Christmas Special #4: Christmas Cake

Christmas cake - The Cupcake Confession

I KNOW I AM LATE!
This post should’ve been floating here in virtual space almost 5 days ago!
Shame on you, Samina!
I know this excuse has probably been used more number of times than it should have. So no points for guessing what I was upto! *Assignments* *sigh*
A VERYYYY MERRRRRY CHRISTMAS GUYS!!!!
HO HO HO!
How did you spend your Christmas?
Mine was EXCELLENT!
Festive meals, festive cake, festive music! Oh!!!! Brilliant!
And this Christmas was very special to my heart! Why, you ask? I wish I could explain everything, but I believe I’ll just have to wait for the right time to ramble more about this!

Christmas cake - The Cupcake Confession 01
And now! There’s just one day to go before we bid adieu to 2013!
*Shoots hand in the air and starts dancing*
*Not a very pretty sight, mind you!*
So, I’m guessing you already must have had your Christmas cake!!

*that is really poor quality chocolate decorations I admit!!!! Btw, if you haven’t figured out yet, that’s a wreath! Thank You! * 😀

Christmas cake - The Cupcake Confession 02
But if you haven’t, you can still make this beauty for New Year’s! It’s just a perfect celebratory cake!
Like I said, I had the dried fruits soaking in brandy for nearly a month so the cake had a lovely rich flavour to it that I just cannot get over! If you haven’t, you can totally skip this step and soak them in alcohol overnight! If alcohol is not your cup of tea {hahaha, this is gonna sound funny}, you can soak it in black tea too!
😀
Told ya!
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that funny!

Christmas cake - The Cupcake Confession 03
So, here’s the Christmas cake that I have been longing to share with you!
Christmas cake
250 gms mixed dried fruits {currants, raisins, dates, prunes, apricots}
150 mls brandy
175 gms butter
200 gms all purpose flour
150 gms dark brown muscavado sugar
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon clove powdered
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Method:
1. Soak your dried fruits in brandy {or black tea} overnight /1 month
2. After they have soaked and plumped up, add in the zest and juice of an orange
3. In a separate dry bowl, mix the spices and the flour, baking powder and baking soda
4. In another bowl, blend together butter and sugar
5. Add in eggs slowly
6. Tip in the mixed, soaked dry fruits
7. Mix well
8. Add the flour mix into the liquid mixture
9. Pour into a greased and parchment-lined cake tin
10. Bake in a preheated oven of 160 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes

To make the royal Icing:
Ingredients:
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg white
½ teaspoon lime juice
Method:
1. Add the lime juice to egg white
2. Beat with hand blender or in stand mixer till it gets frothy
3. Keep adding the icing sugar in small additions till it reaches a favourable consistency
4. If you want a firmer icing, you can add more icing sugar gradually

Christmas cake - The Cupcake Confession 04

Christmas Special # 3: Spiced Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

spiced Hot Chocolate cupcakes | The Cupcake Confession


So, lately, I’ve been ADDICTED to hot chocolate! And why not? Isn’t the weather just PERRRRRFECT to enjoy a nice warm marshmallowy cup of hot chocolate topped with EXTRA whipped cream just so you can own winter like a boss? I don’t think you can ever have too much hot chocolate especially when Christmas is around the corner and if you’re like me, struggling to get your new website all set up! But I’m not going to rant, ramble or complain {well, not today at least!} Christmas is less than 10 days away and I can’t even explain how excited I am! Hopefully, the post on my much awaited Christmas cake will be up on the new blog! Did I tell you I have a bowl of dried fruits soaking in brandy for nearly a month now? So, I’m going to be making a cake from those lovely plumped up dried fruits and other warm spices! Oh yum! But that is another post for another day. For now, can we please, pretty please, focus on these {errr, not the icing I mean!}

spiced Hot Chocolate cupcakes | The Cupcake Confession


I know, I am not the best at piping frosting on cupcakes but after this disastrous attempt at piping, I’m going to practice more to improvise!
But don’t judge these cupcakes solely on my poor icing skills! There’s so much more to these cupcakes and I am pretty sure you’re gonna enjoy it !!!!
So, like I was saying, my addiction to Hot Chocolate got the better of me and I had to transform the lovely warm drink into a cupcake!
I JUST HAD TO!
But, I tried to make this version slightly different from your more popular hot chocolate!
In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to add some warm spices and aromas to the cupcakes!
So, I boiled some milk with a handful of fresh spices {list in the ingredients section}.

spiced Hot Chocolate cupcakes | The Cupcake Confession

IMG_0011


And the result was just PHENOMENAL !!!!
Then there were some marshmallow chunks that I stuffed into the cake batter! But whilst they were baking, they just shot up to the top of the cupcakes and got concealed by the icing! But this stretchy ooey gooey warm marshmallow makes so much of a difference too!
Actually, there are many elements that are going to make the difference!
I’ve used a very simple cupcake recipe, almost the basic recipe for your regular chocolate cupcake except that I’ve added spiced milk and marshmallows and 3 different types of melted chocolates!

spiced Hot Chocolate cupcakes | The Cupcake Confession


YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The icing was supposed to be a very simple whipped cream topping. But I wanted it to look like a Christmas tree enrobed in snow! {epic fail thanks to my piping skills!} So the green section has pistachio butter to lend the icing the lovely faint green colour and the white has popping candy! Isn’t Christmas all about celebration after all?

spiced Hot Chocolate cupcakes | The Cupcake Confession

Spiced Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the Hot chocolate cupcakes:
  1. 1.       20 gms white chocolate
  2. 2.       20 gms milk chocolate
  3. 3.       20 gms dark chocolate
  4. 4.       75 gms butter
  5. 5.       2 eggs
  6. 6.       50 gms sugar
  7. 7.       1 tbsp cocoa powder
  8. 8.       100 gms self raising flour
  9. 9.       75 mls milk boiled containing the following spices
    1. a.      Cinnamon
    2. b.      Star anise
    3. c.       Cardamom
    4. d.      Cloves
 
For the frosting:
  1. 1.       1 cup double cream
  2. 2.       Sugar {as per taste} *
  3. 3.       Pistachio Butter**
  4. 4.       Popping Candy

 
*If you use Dairy Free whip topping {I use that one} there is no need to add sugar since it is already sweetened.
** the steps involved in making Pistachio butter are exactly the same as those involved in making WALNUT BUTTER, one of the very first posts on my blog.

Method:

  1. >First, prep the milk. Add the spices in the milk and bring to a boil. Keep it aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, cream 60 gms of butter with the sugar. Add in the eggs one by one.
  3. Melt the 3 kinds of chocolates with the remaining 15 gms butter and add to the mix.
  4. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Pour the milk to create a smooth batter.
  6. Fill the batter into the moulds to less than half, pop in a marshmallow and cover with more batter.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven of 180 degrees C for about 17-18 minutes.
  8. Take it out and cool.
  9. In the mean time, create the pistachio butter whipping cream and the popping candy whipping cream.
  10. To make the pistachio butter, follow the same steps as in Walnut Butter.
  11. Whip cream until it gets stiff
  12. Take off half the mix in another bowl and add the popping candy.
  13. In the other half, add the pistachio butter and some green food colour if needed.
  14. Use a double piping bag and select a nozzle of your choice. Pipe on the cooled cupcakes.
  15. Top with sliced pistachio.


I hope you will try these and enjoy eating them as much as I enjoyed baking them!
PS: Christmas is almost just a few days away!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!
 

Spiced Chicken Mince in Homemade Puff Pastry

mince pastry 012

Okay,

So in one word, I AM ‘EXHAUSTED’ !!!!

Just when I start to relax and think, ‘Okay, Samina!!!! Things are gonna be good now! You can sleep, watch VH1, read your favorite food blogs, work on a recipe and spend the whole day just lazing around when BAM!!! out of nowhere and I literalllly mean OUT OF NOWHERE, I am like this LITERALLY!!!!

Reason, you ask????

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Wholewheat Chocolate and Strawberry Oat Muffins {No Dairy No Sugar}

muffins  strawberry chocolate oat

Muffins are my absolute favorite!!!

The best part about making them is that you’ll ALWAYS have the ingredients sitting right there in your pantry.

It’s honest, simple and do I need to mention Delicious!??

But if you’re like me and eating just one muffin is just something that sounds like a ridiculous idea to you {‘Cause you can gobble up 2,  3 ,5 at a time, then you probably cannot eat this every day ’cause OBVIOUSLY it’s gonna show in your hips and thighs!

Ummm but what do you do when you really really REALLLLY need a muffin with your afternoon tea and nothing seems to replace that craving?

You make one without sugar !!!! YAY!!!!

and extra brownie {Yum} points for no dairy ! Which means NO butter! double YAY!!!!

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Peppermint Thins {Gluten Free and Vegan}

peppermint thins gluten free and vegan

Okay,

So the first series of Masterchef : The Professionals has sadly and I mean, SADLY, has come to an end! I was actually rooting for Sarah, you know! She is just, I dunno how to put it, unbelievably amazing! It’s just written write there on her face that she is determined to succeed! But anyway, I’m sure she’s gonna do GREAT!!!!!!! I mean, commmmme on!!!! She gotta work with THE Marco Pierre White! I mean, I could practically do ANYTHING to be in that position!

So, I was now in a pathetic mess. Yes, mess, is what I’d like to call it! Now look, watching Masterchef at 1 p.m was like a daily regimen. Like brushing your teeth, having a bath, going to bed! Yeah that’s how used to I was! And suddenly, it was gone! And replacing this hell of an amazing show was Revenge.

Okay, I must admit that the promos that aired all through the month prior to the start of the show were AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

peppermint thins gluten free and vegan

And although I am a die hard Masterchef fan, I didn’t mind spending that 1 hour slot watching a series where a girl sets out to take revenge (as the name suggests) for her father’s death. Interesting!

And can I tell you, right now??? I am ABSOLUTELY hooked!

Besides, there was this song that I stumbled upon while watching the series and loved it just soooooooooooooo much that I ended up searching for it online, and boy was I happy I did that!

So, there are two good things that happened ‘cuz of one show….

peppermint thins gluten free and vegan

  1. My 1 p.m – 2 p.m is sorted
  2. Angus and Julia Stone ‘s addictive and I mean ADDICTIVE music!

‘For you’ is what I heard on revenge by this brother-sister duo. And it goes without saying that I had to check other songs too! I mean if I loved one by just listening to what, the first five 5 seconds ?? I was sure I’m gonna love the other numbers and can I say , THAT IS SOOOOOOOO TRUE! Currently, I simply CANNOT get enough of this song!

Gunnna take you for a ride on a big jet plane…yayiee yaaay! Omg !!!!!!!! I’m going nuts over this song!

peppermint thinsg gluten free and vegan

And if you liked these songs, which, I know you are, without a doubt, you have to listen to Paper Aeroplane and Mango Tree!

You will be in music heaven! 🙂

Besides, my folks have been complaining lately that all the scrummy desserts are making them FAT!  I am 19 years old! I should be the one complaining about getting fat! DUH!

What world are we living in!!!!! 😦

😛

But you know what!! In a way I am sooo happy that they did say that ‘cuz that led me to this wonderful creation called gluten free stuff.

Yep….tastes like all purpose flour/self raising flour, works like all purpose flour/self-raising flour BUT IS NOTTTT ALL PURPOSE/SELF RAISING FLOUR!!!!!!

how cooooool is that! B-)

Besides, These peppermint thins are 100 % vegan apart from being gluten free!

So I won’t delay anymore ! Here I go with the recipe!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Peppermint Thins {Gluten Free and Vegan}

Peppermint Thins {Gluten Free and Vegan}

Ingredients:

140 gms gluten free mix

this includes :

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp dink (Antina Unde) you could use Xantham gum.

85 gms oil (I used vegetable oil)

80 gms sugar

green food colour

1/2 cupDark chocolate (melted)

1-2 tsp peppermint extract (basically as per your taste)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Mix all the ingredients , except the dark chocolate and peppermint extract, and form a dough. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to an hour. Use the gluten free mix to flour the work surface. Roll out the dough slightly thinly. Use a cookie cutter and cut out rounds of dough. Place it on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Pop into the oven for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes of baking, turn the cookies so that they bake evenly. Once done, take them out and let them cool. Melt chocolate and add the peppermint extract. keep tasting the chocolate for the intensity of peppermint. Once the thins are completely cooled, dip them in the chocolate and let them dry over baking parchment sheets. Once set, you can pop them in your mouth with ABSOLUTELY no guilt. Enjoy your Sunday people! Love!!! xx 🙂

                         

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart.

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart.

Yello people! 😀

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So, remember I’d spoken about my ice-cream machine last post? Yeah, well, turns out the machine was jinxed after all! I tried making a lime sorbet almost like 3 times and spent nearly 50% of my pocket money on the ingredients and the result was still a sloppy liquid! 😦

Ummm, yeah I did waste a hell lot of money on the machine and the saddest part is I’m not gonna be getting a refund! How is this even possible! How did I fall into the online trap!??

PS: Remind me to never order stuff online! -_-

Trust me though, when I say that I am gonna have sorbet, frozen yogurt and ice cream recipes! We shall do it the old fashioned way!

No harm done there! 😀

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart.

Besides, I wanted to do a little savory something for the blog today! I mean, I ABSOLUTELY L-O-V-E desserts but then you know, sometimes, a little tingle of spice on the tongue is an amazing, sensational feeling!

Alright, this might remotely sound like I’m boasting or something, but trust me that is not the least of my intention! But, this tart was soooooooooo super gorgeous, YOU SIMPLY HAVEEEEEEE TO TRY IT! I mean, seriously, my mom isn’t much of an eater. She loves her traditional Indian fare and an occasional handful of Lay’s.

But, this was the first time, she actually ate 2 large slices of this tart! And trust me, it was over within 30 minutes!  F-L-A-T!

YESSSS!!!!

It was that good!!!!! *_*

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart.

So, the first thing you need to know is how to make this filling! It’s super easy!!

FOR THE FILLING! 

All you need to do is, roughly chop some spinach, slice some mushrooms and take a handful of corn and keep it aside.

Slice some onions, chop some garlic and saute lightly in a pan containing hot oil. Add some crushed pepper, mixed Italian herbs and some chilli flakes. Also add some salt and paprika powder.

Tip in the corn first, saute for about a couple of minutes and then add the mushrooms. Stir for about 2-3 minutes and finally add the spinach. This is what your veggies will look like initially:

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart filling

Cook for more 2-3 minutes until your spinach is completely wilted!!!!

Like this:

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart filling

So, that is it!!!!! And you do not really need a fixed recipe for the filling! That’s the best part about cooking as opposed to baking, I feel! 😀

You need to keep tasting and adding as per your likes and taste!

If you ask me,

I used

1 large onion

4 cloves of garlic (YES!!! I LOVEEEEE the flavour of garlic in my food!!!!!)

1 tbsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp mixed Italian herbs

1 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp crushed pepper

salt as per the taste

a handful of corn

6 button mushrooms sliced

1 bundle of spinach roughly chopped

FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY:

160 gms all purpose flour

80 gms butter

1 egg

1 tbsp cold water

salt and pepper

FOR THE FILLING:

The filling recipe mentioned above

100 gms cottage cheese cut into squares (If you cannot find cottage cheese, you can use any other variety that DOES NOT melt)

200 mls cream

2 eggs

pepper, mixed herbs and chilli flakes as per taste

METHOD:

Make your shortcrust pastry first. Rub together the chilled butter into the flour and the spices until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and combine to form a dough. DO NOT NEED IT!

Add a little cold water if you find it difficult to combine into a ball or the mixture looks extremely dry!

Wrap in the cling film and chill for about 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your filling and leave it to cool thoroughly at room temperature.

Dust your worktop with flour and roll out your pastry. Preheat your oven to 180 degree Celsius.

Line the tart tin with this pastry and poke holes with a fork.

Bake blind in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. To do this, simply use a foil paper and load it with beans and place this on the tart so as to avoid the puffing of the tart while baking in the oven. In the last 5 minutes, get the beans out.

Leave your tart pan to cool.

This should take about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, Beat in the eggs into the cream and set aside.

Add your filling to the tart, place the cubes of cottage cheese and pour the mixture of cream and eggs.

Bake in the oven at a 180 degrees Celsius for about 30-35 minutes or until the sides have browned well.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the pastry case and cut slices and serve warm!!! 😀

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Corn Tart.

If heaven had a taste, I’m sure this would be it!!!

I hope you’re gonna try this ! 🙂

Have an amazing weekend! 🙂