Monday, March 28, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

I'm happy to report some well guarded shortbread strawberries made it long enough to take their places on top of some strawberry shortcake inspired cupcakes. The final result was probably even cuter than I hoped, a vanilla cupcake filled with shortbread and strawberry jam. A definite win.

I look forward to making these for an actual occasion, To bad everyone I know had little boys, because these would be perfect for a little girls birthday.

To make the cupcakes I started with the shortbread circles (made with the strawberries) placed into the bottoms of the cupcake papers as a base.

I used the same recipe a the Pink butterfly Cakes, it makes a lovely moist cake. To make the cupcake, spoon the batter on top of the shortbread round until the pan is half full. Spoon a small dollop of strawberry jam into the centre of each little cake. Top each cupcake with another spoon of cake mix, filling each cup to 3/4 full.

Bake the cakes according to the original recipe. Top each cooled cake with a big swirl of pink strawberry buttercream and finish with a happy strawberry shortbread.

I hope they make you smile as much as they do me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shortbread Strawberries

These cookies were intended as toppers to some strawberry shortcake cupcakes, but then they got faces and took on a life of their own. I had a hard time finding a strawberry shaped cookie cutter and couldn’t possibly wait the few days it would take to order one online, so I squished a spare heart shaped cutter the best I could. Their cute little faces make me smile, hopefully some will last long enough to make it onto cupcakes.

I’m not sure where this recipe came from, it was torn out of a magazine, but it sure makes some tasty cookies. From now on I think I will be making shortbread cookies rather than sugar cookies, I much prefer their soft buttery deliciousness!

The cookies are iced with royal icing and topped with a little fondant flower. For the royal icing I used the same recipe and process I’ve used previously.

Shortbread Cookies

250 grams butter (chilled and cubed)
¾ cup icing sugar
1 1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup corn flour
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

To make the shortbread- Preheat oven to 160°c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Process butter, sugar, flours and vanilla until the dough just comes together. (My food processor is still buried in a cupboard somewhere, but it worked out fine using the mixer)

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth.

Press dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Place chilled dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out to 5mm thick. Cut out an even number of strawberries and circles.
Re-roll and cut and off-cuts.

Place the cutouts onto the prepared trays, leaving spaces of 2cm between. Freeze for 10 minutes, until firm.

Bake the shortbread for 22 to 25 minutes, until golden.

Cool completely on trays before icing.

For the Royal Icing

4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
2-3 tablespoons water (as needed)
red, green, and pink food colourings

To make the icing- add all the ingredients into a medium bowl, beat the ingredients about 7 minutes until smooth. If the icing is too thick add a little more water at a time. (Thin the icing with small amounts of water as needed when flooding the cookies)

Divide the icing in half, colour one half red, divide the remaining half into thirds for the green, pink and white.

Pipe the red strawberry outlines onto the cookies using a fine piping tip. Allow the outlines to set before flooding with icing.

Once the outlines are dry, it is time to flood the cookies with thinned red icing. Use a toothpick to spread the icing and remove any air bubbles.

For the polka dots, drop small dots of white flooding icing into the red icing while still wet.

let the strawberries dry completely, pipe on the green leafy bit and pink rosy cheeks. Stick on a little fondant flower to each strawberry while the icing is still wet.

Once all the icing has set draw on the happy faces and stitched outline with a food pen or food colour.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mint Slice Cookies

There's not a lot of back story to these cookies, except that I was really craving Mint Slice Biscuits. Actually I think my mint craving came from seeing all the green cupcakes and cookies for Saint Patricks Day, I see green I think mint.

For the cookies I used the same chocolate cookie dough I used for the valentines heart cookies, its such a tasty recipe. Half of the cookie dough made about 20 sandwiched cookies, I saved the other half for another project. The taste of these cookies was spot on, just like a mint slice only with the extra little bit of goodness that comes with homemade.

Chocolate Cookies

1 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks, 170 grams) unsalted butter (softened)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

200 grams dark chocolate

To make the cookies- Sift together the flour, salt, cocoa and cinnamon.

In a bowl cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.
Add the vanilla extract and egg to the butter mixture, beat on medium speed until combine.

Gradually add the flour, mix on low speed until just combine.

Divide the cookie dough in half (it will be very soft). Flatten each half into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour.

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge, roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it’s about ¼ inch thick.

Cut out the cookie shapes. If the dough has softened chill for a few minutes to make cutting the shapes easier.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c. Line trays with non stick paper.

Position the cookies on lined trays about 3cms apart. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until cookie dough is firm.

Bake the cookies until crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool on baking trays.

For the Mint Cream

60 grams unsalted butter (softened)
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint flavouring

To make the mint cream- Beat together all ingredients until light and fluffy.

To make the mint choc cookies- Pipe or spread the mint cream onto half of the cookies.

Sandwich on the cookie tops.

Break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt chocolate until smooth.

Using a fork dip the sandwich cookies into the melted chocolate, allow excess chocolate to drip off.

Place the coated cookie on a wire rack until set.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Creme Egg Macarons

I quite possible that I will have eaten my weight in Cadbury Creme Eggs by the time Easter gets here. The other day I did something I didn't think was humanly possible, I ate two whole creme eggs, though I have to admit I didn't feel super awesome afterward and will probably never ever do it again.

Its been so long since I've made made macarons, so I was very excited to make some inspired by my favorite Easter treat, creme egg macs. I don't know if it's been done before, but I was pretty impressed at my chocolate flooded brain coming up with the idea.

The macarons themselves are plain vanilla (made using my regular recipe) filled with chocolate egg shell ganache and creme egg goo.

To make the macs look like eggs I set aside two tablespoons of mixture before filling my piping bag. I dyed the set aside mix with a little yellow food colouring and spooned a tiny bit on top of each macaron just after piping.

To make the filling-

6 Creme Eggs
50 mls cream

The best (messiest) part of the whole process is scooping out the creme eggs, cut each in half, spoon the insides (goo) into one bowl and place the chocolate shells in another.

Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan, pour over chocolate shells, whisk together until it forms a smooth and glossy ganache.

Using a piping bag, pipe a ring of ganache around the insides on the macaron bottoms, using a small spoon fill the centres with creme egg goo.

Gently place on the macaron tops.

Bring on Easter!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Treacle Tart

If Harry Potter says treacle tart is the best dessert ever, of course I'm going to listen to him, he’s Harry Potter! I'm very comfortable admitting I am a big fan of the Harry Potter series, not only are they excellent books, the food described in them is swoon worthy.

I found the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook last year while I was on holidays in Washington. I was so excited when I found it, I remember walking around the rest of the store with it clutched tightly against my chest just in case someone tried to wrestle it from me. It could happen! The book and I got home safely and thought I’ve spent a long time reading through it, this is the first time I’ve ever made something from it. I have big plans to eventually make an entirely Harry potter themed feast, so am very happy to begin trialling the recipes.

Merlin's beard this is a tasty tart, it's similarly sweet and chewy to a pecan pie. I had never tried or even seen treacle tart before so I didn't really know what to expect, the filling was more solid than I had imagined, with a deliciously sweet, sightly lemony flavour. My favorite part of this recipe is the pastry, I think it may be the nicest I have ever made, the vanilla extract adds a whole other level of yum.

No wonder this is Harry Potter's favorite dessert, It made a lovely after dinner treat served with some whipped cream. I think tomorrow night I may do what the book suggests and try it with some warm custard.

On a somewhat related note, in the last month or so there have been an alarming number of people coming in asking to have the dark mark tattooed on them, scary scary, He who must not be named follower's are growing. Eeep! :)

Tart Crust

2 ½ cups plain flour
1 cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 sicks cold butter (cubed)
2 cold large egg yolks
1/3 cup cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crustt- place the flour, confectioners sugar and salt into a bowl. Scatter the pieces of butter over the flour. Rub together the flour, sugar and butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Beat together the egg yolks, cream and vanilla and pour over the flour mixture, toss all ingredients with a spatula until the dough clumps together. If the dough is to dry add one more tablespoon of cream.

Divide the dough in half, form into disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Just before you are ready to roll out the dough, make the filling and preheat oven to 200°c.


1 cup golden syrup
2 ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (for brushing over crust)

To make the filling- Warm the golden syrup in a sauce pan until runny. Combine the golden syrup, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl, mix well until combined.

To make the tart- On a floured surface or between sheets of baking paper roll the first disk of dough into an 11 inch circle.

Line a greased 9 inch tart pan with the dough, gently press into the fluted edges. Trim away any excess pastry.

Roll out the remained half of the dough into a disk about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into inch wide strips for the lattice topping.

Scrape the filling into the prepared tart crust and smooth over with a spatula.

Lay half the strips of pastry over the top of the tart in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction to form a lattice.

Trim the edges and gently brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash.

Bake the tart for ten minutes at 200°c, reduce the temperature to 180°c and continue baking for another 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the filling puffs up in the centre.

Serve with warm custard, cream or ice-cream.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chocolate Lamington Cupcakes

You make be thinking to yourself, these look a lot like last weeks cupcake post. I'm not going to lie to you they are very much like last weeks, in fact they are almost the same. Kind of.

The strawberry butterfly cakes were a big hit, only three were lucky enough to survive to afternoon tea. Due to their success and a special request by one of last weeks taste testers (boyfriends Dad) the coconut cupcakes are back, this time in chocolate.

For the chocolate cupcake I tried a new recipe from Glorious Treats. Glorious Treats said this is the perfect chocolate cake and I very much agree, I usually don't really go for chocolate cupcakes but this recipe is beautifully chocolaty while still being moist and fluffy. The cupcakes are topped with a thicker version of the lamington frosting I made a while back and filled with whipped cream. These cupcakes might be my new best friend.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pink Butterfly Cupcakes

I am in love with these cupcakes, if I was asked ‘do you take these cupcakes to be your lawfully wedded husband?’ the answer would be ‘I do!’ They turned out even better than I hoped, they not only look pretty but taste awesome, kind of like iced vovo biscuits. Yum!

The other great part about them is the easy recipe, one step and I had a bunch of little golden moist butter cakes. Everything is just mixed together, no creaming or folding, just beat it all in a bowl and it’s done.

The recipe I've included here is double the original recipe, my double batch made 18 nice sized cupcakes.

For the cupcakes (from Woman's weekly, Cupcakes by Colour)

2 cups self-raising flour
180 grams softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
4 tablespoons milk

To make the cupcakes- preheat the oven to 180°c. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs and milk. Beat all the ingredients on low speed until just combined, increase the speed to medium and continue beating until mixture is light and increased in volume.

Spoon the mixture into prepared cupcake pans, filling them about 3/4 full.

Bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until golden and springy. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes in the pans before standing the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing

2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons
pink colouring
1/2 teaspoon strawberry flavouring

1 cup coconut
250ml cream (whipped with 2 teaspoons icing sugar)
strawberry jam

To make the icing- sift icing into a small heatproof bowl, stir in butter and enough water to make a thick paste. stand the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water, stir until spreadable.

To assemble the cakes- working with one cupcake at a time, spread of dip the tops with the warm icing.

Immediately dip the iced cake in coconut, until coated.

Continue with the rest of the cupcakes.

Once the icing has set cut a hole, about 1cm deep, in the top of each cupcake.

Spoon a little strawberry jam into the top of each cake.

Pipe whipped cream to fill the holes.

Slice the cut cake rounds in half and position them on the top of the cakes.