Saturday, 29 June 2013

Malva Pudding Cupcakes with Amarula Mascarpone Icing

When I saw a recipe for Malva pudding in the Taste Magazine, I was reminded of the delicious-ness of that dish.
It is a perfect, sweet and sticky winter comfort food.
But I had no excuse to make a pudding (ja, I know - do you really need an excuse to make pudding?!) and lots of reasons to make cupcakes. So hey presto! the idea for  Malva Pudding Cupcakes was born. Well, actually I thought I was being very clever and original, but apparently not - according to Google. However, I did also come up with the idea of Amarula Mascarpone Icing - which hasn't made an appearance on the web, yet. And so I gleefully claim that one as all my own invention!
Yes, of course I will share it with you :o)

As it turns out, I misplaced that Taste magazine, so instead I used Sarah Graham's recipe for the pudding; recipe for the sauce, and the icing - can I say it again?! - is an original (take that, Google!)

Malva Pudding Cupcakes
recipe from

Preheat oven to 180'C
Line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake cases.

1 cup flour
1tsp baking soda
Pinch salt

1tsp vinegar or lemon juice
1tbs melted butter
1tbs smooth apricot jam
1 cup milk

1 egg
1 cup sugar

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together in a bowl.

Use an electric mixer to cream together the sugar and egg. Then mix in the jam, butter and lemon juice/ vinegar.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.

Mix well.

Divide batter evenly between cupcake cases.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until their tops are just starting to turn golden.
Remove from oven - and immediately pour a little sauce over each cupcake.

recipe from

1/3 cup cream
2 tbs butter
2tbs sugar
3tbs water
Melt all the sauce ingredients together, then pour over cupcakes when they come out the oven.

(Note - this makes much less sauce than what you would use for a whole malva pudding - if you want to make enough sauce for a pudding, then use
1 cup cream
115g butter
100g sugar
1/2 cup hot water).

Amarula Mascarpone Icing
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

250g mascarpone - from fridge
125 ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream - from fridge
1/2 cup icing sugar
30 - 40 ml Amarula (depending on how boozy you want it!)

Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a mixer**, beat with the whisk attachment until it reaches piping consistency.

**The trick with making any whipped cream icing is to use a chilled bowl and whisk. They should be placed in the freezer for at least 20minutes before using.
I'd left mine in for about half an hour - it was so cold when I took it out, that my fingers stuck to it! But the icing whipped up to the right consistency in less than a minute. And it was definitely worth a few chilblains!

Pipe icing onto the cupcakes once they are cool.



Thursday, 27 June 2013

Chocolate Crunchies

Hot on the heels of my previous bake-for/ with-the-kids recipe, is this classic South African favorite - chocolate crunchies.

I always add some extra dates and seeds, too - great for flavour and full of nutritional benefits - to offset the butter and chocolate. (And appease maternal guilt when the kids ask for second and third pieces!)
In fact these are so yummy, that they qualify for very-top-shelf storage - out of reach of children and husbands!

Provided you have all the ingredients on hand, making these is straight forward, and the kids really enjoy mixing all the dry ingredients together - save handling the hot stuff for yourself, obviously : )

Chocolate crunchies

Preheat oven to 180'C

1 cup flour
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sugar
2TBS cocoa powder

Mix together in a large bowl.

125g butter
2 TBS golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda

Melt together the butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Stir in the baking soda.

Add this to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix well.
The mixture will still be crumbly.

Press firmly into a lined, 20-22cm square baking pan.*

Bake at 180'C for 20 min.

* The best way to line it is with a cross of parchment that extends over the edges of the pan - it makes removing it from the pan later a cinch.

Chocolate Glaze

1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2TBS cocoa powder
2TBS milk
1TBS butter
1tsp Vanilla

Heat on high in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth. While still hot, pour over the crunchies when they come out the oven.
Tilt the pan to distribute the topping over the entire surface.

Leave to cool before removing from the tin and cutting into squares.

According to my (4 year old) son, the kitchen smelt "just like hot chocolate" while these were baking - hmmmn.... just like hot chocolate, only crunchy ;o)


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Jammy Flower Biscuits

It's school holidays! Sleeping late, and not having to fight morning traffic....
Oh, wait a minute - my children still wake up with the first songbirds, and school is a 2 minute walk away...
Admittedly, though, there is a certain laziness to the days - in part due to the fact that it is almost impossible to get any work done with 2 youngsters calling for Mommeeee! every few minutes!

So, my next two recipe shares are child-oriented ones - things that you can make with or for your children.  And they loooove the results!

Jammy Flower Biscuits:

You'll need:

  • strawberry jam
  • cookie dough.
  • cookie cutters
  • rolling pins (more than one if you've got little helpers)
  • flour for dusting
  • baking sheets

Use this basic butter cookie recipe
Or this chocolate cookie recipe.

They both make a lot of cookies! So either halve the ingredients, or freeze the remaining dough - I'm a big fan of having cookie dough already made up and ready in the freezer- very handy for busy moms.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface.
Cut out the shapes - kids love doing this.
Pair up, and cut out the centre of the cookie in one of each pair - a large icing nozzle/piping tip is great for this.
Lay this one on top of the un-cored cookie.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Spoon a small amount of strawberry jam into each centre you've created.

Bake for 10-15minutes - until just starting to turn golden.
Remove from oven.
Sprinkle the centre with granulated sugar, if desired.
Allow to cool before eating - the jam is really hot when it comes out the oven.

Happy holidays!


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Gold Paint: Painting with Luster Dust

{{Psssst! Have you noticed that Luster Dust has a ... well, there's no easy way to say this...a bit of an alcohol problem?!
Too little of the stuff and it isn't very sociable, just sits in the corner in a sulk.
Too much, and it's out of control, unmanageable!}}

Ok. Clearly my anthropomorphizing is out of control, too! Must be all the time spent in the company of cookies and cupcakes!

Really now: luster dust doesn't actually dissolve in alcohol, it stays in suspension. So if you want to make a paint out if it, you need to achieve a balance between liquid and powder.

Charm Bracelet Cookies with Gold Luster Paint

Gold paint:

You'll need:

Gold luster dust
Clear alcohol* (vodka, cane; or clear extracts - like lemon - with a high alcohol percentage).

* use alcohol, not water because it evaporates rapidly and doesn't dissolve the surface you're painting!

Place about 1/4 tsp luster dust in a small container, add a few drops of clear alcohol. Mix with a paintbrush.
It should be neither too liquid - the luster won't stay where you're painting it; nor too thick and clumpy. Sometimes it is easier to aim for clumpy, then just add a drop or two more of the alcohol to get the desired consistency.

Then just paint it onto the area you want gilded, allow to dry - the alcohol evaporates pretty quickly. Repeat until you have the coverage you want.

Once all the alcohol has evaporated from your paint, you can return the luster dust to its container for re-use.

NB The design of these cookies is from Amber Spiegel - to see her tutorial go to

Happy decorating!


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Fondant Ballerina

Despite the fact that it is Father's Day today, I've been getting stuck into making something very "girly": a fondant figure ballerina. My husband is getting treated to quality time with the kids while I'm busy ; )

When I model figures, I use fondant with tylose powder added to it. (You can read more about using modeling paste and tylose here). One of these days I'm going to have to try my hand at modeling chocolate. I think what's holding me back is that although these figures are edible - you're not really going to eat them, though. Are you?? So, it seems like a waste of good chocolate!

There are a few things I find tricky with realistic figurines - the limbs and eyes being a couple of them. 6 in total, actually!
(Does she look super-wide-eyed to you?!)

And sometimes dressing them can be tricky.

This is how I made the skirt for Miss Wide-eyed Ballerina:

Then just a bit of frilling with a toothpick, and it was a perfect fit around her waist.

Now, just to work on the eyes, arms, legs, hands....! 


Chocolate-Cinnamon Kugelhopf

How delicious is the scent of cinnamon coming from an oven? Irresistible, isn't it?
And pair that with chocolate and raisins all in a doughy, buttery bread-like package: hmm -mmnn!

So,  I've had to set myself a goal - I have to share this recipe with you before I'm allowed to have another slice.
Ok, so this is going to be quick!

Chocolate Kugelhopf

recipe adapted from


1 cup milk
175g butter, cut into cubes + extra
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla extract (as you know, I use Vanilla Girl vanilla - 8-10 drops!)
10g (1 sachet) instant yeast
3 eggs + 1 yolk


Boil milk, then add the butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir until well combined, then transfer to the bowl of a mixer and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and the yeast, and beat on low speed. 
Beat in the eggs and yolk, 1 at a time.
Add the remaining flour, half a cup at a time, beating on low speed. 

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth. 

Place into a buttered bowl; turn the dough over to coat with the butter. 
Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and leave to rise in a warm place. It will take about an hour for the dough to double in size. 

Punch the dough down, the roll out into a large rectangle (less than 1cm thick).


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins/ sultanas
200g dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter melted

Brush melted butter over the dough.

Sprinkle the filling over the dough, leave a 2cm border around all edges. 

Roll the dough - starting from the long side - into a sausage shape. 

Curl it into a greased Bundt tin; cover and allow to rise again until doubled - about 1 1/2 hrs. 

Preheat oven to 180'C. 
Bake for 40min, until golden. 

Enjoy! (I know you will!)
; )


(PS see here for a traditional poppy-seed kugelhopf recipe.)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Chocolate Cookie Recipe

I've posted my chocolate cookie recipe before, but it has been a while since I baked them for a class, so I though it was time for a quick re-visit.

These cookies are great just as they are, but we will (of course!) be decorating them in our Fathers' Day classes.
(BTW - is it Father's Day, Fathers' Day or Fathers Day?? That apostrophe has been bugging me all week!)

Chocolate Cookies
recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

300g caster sugar
250g butter, at room temp.
2 eggs
540g flour
80g unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt.
Vanilla extract
1-2 TBS milk

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
Sift in the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to clump. (If the mixture seems too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of milk).
Knead into a ball by hand, then wrap in cling film/ place in a freezer bag and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Take out the fridge about 30minutes before you are ready to roll it out and cut out your shapes. Refrigerate cut out shapes for about 15 minutes before baking.

( For some basic tips on rolling out and cutting out cookies, see here).

If the baked cookies come out the oven with any bubbles on their surfaces, simply take a cake smoother or a palette knife and gently smooth out the surface while the cookies are still hot.

Leave to cool completely before decorating... but you have to try at least one still warm from the oven!



Creating a (Pineapple) Cookie

For the fruit cookie classes I wanted to do some pineapples - decorated using the "quilting" technique. But I don't have a pineapple cookie cutter. So, abandon the idea or improvise?
Well, obviously I improvised...!

It can be really fun coming up with a way to create a shape out of other shapes. (Callye from Sweet Sugar Belle is really amazing with this!) and gratifying to get extra use out of sometimes obscure, how-did-I-justify-buying-that-one? cookie-cutters.

I'm sure you don't plan on constructing a pineapple cookie any time soon. Do you??
So, you can skip the photos if you want to - just follow the principles:

(For some basic tips on working with cookie dough see here.)


When you're making a cookie out of two or more cutters, create as long seam between the two as possible (in this case, because it was at the "neck" of the cookie - a real weak spot,
I cut out a wedge on the top of the apple, rather than just straight across, to increase the length of the join).

Use a cookie dough that isn't too dry and crumbly (Link for my butter cookie recipe)

Assemble on the baking tray.

Use your fingers to get the two edges thoroughly melded together, no tiny gaps should remain.


Remove from the oven, but leave to cool completely on the baking sheet before moving the cookies. 

Avoid handling at the join.

Once dried, the iced cookie will be stronger than un-iced.

Make extra, just in case some still break.

Happy cookie-creating!


Monday, 3 June 2013

Spicy Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

While we were having a hot and blustery day here in Durban (poor Comrades Marathon runners!), Cape Town was being blanketed in a layer of hail-stones. Pretty bizarre winter weather. I'm sure in all 6 years that I was studying in Cape Town, it didn't hail there once. Lot's of rain, lots of wind, but no hail. And I'm sure I'd remember if it had (even though it's 15 years ago that I left) because the old skadonk that I drove then, probably would have fallen apart at the seams if it had been hit by hail!

Anyway... here's another spiced up winter recipe. But if you want to transform it into a light and breezy summer treat, instead - just omit the spices.

Spicy Orange Cupcakes with White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream 
recipe adapted from

Juice and zest of 1 medium orange 
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
120g butter, at room temp.
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground cardamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180'C
Line 2 muffin trays with cupcake cases.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices to combine.

In a measuring jug, add 1/4 cup orange juice to the buttermilk.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, and orange zest.
 Add the eggs, 1 at a time - scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk/juice mix to the mixing bowl. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
Beat on low speed until mixed.

Spoon into prepared cases.

Bake at 180'C until a skewer inserted comes out clean (approx 20min). 

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

5 large egg whites
1 cup  white granulated sugar
340g butter, cut into cubes, at room temp. 
2tsp vanilla extract *

1 tsp orange extract*
200g white chocolate - melted and cooled.

* I use Vanilla Girl  extracts - so 8-10 drops of each.  

Put the egg whites and sugar into a mixing bowl, and place that over a suitable saucepan of simmering water. The bottom of the mixing bowl must not be in contact with the water.

Whisk constantly, until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch.

Move off the stove, and to the mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whip until it forms a thick and glossy meringue.
When the mixing bowl feels neutral to touch (ie, no longer hot), change over to the paddle attachment, and add the butter one cube at a time.

It may curdle, but just keep whipping until it reaches a satiny smooth consistency and holds its shape. Add the extracts.
Pour in the cooled, melted white chocolate. **
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

** as the chocolate goes into the icing, some of it hardens, and forms small chunks, beat for a few minutes to minimize the size of these. I find that they don't disappear completely, though, and it is best to pipe this icing with a plain round nozzle, or an open star tip. 

Happy baking!