Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Biscoff and Kahlua Crunch Cupcakes

I have just come off four days on the Dr. Oz 3 Day Juice Cleanse. Yup. I realise it is a three day cleanse, and I did four days but y'know, in the words of the great Justin Timberlake "#that's how we do"!

What can I say? I'm just one of those people who always goes the extra mile. Or maybe I'm one of those people who eats so much sugar that they need at least one extra day more than normal people to cleanse their bodies of all the stuff. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion. If you jump to the latter (unfairly and unfounded), then we're over. O-V-E-R!

Anyway, I didn't mention my cleanse just to show off (well, I did a little).
I mentioned it so as to use it as an excuse.
I would have posted this two days ago but I couldn't really write about cupcakes when I hadn't eaten solid food for 2 days. Nobody has that kind of strength! (Except maybe everybody else in the whole world).

I realise I might be hitting you with some unfamiliar ingredients with these cupcakes - roll with it, new is good. Luckily, I have put together a handy glossary to help you along on very delicious road less travelled. You're welcome :)

Biscoff: Recognise these amazing biscuits?

Well these biscuits are to Biscoff spread what peanuts are to peanut butter. They make up 65% of it. It's basically these cookies in spread form! Incredible for eating out of the jar with a (large) spoon and baking! To be honest, I can't really think what else you'd do with them - the thought of spreading it on toast as suggested really doesn't appeal.

Kahlua: A coffee liqueur. True story, I discovered this while I was doing an exchange programme in Victoria, Canada. If memory serves me right, my Japanese friend Rieko introduced me to it. Mixed with milk, this tastes amazing! And you can drink lots of it! And we did. Though I don't know if it has that much alcohol in it so go ahead and start having it with your milk in the morning. I did and I turned out fine! (ish)

The combination of these two and the Daim bars make for an amazing cupcake! I think I went wrong with my cupcake somewhere as it fell but honestly, it made for a wonderfully moist, dense, slightly sticky chocolate cupcake. As I've said before, I'm not a big fan of chocolate cake but this was really good! It was my favourite part of this cupcake!

Everyone else's favourite part though was the frosting. It is a Swiss meringue buttercream which has the advantage of being really creamy and not too sweet. I have to say it's not my favourite frosting (but I am someone who can list her top 5 frostings, spelt backwards, with the ingredients listed alphabetically) but objectively, it is a brilliant frosting.

These cupcakes have been on my "to bake list" for ages and I'm so glad I finally got round to making them!

Recipe from the amazing Bakers Royale

Makes 12 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
113g unsalted butter, melted and warm
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 cup Kahlua

Biscoff Frosting
5 large egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
454g unsalted butter, diced and softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup of Biscoff spread

Chocolate Pouring Sauce
2/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons double cream
4 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons, warm

2 Daim chocolate bars
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4 / 350F. Line 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. To make cupcake: Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. 
  3. Add in the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute.
  4. Add half of the Kahlua into the mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add remaining Kahlua. Beat for 20 - 30 seconds until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin enough to pour.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool.
  6. To make chocolate pouring sauce: Place chocolate and double cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine.
  7. Add the icing sugar and mix to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Remove 5 tablespoons and place reserve in a separate bowl. Set aside all chocolate pouring sauce to cool until warm.
  8. To make frosting: Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 160F/ 71C while whisking constantly. If you don't have a candy thermometer (I don't), whisk for 7 minutes over simmering water.
  9. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl (or the bowl for your hand mixer), fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10 - 12 minutes.
  10. Add butter in a piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking - this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine. 
  11. Add in Biscoff and mix until well combined. Add reserved chocolate pouring sauce into frosting. Using a spatula, gently fold it into the frosting, DO NOT over mix so that chocolate streaks remain.
  12. Assembly: Cut Daim bars into shard shapes (or try to - I struggled and got block like shapes instead ;p); set aside. Finely chop any leftover crumbs.
  13. Fill pastry bag with round tip. Hold pastry bag at 90 degrees above the cupcake and starting from the perimeter, pipe inward and upward.
  14. Using a spoon drizzle chocolate on top of frosting. (If it is too thick to drizzle, thin slightly with an addition tablespoon of warm water, or two). Sprinkle Daim crumbs on chocolate. Insert Daim shards into top of frosting.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Nut Cookies

So, I am just going to pretend like it hasn't been 4 months since the last time I blogged. And I'd appreciate it if you just all went along with it - thank you :)

Instead, I'm just going to tell you some of what I've been up to since the last time you ... err ... heard from me ... on this page at least.

1) I stopped my market stall at Archway Market. Come to think of it, I can't remember if I mentioned on here that I started a market stall but I did. And then I stopped it because it wasn't busy enough to warrant all the effort I was putting in. I'm on the look-out for a new London market - and in the meantime, I'll err, blog. Or not.

2) I went to Vienna for the first time ever. It was very pretty, and very hot! Austrian food though ... how do I put this delicately? It's not great.
I also didn't see or have any amazing desserts but lucky for Vienna, they had AMAZING ice cream! Like, really truly amazing! Like except for a select few Ben & Jerry's flavours (sold only in the US obvs), some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten anywhere. Yup Italians, I hate to say it but Viennese ice cream is better than Italian Gelato! I had one every single night!

3) I also went to Greece and Xilocastro which I've written about on here before so I'll leave that as a one line entry.

4) This past weekend, I ran the Bupa Birmingham half marathon which I've run for the last three years and I beat my half marathon personal best by almost 6 minutes! And my time was almost 18 minutes faster than last years time!
I keep going on about it but I've been trying to beat that damn 2:21 for four years! And finally I did it! And on a hard, hilly course too! Like fine wine, and everything else that gets better with age, I'm totally getting fitter with age - whoop!

5) Oooh speaking of fitness, I've probably sampled pretty much every gourmet (and not so gourmet) burger London has to offer in recent months. Meat Liquor (go for the Dead Hippy Burger), Patty & Bun (give it a miss), Burger & Lobster (though I've never had the burger), Shake Shack (see Patty & Bun comment), Five Guys (THE BEST burger in London in my learned opinion), Burger and Shake (meh) ... you name it, if it's a burger between a burger bun (brioche buns are my favourite), I've eaten it! I think that might be the secret to my getting fitter? Hmmm ... I'mma work on that theory and get back to you.

Anyway, I made these cookies MONTHS ago. And yes, I'm suitably ashamed that it's taken me this long to blog them.
I think macadamia nut and white chocolate, like in this cheesecake), is always a winning combo - and cookies are nice and easy to make (says the girl who once thought she lacked the cookie baking gene) so give these rich, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies a try!

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies


3 cups plain flour
1 tsp course salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
227g unsalted butter, cold and cut into large chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)
300g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to blend.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cold butter and the sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and just combined, 1 - 2 minutes.
  3. Blend in the eggs one at a time just until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and coconut extracts.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about 30 - 60 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mar 4 / 350F. Line baking sheets with grease proof paper.
  6. Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough balls in fingertips of both hands, Pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. (I know this shaping stuff may seem like shenanigans but I promise, it gives the cookies a nice appearance after they are baked.)
  7. Bake the cookies, rotating halfway through, until light golden and just set, about 14 - 16 minutes total. Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe from Annie's Eats, who adapted them from "Confections of a Foodie Bride"

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Maple Cream Bundt Cake

Lets get the formalities over and done with - hi! Happy Sunday! Yeah I haven't blogged for a while. I promise I will be more consistent at blogging from now on. I'm shocked and offended that you don't believe me - have I done anything to give you the impression that that is a promise I won't keep? Let me clarify, have I done anything specifically in the last 5 minutes to make you think that I would break that promise? Nope, I did not think so!

Now that we're done with that, can I have a little moan? And I ask rhetorically because y'know, it is my blog and I'm only asking to be polite, I am going to have a moan.
It is June! June! Half way through the year ... summer in most places that have summer at this time of year (except England obvs) ... the 6th month of the year ... y'know, June!
And I haven't been on holiday yet! I don't even have a holiday booked! Yup, I know. The tragedy.
I was thinking Trek America but it's pricey, Malta maybe, but let's be honest, I'll probably just end up in  Greece (which is beautiful and amazing but I've been a hundred times) and call it a day. So this is a shameless appeal to anybody with a holiday home or 5 star hotel in the Seychelles, Bora Bora, Hawaii or Tahiti to please have me over for a week. No less. I'll consider Cape Town and the Caribbean too. Please don't all get in touch at once ;p

While we're on the topic (or not), have you guys checked out the website for my business? www.ermionisbakeshop.com ?! There is only one correct answer to that question. ("Yes", in case it is unclear what the right answer should be). Thank you to the amazing Kylie Larsson for designing it for me. As well as doing all my branding!

I was very excited to get to use my bundt cake tin on this cake! To me, bundt cakes epitomise what a cake should look like and when I got a bottle of maple syrup from a friend as a gift, this was the first thing I thought to make - it is a dense, not too sweet cake (despite all the condensed milk) with a wonderful maple flavour that's just there enough; perfect with a coffee!

Recipe from Lauren's Latest, adapted very slightly here.

For the cake
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 3/4 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (396g)

For the frosting
57g softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (for garnish) - I used slivered almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 170C / Gas mark 3 / 325F. Coat bundt cake tin liberally with non-stick cooking spray. (I buttered and floured my tin). Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whip oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs together until combined.
  3. In a small bow, stir together sour cream, milk and maple syrup.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.
  5. With mixer on low, alternate dry ingredients with milk mixture (dry ingredients in three batches, milk mixture in two) until everything is just incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix briefly.
  6. Pour batter into prepared bundt tin, level the top and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and cool in the pan 15 minutes. Poke small 1 inch deep holes (using a toothpick) into the top (which ends up being the bottom) of the cake and spoon 1/3 of the sweetened condensed milk into the holes and over the visible cake. Let this soak in 15 minutes and then turn cake out of pan onto cooking rack. (You may want to run a knife along the sides to ensure the cake will come out of the pan nicely).
  8. Poke more small holes (about 2 inches deep) into the top of the cake and brush the remaining sweetened condensed milk into the holes and over the entire cake using a pastry brush so it is completely covered. Let cake sit 1 - 2 hours so sweetened condensed milk can be absorbed. (Don't be afraid to use all of the condensed milk - your cake will not be too sweet I promise!),
  9. Carefully remove cake from cooling rack and place onto cake stand (It will be sticky).
  10. For the frosting, whip butter and maple syrup together until combined. Stir in vanilla and icing sugar until completely smooth (I would do this with a mixer). Spread frosting over top of cake and down the sides slightly. Top with chopped walnuts.
  11. Store in a cool dry place in an air tight container or cake tin/stand.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie with Dulce de Leche Walnut Streusel

Because I am so late posting this delicious recipe, it is with great shame that I announce that there is a picture of my Christmas dinner to follow. No. Your eyes do not deceive you. I am posting a recipe from the 25th of December on the 10th of April. To be fair though, it's pretty much the same weather here in London now in April as it was at Christmas. Oh. Except that it didn't snow at Christmas.

Here is a picture of the wonderful Christmas spread cooked by my sister and brother in law - we call them Gavity for convenience sake; Gavin and Kitty ... geddit?
As usual they cooked an amazing spread and probably out of pity and a desire to help me feel included, asked me to bring dessert. I just want to say I BROUGHT dessert though ;p I made this amazing pumpkin pie on crack as I like to call it, for my Thanksgiving get together and thought I would make it again and take some pictures this time and blog it. Unfortunately the lighting wasn't great so please forgive my sub-par photos and trust me when I say they are no reflection on how yummilicious this dessert is. It is a bit like a cheesecake on pie crust. My friend Susan reckons it's her favourite dessert ever! And despite the many elements to it, it is a reasonably easy dessert to make.

Recipe only slightly adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Yield: One 9-inch pie

Walnut Streusel
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
85g cold unsalted butter
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

240g unsalted butter
170g cream cheese, softened
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Mix until a soft dough forms.
2. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and knead together until smooth. Roll dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/4 inch thickness. Gently lay dough inside spring-form pan and press up the sides. Allow a little of the crust to overhang the edges of the pan. Place dough-lined pan in the freezer and freeze until dough is stiff.
3. Preheat oven to 200C / Gas Mark 6 / 400F.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (substitute mixed spice if you're in the UK)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
822g canned pumpkin puree
340g evaporated milk
1/2 cup double cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice (or mixed spice). Whisk in eggs, then pumpkin puree; beat until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk, cream, and vanilla. Pour filling into frozen pie crust. Cover edges of pie crust with aluminium foil.
2. Reduce oven temperature to 180C / Gas Mark 4 / 350F. Bake pie for 1 hour, then top with walnut streusel. Bake for 25 minutes more, then tent a piece of foil over the pie so that the streusel does not over-brown. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the pie is set but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Cut away the overhang crust if desired. Allow pie to completely cool then thoroughly chill in the refrigerator overnight.

397g Carnations Caramel

1. Just before serving, warm dulce de leche / caramel in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top until loosened. Drizzle about 1/2 cup over the top of the pie and transfer the rest to a gravy boat and serve alongside pie.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Double Decker Oreo Fudge ... and Exciting News

I always start off my blog posts after a long absence  by saying "I apologise it's been so long since I last blogged but in my defence ..."

Well, why break the habit of a lifetime - or y'know... a couple of years? So here goes... I'm so sorry it's been a while since I last posted on this blog but in my defence, I've been busy starting a business over the last couple of months. Yup, me, a business ... I know right?

I've wanted a cake shop since I got into the whole baking thing, but it was this shadowy idea that probably wouldn't come true unless I could be bothered to write a business plan and borrow lots of money. Don't get too excited, I don't have a cake shop ... yet, but I have a sort of starter cake shop otherwise known as a market stall.

This Saturday just gone ... yup, the one that was below zero. The one so cold that at one point my hands were shaking so violently that a cup of coffee I was holding threatened to spill all over my lovely stall ... good times.  Yup, I spent that Saturday selling cake at my very own stall. It's at Archway market and only every other Saturday but it's a start, and one I'm really excited about :) Check out a couple of pictures from Saturday below.

Umm yeah, don't go to my website yet because it's not up quite yet. It will be soon though! But if you're in London, get in touch and please come and visit my stall!

So I've always wanted to make fudge! And finally, this Christmas (yes I'm that far behind on updating my blog), I finally ... finally ... gave my sister some fudge recipe suggestions, licked the bowl while she made fudge and ate the fudge when it was ready. Yup, I still haven't made fudge. So thank you to my sister Christiana for making this incredible fudge to round off a delicious five-course Christmas lunch that she and my brother in law made us.

This is simple - I know I say that about most of the recipes I post but it really is. So no excuses, go make some fudge!

Recipe from the incredible Bakers Royale

1 can of sweetened condensed milk, divided into two
10 Oreos, chopped
170g white chocolate
170g dark chocolate
28g butter

  1. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with foil.
  2. Split condensed milk in half and set aside. Chop Oreos and set aside
  3. Place white chocolate, one half of the condensed milk and the butter in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Stir and mix until melted and combined. Fold in Oreos and stir to combine. Pour mixture into pan.
  4. Place dark chocolate and the remaining half of the condensed milk in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Stir and mix until melted and combined. Pour mixture on top of Oreo layer and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
  5. Remove from fridge and peel away foil once set. For ease of cutting, make sure to clean knife between cuts to prevent sticking.