Friday, 6 September 2013

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cupcakes

Attention: Kitchen Experimentation Alert

Well, no not really, but I am posting about some Cranberry and White Chocolate cupcakes I made yesterday :) I bought a packet of dried cranberries a while ago and have been dying to use them with white chocolate. Fortunately, I passed by ASDA the other day and managed to pick up a small packet for way less than £1. I'm all set now, I thought at about 8pm last night, time to make my cupcakes!

Normally, I'd go to and find a recipe to follow that'shad about 500+ five star ratings (my assumption is that the more ratings there are, the more approved and workable the recipe is! I have yet to be proven otherwise :P). However, I chose to use a recipe book, called Annie Bell's Baking Bible. I have around 10+ recipe books in my house, where more than 60% are from charity shops (for less than £2!!!), and I have a habit of not using them a heck lot; I tend to flip through the book and simply pay attention to the nice pictures or illustrations only (but hey! Don't we all?). Anyway, even though I used the vanilla cupcake recipe from the book, I still altered it; the book suggested using icing sugar, I chose to use cranberry and white chocolate chips. There's no point in following a recipe completely unless you're learning how to make the item for the first time. As long as you have a good understanding of how to create the product in general, you can alter and change the recipe however you want to create some absolutely AMAZING results.

Butter's still in the fridge xD nevertheless, let the fun begin!
The recipe actually yields 12-14 cupcakes, but I made half the amount - if I made that many, I'd be having cake for breakfast, dinner and tea! (Not like I'm not tempted to, but I'm quite good at resisting temptation even in situations like this xD. It asks for the following (note that the original asks for double):

The list (Bell, 2012: 108)

  • 1 Egg 
  • 55g flour 
  • 55g caster sugar 
  • 55g unsalted butter, diced 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4 vanilla extract 
  • 6-7 cupcake containers 
  • 1 cupcake tray (enough for a dozen) 
  • 1 cupcake container full/ dried cranberry pieces 
  • 1/2 cupcake container full/ white chocolate chips 
The measurements for the dried cranberry pieces and white chocolate chips are mine. I realize now that I may not necessarily have measured them in a standard cupcake container (although I think it should be right). I got the cupcake containers from B&M bargains if that helps; other than that, I reckon a good eye and self-judgement is the best way to go with both ingredients :)

The ensemble of ingredients
Bell's book states to preheat the oven to 180°C (fan) and then to place the cupcake containers into the tray. She then says to place all ingredients into a food processor to mix (Bell, 2012: 108). Now, I don't have a food processor but I found using a whisk and some elbow grease work more than fine. You wanna get it so that it is light and fluffy; any lumps should be beaten until they disappear. I doubt that that'll be an issue in general anyway due to the small amount of flour. If you do use a whisk like I did, remember to whisk it until the diced butter pieces have thoroughly combined with the mixture - if you don't, you risk an uneven bake with some cupcakes being more oily than others.
Nice and fluffy - the power of whisking and some basic kitchen skills a bit of girl power ;P
Finishing touches - dried cranberry pieces and white chocolate chips!
Once you've mixed everything together and are satisfy with the quality of your mix, pour the mixture into the cupcake containers, ensuring that there is an even amount in each. I started off with thinking that I needed 7 containers but I only ended up using 6. Don't be afraid to change the recipe as you go - had I tried to make 7 by putting a smaller amount of mixture in each container, I probably wouldn't have had such a nice rise and size. Also, I find using a rubber spatula helps to ensure that you get pretty much all your mixture into the cupcake containers - it's important not to waste in my opinion, especially since you've worked so hard on making the mixture in the first place! Put it in the oven to cook for 17-20 minutes. As I had been cooking my dinner beforehand, my oven was set at a higher temperature than Bell asked for, so I only had to bake my cupcakes for 12-13 minutes (and yes they were fine! The old tooth-pick in cupcake trick told me so :)

Mixture into the containers and ready to go...
Time for tea :-)
...into the oven :)
By the time I finished my dinner, the house smelt of freshly baked cupcakes. Obviously I needed to have a taste of it but I thought I'd take a couple of pictures before I did. They tasted FANTASTIC. Really light and fluffy. I thought It would be overly sweet because I hadn't put any salt in the mix at all but it didn't need it - it was just right for me. I guess if I'd followed the original recipe it may have been to sweet for me had I made the icing to go on top of it as well. My only criticism to the recipe was the amount of butter - a bit too much for me. It was quite oily when I took it out and I've tried other recipes that can give you the exact same cupcakey texture using a much smaller content of butter. Nevertheless, definitely a good use of time at night and a great way to end the day :)

Et viola! 

Bibliography (because I am so dang nerdy B-D

Bell, A (2012) Annie Bell's Baking Bible: Over 200 triple-tested recipes that you'll want to cook again and again. Kyle Books: London

Afternoon tea Nighttime snack attack :P

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