Hokey Pokey Cookie Cupcakes

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Where would Kiwi baking be without golden syrup? Without this one wonderful ingredient we wouldn’t have hokey pokey, hokey pokey biscuits, ginger gems and a host of other treats that are as Kiwi as the buzzy bee.

It’s one of those ingredients that’s good enough to eat straight from the tin (that can’t just be me, right?) and has a beautifully characteristic flavour that gives a depth and richness to any recipe it’s used in. Fair to say, I’m a bit of a fan!

So when I was given the chance to come up with a golden syrup recipe in celebration of Chelsea’s new Collectors’ Edition Golden Syrup tin, I was beyond excited. Not only is the tin gorgeous (I’m in love with the kiwiana design by NZ artist Greg Straight!), but the brand is already my go-to for golden syrup. Perfect!

While there are countless amazing recipes that use golden syrup to give them that something special, I wanted to create something as unique as the product itself… that’s where these hokey pokey cookie cupcakes come in.

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Refreshing Lime Cupcakes

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I’m going to be honest – I had a bit of trouble coming up with the idea for this blog post. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t come up with something I wanted to bake, something that got me excited and itching to get the ball rolling.

I stared into the cupboard aimlessly, poured through cookbooks fruitlessly and went on a massive Pinterest trawl, all to no avail. I came to the conclusion that I’d never come up with an idea good enough to share, so decided to grab a drink from the fridge and give my overworked brain a break.

Then I spotted a pouch of fresh lime juice perched in the door of the fridge and a million ideas popped into my head. I scurried to the pantry and dug around for a jar of lime and passionfruit curd I picked up at a market in the Hawkes Bay a few months ago. As I lay my hand on the jar, it all came together – time to make some refreshing, tangy lime cupcakes.

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Manuka honey cupcakes with brown sugar buttercream

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New Zealand is a pretty awesome little place. No matter where you live you’re never very far from something amazing – beaches, bush walks, mountains, lakes; the lot! Just look at Auckland; within the confines of a single city you have everything from volcanic cones and sandy beaches to bush walks and predator-free islands.

But it takes a lot to keep these wonderful places looking just that – wonderful. A lot of the work is done by the wonderful people at the Department of Conservation, who work tirelessly to keep everything looking as pristine as possible. No easy feat!

Today marks the start of Conservation Week – the week where we celebrate the unique environments and creatures of this little country, work out how we can help do our part to improve our environment and (of course) get out and enjoy it! To celebrate I decided to make some uniquely New Zealand cupcakes – Manuka Honey cupcakes with brown sugar buttercream.

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Red wine cupcakes with whipped chocolate icing

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There are two things in life that are almost guaranteed to bring people together – wine and food. Whether it’s at drinks with colleagues on a Friday or dinner with friends on the weekend, the two things go hand in hand perfectly.

I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but generally when I think of wine and food my mind leaps to all things savoury – cheeses, crackers, chips, casseroles, BBQs… for some reason sweet things don’t come to mind, though I know there are countless dessert wines around.

With this in mind I decided to challenge myself a bit and incorporate wine into some baking. It took me a bit of thinking (and a little Friday night research!) to nut the recipe out, but it eventually came together – red wine and chocolate cupcakes!

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L&P White Chocolate Cupcakes

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There’s no denying that I love trying new chocolates – whether it’s Whittaker’s peanut butter or raspberry and white chocolate, or Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations I’m all over it in a heartbeat. So when I heard Whittaker’s was launching L&P chocolate I couldn’t wait to lay my hands on a block.

Luckily,  I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest and over the past week have been busy scheming how I could use it in some baking. To be honest, it wasn’t hard to come up with something – cupcakes were the obvious choice! A bit of pondering and planning later, I was all set to make these L&P cupcakes a reality.

So what are they exactly? A fluffy, moist L&P cupcake topped with rich L&P chocolate buttercream complete with popping pieces. Yip, there’s L&P baked into the cupcake to give them an extra hit of that classic L&P taste – and ensure the icing doesn’t totally steal the show!

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Raspberry & white chocolate cupcakes

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Raspberry and white chocolate has got to be one of the best flavour combinations ever – raspberries are officially my favourite berry and white chocolate is, well, chocolate! A match made in heaven.  You’ve probably noticed I have a bit of a thing for it – a quick peruse of the recipe index brings up recipes for crinkle cookies, muffins and shortcake all of the raspberry & white chocolate variety.

But there’s one raspberry and white chocolate creation that’s noticeably missing – cupcakes! Upon realising this I knew I had no choice but to get baking and come up with a delicious, flavoursome cupcake packed with that raspberry and white chocolate combination we know and love.

It wasn’t hard to come up with something pretty delicious. A light vanilla cupcake packed with raspberries and topped with rich white chocolate buttercream. Like most raspberry and white chocolate creations, they’re quick to make but the flavours come through beautifully.

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Raspberry lamington cupcakes

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Lamingtons are one of my favourite treats – I don’t why, but there’s something about a sponge cake coated in jelly and coconut that makes me unbelievably happy. Now I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like a lamington every now and again – they’re definitely a bit of a Kiwi institution.

For some reason I was madly dreaming of lamingtons on Friday at work – in particular, raspberry ones! I was tossing up making a batch over the weekend, but couldn’t quite bring myself to do it… I really wanted to make a special kind of cupcake. Surprisingly, it took me a bit of pondering before I came up with the idea of putting them together.

After deciding to do a raspberry lamington cupcake the rest came easily – fluffy, light vanilla cupcake, filled with a generous helping of raspberry jam, iced with a raspberry jelly buttercream coated in coconut, topped with a swirl of buttercream and finished with a dot of raspberry jam.

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Salted caramel cupcakes

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While I find caramel alone to simply be a little too intensely sweet for my liking, salted caramel ticks all the boxes. When made correctly, salted caramel treats are a perfect balance of sweet and salty negating the need to pick one or the other – perfect for people like me who love a bit of both!

Awhile ago I made chocolate and salted caramel sandwich biscuits, which went down an absolute treat both at home and with my lovely readers. So this week I decided to crank the salted caramel up a notch and make an absolutely decadent salted caramel cupcake, with the flavour incorporated in three ways – the cake, the filling and the icing.

Beginning with a fluffy and flavoursome brown sugar cupcake, I cored each one and filled them with about two teaspoons of homemade caramel sauce. Once the tops were safely tucked back on I topped each cupcake with a swirl of the most delicious salted caramel buttercream and finished them with a light sprinkling of light brown sugar, a little rock salt and a sugar pearl or two.

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