Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Birthday rum and coconut cupcakes

I baked these cakes in memory of my Auntie Kate whose birthday is tomorrow.

My auntie Kate was my second mum and I miss her every day, more so around times like birthdays and holidays. She was one of the people who taught me how to bake - I used to stay with her in the holidays and we'd get out some cook books and decide what delicious cake we were going to make. One of my favourite memories is making a steamed apple pudding in the microwave with her - we'd never baked in a microwave before and we were so happy it turned out perfectly. 

Although she struggled with eating disorders she was a born feeder - I still remember Manny's face the first time we popped to hers for a 'snack' when visiting and she'd laid on a banquet of home made baked treats. 

She loved to party and dance and I always remember her and my mum showing Manny how to dance properly to Status Quo. 

As you can imagine drink was often involved in our lives (once I was old enough obviously!), so I decided to make a nice boozy cupcake to toast the wonderful life she led that was taken from us far too soon. 

The cake recipe is adapted from a Screwdriver cupcake recipe in Booze Cakes

3 eggs
174g unsalted butter softened
1.5 cups caster sugar
2 tsp orange zest
2.5 cups plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup bacardi (or any rum)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. 

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat eggs and then add to the mixture with the orange zest. 

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl or jug mix the orange juice and vodka. I used freshly squeezed orange juice and added some of the pulp as well. 

Add flour and vodka mixtures alternately to the butter/egg mixture. Fold in the coconut and bake for 21 or so minutes. 

Let cool before frosting. 

The frosting recipe in the book made a soup consistency of frosting, so my recipe is a little vague. 

85g unsalted butter, softened
1/5 tsp vanilla
3 tbs orange juice
1/2 cup double cream
3 tablespoons rum (I may have added extra)
icing sugar

The book states 2 cups of icing sugar but I used way more than that but didn't measure how much I used. Start with two then add until you have a good piping consistency. 

To make the frosting you cream the butter and sugar for about 5 mins. Then add the vanilla, orange juice and cream. Mix again. Add more sugar if necessary and then add the rum. 

Top with some orange zest and more shredded coconut if you wish. 

These cakes were delicious - light and moist with a nice hit of boozy'ness. The shredded coconut kept the cakes moist for days. I'm starting a campaign to have it available here - why isn't it? 

Happy Birthday Auntie Kate - I raise a cupcake to you x

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Chicken and Waffles Cupcakes

This weekend is the 46th NFL Superbowl featuring New York Giant and New England Patriots.

There you go that is my entire knowledge of the Superbowl in one sentence - mainly gleaned from Google.

The Giants appearance gave me the perfect excuse to make some cupcakes I've been planning to make for just over a year, when I first read about them on Blondie and Brownie's blog - my own version of New York bakers Robicelli's Chicken and Waffles cupcakes. Also any excuse to take pics of my gorgeous Statue of Liberty Hello Kitty.

Robicelli's cupcake is a waffle flavoured cupcake covered in vanilla buttercream topped with a pie of maple glazed fried chicken - mine is slightly different.

I went with a buttermilk cupcake - adapted slightly from a recipe in Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess. I added quite a lot of vanilla to this and omitted the lemon. This cake is perfect to make cupcakes, giant cakes, bundts etc as it's quite sturdy.

It's topped with some absolutely delicious maple syrup frosting. I was lucky enough to get some 100% pure maple syrup from my friend Dennis in Ann Arbor - how cute is this. And it tastes amazing.

The recipe is from Lola's - honestly you won't regret making it - but maybe make double, this doesn't make much.

65g unsalted butter softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
65g light muscovado sugar
150g cream cheese at room temp

Mix the butter, syrup and sugar until light and creamy. Add the cream cheese and mix until just smooth. I can not explain how great this frosting tastes - honestly make it and see!

The fried chicken I made myself - just like regular fried chicken. You need buttermilk, plain flour and some paprika. Dunk the chicken in the flour, then the buttermilk, then the flour/spice mix and fry.

The waffles I'm afraid I bought in a fancy coffee shop as I don't have a waffle maker and thought buying one just to make some cupcakes a little extravagant.

Once the cupcakes were assembled we drizzled over some more of the amazing maple syrup and then tucked in. At first I wasn't sure but then I took a bit of everything at once and it worked. Honestly. The chicken got a lovely sweet taste from the maple, and the frosting brought everything together. Manny loved them and ate two (I only made 5) in one sitting!

I saw today that Robicelli's are doing a variation for the Superbowl - the original Buffalo Chicken cupcake, a carrot and celery root cake, Point Reyes blue cheese buttercream, citrus tinged Buffalo fried chicken. Not sure about the blue cheese frosting but I do love the sound of the Buffalo chicken on top - maybe next time!

Finally for those of you who can't stomach the thought of chicken on your cupcakes, the leftover mix was made into cute little bundt cakes which I filled with the leftover frosting!