Halloween and Eyeball cupcakes

IMG_5135 This past weekend was rather fun indeed. Well Little J’s sleep regression / teething / generally crankiness was not so fun, but the Halloween costume party we went to on Saturday certainly was! We decided on a family ‘pirate’ theme for our costume, and had quite a few laughs along the way. Cranky parrot and all! IMG_5150 And well a party invitation was the perfect excuse to get creative in the kitchen. I’ve really missed baking lately, so wasted no time in heating up the oven and dragging out the mixer. On the menu? Eyeball cupcakes!! Visually impressive – but actually quite easy  to prepare. IMG_5137 Simply – chocolate cupcakes, topped with cocoa buttercream and drizzled with (store-bought) salted caramel. Finished with some eye-ball chocolates that I found at the shops. IMG_5139 Pretty much a sugar-coma on a plate! IMG_5141 Chocolate ‘eyeball’ cupcakes

  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 80 g butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Buttercream

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar mixture (+ extra if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • salted caramel sauce to drizzle
  • chocolate eyeballs for decorating
Method
    1. Preheat oven to 170°C . Line 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
    2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Gradually add eggs and mix until just combined.
    3. Combine flour, cocoa and bicarbonate soda. Add to creamed mixture with milk. Beat until just combined.
    4. Spoon mixture into liners until each case is half full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
    5. To make the chocolate butter cream: Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar and cocoa and combine well. Beat in milk until mixture is fluffy (add extra icing sugar if needed, to get to a good piping consistency).
    6. Pipe into swirls onto cooled cupcakes, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with eyeball chocolates.

What about you? Did you ‘celebrate’ Halloween this year?

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

IMG_0711 Thankyou all for your words of support on my last few posts. Sharing such personal experiences is often never easy, but then it can also be incredibly therapeutic at the same time. And given our pregnancy ‘journey’ has been so very all-consuming over the last couple of years – physically and emotionally – to downplay or ignore it would just be…well….silly. One of the biggest changes I experiences during the first trimester – was a complete lack of creativity when it came to food. I’ll explain more another day – but spending time in the kitchen just had no appeal. Which was so very strange given it is normally my favourite place to be! But I am pleased to report that a sense of normalcy is starting to return, slowly but surely, and I even got my ‘bake’ on over the weekend. IMG_0687 With the RSPCA cupcake day as my inspiration, I couldn’t say no to baking a batch to share at my work’s morning tea. IMG_0689 And, instantly, I knew what flavour I would make. Chocolate and peanut butter – aka one of my favourite flavour combinations! IMG_0709 Beautifully light and fluffy chocolate cupcakes… IMG_0690 And the most indulgent peanut butter icing I’ve ever made. Yes, lovely people, there was nothing healthy about this – let me assure you! IMG_0698 Piped and finished with a halved peanut butter cup and…well…I must say I was rather chuffed with the result! IMG_0707 My little “army” of cupcakes – all ready to be shared and consumed! IMG_0700 And consumed they were Smile  IMG_0710 You can find the recipe I used here (sans the chocolate icing, and cookie). What about you? What is your favourite cupcake flavour?

Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes

IMG_5849 Wanting to contribute dessert to our recent Good Friday lunch, but also being mindful of the chocolate overload that inevitably occurs over the Easter weekend (well for me anyway), I went in search of a non-chocolate baked treat. And with a newborn taking up most of my spare time, the dessert also needed to be relatively quick and easy to prepare. Enter….cupcakes. Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes to be precise. Just mix… IMG_5835 Spoon… IMG_5836 And bake. IMG_5838 IMG_5839 But we all know that cupcakes are really about the icing. I had initially planned to top the cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese icing, however as I was making them quite a few hours in advance, I wasn’t convinced that the icing would hold its shape when travelling to our lunch destination. I knew that vanilla buttercream, on the other hand, was a good stable icing that would travel well. IMG_5841 So buttercream icing it was. Coloured with a splash of pink food dye, piped onto the cupcakes, then topped with a pre-made fondant flower for no other reason than they looked pretty. IMG_5845 And who doesn’t love pretty?? IMG_5846 I really quite enjoyed the addition of the crushed pineapple, which added both a hit of pineapple flavour but also kept the cakes moist. IMG_5850 And, although the cakes themselves were not overly sweet, the icing certainly was – and provided the requisite afternoon sugar rush. IMG_5848 Good Friday dessert….success! Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes (makes 12)

  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350g grated carrot
  • 180g drained crushed pineapple
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • Few drops food colouring
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Combine eggs and oil. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, carrot and pineapple, and stir until just combined. Divide among cases.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  4. To make the icing – beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla, food colouring and the icing sugar (half a cup at a time) – and continue to beat until smooth. Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.

Good Friday 2012

A family tradition continued yesterday, with my in laws’ annual Good Friday seafood lunch.

Although, this year, there was a new addition to the yearly event. IMG_5908 One who loved all the attention… IMG_5929 And lapped up all the cuddles on offer! IMG_5883 IMG_5926 (first cuddles with her Uncle!) Rather than a sit down lunch, our Good Friday meal is a relatively casual affair. With plate after plate of seafood served up throughout the afternoon, and quickly gobbled by the family. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. IMG_5916 IMG_5898 IMG_5921 IMG_5911 IMG_5910 IMG_5909 I think the phrase ‘dig in or miss out’ would be an appropriate mantra of the day! I even squeezed in a little glass of this lovely red wine (in between well timed baby feeds, that is)… IMG_5919 Oh sweet nectar, how I have missed thee. IMG_5920 It has been 10 months since we last met….not that I have been counting or anythingWinking smile But back to the food. While my mother in law is the undisputed seafood champion of the day, Mr BBB and I wanted to contribute a seafood dish of our own to the feast. Deciding on scallops  our seafood of choice – we cooked them two ways: Lime and tarragon. IMG_5858 Chilli jam. IMG_5918 Such gorgeously tender scallops, picked up at the fish markets yesterday. While the lime and tarragon version were quite tasty, my favourite was the chilli jam version, that had just the right amount of sweetness and spiciness.  Oh and did I mention that we also contributed dessert? IMG_5845 For what ‘feast’ is complete without a little sugar hit at the end? IMG_5850 And taken in the form of pineapple and carrot cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. Sugar-coma. IMG_5944 T’was a wonderful day -  filled with family, food and laughter. And one that saw us heading home for a much-needed food-induced nap! IMG_5906 Although some of us got a head start on the nap!

Wedding adventures – part 1

Mr BBB and I just arrived back in Canberra after a BUSY weekend away to attend his niece’s wedding.  IMG_1308 It may have been busy weekend – but it sure was a whole lot of fun. It all started on Friday afternoon, when I dashed home, packed the car…  IMG_1299     And hit the road! IMG_1302 Good bye Canberra – hello gorgeous countryside! IMG_1303 IMG_1305 After a couple of hours, we arrived at Bega and figured it would be the perfect place to stop for dinner. Such a quaint town, filled with country charm.   IMG_1323 IMG_1321 Mr BBB and I decided on a quick ‘noodle’ dinner, and the restaurant was kind enough to make me a GF veggie combination. IMG_1332  IMG_1326 Eaten alfresco – as we watched the world go by. IMG_1327  With awesome flattering photography skills by Mr BBB apparently 😉 Our bellies full, we jumped back in the car and took a short drive to our final destination… The beautiful Tathra. And in particular, the lovely Kianinny Resort – which had been booked out for all the guests. IMG_1370 I immediately fell in love with the country resort, and our gorgeous cottage set amongst the trees. IMG_1371 IMG_1373 But, unfortunately there was no time for exploring as there was a “production line” to be arranged – to finish the cupcake preparation! IMG_1334 They say many hands make light work – and I welcomed every extra set of hands that offered to help me! IMG_1338  After all – I had over 200 cupcakes to finish!  IMG_1340 While the ladies finished the wrapping, I started working on the icing. IMG_1335 Including passionfruit, IMG_1343 And lemon. IMG_1342 Then it was pipe, pipe and pipe! 3 hours, 4 bowls of icing, a possum ‘break-in’, wrist cramps and 200+ swirls and flourishes later, the cupcake stand went from this…  IMG_1341   To this! IMG_1387 Layer upon layer of mini cupcakes.  IMG_1388  IMG_1389      IMG_1419  Gluten free vanilla and butterscotch. IMG_1418 And ‘regular’ chocolate, raspberry and vanilla. IMG_1392 My only hope was that the bride to be would also be happy with the finished product!!! But I would have to wait until tomorrow to find that out. Covered in icing and tired after the long day, I made my way back to our cabin and crawled into bed.  With two more days of adventures to come – every opportunity to sleep needed to be taken! But not before again saying hello to this mischievous little kitchen thief on the way…. IMG_1366 Part 2 to follow… Happy Baking 🙂