Cooking up a storm…

So today I decided that I was going to have a baking day.

I had wanted to make cupcakes for a while now, and with it being Easter weekend, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make my Easter nest cupcakes…  But that wasn’t good enough for me.  So I made some giant meringues too!

So here’s the cupcakes:

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And another shot up close…

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Here’s how to make them:

Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 150C (for fan assist)

Place paper cupcake cases in a cupcake tin (I made 24 with this amount)

In a large mixing bowl, add 8oz self-raising flour, 8oz caster sugar, 8oz butter, 4 large (free range) eggs and 3 caps of lemon flavouring.

Whisk it all together using an electric mixer.  Once it is all creamed together, scoop evenly in to the cupcake cases.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes (remember the skewer test!  The skewer must come out clean).

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Butter frosting:

Cream 5oz butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add 10oz icing sugar, spoon by spoon, and ensure all is mixed together thoroughly.

Scoop in to a piping bag, then pipe a ‘nest’ on the top of each cake.

Add one, two or three Cadbury’s mini eggs in the middle.

Ta-da!!

So how about my giant meringues?  They’ve turned out super scrummy!!

Let’s do the ‘how to’ first, as I do have a couple of pictures along the way…

What you need:

4 large egg (you’ll only need the whites)

4oz caster sugar

4oz icing sugar

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 100C (fan assisted).  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Place the 4 egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric whisk on a medium speed, whisk them until they appear ‘stiff’.

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Keep going until you are confident enough to do the ‘head test’.  This is where you hold the bowl, upsidedown, over your head.  Don’t worry!  The mixture should be stiff enough not to move, and it will form little ‘peaks’ when you lift the mixture with a spoon / whisk.

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Now it’s time to add the caster sugar.  You can turn the electric whisk to a high speed now.  Add the sugar, one spoonful at a time.

Keep mixing until the egg whites look ‘silky’ and smooth.

You can now get rid of the whisk and grab a large metal spoon.

Add the icing sugar, bit by bit, and use the large metal spoon to ‘fold’ the icing sugar in.

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Once complete, the mixture should look ‘silky’ and smooth, but you shouldn’t see any powder residue…

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Spoon the mixture directly on to the grease-proof lined baking tray, in ‘blobs’.  Or, if you’re feeling artistic, fill up your piping bag, and create little ‘wisps’, or clouds, or nests…

Pop the trays in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Do *NOT* open the oven door during this time-frame.

When your timer goes off, ‘tap’ on the meringues.  They should sound hollow, and be a creamy / golden brown colour.

Ta-da!  Done.

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And just to show you exactly how large these beasts were…

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Super Heavy Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients – Cake

8oz plain flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)

2tsp baking powder

8oz soft light brown sugar

8oz margarine (do not use butter – it will not work for this cake)

4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients – Frosting

6oz soft brown sugar (I’ve ran out of icing sugar, and unbelievably, this works!)

2oz cocoa powder (again, I used Hershey’s)

4oz butter

2 tbsp milk (full fat works best)

Ingredients – Final Touches

2 chocolate mini eggs per cupcake

OR

1 inch of Cadbury’s Flake per cupcake

OR

Whatever you want to decorate with!!

Method – Cupcakes

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C (160C for fan assisted ovens) and add cupcake cases to your baking tray (the above recipe made 24 for me).

2.  Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder as high as you can into a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter, eggs and vanilla essence, and mix together thoroughly.  I used an electric whisk.  Slow for 1 minute, then full speed for a further 2 minutes.

3.  Divide the mixture equally in to your cupcake cases, and bake in the middle of the oven for a minimum of 15 minutes.  **Note – 15 minutes is the minimum time.  Test your cupcakes with a skewer at this point.  If the skewer comes out with the sticky mixture stuck to it, you need a further 10 minutes.  This may need repeating.  I have found that some times my cupcakes can be done in 15 minutes, other times in 35 minutes…  Same temperature oven…  Weird, huh?

4.  Once done, remove from the oven, but do not remove your cupcakes from the tray until completely cool.

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Method – Frosting

1.  Using the back of a wooden spoon, cream your butter in a mixing bowl.

2.  Gradually add the icing sugar and cocoa powder, bit by bit, mixing thoroughly with the back of the wooden spoon.  Add some of the milk IF you need it.

3.  When fully creamed together, spread on top of the (cooled down) cupcakes.

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I originally wanted to create chocolate ‘nests’ with the frosting, and then to place two chocolate mini eggs in the middle for Easter, however the shop at the bottom of my road doesn’t sell mini eggs (boooo!), so I decided to decorate with a little Cadbury’s Flake instead.  I think it still has a wonderful effect.  Enjoy!

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