Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Friday, 21 November 2014

These are the best cupcakes I've ever made.  No word of a lie.  I spent a while with the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, flicking through the different recipes and figuring out which bits of each I wanted to try to pull together.  This is a mixture of two cupcake recipes and a frosting recipe, and I am delighted with the result.  The flavours marry perfectly. These are definitely the cupcakes to make if you want to impress people - I brought them to my friend Julie's housewarming a couple of weeks ago and my friends are still talking about them now!  These would be perfect for a Christmas party, too.

Speaking of Christmas, we are less than five weeks away!  Despite it being my favourite time of year, it never ceases to surprise me just how quickly it sneaks up once you hit September.  There's plenty of time - Halloween and November 5th still to come - and then suddenly they're over and November is a flurry of social activity (because everyone wants to catch up before Christmas and then lock themselves indoors until Spring) and suddenly it's almost December!  I love this time of year.  With that said, I must get back to developing my Christmas recipes!  Happy end-of-November, everyone. It's almost Christmas!!!


CHEESECAKE-FILLED CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Yield:  12 cupcakes     Time:  45 minutes


INGREDIENTS


for the chocolate cupcakes

100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g golden caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g milk chocolate chips

for the cheesecake filling

140g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g milk chocolate chips

for the cream cheese frosting (optional)
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
125g cream cheese, fridge cold
cocoa powder, for dusting


INSTRUCTIONS


Heat the oven to 170C.

Line a 12-cup muffin tray with muffin cases.


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a bowl.  Add the sugar and butter, and mix until combined and you have a sandy consistency.
  2. Whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla in a jug, and slowly pour half into the flour mixture until combined, then repeat with the second half.  Be careful not to over mix.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth and fluffy with a handheld whisk.  Be careful not to over beat.
  5. Spoon a tablespoon of the chocolate mix into the waiting muffin cases and top with a heaped teaspoon of cheesecake mix, and then a teaspoon more of the chocolate mix. (If you aren't frosting them and would like the marble-looking top, add another small spoonful of cheesecake mixture to the top!)
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the sponge springs back when you press your finger to it.  The cheesecake mix will have turned a golden colour - watch them closely in the last few minutes as the cheesecake mix can dry out if cooked for too long.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together the icing sugar and butter with an electric whisk.  Add the cream cheese and beat until fully incorporated.  Turn the mixer to a medium-high speed and continue beating for a few minutes until light and fluffy.  Top the cooled cupcakes with frosting.

NOTES


Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, p11, p17 + p27.

'Chocoblock' Triple Chocolate Loaf Cake

Tuesday, 11 November 2014



This cake and I have had a long journey getting here.  I knew that once I perfected it that it would be something to behold - and here we are, five variations later, with a method I am now able to tell you worked for me.


The original recipe from the lovely Rosie over at The Londoner called for a low cooking temperature of 150C for 45 minutes.  All ovens vary, of course, but my cake came out like a molten chocolate lava pit - delicious, but not the sliceable loaf I was looking for.  Also, my chocolate chunks all sank to the bottom.  The following attempts included changing cooking temperature and time, varying the wet to dry ratio, layering the chocolate chunks with the batter as if I were making a chocolate lasagne...  I even recruited my cousin to look at the ingredients in baking maths terms to see if I'd missed anything.  The list goes on.

So Chocoblock and I took a little break from each other.  A few weeks wherein I made other things to reassure myself that I was still capable of baking cakes that cooked through the middle.  And then, one sunny Friday afternoon, I decided to give it another go.  I went back to the original recipe, tweaked it in the ways I'd worked out were successful (upping the temperature and the cooking time, covering the tin in foil to prevent the top from burning, altering some of the ingredient amounts), placed it in the oven and hoped for the best.

It worked!  The frustrating thing is that I don't exactly know why - I can only presume it's the amalgamation of changes I made that finally came together perfectly.  Hardly the greatest advice for me to imparting to you.  Your oven and alterations may mean Rosie's original is more suited to you - whilst I can't comment on that, I can say is that this one worked for me.  Play around with it, I promise the end result will be worth it.


'CHOCOBLOCK' TRIPLE CHOCOLATE LOAF CAKE
Yield: one 2lb loaf cake
Time: 90 minutes


INGREDIENTS

180g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
180g (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g (1 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
100g (1 cup) ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100ml (1/2 cup) milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
200g milk chocolate, cut into chunks
200g white chocolate, cut into chunks


INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 160C Fan / 180C.
Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. In the meantime, mix together the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, and cocoa in a separate bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined, followed by the vanilla.
  4. Carefully stir in the dry ingredients along with the milk, until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  6. Pour into your loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes.  I covered mine with foil for the first 45 minutes so that it didn't catch and burn!



NOTES

Adapted from The Londoner.

Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

It's been all chocolate around here the past few weeks so let's add some cheesecake to the mix!  There must be something in the air.  Lovely Tash over at Tealightsky has also made her own version which goes to show that great minds think alike!

These are rich, decadent and almost impossible to eat in one sitting.  I brought a batch down to Jo at her stall at the monthly art fair (along with some Peanut Butter Halloween Cookies and a Triple Chocolate Loaf Cake that I'll post here soon!) to help her and her fellow artists stave off the cold and rain that was Sunday.  Luckily the day brightened up for them, and the treats went down a... well, treat.

The brownie base is an adaptation of my old favourite.  Gooey, molten chocolate into which I've packed milk chocolate chips and topped with the lightest, creamiest milk chocolate-chip cheesecake.  I'd eat these warm if I were you, but be prepared for sticky fingers!  If eating cold, stick them in the fridge to firm up - they'll slice better that way, too.

CHEESECAKE SWIRL BROWNIES
Yield: 12 large brownies/24 bite-size      Time: 45 minutes (plus cooling and setting time)

INGREDIENTS

for the brownies
280g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), broken up
280g unsalted butter
3 large eggs (or 4 medium)
280g golden caster sugar
Seeds of 2 vanilla pods (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract)
125g plain flour, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted
100g milk chocolate chips

for the cheesecake top
170g cream cheese
75g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g milk chocolate chips


INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 180C.
Line a 23cm square tin.

  1. Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a bain-marie (a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water - being careful that the bottom of the bowl doesn't actually touch the water).  Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light and frothy.
  3. Fold in the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
  4. Gently mix in the flour and cocoa powder, followed by the chocolate chips.  Pour the chocolate mixture into your prepared tin.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cheesecake ingredients (apart from the chocolate chips) until light and frothy.  Stir through the chocolate chips.  Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the brownie mixture and smooth to the edges of the tin with the back of a spoon.  Use the back of a knife or a toothpick to swirl together the two mixtures.
  6. Cook for 20-25 minutes.  I love my brownies to be ridiculously gooey, so I take them out at 20 minutes.  The top should be crisp but the middle will be moist.  For firmer, easier-to-eat brownies, leave them in that few minutes longer.  Leave to cool in the tin (preferably in the fridge overnight) before turning out and slicing.  They can also be gently warmed up in the oven at a later point and served with ice cream!

NOTES

Brownie mixture adapted from here.
Cheesecake mixture adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook p27.

Twit-Twoo Owl Cupcakes

Friday, 31 October 2014




Happy Halloween!

Considering how much fun I had making Witches' Hats and Broomsticks, you can only imagine how happy I was making these.  I spent a very contented Friday evening (yes, super cool) surrounded by cupcakes, a jar of Nutella, and more chocolate buttons than I needed (you have to sample as you go along, naturally).  There's something so rewarding about turning plain chocolate cupcakes into owl faces, and they don't fully come together until you place the last piece of the puzzle, regardless of whether it's a nose or an eye or a piece of the feathers.

These little guys are so fun to make, and I think they make for a friendly face to have around at this time of year when we're surrounded by witches, ghosts and ghouls!  The cake base is my new deliciously chocolatey go-to recipe topped with Nutella, followed by milk chocolate buttons serving as feathers, white chocolate buttons and mini chocolate chips as eyes, halved jelly diamonds as noses, and little stars for extra decoration!  If you can get past not wanting to eat something so cute-looking (my Mum has to eat the eyes first so that they're not longer looking at her!), they taste absolutely amazing.  I'd say have some ready to hand out to Trick or Treaters, but you really won't be overly inclined to share them.


TWIT-TWOO OWL CUPCAKES
Yield:  12 cupcakes     Time:  45 minutes (plus cooling time)


INGREDIENTS


for the chocolate cupcakes

100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g golden caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 medium egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g milk chocolate chips

for the owl tops

a few tablespoons of Nutella
milk chocolate buttons
white chocolate buttons
milk chocolate chips
jelly diamonds, halved
white chocolate stars (optional)


INSTRUCTIONS


Heat the oven to 170C.

Line a 12-cup muffin tray with muffin cases.


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a bowl.  Add the sugar and butter, and mix until combined and you have a sandy consistency.
  2. Whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla in a jug, and slowly pour half into the flour mixture until combined, then repeat with the second half.  Be careful not to over mix.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Spoon into the waiting muffin cases and bake for 18-22 minutes until a knife comes out clean.  Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool fully.
  5. Top each cooled muffin with a tablespoon of Nutella and spread out with a fork until you have a feather pattern.
  6. Place milk chocolate buttons across the bottom of each as feathers, and white chocolate buttons topped with milk chocolate chips as eyes.  Halved jelly diamonds as beeks to finish them off!

NOTES


Owl topping adapted from the Waitrose Kitchen Magazine, October 2014.

Cupcake recipe adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, p17.
 

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