Secret Choc Easter Egg Cupcakes

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What’s better than chocolate eggs at Easter? Chocolate creme eggs hidden in cupcakes, of course! Even better, with a few cheats, this is a quick, simple recipe that’s easy to make with a bunch of kids and minimal mess – and they taste as good as they look, especially when they’re bitten into!

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Cute bird!

 

What You Need:

300 grams caster sugar

300 grams of softened butter

6 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

60 grams of cocoa (I used Cadbury brand)

240 grams of self raising flour

24 mini creme-filled Easter eggs. I used a mixture of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, caramel-filled, strawberry-filled and mint.

24 cup cake cases. Good quality ‘foil’ cases work better for this recipe (though not essential)

2 tubs of commercial vanilla frosting. This is part of the ‘cheat’ bit.

Various aerosol food colours (colour in a can)

Various Easter-themed sugar decorations or melted chocolate

 

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Half fill the cupcakes cases, then add a frozen chocolate egg

 

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Top with cake

How it’s Done:

Freeze your eggs for a few hours, overnight is best.

Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line two by twelves cupcake tins with the cases. Using an electric beater, beat the sugar and butter until it lightens in colour and begins to ‘fluff’. Beat in the eggs on at a time, and then the vanilla. At this stage, your mix will probably look pretty ghastly and have begun to curdle. Don’t worry! It will all come back together with the next step – adding the flour and cocoa. As I’ve mentioned in previous recipes, this is a good time to remember to use the spill guard on your mixer, or to stir through the flour slowly. Unless, of course, you like to wear flour…

 

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Rainbow colours

Now, don’t be thrown by the fact this is quite a stiff mixture. It needs to be that way to stop the eggs dropping. One mixed through, add a large teaspoon of mix to each cupcake case. You need enough to give a generous covering of the bottom of the cupcake. Then, add an unwrapped Easter egg, by laying it on its side. Cover with another spoonful of cake mix, making sure the egg is totally covered and the case is about 2/3 full. Bake for aprox. 20 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you touch it. The usual method of sticking a skewer inside won’t quite work this time.

 

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Nom! Creme Egg Cupcake

When baked, allow your cupcakes to cool completely. Fill a disposable piping bag with frosting, and using a large nozzle, pipe a simple swirl. Give a quick squirt with the aerosol colours, and decorate with either: more eggs, melted chocolate or sugar decorations…or, you could use all of the above like we did!

 

 

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Heavenly choc drizzle

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Emergency Cupcakes

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It was one of those Monday afternoons. You know the kind, we all have them. Our home is currently undergoing huge renovations, with most rooms involved – thankfully not the kitchen, been there, done that – we’re talking dust, chunks of plaster, holes in the roof and walls, new windows going in, old ones going out, floor coming up, floor going down, walls being chainsawed completely out of the way. And dust. Again.

Anyway, I was madly preparing ‘stuff’ for my oldest son who was to undergo oral surgery the next morning**, middle son had been in a wonky-computer related meltdown all weekend that I hadn’t quite managed to resolve, and then, with an hour to go before school-pick up, Lovely Husband reminded me that I’d promised to make youngest son cupcakes, to be ready when he got home. Of course.

No time to make the real deal from scratch, and no time to get to the shop. So this is what I made:

(And this is why it helps to keep a pretty well-stacked pantry)

What You Need:

1 packet of commercial chocolate cake mix.

Cupcake liners.

60g dark cooking chocolate.

125g butter.

6 tablespoons of milk.

500g of icing sugar.

Lollies. I used jellybeans and M&M’s.

emergency cupcakes

Yum!

How It’s Done:

Make and bake cupcakes according to the directions on the packet. I always keep a chocolate and a vanilla cake mix on hand for emergencies like this one. And, you know, lazy baking days.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Confession – I ran out of time, so cooling happened while I did the school pick-up. But it worked out okay because the boys helped decorate, which is apparently, almost as fun as eating the cupcakes.

For the icing, add chocolate, butter and milk to a large saucepan. Bring to boil, giving it a good stir frequently. Remove from heat and beat in icing sugar until smooth. You might find you need to add a little more icing sugar or milk, depending on consistency. You can either pipe the icing on (beware though, it stiffens quite quickly) or just smooth it on with a knife. We are talking emergency cupcakes, after all. Chop around half of your desired lollies, leaving some whole. Press into icing and you’re done!

**this may or may not translate into ‘I was having a complete and utter freak-out at the thought of my son undergoing surgery’. He did fine, by the way.

 

Celebration Cake Pops

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So, Christmas is done and dusted, and as has been the case for the past couple of years, it was a very quiet and relaxed day for us. All the action happens crazy-early morning when our three boys leap out of bed to discover what Father Christmas has delivered. After that, it’s all about doing as little as possible. Besides my Beloved and our sons, I only have my sister (and her family) and my Mum left on my side after losing my Dad and both my maternal grandparents in a short space of time. Christmas without them is still a bit weird. We call it ‘the new normal’. We don’t do the whole mega-meal in the middle of the day – and there’s definitely no hot oven making the kitchen an uncomfortable place to be (seriously, our Australian summer is enough to contend with!) So this year, in between splashing around in the pool, we adults munched on some gorgeous antipasto platters while the kids were able to choose whatever they wanted to eat – it is Christmas, after all – and they chose chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Why not, I say!

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Celebration Cake Pops

I did, however whip something special up for dessert. Again, totally non-traditional. Yes, more cake pops! They’re so easy, and suddenly everyone’s favourite – kids and adults alike. They’re easy to eat, don’t require a bowl or crockery, and, they’re FUN. While I served them up over Christmas and Boxing Day, there’s no reason why these can’t make your New Year’s Eve table centrepiece or any other special occasion.

What You Need:

1 packet of chocolate Tim Tams

1 packet of white chocolate Tim Tams

5 malt-style biscuits

2 x 80 grams of cream cheese

White chocolate melts

Dark chocolate melts

Chocolate transfer sheets in various designs. I used two – gold swirls and pink brushstrokes.

Small round cutter, aprox 2cm diameter (for biscuits, scones or icing)

Cake Pop sticks (you could use icy pole sticks)

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The pops!

How it’s Done:

Add the chocolate Tim Tams to your food processor. Blitz for a few moments, just to break them up a little. Add 80 grams of cream cheese and continue blitzing until combined in a doughy ball. Remove and roll teaspoon sized pieces into balls. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, and pop them in the fridge.

For the white chocolate Tim Tams, the process is the same, except you’ll need to add the malt biscuits as well. This is because specialty-flavoured Tim Tams (white, dark, mint etc) are a few biscuits short in the pack. Sneaky, sneaky.

While your Tim Tam balls are chilling, cut a 10cm strip away from your chocolate transfer sheets. The sheets cost about $8 each and are available from all cake decorating shops, as well as online. There’s a huge variety of colours and designs and available, and I think they’re my new favourite thing! I melted a teacup full of chocolate buds in the microwave before pouring the liquid chocolate over the rough side of the transfer sheet. This bit is a little tricky, mainly because you need to smooth the chocolate to a thin layer with a spatula, but not too thin – about 2 or 3 mm is good. Now, wait a couple of minutes – don’t walk away! – until the chocolate is beginning to set, but is still pliable on the sheet. With your round cutter (mine is about 2cm in diameter), cut out circles just as you would for biscuits. If you wait until the chocolate has set too much, it will crack. If it’s still too wet, it just won’t work. Trial and error, folks. As you lift the remaining circles, you’ll find the transfer has done its job and err…transferred the edible design onto your chocolate disk.

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Melt Icing

Remove your Tim Tam balls from the fridge, melt a little more chocolate, dip the end of each stick in it before pushing gently into the ball. Place back on the lined tray upside down, not minding if a flat spot is created on the top on the ball. Give a few minutes to set before melting more chocolate (I use a deep mug) and dipping the whole ball inside. This isn’t the time to be stingy! Let the excess drip off, and while the chocolate is still wet, attach the decorated disk. Replace on the tray upside down to help the disk stay in place while setting.

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Decorate however you like!

These quantities made 32 cake pops, and I was able to make them a day ahead of time. I served them in plain old household jars, in the middle of the table. Get creative! Try colouring your chocolate, and who says you need to stick with circles for your transfers? I’d love to hear your ideas. For me, I think I’ll try stars next time…

Under the Sea Cake Pops

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You might recall my recent post with the Big Blue Fish Cake that I made for my Mr 6’s birthday party. Well, it seems these days that the main birthday cake isn’t enough. You still need cupcakes (well, of course. D’uh, Mum!) and the latest trend in cakes – cake pops.

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The Ingredients! Muwhahahah!

I readied myself with a $12 cake-pop mould-tin from K-mart, though admittedly, I wasn’t too sure about it. Looked to me like the thing would leak and make a helluva mess, if it worked at all. But thankfully, I was saved by the Angel of Cake Advice, the owner of my local cake-supply shop. “Don’t bake them,” she said. “Cheat! Mashed Tim-Tams and cream cheese. That’s all there is to it!” And she was right. Gloriously, deliciously right. Here’s how:

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Scolpt

What You Need:

  • 1 packet of Tim-Tam biscuits. For those of you outside Australia who might have difficulty getting your hands on our national treat, apparently Oreos work too.
  • 80g of cream cheese. I used the Philadelphia brand.
  • Chocolate for dipping.
  • Chocolate food colouring.
  • Mouldable chocolate for decorations.
  • Ice cream sticks or similar. I used plastic ones from my Cake Shop.
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    Getting there …

 

How it’s Done:

I made a triple batch with three packets of Tim-Tams and 240g of cream cheese. All you need to do is throw the biscuits into a food processor, give them a bit of a buzz, then add the cream cheese and process until combined. That’s it. Truly.

Next, roll teaspoon sized scoops of the Tim Tam mix in your hands to make ball-shapes. I kept some as balls, flattened others out into disk shapes (for the crabs) and then for the turtles, just flattened the bottoms. Place on a tray or plate with baking paper. Refridgerate.

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Taking shape

While your balls are chilling, melt a small cupful of chocolate. I use the microwave. Remove the chilled balls, dip the end of a stick into the chocolate, and then into the ball shape. I found it easiest to place upright in a glass, then back in the fridge to set.

While your shapes on sticks are chilling again, it’s time to make up the accessories that will turn your balls into sea creatures. I used mouldable chocolate, which is kind of like plasticine – but waaay yummier – for mine. This stuff comes already coloured, so it makes your life much easier. Fins and tails for the fish, nippers for the crabs, heads, feet and a tail for the turtles. Oh, and eyeballs for all of them. Don’t forget the eyeballs!

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Almost party time

Working with one type of creature at a time, melt more chocolate. This time, use a bowl and don’t skimp on the amount. You need to be able to dip your shapes so that they’re entirely covered. For the turtles I used dark chocolate, the crabs and fish I used coloured white chocolate (make sure you use chocolate-friendly colouring). It’s easiest to make one creature at a time – dip it in the chocolate, wait for the drips to stop, then add its accessories. After setting, I added smiley faces and pupils in the eyes with an edible marker pen.

And the cupcakes? Yeah, they were a cheat too. Packet mix (both chocolate and vanilla), commercial frosting – vanilla – piped on top, then with blue spray colour (just like spray paint in a can) gave them a quick whiz over, and added store-purchased candy sea creatures. Too easy! And yes, the birthday boy was thrilled.

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Doneski! Under the Sea pops  to go with a Giant Blue Fish Cake

Marshamallow and Rasberry Cupcakes

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Super cute and super sweet, these vanilla and raspberry cupcakes are topped with a home-made marshmallow that’s ridiculously easy to make (and soooo yummy!). Perfect for a girly afternoon tea or Sweet 16th Birthday Party, they look fantastic grouped together on the table or a cupcake stand. ~Mandy Wrangles

RC_finished

Marshmallow and Rasberry Cupcakes

First up, we’ll start with the marshmallows.

What you’ll need:

3 cups of sugar

2 tablespoons of gelatine

1 and a half cups of boiling water.

Vanilla essence

Food colouring

How it’s done:

Dissolve the gelatine into a bowl with the boiling water. You might have to help it melt by squishing with the back of a spoon.

RC_mixing bowl

Egg White

In a large bowl, place the three cups of sugar. Add the water/gelatine mix to it and beat with an electric mixer until the mix is thick and creamy and the sugar is dissolved.

And after about 5 minutes, looks like this! Magic!

It’s at this stage that you can add flavourings and colour. For this recipe, I used vanilla and a few drops of pink colouring to half the mix. Working fairly fast, spoon mixture into a piping bag with a wide round nozzle – be careful because it sets quickly and can be a bit sticky and messy! Onto a tray lined with baking paper, pipe coils of marshmallow.

Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, or until cupcakes are baked and cooled.

Now, onto the cupcakes. This recipe makes around 24 cakes.

What you’ll need:

200g softened, unsalted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 cup of caster (superfine) sugar

2 and a half cups of self-raising flour

1 cup of milk

3 eggs

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, mashed with the back of a spoon (I used frozen)

Vanilla buttercream icing. (You can make your own, but I’m all for cheating, so used a commercial brand – Betty Crocker)

RC_cooked but no mallow

Naked Cupcakes!

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C. Line a muffin or cupcake tin with cases, or, you can use the self-structured ones shown in the pics. I like these because you can bake lots more at a time. My trays fit 25 cases.

With an electric mixer, whip the butter, sugar and vanilla until its light and fluffy. Then add your eggs, one at a time. The mixture can go a bit curdly at this stage, but don’t worry, it’ll all come back together. Then add half the flour, half the milk. Then more flour, more milk and keep mixing until it’s all combined. Add a couple of spoons of the mashed raspberries and give another quick mix – but only enough to swirl the raspberries in.

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Marshmallow and Rasberry Cupcakes

Fill your cupcake cases to about halfway. Add some more raspberry chunks if desired. This is a fairly thick and heavy mixture, so give the tops a bit of a smooth over. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a skewer stuck in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before decorating. (pic of cooked, undecorated cakes?)

Once cakes are cool, pull your marshmallows out of the fridge and roll them in icing sugar, or a mix of icing sugar and coloured decorator sugar. Try not to eat toomany before they go on the cakes! With a piping bag and the same large nozzle as used earlier, pipe a round circle of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the cake. Add your marshmallow on top, and you’re done!

Hint: When making cupcakes for a special occasion, I find it really effective to use cupcake cases that match your colour theme, or, as you can see in these pics, two slightly different cases. It’ll make all the difference for the table display.

Chocolate Mud and Oreo Cupcakes

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Oh, my. Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. And cookies! This was a new recipe I tried out just over the weekend, and it’s pretty safe to say I’ll be making these cupcakes again, especially if my kids have any say in it… ~Mandy Wrangles

CMOC_finished_front and back

Chocolate Mud and Oreo Cupcakes

About 24 cupcake cases

200g of chopped butter

160g dark cooking chocolate. I used Cadbury melts brand.

A quarter of a cup of water

2 tbs cocoa powder

1 tbs instant coffee

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup caster (superfine) sugar

3 eggs (best if they’re room temperature)

Three-quarters of a cup of sifted, Self Raising flour

CMOC_mixture

Yummy Mixture!

Pre heat your oven to 150 C, and set out the cupcake cases.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt together the butter, chocolate, cocoa, coffee and vanilla. Use a whisk to bring it together until it’s smooth. Don’t let the mixture boil. Remove from heat and let it cool for 15 minutes.

While your chocolate mix is cooling, use electric beaters to mix together the sugar and eggs until they’re pale and creamy. Then add the chocolate mixture, a little at a time. Once it’s all combined, add the flour slowly and mix.

Pour the mixture to fill the cupcake cases to just over halfway and bake for aprox. 30 minutes. This will vary from oven to oven. The best way to tell if your mudcakes are done is to insert a skewer into the middle of one of the cakes. If it comes out clean – you’re done.

Remove from the oven and let cupcakes cool completely before decorating.

CMOC_pair on plate

Decorated with Oreos

Vanilla buttercream mixture

Chocolate buttercream mixture (yes, you can make your own, but the commercial brands are delicious and make life SO much easier. I use the Betty Crocker brand. Whoever said it wasn’t okay to cheat in the kitchen?)

Pack of miniature ‘Oreo’ cookies.

Piping bag and large ‘star’ nozzle.

Bring vanilla buttercream to room temperature.

Put aside two Oreo cookies for each cake, and add the left overs to a small snap-lock plastic bag. Seal the bag and smash the cookies with a rolling pin until they’re a fine grain. You can use a blender to do this, but it’s way more fun to smash stuff! Make sure the grains of cookie are small enough that they won’t clog your piping nozzle. Mix the cookie grains through the vanilla buttercream and pop in the fridge for 5 or 10 mins.

While the vanilla and cookie buttercream chills, add the chocolate buttercream to your icing bag and pipe a ‘base’ of chocolate over the entire cake. Once they’re all done, remove the vanilla/cookie flavour from the fridge and pipe a small swirl on top, adding the saved Oreo cookies for garnish.