Ahhhh Cupcakes…..

A cupcake treat for tea with various icing and tippings

Who doesn’t love a cupcake? Well to be honest my hubby doesn’t and I am sure there are a few out there that don’t but what do they know? How can anyone not like a small tasty cake topped with a delicous dreamy topping is beyond me. I bake a lot of cupcakes for personal consumption and for friends and family, mainly for birthdays and anniversaries. I occasionally make for bring and buy sales and cups are my usual contrabution to any ‘charity do’ donates.

I love making them and experimenting with recipes, always trolling the internet for new ideas and boy are there a lot out there – some folk have faboulous imaginations and skill. Pinterest is a good place to look the visual gving you a clear idea of what can be achieved, although not all of mine are exact replications as my decorating skills need improvement. I have looked around for classes and found some but none that really appeals. I don’t want to do sugarcraft or fondant, really I just want icing techinques for cupcakes, if you know of any let me know please. I have the basics and I do use a variety of topping from buttercream to merinque- my lemon merinque cuppies are very popular but i would like to develop better skills. When I am making for a party I tend to use a base recipe that I can flavour and colour in whatever way I want. For this recipe I use:

  • 250 gr plain flour
  • 250 gr sugar (brown or white depending on flavour I am after)
  • 250 gr butter or margarine.
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 teaspfl baking powder.
  • 5 – 10 ml liquid.

These are all combined and mixed together. The liquid amount depends on what else is added and the flour used, I find some flour requires more than others, the result should be a dropping consistency not runny. I bake at 180degrees for about 25-30  mins.

For flavouring I might reduce the flour and add some ground almonds with vanilla and milk as the liquid, or cocoa powder and chocolate milk. I might add some pre cooked apple puree with cinnamon. I have also used orange, lemon and lime juice. Used pomegranate juice once gave a fabulous colour but not a lot of flavour, I need to experiment more with this one.

When the cakes are cooked and cooled I take my favourite kitchen implemen, a cupcake corer and take out the middles which once again I fill with a variety of fillings; fruit purees, chocolate, caramel you get the idea, basically anything goes.

Cupcake corer essential utensil for anyone who bakes cupcakes
Cupcake corer in action

I suppose in a round about way I am saying don’t be bound by convention, experiment to your tastes, be adventurous and try new things, beetroot and chocolate cupcakes  are really rather good, recipe next time.



Busy bees

We are so lucky here in New Zealand with our fabulous and extraordinary flora and fauna. About 80% of our flora is unique to us; One of these being the manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium). It is an evergreen which blooms in summer and bees absolutely love them. Over the years manuka honey has become very popular at home and abroad for it anti bacterial properties, as well as for its distinctive taste. The dark brown to dark cream honey has a slightly bitter, mineral herby flavor.  In supporting the body’s natural health and well being it is often used to improve skin conditions. Historically the Maori used the essential oil and manuka honey in traditional remedies.  Looking through Pinterest I found lots of sites with wonderful things to make with manuka honey from tasty recipes to cough syrups, making that one this week for my neighbour and her nasty cough.

Manuka honey blosson and  bee perfect combination for the organic manuka honey
Manuka honey blossom

Alongside my cough syrup I am making jam and using my favourite fruit of all time, of course it’s the kiwi, apart from its delicious taste and texture our favourite fruit has many health giving properties. This particular recipe using apples as the pectin; made it once before and it was delicious.  Follow the link and have a go yourself you won’t be disappointed.

kiwi jam
Kiwi Jam