Inside Out Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Inside out? What does that mean? Based on the reaction I’ve had from friends and family, I’m guessing you’re probably thinking the same thing!

Well let me explain…sometimes you just don’t have the time (or patience) to pipe beautiful swirls of frosting on top of your cupcakes. So why not fill them with it instead! ‘Inside out’ making sense now?

The perfect Easter bake made simple… ‘Melt in the mouth’ carrot cake cupcakes, studded with walnuts and sultanas and filled with a creamy baked cheesecake center.

Now the cupcake recipe may require a fair few ingredients but don’t be put off by this, the method itself is actually really straightforward.

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, mix the wet in another, pour the wet into the dry and mix together.

Chuck in the walnuts, carrots and sultanas and stir.

Spoonful of cake mix, spoonful of cream cheese, top with more cake mix and bake. As an added bonus, your house will smell amazing during and after!

For 12 muffins, you will need…

175g light brown sugar
200g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml sunflower oil
200g carrots
1 medium orange
100g chopped walnuts
100g sultanas

For the cream cheese filling, you will need…

180g Philadelphia cream cheese (1 small tub)
80g granulated sugar

Let’s get baking…

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with your favourite cupcake cases.

1. Start with the surprise filling – Mix together the cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Set aside to use later.

2. Now for the cucpcakes – In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, spices and zest of the orange.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla extract, oil and juice of 1/2 the orange.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

Now grate in the carrot and throw in the walnuts and sultanas. Fold the mixture together gently until combined.

3. Now to assemble – Drop about 1 tablespoon of mixture into the cases, top with a dollop of cream cheese and cover with enough mixture to fill the cases to about 3/4 full. Finish with a sprinkling of granulated sugar on each cupcake.

4. Time to bake – place the cupcakes into the center of the oven for approx. 18-20, or until a skewer/toothpick inserted into a non-cheesecake filled part of the cupcakes comes out clean. They should feel firm to the touch.

Your cupcakes will keep in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Vanilla & Strawberry Sprinkle Cupcakes

Soft and fluffy cupcakes made with fresh seasonal strawberries, topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and decorated with rainbow sprinkles.

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I’m finally back after taking a much longer than expected blogging break, so please forgive me if I’m a little rusty 🙂

I going to let you in on a little secret though, these cupcakes were a mistake gone right!

After putting them in the oven, I began cleaning up and soon realised that I’d forgot to add the rest of the flour – eeeeek! After panicking and debating whether to take them out of the oven and start again, I decided to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The result?

Absolute heaven ❤ These cupcakes are SO light, SO fluffy and perfectly balanced in taste. The days of equal parts butter, sugar and flour are no more!

I mixed chopped strawberries and fresh strawberry puree into the mixture to add taste and texture and topped them with my classic vanilla buttercream recipe. Which I’m told from my friend “is just so good… it’s got class!” 🙂 thanks Stef!

So let’s get baking shall we….

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Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

150g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, I always use Stork as it makes your cakes so much more fluffy.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole milk
100g fresh strawberries, pureed using a blender or processor
100g fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces

Vanilla buttercream:

250g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
600g icing sugar, sieved into a bowl
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole whmilk

Decoration:
Coloured sprinkles
12 fresh stawberries

 

Method

Let’s start by making the cupcakes…

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tray with baking cases.
  2. Cream together the unsalted butter and caster sugar with a wooden spoon/electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
  3. In a seperate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Add 1/2 of this as well as the milk to the butter and sugar mix and fold together until combined.
  4. Now pour in the strawberry puree, along with the remaining flour and fold together. Finally add in chopped strawberries and mix until completely covered.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Once the cakes a cool we can make the buttercream…

  1. Beat the butter using a wooden spoon/electric mixer until light, fluffy and pale in colour.
  2. Add 300g of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  3. Now add the remaining 300g of icing sugar continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

To decorate…

  1. Frost your cupcakes as desired, (I used a medium sized round piping tip) decorate with the coloured sprinkles and garnish each with a strawberry.

Cadbury’s Mini Egg & White Chocolate Cookies

You literally cannot beat the smell of Mini Eggs. As soon as I open a bag of these babies the smell hits me and I immediately think of Easter. Does anyone know of a Mini Egg scented air freshener? Did you know there is even a Facebook page called ‘I love the smell of Mini Eggs’, but I haven’t provided the link as that would be taking it a step too far! Anyway enough rambling and onto the recipe…

For the past few years i’ve always baked a batch of cookies for the whole family to enjoy on Easter Sunday, it’s become somewhat of a tradition! 2014’s bake was my Creme Egg Cookie Cups, 2015’s bake was my Mini Egg Easter Nest Cookie Cups and this year is certainly no exception. However for Easter 2016 I’ve decided to strip it back to basics and rework my go-to cookie recipe and so far this one is the winner. I’ve used less butter than my previous recipe as generally in cookies more fat equals flat, crispy cookies and I prefer mine chewy, thick and soft. I’ve also added an extra egg yolk as it helps bind the dough, increase the softness of the cookie and add richness to the flavour. Crushed Mini Eggs have been added to the dough to make them taste Eastery (<—-is that a word!?) and I also added white chocolate chunks because… well why not, it is Easter after all!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large cookies)

100g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
50g granulated sugar
75g light brown sugar
1 medium egg + 1 egg yolk, cold from the fridge
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
2 bags of Cadbury Mini-Eggs (180g), crushed into pieces (I used a wooden spoon to bash them)
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a medium bowl cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, crack in the eggs and mix together (don’t worry if the mixture has split, this is normal!).

Add the flour, chopped white chocolate & 100g of the crushed Mini Eggs and fold everything together until all ingredients are combined and a sticky dough has formed. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour/up to 3 days (the longer the better as your cookies will become super soft and chewy).

Once chilled, take approx. 1 tablespoon of cookie dough, roll it into a ball and place it onto the baking tray (do not flatten it out as the cookies will expand in the oven). Repeat this for all 12 cookies, leaving roughly 2 inches between each one. Press the remaining Mini Egg pieces into the tops of each cookie balls.

Bake in the oven for 11 minutes until the edges are a light golden brown but the middle still looks pale and underdone. Remove from the oven and leave to completely cool (the cookies will continue to cook as they cool so it’s important not to overbake them in the oven).

Easter Dippy Eggs & Soldiers

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The arrival of bright yellow Daffodils, warmer air and adorable newborn lambs means Spring has definitely sprung. I just love this time of the year, even more so because of Easter weekend!

Easter for me is about bringing together the whole family to celebrate the beginning of a new season and it’s exciting future. Oh and did I forget to mention the food? It’s also about eating lots & lots (& lots) of good food and chocolate!

For this blog post I wanted to create a dessert that the whole family could enjoy after Sunday lunch. These little vanilla cheesecake-filled milk chocolate eggs have a punchy lemon curd yolk and a side of lemon shortbread soldiers. Now if these fail to impress the family then I don’t know what will.

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The recipe is very easy so please try not to be put off by the length of it. You start by making your shortbread soldiers by combining flour, butter and sugar, cutting it into fingers and baking it in the oven. Then you move onto the fun part… the eggs!
Remove the tops of the eggs with a knife, fill each one with cheesecake (dead easy recipe), add a blob of lemon curd, chill in the fridge and voilà you have your show stopping Easter dessert. Click here to find the recipe of HomeStyle’s food blog – Enjoy 🙂

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Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake

With just over a week to go, its safe to say Christmas is just round the corner! Twinkly lights line the streets, Christmas trees are popping up all over and the shops are full of wrapping paper, mince pies and tinsel.

Christmas for me is all about festive baking. I have to admit I am a sucker for anything sweet with cinnamon and so I decided on this delicious Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake for my first recipe this month. This cake is a no nonsense bake, its quick and easy, tastes bloomin delicious and your house will smell insane! The recipe uses the addition of natural yoghurt to make the cake super moist and is decorated with a simple glaze for a sticky sweet top.

So if you too share my love for cinnamon and want to bake something the whole family will love, then this is the bake for you and you can find the recipe here on the Home Style Online Magazine… enjoy!

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Spooky Spiderweb Chocolate Cake

With 2 sleeps until Halloween there is still plenty of time to bake something spooktacular – see what I did there? 😉

 

This cake is definitely one of my best bakes to date… three layers of rich, moist chocolate cake, sandwiched together and smothered in sweet buttercream, drizzled with creamy milk chocolate ganache and decorated with a white chocolate spiderweb – delicious! You can find this recipe here on the HomeStyle website.

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Pumpkin & Cinnamon Spice Cookie

This recipe uses pumpkin puree and cinnamon spice to give these cookies a real taste of autumn. Chocolate chips are added for sweetness and to complement the pumpkin flavour without overpowering it. These cookies are thick and puffy, the edges slightly crisp and the centre soft and chewy – just how a cookie should be! Check out the recipe here ,on the HomeStyle Magazine Blog, for a step by step guide on how to make these cookies and my top tips on achieving the perfect texture every time.

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Frosted Walnut, Apple & Honey Cake

Deliciously moist sponge, jewelled with walnuts and apple and finished with a thick layer of creamy frosting and a scatter of chopped walnuts. Mmm this cake is awesome!

September is a great month for apples with 14 varieties ripening between early September and late October. So why not steal this apple opportunity to bake something? For this recipe I’ve used Granny Smith apples, as they are particularly sweet and juicy in September and lend themselves to baked goods. Cinnamon, vanilla and honey are added to complement the apple flavour and the chopped walnuts add a crunch throughout. Every bite tastes like Autumn!

I’ve coated the cake in sweet, tangy Cream Cheese Frosting; the ideal companion to any fruit or vegetable cake. Just be sure to remember that all the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing, there is nothing worse than split and grainy frosting – more about this in the recipe below. To finish I covered the top of the cake with chopped walnuts, however feel free to decorate however you wish.

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Ingredients (makes a 10inch cake)

For the cake:

190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g self-raising flour
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp
1 tsp baking powder
50g plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp runny honey
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g full-fat cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia, at room temperature

It is important to use full-fat cream cheese as the low fat options are too loose in texture and will result in a runny frosting.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 10inch round cake tin with a little butter.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time*, mixing well before adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.

Now add the yoghurt, vanilla essence and honey and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally fold in 80g of the chopped walnuts and the chopped apple.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes and until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to completely cool before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.

To make your frosting, first beat the butter for a good 5 minutes until smooth and free from any lumps**.

Now drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter until just combined, be careful not to over beat. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If the frosting appears too runny then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up***. Take the cake out of the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake and finish by dotting the remaining 20g walnuts on top.

*Don’t worry if your mixture begins to curdle, it won’t affect the cake and once the dry ingredients are added the mixture will come together again.

**This step is crucial as it will soften and warm the butter sufficiently so it combines smoothly with the remaining ingredients.

***This is called a “crumb-coat” and will stop any crumbs from being pulled up when frosted again.

Summer Fruit Pavlova Tart

Ever heard of HomeStyle magazine? If not, then you can find out more information here, but in short it’s everything you’ve ever looked for in a homes magazine. From cooking to decorating tips, design ideas to home bargains, you name it it has it!

Your probably wondering why i’m telling you about this. Well I have some very exciting news… I am officially a monthly columnist for the HomeStyle online cooking blog eeeeeek! And I present to you my first post: Summer Fruit Pavlova Tart (click the link to see the blog post).

 

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This recipe is all about celebrating Summer. Even if it’s pouring with rain, a buttery tart filled with a creamy broken meringue filling and topped with sweet summer fruits is never going to go a miss. Now please don’t be put off by making your own pastry, it’s incredibly simple (particularly if you follow my top tips below) and the added lemon zest tops any shopped bought pastry.

My pastry top tips:

  • Try to be confident and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can – don’t knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter.
  • Before making your pastry chill your mixing bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes and rinse your hands with cold water. This will help the butter stay cold resulting in delicate, flaky pastry every time.
  • Don’t be tempted to skip the blind baking step, otherwise your tart shell will shrink.

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Ingredients (makes a 9inch tart)

 

For the tart:

250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large free-range eggs, beaten
Splash of milk
Zest of ½ lemon
Butter for greasing the tart

For the filling:
4 small meringue nests, roughly broken
250g double cream
125g crème fraiche
30g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

 

For the topping:
600g mixed fruits (raspberry/blueberry/blackberry/strawberry/cherries/grapes etc.)
A little icing sugar, for dusting

 

Equipment:
9inch tart tin
Rolling pin
Baking paper

 

 

Method

 

Mix the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl, add the cubed butter and work it in the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles rough crumbs. Now stir in the lemon zest. Add the egg and a splash of milk, just enough to bring the dough together, and knead it into a ball.  Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

 

Once the dough is chilled pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350F and take the dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle a clean work surface and a rolling pin with a little flour and roll the dough out so it is about 5cm larger than the tin. Grease your tart tin with a little butter, before draping the dough over your rolling pin and laying it across the tart tin. Trim off any extra bits and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners and sides of the tin. 

 

Prick the tart all over with a fork and line it with baking paper, pushing it into the sides. Fill the tart with baking beans or rice and bake it “blind” for 10 minutes. Take the tart out of the oven and lift out the baking paper and beans. Bake for a further 10 minutes until firm and golden. Leave to cool completely. 

 

To make your filling simply whip the double cream, creme fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla essence together with an electric whisk until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Mix in the broken meringue nests and fill your tart with the mixture. Finish by decorating the top with your mixed fruit’s and dusting over a little icing sugar. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Best eaten within a day or two.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Two layers of moist carrot cake, sandwiched together with sweet creme cheese frosting, dusted and cinnamon and sprinkled with chopped walnuts. A classic bake, perfect for your Easter Sunday celebrations! SONY DSC SONY DSC

Ingredients (makes  a two layer 8inch cake)

300g soft light brown sugar
4 medium eggs, at room temp
300ml sunflower oil
150g self-raising flour
150g wholemeal self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
Zest of a large orange
100g walnuts, chopped
100g sultanas

For the cream cheese frosting:
100g full-fat cream cheese (cold from the fridge)
200g icing sugar
35g unsalted butter (at room temp)
Cinnamon, for dusting
20g extra walnuts, to decorate

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 8inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Put the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed (don’t worry if it looks slightly split). In a separate bowl combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and orange zest.

Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry and continue to beat until everything is just combined (be careful not to overmix). Finally, fold in the grated carrot, sultanas and chopped walnuts into the until entirely covered with mixture.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, tapping them lightly on the side to remove any air bubbles, and bake in the oven for 40-50 mins until the cake has turned a golden colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to completely cool before removing the cakes from the tins.

Once the cake is cooled, make your frosting by first beating the butter with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Next, drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese then beat into the butter until just combined. *Be careful not to overbeat as this will make the cream cheese loosen and too liquid*  Finally, sift in half the icing sugar and beat together, add the remaining icing sugar and mix again.

Spread half of the frosting on top of one of the cakes, place the other on top and do the same. Dust the cake with cinnamon and dot the walnuts on top of the cake. Slice into 8/10 and serve!