Salami and Co

Dogs and cake. I mean what could be better? I always pictured the perfect cake-eating scenario as a fat slab of cake sitting alongside a fancy-pants latte with a cute little design sitting perfectly in the froth. But this dog friendly coffee house has made cake dates with your dog socially acceptable and taken the perfect cake-eating scenario to a whole new level.

Salami and Co Coffee House

Salami and Co nestled in alongside the hustle and bustle of Otley’s market square in 2016. Their minimalistic but somehow homely interior immediately puts you at ease as you walk through the door.  I have visited Salami and Co on a number of occasions (sometimes as dog walker but more often than not, dog stalker) and tried a number of things from their absolutely divine brunch menu.

I know my posts often focus in on the cake but I have to mention their beautiful brunch options. They have a small but perfectly crafted menu of dishes and they are always so pretty, you almost don’t want to eat them. Thankfully, they are just as tasty as they look and this is why Salami and Co is definitely one of my favourite brunch spots. All their ingredients are locally sourced and are lovingly put together to make something really special. I opted for this smoked salmon dish and the charcoal and citrus flavours that sit beside it really made it unique. And just look how pretty it is!

Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg Brunch

And the cakes were just as delicious. My boyfriend and I were planning on sharing a cake but just couldn’t decide between these two beauties so of course, ordered both. My favourite was this chocolate and vanilla layer cake, smothered in pistachio buttercream and sandwiched together with a generous layer of jam. Yum yum yum.

Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

For such a large layer cake, I was almost expecting it to be a little dry but this cake was everything a cake should be and much much more. It was moist and packed full of flavour and even though it was a hugeeee slice, I polished off every little crumb because it was just so moreish.

Lemon and Rose Cake

The lemon and rose cake was equally tasty but the stand out cake for me was the chocolate number just because chocolate for me will always trump everything else.

All the food at Salami and Co is put together with so much love and attention and it really shows when you are served such deliciousness every single time. The coffee house itself has such a lovely welcoming feel and what could be better than sharing your experience with some seriously cute canines!

Salami and Co Otley

If you have a pup, you definitely need to treat them to a visit as they are treated like the ultimate VIPs and there’s a whole menu created just for your little furry friends.

Next time you are in the area make sure you pop in here and experience Salami and Co for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes

So with spring finally blossoming, I thought I’d try my hand at something a little different to bake. Instead of opting for a sticky and indulgent chocolate-filled recipe, I have baked a batch of fragrant rose and pistachio cupcakes.

I am not usually a fan of floral-infused flavours but after sampling some of Sift’s raspberry and rose cakes last month, I was inspired to have a go at something similar.

I really like this recipe, it’s simple and very fitting for the springtime. Tucking into one of these badboys is kind of like ploughing your face into a bunch of fresh roses. Rose and pistachio nuts are two harmonious flavours that work really well together and all in all, product a really light and fluffy cake.

Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes

I would definitely give this rose and pistachio cupcake recipe a try if you like sweet-scented flavours and want to impress your loved ones with a sophisticated sounding recipe. We can all try and be classy sometimes, right?

INGREDIENTS:

For the Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes

  • 200g Self-Raising Flour
  • 160g Caster Sugar
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 60g Chopped Pistachio Kernels
  • 120g Unsalted Butter (I use Stork)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Rosewater

For the Rose Buttercream

  • 240g Unsalted Butter (I use Lescure)
  • 400g Icing Sugar, Sifted
  • 2 tbsp Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Rosewater
  • 60g Chopped Pistachio Kernels (for decoration)

METHOD:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line your 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

2. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Add in the rosewater and mix until thoroughly combined.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold this into the mixture in two parts. Add the first half, followed by the milk and then add in the second half, beating until the mixture is smooth and combined. Finally fold in the chopped pistachios.

4. Spoon the mixture evenly into each cupcake case and bake for around 20 mins (it will differ with every oven and how much mixture you have placed in each case so check to see if a knife comes out clean, if it doesn’t, they may need an extra 5 mins). Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before piping the rose buttercream on top.

5. In the meantime, you can make the rose buttercream. Pop your butter into the mixer and beat on high speed for 5 minutes until it goes really smooth and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar into the bowl in two stages, beating for 5 minutes between each addition. Remember to start the mixer on a low speed to avoid your icing sugar going everywhere!

6. At this point you will notice the buttercream is really thick, so to loosen up the mixture and make it a lovely smooth and silky consistency we need to add the milk and rosewater. Gradually add the milk a tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency (the amount in the recipe is just a guideline).

7. Once your cupcakes have cooled, it’s time to pipe! Place the rose buttercream into a piping bag and pipe onto the cakes (I used a close star nozzle for these cupcakes). Finally, garnish with some crushed pistachio kernels.

Rose and Pistachio Cupcake Recipe

I hope you like them! For more cupcake recipes and cake ventures, browse my blog. And don’t forget to check out my insta for pretty pictures that may or may not give you cake cravings.

Ginger and Cinnamon Cupcakes

So here it is, my first recipe of 2018 and I’ve decided on some spice-filled, super indulgent, ginger and cinnamon cupcakes.

A little twist on many of the gingerbread cupcake recipes I tend to come across online, I’ve decided to add more spices and top these beauties off with the creamiest vanilla buttercream (courtesy of Cupcake Jemma’s buttercream masterclass).

And I didn’t stop there. I have also added a miniature (although I struggle with miniature anything so they’re kind of normal size) gingerbread cookies. These are loaded full of even more spices and currants – because I’m all about that healthy lifestyle balance.

Ginger and Cinnamon Cupcakes Recipe

If any of you have read my previous cupcake recipes, you may have noticed the absence of an electric mixer. This meant everything was mixed and whisked by hand and it made the entire process a lot longer. Over Christmas though, I was treated to a snazzy new stand mixer that has completely revolutionised my baking – seriously how did I ever cope before?!

I have the Kenwood Stand Mixer KM240 900W and it is just fabulous. I know many of you may have or will definitely have heard of the Kitchen Aid mixers (it’s what they use on Great British Bake Off and you see them popping up on all those beautiful baking feeds on insta) but they are pretty pricey. This Prospero Stand Mixer has everything you need to mix up your masterpieces and whip up your favourite buttercreams. It just makes everything an absolute doddle and if you are currently on the search for a cake mixer, I would definitely recommend this one.

There are three different elements to this cupcake and at first glance, it may seem like you have to invest in a lot of ingredients. However, the ingredients are very similar in both the cupcakes and the cookies so it’s more about having the right amount of ingredients for both elements rather than a large variety of different things.

For the vanilla buttercream though, I followed Cupcake Jemma’s recommendation and opted for Lescure Unsalted French Butter. I found some at my local Waitrose, it is pricey but it makes a massive difference to the overall creaminess and whippy texture of the buttercream.

Gingerbread Cookie Cupcake

I had many compliments about it with these cupcakes and everyone commented on how white the buttercream was – almost like whipped cream. So if you’re wanting to go all out and be showered with the same praise…it’s definitely the one to go for and I will be using this in all my future recipes.

And finally, the Gingerbread Cookie Recipe actually makes around 10 large cookies so you will probably have a lot of mixture left over. I just made another batch of larger rock cakes with the remaining mixture which also went down a treat. I bake these all the time at home and they’re so quick and easy to bake and perfect if you’re having guests over for a brew (or if you get peckish).

INGREDIENTS:

For the Ginger and Cinnamon Cupcakes

  • 150g Unsalted Butter (I use Stork)
  • 150g Light Muscovado Sugar
  • 150g Self-Raising Flour
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Whole Milk

For the Vanilla Buttercream

  • 150g Unsalted Butter (I use Lescure)
  • 340g Sifted Icing Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Miniature Gingerbread Cookies

  • 200g Self-Raising Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 100g Unsalted Butter (I use Stork)
  • 85g Light Muscovado Sugar
  • 100g Currants, Raisins or Mixed Dried Fruit
    (whatever you want to bang in there really)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Whole Milk
  • Demerara Sugar (for sprinkling)

METHOD:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line your 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Using a sifter, put the flour and spices into a separate mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs into the creamed butter and sugar with the mixer on a low speed, alternating with the flour/spices until fully combined. Add in the milk and then continue to mix well.

3. Spoon the mixture evenly into each cupcake case and bake for around 25 mins (it will differ with every oven and how much mixture you have placed in each case so check to see if a knife comes out clean, if it doesn’t, they may need an extra 5 mins). Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before piping the vanilla buttercream on top.

4. Whilst your cupcakes are baking in the oven it’s time to get started on your mini gingerbread cookies. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter (cut into small pieces). Rub the butter with your fingertips gently until the mixture forms fine crumbs (or you can do this using a food processor if you have one).

5. Add the sugar and fruit and mix together until combined, finally add the egg and milk. Mix to a firm and sticky dough. Spoon twelve rough blobs onto the baking sheet, leaving some space for the cookies to spread out. Mix together the demerara sugar and some extra mixed spice and sprinkle over each blob before placing them in the oven. Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown on 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4.

6. Finally it’s time to make the buttercream. Pop your butter into the mixer and beat on high speed for 5 minutes until it goes really smooth and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar into the bowl in two stages, beating for 5 minutes between each addition. Remember to start the mixing on a low speed to avoid your icing sugar going everywhere!

7. Next, add the whole milk and vanilla extract (I pre-mix these liquids in a bowl to help the wet mixture combine with the buttercream better). Speed up the mixer for one last time on high for another 5 minutes.

8. Once your cupcakes and cookies are cooled, it’s time to put it all together! Place the vanilla buttercream into a piping bag and pipe a generous swirl on top (I have used an open star nozzle for my cakes), place your gingerbread cookie on top and there you have it!

Stick with it, it seems like a lot of baking, ingredients and know-how goes into these cupcakes but really, it’s just a few simple recipes bashed together to make something really impressive.

Spiced Ginger Cupcakes

I hope you like them as much as I do, check out my latest cupcake recipes on my blog and please let me know if you have any cupcake flavours you’d like me to whip up for my next bake!

Mint Brasserie and Tea Room

Hello! Remember me?

I have been unforgivably sloppy on the blogging front and for that I can only apologise. To make up for it, I am armed with excuses but more importantly, new recipes and cake havens for you lovely lot to indulge in.

Firstly, I wanted to kick off 2018 with a bit more productivity in all areas of my life. That’s why I have been busying myself with bits and bobs over the last month or so.

Including a last minute getaway which I’ll get on to in a moment.

Guernsey Coast

First things first though, cue way overdue New Year’s resolutions that no one really cares about…

Promise I will keep it short and sweet.

I have joined a gym (!) I know can you believe it?! Well it wasn’t intentional but baking cakes and eating cakes doesn’t really promote a healthy lifestyle. (Who’d of thought it ey) so to restore the balance a little, I thought I should make a more conscious effort to keep fit.

I have also started reading again too. I used to be an absolute book nerd pre-university. However, if there is one thing that is going to make you scared of picking up a book again, it’s reading approx. 3 million books a week on an English Literature course. So after a short hiatus, I finally conquered the fear and I’m back to being a geeky little bookworm.

And last but certainly not least, my final resolution was to be a bit more organised with my blog and make sure I am keeping up with regular posting. Although outwardly it may seem I have failed miserably if January is anything to go by, I have actually been busy upping my Instagram game and preparing some fresh new content to share with you all.

Starting with the little mini break I took last week.

After some gin-filled birthday celebrations, my boyfriend and I decided to head off for a few days to visit some family over in Guernsey.

Guernsey is a beautiful little island just off the French coast, often overlooked in favour of its larger sister island, Jersey. But with so much history and coastal charm, I can definitely see why the rich and famous choose to set up camp here.

Most of our time was spent walking on the beach, chilling out and catching up – which was just what we needed. And after another long but beautiful coastal walk, I couldn’t be happier to sit down in a quaint little tea room and tuck into some cake (after all, we had earned it). Introducing the charming Mint Brasserie and Tea Room.

Mint Tearoom Guernsey

First of all, let me tell you the best thing about having someone to eat cake with. If you are as indecisive as me when it comes to choosing a slice, you can order two pieces with no judgement and share them both, therefore lessening the risk of making the wrong choice.

In this case, we had a double whammy of cake heaven. I am a big fan of the Victoria Sponge Cake, they say you should never mess with a classic and this is a prime example. Mint delivered the lightest Victoria sponge I have ever tasted, it literally melted in your mouth. The sponge was perfectly balanced with a generous helping of whipped cream and finished off perfectly with the sweetest squidge of strawberry jam. It may be simple but my oh my, that combination is all kinds of satisfying.

 

Can I go anywhere without having something involving chocolate? The answer is no, I cannot. So my follow up cake was a chocolate peanut butter cake (your mouth is watering isn’t it) well mine certainly did when I spotted it in the counter. This chocolate cake was sandwiched together with thick and crunchy peanut buttercream, finished off with a sticky chocolate ganache. It was so indulgent and each bite was made even better with the chance of getting a random nugget of chocolatey nuttiness nestled between the crumbs.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

What I loved about this place was that it didn’t try to be something it is not – no instagrammable fanciness just for the sake of it, just good old fashioned cake, baked to perfection. They even have all the old school recipe books on the table for you to look through as you sit with your coffee (naturally, I banked a few of these bad boy recipes to inspire some future bakes of my own).

Traditional Cake Recipes

Thank you for a traditional tea room experience Mint, Guernsey is lucky to have you. I quickly found out there isn’t much in the way of good coffee and cake hangouts on this island so I was so happy to discover this hidden gem. If anyone has any suggestions on where I should visit next please comment below and give me another excuse to eat cake (not that I need it).

In the meantime, check out my latest cupcake recipes and let me know if you give any a go, I would love to see how you get on!

Bloomfield Square

Otley is fast becoming one of my favourite places to stop off and enjoy a coffee (and of course, a piece of cake). A quaint little market town, the stylish eateries and coffee pit stops are often overlooked in favour of its old school pubs and traditional chippies.

But there has been a noticeable shift in the last couple of years.

Otley is putting itself on the coffee shaped map and taking inspiration from the more cosmopolitan cities that surround the town.

Introducing… Bloomfield Square

With a name like that, you might expect this café to be nestled in a sophisticated corner of Covent Garden. However this quirky coffee shop is situated in the heart of Otley, giving Yorkshire folk somewhere a little different to escape to.

Bloomfield Square Otley

Mixing traditional and vintage with a cool country vibe, you feel right at home as soon as you walk through the door. Downstairs has a cosy feel with lots of intimate table set-ups and a roaring fire (just perfect for winter).

Venture upstairs though, and you’re treated to rustic wooden beams, whitewashed brickwork and a mix of comfy cushion-filled corners to park your bum.

Bloomfield Square

 

Whilst ordering our drinks, we became majorly distracted by the counter filled with mouth watering brownies and opted for a honeycomb brownie and a cheeky white chocolate and raspberry number.

We retreated back to our cosy corner upstairs, waiting for our sweet treats to arrive, all the while ‘gramming the s*** out of this beautiful little hideaway.

But let’s get down to the exciting stuff… the brownies.

The honeycomb brownie was delicious.  Dense (but in all the right ways) chocolatey, sticky and really indulgent, finished off perfectly with a honeycomb crunch topping. If I had to say anything it would have been to incorporate more honeycomb within the brownie itself but that’s only if I’m being very picky. It has inspired me to try out a honeycomb brownie recipe myself as I haven’t yet combined those two things and as I am in love with both, it seems a no-brainer really.

Bloomfield Square Brownies

The white chocolate and raspberry brownie is not a typical brownie flavour that I opt for as I often find the taste to be quite bitter. However, this particular brownie caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist. Again, the brownie had a lovely fudgey consistency, with just a hint of raspberry running through it – enough to taste it but not too overpowering. Just lovely.

If you want somewhere to put your feet up after a long walk on the chevin, or just a quiet escape from a busy day – Bloomfield Square offers a nostalgic retreat that has echoes of those Sunday visits to your grandparents when you were a child, cosy and comforting all at the same time. I promise you’ll definitely leave this place with a smile on your face.

Oreo Cookie Cupcakes

Yes yes I know oreo cupcakes are nothing new, in fact I think that’s the recipe that almost always pops up when I am trawling website after website looking for some cakey inspiration.

However, after a recent trip down to London that involved a visit to Crumbs and Doilies, I was inspired to try my hand at some of Cupcake Jemma’s cookie and cream cupcakes that literally made my mouth water as I watched the video.

Oreo Cupcakes3

I am not going to sugar coat this recipe because in baking world – stuff doesn’t always go to plan. My first batch of cakes turned out like s***.

They were so sad and deflated as I took them out of the oven and just didn’t look all that appetising. I must admit, I have had this problem before in a recipe that involved malt powder. I’m not sure if it is coincidence, bad luck or my novice baking skills but I am beginning to learn that overcomplicating the recipe sometimes does more harm than good.

It also doesn’t help that I don’t have a mixer (it’s on my wish list) but yeah, at the moment, I am still mixing everything by hand. Maybe I’m just not reaching that cloud like consistency that a quality mixer can make but who knows – sometimes it just doesn’t work out and that’s baking for you.

Oreo Chocolate Cupcakes

So I stripped this recipe back down to a simple chocolate cake recipe and had another go. I chose to stick with Cupcake Jemma’s oreo buttercream, which is creamy and crunchy all at the same time. Whack half an oreo biscuit on top to make it ‘grammable and there you have it, oreo cookie cupcakes.

INGREDIENTS:

For the chocolate cupcakes

  • 110g caster sugar
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 110g margarine (I use stork)
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the oreo buttercream

  • 200g margarine
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 2tbsp whole milk
  • Six oreo biscuits, crushed to a crumb like consistency
  • Half an oreo biscuit to decorate

METHOD:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line your 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the margarine and combine using either a mixer (with the paddle attachment) or a good old fashioned wooden spoon.

2. Whisk the eggs whole milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl/mug and add it to your mixture gradually, continuing to mix well until there are no more lumps. Be careful not to over mix.

3. Spoon the mixture evenly into your 12 cases and bake for 20-25 mins. Once they’re ready to come out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before adding the oreo buttercream.

4. Whilst the chocolate cupcakes are in the oven, you can make the buttercream. Beat the margarine in a large bowl to soften it and add half the icing sugar, continuing to beat until smooth. Add in the remaining icing sugar and milk and beat until it is creamy.

5. Once the cakes have cooled and your buttercream is ready to pipe, it’s time to decorate. I use a disposable piping bag with a large round nozzle tip. Pipe the buttercream onto the cakes and finish with an oreo biscuit. I bang my oreos straight in the middle but you can be as artistic as you like.

Hope you enjoy!

Crumbs and Doilies

I have fangirled over Crumbs and Doilies for well over a year now and when I’m not drooling over their Instagram account, I’m watching Cupcake Jemma’s YouTube channel, falling in love with all the delicious cupcakes that are being created in front of my eyes.

So on a recent trip to London, it was the first on my list of places to go and visit. Situated in the super cool and super vibey district of Soho, Crumbs and Doilies is nestled inside Kingly Court on a quaint cobbled street.

As I stepped inside the shop I was confronted with cupcake overload. The most beautiful counter of cupcakes with every flavour, size and topping you could dream of. And of course I was first in the queue, don’t you just hate that – you start panicking about what to order and choose something without proper contemplation, the mounting pressure forcing you to opt for the safe option.

Crumbs and Doilies Soho

Well the safe option for me is chocolate, always chocolate. So I chose the Ferrero Rocher cupcake, mainly because I had made some the week before and I wanted to experience how the professionals do it.

I also had the added pressure of choosing one for my sister who was waiting outside and asked me to “choose something that looked good” bloody difficult when I was faced with the cupcake counter of dreams. After making another impulse decision and going for a classic Custard Cream number, I ordered a couple of takeaway coffees and joined her on the bench outside.

The shop itself does have a few spots to perch and devour your cake but at that point it was pretty busy. Although it was October, it felt like summer down in London when the sun was shining so we grabbed a seat outside ready to stuff our faces and people watch.

I had really high expectations for this cupcake after it had been shown off a number of times on their Instagram account. And my oh my, it didn’t disappoint. I’m not just saying this, it was literally the best cupcake I have ever eaten.

The chocolate, nutty infused cake was so moist (sorry like most people, I hate that word too but its the only way to describe it accurately) and full of flavour. The buttercream was the lightest, most fluffiest buttercream I have ever tasted and it had a really subtle nutty flavour to it too – kind of like eating a Ferrero Rocher but without the crunch. And then the crunch of the chocolate ganache and sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts was the perfect balance to all that creaminess. All in all, it was perfection.

Crumbs and Doilies 5

And it was only when I got home and had a proper look at my pictures that I spotted the Ferrero Rocher cupcakes were actually gluten free. I have tried my fair share of gluten free cakes (one of my dearest friends is a coeliac so I join her whenever we eat cake or when she’s lucky enough to experience a gluten free badboy of my own) and I can honestly they never taste quite the same – they always seem a little dry. However, I would never have realised the cupcake I ordered was gluten free it was so damn tasty, it actually ramped up my love for it a little bit more.

Crumbs and Doilies, I’m still fangirling over your creations and I can’t wait to go back down and try more.

Lotus Biscoff Cupcakes

I first discovered lotus biscuits in a posh coffee shop in Leeds. Now every time I order a latte, I cross my fingers and secretly pray that a little caramel biscuit in its red wrapper is accompanying it.

Lotus biscuits and coffee are a match made in heaveeeen. The sweet caramelised taste of the biscuit is so unique, once you have experienced such a yummy blend of flavours, no other biscuit quite matches up to it. They also feel a bit classier than your standard rich tea, not sure why, they just do.

So I had been wondering for a while how I was going to transfer this unique taste into a cupcake and stumbled across lotus biscoff spread. Genius.

Recommended as a spread for your toast, I had much bigger plans for this beautiful invention, lotus biscoff cupcakes.

I used light brown sugar for the cakes as this brings that all important caramel flavour to the basic cupcake recipe and I added the biscoff spread into the buttercream, and I must admit, it’s my favourite ever buttercream.

I recently baked a batch and took them into the office to celebrate National Cupcake Week and they were all gone by the first round of brews, so I would say they went down pretty well.

Lotus Biscuit Biscoff Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

For the cupcakes

  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 150g margarine (I use stork)
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the lotus buttercream

  • 150g margarine
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 200g lotus biscuit spread

METHOD:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line your 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

2. Beat the margarine and light brown sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, self raising flour and vanilla extract and mix together until you have a smooth consistency – you can add the milk if the mix isn’t as smooth as you would like.

3. Spoon the mixture evenly into your 12 cases and bake for 20-25 mins. Once they’re ready to come out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before adding the lotus buttercream.

4. Whilst the cupcakes are in the oven, you can make the buttercream. Beat the margarine in a large bowl to soften it and gradually add the icing sugar, continuing to beat until smooth. Add in the lotus biscuit spread and continue to beat until it is creamy and caramel-ly mmm.

5. Once the cakes have cooled and your buttercream is ready to pipe, it’s time to decorate. I use a disposable piping bag with a large star nozzle tip. Add the buttercream to the cakes and finish with the lotus biscuit. I crush a couple of the biscuits and sprinkle the crumbs over the cakes to make it extra fancy.

Enjoy!

Peggy Porschen Cakes

Vanity Fair claims they are the “best cupcakes in the world” so naturally, I had to pay a visit to Peggy Porschen Cakes on a recent trip down to London.

Located in the upmarket district of Belgravia, Ebury street is lined with elegantly whitewashed townhouses and luxury hotels. And sat unashamedly in the midst of all this surrounding wealth was an inviting pink pop of colour with the most beautiful floral centrepiece framing its doorway.

As we moved in closer, we noticed a swarm of people circulating outside and we were quickly told we would be put on a waiting list and should expect to be seated in around 40 mins. Wow, this place must be good.

Peggy Porschen7

Although it was a long time to wait for a coffee and cake, it gave me chance to take some fancy shots of the building and stalk what everyone was ordering outside.

I was also catching up with a good friend of mine who abandoned Yorkshire in favour of the big city life and I was reliably informed that in London, you should expect to wait an hour for almost anything you want to do. So, with a 40-minute wait, we had got it pretty good.

Peggy Porschen London

It was a surprisingly warm autumnal day so we were happy to be seated outside and after reading the menu cover to cover, I decided on a chocolate heaven cupcake.
Peggy Porschen certainly knows how to make Instagram-worthy cakes that match up to its super pretty exterior and my chocolate heaven cupcake was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

They had got the buttercream to cake ratio just right and they opted for a simple but elegant topping to make it all about the flavour in the cake. The chocolate cake was really light, fluffy and incredibly moreish however, if I had to say one thing it would be that I’ve had better buttercreams. This chocolate buttercream seemed a little bland and personally, I didn’t think it did the cake justice.

Peggy Porschen3

For me, the cupcake I had ordered didn’t quite live up to Vanity Fair’s bold statement but the Instagram pics I took certainly made up for it. If you want a “cakexperience”, this is definitely one to tick off the list.

Bourbon Biscuit Cupcakes

Do you know why biscuits are my second favourite things aside from cake? Because biscuits are a guilt-free accompaniment to a cuppa. You’re almost judged if you don’t have a biscuit with your tea, well you are in my house anyway.

So here’s my next question…what is the best biscuit out there? For me, it’s a toss-up between those pink wafers you only find in biscuit selection boxes at Christmas or the timeless classics, custard creams and…yes you guessed it bourbon biscuits.

Bourbon biscuits satisfy every biscuit must-have. Chocolatey? Yes. Crunchy? Yes. Chocolate butter-creamy centre? Yes.

Anyway, I knew it wouldn’t take long before I was combining this with another love of mine, chocolate cake. And without further ado, I bring you… bourbon biscuit chocolate cupcakes.

A fairly simple recipe with basic ingredients, these little cakes are hard not to love. And just because your Bourbon biscuit is placed on top of a cupcake doesn’t mean you can’t have it with a cuppa, it’s still the perfect accompaniment and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Bourbon Biscuit Chocolate Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

For the chocolate cupcakes

  • 140g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 40g margarine (I use stork)
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate buttercream

  • 110g margarine
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1tbsp whole milk
  • Bourbon biscuits to decorate

METHOD:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line your 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. Using a sifter, put the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the margarine and combine using either a mixer (with the paddle attachment) or a good old fashioned wooden spoon until you are left with a sandy consistency.

2. Whisk the egg, whole milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl/mug and add it to your mixture gradually, continuing to mix well until there are no more lumps. Be careful not to over mix.

3. Spoon the mixture evenly into your 12 cases and bake for 20-25 mins. Once they’re ready to come out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before adding the chocolate buttercream.

4. Whilst the chocolate cupcakes are in the oven, you can make the buttercream. Beat the margarine in a large bowl to soften it and add half the icing sugar, continuing to beat until smooth. Add in the remaining icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk and beat until it is creamy.

5. Once the cakes have cooled and your buttercream is ready to pipe, it’s time to decorate. I use a disposable piping bag with a large star nozzle tip. Add the buttercream to the cakes and finish with a bourbon biscuit. I bang my bourbons straight in the middle but you can be as artistic as you like.

Go on, make a brew and enjoy one of these bad boys.