Black Forest Cupcakes

I haven’t been able to bake in awhile. It has been rather hectic with job interviews, then getting a job, back and forth between Hastings and Wellington and then finally moving to Auckland and not moving into my own place straight away.

So last weekend, I took the opportunity to do a whole heap of baking to share with various people (including my new work colleagues), because 1) Man Piece was away and 2) I finally had a kitchen to call my own again.

I had also purchased a brand new cupcake stand the weekend before and was dying to put some actual cupcakes on it.

So flicking through the wonderful book that is the Australian Women’s Weekly: cupcakes, cheesecakes, cookies I found the black forest cupcakes. They sounded delicious and something I hadn’t tried before.

Ingredients

cherry chocolate mud cake

425g can pitted cherries in syrup
165g butter, chopped coarsely
100g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 1/3 cups (295g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) cherry brandy
1 cup (150g) plain flour
2 tablespoons self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Drain cherries; reserve syrup. Process 1/2 cup (110g) cherries with 1/2 cup (125ml) of the syrup until smooth. Halve remaining cherries; reserve for decorating cakes. (The recipe says to discard remaining syrup, but I did not have cherry brandy and didn’t want to go and buy any either, so used the equivalent of syrup instead of brandy)

3. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar, brandy and cherry puree in small saucepan; stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 minutes.

4. Whisk in sifted flours and cocoa, then egg. Divide mixture among cases; smooth surface. (The mixture is very wet, I ended up using a small measuring jug to pour the mixture into the cases.)

5. Bake about 45 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

6. Decorate cakes. (In the original recipe, you would top the cakes with the cherry halves and combine 2/3 cup thickened cream with 2 teaspoons cherry brandy, then with a vegetable peeler make chocolate curls to sprinkle over the cakes. I just made some basic butter creme icing and added the halved cherries and spread over the cakes.)

Don’t they just look divine? They tasted pretty good too.

Easter Surprise Cupcakes

This easter I decided to experiment.

Mum used to make these really awesome muffins that had a little caramellow easter eggs in them. So I thought about recreating/resurrecting the idea and putting my own twist on them – that meant cupcakes, because I love cupcakes!

I also saw this blog right here using normal creme eggs, so naturally I had to try that too.

I’m also trying something new in the way of my baking posts – I have a new camera so wanted to try it out and do a step by step instruction thingy like you see on some blogs.

Ingredients


Cakes
60g dark cooking chocolate
2/3 cup of water
90g butter, softened
1 cup of brown sugar, well packed
2/3 cup of self-raising flour
2 Tablespoons of cocoa
1/3 of a cup of almond meal

caramellow eggs or creme eggs

Icing
100g white cooking chocolate
2 Tablespoons thickened cream
[This is a ganache. Just mix the two together in a saucepan on a low heat until smooth. Then place in the fridge until spreadable. You could also use a butter creme icing, or just whatever you normally used to decorate cupcakes. Although with these ones, the plainer the better, because they do already have the pupil largening effect before any icing is added.]

Topping
Whatever you can find. I used another caramellow egg on top and some chocolate sprinkles, but I also had some of those sliver cashues and Mini Mouse sprinkles, which I never got round to using.

Instructions

Mix the 60g of dark cooking chocolate and water in a saucepan over a low heat until smooth.

Beat the softened butter and sugar together until smooth and add the two eggs.

Sift the self-raising flour and cocoa into the mixture. Add the almond meal and the chocolate mixture. Stir to combine.

Place patty pans in muffin tray. Evenly separate the mixture into the cupcake pans.

Place an egg in each patty pan. I made sure that the egg was covered, so that it wouldn’t burn. But try not to push it right to the bottom of the cupcake, because I found that they ended up melting and goo kind of went everywhere. If there had have been a bit more batter underneath the egg, it wouldn’t have esploded as much.

Bake at 170º/150º fan-forced for 25 minutes.

Decorate!

Inside the deliciousness:

Yes, the egg kind of collapsed. I had visions of prettier things. They still tasted damn fine! As I said, if I were to try them again, which may well happen, I wouldn’t push the eggs in to the batter so far, I would try and make sure they were encased. The entire reason I pushed them down was so they wouldn’t get burnt, but the cake mixture will rise, surely preventing that.

Hey, I’m a paranoid baker. I like it to always be perfect, even when it still turns into a bit of disaster.

It was an interesting experiment, of which the end product produced something similar to a crack high.

Cookies and cream cheesecake.

This is a fairly easy cheesecake to make and it goes down well with everyone. It’s also a great one for individual portions, instead of one big cheesecake, but you can do that too.

Ingredients


250g plain chocolate biscuits
100g butter, melted
150g packet of chocolate cream-filled biscuits (oreos)
50g dark eating chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons gelatine
2 tablespoons water
375g cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
300ml cream
180g white eating chocolate, melted

1. Grease one 24cm spring-form tin.
2. Process plain biscuits in food processor; add melted butter. Press mixture flat into the tin. Refrigerate.
3. Make filling by sprinkling gelatine over the water in a small heatproof jug; stand jug in small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until gelatine dissolves; cool 5 minutes.
4. Beat cheese, extract and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until smooth; beat in cream. Stir in white chocolate, gelatine mixture and cut up biscuits.
5. Pour filling on top of base and refrigerate overnight.
6. Serve topped with dark chocolate.

Tips


Instead of one big cheesecake, you will need an 80cm length of 50mm diameter PVC pipe, cut into 10cm lengths; ask the hardware store to do this for you, or use a hacksaw.
You will need to grease each pipe and line with baking paper.
Place one biscuit in each pipe – creme biscuits – so you will need two packets instead of one and you won’t need the plain chocolate biscuits.

For the big cheesecake I tend to put a bit more cream cheese in. Usually 500g, which is just 2 tubs. I also tend to add just a little bit more cream, but leave everything else the same. It works fine.

With the white chocolate, because it will be warm and the cheesecake mixture will be room temperature, you will find the chocolate will set quite quickly. As soon as you start pouring the chocolate in, you’ll need to start mixing it in. It will still turn hard, but you have a chance to mix it in before it turns into one big lump.

I tend not to serve it with chocolate on top. It is rich enough as it is. I usually just serve it with a bit of whipped cream.

As there are different flavours of oreos now, I like to mix it up a bit and buy a different flavour each time. I started using the original, but then found the chocolate filling. I find it is a bit better than the original white filling. There is now strawberry filling too. Can’t wait to try that!

When mixing the gelatine with the water, I find the best way to do this is to sit a small bowl in the top of my jug. This won’t be possible with every jug, but my one has a fully removable lid, which allows me to sit a bowl in without it falling in. I then boil the jug and just leave it. Works wonders.

Enjoy! Nom nom nom!

Fudge for all!

People have been asking me for this fudge recipe. It is one that has been dubbed “Lee’s Fudge” (my brother-in-law) because he absolutely loves it. It’s real name is Hazelnut Fudge.

Take 500g of wine biscuits and crush in a food processor.

Put 200g of butter, 4 tablespoons of golden syrup and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot on low heat to melt and mix together. Continue stiring until it is just coming to the boil.

Then pour goo mixture in with crushed biscuits and pulse to combine.

Spread into a greased slice tin and refrigerate until hard.

Then melt 1 and 1/2 blocks of Whittiker’s hazelnut chocolate (I say Whittiker’s, because it’s the best in NZ, but whatever hazelnut chocolate you can find) and spread over the biscuit mixture. Refrigerate until set. Cut into whatever size pieces you want!

We tend to keep this fudge in the fridge, because the chocolate tends to melt if it isn’t, especially in the summer.

Enjoy!

You don’t win friends with salad! But you do with fudge and cheesecake.

I have been so busy today and I am completely exhausted.

Today has been a day of cooking. I made a cheesecake, fudge and potato salad. Then got everything for dinner ready. Being in a kitchen for four hours straight is draining. I honestly don’t know how chefs do it. Kudos to them.

The cheesecake* – the most complicated one I have ever made and have been wanting to make for years – was a tiramisu cheesecake. Coffee and alcohol. *insert evil laugh here* It has savoiardi biscuits around the outside and acts as the base. They’re ladyfingers, essentially, and I came across them at a Mediterranean food store in Ahuriri months ago (they keep) called Vettro. As Sister and Brother-in-law are up for a few days from Christchurch, I decided to finally make it, because I know they would appreciate it the most.

AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.

Once the cheesecake was done I moved on to the fudge*. It has been dubbed “Lee’s fudge” because brother-in-law loves it so much and has actually gotten into arguments over who gets the last piece of this fudge. There are many funny stories about this fudge involving brother-in-law that Sister could tell you. I will not go into them, partly because I don’t remember half of them.

The fudge is really easy and everyone loves it, because it is tasty. It’s original name is Hazelnut fudge. Just so you know.

AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.

Then I made the potato salad. It is becoming the standard salad of late. Partly because it is so goddamn good, I’m getting addicted to it, and partly because it’s actually really easy to make.

AND IT WAS DELICIOUS.

I then finally got to sit down as I passed the green salad making over to Sister. Then Father came home and Grandparents turned up for dinner. Just another night in the Rapley household.

Finally I get to blob and catch up on stuff. Now watching the 45-stone-virgin. It just reminds me of how awkward I am some times.

WHICH IS HAWKWARD.

Line of the day goes to Sister when we were discussing ages, she said: “You’re only as young as the man you feel.” Brother-in-law is 2 weeks younger than Sister and Grandfather is 2 weeks younger than Grandmother. It tends to fun in the family… bunch of cougars we are.

Also got offer of date from @TheJessjess and marriage proposal from @jethrocarr. I think they only want me for my food. Well, Mother always told me the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Looks like I’m on the right track.

*Recipes will be up on Music and Cupcakes as soon as I can get them up there.