Top 10 Baking Essentials

Top 10 Baking Essentials

I know it’s been a while since I last posted on the blog, and I’m sorry about that. I haven’t been in a good place lately (another blog post for another time), but I’m back and ready to post again! Today I’m going to be sharing my Top 10 Baking Essentials with you guys, so let’s get started.

  1. Mixing Bowls

Mixing Bowls

I couldn’t live without my set of plastic mixing bowls. They are so versatile and have a great non-slip base. Every home baker needs at least 2 mixing bowls of different sizes.

2. Rubber Spatula

Spatula

These spatulas are so useful for mixing batter, folding in egg whites and anything else that requires a delicate touch.

3. Measuring Cup & Spoons

Measuring Spoons Measuring jug

These 2 are an absolute must have. I would be lost without my Oxo Good Grips measuring jug and my set of measuring spoons. They are equally as useful for cooking as they are for baking.

4. Sieve 

Sifter Sieve

I use an old-school mesh sieve for all of my baking. It’s perfect for sifting flour and icing sugar. Saying that, I’m planning on buying a hand flour sifter because they are a lot less messy than my old-school sieve 🙂

5. Egg Separator 

Egg Separator

I use an egg separator almost every time I bake. It’s a must have for making marshmallow fluff or delicate cake batters. It’s so much easier and less messy than separating the egg in your hand!

6. Hand Mixer

Hand Mixer

I love my hand mixer, it’s incredibly versatile and perfect when you need to mix something quickly. I use it for egg whites, marshmallow fluff and whipped cream!

7. Stand Mixer

Stand Mixer

I was lucky enough to get my Kenwood Patissier Mixer for my 21st birthday. This thing is an absolute life saver when you have to make double batches of cake batter and of course my beloved marshmallow fluff. It’s definitely worth investing in a good quality stand mixer because you’ll end up having it for the rest of your life!

8. Cupcake Pan, Spring-Form Cake Pan & Baking Sheet

Cupcake Pan

Springform Cake Pan

Baking Sheet

These 3 are absolutely essential to any home baker. Having these 3 means you can bake just about anything, from the obvious cupcakes, cakes & cookies, to bread, cheesecake, cinnamon rolls and tarts.

9. Heat Resistant Glass Bowl

Heat Resistant Glass Bowl

I love my Pyrex glass bowl. It’s perfect to use as a bain marie when you need to temper chocolate and make meringue!

10. Small Saucepan

Small Saucepan

The last thing in my Top 10 Baking Essentials is a small saucepan. I use my Scanpan Impact saucepan to make cake batter, sauces, lemon curd and of course I use it as a bain marie.

I hope this small list of baking essentials can help you out in your day to day baking! Thanks for reading my little blog post and have a great day 🙂

P.S. You can get post of the items on my list from Yuppiechef Online.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

I have been trying to create the perfect vanilla cupcake for some time now. There have been some serious trials and errors along the way (they still tasted good when they were smothered in custard!), but I think I have finally created the best vanilla cupcake ever!

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These cupcakes are super moist and are packed with awesome vanilla flavor. The buttercream is lusciously sweet and the sprinkles are just fun!

Too be honest, this recipe has been about a year in the making. Every time that I have made vanilla cupcakes in the past, they haven’t been quite right. It usually came down to texture (either too dry or too dense). There’s nothing worse than a chewy cupcake!

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The recipe is really easy and doesn’t require too much effort. The batter is very runny, but don’t worry, they bake up perfectly. The secret to the ultra-moistness is heating the butter, water, oil and vanilla together in a small saucepan over a low heat, until everything is melted. Once this mixture cools slightly, you mix it into the flour and sugar mix. Just to add even more moisture, I add in some buttermilk, 1 egg and some vanilla paste (for an extra vanilla kick).

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They are so yummy that you might have trouble stopping yourself from eating the entire batch (I know I did)!

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 2hr 30min
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 250ml self-raising flour, sifted
  • 250ml sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 62.5g butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125ml water
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Buttercream:

  • 125g salted butter
  • 3 & 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Sprinkles to decorate

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper cupcake cases.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, water, oil and vanilla extract and stir over a low heat until it all melts & starts to simmer. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 min.
  3. Mix the sifted flour, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla paste together in a small jug.
  5. Mix the cooled vanilla butter mixture into your dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Mix in the buttermilk, egg and vanilla paste mixture until it’s all combined.
  7. Fill your prepared cupcake pans with the batter. It will be very runny.
  8. Bake for about 15 min in your preheated oven and allow to cool in the pan.
  9. Buttercream: Beat the butter and vanilla paste until smooth. Add in the sifted icing sugar, 1 cup at a time and mix well. Add in 1-2 tbsp of the milk until your frosting is at a pipeable consistency, i.e. it should be soft, but still hold its shape and not drop off the spoon when lifted out of the bowl.
  10. Once your cupcakes are cool, pipe swirls of your vanilla buttercream onto the cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

Chocochino Cupcakes

Chocochino Cupcakes

Coffee cake, chocolate ganache and marshmallow frosting all come together in this yummy filled cupcake.

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These cupcakes are not too sweet and will satisfy your cupcake cravings. When you bite into it, you get a very subtle coffee flavor, then a burst of creamy chocolate ganache and finally the sweet fluffiness of the marshmallow frosting.

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All the elements of this cupcake are really easy to make and don’t require too much effort. I always make the chocolate ganache first, so it has enough time to cool and then chill in the fridge. All you do is heat the cream in a small saucepan on the stove until it starts boiling, then you remove it from the heat and pour it over your chopped chocolate (which is in a heatproof bowl at this point). Leave the mixture for 5 min, then whisk it until it’s smooth and glossy. Easy as that!

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The cupcakes really don’t take long to assemble. You just cut the center out of each cupcake (I have a nifty cupcake corer to do this), fill each one with the chilled chocolate ganache, then pipe a swirl of marshmallow frosting on top and sprinkle some grated chocolate on it as a finishing touch!

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They are fantastic with a cup of coffee or tea and are perfect at any time of day (I sneakily had 1 for breakfast). Really hope you guys enjoy these yummy little filled cupcakes!

Chocochino Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 2hr 30min
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

Coffee Cupcakes:

  • 62.5g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee (4 tsp coffee powder to 1/2 cup hot water)
  • 1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 100ml cream
  • 150g milk chocolate, chopped

Marshmallow Frosting:

  • 3 extra large egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Topping:

  • 80g milk chocolate, grated

Directions:

Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 5 min.
  3. Whisk the chocolate cream mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it becomes glossy.
  4. Allow to cool for 1 hour, then chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and place cupcake cases into a 12 hole cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix in sifted flour and baking powder, alternating with the brewed coffee.
  4. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the batter.
  5. Fill cupcake cases to 2/3 full and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 min. Allow to cool in the pan.

Marshmallow Frosting:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
  2. Beat with a hand mixer until it all combines and becomes white & fluffy.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and beat on high for 10 min, until it becomes light & fluffy.

Assembly:

  1. Core the cupcakes with a cupcake corer or a small sharp knife.
  2. Fill your cupcakes with the chocolate ganache.
  3. Pipe swirls of marshmallow fluff frosting on top of your filled cupcakes.
  4. Top with grated chocolate.

 

Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes

Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes

Lemon Curd filled Cupcakes Cover

Soft vanilla cupcakes. Velvety lemon curd. Fluffy marshmallow frosting. Three of my favorite things wrapped into one awesome little cupcake. I love filled cupcakes. Biting into one of these luscious treats is always fun because, even though you filled the cupcakes yourself, you still get a lovely surprise when a sweet gooey filling oozes out of it!

These filled cupcakes are a bit time consuming to put together, but all the elements are really easy to make. My lemon curd recipe is so simple, anyone can make it! The bonus about the lemon curd recipe is that there’s always enough left over to eat on some scones or just straight out of the fridge.

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First, you need to make the lemon curd, so it has enough time to cool down. Combine cornflour, caster sugar, lemon juice, water and finely chopped lemon zest in a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil and when it starts to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute, then remove it from the heat.

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It should look almost Vaseline-like when you’ve removed it from the heat. Now stir in the butter and egg yolks and you’ll end up with a luscious lemon curd.

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Lovely, velvety smooth lemon curd! Leave it to cool while you make the cupcakes.

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The vanilla cupcakes are very basic and easy to make. Cream butter and sugar together, add in your egg yolks & vanilla and mix well. Add in your flour & milk and finally fold in whipped egg whites. Bake for 15 min in a preheated oven.

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Once the cupcakes and lemon curd have cooled, make the marshmallow fluff and put it in a piping bag.

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Core your cupcakes (with a cupcake corer or a small sharp knife). You can eat the cupcake centers as you go (that’s what I do, haha), or keep them for later.

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Fill your cupcakes with the luscious lemon curd (I also eat some of the curd as I go along!).

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Pipe lovely little swirls of fluffy marshmallow frosting on top of your filled cupcakes and they’re ready to serve!

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Gorgeous little luscious lemon curd filled vanilla cupcakes with fluffy marshmallow frosting are the perfect weekend treat. Please check out the full, printable recipe below.

Lemon Curd Filled Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 3 hrs
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

Lemon curd:

  • 1/3 cup cornflour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 3 egg yolks (reserve egg whites for marshmallow fluff)

Vanilla cupcakes:

  • 62.5g butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Marshmallow fluff frosting:

  • 3 egg whites (reserved egg whites from lemon curd)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Make lemon curd: Combine sugar & cornflour in a small saucepan & gradually stir in juice, zest and water until it’s smooth. Cook until the mixture boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 min. Remove from the heat and stir in butter & egg yolks. Allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake pan with cupcake cases.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together, add in egg yolks and vanilla. Beat well.
  4. Add milk, a little at a time, alternating with the sifted flour, baking powder & salt, mix well.
  5. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks & fold into your batter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pan and bake for 15 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan.
  7. Make the marshmallow fluff: Put all the ingredients into a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Beat with a hand mixer until it all combines and becomes white & fluffy. Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and beat on high for 10 min, until it becomes light & fluffy.

Assembly:

  1. Core the cupcakes with a cupcake corer or a small sharp knife.
  2. Fill your cupcakes with the lemon curd.
  3. Pipe swirls of marshmallow fluff frosting on top of your filled cupcakes.

Notes: Store your left over lemon curd in an airtight container in the fridge. The lemon curd works great on scones or just eat a spoonful straight out of the tub!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes

Moist, gooey chocolate cupcakes smothered in feather light marshmallow frosting. Absolute heaven!

As I get older, I’ve found that I can’t quite handle super sweet buttercream anymore (the exact same buttercream that I used to adore when I was a kid). I find myself craving a more balanced cupcake-to-frosting sugar ratio and this recipe delivers just that. The cupcake packs a rich chocolate punch and the frosting is a lovely, subtle addition that doesn’t overwhelm your sweet tooth!

These chocolate cupcakes are easy to make and always come out perfect.

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The heart of these chocolate cupcakes is the melted butter, water, cocoa and oil mix.

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The cupcake batter is quite runny and it can get a bit messy when you fill your cupcake cases.

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After about 15 min in the oven, the cupcakes are perfectly puffed up.

The marshmallow fluff is quick and delicious (I just end up eating it straight out of the mixer).

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The first step in the 2 step process to make marshmallow fluff is to whisk all your ingredients in a bain marie (bowl over a pot of simmering hot water), until they are white and fluffy. You then transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and let it go for 10 min!

I decided to amp up the chocolate flavor by decorating these bad boys with grated chocolate, but they would be equally as good topped with nuts, sprinkles or just more marshmallow fluff!

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 2hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 250ml self-raising flour
  • 250ml sugar
  • 2.5ml baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 62.5g butter
  • 125ml water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Marshmallow Frosting:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake cases.
  2. Heat butter, water, cocoa and oil in a small saucepan, over medium heat until everything is melted and starts to boil. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 min.
  3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  4. Mix the buttermilk and egg in a jug.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well.
  6. Add the buttermilk mixture to the chocolate mix and stir until it’s well-combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 15 min.
  8. Remove from oven and cool, in the pan, for 1 hour.

To make the frosting:

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
  2. Beat with an electric hand mixer until all of the ingredients combine and the mixture becomes white and thickened.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high for 10 min, until it becomes fluffy and doubles in size.

Assembly:

  1. Once your cupcakes have cooled, fill a piping bag with your marshmallow frosting and pipe swirls onto each of your cupcakes.
  2. Top with grated chocolate, nuts or sprinkles.

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so moist and delicious that one cupcake just won’t be enough!

I have to be honest, I had never heard of red velvet cake until about 5 years ago. I had just started my cupcake business and was focusing on the classic chocolate & vanilla combos, but I kept getting requests for “red velvet” (having no idea what people were talking about). At the time I was completely ignorant to this lovely little cake. Just after I started receiving this strange cupcake request, I received a new cookbook and, low & behold (perhaps a sign from the universe), there was a red velvet cake recipe! I immediately gave the recipe a try and after a few tweaks, my own special recipe was born!

It’s really easy and always turns out super moist. Just top these little beauties with a swirl of luscious cream cheese frosting and you’ll end up with a decadent treat that everyone will love.

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Lovely red (thanks to Moirs Crimson Pink Food Colouring) cupcake batter, all ready for the oven.

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I really hope you enjoy eating these cupcakes as much as I enjoyed eating the one below 🙂

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2 hrs
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 500ml Self-raising cake flour
  • 7.5ml baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 15ml white vinegar
  • 5ml vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 30ml cocoa powder
  • 30ml red food coloring
  • 180g butter, softened
  • 375ml sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 250g full fat cream cheese
  • 900g icing sugar
  • 5ml vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 x 12 hole muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla & eggs.
  4. Combine cocoa & food coloring, in a small bowl, to form a paste. Set aside.
  5. Cream butter and sugar in a clean bowl, add flour & buttermilk mixture, in 2 batches, and mix well.
  6. Add the cocoa food coloring paste to the batter and mix very well, until your batter is 1 solid red color.
  7. Pour cupcake batter into your prepared muffin pans and bake for 15 min.
  8. Cool in the pans.

To make the frosting:

  1. Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and icing sugar and mix until you have a pipeable consistency frosting.
  3. Pipe swirls of cream cheese frosting onto your cooled cupcakes.

Wedding Cake Nostalgia

Wedding Cake Nostalgia

I love food. I mean, I really, really, really love food. Baking is definitely where my heart is. I loved it so much that I decided I should share that love, and in 2010, I did just that by starting a cupcake business. I wanted to focus just on cupcakes, but I ended up straying into the world of wedding cakes (even though I knew absolutely nothing about it). I bought some books on how to make wedding cakes, watched tons of YouTube videos and slowly taught myself how to construct and decorate them. I really enjoyed it at first. I was so excited when I got my first cupcake tower and tiered wedding cake order. It felt great to share my abilities with my clients.

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I started learning new techniques like working with fondant (and making my own marshmallow fondant), making sugar flowers and different piping techniques.

Matthew and Annies Wedding CakeTop-Durban-KZN-Wedding-Photographer-Jacki-Bruniquel-057Purple Cake Company My Fair Lady Cake

Unfortunately, as time went on, I started to dread making them. I’d get up on the day of baking and wish that I didn’t have to do it. Baking had become a chore. The stress of making wedding cakes had taken its toll. It got so bad at one point that I couldn’t even watch the Food Network anymore (that was definitely a low point). I just couldn’t do it. I made the difficult decision last year to stop making wedding cakes. I needed to go back to my first love, my original idea of old-fashioned & decadent cupcakes. After stripping my business back down to basics, I decided that it might be a good idea to start this blog and share all of my favorite recipes (food that I love to eat) and experiments with you.

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Choc Mint Cream Sundae Cupcake

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I really hope you can travel this blogging journey with me and score some sweet recipes along the way!