Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes

Cupcakes

 

Bonjour!

I was asked to make some cupcakes for a luncheon right after Easter. Whilst I was super tempted to make something smothered in Easter Eggs (because chocolate!!!!), I realised people may be sick of chocolate (shocking I know!). So, instead I opted for these super cute Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes. With the pastel colours in the meringues, these are a cute alternative to Easter cupcakes but are super cute for any occasion! 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes:

(Makes approx 18 Cupcakes)

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a muffin tray with cases. 
  2. Mix the butter with the dry ingredients until it becomes a sandy consistency.
  3. Add half the milk until just combined.
  4. Then mix the remaining milk, eggs and vanilla and add to the mix. 
  5. Add the sprinkles and mix until combined.
  6. Pour into your cupcakes cases and bake for approx 20 mins. 

Vanilla Buttercream:

  

Method:

  1. Beat your butter either in a mixer or with a hand mixer until light and fluffy (at least 3mins).
  2. Add half the icing sugar and beat on a low speed until combined.
  3. Add the remaining icing sugar on a low speed and once combined increase to a high speed. Beat for at least 5mins (The longer you beat the icing the lighter and creamier it will be – you really can’t over do it here ☺️).
  4. Pipe onto your cooled cupcakes using a star nozzle.

Now you have some beautiful vanilla sprinkle cupcakes which you can leave as is. However, if you want some extra pizzazz, try adding some Rainbow Glitter Meringues

   
  

Chocolate Tempering

Patisserie

 

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Hello there!

So tempering chocolate is one of the things that I always thought was way too tricky to try at home. Fortunately, (or unfortunately for my uniform and thus my laundry powder bill), 90% of my time at Le Cordon Bleu was spent tempering chocolate (the other 10% was spent cleaning chocolate…just kidding…not really).

So why temper chocolate? Basic answer? It makes chocolate set better. Tempering is essentially bringing all zee chocolate crystals together in perfect harmony 🙂 (well… you get the picture). In doing this the chocolate has a higher melting temperature. This means that doesn’t melt as quickly making it perfect for decorations.It also takes on a nice shine and has a nice ‘snap’ when it breaks. I have to be honest, this tutorial is going to be very simple. I will go into more detail and explore other methods of tempering in another post in the future. Also this tutorial is for dark chocolate, again, I will explore tempering milk and white chocolate in another tutorial =) This is a quick and easy (unfortunately not overly clean) method to do at home called the Tabling Method.

First things first here is the equipment you will need:

Thermometer (VERY IMPORTANT)

Stainless steel or glass bowl

Spatula

Palette Knife

Pot of water

IMPORTANT: Make sure all your equipment and work space is clean and DRY! (Water is like Kryponite to chocolate).

 

CHOCOLATE:

It’s important that you get chocolate that has at least 10% cocoa butter otherwise you can’t temper it. I have found that, here in NZ, Whittakers chocolate seems to work well for tempering. Otherwise there are the more expensive brands like Callebaut and Vahlrona.

How To:

  1. Gently melt the chocolate over a bain marie to 50-55 degrees.
  2. Take the chocolate off the heat and bring to a clean and dry work surface. Make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to get rid of any condensation from the bain marie.
  3. Pour about 2/3 of the chocolate onto your work surface.
  4. Use your palette knife to spread the chocolate out over the work surface and then to bring it back into one area. IMPORTANT: Once the chocolate is spread out it will cool faster, which is handy but you don’t want to cool it down too much. By bringing it back together it will slow the cooling process.
  5. Once you have done this 2-3 times (working fairly quickly) scoop (as best you can – this is where it gets messy lol) the chocolate back into the bowl and mix with the remaining chocolate.
  6. Check the temperature – you are wanting to cool the chocolate to 28-29 degrees. If it is still too warm pour about 1/3 of chocolate on the work surface and repeat the tabling process.
  7. Once your chocolate is at 28-29 degrees put it back on the bain maire in short intervals and heat the chocolate back up to 32 degrees. This is your working temperature so you’re ready to start making your chocolate decorations.

When making decorations:

  • You need to work quickly as the chocolate will set quickly.
  • Have everything you need ready before you temper your chocolate.
  • Keep an eye on your bowl of chocolate – you will need to periodically heat the chocolate back up to 32 degrees. If it gets too cool it will start to set and will be harder to reheat and you will need to potentially start the tempering process again. I can tell you now – this is not fun!!!!
  • An easy way to slow the cooling process is to have the bowl of chocolate sitting on a tea-towel which will be a little bit warmer than your work surface =)
  • Make sure to keep everything clean and dry!!!! Seriously I cannot stress this enough!!!! EVER!!!!

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Just pay attention to your chocolate temperature and you should be fine =)

 

Catch ya later,

Rebekah =)

Espresso Martini Chocolate Mousse

Patisserie, Uncategorized

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Hellooooo!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I LOOOOOOVE experimenting in the kitchen. I have been having my family over for dinner every week and it has become the perfect excuse to get creative. This week I had my coffee loving friend joining us and thus inspiration was struck! Having recently seen ads for the new Cocktail Inspired Tim Tams I knew how it was gonna go down. These chocolate mousse cups look super impressive, are fairly easy to make and taste freaking amazing! There’s the intense dark chocolate mousse, with crunchy espresso Tim Tam crumbs, all wrapped up in a gold dusted chocolate shell. The great thing about theses desserts as you can use any flavoured biscuit crumb and change the game. I personally think that chocolate mint biscuits would be divine!

 

Helpful Tips

  • Organisation is key. Most of the elements in this recipe need to be made quickly. For instance the chocolate mousse sets very quickly once you add the cream. Make sure all your equipment is out, ingredients weighed up and you’re all ready to go.
  • Tempering chocolate can be tricky. I have briefly covered what to do in this recipe but check here for a full tutorial.

 

 

Ingredients:

Chocolate Shell

300g Dark Chocolate (53%)

Chocolate Mousse

250g Dark Chocolate (at least 60%)

10g Cocoa

165g Unsalted Butter

135g Egg Whites

55g Sugar

165ml Cream (whipped to soft peaks)

1 pack of Espresso Martini Tim Tams

Gold Dust for Decoration

 

How To:

  1. Start by putting your chocolate to melt over a bain marie.
  2.  Once melted, set aside to cool to 28 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, brush the gold dust on to strips of 15cm acetate.image3
  4. Crush up your Tim Tams. I used a Tupperware chopper but you can just as easily use a blender or a rolling pin =)image4
  5. Once the chocolate has cooled to 28-29 degrees, heat it up on the bain marie to 32 degrees.
  6. Here’s where you have to work quickly. Spread the chocolate onto the strips of acetate. Let it set enough so that the chocolate looks semi matte and you can pick the strips up and bring them together into a ring. Secure with tape and leave to set. image5
  7. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and cocoa over a bain marie. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in butter. Leave to cool to 39-40 degrees.
  8. Whilst chocolate is cooling, whip egg whites and gradually add sugar and mix to soft peaks.
  9. Fold egg whites into chocolate. Then softly fold in whipped cream, making sure to not over mix.
  10. Place mousse into a piping bag with a 10cm nozzle.

Assembly

  1. Place crushed Tim Tams in base of chocolate shells. Press down firmly.
  2. Pipe chocolate mousse up to the half way point.
  3. Spoon some more crushed Tim Tams on top.
  4. Fill the rest of the shells with chocolate mousse and place in fridge to set.
  5. Once ready to serve, carefully peel off acetate. Sprinkle some more Tim Tam crumbs on top and dust with a little gold dust.

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Hope you enjoy making these amazing and delicious desserts. Let me know in the comments what flavours you try.

Catch ya later,

Rebekah =)

 

 

Hot Cross Bun Cupcakes

Cupcakes

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Easter, like Christmas, seems to be sneaking into our stores earlier and earlier. But I don’t really mind because with Easter comes Hot Cross Buns!!! I love heating them up in the morning with a little bit of butter for breakfast or in the afternoon for a wee pick me up. I haven’t tried making them myself but I have made these Hot Cross Bun inspired cupcakes.

The cupcake is plain vanilla to which I added some cinnamon and raisins. For the icing I made a cinnamon buttercream and used royal icing to pipe a cross on top.

Hot Cross Bun Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour , sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder, sifted
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of raisins or sultanas
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk , at room temperature

Cinnamon Buttercream:

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Royal Icing (I just buy mine but it’s simple to make).

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 2 cupcake pans with baking cups.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.

Combine the vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.

Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined. Fold in the raisins or sultanas.

Scoop batter into baking cups and bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Icing:

Place the ingredients into a mixer and beat until it is a light, fluffy consistency. Pipe onto cupcakes. Pipe your royal icing in a cross on top. =)

These cupcakes are super delicious and are a nice change from all the chocolate around this time of year, However, if you are a bit of a chocolate junkie, you can try chocolate hot cross bun cupcakes. Just swap 1/4 cup of flour for cocoa and the raisins for chocolate chips. Same goes for the icing 🙂 Hope you try these tasty little Easter goodies and let me know in the comments how you find them.

Catch ya later,

Rebekah 🙂

My Favourite Juice

Health, Uncategorized

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It would be huge stretch of the imagination to consider me a keen juicer. In fact it’s something that I’ve only recently started getting in to. Now, when I say ‘juicing’ I don’t mean replacing meals with juice for days at a time because, honestly, I wouldn’t be able to do that. But I do like it as a way to get all the vitamins and minerals from the fruit and veggies I put in. I really don’t think I would get these health benefits in otherwise, so I try and make juice as often as I can. My favourite juice to buy or make contains Beetroot, Carrot, Apple and Ginger with some lemon juice. I realise that the veggies used are higher in natural sugar but, in my highly untrained opinion, I think the good outweighs the bad here.

So the recipe for this juice is pretty straight forward:

Ingredients: (these can all be adjusted to your preference)

1 apple

3 carrots

1 beetroot

Ginger (as much or as little as you like)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:

Chop up the fruit and veggies so they fit into juicer and blend (juice?) away. 🙂

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Hope you enjoy this yummy juice and let me know in the comments of any juice recipes you love.

Catch ya later,

Rebekah 🙂

Bounty Bar Cupcakes

Cupcakes

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I love experimenting with cupcake flavours and not to toot my own horn but these ‘Bounty Bar Cupcakes’ are pretty dang delicious! (and I didn’t hear my family complaining about them either 😉 )

This is a super easy recipe. For the cupcake I used the Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.’


Ingredients:

For the chocolate cupcake:

100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

140g caster sugar

11/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter at room temperature

120ml whole milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Icing:

      150g unsalted butter, softened
      2 cups Icing Sugar
      2-3 Tbsp milk
      1 tsp of coconut essence
      1/4 cup of dessicated coconut
      12 mini bounty bars – chopped for decoration

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line a 12 hole cupcake tray.

Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.

Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Beat the butter until smooth and pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, half a cup at a time, with enough of the milk to make a creamy mixture, beating between each addition until fluffy. Add the coconut essence and dessicated coconut and mix until combined. Pipe onto the cupcakes. Place the chopped bounty bars on top as desired.


Let me know in the comments what you think if you try them =)

Louis Sergeant Sweet Couture

Out and About

I was recently perusing Facebook and came across a picture from an old classmate. What grabbed my attention was the beautiful pastries she had on her plate. Holy Mother of Pastry they looked delectable! So of course I did the only obvious thing. I channeled my inner Nancy Drew (she’s still cool right?) and hunted (Facebook stalked) down the source of these delicious looking treats. Fortunately the name of the restaurant was tagged in the photo and the secret was unveiled. ‘Louis Sergeant Sweet Couture.’ Oh my!

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My mouth watered as I gazed upon picture after picture of heavenly, sweet patisserie, goodness. I couldn’t wait to go there and taste the gloriousness for myself. As it happened, I was meeting up with a couple of friends from my course and they agreed/were forced to go. Let me tell you, we were not disappointed! I ordered the mango tea which not only tasted amazing, but came in the most beautiful tea set:

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For lunch I had the Tomato Tarte Tatin which came with a balsamic green salad.

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It was a beautifully balanced, light and tasty meal which left just enough room for a delicious sweet treat.

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I chose the Glamour which was an almond sponge with a white chocolate mousse and a blackcurrant-violet cremeux. Sound delicious? It freakn’ was!!!!!

My friends and I had such an amazing experience at Louis Sergeant Sweet Couture and I would highly recommend to anyone who resides in or finds themselves in Wellington to check it out. Like right now!!!!

Catch ya later,

Rebekah =)