Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Espresso cupcakes

These are a caffeine shot in a cupcake! The almost bitter sponge is offset beautifully by the sweetness of the buttercream, and the chocolate coffee beans add a gorgeous crunch. I wasn't sure if my 9 year old would like these (he loves coffee and walnut cake) but he was as enthusiastic as the rest of us. They went down a storm and I'll certainly be making them again.

Makes 12 - 16 cupcakes


240ml milk
20g instant espresso powder
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
quarter tsp salt
2 large eggs


25ml milk
10g instant espresso powder
270g icing sugar
120g unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degs C and fill a muffin tin with paper cases.

2. Lightly warm the milk, without boiling it, and dissolve the espresso powder in it. Using a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.

3. Pour the coffee flavoured milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand until combined. Pour three- quarters of the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together on a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and keep beating until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pour in the rest of the milk mixture. Continue to beat on a medium setting until everything is combined and you have a smooth batter.

4. Divide this between the muffin cases, filling each case by two-thirds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until risen and springy to touch. Leave in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

5. To make the buttercream simply beat together the icing sugar and butter until soft and then add the coffee milk mixture (I always add it a little at a time as the mixture can end up being too runny.) Place spoonfuls of buttercream onto the cold cupcakes, smooth the tops and then swirl to finish. Decorate each cake with three chocolate coffee beans.

This recipe comes from Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery.

Chunky fudge brownies

Goodness, it's been a while since I last blogged. If truth be told, though, I haven't done much baking over the summer. The days, when hot and sunny, have been spent in the garden (or on holiday in France) and the rest of my time has been spent entertaining the children over the long school holiday. However, I have indulged in a little baking and I've made these brownies twice over the last few months; for a big family lunch, and as an end of year gift for Theo's teachers. Brownies make brilliant gifts; they "travel" well, you can put them in fancy boxes or bags and adorn with pretty ribbon, and the whole process of making them is something my children love to get involved with, too.

These brownies are a twist on the original, although whenever I've made them in the past, I've always replaced the walnuts and made triple chocolate. If baked for just the right time, they retain their unctuous squidginess which contrasts wonderfully with the chunks of fudge.


190g soft, unsalted butter
190g best quality dark chocolate
3 large eggs
half a tbsp vanilla extract
250g caster sugar
115g plain flour
half a tsp salt
150g fudge chunks

tin measuring approx 33 x 23 x 5.5cm
makes about 24

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degs C/gas mark 4. Line your brownie tin with baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan. In a bowl, or large measuring jug, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.

3. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then the fudge chunks and flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape into the brownie tin.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes. When it's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle should still be dark, intense and gooey. And remember, they will still continue to cook as they cool.

5. Once cool, turn the browines out of the tin, and cut into squares. Then box, bag, or eat as you wish!

This recipe was taken from How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson