Ginger and White Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes


Cupcake Ho!
After last weeks very sentimental post (sniff) it is time to give you more cake!  What better way to say I love you than to combine stormy sea views with warming stem ginger cupcakes lavished with smooth dreamy white chocolate buttercream. Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes 

We ventured to Westward Ho! for a secret break I organised for our anniversary to a seaside town in North Devon, UK.  You can see more of my photography on my Flickr gallery. He did not have a clue where we were going but chouxchouxbedoo guessed it!

Westward Ho! is one of the 2 locations in the World which offically has an exclamation mark as part of its name.  I am known to overindulge in my exclamation mark use so it seemed fitting to go somewhere where it’s an acceptable part of conversation. Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

I love this place and in my dream I will live by the sea, waking up to uninterrupted views of the ocean every morning.  Of course on the bedside table there is a steaming mug of coffee and a freshly baked cupcake to compliment the dreaminess of the view and as this is a dream it will have no calories.

Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

Sprinkles and cupcakes are an iconic duo like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers they are destined to dance together so heart-shaped chocolate sprinkles had to be included. I created mini handmade chocolate fondant roses (my first ever attempt) and made larger white chocolate roses.

Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

Maisie Fantasie Cupcakes Ebook

This dream was originally inspired by Maisie Fantasie a London wedding cake designer. Her ebook on cupcakes is truly heavenly and if you only get one cupcake book ever then this truly is the one and at a £4.99 it represents a real bargain. There are 20 cupcake recipes and each one has beautiful imagery and simple recipes which are easy to follow and recreate at home.

Often I find cake books do not seem to translate well to conventional ovens and the results are then disappointing but so far each recipe has been great (no I did not get sent a copy I paid for it!). Whilst I love her ginger cupcakes my Husband wanted more ginger kick so I worked to adapt the recipe which is below.

I even made a mini ruffle layer cake made out of two cupcakes stacked on top of each other – see that’s love for you packing the piping kit when going away! Ginger white chocolate cupcakes

Decorating ideas
Top with fresh strawberries or chocolate roses made from chocolate fondant icing or use sprinkles – anything goes really!

Ruffle Mini Cake
I used two cupcakes minus their wrappers – one placed upside down on top of the first which is right side up.  I then used a pallete knife to spread buttercream around their join. The buttercream was piped in zig zag  ruffles up the side using a small petal tip (click to see a video where I got the idea from – I love this video as the little boy makes me chuckle as kids love to get involved at the most awkward of times). This was not as daunting as I first thought.  Just keep on piping and you will be amazed how simple it is! The cake was topped with a choclate from Hotel Chocolat a strawberry and black pepper (Read all about this divine chocolate here). The result was simple yet elegant and as my husband noted two cupcakes together are more man-sized!  Another review on Hotel Chocolat will be coming this way shortly.

I Heart Rocky (Story Time – if you don’t do stories hurry on down for the instructions)

As any respecting parent should do on holiday I forced my Son to partake in two walks with me per day which he throughly enjoyed after protesting and sulking for at least twenty minutes each time.  In the mornings we would venture off towards Cornborough Beach for a spot of rock and pebble hunting.  On the last day we finally found a rock with a funny face for my best friend and a heart shaped one for my Husband after a week long search.  

Instantly I went into ‘be prepared’ Girl Guide mode and pulled out a carrier bag to put the prized treasures in, well you never know when you might need a carrier bag even on a cliff top walk.

Westward Ho!

As we had been succesful we called it a day and jubilantly bounced back up the steep and rugged hill, battling the wind as we went. My happiness was fuelled with excitement of finding shaped rocks as it is always the little things that do it for me.  My Son’s happiness was because he no longer had to search for stupid shaped rocks and could go back and play on the Wii in peace.

Rock Friend Cakeboule

Towards the top of the hill my Son searched out my other hand to hold and I took a sharp intake of breath and smiled.  As he is nearly a teenager this struck my heart strings and reminded me of years gone by that I miss. Sighing with happiness I swung the bag in time with my steps until on the backward swing the bag split and rocks tumbled in all directions back down the hill. We laughed as we ran after them clomping down the hill noisly in our wellies and we managed to rescue the heart and Rocky.  I was so determined to take them home that mere lack of bag did not deter me and I carried them both like a small rock child the whole two miles home taking comfort in the fact that at least this one did not complain. Coffee and cupcakes greeted us at the apartment which was a good job as my arms were locked in rock holding position but luckily I found this worked in my favour for plate to mouth movement..

Finally – here are the instructions!

Ginger cupcake recipe ( my own adaption )

200g self raising flour / cake flour
200g softened butter
200g dark muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
4 medium eggs at room temperature
5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp homemade vanilla extract (or shop brought)
5 pieces of stem ginger (approx 50g)

1. Preheat the oven to 170 / Gas 4 / 150 fan and line a muffin tin with large cupcake / muffin cases
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (approx 5 mins it will begin to pale in colour)
3. Add two eggs to the creamed butter and sugar and mix to combine fully
4. Add half the flour and mix until it is incorporated
5. Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour
6. Add the ginger, black treacle and golden syrup and mix to combine fully
7. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases ( I always use a cookie scoop to get the right amount)
8. Wash the stem ginger under the tap and cut into small pieces
9. Sprinkle the pieces of stem ginger onto the top of the cupcakes evenly

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden, springy to the touch and a skewer or cake tester is clean when removed

White Chocolate Buttercream

100g butter
200g icing sugar
100g white chocolate ( I used Belgian)
100ml double cream

Instructions
1. Pour cream into the pan and bring slowly to a boil
2. Immediately pour cream over the white chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has melted
3. Leave the chocolate mixture (ganache) to cool
4. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until fluffy. Once the chocolate has cooled to about body temperature add to the butter mixture and beat together until smooth.
5. Add the mixture to the top of the cupcakes either using a palette knife or a piping bag and get creative!

Westward Ho! you have my heart and I will be back x

How baking and moods are like the weather


For the last few days I have been quite literally like Jamie Cullum sings ‘All at sea’ this is where I forget momentarily the good things in life and the miserable thunder clouds roll in.  Sometimes feeling sad just creeps over me like a relentless high tide and I know it is coming as I can hear my families seagull cries calling me back to reality but I dissapear into my mind and for a time I am lost in my thoughts no matter how hard I or they try to battle it. I realised today when I looked back at the photographs I took that baking and moods are like the weather; changeable, hard to predict and can hit you when you least expect it.   This gave me a lifeline back to reality and made me smile.

Weather and Mood Forecasts
Whilst you can check the weather forecast and roughly know what to expect you can not get a baking or mood forecast.  If such a thing existed it could let you know that this weekend there is a 60% chance of forgetting to add baking powder to your recipe, 100% chance of sugar sprinkle showers exploding across kitchen floors in Wiltshire or a 75% chance of feeling sad despite beautiful surroundings and no apparent reason but desperatley trying to fight it.

Mood Weather Apps
If we had baking and mood forecasts I imagine a funky aproned presenter waving their hand towards sunny spells of cupcakes before moving slowly down to demonstrate the thunderstorms of mood chaos.  On the other hand I bet my husband (like many others) wishes he had a wife / girlfriend mood weather app for that as although Apple tell us there is an app for everything there quite clearly isn’t one clever enough to predict female mood swings.

If such a thing did exist my Husband’s conversation with his iphone companion Siri who is like his new best friend whom he talks to frequently. The mood conversation would go like this; ‘Siri, can you tell me what my wife’s mood weather is today?’.  Siri would reply ‘ Sorry Mr H (Apple use a pause to build up the intrigue) I am afraid it’s not looking good.  You might want to take battle armour home today or at least wear a box. Would you like me to set a reminder for you to put it on?’

You see in order to get to the sunny happy times you have to endure the storms, gails and torrential downpours to full appreciate the beauty of it.  I know this to be true as if I try to bake, write or do anything creative when I feel like this then I can skillfully predict that what ever I’ve attempted will turn out less than perfect as creativity reflects your mojo as a friend once told me.  So here through photographs is my journey through Baking and Moods.

The Baking and Mood Journey through Photographs
Sometimes the recipe or time ahead is foreboding and scary and although you may see light ahead it is only just a glimpse which is a long way off.

Just when you think you have life and baking all cleverly balanced and fen shui’d up be warned if you step on the wrong pebble / recipe you are going to end up on your ass with twisted pride.

Occasionally there is a ‘beam me up scottie’ moment where you wish you had never started both the recipe and / or that moment in life.  It does not matter how much you wish to be beamed up this will never happen.

The serene moment when you sit and wonder at your finished bake or good fortune in disbelief trying to ascertain if it really happened and it’s not just all part of a dream.  This is the moment when something you thought would go hideously wrong actually worked out well but you have no idea how?

When your mind is unrelenting and wakes you in the darkness with it’s continual conversation of what went wrong that day which makes you feel so alone.  This photograph was taken in the dark and as you can see there is still so much light (hope) around it just takes time for your eyes to see it.

Life, moods and baking are ever changing but for every drop of rain that falls or each cake that flops better weather has to happen eventually even if it is not on your terms.  That’s just how it goes and I know this but I have to say for my own benefit now ‘hang on in there’. I say this to make me pause for a moment look back at this blog to see what I have created and then eventually I will realise that it can not be all that bad and the sun will come out again.