Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff

my autumn cupcakes for #bettabakeoff

Betta Living in celebration of National Cupcake Week have challenged bloggers to come up with an innovative and interesting variation. So with the nights’ drawing in and the temperatures definitely on a downward trend culinary thoughts wander towards comfort foods and homely foods. In light of this I would like to offer my take on an Autumnal Cupcake.

Turn your oven on to 180C and let warm up

Prepare your cupcake trays and line them with paper forms.

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

  • 2 large carrots; grated
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 220g brown sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 0.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5tsp ground ginger
  • 0.5tsp ground nutmeg
  • A handful almonds; chopped
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients for the decorations:

  • 200ml whipped cream
  • 125g mascarpone cheese
  • 1.5tblsp icing sugar
  • 1 large carrot
  • 250ml water
  • 220g caster sugar
  • Orange food colouring

Method:

Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda.

Now add the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger) and the pinch of salt and mix well.

In a second bowl gentle whisk the eggs together mix in the oil; sugar, grated carrots and vanilla extract, you are wanting the ingredients to be just combined.

Now add your wet ingredients to your dry ones and throw in the chopped almonds and combine gently.

Spoon into your paper cupcake forms, you should have enough mixture for 18 cupcakes.

Place into your preheated oven for 20-25minutes or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean when stuck into your cupcake.

Turn the oven down to 110C.

1. Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff

Allow the cupcakes to cool as we get ready to start creating the decorations.

2. Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff

Wash your carrot and peel it and dry with some kitchen roll. With a sharp knife you can turn half the carrot into julienne pieces and the other half into wafer thin leaves, or if you are like us who have good but not stunning knife skills then drag out your Oxo Chef’s Mandolin Slicer (other makes are available) and it’s done in seconds.

Add the sugar to the water in a heavy based saucepan and put on a low heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add all the pre-cut carrot pieces to the pan and boil gently for 10-15 minutes.

Sieve the carrots to remove the excess water and place on a baking tray that is lined with baking paper, space them out so they each have lots of space. Place in the oven 20-25minutes.

3. Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool you want to roll the leaf shaped pieces around something like a skewer to help form the curl shape. The julienne pieces you want to tie together into knots. Once all the pieces are formed pop them back into the oven for another 20 minutes, we are wanting them to be very dry.

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form and then add then fold in the mascarpone cheese and the sugar. Split your cream if desired so that different colours can be added, we have created a nice orange cream to accentuate the cupcake base.

So we should now have 18 lovely baked cupcakes, a tray of carrot decorations and a bowl of topping.

Now all that is left to do is find your piping bag and let your imagination run riot.

Have fun and enjoy!

4. Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff7. Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff6. Autumn Cupcakes for #bettabakeoff

What’s Cooking – Quick & Easy Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion

Quick and Easy Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion
Quick and Easy Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion

I like simple recipes; with them there is no need for fancy cookbooks or exotic ingredients. They are easy to make and within the grasp of any cook no matter how good or bad you are in the kitchen.

One of these fast and easy meals is Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion.

You only need 30 minutes or so and you can enjoy something light and delicious.

Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion ingredients list

Ingredients list:

  • 1.5 kg of baby potatoes
  • 1 small onion (I used half of red and half of white onion); chopped very fine
  • Handful of fresh mint; chopped very fine
  • 2tbs of mayonnaise
  • Fresh cracked salt and paper to taste

And to create it you just need to follow these simple instructions below 🙂

1. Wash your baby potatoes and remove any eyes or bad bits then boil them in salted water for around 15 to 17 minutes. Remember be careful not to overcook them.

Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion step 22. While your potatoes are boiling get chopping. Chop your onions and prepare the mint.

3. Once the potatoes are done you will have to cool them down. To speed up the cooling process keep them for about 5 minutes in some cold water; remember to change the water every minute or so because the potatoes will heat it up very quickly.

4. Once your potatoes are cold drain them well and then ideally pat dry with some kitchen towel. You can either leave them to dry in a natural way for an additional few minutes or as suggested use some kitchen roll to remove any remaining moisture.

Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion step 55. Once nicely cooled down and totally dry, it is time to cut them into your desired size of chunks. We like out potatoes salad to have some big chunks so I only cut them in half or quarters depending on the original size of the potato.

Baby Potato Salad with Mint and Onion 66. Now pop your potatoes, onions and mint into a bowl; add salt and paper; add 2 table spoons of mayonnaise and mix well… but gently… you do not want to damage the shape of the already fragile potatoes 😉 Remember not to add to much mayonnaise; the potatoes should be just coated not covered completely so they are drowning in it.

That’s it! You are done! Nothing else to add to it just serve and enjoy!

Baby Potato Salad with Mint and OnionThis is one of those dishes you can prepare ahead of time, just cover the bowl with some cling-film and pop into the fridge till needed. Remember to take out half an hour before eating so it isn’t ice cold.

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* This recipe is my entry into Betta Living Vegetarian Recipe competition.