Father’s day cupcake idea

My dad is a pretty good guy. He put up with me in my argumentative years when I was annoying and stubborn (actually, I don’t think much has changed) and he still loves me despite the way we’re prone to disagree on matters.

The thing that many people notice about my dad is his beard. He’s a beardy man, always has been.

I was 16 before I knew what my father’s top lip looked like.

He raised money for Shave for a Cure and promised that he would shave his head and beard in return for donations. I don’t think he, or anyone else for that matter, honestly realised how big a deal this was!

He raised his money and the night dawned. His time for the clippers came with much excitement,. The clippers started at the head, skipped the eyebrows(!), devoured his beard, and finally munched up his moustache.mo

I spoke to him immediately afterwards and was fixated by the funny flap of skin that now resided below his nose. It was pink and fleshy, comically paler than the rest of his face. I watched the flap stretch and wriggle as dad laughed and chatted. I wondered what he was thinking – was his face cold without all of that covering? I can only assume it was.

He’s grown the beard and moustache back. I haven’t seen that flap since I was 16, and I kind of like it that way. Familiarity is comfortable, right?

In honour of my dad’s facial hair, this year, seven years after I laid eyes upon his top lip, I am making him moustachioed cupcakes.

three againAll you need is 150g of chocolate and a piping bag (which you can craft yourself if you don’t own one!) It can get a little bit fiddly, but these surreal little beauties are so worth it! They reminded me of a Magritte, so I set them against his clouds to heighten the surrealness.

Get some skewers and chop them into 2-3 cm pieces, depending on how tall you want your moustaches to be (what an odd sentence!) When you’re piping make sure that you leave enough space below each piece to put the skewer pieces in. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.

pipedBreak up your chocolate pieces and pop them in the microwave until they’re melted. Stir it every 20 seconds or so to avoid burning it. Once it’s all glossy and melted, scoop it into your piping bag and pipe loose ‘m’ shapes onto the baking paper for the moustache. For the tophats, start with a line, then pipe a square on top of it. It’s easiest if you work quickly – the chocolate will be running out of the piping bag quickly, so try to beat it! Don’t worry if it’s a bit messy, you can always eat the reject ones, or melt them down and try again. Once you’ve filled your tray with moustaches and tophats that you’re sufficiently proud of, pop the skewer pieces into the centre of the chocolate. Don’t let them go in wonky or you’ll end up with wonky decorations.

stickPut them in the fridge for about 20 minutes then stick them into your cupcakes and prepare to impress dad! I used my chocolate and vanilla cupcakes – my dad is a traditional man, so chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing suit his tastebuds perfectly. These decorations will suit any cupcakes though, don’t limit yourself!

Would your dad like these? bothHave you tried giving your cupcakes moustaches and top hats? Let me know!

Smarties cupcakes and nostalgia

This evening’s post was prompted by a request. And I’m so happy that I made them! I’m a solo worker; I choose my own recipes and prefer to make them in a kitchen with as few people around as possible. I love company, just not when I’m bustling about in my own world in the kitchen. My baking is for sharing, always, but the process is a personal one.

So when it was suggested that I make Smarties cupcakes I wondered whether I should acquiesce or not. I hadn’t had a Smarties cupcake since my childhood.

And therein lies their brilliance.

The colouring of Smarties may be less intense than it used to be, but their flavour is still the same. Complemented by a soft vanilla buttercream and chocolatey cupcake, these concoctions just work.

They taste of childhood and nostalgia. I half wished I’d made up lolly bags to go along with these cupcakes, it felt wrong to serve such festive cupcakes without a lolly bag for people to take home!

tiny teddiesSome teddy bears joined me for the photo shoot because it had been a while since they’d been played with. They enjoyed the trip back to childhood and what appeared to be a child’s birthday party.

Cook them for their colour, their easy charm and the memories they’ll bring back for you.

Just make sure you buy extra Smarties.

teddy bear picnicChocolate cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups self raising flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 100g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Vanilla butter cream

  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 tpsb milk

Preheat your oven to 190°C. Grease your muffin tins, or use cardboard cupcake cases like me if you’re feeling lazy.

Cream your butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add your eggs and vanilla, mixing them well.

cookFold in the cocoa and half of the flour flour, adding your milk when it gets too hard to mix. Fold in the next half of the flour and make sure everything is combined.

Scrape the sides of the bowl down regularly so that the cocoa reaches every part of the mixture, nobody likes streaky cupcakes!

Fill your cupcake cases or muffin tins about 3/4 full and try some of the mixture, it’s delish!

Norman

Pop them on a baking tray (or not, if you’re using a muffin tin) and bake for 16 minutes or until you can insert a skewer into the cupcake and it comes out cleanly.

smartiesWhile the cupcakes cool, beat the butter until it’s pale and soft. Add the icing sugar and milk and mix until it is smooth. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cook to ice them, you don’t want the icing sliding off.


Toss a handful of Smarties over the cupcakes and feed the waiting children (or sentimental adults.) The Smarties packet had a chef on it – I appreciated the appropriateness of the character on the box!spotty cupcake

bunting

These little gems are perfect for a child’s party – no child is going to turn down a smarties covered cupcake! Add some bunting for decoration if you’re feeling especially fun – mine was made by stringing coloured triangles in between a skewer cut into halves. A little bunting makes a big difference to presentation!

pink cupcake

 

* I doubled this recipe to make a cake – results are here.

Chocolate orange cupcakes and resourcefulness

In the last post I mentioned that I’d hold onto the orange rind that was leftover after the Orange and Kidney Bean Salad – here is the reason why you shouldn’t throw those delicious peelings out! After making the salad I was left with the rind of two oranges – I used about one orange’s worth of rind in this recipe, but it only yields about  eight cupcakes, so I highly recommend doubling this recipe and using up two orange’s worth. I love finding ways to make the most out of fruit and vegetables because it means you waste less, but you also make more of an effort to get creative.

IMG_4336The Boy is a big Terry’s Chocolate Orange fan. He introduced them to me (not sure whether I should love or loathe him for this) and I couldn’t believe how amazing the flavour combination was. If I could get all my nutritional needs out of Chocolate Oranges, I would… sadly, that is not possible. At least in this recipe you’re getting some fruity goodness. One might even venture so far as to say that it was healthy.

Might.

Regardless of how healthy this is, it’s delicious AND it doesn’t use any butter. I used sour cream in place of butter for this recipe because it gives it a denser, more decadent texture.

Chocolate Orangecupcake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1/4 cup sour cream*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 1 egg

Icing:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • zest of half an orange

*If you’ve not got any sour cream in you can always use the same amount of butter, but I think these treats deserve better than that – it’s just a smidgen of sour cream!

Preheat the oven to 100°C and grease up your cupcake tin. If you’re lazy like me, use silicone bakeware and you won’t have to grease anything. Stir in the egg and sour cream and combine it as well as you can. The mixture will be a bit dry at this point, so it’s okay if it’s looking crumbly.

Put a small pan filled with water onto the stove and start to boil the water. Set a heatproof bowl over the pan and put your chocolate and milk into it, stirring them to combine. When you have what is essentially chocolate milk, resist the urge to drink it and take it off the heat for five minutes so that it cools.

Add the chocolate milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. pans

Pour into your cupcake tin and pop them in the often for 15-20 minutes. As they’re cooking make a start on your icing. Beat the icing sugar and butter together. Add in the orange juice and all of your zest – usually I would juice an orange myself, but for such a small amount I cheated and got this juice out of the carton. If the mixture is too runny or dry, fix this by adding more icing sugar or more orange juice, respectively.

zestRemove the cupcakes from the oven when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let them cool properly before you start to ice them. I was slightly impatient, which meant my icing oozed deliciously off the sides – no complaints here, just an observation!

Top your cupcakes with a little more of the zest so they pack a nice orangey punch and serve up with a big cuppa.