Categories
Baking Cakes Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Decadent chocolate fudge cupcakes with a moist crumb, topped with salted caramel buttercream. You’ll find it hard to stop eating these!

chocolate-salted-caramel-cupcakes

(Recipe and blog post updated September 2016)

I originally shared this recipe in October 2013. It remains one of my favourite cupcake recipes. I made these cupcakes three whole years ago for my grandad’s birthday. This was one of the first recipes I shared on my blog all that time ago. I’ve kept the concept of the original recipe the same, but I’ve made a few alterations, which I believe have made these cupcakes even more delicious.

chocolate-cupcakes

So what makes these chocolate cupcakes special? I think the reason these cupcakes stand out from the other recipes I have tried is because this particular recipe incorporates melted dark chocolate into the batter. Sounds silly, right? But a fair share of chocolate cupcake recipes only call for cocoa powder, which is ok, but for me cocoa powder alone doesn’t pack that real chocolate flavour punch, you need a touch of dark chocolate in there for the strong chocolate taste. Also, the addition of coffee in the cupcake batter is a must! Coffee helps to bring out the chocolate flavour, but if you’re not a fan of mocha flavour or are making the cupcakes for kids/non coffee lovers, then you can leave it out and just use boiling water instead.

Another thing I changed to the original recipe is this time I added caramel to the buttercream. The first time I shared the recipe I topped the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and drizzled each cupcake with caramel. This new version is a cheat’s recipe, I’m not even ashamed to admit that I use readymade caramel/dulce de leche, but if you have homemade you can definitely use that.

Decoration is where the fun begins! I like to decorate by drizzling each cupcake with extra caramel and some cubes of dairy fudge or chewy caramel candy/sweets. Feel free to scatter over some chocolate or sprinkles as well!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)

180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt

1/2 teaspoon (3g) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

150g (2/3 cup) salted butter, softened

375g icing sugar, sifted

100g (3.5 ounces) caramel or dulce de leche

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: Once the cupcakes are cool, make your buttercream. Cream the softened butter until smooth. Add half the icing sugar and mix to combine. Add the remaining half of the icing sugar and beat again until throughly incorporated. Now continue to beat the butter and icing sugar together for about 5-7 minutes until it’s fluffy and a light pale colour. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  5. Finally, add the caramel/dulce de leche along with the salt and beat until combined. Adjust consistency of the buttercream with the double cream/milk. Taste the buttercream and add more salt if you’d like. Frost the cupcakes as desired. Decorate the cupcakes with an extra drizzle of caramel, fudge/caramels, chocolate or sprinkles.

Recipe Notes:

  • Bread flour can be substituted with regular plain/all-purpose flour. The bread flour has a higher gluten content and produces a denser, more even structured cupcake.
  • This recipe calls for caster or granulated sugar. I’m based in the UK and caster sugar is the most commonly used sugar in baking. It’s a superfine sugar and dissolves better than granulated sugar.
  • Prior to making the buttercream, I recommend leaving the butter out overnight at room temperature to soften. The softer the butter, the creamier and smoother your buttercream will be.
  • I used a large closed star tip nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto these cupcakes.
  • Decorated cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I don’t think cupcakes have ever lasted that long in our house!

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Enjoy!

jess

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Categories
Cheesecake Ice Cream

No-Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Blueberry cheesecake ice cream is the perfect dessert anytime of year, but it’s especially brilliant for summer and the hot weather. With this recipe you can make your very own homemade ice cream without an ice cream machine in 3 easy steps! 

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Cheesecake and ice cream are two of my absolute favourite desserts. I’ve combine two, to create one incredibly delicious sweet treat that incorporates vanilla cheesecake ice cream, swirls of zingy blueberry sauce and crumbles of buttery digestive biscuit. If you’re a fan of blueberry cheesecake, then this ice cream recipe is definitely one to try!

The hardest part of the recipe is waiting for the ice cream to freeze, but it’s worth the wait!

cheesecake ice cream pic

Ingredients:

Blueberry Sauce – 

2 cups of fresh blueberries

3 tablespoons of caster sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice – approx. juice from 1 1/2 lemons and about 1 teaspoon of the zest

Ice Cream –

1 x 397g/14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

480ml (2 cups) double or whipping cream, chilled

200g cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Method:

1. Make the sauce: Place the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a medium saucepan. Simmer on a medium heat for a few minutes until the blueberries break down and the sauce thickens a little. Then take off the heat and place in a small bowl and put in the fridge to cool.

2. To make the ice cream: Whisk the cream cheese until smooth. Then add the condensed milk slowly with the vanilla and whisk on low speed for a few minutes. Then add the cream to the mixture and whisk on low again for a few minutes or until stiff peaks are formed – be patient, this will take some time, but it must be done slowly to stop the cream curdling.

3. To assemble the ice cream: Place half the ice cream mixture a large freezer container. Then place a spoonfuls of the chilled blueberry sauce on top of the ice cream layer. Using a wooden skewer, swirl the sauce into the ice cream mixture. Then place the rest of the ice cream mixture on top and then again swirl through a few more spoonfuls of the blueberry sauce on top of this layer. Cover the ice cream with tin foil or cling film and freeze for at least 6 hours or best overnight for the best results.

Recipe Notes: 

  • Make sure the cream is chilled before whisking. Chilled cream will whisk better and you will be guaranteed to get really stiff peaks and volume.
  • Whenever using cream cheese in baking be sure to have it at room temperature as it will be easier to mix.
  • Make the blueberry sauce the night before, it will get really thick overnight and will be the perfect consistency. Any leftover sauce serve is great drizzled over pancakes for breakfast.

Enjoy!

jess

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Categories
Baking Cheesecake Chocolate

No-Bake Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

This cheesecake is so easy to make and it tastes heavenly! It has a gorgeous buttery biscuit base, with a creamy mousse filling which is speckled with chopped Ferrero Rocher and is topped with a layer of Nutella and decorated with roasted hazelnuts. A very decadent dessert that’s perfect for simply any occasion. The only difficult part of this recipe is waiting for the cheesecake to set, but once you’ve had a slice of it you’ll find it really hard to stop eating it!

 

(Serves 10-12)

Ingredients:

Biscuit Base:

300g digestive biscuits

140g butter

Cheesecake Filling:

500g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature – leave it out at room temperature for an hour to soften

85g icing sugar, sifted

300ml double cream, chilled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

5 Ferrero Rocher chocolates, roughly chopped

Decoration:

4-6 (heaped) tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella), for spreading or drizzling

25g chopped roasted hazelnuts

Ferrero Rocher chocolates – how many you want, I decorated with another 5

Method:

  1. To make the cheesecake base: Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in a microwave. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor to a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Tip the biscuit crumbs into a 23cm springform cake tin and press down until compact and firm. Use the back of a spoon or glass to smooth over, place in the fridge to chill whilst you make the filling.
  2. To make the cheesecake filling: In a medium mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese with the icing sugar until smooth. In another mixing bowl whisk together the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the cream cheese mix. Finally, fold through the chopped chocolates.
  3. Spoon over the biscuit base and smooth over with a spatula or palette knife. Cover and leave the cheesecake to chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Once the cheesecake has set, place the chocolate hazelnut spread in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat for 3-4 minutes until runny – be careful not to boil the Nutella or get it too hot.
  5. Allow the Nutella to cool slightly before spreading or drizzling over the top of the cheesecake. Finish by decorating with the remaining chocolates and some chopped roasted hazelnuts. Serve chilled. Cheesecake will store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • You can add more chopped Ferrero Rocher to the cheesecake filling.
  • If you like your cheesecake sweeter, feel free to add more icing sugar to the cheesecake filling. I recommend adding around 150g instead of 85g. Check by tasting and adding more until it reaches your desired sweetness.
  • For the Nutella topping, I typically use 4-6 heaped tablespoons of Nutella. I find using 6 heaped tablespoons makes the topping easier to spread and makes sure there’s enough to completely cover the top.

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This recipe of mine was proudly featured in BBC Good Food magazine May 2014 and also available on BBC Good Food website.

ferrero rocher cheesecake bbc

No-Bake Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake 

Enjoy!

jess

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Categories
Main Meals

Gallini’s Beef Stifado

I first tried beef stifado whilst on holiday in Vasilikos on the beautiful island of Zakynthos. We arrived only to find most restaurants had closed due to an all inclusive hotel. After walking for about 30 minutes on a long dusty track we stumbled upon the most amazing family restaurant. Gallini’s offered delicious authentic Greek food. This memory has never been forgotten and this recipe is one my mum has created inspired by the flavours we tried at Gallini’s and it’s a recipe we’ve been cooking for many years.

Authentic Greek Stifado

Ingredients:

500g lean stewing beef, cut into small cubes

500g baby onions

1 litre tomato passata/chopped tomatoes

1 small wine glass of red wine (approx. 150ml)

2 tablespoons olive oil

150ml water, plus extra if needed

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

Small handful whole peppercorns

Large handful fresh thyme leaves

4 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

100g feta crumbled

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients apart from the feta cheese in a large deep baking dish. Stir and then cover with tin foil. Cook in the oven for an hour at 180 degrees Fan/200°C/450°F/Gas Mark 6.

2. After an hour, turn the oven temperature down to 160 degrees Fan/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and cook the stifado for further 4 hours or until the sauce is thick and glossy and the meat is fork tender. Add a splash of water to adjust the consistency of the sauce if needed.

3. Half an hour before serving, crumble and stir in the feta cheese. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes and then serve piping hot with some cooked rice or orzo.

Enjoy!

jess

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