooked, add the leeks.

4.  While the potatoes are cooking, place the pork under the grill, cook for about 5 minutes on each side, making sure it's cooked.

5.  When the potatoes and leeks are done, mash them up with butter, salt and pepper, add in the spring onions and peas and place on the plate.  Place the pork on top, garnish with a few more bits of spring onion if you wish, and chow down.

Chocolate Heaven

Otherwise known as 'Chocolate Homicide'.  I've made this several times, firstly just because I could, then made it for someone's birthday.  Dieter's be warned, this is most certainly not low on calories, although I have no idea how someone managed to eat half of it and not put on an ounce...

Chocolate Heaven/Homicide:

For the Sponge:

-  200g  Dark chocolate
-  200g  Butter, cut into lumps
-  1tbsp  Insant coffee powder
-  85g  Self Raising Flour
-  85g  Plain flour
-  1/4tsp  Bicarbonate of soda
-  200g  Light Muscovado sugar
-  200g Golden caster sugar   (If you can't get golden caster, just use normal caster sugar!)
-  25g  Cocoa Powder
-  3 Medium eggs
-  75ml Buttermilk  (Don't worry if you don't have it, measure out the same amount of normal milk and squeeze in some lemon juice to make it curdle!)

For the Ganache:

-  200g  Dark chocolate
-  285ml   Carton of double cream
-  2tbsp  Golden caster sugar

Cooking Instructions:

1.  Butter a 20cm round cake tin (make sure it's at least 7cm deep) and line the bottom, then preheat the oven to 140 degrees C (fan)/160 degrees C (Conventional)/Gas mark 3.

2.  Break the chocolate into pieces into a medium sized saucepan, then add the butter.  Mix the coffee granules with 125ml of cold water and add to the mix.  Warm over a low heat until everthing has melted.

3.  While that's melting, mix the flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa powder into a big bowl with your hands to get rid of the lumps.

4.  Beat the eggs into a bowl and add the buttermilk.

5.  Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture, stir until well blended and you have a smooth, runny mix.

6.  Pour into the tin, and bake for 1 hour, 30 minutes.  Check to make sure it's cooked by shoving some sort of skewer into the middle (should come out clean) and the top should feel firm.

7.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a rack.  Let it cool completely, then slice horizontally through the middle.

8.  Make the ganache:  Break up the chocolate, then leave to one side.  Pour the cream and sugar into a pan and heat to just under boiling point.  Take off the heat and add in the chocolate, stirring until all the chocolate has melted into the mix.

9.  Spread a little of the ganache onto the bottom layer of the cake, then lay the top sponge on the top.  Spoon the rest of the ganache mix onto the top, smoothing it over the sides and top with a palette knife or spatula. (WARNING!  Make sure you have a plate underneath to catch the ganache that falls off, or you'll have an incredibly messy worktop!)

10.  Leave to set in fridge for a couple of hours, then feel free to decorate with some chocolate curls or some grated white chocolate.

11.  Enjoy, but not all at once!

Edit:  I've already had people request photos of this.  It is is my intention to photograph everything I cook, but some recipies I am almost reciting from memory.  Be grateful I have a picture of this one in my library!  The Cake of Doom!
This is a place for me to ramble on/store/share recipes, so that I don't clog up my other blog.

For anyone who reads the blog but doesn't really know anything about me, I'm a chef with about 2 and a half years experience behind me, a long road ahead of me and a whole lot of experimenting to do in between.  I didn't mean to go into cooking, it just sort of...happened.  I've discovered since then that apparently I'm not disasterous and have a knack for making soups, breads and desserts...but please don't ask me to work with sugar!

When I try something new, or even an old recipe that I've dug out of the cupboard, I'll stick it up here so that any wandering passers-by can have a shot at it as well, and I'll also take any requests/questions about food related stuff too!