Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

lemon meringue cupcakes-2

Right now I’m doing two things at once. I think maybe I do two things at once too often, and one day I’m convinced it will lead to a real catastrophe. I keep resolving to stop. Anyway, right now I’m both writing this recipe and listening to a computer science lecture. Some days I feel like God made a mistake when he put me together. Like, maybe he was doing two things at once and by mistake he put together one third crazy melancholic creative-type, one third A-type housewife who just wants to make lists and get everything done and clean compulsively and one third engineer/computer programmer type who couldn’t care less what’s for dinner. The result being that I really don’t know who I am half my life, or what I’m supposed to be doing.

Then I think of that Baz Luhrmann song Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen (remember that?), and the part where he says: “The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.” And then I feel a bit better. But mostly I feel better because I know God doesn’t make mistakes.

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Anyway, enough introspection. Who wants a lemon meringue cupcake recipe? Yes? Y-E-S. I think I ate six of these right after I made them, they were so good.

I used 24 vanilla cupcakes, made with this recipe. And I do admit, I used store bought lemon curd, but you may want to make your own if you have an awesome recipe.

Meringue Icing

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Instructions:

  1. With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form.
  2. At the same time, heat the water and sugar in a saucepan, over medium-low heat until the mixture has reached soft ball stage.
  3. Slowly pour the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites, while still whisking on low speed.
  4. When the syrup has been added, continue whisking on low speed until the icing cools down.

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

  1. Make holes in the top of your vanilla cupcakes, using a cupcake corer if you have one, or a knife.
  2. Fill the holes with lemon curd.
  3. Top with the meringue icing, and then brown the meringue for a minute or two either using the grill or a blowtorch.

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And there you have it. Perhaps you could make them for a Women’s Day tea, if you’re in South Africa?

x

Posted in My Cupcake Recipes | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

White Chocolate, Pistachio and Rose Cookies

“As I walked out of the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Those are the incredibly wise words of Nelson Mandela, from his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom. I know I’m a day late (yesterday South Africa celebrated his birthday), but I really just did want to say how eternally grateful I am to Mandela – for fighting for justice when it was needed, but also for offering forgiveness for injustices when it must have been the hardest thing in the world to do. What he did for our country is probably too amazing for me to even comment on.

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Anyway, that is my deep thought for the day. I also wanted to share a new cookie recipe with you! My colleagues certified these as delicious, I hope you think so too.

White Chocolate, Pistachio and Rose Cookies

  • 225g salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 200g white chocolate chunks
  • 100g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp Staffords rose water

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  1.  Cream the butter and the sugars together for about five minutes until light in colour.
  2. Add the eggs and rose water, and mix until combined.
  3. Add the flour and the baking soda, and mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Lastly, mix in the nuts and chocolate chunks.
  5. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 3o minutes. (This is very important!)
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper (NOT wax paper).
  7. Roll balls of dough, laying them out on the baking tray with plenty of space in between, as they will spread considerably in the oven.
  8. Flatten each ball with a fork.
  9. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden.
  10. Repeat until the dough is finished.

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And there you have it! Enjoy your cookies, friends.

What did you all do for Mandela Day?

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Amarula, Orange and White Chocolate Cupcakes

Heritage Day is the next South African holiday we have to look forward to. And to help me celebrate, the lovely people from Amarula sent me a bottle of deliciousness to bake with. How awesome is that?! So, since cupcakes are what I do best, I decided to make amarula, orange and white chocolate cupcakes. I just thought that flavour combination is such a winner for our South African winter. And I think they would be perfect for a Heritage Day celebration – be it a picnic, braai, or just a dinner with friends.

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Here is my recipe. Oh, and it can be doubled/tripled/whatever.

Amarula and Orange Cupcakes (makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Amarula
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Set aside a 12-cup cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until it smooth.
  4. Add the sugar gradually and beat until the mixture is fluffy and white.
  5. Add the eggs and orange extract, and mix until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) in two parts, with the milk and Amarula inbetween.
  7. Now you can spoon your batter into the cupcake liners. They should be about three-quarters full.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

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Amarula and White Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup Amarula
  • 80g white chocolate
  • additional milk

 Method: 

  1. Melt the chocolate, either in a saucepan on low heat or in the microwave.
  2. Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of icing sugar and the Amarula. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the white chocolate, and then the remaining 2 cups of icing sugar. Mix until smooth and fluffy. (If the icing is not creamy enough, you can add some more milk until the texture is just right.)
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Ice your cupcakes using either a piping bag and nozzle, or simply with an icing palette knife. Garnish with white Maltesers, orange zest, or any other pretty decorations you can think of.

I hope you enjoy these! What are you going to bake for Heritage Day? :)

Posted in My Cupcake Recipes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

I’ve been making doughnuts

Keep an eye on Spatula for the recipe soon!

doughnuts

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And Sundays are for eating scones

scones

Sitting lazily in the Sunday sun, eating scones with jam and cheese. That would be one of my favorite childhood memories. And scones would be one of my favorite baked goods. I just love them.  Here is my recipe for those of you who love them too.

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1.5 tsp cream of tartar
  • 85g butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 175ml buttermilk
  • 1 beaten egg (to glaze)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking sheet with baking paper (NOT wax paper).
  2. Put the flour, bicarb and cream of tartar in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt if you are using unsalted butter.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour, until the mixture represents fine crumbs.
  4. Mix in the sugar, and then add the buttermilk. Stir together until a dough forms.
  5. Cover your hands in flour and fold the dough over a few times until it is smooth, then roll it out until about 2-3cm thick.
  6. Cut your scones out with a round cutter, placing them on the baking sheet.
  7. Brush the tops with the egg. This is so your scones brown nicely.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Eat with jam, cream and cheese! :)

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D is for Delicious Doughnuts

Doughnuts can be kind of average, let’s be honest. We don’t exactly think of them as being a trendy tea time snack. But it looks like they are making a comeback in the world of food, and perhaps we can look forward to eating plenty of fresh and delicious doughnuts at our favorite bakeries in the near future. I have already seen churros (a Spanish variation on doughnuts) with chocolate sauce on the menu at La Belle here in Cape Town. The doughnut may become trendy yet.

Until then, here are some of my favorite doughnut pictures and recipes from around the interweb. Have a happy Monday, y’all.

doughnuts

donuts

doughnuts

churros

baked cinnamon sugar doughnuts

mini doughnuts

  1. Doughnuts from hokipoki on Flickr.
  2. Donuts, found on Pinterest.
  3. Doughnuts from Family Favorite Recipes.
  4. Yeasted Doughnuts from Annie’s Eats and Churros with Chocolate Sauce from Simply Delicious.
  5. Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts from Honey and Jam.
  6. Mini doughnuts from Kirbie’s Cravings.
Posted in Baking Trends, Pinterest Picks | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Castle Milk Stout Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

A very clever friend of mine suggested I enter this competition on BBC Lifestyle. And because she is very clever, I decided why not. I chose the flavours because I thought they’ll taste great together (I guess that’s obvious) and because it’s always rad to have a uniquely South African ingredient thrown in. I need to dash, but here is the recipe. Have  great Wednesday. x

Castle Milk Stout Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 125ml milk stout
  • 125g salted butter
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 160g cake flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and set aside a 12-cup cupcake tray with liners.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the milk stout and butter on low heat until the butter has melted.
  3. Whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder, and leave it to cool slightly.
  4. Beat the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together and pour into the stout mixture.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and bicarb. Slowly pour the stout mixture into the flour bowl, stirring constantly.
  6. Transfer the batter to a jug and pour some into each cupcake liner. (The liners should be about 80% full, since the cake doesn’t rise all that much.)
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Leave to cool.
  8. Once your cupcakes have cooled (about an hour), use a piping bag and a 10mm star tip to pipe the caramel icing on top.
  9. Drizzle with some leftover caramel sauce for decoration.

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Caramel Icing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (ready made or see recipe below) plus some extra for drizzling
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 80g butter (at room temperature)
  • 4 tbs milk

Method

  1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer, and slowly add 2 cups of icing sugar.
  2. Add the caramel sauce and the milk, mixing throughout.
  3. Add the rest of the icing sugar, adding more milk if the icing is too thick. Continue mixing with the electric mixer until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

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Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cream (at room temperature)
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions:

  1. Combine the sugar and the water in a heavy bottom pan on low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Turn the heat up to medium-low, and heat until the sauce starts turning a caramel color.
  3. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and pour in the cream. The sauce will bubble furiously for a few seconds.
  4. Stir in the butter and vanilla and set aside to cool for at least an hour.

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Posted in Man Cupcakes, My Cupcake Recipes | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Nice Things #6

I just felt like posting some recent pictures today…

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A walk on Sea Point promenade, and cake pops from Ma Maire Maison at the Neighborgoods Market.

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The Biscuit Mill on a sunny Saturday, breakfast at Sidewalk Café in Vredehoek.

cassis_macarons

Silvermine Nature Reserve, and macarons from Cassis (pistachio, caramel and chocolate). Mmmm.

american_pancakes

American pancakes I made for my love’s birthday, and the view from a Gordon’s Bay house I recently spent the weekend in.

x

Posted in Cape Town, Nice Things | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Custard tarts, you will be the end of me.

pasteis-de-nata-4I won’t bore you with excuses and explanations of why I haven’t blogged in a while. Instead, let me tell you about something I have been doing. I’ve been trying to make custard tarts.

I started buying custard tarts (or pasteis de nata) from Woolworths and Vida e Caffe as a treat every now and again (they are delicious at both those places). And then I thought “hey, I should make some, how hard can it be?” VERY hard, it turns out. So hard, that after a few failed attempts, I considered giving up baking altogether. I felt a bit better after reading fellow baker David Leite’s account of pasteis de nata research, though. And even better when I read that, according to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10 000 hours to become an expert at something. So I still have some hours to go.

Anyway, I eventually managed to make some half decent tarts. I used store bought puff pastry, which is probably not a great idea. But I figure I’ll perfect my puff pastry skills some other time. Here is the recipe, if anyone is interested. Oh, and if you have any tips, please do pass them along.

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Pasteis de Nata (makes about 18)

  • 300g puff pastry
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 60g flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks

Leave your puff pastry out over night to thaw (if you bought frozen puff pastry). If it is too cold it will be brittle impossible to work with.

  1. Mix a little bit of the milk in with the flour, to make a paste.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the rest of the milk, cream and vanilla to the boil. When it is boiling, add the flour paste, and bring to the boil again, stirring occasionally.
  3. In another saucepan, bring the water and sugar to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the sugar syrup into the cream and milk mixture, mixing thoroughly. Strain through a sieve.
  5. Cook the strained mixture on low heat for a few more minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks. (If the mixture is too hot, the yolks will cook, so be careful.)
  7. Cover the custard with cling film, and let it cool for an hour or two in the fridge.pasteis-de-nata-3
  8. When the custard has cooled, preheat your oven to 200°C and butter your tart tins.
  9. Roll the puff pastry into a log (like you would a swiss roll).
  10. Cut the log into 18 discs.
  11. Press each disc into a mini tart tin. The dough will be very thin, but don’t worry, it will puff up in the oven.
  12. Fill the pastry cases 2/3 of the way with custard.
  13. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is brown.
  14. If your custard hasn’t browned, you can use a blowtorch to caramelize the tops. I do confess to doing this myself.
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And that’s it! Well, fourteen steps is quite a few, I suppose. Now, tips or advice, anyone?

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Cake Pops!

I’ve been making cake pops! Keep an eye on Spatula Magazine for the recipe soon… x

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UPDATE: The recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

Posted in Awesome Stuff | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Glorious Cupcakes

Last week I did a post for Spatula titled 5 ways to take your cupcakes from good to gloriousYou can read it HERE. Below are some pics I took for the article. x

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Posted in My Cupcake Recipes | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Quick Update

I’ve been experimenting with some new flavours. At the top is a S’more Cupcake (vanilla cake filled with chocolate and topped with toasted marshmallow cream) and at the bottom is a Cookies and Cream experiment. I’m not quite happy with the results yet, but watch this space for recipes when I’ve perfected them! x

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Posted in Awesome Stuff | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Latin American Milk Cake

Cake soaked in condensed milk… that has to be a winner, right? Ever since I first read about Latin American milk cake (or three milks cake, named because it is soaked in three different kinds of milk) I’ve wanted to try it. I didn’t like the idea of icing a cake with whipped cream though, which is what most recipes instructed. So when I came across Jessica (from Nook)’s recipe, which uses meringue icing, I decided that was the way to go. Thank you so much Jessica, I love this cake. And everyone who had some seemed to love it too.

three milks cake

Latin American Milk Cake (recipe adapted from Nook Eatery)

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • a pinch of cream of tarter
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
  • 1 tin ideal milk
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 1 cup cream
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a 30cm cake tin and set aside. You can also make a smaller cake using a 20cm cake tin, in which case you’ll need to halve the ingredients above.
  3. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form. Then gradually add the castor sugar, still whisking, until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing the batter well after each addition.
  5. Mix in the seeds from the vanilla pod.
  6. Lastly, mix in the flour and baking powder, alternating with the milk, until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake tin, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Combine the ideal milk, condensed milk and cream in a jug. When the cake has cooled slightly, pour the mixture over it slowly in about three batches, waiting for the mixture to be absorbed every time.
  9. Let the cake cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least four hours. Some of the milk mixture will run out of the cake, which is fine.
  10. The next morning you can ice and eat it!

three milks cake

Italian Meringue Icing

  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • a pinch of cream of tarter
  • toasted almonds (for decorating)
  1. Whip the egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form.
  2. At the same time, heat the water and sugar on the stove top, until the mixture has reached soft ball stage.
  3. Slowly pour the hot syrup to the whipped egg whites, while still whisking.
  4. When the syrup has been added, continue whisking on low speed until the icing cools down.
  5. When the icing has cooled down you can ice your cake, and top it with toasted almonds, coconut, fruit, or anything your heart desires really.
three milks cake
three milks cake

Have fun and enjoy! I hope you like this cake as much as I do.

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Tokyo

Hi friends. This is just to let you know that I am still alive. I’ve had a very eventful six weeks and a wonderful holiday in Asia. Here are some pictures of Tokyo and its food – my amazing aunt took me to all the best food places. Dankie Tante! :) You are the best.

tokyo towerAbove is the Tokyo tower. It is only a few centimeters taller than the Eiffel tower, apparently.

plum blossoms (ume) Some plum blossoms (ume) at Koishikawa Korakuen.

laduree macarons laduree tokyoLaduree macarons and pastries! Too amazing.

laduree treats Treats from Laduree – my first religieuse and the cutest cup of coffee ever.

joel rubochon More treats from Joel Robuchon.

cute bunsCute food in the Isetan food hall. I guess they were probably steamed buns – pao or something like that.

Asia was amazing, especially the food. I already want to go back.

Posted in Awesome Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Goodbye

Hi friends, I am off to Asia for two weeks on holiday! I’ll be back on the 20th, so check back after that for some news and baked goods. ♥

rilakkuma tea party

Posted in Personal | 8 Comments