If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll know that we have a new (temporary) addition to our family. We have chosen to raise a Guide Dog puppy for 14 months. Continue reading
We had a very small Christmas celebration – we opened presents here at home in the morning, and then we went to nana’s for lunch where we opened more presents. Continue reading
It was the weekend. My mom and I were out at the mall, spending money here and there on things we didn’t necessarily need. We were tired from walking from shop to shop and carrying our shopping bags, and we were hungry. Continue reading
Shortly before I left the US I got really interested in loose leaf teas. I had entered a Twitter contest that Rishi Tea was hosting and won a big tin of Earl Gray Lavender tea. It smelled and tasted fantastic and I often replaced my morning cup of coffee with this tea. I still had a bit over half of the tin left when I left the US, so I gave it to a tea-loving friend of mine, so I knew it would go to a good home.
I can’t get Rishi Tea in Australia though, so I needed a replacement. Luckily for me, there is an awesome tea shop at my local shopping center called T2 Tea, and right next door to the tea shop is the T2 Tea Teahouse which not only can make you a cup of any of their teas, but also sells a variety of delicious foods. You can get something savory made up for you, but hey, you know me, I’m more interested in the sweets and they have a tantalizing variety of those, including some beautiful cupcakes.
Well, unfortunately, on the day I went there, they didn’t have any of those cupcakes. I decided on a chocolate chai cake instead. Pictured above is said cake, a tall glass of iced chocolate tea, and a sample of gundpowder green tea. All were very delicious.
Our 3 years back in the US have been great, but it’s time to settle down and raise our kids in one spot. As hard as it is to leave your family behind, it’s something that happens every day; kids grow up and leave their families behind to start their own life.
I’m leaving my family behind here in Indiana and moving to Sydney, Australia this weekend. I have lived in Sydney before, from 2001-2006 and it was fabulous. It’s definitely a place I feel happy spending my life in. I know my kids will love it as well.
This will be my last post from the US; expect all future posts to be from Australia and upside down!
Anyway, a friend of mine requested one last batch of cupcakes from me before we left. She wanted cookie dough cupcakes and chocolate/white chocolate cupcakes. Of course I’ve done cookie dough cupcakes before, so I won’t post about them again, but I made the chocolate/white chocolate cupcakes into white chocolate mocha cupcakes. I was inspired to do this because my friend is a big fan of Starbucks’ white chocolate mochas. These were the last cupcakes I made in the US.
I know, the photos aren’t that great because it was late afternoon and there wasn’t enough natural light from the sun so I didn’t even bother with my usual set up.
These are chocolate cupcakes, filled with chocolate coffee ganache and frosted with white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC). I’m really proud of these because while most mocha cupcakes have coffee in the cake where it cannot be tasted, I put my coffee into the ganache and the coffee flavor is quite prominent. This isn’t just any chocolate coffee ganache, by the way. It was made using the brand new Starbucks VIA Italian Roast instant coffee.
The white chocolate really came through in the SMBC, as well. SMBC is always an extra effort to make, but the results are so rewarding. The texture was silky smooth and full of white chocolate flavor.
My main point of this post is to share the coffee ganache tip with you. If you want coffee flavor in your cupcakes, don’t put the coffee in the cake (or well, you can, just be aware that the taste isn’t going to be very noticeable) – fill the cupcakes with coffee-flavored ganache!
If you’d like to try the ultimate white chocolate cupcake, the recipes are below. Just choose your own favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (mine is Hershey’s or Martha’s Devil’s food cupcakes) and follow these recipes.
Chocolate Coffee Ganache Filling
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes enough to fill 12 cupcakes (with a little leftover)
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 packet Starbucks VIA Italian Roast
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering then empty the packet of Starbucks VIA into the cream and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and stir until combined.
White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Whisk Kid
Makes enough to frost about 18 cupcakes
1 cup sugar
5 egg whites
18 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened slightly and sliced
1/4 cup white chocolate, melted and cooled
Cook the egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it’s completely smooth, it’s done).
Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp.
Then, on a medium-slow speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. The buttercream may turn into a soupy curdled mess, but I assure you it will be ok; just beat it for a few minutes longer. It’ll come together!
When the buttercream has reached the ideal consistency, add the melted and cooled white chocolate carefully. Try not to get any on the walls of the bowl as it will cool and harden there. Whip to incorporate.
A child’s birthday is a very special event, not only for the child but also for the parents. On that special day, however many years ago, you were blessed with the birth of your child and he or she is now another year older. Continue reading
This is going to be a 2-in-1 cupcake post! I was going to post a recipe for mixed berry tea, but quite a few people have expressed interest in both of these cupcakes, so I decided I’d go ahead and post the recipes for them instead.
The first cupcakes I’d like to absolutely rave about are these peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate glaze from I Heart Cuppycakes.
These are amazing! I’ve been reluctant to make peanut butter cupcakes because I thought that the peanut butter might make the cake heavy or dense. But these cupcakes are so incredibly moist and soft and so full of rich peanut butter flavor! I was blown away, this is one awesome cupcake!
This will definitely not be the last time I make these. If you love peanut butter and chocolate, I highly recommend you bake a batch of these right now! And make sure you have a tall glass of milk to go with them!
Now for the second cupcake. The peanut butter cupcakes got me thinking about Nutella cupcakes. Nutella can often be substituted for peanut butter in recipes, so I decided to give it a go with these cupcakes. I used the same amount of Nutella, but I did decrease the sugar by about 1/4 cup because Nutella is much sweeter than peanut butter. I did everything else the same as for the peanut butter cupcakes.
What I found was that the Nutella cupcakes sank slightly in the middle when they were done baking. They seemed to rise higher as well, so next time I wouldn’t use a full 1/4 cup of batter in each liner; my Nutella cupcakes overflowed a little bit!
But, the cake did taste of Nutella and still came out very moist and soft.
I wasn’t sure of the type of frosting to use on Nutella cupcakes. I didn’t really want to use more Nutella in case it ended up being a bit too much. A friend suggested marshmallow frosting, which sounded like a winning combination! I guess sort of like a fluffernutter cupcake, only with Nutella instead of peanut butter!
To finish off the Nutella cupcake, I spooned a dollop (or about a teaspoon) of fresh Nutella into the middle of the top of the cupcake and frosted them with marshmallowy Swiss meringue from the queen of Swiss meringues at How To Eat A Cupcake. This frosting is definitely a keeper, it was fantastic!
The Nutella cupcake is quite sweet, but a flavor combination I haven’t yet experienced. Next time I probably wouldn’t use so much frosting on each cupcake, but instead just spread a light layer on top.
What kind of frosting would you like on a Nutella cupcake, just out of curiosity?
This is my first ever second entry into Iron Cupcake Earth! How could a person only make one summer berry-themed cupcake? For my second entry, I made a chocolate raspberry cupcake.
It is a chocolate cake made with raspberry jam, filled with raspberry whipped cream and frosted with chocolate ganache.
I’m not so sure about that purple liner, but that’s what I decided to use for these cupcakes!
I based the recipe on Nigella Lawson’s chocolate cherry cupcakes. I’ve always loved those cupcakes, and thought that I could easily substitute raspberry jam for the cherry jam in this recipe. I personally don’t think the raspberry taste was quite as noticeable as the cherry taste in the original recipe, but they’re still quite nice.
They’re quite sweet as well, so if you decide to make these, you may want to cut back a little on the amount of sugar, because the jam will have plenty of sugary goodness to make up for it.
Our June ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
- A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH
- A groovy linocut piece from BLOCKHEAD PRESS
- A sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Cupcakery
- PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice – sweet!
Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS; HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson; JESSIE STEELE APRONS ; TASTE OF HOME books; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers.
Here are the recipes I used to make these cupcakes.
Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Makes 12 cupcakes
125g soft unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
300g raspberry jam, seedless if desired
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.
Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the raspberry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.
Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
Cool cupcakes completely. Fill cupcakes with raspberry whipped cream using the cone method.
Raspberry Whipped Cream
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/4 cup lightly sweetened raspberry puree, strained if desired
In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat only until soft peaks form. Add the sweetened raspberry puree a little at a time, and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if required.
If you have any leftover, use it as a topping for a cup of hot cocoa or mocha!
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Makes enough to lightly frost 12 cupcakes
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
12 fresh raspberries, optional
Break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk – by hand or electrically – till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a raspberry in the centre of each.
My second, and final, entry into the solar system cupcake contest is one dozen Earth cupcakes.
A section of our beautiful home planet is represented in cupcake form. This edible Earth is a brown sugar cupcake, filled with two layers – a layer of chocolate ganache to represent Earth’s solid rocky core and a layer of caramel cream to represent Earth’s molten core. The cupcake is then coated in a layer of chocolate ganche to represent Earth’s crust. On top of the “crust” on half of the cupcakes is a layer of ocean blue-tinted vanilla frosting to resemble Earth’s oceans. The other half of the cupcakes have been frosted in caramel cream and sprinkled with finely ground golden Oreos and green sprinkles to resemble Earth’s land and vegetation. The mountains, as well as the volcano, have been structured with the caramel cream and coated in regular chocolate Oreos and the snowcaps are made from melted white chocolate; a few orange sprinkles sit inside the volcano to resemble molten lava. Marshmallows have been hand-formed to resemble clouds hanging above this section of Earth.
Brown Sugar Cupcakes
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when lightly touched.
Makes enough to fill and frost 16 cupcakes with a thin layer
4 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
4 oz heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate and cream into a saucepan and heat on low heat. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and the chocolate and cream are fully combined. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature for 2 hours or until a spreadable consistency.
Fill the cupcakes by cutting a cone shape out of the top of the cupcake, and place a small amount (1/4 tsp, approx.) of ganache inside.
Makes about 3 cups
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
Pinch of coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream
Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Cook sugar, water, and salt in saucepan over medium heat, stirring once, until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until sugar turns golden amber. Remove pan from heat; slowly pour cream down sides of pan in a slow, steady stream (it will spatter). Return pan to medium heat, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Transfer caramel cream to a mixing bowl set in ice bath; let sit until very cold, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Mixture can be refrigerated overnight. Before serving, whip the caramel cream until stiff peaks form. Use immediately.
Place a small amount (1/4 tsp approx.) on top of chocolate ganache layer inside of cupcake, then place the top of the cone shape back on top of the cupcake. Use the rest of the cream to frost the “land” cupcakes and sculpt mountains.
Vanilla whipped frosting
Makes enough to generously frost about 16 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Put cream, sugar, and vanilla into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until medium peaks form. Use blue food coloring to turn the frosting an ocean-blue color and use a knife to kick up some waves.
*Use golden Oreos and chocolate Oreos with the cream fillings removed to sprinkle the “land” cupcakes – simply place them in a food processor until finely ground, or place them into a strong ziploc bag and roll a rolling pin over the bag until the cookies are finely ground.
*Use green sprinkles to resemble vegetation on the “land” cupcakes and a few blue sprinkles on the “ocean” cupcakes.
*For white chocolate mountain snowcaps, simply melt a couple squares of white chocolate for 20-30 seconds in a microwave, then use a spoon to place a small amount on the mountaintops.