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    Entries in green (25)


    Apricot and Rosemary Syrup Cupcakes 

          apricot and rosemary syrup cupcakes with mascarpone whipped cream

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    Herbs and flowers make a lovely addition to your dessert baking, the trick when using them is a light hand; whilst too much rose water can leave you with a soapy taste, too much rosemary or sage can leave you with a "oh, wow it's roast chicken!"

    Spring has arrived in Australia and our rosemary plant is sprouting new growth, the soft sprigs are a perfect addition to poached dried apricots. 

    Poached Dried Apricots with Rosemary


    12 dried apricots halves

    2 small sprigs fresh rosemary

    1 cup water

    1/2 cup sugar


    Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan, stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the apricots and rosemary, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until fruit is soft and plumped. Remove from heat. Allow to cool.  

    Mascarpone whipped cream topping


    1 cup heavy cream

    1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla essence/extract

    1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature

    1/4 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioners sugar/powdered) 


    Mix mascarpone, vanilla and icing sugar together, in a separate bowl mix cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture. Chill.  


    Use your favourite vanilla cupcake as the base cake or as I've used smaller cases today I've included a basic small quantity "Australian" type cake... it's firmer which suits toppings that are moist. 

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F 

    Line two 12 cup trays with paper liners (the small patty/fairy cake size)


    125g butter (4.4oz)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup (150g) castor sugar (superfine)
    3 eggs
    1½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
    ¼ cup milk (60ml)


    Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, sifted flour & milk on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium & beat for 3 minutes until smooth and pale in colour.

    Drop spoonfuls of mixture into the paper liners. Bake about 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes removing to a wire rack to cool.


    brush syrup over cake top

    Brush tops of cakes with syrup from the poached apricots, top with a spoonful of mascarpone whipped topping and a poached apricot half, drizzle a little extra of the syrup on if desired. Decorate with a small sprig of rosemary.

    Whether it's strawberries and basil, lemon and sage, apple and thyme or apricots and rosemary: enjoy playing with herbs in your desserts, cookies and cupcakes. 

    Happy Baking :) 


    Japanese Slipper Cupcake


                                                   Japanese Slipper Cupcake

    I've started recipe development and baking for my return to blogging. Sneak peak of what is going on... it's Japanese Slipper cupcakes today, orange cointreau cupcake, silky MIDORI butter cream & sugar isomalt toppers. 

    The cakes themselves are hand mixed, however the swiss meringue buttercream frosting is best made with a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid. 

    Orange Cointreau Cupcakes

    Preheat oven to 180c (350F) line cupcake tin/s with paper liners

    Makes 12 standard sized cupcakes with a moist pound cake like texture. These cakes are fairly light on with alcohol content, however do remember approxmately 45% of the alcohol content will remain after baking in the cakes and all the content in the frosting.


    1 1/4 cups plain flour (all purpose)

    1 tsp baking powder

    1/4 tsp salt

    1 cup sugar 

    1/2 cup unsalted butter melted & cooled

    1 egg

    1/2 cup plain yoghurt

    1 tsp grated lemon zest

    2 tsp orange zest

    2 tbs cointreau 

    1 tbls orange juice


    Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

    In a large bowl whisk together sugar, butter and egg until smooth. Swap to a wooden spoon and add yoghurt, zest's, liqueur and juice, beat until smooth. Add flour mix and beat until just smooth.

    Spoon into your prepared cupcake pan/s.  22 to 25 standard sized until the centres are just set and spring up when lightly touched. Cool in tin for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack until completely cold. 

    Midori Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

    adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for vanilla buttercream


    Makes about 4 1/2 cups, enough for about 14 cupcakes

    1 1/4 cups sugar

    5 large egg whites

    2 cups (450g or 1lb) unsalted butter

    1 tablespoon Midori melon liqueur 

    *125g (4.5 oz) of melted white chocolate, cooled slightly 

    electric green food colour or a combination of green/yellow food colour

    Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.
Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
 Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add midori, and beat just until combined. Add food colouring drop by drop until desired colour of green is reached. 
Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 4 minutes. Add melted white chocolate beat for one minute or until combined.

    If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. *Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes. Pipe with a round or star tip onto cooled cakes. 

    * make sure melted chocolate and beaten frosting mix are approximately the same temperature, if the frosting is too cold when the chocolate is added it will partially set and not incoroporate fully.

    * when you start to beat your buttercream from it's refrigerated state, the buttercream will look curdled; don't be worried it will start to incorporate as it beats further. 

    I will be adding the isomalt topper instructions this week... 

    Until then happy baking :)

    PS I'm now on facebook  join me to keep up with blog updates, little extras & give a ways. 


    The Men Bake Birthday Cake

    A slice of what the men can do!! Chocolate peppermint birthday cake.

    It's my birthday and husband Mark and Step son Daniel baked me a cake!! This year they baked their first full sized cake from scratch & what a fabulous result!! Mark actually came away from the experience saying "oh, that's easy!" something I didn't think I'd ever hear. 

    They used a Nigella Lawson recipe for 'Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake' page 166 from 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess'. Mark and Dan used a square 23 x 23cm (9 x 9in) pan instead of the loaf pan, topped the cake with peppermint whipped cream, chocolate ganache and crushed peppermint candy bars.

    If you can't recall last years birthday cake it was a "do it yourself" chocolate peppermint cake ;) A bought chocolate cake with chocolate peppermint candy bars to crush as topping. Truthfully, I'd love any cake they gave me, but it was extra special this year with them baking for me!

     I learnt a few lessons watching the less experienced bake, what I just take for granted everyone knows i.e. "creaming the butter and sugar" Mark didn't know and was asking "how much cream?". I will discuss it with you more fully at a later date... but for now it's my birthday and I'm off to do birthday things.

    Happy Baking :)


    Cupcake Cases, Liners, Papers & Wrappers

    bright solid colour cupcake cases

    Cupcake liners can just be pretty, act as an inspiration or match your theme like these versatile solid colour cupcake cases.

    I'm impressed with how these solid colour cupcake cases are true to colour after baking... even with chocolate batter. They keep their shape well & I haven't experienced "case fall" with them. 

    red and aqua blue used that I used for coca-cola and bounty bar cupcakes

     One problem, about 5% arrived with wrinkles still usable but not terrific for presentation

    wrinkle mid way up the case on a small percentage of those that were delivered

    Other than that I love these 100% Nordic greaseproof cases, with over 10 colours to choose from they are sold in packs of 40 from Fancy Flours (US)

    *Fancy Flours; you will need to search for each colour separately 


    Cupcake Cases, Liners, Papers & Wrappers

    Cupcake liners can just be pretty, act as an inspiration or match your theme.

    I do like a design to carry through to the base of a liner like this fabulous swirl pattern does on these bold solid colour liners. Imagine a spring time yellow theme, blue cries out for piles of white frosting and green is just so minty!

    These cases have straight sides, are of medium size and are made from quality greaseproof Swedish paper. 

    Available in six different colours: Yellow, Blue, Green, Red, Purple & Gold

    The cases cup in packs of 40 from Fancy Flours

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