Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Homemade summer drinks

My favorite summer drink is anything refreshing, preferably containing watermelon or strawberries (or both!)

Jam jars seem to be all the rage at the moment so if you have a couple lying around collecting dust in your pantry you should bust them out this summer for your own homemade cocktails.

(This one is just strawberries,vodka, basil leaves and lemonade)

I'm also intrigued by the idea of freezing delicious things to put into your drinks e.g fresh raspberries or slices of lemon, then as your ice cube melts the flavour seeps into your drink, awesome!

Here are some ideas I'm looking forward to trying this summer...

Blueberries and mint would be awesome for putting in your glass of lemonade or punch!

 These flowers are sooo pretty:) Just make sure the plants aren't poisonous ones first!
Rose petals are pretty cute too:)

Heres one of my favourite homemade drink recipes: 

Elderflower smash

4 or 5 mint leaves frozen into ice cubes
15 ml of gin (or as much as you like really!)
25 ml elderflower syrup

fill the rest of the glass with soda water
juice of half a lemon
3 dashes of bitters

Combine in a cocktail shaker or a jar! and smash (you could use a blender if you want a more 'slushie' constancy).

Happy drink creating friends x

Friday, 16 November 2012

The most delicious cupcakes...EVER?

I found this recipe on Pinterest last night and it had so many rave reviews I thought i'd give it a try ...

I'm so glad I did because they turned out great! In fact I think I have a new favourite recipe. The secret is sour cream and oil instead of butter, which makes for a light but really moist cake. My gauge for baking greatness is usually how many my husband eats in the space of an hour and these cupcakes? it was 4! I think thats a record:)

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe
Makes About 16
These cupcakes are from the blog 'sophisticatedgourmet.com'
For the cake:
1 cup / 200 grams granulated white sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 105 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, non-dutched), sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup (4.25 oz) /120 grams sour cream, room temperature
¼ cup / 45 grams sunflower oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I really like the flavor of 'Homebrand' but it's totally up to you what you use)
½ cup/ 120mL boiling water.
For the frosting:
6 tablespoons / 85 grams unsalted butter, melted
½ cup / 40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, non-dutched)
¼ cup / 60mL milk
2 ¼ cups / 225 grams powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
¾ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon golden syrup / light corn syrup
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/ 180ºC / Gas Mark 4. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
Now, in a large heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream, and pour in the oil and the vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula just until smooth and combined. Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix starting from the center working your way out (this makes it easier to mix without the splattering.). The batter will be liquidy, but fear not, this is normal.
Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, using a spatula to help you scrape the bowl, filling each lined cup with 3 tablespoons of batter, about halfway full. 
Bake for 15-19 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean.
Transfer cupcakes in pans to wire racks for about 10-minutes until the tins are cool to the touch. Once the tins are cool, remove the cupcakes from the pans, and transfer to the wire racks. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Close up of the inside 

Make the frosting and frost the cupcakes:
In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer), combine the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth. Now, alternatively mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating (on medium speed) to spreading consistency. Add another tablespoon or so of milk, if necessary. Mix in vanilla and golden syrup / light corn syrup.
Frost the cupcakes using a small offset spatula or non-serrated butter knife, making sure to frost to the very edges (doing this is not only an excuse to have more frosting on your cupcakes–yum!, but it also helps keep the cupcakes moist), and adorn with chocolate shavings or other edible decorations of your liking.
Note on frosting the cupcakes: To frost the cupcakes, I used a small off-set spatula (can use a butter knife without a serrated edge, as pictured above) at an angle to spread the frosting smoothly around the cake. Then, I used a cake spatula to create the indent in the center. Turn 360º one way, and turn 180º in the opposite direction; lift the spatula, and that’s it. Shave some dark chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler (or you can use a microplane or one of those manual cheese graters that they use at Italian restaurants to grate parmesan), and you’re done.

Icing cupcakes like this ^ seems to be the new fashion, it's way faster and easier than using an icing bag thats for sure so I'm a fan:D

These are the ones of the lady's who's recipe I used, so simple but so pretty:D

Monday, 29 October 2012

Haunted Halloween Gingerbread house

Last year for Christmas I made my first ever gingerbread house and it was so much fun I thought I'd make a haunted gingerbread house for halloween this year.

The gingerbread recipe was really crunchy and delicious! I used this recipe from www.bbb.co.uk which I liked so much I think I'll use it just for regular cookies, they'd be really good with a cup of tea!

Basically to make the house all you need is a template, some cooking paper and some patience!
I made my own house template but you can download them off the internet just by searching for 'gingerbread house templates'.

The finished house after about 3 hours of waiting and icing and waiting... I was done:)
I decided to make a little zombie graveyard behind the house...
The glass stained windows were one of my favourite parts, you just place a boiled sweet into the cut out holes and the oven does the rest while its baking. Pro tip don't cook them on baking paper because no matter what you do the lollies get stuck at the back. I recommend using a silicone baking mat for all of the pieces.
The pieces waiting to be assembled below...
A close up of one of my zombies
More of my 'gingerdead men'
My inspiration:

Sunday, 14 October 2012

I've found the 'Cookie Time' recipe:) (Well pretty close)

If your from New Zealand then no doubt you know the deliciousness that is a Cookie Time cookie very well. They are so addictive! if we ever have any in our house they never last more than a couple of days because you honestly can't stop eating them (especially those tiny Christmas ones they make). I found a recipe online for them or something VERY smilar and now they are my new favourite cookie recipe!

Of course I had to share with you blogger friends

1 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups plain white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C Grease an oven tray.
2. Cream the butter , white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs into the mix one at a time, and then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, then stir into creamed mixture.
3. Fold in the chocolate. Place rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking tray.
4. Bake until light brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Alcoholic cupcakes

My friend Tania recently made some vodka cupcakes and that got me thinking about what other possibilities there are for alcoholic treats?

I found there are heaps of amazing alcoholic cupcakes already on the market in cupcake stores especially the champagne cupcake and the margarita, these are some of the awesome flavours that Miss Melicious cupcakes make...

They are an Auckland based cupcake store that have just released a cupcake cookbook (which I can't wait to read!)

My only alcoholic cupcake attempt so far is a baileys cupcake which I made for Saint Patricks day. They were pretty good but the Baileys only came through in the icing not the cake.

I guess thats because when alcohol cooks it gets burnt off and so the flavour doesn't seem to really stick in the cake. Most of these recipes have a plain cake base and the alcohol is placed into the frosting or the filling.

What about a Lemoncello cupcake? Oh boy, oh boy! I really love Lemoncello but it's pretty full on (strength wise) I think in a cupcake it would be toned down just the right amount to be perfect!

I dont actually own any lemoncello but I do own a peachchello so I might have to try making those instead.

Hey are a few more delicious treats you could make...

Malibu cupcakes

Frangelico cupcakes

Cosmopolitan cupcakes

What I dislike about alcoholic cupcakes and baking is that whenever you read about them in a book or online they use the word 'Adult treats' it just seems disturbing to me but hey if you can get past that (which I'm sure you will) the possibilities for delciousness are endless really.

Happy Baking <3

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Is it too early for Christmas? oh well I'm blogging about it anyway...

As some of you long time readers will know I love Christmas! and when I say love I mean really LOVE!!. It's just such a special time of year for me. My parents always went to such an effort making our Christmas' fun and exciting times. We had beautiful family rituals like decorating the christmas tree together, putting up our stockings and other Christmas decorations and of course there was the baking!!

I think I've started my own little ritual now after the wild success of my gingerbread house last year so I'm definitely looking forward to making another one of those bad boys.

Here's some more cool Christmas thing's I'm looking forward to baking this year.

Only 3 months to go friends!

I really love the concept of homemade gifts e.g baked goodies ;) It's just so much more personel and homely (not to mention thrifty and eco friendly) So I'm also looking forward to giving some of these ideas a try...

Click here for the detailed instructions on how to make these beauties from above!

Peppermint bark

Ginger snaps

Fudge presents- too cute!

Homemade fruit mixers

Most of these ones are from MarthaStewart.com heres the link for you so you can give them a go yourself.

Merry (very early) Christmas bloggers <3

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

My Popcorn Cupcakes

For our friend Dan's birthday he has an annual movie marathon and because this year was his 10 th anniversary I wanted to make something extra special. I decided on popcorn cupcakes, there are lots of different ways of doing the 'popcorn' decoration bit but I choose to go with actual popcorn, caramel corn to be exact. I combined my classic cupcake recipe and my caramel corn recipe this was the result.

Ta da!

The cake (made by another of Dan's friends) and my cupcakes on the right

I got my inspiration from a collection of pictures I found online and off Pinterest of course (my favourite baking friend).

I actually bought these exact 'popcorn' cases online from a cupcake shop in the states but because international shipping is lame and unreliable they still havent come yet! Oh well I'll just have to bake more next year.

Thanks for the best Movie Fest yet Dan! We had such a great time :)

Friday, 7 September 2012

Homemade caramel corn

Theres lots of recipes online for how to make your own caramel corn but they pretty much all have corn syrup in them (gross). My recipe is just good old brown sugar and butter.

I made some tonight because it's my husbands favourite and perfect for a chilly night in watching TV.

You can add whatever you like to this recipe and it will just get better! I've added roasted peanuts, peanut butter and chocolate chips but I'd love to add mashmallows!

1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of water

Bring these to the boil in a pot for about 5 minutes until they boil and start to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Then take off the heat and quickly beat in...

1 tsp of vanillia
1/2 tsp baking soda

Drizzle the caramel over to coat about 2 cups of freshly popped popcorn (and your nuts if your adding them) and place it all on a baking tray that is covered in baking paper.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Other variations: 

Drizzle chocolate over
Cinnamon maple pecan (just add some toasted pecans, a tsp of cinnamon and a tablespoon of maple syrup)

What else could you add? you're only limited by your imagination really. Although I did see someone put bacon in, I think that might be taking it a step too far...


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

My Lemon Blueberry Birthday cake

For my Birthday dinner I baked this cake and brought it along to share with everyone at the mexican restaurant we went to.  I basically just used this exact recipe from 'Sweetapolita' but I iced it with a cream cheese icing that had the zest of a lemon in it and was 'whipped' AKA  beaten in the electric beater for about 5 minutes so it's nice and fluffy and light.
Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake:

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened about 20 minutes out of refrigerator
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare three 8″ round cake pans with parchment paper, butter and flour. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.
Stir whole milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest in small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined. Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally among 8″ round pans.
Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.

I placed my homemade lemon curd in-between the layers but you could also put fresh cream or more icing, it's totally up to you. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Marvel creations

If you havent already noticed theres a huge Marvel revival going on at the moment. I personally am very pleased about this because Spiderman is my absolute favourite super hero ( followed closely by Batman) both of which have been turned into new movies released in the last couple of weeks.

I thought I'd share some cool cupcakes and baking I've found online before I attempt my own tomorrow night (we are going to watch Batman the Dark night rises)

These are just made with black fondant and cut free hand (using a picture as the template) pretty effective and cool! I'm going to make mine with chocolate which I think will be just as good and taste better:)

Then I saw these bad boys!  The coolness is outstanding! heres what they could look like all iced up

I did a quick google search and found out these little cake pans are all the rage in the US at the moment... so obviously this made me want to get some too!

www.Kiwicakes.co.nz has some pretty awesome ones like...Darth Vadar and Spiderman:)

I also found this cake! Talk about amazing right? I'd love to try and make this one day I especially love the Captain America layer.


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