Summer Days

What a summer it has been so far! 😀

For so long you’d have to go abroad for the weather we’ve been having here in the UK. It’s been pretty amazing – although I’m sure there are those who think it’s a bad thing. There are always winners and losers.  For so long, we’ve had the strawberries, the G&T and the Pimms, just not always the weather to match. At least not for any length of time. So this is what it feels like to have a proper summer! Love it 😍

Whether or not, the fact that our national football team has been performing above expectations in the World Cup, is and will be, a matter for some debate. For me the fact is, that there is for now, something in the air. A real positive vibe, a buzz. And I can take that for as long as we’ve got it.

Long live summer and long may we have the time to enjoy the Pimms and the strawberries, in our gardens and open spaces. For long into the evening, for as long as it stays warm. It’s what a summer should be.

And to enjoy these summer days and evenings – a lovely Moist Strawberry, cream and Pimms Cupcake 😀😀🍓🍓🍹🍹

Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cupcakes cases and preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 165c fan.

150g soft butter

135g caster sugar

3 eggs

140g gluten free self raising flour

30ml Pimms

milk to loosen the batter if required

Pop all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and using a hand held electric mixer and beat the lot together until light and fluffy and well combined.

Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 24-28 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

120g strawberry jam

10 strawberries

30ml more Pimms

300ml double cream

20g icing sugar

12 mint leaves

You could do this next bit whilst the cupcakes are baking – carefully cut each strawberry in half from stalk to base, keeping the stalk in tact. Place them in a small breakfast bowl cut side down and pour over the Pimms. Leave this then to soak, for as long as possible. At least an hour and if you are really planned – overnight. You’ll get a lovely rich Pimms Syrup.

When you are ready to decorate, whip the cream with the icing sugar until stiff.

Scoop out the middle of the cupcakes and place around 10g of jam into the hole (more if you want to 😀), then pipe the whipped cream onto each cupcake and decorate with half a strawberry, mint leaf and a little of the liqueur left in the bowl.

Sit down and your cupcake with either a glass of Pimms or if you really want a treat, you can use the left over strawberries in a glass of prosecco or two.

 

 

 

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Gluten Free Spiced Pecan Cupcakes

Apologies for the slight delay in the latest recipe.  Its been a busy couple of weeks with the day job and with visiting grandparents. All very welcome of course and thanks for coming.

Now I thought that I had heard the last of the pumpkin spice. But oh no! it seems we have been enjoying it too much to put it away for another year! The best bit of course is that if you make a little extra of the pecan praline…… you have something else to enjoy as well as a topping for the cupcake! A little amuse bouche…

To start with make the pecan praline so that it cools enough for you to then break up (smash) and use as sprinkles.

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g crushed pecans

Firstly, line a small baking tray with greaseproof paper,

Then, in a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the caster sugar over a medium heat. Do not stir with a spoon or add water, just let the heat do the work through the pan and dissolve the sugar. You may need to, at times, remove then replace the pan onto the heat so that the sugar does not burn.  The sugar will quickly turn into caramel, so do not leave its side. If you are in doubt for the colour, smell it. Turning to caramel you will be able to smell when its right. Rich and sweet.  Watch it like a hawk though, as if it goes to far, you’ll end up with bitter and burn praline.  Or just start again.

Once you have the correct colour – no more than 5 minutes – tip in the pecans and remove from the heat, stir to cover the pecans then with a spatula pour onto the greaseproof paper and leave to cool.

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180c, 160c fan and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases of your choice. I tend to use Wilton ones.

  • 115g soft butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time – until well beaten and combined. Sprinkle in the gluten free flour and spice and stir to combine. Ensuring no lumps and the flour is mixed through.

Bake in the oven for about 20 – 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tray and placing on a wire rack prior to icing.

For the buttercream icing;

  • 110g soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • splash of milk
  • drizzle of maple sauce

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar and milk before beating further to insure a good piping consistency and the mix retains its fluffy consistency.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe on the buttercream, sprinkle over with the pecan praline and drizzle with the maple sauce if you so wish.

 

 

Anyone for tennis? Or a cupcake?

Although there isn’t any tennis actually on the blog, it is that time of year when the world goes tennis mad as Wimbledon is now upon us.

What better way of getting into the spirit of the occasion than producing some delicious cupcakes with two very seasonal ingredients that blend well together; Pimms and strawberries.

These might not be for Noah, but they’ll go down well with a glass of bubbly 😀.

You’ll need to think ahead before doing these, as the some of the strawberries will need steeping in the Pimms before putting in the finished cupcakes. Also, with this Pimms ‘marinade’ you will need to produce a syrup and allow it to cool before adding to the cake batter.

The recipe will make 12 cupcakes.

Start by soaking 12 small to medium-sized strawberries in 100ml of Pimms, for as long as you dare, but for at least an hour. Carefully remove the soaked strawberries and put to one side.

Take that marinade and top up to 100ml of additional Pimms and place into a saucepan with 2 table spoons of granulated sugar. Heat to boiling point, simmer for 2-3 minutes, switch off the heat and allow to cool in the pan, before starting the cake batter.

Preheat your oven to 160c fan, Gas 4 and line 12 hole muffin tray with cases. Then you’ll need;

170g soft butter

140g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons of cold Pimms syrup

140g gluten free self raising flour

To ice

140g more of soft butter

280g icing sugar

red colour (optional)

at least a teaspoon of the remaining syrup to flavour

12 more strawberries for decoration.

Cream the butter and sugar until you have a light fluffy mixture by using an electric hand whisk. Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is well beaten in between mixes. Add in th 2 tablespoons of syrup, and mix in the flour slowly, so as not to knock out too much of the air you have just beaten in.

Divide between the 12 cases and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool.

Whilst cooling you couple make the buttercream ready to pipe on.

Beat the 140g of butter until light and fluffy, pour in the icing sugar and at least a teaspoon of syrup, stir with a spoon to combine (and reduce the dust cloud that you would get if you went straight in the whisk), then whisk (using the electric hand-held whisk) until, again, its light and fluffy. Adding a tablespoon or two of hot water to make the mix ready to pipe.

Once the cupcakes are cold, scoop or core out the middle of the cupcake and place inside one of the Pimm’d strawberries, pipe on your buttercream and garnish further with another strawberry.

Deuce 🎾🎾🎾🎾

Gluten Free Simnel Cupcakes

Marzipan seems to be the latest theme for the recipes! And that can only be  a good thing.

These very simple flavoursome and moist cupcakes are very quick and easy to make.  The inclusion of cream cheese is a little departure for me, but it really works a treat. Plus I had some in the fridge so wondered what else I can do with it….

This makes 12 lovely cupcakes, so line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and pre-heat the oven to Gas 3/ 160c.

Weigh out;

  • 90g soft butter
  • 60g full fat cream cheese
  • 130g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 200g mixed dried fruit
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 250g marzipan – rolled out and cut into 24 x 6cm rounds, to about 4mm thick.
  • Mini Eggs to decorate

Using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fully combined. Then add in the eggs, one at a time to ensure they are mixed in well. Then lightly toss the dried fruit and the mixed spice together, before adding it to the egg mix and stirring it all together.

Then half fill the cupcakes cases with the batter, place a round of marzipan onto this, then top up with the remainder of the batter.

Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once cooked, placed the remaining marzipan rounds on top of the cooked cupcakes and allow to then cool, before removing from the tin onto a wire rack.

Once cooled you may wish to lightly singe the edges of the marzipan with a hand-held bakers blow torch to give a bit of colour. But please do take care not to burn anything – including you!

To finish, lightly push into the centre a mini egg.

 

 

Marzipan Roulette

We don’t need an excuse to eat marzipan.

Perhaps putting some on top of a cupcake is a little extreme, after all why not just do away with the cupcake?!  But sometimes there’s a need to go that extra step and over indulge or just because you can.

There is no better way of over indulging with marzipan than a good bite or two of Niederegger Marzipan and because it’s Niederegger there’s a call for something a little extra in the mix.

Pre heat the oven to Gas 3/170c line a 12 muffin tray with your chosen colour cupcake cases. This makes 12 cupcakes but the small pack of Niederegger only has 8 marzipan bites…someone is going to be let down…..😀 and then it’s marzipan roulette…Coffee, Pineapple, Orange or Pistachio…or buy the bigger box….

For the cupcakes –

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons Almond essence

150g gluten free self raising flour

For the filling –

120g Raspberry Jam

For the buttercream –

100g soft butter

170g icing sugar

30g cocoa

4 tablespoons milk

4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

1 pack of Niederegger Marzipan Loaves

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one by one, adding a spoon of flour to stop the mix from curdling. Mix in the essence and stir in the gluten free flour. Don’t over mix, otherwise you’ll take the air out of the mix and the finished cakes will be a little heavy.

Divide the mix between the 12 cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Or until an inser.ted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before removing and putting them on a wire rack.

Once cooled and using a cupcake corer, take out the middle of the cupcakes and fill with a teaspoon of the raspberry jam. Then make the chocolate buttercream.

Beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy, using an electric hand whisk, then carefully stir in the icing sugar and cocoa to avoid a dust cloud. Then beat again with the mixer until fully mixed, then beat in the milk and liqueur. Pipe onto the cupcakes and finish with the unwrapped marzipan loaves…or if you buy a larger box, you’ll have a spare one or two to ……

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Gluten Free Honey and Lemon Cupcakes

And so we move now into Spring.

The evenings are getting lighter, colour begins to take its hold in the garden and Easter is just around the corner. Next stop summer….

So some light cupcake baking to throw into the mix, to add some colour to the kitchen

gluten-free-honey-and-lemon-cupcakes

Pre-heat the oven to gas 4/180c and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with cupcake liners – I chose yellow 😀

For the cupcakes –

  • 150g soft butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g honey – ideally not a cheap one as you need the flavour of the honey to shine through. You could use acacia or thyme.
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour

For the filling –

For the topping (a meringue) –

  • 2 egg whites
  • c150g caster sugar (if you weigh the egg whites, you’ll need twice the amount of sugar)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • extra honey to drizzle

Beat the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, you will find you will need to add a tablespoon of gluten free flour to keep it from curdling. Once the eggs have been beaten in (I used a hand-held electric whisk) add in the flour and divide between the 12 cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool before removing from the tray and transferring to a wire rack..  You can then make the meringue topping.

Place the sugar onto a tray and warm gently in the oven. Whilst the sugar is warming, whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak. Remove the sugar from the oven and add the warm sugar to the stiff egg whites  2 tablespoons at a time. Taking care between additions to ensure the sugar has been completely whisked in.  Continue whisking until the meringue is nice and shiny. You also need to make sure the sugar has dissolved into the meringue. You can find this our by pinching some of the meringue between your fingers. If the mix is smooth you are done.  If you can still feel the sugar crystals keep going.

Now depending on your mixer it could be done in around 10 – 15 minutes – or if it’s an older version (like mine) – longer.  But its worth the wait. The finished meringue will be nice and smooth to eat.

Before you top the cupcakes, scoop out the middle (or use one of those fancy cupcake hole makers) of each cupcake and put a teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole.

Once you have your finished meringue put into you piping bag – with nozzle of choice – and pipe onto the cupcakes with your desired pattern of preference.

Glaze under a very hot grill, or use a hand-held bakers’ blow torch to give the meringue some colour. Please take care which ever you use,  make sure you take necessary precautions if using a blow torch. The naked flame is hot and will burn! It stating the obvious perhaps, but its easy to lose concentration.

To finish – drizzle with some extra honey and sprinkle the lemon zest over the tops and enjoy.

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hand-held-electric-whisk

 

 

Gluten Free Butterscotch Butterkist Cupcakes

Well this is just all about the recipe.

This rather quick and easy cupcake gluten free recipe is best eaten with friends and will certainly go well before any night out!  Cupcakes and Champagne anyone? With party season fastly approaching you can now plan ahead with an indulgent cupcake to match the glamour of the occasion. And yes, there is Christmas cracker in the photo.

gluten-free-butterscotch-butterkist-cupcakes

This will make 12 cupcakes

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and line a 12 hole muffin/cupcake tray.

150g Soft butter

130g Soft brown sugar

2 eggs

145g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour (I use Dove Farm)

5 drops of Butterscotch Flavouring (I use Foodie Flavours)

50g more soft butter for the buttercream

100g icing sugar

5 more drops of Butterscotch flavouring

50g Butterkist Popcorn

30g Dark Chocolate – melted

Beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy – this may take 3-4 minutes in order to break the brown sugar down enough. Beat in each egg one at a time, adding a little flour so that the mix does not curdle. then add in the flavouring. Mix in the remaining flour. Divide the mixture the 12 cases and bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the tray and cooling on a rack.

Cool completely before piping on the buttercream

To make the buttercream beat the soft butter until light and fluffy – I used a hand-held electric whisk for this volume of buttercream. Mix in the icing sugar by hand, prior to whisking, otherwise you’ll get a dust cloud of sugar! Continue to whisk until fully combined and fluffy and white. If the mix is too stiff add in a couple of tablespoons (one at a time) of boiling water. This will make it easier to pipe.

gluten-free-buterscotch-cupcakes

Pipe on to the cooled cupcakes with your desired nozzle (I used a Wilton 2A), pop on the popcorn, drizzle over with the melted dark chocolate (with a spoon) and then sprinkle over any other decorations you see fit. Or not 🙂

Enjoy – with a glass of Champagne..