Vanilla Cupcakes

vanillacupcakes

I have been on a lifelong search for THE vanilla cupcake recipe. I want something fluffy, moist and made up of ingredients that are regularly hanging around in my kitchen (buttermilk? Who just HAS buttermilk lying around?!). I don’t know if these are my spirit cupcakes but they are a contender. Easy, light and the recipe makes a nice round dozen (that’s a deal breaker, ladies). My icing of choice will always and forever be cream cheese but vanilla is so versatile that you can chuck anything on it. These particular cupcakes were for a disney princess themed birthday so I went with pink icing and edible pearl baubles.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Very slightly adapted from Vanilla Cupcakes over at Annie’s Eats.

115g butter, room temperature

2/3 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

one batch of Cream Cheese Icing, tinted pink

Preheat oven to 175 C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until pale and fluffy.

Beat the eggs in one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula in between additions.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the plain flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture in three lots, alternating with two lots of milk.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl then divide the mixture evenly between the 12 paper liners.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place the icing in a piping bag and decorate as desired.

Whole Grain Double Chocolate Muffins

chocwholemealmuffins

Baking 12 muffins at a time works for large numbers of people but if you are baking for two and you like your muffins fresh, what’s a girl to do? Here’s what. Make up your own muffin mix and bake 4 at a time! Freshly baked muffins err-day. The muffin mix lasts quite a while but mine didn’t last a week (if you know what I mean). It took a few goes to get the timing right with my moody oven but that’s another benefit of baking small batches. If you can’t find/don’t want to buy spelt flour then just replace it with an equal amount of whole grain flour.

Whole Grain Double Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Whole grain double chocolate muffins with salted caramel sauce over at Two Red Bowls.

Muffin mix:

1/2 cup spelt flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients until combined.

Add the vegetable oil and rub it into the mixture with your hands.

This mix will last for a month at room temperature or for three months in the freezer.

To make 4 large muffins:

1 1/4 cups of muffin mix

1 egg

4 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dark choc chips, plus extra for sprinkling.

Preheat the oven to 180 C, line a muffin tin with 4 paper liners.

Mix everything together until just combined then divide evenly between the 4 paper liners.

Sprinkle the top of each muffin with choc chips.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer poked in comes out clean.

Allow to rest in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Jalapeño Cornmeal Muffins

jalapenocheesemuffin

I’m posting this recipe today because I’m going away until the 6th October and it’s impossible for you to be mad at me if you have a muffin in your mouth. I won’t always have access to a computer so I can’t make any promises about regular posting but this recipe is so good that it will see you through. They’re quite sweet but the cheese and jalapeño turn it into a savoury muffin and they are beyond perfection eaten warm with salty butter (splashing on some Tabasco doesn’t hurt either but when is Tabasco NOT a good idea?). I left all of the seeds in the jalapeño and you get a bit of warmth here and there but I’d say these are pretty safe for people who don’t handle their chilli well.

Jalapeño Cornmeal Muffins

Adapted from Jalapeño Sweetcorn Muffins over at Two Red Bowls.

1 1/4 cups plain flour

3/4 cup polenta

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 1/4 cups milk (or buttermilk)

2 eggs

3 tbsp honey

6 tbsp vegetable oil

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

2 spring onions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 200 C and spray a muffin tin thoroughly with oil (you can also line it with paper liners but I find that the cheese in the batter sticks to them, making the paper hard to remove).

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the plain flour, polenta, baking powder, baking soda, salt and caster sugar.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, honey and vegetable oil.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined then fold in the jalapeño, cheese and spring onions.

Divide the mixture between the 12 holes in the muffin tin and bake for 15-18 minutes, when a skewer poked in comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Best eaten slathered with butter and hot sauce.

Blueberry Banana Muffins with Crumble Topping

bluebananacrumble

Do you feel like something is missing for your life? Is there a hole in your heart that you can’t fill? Chances are you’ve been waiting your whole life for this crumble topping and you didn’t even know it. It crisps up in the oven and tastes like donuts (on account of the cinnamon), team that up with juicy berries and banana, it’s kind of a big deal. I don’t even like banana but when it gets cosy with crumble topping and blueberries I can start to see its better qualities. This is basically the same as the Blueberry Muffins that I posted a while back with the small addition of bananas and the not so small addition of the crumble topping (I can’t stress enough how good the topping is, I’m never making muffins again without it). The only problem is that the topping goes a bit soft after the first day, so eat them up up as fast as possible.

This is the first chance since getting back from Melbourne to share all the places that we ended up going to. First there was Half Moon and Rumi, the best Middle Eastern food that has ever found it’s way into my mouth. Saturday I hung with a pal who was a local and she took me to The Grub Food Van and Valhalla Social Cinema for a screening of the sci-fi classic Rollerball (just one movie of a 10 hour marathon but we didn’t have the stamina for more than one movie) then we met up with The Boyfriend and a friend of his for a Korean feast at Oriental Spoon. Sunday was breakfast at a little cafe on Lygon St (I can’t remember its name!), lunch was ramen and gyoza at Hakata Gensuke Ramen, we tried the God Fire, level 2 and it was the perfect level of heat. Of course we made the trip to Haigh’s and loaded up with truffles, peppermint frogs and chocolate coated hazelnuts, then we needed a sit-down so we took all of our chocolate to the movies and saw Guardians of the Galaxy, if you haven’t seen it yet I can highly recommend it (think Andy from Parks and Recreation getting up to hijinks in space to an amazing soundtrack). Sunday dinner was at Spice Temple and it was some of the most inspiring Chinese food I’ve ever eaten (lettuce hearts and Chinese ham stir-fried in XO sauce!). Monday breakfast we took a group of 9 people to The Hardware Societe and somehow managed to get a table (this place is so popular it was a small miracle) and we ate what was basically a charcuterie platter with eggs to make it breakfast acceptable, a stroke of genius. Lunch was ramen again because IT IS THAT GOOD. Then home again after the best long weekend of my life, I swear we ate so much that I wasn’t properly hungry the whole time we were there.

Blueberry Banana Muffins with Crumble Topping

Adapted from Banana Walnut Muffins over at Rachel Schultz and Blueberry Crumb Cake over at Smitten Kitchen.

Crumble Topping:

1/3 cup plain flour

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

55g butter, room temperature

Place all of the ingredients together in a bowl then rub the butter into the mixture until it is completely combined and resembles wet sand.

Muffins:

2 cups plain flour

1 cup caster sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

4 tbsp butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh blueberries (more if you’re a berry fiend)

Preheat oven to 175 C.

Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper liners.

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

In a small saucepan combine milk and butter, warm over a low heat until the butter is just melted.

Add vegetable oil, vanilla essence, eggs and bananas to the milk mixture and whisk well.

Add wet mixture into the dry and mix until just combined, then fold in the blueberries gently to avoid turning your batter grey.

Divide the batter between the 12 liners and sprinkle each one with 2 tbsp of the crumble topping.

Bake for 25-30 mins, until muffins are light brown.

Cinnamon Bread + 100th Post!

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100 posts, woop woop! I’m loving this blogging thing and I hope you are, too. I was hoping to find a special recipe for the occasion and this one fell into my lap right on time.

Calling this ‘bread’ is a little bit misleading, it’s just cake baked in a loaf tin but as far as I can tell it’s an easier version of Amish Cinnamon Bread, a yeasted bread that takes a lot longer (but isn’t actually Amish and no one knows where the name came from?!). This recipe is all over the internet and originally made two loaves but I halved it because I wanted to save myself and you from eating two loaves of this stuff. It tastes like donuts in cake form and the sugar on top forms a little crackly crust that is just begging to be picked off and eaten. My sister got through a few slices before dinner as well as one after, she then decided that she needed to take it to her work in order to avoid eating the whole thing by herself. And apparently now I’m banned from making it ever again, we’ll see how long that lasts!

If you don’t have a loaf tin then bake it in a cake tin and call it Cinnamon Cake.

Cinnamon Bread

Adapted from The Amazing Amish Cinnamon Bread Alternative over at Red Fly Creations.

Cinnamon Topping:

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.

Bread:

110g butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer then beat in the egg, salt and vanilla.

Beat in the buttermilk, flour and bicarbonate soda into the mixture until just combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf tin, spread it out evenly with a spatula then sprinkle over 3/4 of the cinnamon topping.

Spread over the other half of the batter and sprinkle evenly with the rest of the cinnamon topping.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, allow to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mocha Chip Muffins with Streusel

mochamuffin

Streusel is the bomb but a plate is recommended when eating these muffins because it goes errr-verywhere. I made these because I was inspired by the Brown Butter Espresso Chip Muffins over at the beautiful Sprouted Kitchen but the original recipe called for flours that I didn’t own, so instead I improvised my go-to muffin recipe. I used decaf instant coffee just to be on the safe side but go with whatever you have on hand.

It is really hard to concentrate right now because I’m being exposed to The Bachelor for the first time and I can’t handle it. The date situations are so contrived and the women are so competitive. The four of us are enthralled by how crazy it all is and laughing constantly. I think this is going to have to be a regular occurrence from now on, dinner and The Bachelor.

Mocha Chip Muffins with Streusel

Inspired by Sara’s Brown Butter Espresso Chip Muffins over at Sprouted Kitchen, adapted from Rachel’s Classic Muffins over at Rachel Schultz.

Streusel

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

big pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Muffins

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup wholemeal flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup milk

4 tbsp butter

1 tbsp decaf instant coffee

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl combine the plain flour, wholemeal flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips, whisk until combined.

In a small saucepan combine the milk, butter and instant coffee, place over low heat and stir until the butter has just melted.

Whisk in the oil, eggs and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir with a spatula until just combined.

Divide between the 12 paper liners.

Sprinkle each muffin with 1 tbsp of the streusel mixture and bake for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Lime and Vanilla Cupcakes with Buddercream Icing (Vegan)

veganlimecupcakes

I want to tell you all about a project that a family member of mine is undertaking and is putting all of her passion into. It’s called The Bare Basics and the plan is to publish a cookbook that focuses on moving away from pre-packaged food to easy, nutritious recipes that can be tackled by even the greenest cooks. The brainchild and author is Kelly, a trained nutritionist who just wants people to eat real food without missing out on flavour. Why should you be interested? Well, the recipes are modelled by a group of lovely, oiled up men wearing only the food they’re making. Check out some of the boys here. To get updates and peeks behind the scenes like The Bare Basics on Facebook and if you want to pledge money to get the cookbook published (and get a little somethin’ somethin’ in return) head to their Kickstarter. Kickstarter works by accepting a pledge of money and in return you will be given certain items if the Kickstarter is successful. No money is taken out of your account until the campaign is successfully concluded, if the target goal of money isn’t reached then no one is charged anything. Ever had a dream? Well this is Kelly’s and you can help her out. Give a girl a chance.

On to the recipe! This is my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe, not just my favourite vegan vanilla cupcake recipe. You want to know why you should try it? No dairy or eggs means that you can make it without having to run to the shops because you’re out of milk or you ate your last egg for breakfast. The original recipe used soy milk but I don’t usually have it in the house so water it is. These cakes are fluffy and moist, something that seems rare in a vanilla cupcake these days. I need moisture, people! The recipe achieves this with a very wet batter so don’t freak when the mixture looks really runny, just mix it really well and scoop away. They rise and form domes just like cupcakes that are full of dairy and eggs, you wouldn’t know the difference by eating them. The best fun is feeding them to people then yelling “THEY’RE VEGAN!’ and disappearing in a puff of smoke.

I always use a medium ice-cream scoop to evenly distribute the cake batter but this mixture is so runny that you could even use a 1/4 cup measure for the same purpose. If Buddercream isn’t to your liking then make a glaze by combining 3/4 cup icing sugar with 2 tbsp lime juice, stir well and drizzle over the completely cooled cupcakes. If you do choose to go the Buddercream route just check the ingredients of the margarine to make sure that there are no dairy products in it. Otherwise you will be guilty of the terrible sin that is secretly feeding animal products to a vegan (so secret that you didn’t even know you were doing it!).

Lime and Vanilla Cupcakes with Buddercream Icing (Vegan)

Cupcakes adapted from Golden Vanilla Cupcakes and Icing adapted from Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting, both from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. 

Lime and Vanilla Cupcakes

1 cup water

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups plain flour

2 tbsp corn flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 175 C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners.

In a bowl large enough to hold the finished batter, whisk together the water, vinegar, salt, oil, sugar and vanilla extract.

Sift in the plain flour, corn flour, baking powder and baking soda and whisk well to combine.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure that the mixture is well combined (it will be wet, don’t worry it’s meant to be like that).

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 paper liners and bake for 20 minutes (if you are using small paper liners then only fill them up 2/3).

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lime and Vanilla Buddercream Icing

1 cup margarine (check to make sure it’s vegan)

2 cups icing sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

juice of 1 lime

Beat the margarine with a handheld mixer until fluffy then mix in the sugar and beat for 3 minutes.

Add in the vanilla extract and lime juice then beat for another 5-7 minutes.

Transfer the icing to a piping bag and pipe on to the completely cooled cupcakes.