Saturday, 15 November 2014

Hello! Sit down, have some cupcakes won't you?

I guess this is Hello!

This is, obviously, my first post here so perhaps introductions are in order no?

I'll keep it brief don't worry because I have a delicious cupcake recipe to share with you guys as a welcome.

So, I am Shen. I am 27 and a PhD student studying early modern History, so 1500-1700 (give or take a few years!). So I guess that makes me a hard up grad student as unfortunately studying does not bring in the money, at least not during your studies, in fact it tends to take it away from you in vast quantities! So whilst there are vast numbers of bloggers out there writing for students I think most of them focus on undergraduates, people who are just starting out their education career and perhaps need more help learning how to cook. Once you are further along in you studies (and life) a whole new set of challenges comes along. My days as a young, fresh-faced teenager entering into the wide world without a care in the world are far behind me (:() and now I live with my partner (who shall henceforth be known as Mr. Grad) and juggle studying full time with running a household on a limited budget whilst trying to keep things interesting, healthy and fun as well as cheap.

So, yes, that's me!  I am totally new to this whole thing so hopefully I won't bore you too much and we'll have some laughs and good food along the way!

Now, down to the real business... cupcakes!! Who doesn't like a good cupcake (or 5) now and then? I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't go gooey-eyed over cupcakes and I don't think I want to meet them if they exist! Seriously... you don't like cupcakes? What kind of monster are you?? 

Personally I prefer cupcakes over cake! There's something about those delicious bites of cakey goodness with the perfect ratio of mouthwatering icing with endless combination possibilities! They are just so much more versatile than cake! 

I recently made these cupcakes for Mr. Grad to take to work, they got massive thumbs up from his colleagues who devoured them in minutes. I do hope that you enjoy them! Scratch that, I know you will!! I mean... just look at them!! Imagine them with a nice cup of coffee (or tea) with your feet up!

Chocolate, Coffee Biscoff Cupcakes. makes 12 cupcakes.

The cupcakes have a glorious rich, dark chocolate cupcake that just melts in the mouth and then the sweet biscoff buttercream with just a hint of chocolate. I personally like to use the little biscuit as a spoon to convey that delicious creaminess right where it needs to be... in my belly! 

(I know it seems like a lot of steps but it's honestly not, while the cupcakes are baking you can have the buttercream made and sitting in the fridge!)

For the Cupcakes:
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 150g Caster Sugar (I like to use golden caster sugar but white will do fine)
  • 40g Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp Instant Coffee (I use espresso powder, it gives such a better flavour!)
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 113g Butter - melted 
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 120ml Fresh Brewed Coffee - cooled
For the Frosting:
  • 150g Butter
  • 350g Icing Sugar - sifted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 65g Lotus Biscoff Spread 
For the Ganache:
  • 75g Dark or Milk Chocolate -finely chopped
  • 50ml Double Cream  
For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake liners. 
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Instant Coffee, Bicarb. and Salt.
  3. Add the eggs, butter and vanilla to the bowl and beat on a medium speed for one minute until well combined.
  4. Pour in half of the coffee and beat for 20 seconds on medium speed again, scrape down the sides and then add in the rest of the coffee and beat for a further 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the cupcake liners (usually about 2/3 full) and bake for 18-20 minutes. They're done when a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 
 For the Frosting:
  1. In  large mixing bowl beat the butter and vanilla on high speed until creamy, turn down to low speed and then slowly add the icing sugar. Trust me, do it slowly otherwise your kitchen will be sticky for days!.
  2. Once the icing sugar has been incorporated add the Biscoff spread and beat until well combined.
  3. Turn up the speed to high and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
For the Ganache:
  1. Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a simmer, do not let it boil.
  2. Put the chocolate in a small bowl and pour over the hot cream, leave for a minute to melt then stir together until smooth. If it is a little lumpy just place the bowl over a small pan of simmering water for a minute or two.
  1. Pipe the biscoff buttercream onto the cupcakes, you don't need to be fancy about it, just use your favourite tip.
  2. Break 6 biscoff biscuits in half and place on half in each of the cupcakes.
  3. Drizzle with a little of the chocolate ganache.
  4. Enjoy!
(I also like to top with a little sprinkling of crushed biscuit but perhaps that's overkill??)  

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