Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Give an example of how you deal with stress.

Job interview preparations. Love it. I spend hours by myself thinking of scenarios and examples because I know that if I don't, when crunch time hits my brain will suddenly become empty and I will probably come up with some very poor, weak example. 

So while the proper answer is that I write down everything I have to do, prioritise and just work through it setting time goals, in reality the truth is far more calorific. 

If the stress is emotional and irrational I tend to turn to my Kitchenaid mixer and a viber chat with Alix. At the same time of course.

Anything to distract me and Alix has a magical way of pulling you back down to Planet Normal. Oh and she's great to talk to if you want to complain about boys and how dumb they are and celebrate being on Team Single. Whoop. 

So today whilst chatting away I churned through an entire packet of oreos in the process of making these magnificent creations.

I vowed that every Monday I would bring morning tea to our one fourth year class of the week. Since there are only like ten of us it is a very doable quest. So in practice for next Monday I decided to try out a half batch of these babies from my Home Sweet Home recipe book from the Hummingbird Bakery. My Dad bought be this book as part of a bet/deal we had going. If I get above 80% in a 50% exam I had earlier on in the year he would buy me this book. Between 70-79% I would pay half. Below that and he would disown me. Good deal eh.

Well thankfully I got 82% in that gem so this book was all mine!

But basically all this is just a chocolate cupcake recipe with a few crushed oreos shoved into each one. Preeeety simple. I decided to do an icing with a dollop of cream cheese thrown in there just to make it really lethal. 

I'm really going with the messy cupcake look lately aren't I? I could't pipe these very well anyway, the oreo chunks would get stuck in the nozzle!

So next time you feel like making something that looks epic but is actually really easy, look no further than these babies. 

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery's Home Sweet Home

for the cupcake:
70g butter, softened
170g plain flour
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
210ml whole milk
2 large eggs
12 oreos, broken into quarters

for the icing:
50g butter, softened
50g cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups icing sugar
couple of splashes of milk
6 oreos, crushed

6 oreos roughly broken to sprinkle over the top

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees on bake.

Mix together the flour, butter, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt until a sandy consistency is reached.

Add in half the milk and vanilla and beat until smoothish then add one of the eggs and beat until smooth. Repeat with the rest of the milk and second egg. Beat until all the lumps have gone.

Spoon into cupcake cases in a muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer come out just clean.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, cream the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth then mix in the icing sugar and a splash of mix to loosen it. Beat until fluffy and voluminous. Stir in the crushed oreo pieces. Spread over the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with a few extra oreo crumbs.

Prepare to see your friends weep with gratitude.


Black Bottomed Cheesecake Cupcakes

Also known as the ugliest cupcakes you will ever lay your eyes on.

That was intentional. They were never gonna be beautiful. Just like my feet were never going to be foot models (thanks Mum).

Sean said to claim them as being rustic. So I will.

I had a bit of a cruisey day today. I can only do lab work every four days at this stage so once I did all my prep I had the afternoon free to apply for a job, pay a power bill and twiddle my thumbs. I decided that I should probably pay a bit of attention to my wee blog. It has been a bit neglected really. I kind of went to Hawaii for 10 days, then I had a whole heap of stuff to do at uni and then I guess I have been in a bit of a baking rut, making the same things over and over again. I offered the chem honours kids that I would bring them in something so it was a perfect opportunity to try something new and to blog about it.

Now to be honest with you, these didn't go as expected. I made up the cheesecake mixture and it was such a failure. It was sloppy and not smooth and fluffy like it was supposed to be. It was somewhat lumpy also. Not ideal. I was also not prepared for the eggless sponge batter. It was the strangest recipe I have ever made. I put the first lot in with little faith in the outcome. But you know what? They didn't turn out half bad so we gobbled them all up and I gave them another go with the left over cheesecake mixture applying what I had learnt from the first lot. The cheesecake mixture was still a mess. Let me know if it works out alright for you.

Goodness, I made so many adjustments. I hope I can remember them in (slash guess how much extra I threw in). This was originally a Hummingbird Bakery recipe. This is the second cupcake recipe that has turned out a little suspicious. My trust in them is being compromised but I shall remain loyal.

The sponge of this cupcake is excellent and rich. It is also quite dense. For those of you who have ever made a mug brownie, this is basically the same thing.

Changes I made:
Add the yolk and only half the white to the cheesecake mixture
Add in about a quarter of a cup of icing sugar to the cheesecake mixture also
Add 3 tablespoons of oil instead of the three
Add 1/2 cup plus say 2 tablespoons of water to the sponge batter
Added chocolate chips to the sponge (hey why not?)
I made up a cream cheese icing then separated off a little and mixed in 5 squares of melted dark chocolate then marbled this through to create an even messier effect.
I also added small half teaspoon amounts of plain cream cheese to each cupcake case, just to break up the sweetness a little.

Black Bottomed Cheesecake Cupcakes
Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
makes 11-12

For the sponge:
190g plain flour
120g castor sugar
40g cocoa
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
pinch of salt

For the cheesecake filling:
140g full fat cream cheese
60g castor sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 yolk + 1/2 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream cheese icing:
50g butter, softened
60g cream cheese
3 cups icing sugar
5 squares dark chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla

6 teaspoons cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and line a muffin tray with paper cases.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, castor sugar and icing sugar. Slowly add in the egg and mix until smooth and creamy (hopefully). Set aside.

Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate chips and baking soda).

In a jug, mix together all the wet ingredients (oil, water, vinegar, vanilla).

In a free standing mixer, gradually add the liquid mix into the dry and mix until the batter is thick.

Spoon dessert spoonfuls of the batter into each cupcake case. Spoon half a teaspoon of cream cheese into the bottom of each case also. Next, spoon a tablespoon or two (as much as fits) of the cream cheese mixture into the cases. Try not to fill too high (leave 6mm space) or else the cheesecake mix overflows.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cheesecake looks set and is no longer 'eggy' looking.

As you can see, these are pretty hideous looking.

Leave to cool before icing.

To make the icing, cream together the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Melt the chocolate using small bursts in the microwave. Stir this chocolate into a small bowl with about half a cup of the cream cheese icing. When spreading the cream cheese icing over the cupcake, dip the edge of your spatula in this chocolate icing and swirl it around to create a marbled effect.

Sprinkle over with chocolate chips if you wish.


A Carrot Cake for Jamal

Good Sunday morning to you all!

Being the baked good enthusiast that I am, I am always looking for a good excuse to bake a cake. It just so happened that it was dear Jamal's birthday yesterday which was more than enough excuse to bake a carrot cake upon request.

The recipe I used is my Mum's recipe. She got it from one of her old books in her cupboard above the fridge. Since I don't have access to that cupboard right now (slight geographical hurdle) I can't confirm which book. Anyway it is a rather good recipe. Stays moist (yes I said it, moooiistt) for days and days (if it even lasts that long). The best bit about it is that it gives you the excuse to smother it in cream cheese icing. Om nom nom. One of Mum's secret tricks is to put chopped prunes in the cake. Prunes! They are surprisingly good in this cake as it makes it lovely and moist (moooissttt). Another thing she does is she always makes a 1.5x recipe. So that the cake is nice and tall in her 25cm tin. Haha and wait there is a third thing! Crushed pineapple. This ups the moisture content and provides a lovely fruity texture.

So here we go,

Sophie's Mum's Delicious Carrot Cake
(this is the single recipe - if you want a bigger cake just multiply quantities by 1.5)
1 1/2 cups whole meal flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups oil
2 eggs
1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
about half a cup of chopped prunes and/or dried apricots

1x25cm cake tin or 2x 20cm cake tins lined and greased
two sheets of tin foil to place over the top of the tins


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, grated carrot and dried fruit. Mix until evenly distributed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla and pineapple (and its juice) until evenly combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined. Try not to over mix as we don't want the cake getting tough. Just make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients lying around.

Pour into your tin(s). Now if you made two small cakes bake for 45 minutes (check at 40 minutes though). For one large cake it takes around 1 hour 10 minutes but check at an hour just to be sure as all ovens are different. If you notice your cakes going a bit too brown on top place the tin foil over the tin. This will stop the browning but not the cooking.

Let the cakes cool down before popping out of their tins. Leave to cool completely before icing (overnight in a chilly Dunedin flat works well).

Could we count this as a healthy cake? fibre, carrots, fruits! haha

Now for the icing, I doubled the recipe here as I wanted to put icing between the cakes and down the sides, If you want to cut calories (haha like you would want to) just do a single recipe and just ice the top. This recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

300g icing sugar, sifted
50 unsalted butter, softened
125g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric hand beater or free standing mixer until well incorporated and semi fluffy. Add cubes of cream cheese one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Once all the cream cheese is added, beat on high for a few minutes until the icing becomes nice and fluffy. Do not over beat as the icing can become runny (I can give you a nice long explanation as to why that happens if you want). Add a teaspoon of vanilla if you wish.

Sweet, now apply that to your cold cake(s).

I recommend checking out Kaitlin over at Whisk Kid to learn how to ice a cake properly. She will teach you how to crumb coat which is essential when using a light coloured icing (ie anything other than chocolate). What is a crumb coat you ask? Go and see for yourself haha.

I even added sparkles

Well I do believe this cake turned out quite nicely. I hope it tasted all right haha.Carrying it on a plate all the way to Jamal's flat was the host terrifying ordeal. I was more nervous that public speaking and sitting an exam combined! It got there in one piece and damage-free thankfully. I did get some funny looks though as I walked down the main streets of Dunedin.

Time for some food chemistry I do believe, hmm or maybe just food . .

See you later!