Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


Friday Photo – Cake

I had a cake commission today *small fist pump*.  Not just a cake commission, a cake commission with the spec of “12 cupcakes, whatever you want, suitable for children”.  Cool.

So I made vanilla sponge cakes, took the core out and filled it with toffee sauce and then put a swirl of salted toffee buttercream on the top.  If you’d like the recipe, let me know and I’ll post up over on Bake Yummy.  The downside being that the cakes were in the oven by 8am as the children wanted porridge for breakfast and oddly enough needed to get to school.

What do you reckon..?


Do Something Yummy – Share Cake

This week, Love All Blogs are asking us to “#dosomethingyummy – share cake!”  and post a picture of cake to raise awareness and support of Yummy Mummy Week – 10-18th March 2012. Yummy Mummy Week is a week long fundraising event where mums are being asked to get together with friends and family and ‘do something yummy’ for CLIC Sargent.

So here you are – cake,

And if you want to do something yummy and bake some cakes in support of CLIC Sargent (or any other charity for that matter) here are some of my very easy recipes – great for baking with children.


After Eight Cupcakes

I have neglected the blog a little this week – mainly flailing my way through work and the end of term whilst setting myself the ‘oh so easy’ task of making boxes of 4 cupcakes for the teachers at school – but a 4 different types of cupcake in each box – all my own creations.  However, I now have ample recipes to share so here’s the first –

After Eight cupcakes

You will need:

A cupcake/muffin tin lined with cupcake cases.  I’d recommend using some heavier duty cases for these cakes as they are very moist.

150g of After Eight mints.  They come in boxes of 300g (currently 1/3 off in most supermarkets!)
150g of butter
150g dark muscavado sugar
2 eggs
50g Self Raising flour
For the icing – 75g cocoa powder, 275g icing sugar and 175g very soft butter.  Peppermint extract if you have it.

This is a very similar technique to my oreo brownie cupcakes so here goes:

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, Gas 4, Fan 160.

In a microwaveable bowl, melt together the butter (cut it into lumps first, it melts faster) and the After Eights.  Do this in the microwave on Medium (not High the After Eights will scorch) in 30 second bursts giving it a bit of stir each time to combine it all together.

Let it cool a little then add the eggs – beat them into the mix with a fork.  Then add the muscavado sugar.  This can be a bit lumpy so mix this in with the fork as well to keep it smooth.  Finally mix in the flour – go gently just to make sure it’s all mixed together.  You’ll end up with a shiny gloopy mixture.

This mix will make 10 generous cupcakes or 12 smaller ones so share out the mixture accordingly.   I’d recommend using an ice-cream scoop for this as it makes it so much easier to manage.

Cooking time is going to vary depending whether you’re making 10 big ones or 12 smaller ones.  I found that the big ones took a good half an hour to cook – I checked them after 15 minutes or so (turned the tin around in the oven to make sure they cooked evenly) and kept an eye on them – you need to end up with a slightly cracked top which is firm to the touch.  If it’s too soft your delicious cake will remain delicious but sink in the middle!

Allow to cool before icing.

To make the icing, beat the cocoa, icing sugar and butter together (use your trusty hand mixer) – add a couple of drops of peppermint extract if a)you have any and b)you want to.  To bind it all together, add a tablespoon of boiling water to the mix at a time until you’ve got a smooth buttercream.  The boiling water gives the icing a really shiny finish.

Pipe/dollop/spread your icing as you like and decorate if you wish.  These cakes are really rich but if you want to cut some After Eight’s in half and put them on the top you could make them even more decadent!

I’m told these are far better with a coffee (rather than tea) or perhaps something after dinner drinksy…


Oreo Brownie Cupcakes

As a little break from the norm (and because I’m told you, good readers, may be interested), here’s the recipe for the Oreo brownie cupcakes I made yesterday.  The recipe is a combination of various recipes that I’ve refined over time, with thanks to the lovely internet and the Cupcakes book by Susannah Blake.

Photo of an Oreo cookie on a white table.

Image via Wikipedia

So, you’ll need

A pack of Oreos.  Whatever type takes your fancy – (or is on special offer).  You’ll need at least 12 biscuits

  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped/bashed up in small pieces
  • 150g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar (although light muscavado sugar makes an excellent alternative!
  • 50g self raising flour

For the icing

  • 200g butter – very very soft
  • 400g icing sugar

You’ll also need 12 muffin size cases – be they silicone or paper cases, they need to be a decent depth and a 12 hole deep muffin tin (if you’re not using silicone).

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, 160C Fan or Gas 4

Firstly, slide one layer of biscuit off each oreo – so you’ve got the layer of cream on the biscuit.  Put this in (cream side up) in the bottom of each cake case.  Save the single biscuit layer for later.

Chop the butter into smallish pieces (no skill required, just break it up a bit) and put it in a heat-proof bowl with the chocolate.  If you are a domestic goddess, melt the two together over a bain-marie.  Alternatively, stick it the in microwave on medium (not high) for 2 minutes and give it a good stir.

Let this mixture cool a little and then add the eggs and beat them in well.  (Don’t do this while the choc/butter mixture is really hot because you’ll end up with chocolate scrambled egg – bleurgh).  Then stir in the sugar.

Finally sift the flour add the flour to the mix and fold in well so there are no floury bits left.  You’ll get a thick runny mixture – akin to a brownie mix rather than a sponge.

Fill each muffin case with the mixture (you’re covering the Oreo underneath) – you can fill almost to the top as it’s not going to rise very much.  This mixture should do you 12 generously filled cakes.

Bake gently for about 25 minutes (now this is how long mine took, every oven is different) until the top is pale and crackly (brownie like) and just firm to the touch.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool (obviously when they’re cool enough to handle).

Once they’re cooled ice to your liking.  For the completely indulgent approach, mix the icing sugar and softened butter together and add a splodge of water/milk/cream to make a butter icing.  A hand mixer really helps this process and you need it quite soft if you’re going to pipe it.   Bash up about 8 of the remaining single Oreo biscuits to a very fine crumb (plastic bag, rolling pin, bit of pent up stress = job done) and beat these into the butter icing.  They won’t make the icing a particularly nice colour but it definitely tastes good.  If you want to change the colour, replace 50g of the icing sugar with 50g of cocoa for a seriously chocolately hit.

I piped the icing with a star nozzle (that’s why you need to make the crumb really fine in the icing, otherwise it gets stuck) but dolloping it on and spreading out with a knife would be just as effective.

Decorate with sprinkles, mini oreos or whatever else takes your fancy.

Enjoy x

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