9.14.2014

Caramel Apple Cupcakes {National Cupcake Week!}

The word on the street is that it’s National Cupcake Week. Technically it starts tomorrow. 

I just thought I would warn you now because it means all of us baking junkies will be posting cupcakes on all our social media sites. 

I am not an exception so be prepared to be cupcake bombed!

The best part of cupcakes is that they take like 20 minutes to bake. Then throw some icing on top and Wa-La! Cake!

Yes, there are more complicated cupcakes out there that have many components and steps, but those are for special occasions.

These are "just because" cupcakes. But not "all the time" cupcakes. 'Cuz you know the whole in moderation thing.

Moderation is good.

These cupcakes are good. 

See how it all works out?

I used my cool cupcake corer and cupcake icing knife that OXO sent to me to try out and then I tried Sugar and Crumbs flavored icing sugar.

I chose Green Apple flavor because I wanted to make Caramel Apple Cupcakes. I wanted to make Caramel Apple Cupcakes because in the USA there is this sucker/lolly that is called a Caramel Apple Pop and it’s so good and not available here in the UK.

Hence these cupcakes!


They totally reminded me of those suckers/lollies so I am happy!

Here’s how you can be happy too!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes:

120g plain flour
140g golden caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, room temp
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
10-12 tsp caramel

Heat the oven to 170C and line your cupcake pan with 10-12 cupcake cases. Beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until it’s a bit crumby! Combine the milk, egg, and vanilla together before gradually adding it to the crumby mixture. Once combined beat on high for a minute or two to make sure there aren’t any lumps and the mixture is smooth.
Using a trigger scoop fill each of the cupcake cases just about half way. Bake for 20-25 minutes. A skewer should come out clean. Leave to cool completely before using the Cupcake Corer to take out the middles and add about a teaspoon of the caramel to the middles. Put the sponge bit back in and top with Green Apple Icing Sugar!

Green Apple Frosting

1 pkg of Sugar and Crumbs Green Apple Flavored Icing Sugar
125g butter, room temp
1-2 tbsp of milk

Follow the instructions on the packaging.

to finish:
20-24 Dark Chocolate chunks
caramel

Put two chocolate chunks together and place on top to act an apple stem before drizzling the caramel over the top. Place in a baggie and snip the corner, but make sure the hole is small. Then drizzle on top!



notes: In association with Oxo and Sugar and Crumbs! Please see my contact/policy page for more details! Find out more about National Cupcake Week! And if you need to know what Caramel Apple Pops are just look here. I am also entering these cupcakes in Betta Living’s Betta Bake a Cupcake Competition #bettabakeoff

9.12.2014

Five on Friday: My Five Favorite Jane Austen movies

Today starts a week of Jane Austen fun in Bath! Every year in September they hold a Jane Austen Festival. One year I will attend, but it will not be this year. When I go I will be dressing myself and my girls in regency garb, oh yes.

I have read and re-read Miss Austen’s main 6 books over and over and over and over again.

Sometimes I still want a Jane Austen fix, but without having to read the books that I already know back to front.

So, for my Five on Friday I am giving you my top 5 favorite Jane Austen movies. They are anything from adaptations to just movies about her!


Pride & Prejudice (BBC 1995)

Everyone knew this was going to be on the list. It’s only the best adaptation of Pride & Prejudice every made! I own it on Blu-Ray and to my husband’s dismay I watch it quite often.


Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

This movie was played a lot on one of our many movie channels in early 2008. It was in the early mornings, when I was barely awake, feeding my baby that I watched this movie. The book it’s based on is terrible, but I really found the movie entertaining. Plus I love Emily Blunt and Amy Brenneman! I was thinking about even starting my own Jane Austen Book Club! It would be so much fun!!


Becoming Jane (2007)

This movie got so much crap about Anne Hathaway playing Jane, because she’s not British. I don’t really care to be honest. Considering the movie is just speculating what Jane’s life was really like I saw it as pure entertainment. We will never really know what her life was like. It’s said that her sister burned a lot of her letters because she didn’t want Jane to be seen in a bad light. To me that says perhaps Jane was a moody cow. But we will never know. Plus this movie is what made me fall in love with James McAvoy. I would run away with him if he ever asked.


Emma (BBC 2009)

I love Emma! It’s my second favorite Austen novel after Sense & Sensibility. I watched this when it first aired on ITV and I thought it was way better then other adaptations! The cast was really good!


Northanger Abbey (ITV 2007)

This was a bit of a weird one for me. The acting was just okay, but I found myself watching it one day and deciding that I really enjoyed it. Then I found myself re-watching it. It’s enough for it to earn a spot in my top five!


Looks like 2007 was a popular year for Jane Austen. But let’s face it Jane Austen will always be popular. Her stories are the basis for pretty much every love story ever read since. There is always a little bit of trouble before everything turns out okay. 

notes: Check out the Jane Austen festival in Bath here! All opinions are my own for more information see my contact/policy page. 

9.11.2014

Oatly Chocolate Mini Donuts

Today I know at least 3 people who can’t have any dairy of any kind. It seems more and more people need to seek out alternatives to milk.

Oatly have been producing their oat drink since the1990’s at a time that people thought they were a bit ambitious and perhaps a bit crazy. 

It’s a good thing they didn't listen to the naysayers because today there is a need for milk alternatives. 

Baking is something that can be a bit tricky when trying to accommodate for people who have different food needs. 

Oatly not only tastes good, it has a very nice subtle oaty taste, but it also works great in baked goods!

I have already had success making cupcakes with Oatly’s Original Oat drink, so I thought I would try the Chocolate version. I thought of cupcakes again, but wasn't feeling it. Then I thought of cookies because of cookies and milk and all that. I dismissed that pretty quick as I have never baked cookies with milk in them.

Then I thought of donuts and it just felt right. I have started this new thing where I go with my gut instincts, because usually they are right. It’s actually pretty creepy how often I am right about something.

For instance these donuts. 


I was totally right about these donuts! They have a nice rich chocolaty flavor and just one feels pretty guilt free! Not that it is, its just mini so you know….

One thing before I get to the recipe: I used sour cream, but I think you could substitute a soya yogurt or similar to make it completely dairy free. However I had sour cream in my fridge and I wanted to use it up. Waste not and all that stuff. 

Anyway here’s how I made them in case you want to make them too!


Oatly Chocolate Mini Donuts:

160g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 medium egg
120g sugar
150ml The Original Oatly Oat Drink Chocolate
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp sour cream or soya yogurt
½ tsp vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 180C/350F and grease the mini donut pan. I use silicone pastry brush and sunflower oil. If it’s not greased properly they will stick.
In a small bowl whisk all the dry ingredients together. Then in a bigger bowl whisk the egg and sugar together before adding the milk, oil, sour cream, and vanilla.
Then by hand gently beat the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined and smooth.
It can be spooned into the donut pan or piped. Piping is somewhat easier, but the batter is very smooth and can run out so it just depends on what’s easiest for you. I like piping because it’s a bit quicker. Fill the indents no more then ¾ full.
Bake for 7-9 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before carefully turning them out to cool completely. I suggest cleaning out each indentation and re-greasing between bakes. 

Oatly Chocolate Glaze

150g icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
2-3 tbsp The Original Oatly Oat Drink Chocolate

Mix all the ingredients together. Start with two tablespoons of Oat Drink to see if it’s the right consistency before adding another one in. If you put your finger in the icing it should stick to your finger and leave a bit of a stiff trail. Once the donuts are cool, fill a baggie or piping bag and make a very small hole in the tip to pipe on the donuts or dunk them in to cover the tops completely. Then eat! Enjoy!


notes: In association with Oatly: visit their website here if you’d like to learn more. All opinions are my own – for more information please see my contact/policy. Check out my Oatly Espresso Cupcakes! This is being entered in Cakeyboi and The Baked Explorer’s monthly Treat Petite baking challenge.

9.09.2014

The Bundt that started it all: Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Dotty and Dave Dalquist started Nordic Ware in 1946 from their basement in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the 1950’s they introduced America to the Bundt pan, but it wasn’t until the 1966 Pillsbury Bake Off that made them a hot commodity.

Thanks to one Ella Helfrich who entered the Bake Off with her recipe for a Tunnel of Fudge Cake baked in a Bundt pan.

The saying that no one remembers who came second isn’t exactly true. If you look at the list of winners for the Pillsbury Bake Off you won’t see Ella’s name. Because she came second, but her recipe has become somewhat famous inspiring all sorts of molten chocolate cakes.

If you caught it above that Nordic Ware was started in Minneapolis, Minnesota then you will have probably guessed I managed a visit to their factory store while with my sister in the city.

It has been up graded from a basement into a massive factory.  The store was my kind of place. It was full of any and every kitchen appliance you could ever want. I would have happily moved in. I wish I had had a bigger weight allowance for my suitcase!

Even though I didn't pick up a Bundt pan, I did pick up a copy of Classic Bundt Recipe Book that has a lot of traditional recipes including one for the Tunnel of Fudge Cake.


Originally it was made with a Pillsbury chocolate frosting powder, but they discontinued it so a ‘from scratch’ recipe was created.

Aren't we glad it was?!

I used my new traditional Bundt pan that I have never used before! I felt that it was fitting that the first time in the oven was to bake the cake that made it famous! It turned out a little lighter then I expected. It seems a bit more milk chocolaty then dark chocolaty. However it still tastes delicious! 

I have adapted it to grams from cups. When cups are used it can vary by how the individual fills said cup. So, this is how I made it.


Tunnel of Fudge Cake:

370g (1 ¾ cups) granulated sugar
256.5g (1 ¾ cups) unsalted butter, softened
6 large eggs
310g (2 cups) icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
395g (2 ¼ cups) plain flour/all purpose flour
70g ( ¾ cups) unsweetened cocoa powder
225g (2 cups) walnuts, toasted & chopped

Heat the oven to 180C/350F, then grease (butter) and flour a 10 inch or 12 cup Bundt pan. Or use a cake release spray.
Beat the granulated sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Gently beat the eggs together and add them little by little beating well in between each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until just combined.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a separate bowl. Add about a third to the batter and fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon. Then repeat until all the flour is folded in. Lastly fold in the walnuts until well mixed. Spoon the batter into the Bundt and smooth it down.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is set and the cake is starting to come away from the edges. Cool in the pan for about 1 ½ hours before gently turning it out onto a stand or serving plate. Cool for at least 2 more hours or more.

Chocolate Glaze:

115g (¾ cup) icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
30g ( ¼ cup) unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ to 2 tbsp whole milk

Sift the dry ingredients together. Then whisk in the milk until the consistency allows it to be drizzled on top!


notes: Please note that it's the nuts that make this cake work, you can substitute another nut! Find out more about Nordic Ware here! There is more on the Pillsbury Bake Off here. My favorite blog to find bundt recipes is on The Food Librarian because I like big bundts as much as she does! Don't forget to mark your calendars for the 15th of November because it's National Bundt Day!

9.07.2014

Glam Doll Donuts in Minneapolis, Minnesota

I want to use jet lag as an excuse for not blogging and/or baking as much as I did before I left, but the reality is life has taken a priority!

For the time being anyway. Sometimes life just needs to do that.

I have a few more posts that I want to share with you what I got up to when I was in the states visiting my family and friends.

My parents moved us to Minnesota when I was 15, at that age I was not very impressed with that. However like all teenagers I managed to adapt, but I made sure my parents knew exactly how hard it was to do so.

So, when I go “home” I go to Minnesota. It is also where I tell people I am from when asked. It’s just easier.

Minnesota isn't a bad place to go home too especially as it has this place in Minneapolis called Glam Doll Dounuts.

That’s right Glam Doll Donuts and they are pretty damn Glam!



My girls loved the place immediately because as you can see it’s all pink! That and you could smell the sugar sweetness down the road!

We had a hard time choosing between all their different flavors. But the gentleman behind the counter was very patient with us while we decided. The girls finally settled on the


Darling: vanilla cake donut with sprinkles and they had the


Femme Fatale: fresh raspberry curd filled with vanilla icing. My sister choose the


Chart Topper: a peanut butter and Sriracha donut and I picked the


Daddy Dearest: a surly cake donut, surly blender glaze and bacon crumb topping.

They were all super delicious. I know because I commandeered a bite of each one! I wish I lived closer because I am sure I would be a regular, much to my jeans distress. So, it's probably a good thing I don't live closer! 


If you find yourself in Minneapolis here is their location:
2605 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55408

And if you don’t ever plan on making a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota then you can just drool over their donuts on their website where you can see the many different flavor combinations they have! Or check them out on their social media sites!


notes: All opinions are my own; my sister recommended it so we went. For further information please see my contact/policy page! If you don't know what Sriracha is... well you should! My next post is all about another place I visited in Minneapolis, so stay tuned! 

9.05.2014

Five on Friday: Five Fun Foodie Shows

Five on Friday is here again! I am sticking with my American theme for just one more Friday because I am missing some of the fun food shows I watched when I was there.

Here they are (in no particular order):

Food Network

Some nights Food Network would play this show back to back and I literally sat for a couple of hours glued to this show. I had seen it once or twice here in the UK, but I haven't seen it on recently. I think I like this show so much because it's a game I play at least once a week in my own kitchen! Instead of a basket of random ingredients that I have to make meals out of I have my partially stocked cupboards. I do love seeing what the contestants come up with! I would love to be on this show! Hint to Food Network if you'd like to fly me over! 

ABC

The foodies of the world have been asking for a show like this! Or at  least I know I have been. It's like a great food magazine in video form. The hosts are a great panel of foodies who share with the viewers great recipes, tips, and facts about food! I would also love to be a guest on this show. One episode I watched was all about chocolate... need I say more! 

MTV

I want to play this game. In fact I might just have to have my friends over and say alright bring all your favorite snack foods and then we'll thrown them in a pile and see who can come up with the best snack! It's just a fun game show where the winner wins a golden spork. Along with hilarious judges what more could you want? 

Bravo

I love love love Top Chef, so what could be better then bringing on old contestants and having them face off? The answer is nothing. Nothing is better then that. Bravo Bravo!

Food Network

It was like watching fireworks when I was watching this super cute show. It was all "ahhh's" and "oooh's" the whole way through. The children on this show are talented, funny, and most can probably cook better then me! 

That concludes my second Five on Friday! If there is a topic you'd like me to cover on my Five on Friday's please leave a comment below or tweet me @unitedcakedom ! Also if you think you'd like to join in I'll add a linky if there is enough feed back asking for it!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

notes: Other shows to watch out for (all on Food Network): Cut Throat Kitchen – amusing to watch, The Great Food Truck Race – I’m always up for a race, Cone Wars – if you liked Cupcake Wars then you’ll like the ice cream version of it! Images are from the websites that I have linked for each show. 

9.03.2014

Cookies & Cookie Dough Brownies

Today my girls went back to school and for the littlest one it was her first day of all day school.

I’m not going to lie there were tears. Not a lot and I made sure they were not in front of her. 

Then she went and told me she was going to miss me! I was strong though and I told her I would miss her too, but that she was going to have lots of fun in her new classroom and with all her new classmates!

If only I was starting in a new classroom with new classmates to distract me. Now I am sat here on my computer suppose to be writing up my CV for some part-time jobs I've been looking at. Instead I am here writing this post while eating one of these brownies to ease the temporary loss of my children.

You may just have to take my word on this one, but I do believe a combination of chocolate and sugar can help with the emotional stress of leaving your child at school for the first time.

Even if the first day of school has come around for you or you don’t have kids you should still try these brownies! Everyone has some sort of stress of everyday life. It's a fact.


Right before I left my parents house I discovered these Cookie Dough limited edition Oreos! I of course brought some back with me. And you wouldn't be reading this if I didn't use them to make brownies! Regular Oreos would work just as well in this recipe so don't worry if these limited edition ones aren't available by you!

First I made eggless cookie dough to add to the brownies, but the chunks that were thrown in the mixture just disappeared even though they were frozen when put in. So, you could leave this step out, but I would still want to sprinkle some on top! If you do make the cookie dough you have to freeze it so do this ahead of time! Here’s how I made it.


Cookie Dough:

50g chocolate chunks
160g plain flour
130g golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons of demerara sugar
170g unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons of soya yogurt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 tsp of fine salt

Place all the ingredients into a big bowl, I used my free-standing mixer and beat into a sticky dough. 
Place on cling film, wrap it up and then flatten it until it’s about 2 cm. 
Chill in the freezer for about 2 hours.

I couldn't find soya yogurt in a small tube, so I used the leftover to make a delicious fruit smoothie by throwing in some mixed frozen berries and an over ripe banana. Perfect breakfast!

You will have a lot left over of the cookie dough, that could be used in ice cream or cupcakes or whatever floats your boat!


Once it’s been sitting nicely in the freezer for about 2 hours you can get on with the brownies. I shared with you how I made the ones pictured; however I would add at least 50 grams more of crushed Oreos if not more!

Cookies & Cookie Dough Brownies:

150g dark chocolate, broken up
150g milk chocolate, broken up
250g salted butter
400g light brown sugar
4 large eggs
140g plain flour
50g Mortimer Pure Dark Chocolate Powder
120g Cookie dough (recipe above)
100g (7-8 cookies) Cookie Dough Oreos, smashed

Preheat oven to 180C/gas4 and line a brownie tin (8x11) or an 8in square pan with parchment paper.
Very gently melt both chocolates with the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula. Just before the chocolate is completely melted, take off the heat and gently stir until it’s completely melted.
Then add the eggs one at a time to the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the pan and stir until just combined. Fold in half the cookie dough and half the smashed cookies.
Then pour the mixture into the prepared tin/pan. Scrap the bowl with your spatula to make sure you get all the batter in. Scatter the rest of the cookie dough and Oreos over the top of the brownies before baking in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. If you want them a little less gooey bake for 5 minutes more.
Cool completely before cutting into squares. When I bake them for only 30 minutes I tend to stick them in the fridge for 30-60 minutes before cutting just to get a cleaner cut.




last minute notes: I wish writing a CV was as easy as writing a blog post. I miss my children already; I actually like having them around! I must stop eating these brownies! 
Spatulas are from OXO, as a baker I tend to use spatulas a lot and I must say these are very sturdy and have fast become my favorite spatulas! They are perfect for scraping out sticky cookie dough and getting that last bit of chocolate brownie! They were sent to me to review.
Mortimer Pure Dark Chocolate Powder was given to me at Food Blogger Connect and I bought the Oreos while on holiday. Please see my contact/policy page for further information.
Cookie Dough recipe was adapted from Jamie’s Food Tube Cupcake book and the brownie recipe is one that I have used over and over from Good Food Bakes & Cakes Magazine Summer 2013 edition.

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