Skinny blueberry cupcakes

skinny blueberry cupcakes

skinny blueberry cupcakes

 

I am not generally a fan of ‘healthy’ versions of delicious foods. I’d rather just have the full blown version as its meant to be, and just try not to have it too often! However there are some recipes that do really work, and these cupcakes are a good example. A lot of the ‘healthiness’ is from not topping them with a mountain of buttercream, which although it looks impressive often doesn’t taste as great as good old basic lemon icing which goes on here. It also uses vegetable oil rather than butter, like my autumn favourite pumpkin cupcake recipe.

Ingredients:

200g/7oz self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

75g/3oz golden caster sugar

100g/3½oz blueberries

1 lemon, zest finely grated

2 free-range eggs

150ml/¼ pint low-fat natural yoghurt

2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk

50ml/2fl oz sunflower oil

For the icing:

100g/3½oz icing sugar

4 tsp fresh lemon juice

cupcakes

cupcakes

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole deep muffin tin with some non-stick paper cases.
  2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, blueberries and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre. Beat the eggs with a large whisk until smooth, then beat in the yoghurt, milk and oil until well combined. Stir into the flour mixture with a large metal spoon until very lightly mixed.
  3. Divide the batter between the paper cases. Bake in the centre of the oven for 16–18 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and golden brown. Do not overcook, or they will be very dry. Transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  4. To make the lemon icing, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and runny. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cupcakes and leave to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Also I have discovered by accident that these taste AMAZING with a dollop of mascarpone on top – defeats the point of the ‘healthy’ recipe I appreciate, but delicious all the same!

(all photo credits miss suzylee)

E is for… Elderflower, lemon and almond cake

 

E is for elderflower, lemon and

E is for elderflower, lemon and almond cake

Another addition to the baking alphabet. E was a bit of a challenge since it isn’t the right time of year to make an Easter cake, and Eton Mess is certainly not a cake (although I suspect there is a way to make an Eton Mess flavoured cake… a project for next summer perhaps!). In the end I found another summery flavour instead, and this is certainly flavourful!

Ingredients:

225g butter, room temperature

50g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

200g ground almonds

225g golden caster sugar plus 15g extra

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 free range eggs, beaten

150ml undiluted elderflower cordial

150g mascarpone

150ml double cream

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease and line a 23cm round cake tin (or I used a 20cm square tin).

2. Cream the butter, lemon zest and 225g sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well between each addition. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and almonds to the butter-sugar mix – beat until mixed together and then put this into the cake tin, smoothing the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes until risen and golden. It’s a very moist mix so if you use the skewer test it won’t come out completely cleanly.

First steps

First steps

3. While the cake is cooking make a syrup by mixing, in a small pan, 100ml of cordial, the extra 15g sugar and lemon juice. Heat and stir until the sugar dissolves then set aside to cool.

4. When you take the cake out of the oven, leave it in its tin and make small holes over the surface using a skewer or fork and then pour over the elderflower syrup, spreading it all over the cake’s surface so it sinks in evenly. Leave to cool.

Cut from the square cake once cool

Cut from the square cake once cool

5. For the icing, mix the remaining 50ml elderflower cordial and mascarpone together until smooth.

mascarpone and elderflower cordial

mascarpone and elderflower cordial

This may take a little while and at first it looks like there is no way it will come together, but persevere and it will! I used a balloon whisk. Add the double cream and mix again to make a smooth icing.

icing

icing

 

When the cake is completely cool, remove it from the tin and spread with the icing. This makes a really delicious, moist cake. I decorated it with freeze dried raspberries, but you could use pistachios, rose petals or anything else you fancy really!

finished cake

the finished cake!

(all photo credits miss suzylee)

Super-simple victoria sponge

victoria sponge

victoria sponge

A lot of people get very technical about a victoria sponge and the ‘correct’ way to do it, which can make it a bit off-putting to try and make one – especially because with such a simple cake there is nowhere to hide if it goes wrong! You can’t just cover it in frosting and  pretend its all fine. But never fear – because here is an amazingly simple, no fuss recipe which gives a great result. It may not be the best victoria sponge ever but its pretty darn good and light and brilliant to throw together when you don’t have time for something complicated.

Ingredients

175g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

3 free range eggs

175g caster sugar

175g butter

half tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 c/160 c fan/gas mark 4.

2. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then add all the other ingredients.

3. Whisk until smooth (I used an electric stand mixer but you could use a normal electric mixer) then pour into two greased and lined sandwich tins (I tend to line the base with baking parchment to ensure they come out easily without sticking to the bottom at all) then bake for 30 minutes.

4. Allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling tray.

5. Once cool, add whatever filling you like – I used the traditional strawberry jam and lightly whipped cream, but you could use different flavour jam or even chocolate spread for something a bit different – to sandwich the two cakes together, then dust with icing sugar through a sieve (I used a stencil for a bit of decoration).

6. Sit down with a cup of tea (this cake demands tea rather than coffee, if I’m being picky earl grey would go well..!) and a big slice of cake and enjoy!

(all photo credits miss suzylee)

Chocolate fudge cupcakes

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

My favourite thing to bake is chocolate cupcakes. Cupcakes + chocolate = happy me. However, I did start to wonder whether there is more to life… and now I realise there is. Chocolate fudge cupcakes. These are happiness in a cupcake and seriously, the frosting is actually genuinely fudge.

Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 and a half tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 free range egg
  • quarter of a tsp vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.

    dry ingredients

    dry ingredients

  2. Beat together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixing bowl until you have a sandy consistency.

    mixing

    mixing

  3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and milk together in a separate bowl then pour HALF into the other mixture and continue beating until mixture is smooth with no lumps, then add the remaining egg mixture and beat until smooth. Do not over mix.
  4. Line a cupcake tin with paper cases and spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two thirds full. This recipe makes at least 12 large cupcakes, usually seems to make more so may be wise to have a spare tin and cases at the ready…
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until sponge bounces back/skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool slightly then turn out to cool completely on a cooling rack – now make the frosting.

Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 60g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 220g light, soft brown sugar
  • 240g icing sugar, sifted (I often skip sifting in other recipes, but here you really do need to make sure there are no lumps)
  • half tsp vanilla extract
  1. Place the butter, milk and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a high heat and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and allow to boil for one minute.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the icing sugar. Then stir in the remaining icing sugar and the vanilla essence and stir until the mixture thickens.
  3. Use IMMEDIATELY! This will start off fairly liquid but will quickly set into more of a fudge texture. If you like you can add decorative toppings to the cupcakes whilst the fudge is still soft.

Warning: these cupcakes are addictive.

I mixed it up by also making some peaches and cream cupcakes which I topped with freeze dried raspberries, you can find the recipe for these here Decisions, decisions… cake or cupcakes? | miss suzylee.

(all photo credits miss suzylee)

D is for… Double chocolate and banana loaf

D is for double chocolate and banana loaf

D is for double chocolate and banana loaf

It’s been a while since I managed the latest addition to my alphabet baking – a lot of recipes just don’t lend themselves to making shapes out of them! Its also been a busy few weeks with not a great deal of time left for baking. However I felt compelled to make this as I realised I had an entire bunch of bananas that I had neglected to eat, and they were looking rather sorry for themselves:

bananas

sorry looking bananas!

I was left wondering what to do with them. The best ideas I came up with were making a cake, and making milkshakes.

Miss Suzylee’s Banana Milkshake

Into a blender jug, add chopped banana (even really, really old ones that you wouldn’t consider eating can be saved by this recipe!), a glass of milk and a good squeeze of maple syrup. Blend together well (this may take a few minutes) to ensure it is smooth, and add more milk if needed. It should come out smooth, airy and frothy and is so delicious I usually end up downing it in one!

It also goes very well with the cake in question…

Double Chocolate and Banana Loaf

Ingredients

3 medium-to-large very ripe bananas
115 grams butter, melted
145 grams brown sugar
1 large free range egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
125 g plain flour
80g cocoa powder
170g chocolate (chopped or chocolate chips – I used chopped white chocolate)

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c,  and line a loaf tin (approx 9×5-inch)

2. Mash bananas in the bottom of a large bowl.  Whisk in the melted butter, then the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.

whisking the ingredients

whisking the ingredients

3. Sift baking powder, salt, flour and cocoa powder sift over wet ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chunks or chips.

mmm chocolate...

mmm chocolate…

4. Pour the cake mix into the lined loaf tin and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (apart from any melted chocolate).

5. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

the finished loaf

the finished loaf

I think the finished loaf has a pleasing rugged effect! Very tasty… To make it into my alphabet cake I trimmed it carefully with a very sharp knife to make the D shape and added more chocolate chips on top. The cake has quite a dense finish which means that it cuts cleanly which helps!

Goes down very well with a banana milkshake! Or just a cup of tea if you’re banana-ed out.

(all photo credits miss suzylee)

Afternoon tea at the Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry

The Modern Pantry

Nothing beats afternoon tea as a social eating ‘event’ for me, whether its ultra traditional a la Betty’s in Harrogate or low key in a local cafe. For a modern take on it in London its worth visiting The Modern Pantry – Restaurant Clerkenwell, Café and Deli Farringdon London.

In sunny weather you can sit outside in a peaceful square (you’d never think you were in the middle of the City) and have a lovely afternoon tea brought to you, with bubbles if desired as well as a wide choice of teas. Service was friendly with no rushing so that we were able to chat and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere to our hearts content.

afternoon tea

afternoon tea

The food had an outstanding range of unusual flavour combinations, none of the afternoon cliches of limp cucumber sandwiches or dry fruit scones here – the bread was fresh and light, the salmon was chunky and tasty and the range of desserts had us in raptures – the poached rhubarb stick with lightly flavoured cream was delicious, as was everything else! The bite sized cakes meant that despite our reservations we did just about manage to finish everything down to the last mini brownie, and we had fun guessing what all the flavours were (it would have been cheating to ask the staff)!

We also found a rather interesting addition to the wall of the building – is this lego graffiti?!

lego

lego

(all photo credits miss suzylee)

Lime and coconut cake

lime and coconut cake

lime and coconut cake

I had a request recently for a victoria sponge as a birthday cake where I knew I also needed a gluten free option – so I decided to combine the two! Rather than a straightforward victoria sponge I decided to go for a more summery flavour with lime and coconut. It was really delicious and in texture seemed like a lovely moist normal sponge rather than a pale gluten free imitation.

Ingredients for the cake

175 g butter

175g caster sugar

3 large free range eggs, beaten

175g gluten free self raising flour

1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder

1tsp xanthan gum

50g desiccated coconut

2tbsp coconut cream

Ingredients for the icing

3 limes

225g icing sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 c/160c fan/gas mark 4, grease and line two 20cm sandwich (round) tins.

2. Cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer on a high speed for a few minutes, then gradually add the beaten eggs on a medium speed.

adding the coconut

adding the coconut

3. Fold in the sifted flour, xanthan gum and baking powder carefully using a metal spoon or a spatula. Add the desiccated coconut and coconut cream, carefully folding in until combined.

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

4. Spoon into the two sandwich tins smoothing out to the edges of the tins and bake for 25 minutes or until the cakes begin to shrink away from the sides of the tins.

baked goodness

baked goodness

5. Whilst the cake is baking, make the icing. Cut the limes in half, and use a sharp knife to run around the edges between the fruit and the skin. Then use the knife blade to scoop out each segment between the membranes into a bowl as shown below:

removing lime segments

removing lime segments

6. Sift the icing sugar on top of the lime segments and carefully fold in until combined.

7. Once the cakes are baked leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Once cool sandwich together with half of the lime icing, and use the remaining half to ice the top of the cake.

This was such a tasty cake, and of course as it was a birthday cake we had to have candles!

birthday candles

birthday candles

(all photo credits miss suzylee)