Toblerone Cupcakes

IMG_2580Hello friends. Firstly, apologies for the slight hiatus last week – I was off sunning myself (ok, and getting a bit rained on) in Barcelona – but now I’m back and already getting ready for Christmas. Forty days people.

The one thing that makes its way into mine and my brother’s stockings every year, without fail, is a box of Toblerone minis from my Grandma; the subsequent trading of (my) white chocolate ones for (his) dark has become something of a ritual. So, when I spotted this recipe for Toblerone cupcakes in the Primrose Bakery’s new Christmas book, it practically sang carols to me. These are a little taste of a Bailey family Christmas, in November — though, to be honest, they wouldn’t go amiss any time of year.

Ingredients

220g margarine or unsalted butter, softened
250g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g self raising flour
100g cocoa powder
120ml milk

100g milk chocolate
100g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
50ml milk

Three 100g Toblerone bars, broken into pieces

Makes 18.

 

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Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan and line two cupcake trays with 18 cases.

Cream together the butter/margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl or mug, beat the eggs and vanilla essence together with a fork.

To help stop the batter curdling when you add the liquid, get your eggs and butter/fat the same temperature: if you’re using softened butter, bring your eggs to room temperature, too; if you’re using margarine that doesn’t need to be softened, keep them in the fridge. Weigh out your cocoa powder and flour and mix them together before you add the egg, just in case it does begin to curdle.

Add the egg and vanilla mixture a bit at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding the next. If it does start to separate, throw in a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to bring it back together.

Once all the egg is mixed in, add the remaining cocoa powder and flour and beat. Lastly, add the milk and mix until smooth. Divide equally between the cupcake cases to about three quarters full.

Press a piece of Toblerone into the top of each one — try not to go right down to the bottom, it doesn’t matter if they poke out the top a bit — and bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the side (around the piece of chocolate!) comes out clean. Leave to cool on a rack.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave or over a bain-marie and set aside to cool.

Using a handheld electric beater or a standalone mixer, cream the butter until smooth, then add the icing sugar a bit at a time until well combined and fluffy. Lastly, mix in the milk and melted chocolate.

I piped the icing onto these cakes using a closed-star Wilton 2D nozzle, to give a more ruffled swirl — unlike the straighter ones produced by the open-star 1M that I used for my Coffee & Biscoff Cupcakes. For the finishing touch, pop a second piece of Toblerone on top of each one.

You could easily make these with any kind of chocolate you fancy, though something “meaty” that won’t completely disappear when baked would work best – I’m thinking Mars Bar or Crunchie.

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Coffee & Biscoff Cupcakes

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My relationship with coffee cake is a troubled one. I consider it to be my favourite flavour – and yet I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one that I actually liked all that much. Hence, the perfect coffee cake has become something of a Holy Grail for me. This one isn’t quite there because it’s nothing like that traditional coffee cake that your Nan used to make in the eighties, but it’s still pretty darn good. For a start, it actually tastes of coffee.

This recipe is a combination of several different versions I’ve tried along my quest and uses buttermilk, brown sugar and bicarb for a moist, dark and slightly denser sponge than your traditional coffee cake. I’ve also thrown in a few spoons of Biscoff spread for good measure. If you haven’t discovered it yet, Biscoff is made from those little caramelised Lotus biscuits in the red packets that come with your coffee in Europe and is fast replacing Nutella as my eat-it-out-of-the-jar-in-a-crisis food.

If you close your eyes and concentrate really, really hard, you could almost be sipping a smooth, black Americano, overlooking the canals of Amsterdam. Sort of.

Ingredients
115g cooking marge
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
150g plain flour
150g caster sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 large egg
60ml buttermilk
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

125g butter
250g icing sugar
2 heaped tablespoons Biscoff spread
Crushed biscuits, to decorate

Makes 12, plus a couple of extras for testing and leaving one at home for your Mum (I made a slightly larger batch for the pictures).

 

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Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Melt the margarine in the microwave or in a pan on the hob. Dissolve the coffee in 125ml of boiling water. Retain a tablespoon for the icing and mix the rest into the melted butter.

Stir the flour and sugars into the margarine and coffee mixture and leave to cool it slightly.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg and bicarb with a fork, then add to coffee mixture and mix until combined.

It is a thin batter due to the high liquid content so don’t panic if it doesn’t look like your usual Victoria sponge – it isn’t meant to.

Spoon the mixture into your cupcake cases to the usual two-thirds full and bake for 20-25 minutes (mine take 22, but ovens do vary).

When a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the tin, before transferring to a cooling rack. Take the butter out of the fridge to soften in the meantime.

For the icing you will need either a standalone mixer or a handheld electric beater. Cream the softened butter for a minute or two until smooth, then add the icing sugar a little at a time while mixing on low speed. Once combined, continue to beat until light and fluffy – about 4-5 minutes.

Add the Biscoff spread and beat until combined, then add the remaining dissolved coffee, a teaspoon at a time to taste. When you’re happy with the result, fit a disposable piping bag with a large star nozzle (I used a Wilton 1M) and spoon the icing into the bag, twisting and securing the top with an elastic band.

Starting at the outside of the cake, pipe swirls clockwise, pushing down and pulling away to end when you reach the middle. Sprinkle with crushed biscuits: whatever you’ve got lying around – I used amaretti – or Lotus biscuits if you’re being really authentic.

A caffeine-related warning: these may be ones to enjoy instead of your mid-morning coffee rather than with it. Unless you’re having one of those kind of days, in which case, go for it.

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Raspberry friands (GF)

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Friands are small, oval-shaped teacakes made with almond flour and egg whites, originally French but – for some reason I have yet to glean – very popular in Australia. They’re a close cousin of the loaf-shaped financier, the main difference being the shape and the absence of beurre noisette. This recipe is easily divided in half to just make six for a little afternoon tea.

In honour of a very old (time we’ve known each other, she’s only 22) and very lovely friend of mine who recently moved Down Under, I’ve made theses ones gluten-free, but you could use normal flour instead. Unless you have a specialist cook shop near you, the tins are a little hard to find in store (for once, Lakeland failed me) – I got mine on Amazon – but you could make them in muffin tins, though I think the shape is half the charm.

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter
6 egg whites
250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
50g gluten-free plain flour
170g ground almonds
180-200g fresh raspberries

Makes 12.

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Method

Lightly grease your friand (or muffin) tin and preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pan on the hob and set aside to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a standalone mixer or in a second mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft, floppy peaks.

Mix the icing sugar, flour and almonds together in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and stir until combined, then do the same with the melted butter.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, then press two or three raspberries into the top of each one.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

When baked, leave to cool for five minutes in the tin to allow them to shrink away from the edges of the tin slightly, then loosen with a palette knife and remove. Dust with icing sugar and serve with fresh raspberries.