I have been feeling guilty about not posting a blog for a wee while– I can’t believe how quickly these past two months have gone – but then quite a lot has happened!
With the celebration of my 31st Birthday and the beginning of a new school year – it has been a time of new beginnings. I have left London, and moved to Brussels, started a new job, and on Friday I start an evening course to get a chef’s diploma!
Now that things are starting to settle (a little), I will be able to do more blogging, and will start to share what I am learning on my chef’s course. But for today’s blog, I wanted to share the cupcakes that I made for Louise and Min’s civil ceremony – because that was also a very special new beginning, for two very special people.
It was an absolute pleasure to be able to come back to London for the weekend, and share their beautiful day with them. The sun was shining, and the room was filled with so much love, that it was one of the most relaxed and special days I think I have ever been to. However, cooking 75 cupcakes when you live in Brussels is no mean feat! And I really could not have done it without the help of my very good friend Laura – well, I hope she is still my friend! She was an absolute trooper! She picked up three large packages, stayed in to get the food delivery, popped out to the shops at 22.30 to get lemons (which I had forgotten!), sorted a fuse (which I had blown), made an emergency call to the USA to get help, allowed me to take over her kitchen, and living room, was unable to get to sleep because of the noise I was making until 1am on Friday night, and was woken again from 6am the following morning, and I also managed to cover her kitchen in icing sugar and chocolate! And if that wasn’t enough to ruin a friendship, I think the final straw was when the Peanut Butter Cupcakes that she was so excited about were all eaten by the time she went to get one!
But – I think it was worth it! Here was the selection I chose:
- Vanilla Cupcakes (because you cannot go wrong with vanilla)
- Chocolate Cupcakes (because everyone loves chocolate)
- Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes (because Louise loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups)
- Limoncello Cupcakes (because Min loves lemon)
- Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes (to cater for those who can’t eat flour)
To make up to Laura – I will definitely be making her the Chocolate and Peanut Butter cupcakes just for her, the next time I go to stay (If I am allowed back!), and just in case I am not allowed – here is the recipe:
- 100g Plain Flour
- 20g Cocoa Powder
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 1/2tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 40g Stork (or unsalted butter)
- 120ml whole milk
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Buttercream
- 500g Icing Sugar
- 250g butter
- 80g cocoa powder
- 2tbsp whole milk
- 1 large tbsp Peanut Butter (or to taste)
Peanut Butter filling
- Peanut Butter
- 100g 70% cocoa Chocolate, melted.
To make the cupcakes:
- Into a Kenwood Chef mixer bowl, place the ingredients in this order: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, eggs, stork, salt. Mix for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the milk, and mix for another 30 seconds.
- Add the vanilla essence, and mix for another 20 seconds. Remembering to scrape down the sides of the bowl every time you stop, to make sure everything is well incorporated.
- Place paper-cups into your cup cake tray, and distribute the mixture evenly into the paper-cups. I use an ice-cream scoop, which seems to give a perfect amount.
- Bake at 170C Fan oven, or 190C non-fan for 20 minutes. Although, after 12 minutes, turn the tray around.
- Place on a wire rack to cool.
To make the chocolate and peanut butter icing:
- In a large bowl (it is easier in a kenwood chef, although you can do this by hand with a lot of muscle power) cream together the butter and vanilla.
- Blend in the sugar, and cocoa a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Beat in the peanut butter and milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
- Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
- Once the cupcakes are cool, cut a small hole, the shape of a cone, out of the top of the cupcake, and fill it with peanut butter.
- Using a palette knife (or a large flat knife), top the cupcake with a large dollop of buttercream icing, and flat off, to make a dome shape.
- Place the cupcakes in the freezer for an hour (or at least 30 minutes), and dip them in the melted chocolate. Putting them into the freezer helps the chocolate coating to set.