Carrot Loaf Cakes with Cream Cheese Icing

These mini carrot loaf cakes are an easy to make sweet treat.

I stumbled upon this recipe for carrot cake cupcakes when I was procrastinating writing my essay. To make the carrot cakes a bit more aesthetically pleasing I decided to use my mini loaf tins. The great thing about these are that they are easy to make, small(ish), and a perfect kick for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125 grams brown sugar
  • 125 grams softened butter
  • 75 grams grated carrot
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 100 grams cream cheese

1/4 cinnamon and 1/4 nutmeg were also suggested in the ingredients list, but I decided to leave these out.

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180.
  • Line your mini loaf tins with butter then baking parchment. If you want to opt for cupcakes instead, this recipe makes 12.
  • Sieve the flower and baking powder into a large bowl. I don’t have a sieve, so I used a potato masher to get all the big bits out. If you’ve decided to use nutmeg you can add that in with the flower and baking powder, and mash that too.
  • Add in the butter (I always find it’s easier to break this up into bits before you start mixing), brown sugar, carrot and eggs. I cheated and used a pack of pre-shredded carrots, which I probably should have cut a little bit finer before adding to the mix. I combine it all I used my stand mixer, but a wooden spoon will work just as well.
  • Pop the mixture into your mini loaf tins (or cupcake cases) and bake for 20-25 minutes. The amount of mixture worked out almost perfectly, there was only a bit left after I filled my tins.

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  • Make sure to put your loaf tins on a flat surface, which I forgot to do.

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  • I baked mine for 25 minutes and they looked slightly burned, but I covered the majority of that up with the cream cheese frosting. Leave the cakes to cool before you remove them from the casing- if you don’t they could crumble.
  • Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar in a bowl. I would use 2 1/2 tablespoons of icing sugar instead of the two suggested, just so the taste of the Philadelphia is not so overwhelming.
  • Put the mini loafs in the fridge for around 30 minutes so the icing can set.

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Decorate your mini loafs with whatever you want! I chose pecans, and they added a nice crunch to this sweet treat.

Indulgent Chocolate Brownies

Gooey indulgent chunky chocolate chip brownies.

For my birthday a few years ago, my friend Ella made me a batch of indulgent chocolate brownies with a mint twist. They were so dense and gooey: they really exemplified what makes a good brownie. So I asked, and my friend delivered: below is the recipe for these yummy brownies.

The best thing about these brownies is that they don’t cost much to make as long as you’ve got the usual baking staples already in your cupboard. I only had to buy the eggs, butter, and the baking tin (the tin I bought was was only ¬£3 from Wilkos!).

Ingredients:

350 grams chocolate

225 grams butter

3 large eggs

225 grams caster sugar

75 grams self raising flour

225 grams chocolate chips

Mint extract (add to taste)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/ Fan 170/Gas 5. Grease a 30 x 23cm (12×9 in) tray then line the base with baking parchment. (The tray I bought was only 20×20, which worked out fine).
  2. Break up the chocolate (350 grams) into pieces and melt slowly with the butter (225 grams). The recipe suggested melting the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, but I decided to finely chop my chocolate and melt it in the microwave. Make sure to stir the mixture of butter and chocolate. When it’s finished melting it doesn’t look very attractive, but mine turned out fine! Leave to cool.
  3. In another bowl mix together the eggs (3 large) and caster sugar (225 grams). Gradually beat in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the self raising flour (75 grams) and chocolate chips (225 grams). If you want to add a mint twist to these brownies, add your mint extract to taste now. Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the brownies have a crusty top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

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Leave the brownies to cool in the tin. The recipe advised me to cut the cake into 24 squares, but since my tin is smaller than the book suggests, I only managed to cut mine into 9 pieces.

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Make sure to store your brownies in an air-tight tin to keep them from going stale.

Healthy Carrot Muffin Recipe

Healthy breakfast muffins with a sweet kick.

Recently I’ve been in a baking slump. I want to bake but no one in my house eats what I bake, so I’m left with a batch of brownies or a a triple chocolate cake to myself. Not a good idea.

After hearing about Chocolate Covered Katie’s healthy brownies and healthy breakfast peanut butter donuts, I was seriously interested in baking something sweet but healthy for breakfast. So I was intrigued when I found this recipe from Tasty for Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins.

I followed the recipe almost to the letter, but I did end up substituting the 110 grams of maple syrup for 140 grams of honey. Here’s the full list of ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 140 grams Greek yogurt
  • 140 grams honey
  • 60ml of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 170 grams wholewheat flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 carrot, shredded

This recipe recommended two shredded carrots, but one was enough. I shredded the carrots by using a potato peeler, gathering the strands together, and then finely chopping until the strands were small enough. The recipe also recommended 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, but I’m not a fan so I left it out.

The recipe is as follows:

  1. Preheat your oven to 175C (or 350F).
  2. Whisk the eggs until they are light and fluffy. I used my stand mixer because I don’t have a whisk. The eggs didn’t seem to be getting fluffy, so I ended up beating them with a fork. The eggs still weren’t fluffy.
  3. Add the 140 grams of Greek yogurt and whisk again until the mixture is light and fluffy. Again, I used my stand mixer and the mixture was not fluffy… maybe I didn’t let it mix for long enough?
  4. Pour in the 140 grams of honey, the 60ml of milk, and the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat the mixture until smooth.
  5. Add the 170 grams of wholewheat flour, the 1 3/4 teaspoons of baking powder, and however many shredded carrots you want. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together using a wooden spatula. In hindsight, I should have done this. Instead, I used my stand mixer.
  6.  Portion the muffin mix into twelve cases. The mixture was very liquefied, and I was expecting a thicker batter.
  7. Bake for twenty minutes.
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the liquidy batter

 

They turned out fine! I put a bit too much mix into some cases so these muffins aren’t very uniform, but they are yummy! The casing does not peel away from the muffin very easily which makes me think the cake is too dry, but they are a nice change from the usual moist cake recipes I make. After all, these muffins are designed for breakfast.

The taste of the Greek yogurt and the wholewheat flour really come through, which makes these cakes sweet and bread-like, perfect for a kick in the morning!

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Banana Bread

Easy to make moist banana bread

This moist banana bread recipe is a classic that keeps everyone happy. The more bananery the better. Here are the ingredients:

  • 140 grams butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • 140 grams caster sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 140 self-raising flour
  • Optional: banana chips for decoration

This recipe is so bananery I would not recommend using more than two bananas.

Method:

  1. The original recipe recommended heating the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Because the banana bread can take a while, I always set my oven a little higher and keep an eye on it.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is fluffy. I use a stand mixer for this, but a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon will work just as well.
  3. Add in the beaten eggs slowly with some flour.
  4. When the eggs are mixed with the butter and sugar, fold in the remaining flour, baking powder, and mashed bananas. Make sure the bananas are mashed well, as you do not want clumps of gloopy banana in the baked cake.
  5. Butter a loaf tin and line it with baking parchment. (When I got to this stage I found that I did not have parchment paper. Tin foil works just as well providing you butter it.)
  6. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes. To see whether the cake is done, stick a skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  7. When the cake has cooked allow it to cool in the tin for ten minutes before taking it out. If you try to take the cake out of the tin immediately after it has been in the oven the cake will crumble.
  8. While you are waiting for the cake to cool, mix the icing sugar with 2 or 3 teaspoons of water. Drizzle the icing across the banana bread.

Usually I do not make the icing, but in the interest of being more photogenic I decided to this time.

IMG_0123IMG_0131This rates as the best banana bread I have ever made. It was perfect after 35 minutes at 200C.

Why not try the same recipe for cupcakes or mini loafs? For both of these I recommend 15 minutes at 200C.

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Nom Nom

 

(Trying To Make) Cookie Monster Cupcakes

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

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I was inspired to create Cookie Monster cupcakes from the fabulous baker at hellotherecupcakes, who has the decoration down to a T. I used the BBC good food recipe for my batch of Cookie Monsters.

After doing some research, I realised that most Cookie Monster cupcake recipes use desiccated coconut to create the fur effect on top of the butter cream. Because I hate coconut, I decided to add blue dye to the butter frosting.

I bought edible eyeballs in case piping my own did not go as planned.

For reference, here is what the BBC good food recipe produced:

My first problem arose when I cooked the batch of cupcakes. The above recipe suggests 50 grams of sugar, 50 grams of butter, and 50 grams of flour. The mixture did not even make six cupcakes, and the five it did make were small.

I tried to decorate the small cupcakes as best I could.

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When I tried to lift him up for a better picture, the cookie fell out of his mouth.

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In the end, I had to put him out of his misery. He was clearly in pain. So I threw away the small batch of cupcakes and started again, this time with 200 grams sugar, 200 grams of butter, and 200 grams of flour.

The second batch was much better and made twelve decent sized cupcakes.

The second problem arose when I realised I cannot decorate cupcakes. It is a lot more difficult than it looks, and while I was trying to smooth the butter cream with a knife I remembered bench scrapers exist, and that I probably should have bought one.

Another problem: the eyes. The shop bought edible eyes made the Cookie Monsters look deranged, so I switched to hand made eyeballs after the third deranged looking cupcake.

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Poor Cookie Monster looking a bit worse for wear

In the end, I did not get the result I wanted. I probably need to improve my piping skills. I bought one of these, and when it arrives I’ll try again.

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This nozzle was listed as ‘NEW GRASS/HAIR/FUR ICING PIPING NOZZLE TIP FONDANT CAKE CUPCAKE DECORATING TOOLS’ which seems very aggressively multi functional, so I have high hopes
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They don’t look as bad from further away

Tips for you…

Quadruple the amount of flour/sugar/butter/eggs the good food recipe suggests.

Purchase a GRASS/HAIR/FUR PIPING NOZZLE TIP from the beginning, and your butter cream will not look as dodgy. Alternatively, use desiccated coconut or blue sprinkles on top of the butter cream.

Use gel dye instead of liquid. Gel has a more intense pigment: I had to use all of the 60ml blue liquid dye I bought at Tesco, and still did not achieve the Cookie Monster colour I wanted.

Bonus…

My friend told me that my Cookie Monster cupcakes look like Nev the Bear cupcakes. So if all else fails, tell everyone that you made a cupcake tribute to Nev the Bear.

Image result for nev the bear