Gingerbread Cupcakes

I love gingerbread.

Its so great. I love the crunchy crust that forms on the top. Oh and when it is still warm and the butter melts into it. Ahhh so good.

It's another one of those Christmassy treats that can be made this time of year for no proper reasoning other than that it is Christmas time.

I basically made gingerbread. In a cupcake case. That had stripes on it. Cool eh?

And what makes everything better?

Cream cheese icing.

That's right, sooo delicious.

We are all moving Nana into her new place tomorrow so Mum asked me to make something to fill her tins that we could snack on during the day. She asked for cupcakes, or gingerbread or something.

Two birds. One stone.

I got this recipe here from my Cake Days book (no surprises there). You guys really should buy it. So worth it. The recipe said to add black treacle. Unfortunately we didn't have any here, I just substituted in the same weight of golden syrup. This makes the final sponge not as dark as it should and the black treacle would have lent a deeper flavour. But never mind, there is always next time. Which there will be! These are delicious!

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Adapted from Cake Days
Makes 12-16 regular sized cupcakes or 20 scalloped cupcake case sized ones

140g softened butter
200g caster sugar
120g golden syrup (or 60g black treacle and 60g golden syrup)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
310g plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon baking powder
240ml hot milk

50g cream cheese
50g butter
400g icing sugar, sieved
A couple of tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line two muffin trays with cupcake cases.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup (and treacle), eggs and egg yolks and beat until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture in three lots, alternating with the hot milk.

Once all the ingredients have been added, beat until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the cupcake cases until they are two thirds full.

Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Once they are cool, prepare the icing by creaming together all the icing ingredients until light and fluffy.  Add as much milk as you need to smooth the icing out.


I did :)

Lemon, Poppy Seed and Yoghurt Syrup Loaf

Around three months ago Mum bought some plain Collective Dairy Co yoghurt. Two months ago it expired. As disturbing as it may sound, we are still eating this yoghurt. I thought it was a different container of yoghurt, not the same one that I had opened when I was last up on holiday. When I tasted it and smelt it, it was fine. It wasn't until I checked the label did I realise our poor ability to eat plain yoghurt. We have been putting blobs of it here and there on our dinners and things and none of us have died so far.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am on a baking ban. The Edmonds family household apparently does not need baked goods of any kind. Apparently it makes them fat. I think my parents current lack of gym memberships are what is causing that. My brother Jack and I sweat it out every morning without fail. 

Yoghurt always goes nicely with lemon to make delicious, moist lemon yoghurt cakes drowned in a sweet sweet lemony syrup. 

I found a recipe in my Cake Days book for a lemon poppy seed loaf. Only thing was that this loaf used ricotta instead of yoghurt. I substituted this for the yoghurt I needed to use up. Yoghurt helps to keep the cake nice and moist. It turned out wonderfully.

The thing that really makes this loaf delish is the syrup you pour over the top of it as soon as it comes out of the oven. I doubled the syrup quantity to ensure a yummy moist loaf. Mmmm so moist. 

Have I made you feel uncomfortable with the word moist yet?

Right, anyway. This recipe is super simple. It follows a standard cake making method. Make sure the butter and sugar is creamed nice and well as when you add the egg in. The more volume you create here the lighter the sponge will be. Light sponge = good sponge = soft, delicate sponge.

I enjoy cake maths.

Sooo lets get on with the show eh?

Lemon, Poppy Seed and Yoghurt Syrup Loaf
Very adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days

For the loaf:
190g softened butter
190g castor sugar
190g plain flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 large lemons worth of zest
25ml milk
100g plain yoghurt

For the soaking syrup:
Juice of two large lemons
100g castor sugar
100ml water

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, bake. 

Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white in colour and fluffy in texture. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Keep beating until the volume increases substantially and the texture is even fluffier than before. Beat in the lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, sift together the baking powder and flour. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture, beating after each addition. 

Once all the flour has been added, add the milk and the yoghurt and poppy seeds. Beat until smooth. 

Line the bottom side of a loaf tin with baking paper. Grease the sides with butter and dust with flour. 

Pour the batter into the tin and spread with a spoon so that it evenly fills the tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (check after 50 minutes by inserting a clean skewer into the middle, if it comes out with batter still stuck to it, pop it back in the oven for another wee while but make sure you cook it for no longer than  65 minutes). 

While the loaf is baking, make the syrup. Put the lemon juice, sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Making sure it doesn't spill over, reduce the syrup until it reaches around half its original volume or at least until it has a consistency slightly runnier than that of maple syrup. 

As soon as the loaf comes out of the oven, pour over the syrup. Leave to cool before turning out onto a cake rack. Leave to cool fully before slicing (or else it crumbles!).

Slice into nice thick slices and enjoy this in the hot summer sun with a nice cool and refreshing lemony drink. 



Hi there!

This weekend I have been on my lonesome so I took to the kitchen and filled my days with trying out new types of cookies and biscuits.

To be honest I came home this evening feeling a bit useless at everything and so I sought therapy in the one thing I don't seem to suck at: baking.

Thank God for baking. Had I not possessed the ability to whip up half decent treats I probably would have sulked and moped on the couch all night watching gossip girl and eating a tonne of red liquorice. Then I would have felt bad because I am supposed to be on a diet. Then I probably would have gone on a guilt induced trip to the gym for the second time in a day.

 I was going to make oaty chocolate chip biscuits. But that would have involved going to the supermarket to buy chocolate (funnily enough I did end up at the supermarket to buy tuna where I bumped into Mel who I then followed to the library to see Bryn. Talk about a detour. Did I mention this was 10pm at night?)

Right where was I? Ah I opened my Hummingbird book to see if there was anything new and exciting to make when I stumbled across this snickerdoodle recipe.

I had heard of snickerdoodles before, from numerous American TV and movie references. I didn't actually have any idea what they were though.

Turns out they are a dense but fluffy vanilla biscuit with a hint of cinnamon, coated in a crust of more cinnamon and sugar to create a crunchy yet fluffy spicy biscuit. They are delicious.

When I looked at the recipe I had everything I needed already in my extensive baking cupboard. What is even better is that they only use 60g of butter, so they are sort of in the low fat department with only around 4g of butter per cookie (lets not get started on the sugar - lets assume you burn that off in an instant :)).

This recipe does call for cream of tartar, I know it is not something you use often but it is super cheap to buy and only use a couple of times. Cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate acts as a stabilising agent and a crystal forming preventative agent. It also helps to activate baking soda in baking powder.

Right lets get onto the cookie making shall we?

(from the Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days)
Makes 12-14

For the dough:

60g softened butter
160g caste
r sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
240g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the coating:
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and beat until the volume almost doubles.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and cinnamon and add this to the egg mixture in around three lots, beating well after each addition. Mix well until the mixture becomes a thick dough.

Cover the bowl with glad wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.

While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 170 degrees bake (150 if on fan bake).

Prepare the coating by mixing the caster sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Once the dough is firm, roll into walnut sized balls then coat well with the cinnamon and sugar mix.

Place on a baking tray and press down slightly with the back of a spoon, just to flatten them into fat discs. Space the dough balls evenly with around 5cm between each ball.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden colour.

Allow to cool slightly before munching down on them :)

I hope you enjoy these :) they are really easy, pretty much fool proof and are a nice crispy change from the usual bickie :)


Sophie x

Banoffee Cupcakes

Once again I am still in my pajamas at 3pm on a Sunday and the only think I have to show for myself are 50 or so cupcakes and 1000 extra words on my essay. You wouldn't have thought I got up at 8am would you?

So dearest Chris organises his friends together every year to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand. As a thank you for everything I offered to make Chris some thank you cupcakes for a wee gathering to be held this evening. I made banoffee cupcakes (since he loves banana cake) and rose cupcakes which tasted a lot like rose Turkish delight as I was itching to try out the new rose water I bought a few days ago.

This post however will be on the banoffee ones. I'll post about the rose ones when I am not feeling so cupcaked out :S

Once again the dear old

Cake Days

book comes into play. It had a recipe for banoffee cupcakes with a caramel-whipped cream thing going on on top of them. To be honest I couldn't really be bothered putting on my face and putting on actual clothes to go down to the supermarket to buy the cream. So I just made a toffee icing like I did in my

sticky date toffee cupcakes

I made last weekend.

Remember that expensive issue I had with the

dulche de leche

? Well Linda at work said to try out Jamie Oliver's method of placing unopened tins of condensed milk in a full pot of simmering water for three hours, topping the water up when it goes down. I tried it out last night and boy did I get a pleasant surprise this morning when I opened up one of the tins! It was delicious! Sure three hours is a long time but I boiled up two tins, one for these cupcakes and one for next time. If you were super efficient you would put like five in at a time and leave them sitting on your shelf - after all you haven't opened them so they are still shelf stable.

Moment of truth!

Sweet mother of goodness!

Uugh I feel so sick. Too much icing has been consumed today and not enough actual food!

Don't let that put you off though, these are delicious. They comprise of a banana cake and caramel sponge with a sneaky dollop of caramel on top piled further with delicious toffee caramel icing :)

Don't kid yourself. The banana in these does not make these things the least bit healthy.

Give them a go, impress your mum and your friends when you show up with the most delicious treats out!


Banoffee Cupcakes

(adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days


Makes 12


40g butter, softened

140g castor sugar

120g plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

1/2 cup whole milk

100g mashed banana (about 3/4 of a large banana)

50g of dulche de leche  or the tinned condensed milk caramel



300g icing sugar

80g butter, softened

25ml whole milk

100g tinned caramel

Splash of vanilla


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees bake (or 170 if your oven is fan forced). Line your muffin tray with cupcake cases.

Beat together your butter and sugar until all the butter lumps have been broken down and the consistency is even. Sieve in your flour and baking powder and beat until a sandy consistency is reached.

Add in your milk and vanilla, beat in. Next add your egg and beat until thick and smooth. 

Pop in your mashed banana and caramel and mix until evenly distributed.

Fill your cupcake cases 3/4 full (they tend to sink quite a bit when they cool) and bake for 20 minutes or until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed. 

Leave your cupcakes to cool a wee bit before transferring them to a cake rack or a clean tea towel. 

Make sure your cupcakes are completely cold before you ice them. 


Cream the butter and sugar together with the addition of the milk to loosen it up. You may need more milk or icing sugar if the icing isn't thin or thick enough after you add the caramel. Add in your vanilla and caramel and beat until smooth and fluffy. Make sure your icing is relatively stiff, you don't want it slopping off your cupcake and making a mess.

Take the caramel and place a small blob (about 1/4 teaspoon) on each cupcake before you ice them.

Insert the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 1M nozzle and swirl away! :)

This is what a 1M nozzle looks like

Haha lucky is the person who gets this one :)

I think these are even better than the plain caramel cupcakes I did last week. Give them a go, you won't regret it :)


Delicious oozing caramel :)

My First Attempt at Whoopie Pies: Peanut butter and chocolate

Hello there.

Whoopie pies. Only recently have I heard of such a baked good. They are apparently comprised of two cakey blobs sandwiched together with fluffy frosting. They are commonly the size of small cheese burgers. Typical Americans continuously coming up with new ideas to become obese.

To celebrate my 10 00th view on my blog I decided to try something new. These whoopie pies in my Hummingbird Cake Days book looked delicious, almost comical in their perfectness. Unfortunately mine turned out a big more knobbly that they should have. Maybe I should have squished them down a bit, who knows?

I also found the mixture to be quite sticky, gummy and chewy, like the flour had been over mixed, like my overcooked mug brownies that stick to the roof of my mouth (not ideal). Oh well there is a first time for everything.

Once cooked (and popped in the fridge for a bit) they become quite fudgy. An unusual texture but I wouldn't say a bad one. I am actually rather enjoying this late night fat snack. Without the icing they wouldn't be so great though.

Whoopie pies are like really dense cakes, they use plain yoghurt and a wee bit of milk rather than mostly milk (like cupcakes). You also start off by beating the egg and sugar together, rather than the butter and sugar. What else is strange is that you add the butter melted, rather than softened. Quite a peculiar method to follow, but an easy one.

Cake Days says to use marshmallow fluff in the icing between the two pie pieces. Unfortunately I don't know where to get that in Dunedin and there is something about buying a can of marshmallow fluff that creeps me out a bit. Maybe its the thought of all the processing and additives that must be in it. I'm a food sci student, for additives to freak me out it must be pretty bad. Usually those sorts of products taste no where near as good as freshly made alternatives.

To compensate for my lack of fluff, I added a good hunk of butter as well as a nice heaped dessert spoon of crunchy peanut butter to the icing. The icing reminded me of the new Whittaker's peanut butter chocolate. That can't be a bad thing right?

I have not given up completely. Far from it. I shall try again! probably with a different flavour though. These will work for me! They will! For the mean time I shall use my food class to dispose of them tomorrow morning, hide all evidence that I failed!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Whoopie Pies (adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days)
Makes 8-10 sandwiches

1 large egg
150g castor sugar
125g plain yoghurt (I just bought a single serve pottle from the supermarket for like $1)
25ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
75g melted butter
275g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
60g crunchy peanut butter

40g softened butter
2 ish cups icing sugar
25ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 dessert spoon peanut butter

Beat the egg and sugar together until thick and a very pale yellow colour.

In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, yoghurt and vanilla together. Pour this into the egg and sugar mix and beat well.

Pour in the melted butter then mix well again.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa together. Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, beat well on a low speed until smooth then add the rest of the dry mix and beat again until smooth.

Add the peanut butter then mix through until evenly distributed.

Place the mix in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to cool down.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Once the batter is cool, roll into balls (mine weighed 40g each) place in the tray and flatten with your fingers. I should have done this step. Ahh hind sight, its a wonderful thing.

Bake for 10 minutes or until they spring back when lightly pressed. The dough is quite a dry mix and you definitely don't want to overcook these or else they will be horrid and dry.

Transfer the half whoopies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Whilst they are cooling, beat your butter, milk and icing sugar well until light and fluffy. Add your peanut butter and continue to beat to regain the fluffiness. I found I had to add some more icing sugar to stiffen the icing up. If the icing is too soft the whoopie halves will slip off each other.

Transfer the icing into a piping bag with a large circular tip. Pipe the icing onto one half then sandwich another on top to make a sandwich. Unfortunately with sandwich biscuits as soon as all of them are stuck together the total yield of biscuits is halved, meaning they run out twice as fast!

Store these in an airtight container in the fridge to set the icing (or on the bench if your flat kitchen is cold enough).

I hope you enjoy, they do not taste bad at all. A little big for my liking (I feel like I have eaten a cake burger after only one).


Caramel Cupcakes: A rainy day treat

Good rainy evening!

Wow sure is pouring down out there in dear old Dunedin. There is something about wet miserable weather that gives me this sense of 'you can eat whatever the hell you like, the calories don't count; it's raining'. Do you guys get that?

Anyway I had some of the caramel I made for my sticky date cupcakes left over in the fridge as well as some left over icing. I had to use them up! Waste not, want not!

Ohhh guess what!!! Exciting!! Exciting!!! (No Alix, it's not Taylor Swift's new single). I bought the Hummingbird Bakery App! Now I can have my favourite baking cookbook permenantly in my pocket so I cant have easy access and impromptu baking sessions!

EXCIIITTTINNGGG!!! I reccommend you get it. It's super cool!!

Right, enough of that. It's cupcake time.

This recipe is basically just a plain vanilla recipe with the addition of caramel. The recipe says to use dulche de leche, a South American tinned caramel. Unfortunately that sells in the international isle at New World for $8.99. A bit out of range for a casual baking session. They also suggest normal tinned caramel as a substitute. I dunno about you but I find the highlander tinned condensed milk caramel a bit weird tasting. Jamie Oliver suggests placing tins of condensed milk, unopened, in a high sided pot filled with boiling water and leaving them to cook for three hours. Apparently this turns the condensed milk into a caramel. I am keen to try that. I didn't know this at the time I made my sticky date cupcakes so I just made up a normal caramel filling recipe that I use in my caramel slices, it's here under my sticky date cupcake post.

Caramel Cupcakes (Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days book)
Makes 12-15

40g softened butter
140g castor sugar
120g sieved flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
75g (I sneakily used 100g) of dulche le leche or normal caramel

300g icing sugar, sieved
60g butter, softened
25ml whole milk
75g dulche de leche or caramel

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, bake.

In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder together until it becomes a sandy consistency. Once all the lumps are removed, pour in the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Crack in the egg and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the caramel and beat until incorporated.

Spoon into paper cases in a muffin tray until 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden and the tops spring back when you press them. Leave them to cool slightly before turning out into a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before icing.

Beat the butter, sieved icing sugar and milk until light and fluffy. You may need to add more milk to smooth it out. Add the caramel and beat until smooth. I found I needed to add a bit more icing sugar to thicken it up. The caramel can cause it to become slightly sloppy and if you want to pipe it out nicely you need it to form really stiff peaks otherwise they will slop down.

Place a small spoon of caramel on each cupcake, pipe the icing using a 1M tip (or however you want) then drizzle over some more runny caramel or golden syrup. Nom nom nom.

I recommend you eat at least all of them instantly.


Happy rainy day!!

Sticky Date Toffee Cupcakes

Hi there!

So I got bored this afternoon and my baking itch wasn't satisfied with just the carrot cake I had made. I flipped through my Hummingbird Bakery Cakes Days book that Chris bought me (best present ever) and found this recipe for sticky date and caramel cupcakes. I was originally put off because they used this it called for an ingredient for dulche de leche, which is a South American tinned milk caramel. I found this at the Centre City New World but it was a hefty $8.99. Instead I bought a tin of condensed milk and made my own version on the stove top. (Right next to it, in the picture is the best lemon honey/curd you can buy in a jar! Aunty Von's, I highly recommend it).

I like sticky date pudding. I like it a lot. It is so moist and delicious, especially when drowned in caramel sauce and a bit dollop of sloppy whipped cream on top. As cupcakes, these are pretty close to the real deal. You include some of the caramel you made into the icing so the light and fluffy icing has a hint of caramel to it.

The other day I saw that you could buy caramel food flavouring in the baking isle now. That is pretty cool. If you were feeling a bit poor you could probably substitute the caramel in the icing for a few drops of essence. I might go and invest in some tomorrow.

What you cant substitute the essence for is the gooey layer of caramel that hides between the sponge and the icing. When you bite into it, it oozes outwards and all over the exposed sponge. Only one word can describe the deliciousness; NOMMMM.

Oh and if you want to make this even worse for you, top it all off with some pieces of caramel sprinkled over the top. It's worth it. I promise.

And just a special shout out to my brand new handbeater! Courtesy of Mum and Dad. I am sad to announce the passing of my dear old friend. He came to me second hand from my Mother and we had many happy memories together. Unfortunately he came to a very grinding halt. I shall miss him.

So anyway this is my new beater's maiden voyage :)

It's still so clean!

Hummingbird's Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

For the cupcake:
180g chopped dried dates
180 ml boiling water
80g unsalted butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
180g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the caramel:
375g (1 tin) condensed milk
50g butter, chopped into small pieces
4 tablespoons golden syrup

For the icing:
80g butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sieved
3 tablespoons whole milk
100g caramel or dulche de leche


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius on bake.

First soak the dates in the boiling water for 20 minutes (if you are impatient like me pop them in the microwave for 1 minute to help speed up the process).

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale brown in colour and fluffy in consistency.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat until the mixture roughly doubles in volume.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this dry mix into the butter, sugar and egg mix in thirds, beating after each addition. Beat until the batter is smooth and even.

Add the vanilla to the water and date mix. Pour all of this into the rest of the mixture. Mix by hand until the dates and water are incorporated.

Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases and fill them 2/3 full.

Bake for 18 minutes or until they spring back when touched. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack or clean tea towel.

In a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup together on a medium heat. Stirring regularly. Heat until the butter has melted and has been incorporated into the condensed milk. Keep heating and stirring until it turns a darker tan colour (a wee bit darker than the photo below) and becomes quite thick. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool.

Cream the butter and a small amount of the sieved icing sugar. Keep adding icing sugar slowly, adding milk in between additions to moisten the mixture. If the mixture is too stiff, add a splash more milk. Add more icing sugar if it is too sloppy. Next add the caramel.I found that after the addition of the caramel the icing becomes quite soft and a bit more icing sugar was needed to stiffen it up again. Beat until fluffy and smooth.

Place a small dollop of the left over caramel onto the top of each cupcake. Next place the icing into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip (or equivalent). Starting at the outer edge, squeeze the piping bag and start and inward spiral, overlapping the previous circle ever so slightly. Swirl around and up, moving the nozzle up and down quickly at the top to release the peak from the nozzle. sprinkle over a few caramel pieces (I used jersey caramels) and you are good to go.

Do give these a go, they are not that difficult actually. A few components to think about but the left over jar of caramel sitting in our fridge is well worth the effort!

See you later! :)