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.


Coconut Ice Cupcakes

Ice ice baby.

Well that is what should be falling from the sky tomorrow. Hopefully.

I really should have been doing some research for my next assignment due after the holidays but my brain just couldn't cope. So instead I baked. The only problem with said baking is that most of my friends have gone off home and so finding people to give these fellas a home is proving a challenge. So I decided that because tomorrow was likely to be such a terrible (or wonderful depending which way you look at it) day weather wise that these popping up in the Applied Science tearoom would go down a treat.

Hey we are a food science department, we have a bit of an affinity for food funnily enough.

Blogging about Cupcakes I do believe is a nice change. I haven't made any in a while. In fact I think the last time I made cupcakes was actually the lamington cupcakes that I posted here. Man they were good. Haha and also were covered in coconut.

I took the basic Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe and added a quarter of a cup of desiccated coconut and a few drops of coconut essence to the sponge. I then added more coconut essence as well as some strawberry essence to the icing. Oh then chopped up some coconut ice that I picked up at the supermarket from the bulk bins to place on the top of them.

Here are the flavourings I used. Oh and that's Dad in the background. Hi Dad.

So as you can see, they are not tricky at all!

I am just really liking the effect of the coconut on the top. I used both threaded and desiccated for that.

Also, because they are supposed to look quite rough (come on who has ever seen a perfect piece of coconut ice before?) it doesn't matter what the icing beneath the coconut looks like, in fact I think the rougher the icing the better the effect. It almost gives it that whipped, cloud-like look.

I can't wait for my little cousin Lulu to have big birthday parties. Haha I think I will end up going a little over the top with them!

Remember you can add more or less coconut essence, more or less strawberry essence and more or less pink food colouring to the sponge according to your own preferences.

Coconut Ice Cupcakes
Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook 
Makes 12

40g butter, softened
140g castor sugar
120g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup full fat milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
a few drops coconut essence
1 teaspoon vanilla essece

50g butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
up to a quarter cup of milk (add it gradually until you achieve a fluffy consistency)
a splash of vanilla essence
few drops of coconut and strawberry essence
pink food colouring
threaded and/or desiccated coconut to cover
coconut ice to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

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

Gradually add in half of the milk and mix until combined. Crack in the egg, beat until combined then mix in the remaining milk plus the coconut and vanilla essences. Mix until combined and smooth.

Spoon into the 12 cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden.

Let the cakes cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, cream together the butter and icing sugar, add small amounts of milk to loosen the mixture up. Add in the essences and pink food colouring until it meets your desired shade of pink. Keep beating until the icing is really voluminous. It should not be runny at all ie it should form stiff peaks.

Spoon this icing onto the cool cupcakes and using a knife or palatte knife, smooth the icing into a swirl. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect. Imperfection is the new perfection. Natural looking is far more pleasing to the eye.

Sprinkle (or totally drown) the cupcakes with the coconut and decorate with the coconut ice (I chopped mine into smaller cubes).

Stand back and marvel at how terribly girly everything looks and curse at your previously spotless floor that is now covered in icing sugar and coconut.



Hey Blondie!

I don't think blondes have more fun.

I don't know where that myth came from. I would kill for lovely dark hair as well as the dark eye lashes and brows that accompany it.

You see being a fair lass myself, I am cursed with equally fair brows and lashes, making it look like I have neither unless they are coloured in and lacquered with mascara. On the rare occasion I go to the gym without either painted onto my face I find that no one recognises me. Awkward!

Anyway that is all somewhat irrelevant since I joined the strawberry sisters.

I have been on a real baking drive lately. I want to make as many things as possible these holidays. I have a nice long list if things I want to make.

I had a flick through my Hummingbird baker cookbook and found this blondie recipe. It looked simple and didn't require copious amounts of chocolate which all their other brownies need.

The process is kind of strange. You melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler then add the sugar. This causes the mixture to split and look crazy wrong but trust me and persevere! Once the eggs are added the lecithin in the yolks emulsifies the butter and the water in the mixture. Win! I love science!

This is a nice sickly sweet alternative to its brown cuzzie. The addition of pecans is delicious but walnuts or even macadamias would be equally amazing. I added extra chopped white chocolate because what is a brownie or a blondie without extra chocolate!

So shall we then?

White Chocolate Blondie
Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

150g white cooking chocolate
125g butter
150g castor sugar
2 eggs
200g plain flour
120g pecans, chopped
100g white chocolate chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees bake and line a small slice tin (20x30cm) with baking paper.
In a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl - I used a cookie cutter to prop it up) melt together the butter and white chocolate. Remove from the heat.

Once melted, whisk in the sugar and vanilla and stir until dissolved. It is here where the mixture looks like it has split but don't worry about it. Quickly mix in the two eggs making sure they don't scramble.

Sift in the flour, mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Add in the pecans and extra chocolate and very quickly mix to spread them out.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes. It should be nice and gooey.

Leave to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!! :)