28 July 2009

Basic Cupcake Recipe

At last, a non-gingerbread recipe! Welcome to the wonderful world of cupcakes.

The beauty of this cupcake recipe is that you can use it to make fairy/butterfly cupcakes, as well as ones with icing.

You could also add in berries, white chocolate, (white chocolate AND berries), anything your heart desires, really!

Now, run down to the supermarket, get yourself the following ingredients, pop on your chefs hat, and let's begin!

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 120g butter
  • ½ cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 decently sized eggs
  • 1 ½ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup of milk
(makes 12-ish cupcakes)

Buttercream Icing:
  • 200g butter
  • Icing sugar (I just keep adding it until it tastes decent)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Food colouring if you are so inclined

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Icing:

  • I packet of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • Icing sugar (I just keep adding it until it tastes decent)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Food colouring (if you like)
  • 50 g butter

For Fairy cupcakes:
  • Thickened cream
  • Icing sugar
  • Strawberries


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Mix the sugar, butter and vanilla essence in a bowl, hopefully with an electric beater, or you are in for a bit of a challenge (however you will feel very ye old days, which might be satisfying), until they are thoroughly combined.

Add in the eggs and then slowly add in the milk and flour (which you will have sifted).

Line your cupcake tray/pan thingy with cupcake containers (not sure of the technical term here) and evenly distribute the mix. If you don’t have a cupcake tray thing, you could always try putting the cupcake containers on a normal tray, and hope for the best (I did try this at Ola’s place once, and it worked) – just make sure you use two containers for each cupcake to be sure.

Leave in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Once cooked, wait until the cupcakes have cooled to ice.

For fairy cupcakes:
Slice the top off, and cut this part in half for the ‘wings’
Place a tablespoon of cream (which you will have whipped earlier on) on top. Then place the ‘wings’ in a wing like fashion on top of the cream. After this, sift a little icing sugar over the whole cupcake to create an air of fairyness, and then add a sliver of strawberry to the top.

For butter icing cupcakes:
Make sure the butter is rather soft, and then use an electric beater to combine it with the icing sugar – sift ½ a cup at a time – you will probably need at least 2 cups of icing sugar, if not 3, but taste it along the way to see. Then mix in the food colouring if you are so inclined (but remember, you only need the tiniest drop, or you might end up with tangerine coloured cupcakes, like me)

From past experience, blue cupcakes are not very appetising (although highly entertaining) to look at, but will probably be a big hit at a children’s birthday party. I thoughtfully inflicted these on my mother as a child, generally while making the cupcakes themselves green, which goes quite well with blue (or even red) icing. She seemed to love them...

For Philadelphia Cream Cheese Icing:
Follow the butter icing recipe above, however begin by first combining the cream cheese with the 50g of butter before adding in the icing sugar and food colouring.

I then just use an icing bag to pipe the softened icing onto the cupcakes, and there you have it. The cupcakes pictured here are using the Philadelphia cream cheese icing.

Now all you need to do is make a pot of tea, invite some friends over, and indulge!

26 July 2009

Gingerbread Truffle Recipe

Here is another gingerbread recipe for you to enjoy, this time gingerbread chocolate truffles. I told you I love gingerbread didn't I? It just conjures up all sorts of lovely images of Christmas and winter, and a lovely snowy day in Austria, at least for me anyway. :)

This recipe is a mixture of other gingerbread truffle recipes I have found across the internet, however I decided to make a little variation of my own by including crushed gingerbread biscuits for a little extra texture and flavour and changing around the chocolate proportions and so on.

These are so easy to make, and so delicious, the key I think, is to make the inside filling the day before, so you are able to coat them in chocolate more easily they next day.

So on to the recipe!

Cream mixture:
  • 3/4 cup of thickened cream
  • 15 whole allspice
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoon of grated ginger (fresh)
Chocolate and gingerbread mixture:
  • 1 cup of white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of milk chocolate
  • 10 - 15 Anna Ginger Thins (Pepparkakor) or 6 speculaas, or any other dry gingerbread biscuit that can be ground, ideally using a mortar and pestle.
  • 1.5 cup white chocolate
  • 1.5 cup dark chocolate
  • Extra ground gingerbreads
  1. Begin by adding the cream mixture into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and allow the mixture to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow this mixture to stand for at least one hour.
  2. Place a saucepan of water on the stove and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and place a metal bowl over this and add in the chocolates - stir until the chocolates melt then remove the bowl from the stove.
  3. Add the strained cream mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Add in the crushed gingerbread biscuits. If the gingerbread biscuits do not combine smoothly into the chocolate, place the entire mixture back onto the saucepan and stir over the water until combined.
  4. Place the chocolate mixture into the fridge - I have had the best results by leaving this in the fridge overnight, however a couple of hours until set should suffice.
  5. Ideally the next day - remove the chocolate filling mixture from the fridge and use a teaspoon to remove even amounts from the bowl. Roll these into balls using your hands and place onto a tray covered in baking paper.
  6. Place the tray of rolled balls back into the fridge (and even possibly the freezer if you have not been able to chill over night, or if your mixture does not seem too firm).
  7. After 1 -2 hours melt the white chocolate in a metal bowl over water.
  8. Remove chocolates from the fridge and begin to dip these into the melted chocolate which you have removed from the stove, sprinkling with more ground gingerbreads while the chocolate is still wet. Place these onto another tray lined with baking paper and allow to set. Repeat for half of the batch.
  9. Repeat this process with the remainder of the melted milk or dark chocolate - depending on your preference.
  10. Peel off the baking paper and serve.
  11. Enjoy and be merry!

22 July 2009

Gingerbread Ripple Cake Recipe

As I am madly in love with gingerbread, I am always looking for new ways to use gingerbread in desserts and thought I might try a gingerbread ripples cake - a variation on the trusty old chocolate ripple cake.

Bascially there are two variations - one using Anna Gingerbread Thins (Or any other very thin gingerbread you can find) and the other using Speculaas, a Dutch biscuit. Or you could use a thicker dry gingerbread biscuit if you can't buy Speculaas.

Gingerbread Cream:
  • 1 large bottle of thickened cream
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
  1. Add the gingerbread cream ingredients into a bowl and whip until stiff.
  2. Place a spoon of cream onto a plate and then place a gingerbread biscuit on top.
  3. Add cream to cover the bottom of the next gingerbread biscuit and place on top of the other gingerbread biscuit. You should need a bit more cream if using speculaas rather than gingerbread thins.
  4. Repeat for 6 or so biscuits, depending on how large you would like each serve to be.
5. Cover the entire stack with cream so no biscuit can be seen.
6. Sprinkle the stop with some crushed gingerbread.
7. Repeat steps 2 - 4 for each serve.
8. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours for the gingerbread thins, and at least 7 hours for
speculaas or other thicker gingerbreads to allow them to soften.
9. Enjoy and be merry!

20 July 2009

Welcome to Dreaming of Winter

Welcome to our cooking, food photography and travel blog!

Geoff and I will be using this to record all our favourite recipes, for Geoff to improve his food photography, and also for us to post about lovely meals we have tried in our travels, including our trip to France, Austria and Germany this christmas.

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