Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

Last Sunday I found myself back on familiar turf, tucked behind a laden table of cakes, lovingly created, baked and decorated by yours truly.

market

Yes, my cake stall has returned and is currently residing every other Sunday at Tottenham Green Market. 11am – 4pm to be precise.

I was so excited when I was asked to be involved in this new farmers’ market although to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was ready just yet. I am still totally in baby zone, looking after Cole full time, and like all babies he is a demanding little lovebug. I have accepted the sleep deprived and overly emotional new me but had no idea if it would withstand actual work with proper deadlines and everything.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

I have very lucky then that my family rallied round and encouraged me to do something for myself. Luke plus grandparents took on baby caring responsibilities and I sequestered myself away in the kitchen for two days straight, engulfed by billowing clouds of icing sugar and emerged victorious on Sunday morning one hour before the market opened with 12 cakes ready to present to the good people of Tottenham.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

I am so proud of every cake on my stall which are all my own recipes, often inspired by other cakes I may have eaten or read about but always tweaked by me to suit my tastes and the flavours I am interested in. I always just hope that my customers like them too and for the most part they do. I am still a little huffy from a five year old customer’s feedback on my Lemon Nutella Cake last year that it wasn’t nutterllery enough for him but I suppose you can’t please everyone. Although there was like a whole jar in there – what more did he want from me??

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

I made these Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes for the stall on Sunday and they were inspired by this gorgeous looking Banana Split Sundae Cake from Culinary Concotions By Peabody. I couldn’t resist those gorgeous retro colours and knew it would be perfect in a cupcake I have been playing with – a mash up of two of my most favourite things ever – vanilla malt shakes and ice cream sundaes.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

The sponge is my basic vanilla cupcake recipe but with a huge helping of Horlicks whisked into the flour to add that delicious malted flavour. The buttercream is swiss meringue so light, smooth and velvety and is treated to a lovely helping of Horlicks too which just makes the whole affair out of this world. I was shoveling the buttercream into my mouth with a spoon and I can usually show some restraint with buttercream. Not this time.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

The cupcakes are finally decorated with rainbow sprinkles. I mix mine myself as it’s really hard to find decent pre-mixed sprinkles in the UK. I buy all the different coloured jimmies separately then just shake them up in a jar to get the right rainbow variety. Then you need the trashiest chocolate sauce you can find – this is not a time for homemade using actual chocolate, you need the kind in a squeezy bottle to drizzle directly onto the cupcake. I believe mine was made with carob for that perfectly fake chocolate flavour. Then finally garnish your garish beauty with a luminous red glace cherry. Again, homemade versions are not allowed – far too sophisticated.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

It wasn’t surprising that the kids at the market were immediately drawn to the brightly coloured cupcakes but the flavours also appeal to adults – well they are definitely right up my street and they also went down well with my very important cake testers – Luke’s work colleagues and the mums at my baby group.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

I aim to mix up the cakes I take to the stall every time to keep it interesting for both me and my customers so I can’t guarantee these retro babies will be at Tottenham Green Market whenever I am but what I do know is that they will definitely be making a return in the future.

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

Vanilla Malt Sundae Cupcakes

Makes 12

150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
230g caster sugar
3 eggs
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
230g plain flour
3 tablespoons malt powder (e.g. Horlicks)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
160ml whole milk

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed, then add the vanilla extract.
  4. Sift the flour, malt powder, baking powder and salt together.
  5. Add the flour into the cake batter alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Malted Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4 egg whites (120g)
200g caster sugar
240g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 tablespoon malt powder (e.g. Horlicks)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
  3. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  4. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  5. Add the malt powder, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined. Then pipe onto your cupcakes.
  6. Finally decorate with sprinkles, chocolate sauce from a bottle and redder than red glace cherries.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Never let it be said I don’t go the extra mile for cupcakes. Especially these Toffee Apple Cupcakes. At first glance the recipe might seem a little involved but every single step will be worth it in the end my friend.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

One of the core ingredients is apple butter – it helps that I made a huge batch of the stuff a couple of months ago when the apples were falling off the trees in the local parks. I took a carrier bag along and scooped them all up. There was no question with what I would do with all of them as apple butter is one of my absolute favourite foods. It combines all of the best toasted flavours of autumn. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, honey, muscovado sugar, apple cider and brandy are all boiled up with peeled, cored and diced apples. Once the apples are soft, then the whole lot is blitzed in the blender and tipped into a roasting dish. The chestnut brown apple puree is then baked low and slow in the oven for a few hours until the colour turns to the bark of an old oak tree, the flavours have caramelised and intensified and your whole kitchen is scented with the most glorious warmth of spiced apples. The puree will become so thick that you could stand a teaspoon up in it and that is when you know it is done.

I had so many apples that I felt just like Diane Keaton from Baby Boom as each jar was carefully filled and labeled. Unfortunately I only kept a couple of jars for myself, the rest has been stored away for me to sell at my preserves stalls which I will be doing around Christmas. So this week, feeling a bit down in the dumps from using up the last of my preciously allocated jars, I did what any normal person would do when they are desperate to make toffee apple cupcakes but have run out of apple butter. I made one single batch, especially for the cupcakes.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Actually it’s not too labour intensive once you have prepared the apples and you will only need to do about six for the amount of apple butter you need. Then the rest is just flinging things in the pan and then the oven. The smaller batch of apple butter only takes about 1½ hours from start to finish, and most of that is just the apples doing their thing whilst you are having a cup of tea or flicking through a magazine so I assure you the effort is no effort at all.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Apple butter does not only have to be used for these cupcakes though, in fact it’s a travesty if you don’t do what I did the first time I was given a jar by a friend which is to eat it straight from the jar with a teaspoon. It is also wonderful on toast, croissants, scones, accompanied with shortbread, whipped up with double cream and used as a cake filling, baked into tarts and especially eaten with roast pork. The uses are an endless, and I’m sure as soon as you’ve tried it you will be making excuses to include it in every meal.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

The apple butter is not the only bit of apple going on in these cupcakes though, I also diced up a bramley apple and caramelised it with a touch of sugar and butter then folded the pieces through the batter at the end. Where the apple butter provided a light moist sponge, the pieces of bramley act as a dose of sharp sweetness in the middle of the toasty apple flavours. It’s pure Autumn in a cupcake.

For the cupcakes I photographed I forgot to reserve some pieces of caramelised bramley for sprinking on the top of the buttercream so if you remember I would also recommend dong that.

I also made my own toffee sauce for this, which I whipped up into some swiss meringue buttercream, but if you can’t be bothered then I recommend using dulce de leche instead. It’s a bit thicker and will do fine in the buttercream but may need to be thinned slightly by warming with a splash of milk for drizzling purposes.

Oh, and again, if you can’t be bothered to make these at all then I will be presenting them at my cake stall on Sunday at Falkland Road Market N8. Don’t say I don’t spoil you.

Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Toffee Apple Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 bramley apple, cut into small chunks
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon butter
125g flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
85g unsalted butter
140g caster sugar
1 egg
200g apple butter (recipe below)

  1. Firstly, prepare your caramelised apple pieces. Heat the teaspoon of caster sugar and butter in a frying pan and add the bramley apple. Stir until the sugar and butter have melted together and cook for 5 minutes until the apple is still firm but just beginning to colour. Remove from the heat and cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  3. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar on the high setting of your food mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar and mix in well.
  6. Add the flour mixture alternately with the apple butter, adding the flour in three additions and the apple butter in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  7. Finally stir in the pieces of bramley apple until evenly dispersed and portion out into the cupcake cases.
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack completely before icing.

Apple Butter

6 apples, peeled, cored and diced (mixture of sweet and sour like Bramley and Cox)
150ml apple cider
2 tablespoons of brandy
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dark brown soft sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and stir. Cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the apples are cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  3. Once the apples are soft, pour the mixture into a blender and whizz up until smooth. Pour into a shallow baking tray and place in the oven.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, scraping down all the sides, until the butter is dark and thick.
  5. Allow to cool, then chill until needed.

Toffee Buttercream

4 tablespoons evaporated milk
3 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar
50g butter
3 egg whites (90g)
150g caster sugar
210g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. To make the toffee sauce melt together in a small saucepan the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool.
  2. To make the swiss meringue buttercream, begin by heating the egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  3. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  4. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  5. Add the salt and the vanilla extract.
  6. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the toffee sauce, but add the rest to the buttercream, mixing in until thoroughly incorporated.
  7. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes then drizzle with the rest of the cooled toffee sauce.
  8. If you have any pieces of dried apple or reserved caramelised bramley apple then use those to decorate the top.

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

Happy New Year!

This Christmas seems to have been crazier than usual, I’m not sure if it was because we had one less weekend in December before Christmas or whether the decision to make all my Christmas presents should have really been done in October.  Weeks ago I dutifully bought all the materials to do so, but then set them aside so I was ramshackled to my sewing machine throwing together aprons and cushion covers for family presents in the days leading up to Christmas rather than doing any sort of useful food preparation.  This new year I definitely resolve to organise myself a lot better.

I have overstuffed myself with more turkey and chocolate this festive period than I would think humanly possible.  Seriously, I received enough Lindt Lindor to begin my own outlet.  But I can’t possibly start the diet yet, after all it is only New Years Day and I don’t know about you but I’m still suffering the effects of last year.  So the salads and running can wait one more day as I need some simple cupcakes infused with calming vanilla to soothe my bedraggled state.

These are vanilla vanilla vanilla cupcakes, vanilla extract in the cake batter and in the silky buttercream but a burst of vanilla pod in the whipped custard filling.  To fill my cupcakes all I do is bake the cupcake as normal then when cooled stick an apple corer in the centre and pull out a little circle of sponge.  Tuck a teaspoon of the custard into the hole and place your sponge centre back on top.  It’s surprising how much filling you can squeeze into that small space without it exploding out of the top when you cram the sponge back in.

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes
Makes 24

230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g caster sugar
4 eggs
240ml whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
345g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to the whole milk.
  5. Sift the baking powder, flour and salt together.
  6. Add the flour alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  7. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 16-18mins.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites (180g)
300g caster sugar
420g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
A pinch of salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt and the vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pipe onto your cupcakes.

Whipped Custard filling

125ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, halved with seeds scraped out
2 small egg yolks
35g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
75ml whipping cream

  1. Pour the milk into a smallish saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds.
  2. Heat until just under boiling point and turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened. Then whisk in the plain flour until smooth.
  4. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk then very carefully pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to stop the egg from curdling.
  5. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs pour back into the saucepan, you can add the vanilla pod back in at this stage if you like, then bring up to a careful boil whisking continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
  6. Take off the heat and put in a bowl in the fridge to cool, making sure you have put cling film on the surface of the crème patissière to stop a skin from forming.
  7. Once the crème patissière has cooled, then whip the whipping cream to form soft peaks and fold into the crème patissière. Fill your cupcakes with as much of this whipped custard as you can cram into the middle.

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

These cupcakes are basically a sequel to the Biscoff ice cream I wrote about earlier this week.  Both the cake batter and the swiss meringue buttercream have a few dollops of Biscoffy cinnamon wonder and I’m afraid there is now no going back to plain jane vanilla.  Well, until next week.

I am fully committed down the Biscoff rabbit hole, particularly since I’ve now discovered you can buy it in crunchy form as well which I had to buy to y’know compare and contrast.  At the moment that pot is being eaten by the spoon, I just hope I can hold fire on it for long enough to make it into some sort of a recipe in the next couple of months.

I’m sure by next week I’ll have moved onto the mince pies, stollen and stilton tarts that are waiting patiently in the wings, but I couldn’t resist these little numbers first.  I have to thank the Pioneer Woman for the cake recipe which has been on my to do list for ages, she claimed it was the best sheet cake ever but by goodness does it translate well into cupcake form.  The method seems a bit back to front to how I would normally treat my cupcakes but the end result is so wonderfully moist and light that it’s a real keeper.

I steered clear of calling them Biscoff cupcakes as the batter has only a small amount of spread in there so there is barely a hint of it.  Just think of eating cookie dough but in cake form and you are pretty much there.

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

makes 24

For the cake:
adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

375g plain flour
340g caster sugar
300g soft light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs
180ml buttermilk
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
90g Lotus’ The Original Caramelised Spread (Biscoff Spread)
375ml boiling water
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the Biscoff spread until smooth. Pour in the boiling water carefully then bring the mixture up to a boil then remove from heat.
  5. Pour the Biscoff mixture over the flour/sugar mixture and stir until halfway combined.
  6. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir gently until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into cupcake cases.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes.

For the cookie butter swiss meringue buttercream:
6 egg whites (180g)
300g caster sugar
420g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
180g Lotus’ The Original Caramelised Spread (Biscoff Spread)
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Crushed Biscoff biscuits to decorate

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt, the vanilla extract and the Biscoff spread. Mix until thoroughly combined.

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

I hate those recipes that ask you to use a bit of this and a bit of that. If I’m buying a tin of pumpkin puree I want to use the whole thing otherwise it will sit in my fridge for a week whilst I try and decide what else I can do with it. By the time I have come to a decision it is not fit for eating. Both the cupcakes and the frosting  here require you to buy stuff that you may not have in your store cupboard, pumpkin puree and marshmallow fluff, but don’t worry you will need to use the whole darn lot. Good for fridge space and good for your tummy.

I experimented with a few recipes to come up with the perfect pumpkin cupcake but then I realised it was all for naught as Martha Stewart has already cornered the market in the recipe below. I couldn’t better it and they are one of the tastiest, moistest cupcake sponges I have ever had. The frosting recipe makes a lot of marshmallowy goodness but if you are ruffling it onto the cupcakes like I did in the photos then that means you do need all of it.

I have loved coming up with Halloween inspired recipes this past week and I hope you have enjoyed the posts. Tomorrow I am making a last ditch attempt to get healthy before indulging in the upcoming excesses of the Christmas season with a month of gluten free recipes. I’m just telling you so you know you need to have a huge blow out tonight. Eat all the cupcakes! I’m gonna!

Pumpkin Halloween Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes about 18

400g light brown sugar
225g unsalted butter, melted then cooled
4 eggs
1 tin of pumpkin puree (about 400g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Blend together the sugar and butter until pale and well combined.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour in the pumpkin puree and mix well.
  5. Sift together the rest of the dry ingredients, then add to the pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 16-18mins.

Marshmallow Buttercream

400g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 x jars marshmallow fluff (about 400g in total)

  1. Whizz up the butter and the icing sugar on a high speed in the mixer for 5-10 mins until very light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Add the marshmallow fluff a spoon at a time whilst your mixer is on a slower speed until fully incorporated.