Baking with Stork – Chocolate and Orange Cupcakes

#unileverkitchen Chocolate & Orange Cupcake

On Monday I along with eleven other bloggers spent most of the day in the Unilever Kitchen.

First thing was we had the opportunity to learn some interesting facts about tea; this session was presented by the lovely Jane Pettigrew. Afterwards we met Marco Pierre White who shared with us his hints and tips on cooking (I will write about this part at a later date). And finally we did some baking with Sue Batty, a Stork expert baker.

The whole day was fantastic but the baking part was the most fun, just simply because it was free form baking. We were all supposed to bake cupcakes but specifically their flavourings and decorations were totally up to us.

We were provided with some recipe sheets but I don’t think anyone used them; everyone was just running wild with their flavour combinations and choices of icing.

#unileverkitchen Baking with Sue Batty

I believe all the cupcakes were based on this basic recipe, which will make 12.

  • 115g Stork tub
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs; medium size

The rest is up to you 🙂

I decided on chocolate and orange cupcakes but as I have never used orange blossom water before I erred on the side of caution and so didn’t put enough in my mix so my cupcakes ended up being chocolate with only a slight hint of orange.

I had to change the basic recipe as stated above to be suitable for my creation. I’ve used:

  • 115g Stork tub
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs; medium size
  • 2tbs of good quality cocoa powder
  • 50g of crushed dark chocolate
  • 5ml of orange blossom water

+ Decorations

  • 50g of melted dark chocolate and 50g of melted milk chocolate

To make this recipe work even better Sue suggested some small changes – add 1/2tsp of baking powder, this will help with the raising as the cocoa powder makes them quite heavy and then add an additional 5ml of orange blossom water, to achieve a more orangey flavour. The zest of an orange added to the mix would have also elevated them to the next level.

Method:

Place all cupcake ingredients except for the crushed chocolate into a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is just combined. Add the crushed chocolate and spoon the finished mixture into 12 paper muffin cases.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until soft and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Melt 100g of chocolate and slowly pour over your cupcakes.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy… as they say.

And if you are wondering what the other bloggers baked here is a selection of some of their lovely cupcakes baked on the day.

Lime & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins
Lime & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins
Turkish Delight & White Chocolate Cupcake baked by Rose from Freycob
Turkish Delight & White Chocolate Cupcake baked by Rose from Freycob
Lime & White Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes
Lime & White Chocolate Cupcakes baked by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes
Oreo & Malteser Cupcakes baked by Amy from She Cooks She Eats
Oreo & Malteser Cupcakes baked by Amy from She Cooks She Eats
Strawberry & Chocolate Chip with Lime Cream cheese Frosting Cupcakes baked by Leyla from Motherhood Diaries
Strawberry & Chocolate Chip with Lime Cream cheese Frosting Cupcakes baked by Leyla from Motherhood Diaries
Still waiting to be claimed
Still waiting to be claimed
Still waiting to be claimed
Still waiting to be claimed
hmm I wonder who baked these ones... :-)
hmm I wonder who baked these ones… 🙂

I didn’t manage to ninja a sample of all cupcakes nor did I manage in the hussle an bussle of the day to take photos of everyone’s creations, so I do apologise if I missed yours.

Also I would like to send a big thank you to Rose @Freycob who investigated which cupcake belongs to which blogger.

Thank you for the great day guys!

It was a pleasure to meet you all!

The Art of Seasoning

02A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of attending “The Art of Seasoning” blogger event hosted by John Lewis in collaboration with Cole & Mason and the wonderful Rachel Green.

We started with a short briefing and some basic information about seasoning and flavouring, what to do and equally important what to avoid in the kitchen in order to achieve the best taste possible. A few things I did learn:

  • Always use salt at the start of the cooking process; it will incorporate into the other ingredients so much better.
  • Always use pepper at the end. Why? If you use it to soon it will lose its punch and your final dish will have much more “flat” flavour, lacking that peppery punch.
  • Always season your food at the temperature it will be served and eaten… it will help you achieve the correct amount of seasoning if you are not following a precise recipe.

01

After we learnt a few basic tricks and had familiarised our self with the Cole & Mason product selection, it was time to get cooking… This part scared me a bit, Mark is the cook as you all know but to be totally honest with you I ended up totally enjoying every moment of it… even when I completely messed up my mayo and I had to start from the beginning, in public with people watching me, it was still fun… and to top it off I did learn a lot, I couldn’t wait to get beck home and impress Mark with my new found knowledge!

Wanna be a basil mayo
Wanna be a basil mayo

So we had all been set a few simple challenges. Standing there in my little kitchen I was told I needed to prepare a guacamole, a mayo and a pesto, “gulp”, I do believe my heart was racing and there was definite evidence of glowing . To make matters worse Rachel didn’t spoil us with a recipe, just a rough list of ingredients and something called a Pestle and Mortar, of which I have seen used but never used. So we all knew more or less what was supposed to go into a pestle and mortal… but we didn’t really have a clue about questions like should it be more or less of this ingredient… This was stressful for me but astonishingly for me real fun! All of us had the same ingredients but as we all used slightly different amounts of the ingredients and of course seasoned it to our own particular tastes inevitably all our creations tasted totally different.  This was the most fantastic part… trying what others had created and comparing it to our own final product. 8 people in the room, 8 dishes which have the same name and are made from the same ingredients but ALL tasting totally different. What an eye opening…

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After a few hours of crashing and grinding in our pestle & mortars energy levels were running low… as a reward we were treated to a fantastic lunch. Rachel had prepared for us a beautiful light salmon, roasted lamb and selection of roasted vegetables and fresh salads. If this wasn’t enough she served a totally unexpected pudding – black pepper cake with mulled fruit and fresh mint tea.

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It was a great event, well organised and full of surprises. What a great way of learning something new.

A big thank you to John Lewis, Cole & Mason and of course Rachel Green… and all the other bloggers who attended this great event:

Katja from Ifhipscouldlie 

Jacintha from Urban Pixxels

Georgie from Georgina Olive

Poppy from Poppy Loves

Chris from Tikichris

Rachel from Rachel Phipps

Lebinh from The Food Connoisseur