Banana split cupcakes

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Have you noticed how as the weather cools down, your preference in food totally changes? While just a week or so ago I was happy having salads for lunch and wraps for dinner, the though now makes me cringe – bring on soup and casseroles! The same goes for desserts. While ice cream sounds great in the summer months, I have no interest in it come autumn and winter.

Take an ice cream sundae for example. While I love the flavours of a good banana split, I can’t bear the thought of eating one at the moment – cold banana, freezing ice cream… no thanks! But what if you could make a warmer version of a banana split? That would make a great winter treat, right?

Well, that’s exactly what today’s cupcake is – a banana split in cupcake form! I deconstructed the flavours of a banana split and rebuilt it as a cupcake without a scoop of ice cream in sight.

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Mondayitis

Happy Monday!

After a very busy Saturday I was so glad to have a wonderfully lazy Sunday – for the first time in week’s I got to spend the morning lying in bed, catching up on my favourite blogs while enjoying a good coffee. Bliss! I give this relaxing Sunday full credit for feeling so perky this Monday morning – such a nice change! Whether you’re feeling energised or a little worse-for-wear, here are five things  to help make your Monday even better.

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Friends, Babies & Cake

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Friends, babies, celebrating, cake… what’s not to love about baby showers?

Yesterday Kevin and I had the pleasure of throwing a surprise baby shower for a very special family. Two of our closest friends, the wonderful Rhys and Joy, are just weeks away from welcoming the latest addition to their family – a little boy to join their beautiful 17 month-old daughter, Tilly.

To say we’re looking forward to his arrival is an understatement – we’re beyond excited, and know lots of other people are too. So while we wait the last few weeks until he finally enters the world, Kevin and I decided to surprise Joy with a party in celebration of her growing family.

With the time before the new addition arrives speeding by and weekends filling fast, Kevin and I worked with Rhys to pull together the party in little over a week.

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Vanilla & lemon cake pops

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Makes approx. 30 cake pops

Ingredients

  • 10 vanilla cupcakes
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 2- 2 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon curd
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 bags vanilla candy melts
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Confetti sprinkles

Method

  1. Trim the baked tops off the cupcakes. Cut each cupcake in half.
  2. Over a large bowl, rub together two cupcake halves to crumble the cake. Repeat until all cupcakes have been crumbled.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add 2 cups icing sugar and mix until well combined. Mix in lemon curd. Add milk or icing sugar as required until your reach a consistency you are happy with.
  4. Measure 1 cup of lemon buttercream and add to the cupcake crumbs. Mix until well combined and crumbs can be easily shaped into a ball.
  5. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into a smooth, even ball. Place on a lined baking tray. Repeat until all mixture is in balls. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm to the touch.
  6. Place candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30 second bursts, mixing well between each. Once smooth, transfer vanilla melts into a small, deep bowl or large mug.
  7. Dip a lollipop stick in the melts about 1cm deep, then poke into a chilled cake ball. Repeat until all balls have a stick inserted.
  8. Holding the lollipop stick, dip each cake ball in the melts until entire ball is covered. Do not wiggle around in the melts as this will loosen the stick. Pull cake ball straight up by the lollipop stick and allow excess coating to run off.
  9. Over a small plate, sprinkle the wet cake pop with confetti sprinkles. Place on lined baking sheet to set.
  10. Repeat until all cake pops have been coated. If you find melts are beginning to thicken, add vegetable oil by the teaspoon and mix well.
  11. Place in fridge to set.

Note: this method creates cake pops with flat bottoms, perfect for displaying on cake stands. 

Russian fudge cupcakes

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I’m pretty convinced that I’ve come up with the best way to enjoy your Russian fudge – in a cupcake!

While I’ve seen everything from Russian fudge flavoured yoghurt to milkshakes over the years, I’d never seen a Russian fudge cupcake. This didn’t make sense to me – the fudge has such a sweet, smooth flavour it would be great combined with cake.

I assumed someone in the big online world would agree and have already concocted a cupcake version of this sweet treat, so I started searching around. After 30 minutes or so of fruitless trawling of (what felt like) every corner of the web I came to the conclusion that such a recipe simply didn’t exist – or at least not that I would ever be able to find.

So I took it upon myself to bring this marvellous creation to life. So what exactly is a Russian fudge cupcake? It’s a fluffy, moist and light golden syrup cake, topped with ground Russian fudge icing and topped with Russian fudge crumbs. That’s right, there’s homemade Russian fudge in the icing.

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Russian fudge

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Recipe adapted from Chelsea Sugar

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 3 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g sweetened condensed milk (half a standard tin)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients except the vanilla, into a medium-heavy saucepan. Stirring continuously, warm over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved (10-15 min).
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until it reaches the soft ball stage (120°C), while stirring continuously.
  3. Remove from the heat and add vanilla. Whisk until fudge is creamy, thick and has lost its gloss.
  4. Pour into a greased and lined pan and place in fridge to set.
  5. Before cutting, place on bench for 15 minutes to soften then slice into pieces using a sharp knife.

Vanilla cupcakes (Magnolia Bakery)

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I realised something this afternoon – it’s been almost three months since we got back from America and I am yet to try out some of the baking gadgets and recipe books I collected throughout the journey. What a waste! So I decide to set things straight and try something from the only recipe book I picked up during the trip – The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

Since they’re famous for their cupcakes, it wasn’t hard to pick what I would be making – while the cookbook is packed with cake, biscuits, slice and pie recipes I just had to try a cupcake recipe first. I’ve already told you about the wonderful cupcakes we picked up from Magnolia Bakery in New York, but here’s a recap: they were light, fluffy, flavoursome and delicious. Exactly what you want in a cupcake, right?

Apparently, Magnolia Bakery’s most popular cupcakes are their classic vanilla with pink buttercream icing and sprinkles – sounds good to me! I dug out some bright pink cupcake liners, pink food colouring and confetti sprinkles and got to work.

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