Cold Outside – Let’s Bake

It wasn’t a particularly nice weekend weather wise so I decided that staying in the warmth of the house was a fabulous idea. There’s something really enjoyable at this time of the year to just spend time indoors, looking out at the cold and doing something you love.

For me, this weekend that definitely meant baking. The choices this week were Empire Biscuits and Chocolate Cupcakes.

I love baking but biscuits aren’t something I bake often and indeed, I hadn’t tried Empire Biscuits (eating yes – lots of them but baking – not so much). I searched through some recipes online and chose one from Three Sisters Bake. An easy but effective recipe and judging by the speed with which the family are eating them – definitely tasty.  imageI will try this one again as I think I should have chosen a smaller cutter and made themslightly thicker but if anyone is looking for a good biscuit recipe then I would definitely recommend this one and the full recipe can be found here: Three Sisters Bake Empire Biscuits.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Cupcakes are my favourite go to recipe. I always seem to do them better than a large cake recipe. Maybe I am better working with smaller things. Anyway, my recipe for these is one handed down from my mum and is really her large chocolate cake recipe split into 12 cakes.

Ingredients:

6 oz stork which I now use the one with butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
5 oz self raising flour (my favourite is Homepride
1 oz cocoa powder
Icing sugar
Butter
Chocoalte Sauce and Flakes

Start by creaming the stork and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time and then add the flour and cocoa sieved together and mix well. Divide between 12 muffin cases and cook in a fan assisted oven for roughly 20 minutes at 170. I have quite a powerful oven so I have it at 170. In my previous ovens it took 30 mins at 180 so it really does depend on the oven so I would recommend cooking for at least 20 minutes and if rising well, open the door slowly and test the top of them, if springy take them out and test they are cooked the whole way through with a skewer.

Once ready, leave to cool and prepare the buttercream. I wish I could explain properly how I make my buttercream but I have never nailed down my specific quantities, it’s more a feel for what I believe is right while doing it which I think is something a lot of us do in the kitchen. In an attempt to summarise: it’s roughly a quarter of a tub of spreadable Lurpak butter, mixed with a small paste of cocoa made with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder and boiling water. I then mix tablespoons of icing sugar and sieve them one at a time – roughly this is 12 heaped tablespoons and stir them in until the buttercream is a good consistency which will pipe and not run off the cakes.

Then core the cupcakes and add some chocolate sauce and insert the top back on. Finally, using a disposable piping bag, swirl the chocolate buttercream on top and finish off with a slice of flake.

So there you go. An afternoon in the kitchen is imagedefinitely my best way to spend a Saturday when it’s cold and miserable outside.

Though with all this baking – I need to get outside and exercise more.  In the meantime, where’s the kettle – a cuppa and a cupcake sounds ideal to me.

Love Polly. xxx

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