Sour cream cupcakes

I had some leftover sour cream after making guacamole pasta last night (a post for another time) and so I made cupcakes.

I made the following amazing cupcakes. They are very simple and positively divine: follow the link.

From health to happiness

I was too tired to post yesterday and ended up falling asleep when M drifted off. Today, to make up for the lack, I thought I would offer a selection of topics I’ve been enjoying through the week.

Creating space to hold your child’s emotions
From the Attachment Parenting blog comes this article on allowing or providing a space for your child to feel whatever emotion that arises in them. It is a nice way to think of your own emotions as well, to just let them be and embrace them.

Cupcake challenge
Emerald Street in association with Hummingbird Bakery are running a competition for a reader-submitted cupcake to be sold at their shops for two months. Make the cupcake, post a picture and send the recipe. (oh and you have to sign up to their website to read this post – cheeky).

The destruction of the NHS
There are some tragic and important tweets from the NHA party on Twitter

Red velvet cheesecake cupcakes with a hint of mint

Possibly the best cupcakes ever – adapted from this recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies.


Red Velvet Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
A sprig of mint
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Cream Cheese Layer:

1 tub of cream cheese light, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cupcake tray
Paper cupcake molds

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Brownie layer
Melt the butter with the mint in a saucepan. Pour the butter into a large bowl and add the following ingredients: sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar. Mix well. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add into the cocoa mix.

Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour 3/4 the mix evenly into the cupcake molds. 1/4 cup of the mix will be added to the top.

Cream cheese layer
Blend together the following ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie mix into each cupcake.

Add the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern.

Bake the cupcakes for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before removing the cupcakes.

Heavenly cupcakes from La Dame Gateau

First there was a competition as part of a survey by Bristol Bites in which I won third prize which was a box of cupcakes. Thank you Emily!

The cupcakes were hand delivered by Erica of La Dame Gateau and the box was rather heavy.

The selection arrived with a menu and a warning from Erica that the Limoncello one contained alcohol. I made sure that this particular treat stayed for me as I adore the lemon flavoured liqueur.

The poor cupcakes were so large that they barely fit in their container. Chocolate and vanilla, sour cherry and almond, chocolate and orange cream, Limoncello, choca mocha, chocolate and caramel

I gave them some space to breathe and took the opportunity to have a closer look. The cupcakes still looked great.

I saved the Limoncello for later and started with the chocolate and vanilla cupcake.

I pronounced the decadently, top heavy cupcake as heavenly and decided to share the pleasure with friends. My housemate’s response to the sour cherry treat was ‘wow’ and Martin from Bristol Culture was amazed with his strawberry delight.

Thank you Erica and Emily for a wonderful start to the week and for a great suggestion for mother’s day. I will let my daughter know that I have the perfect gift all picked out so she needn’t worry.

Swinky’s Sexy Cupcakes

I took Bristol Bites’ suggestion yesterday, and on the way up Park St, stopped off at Swinky’s for a special treat of a cupcake. Swinky’s is a sweet lovers delight of a shop. The home made candy motif has now spread to imported American goods such as Reece’s Pieces, Junior Mints (£1) and Lucky Charm cereal boxes (£7.95). Adventurous flavours such as Moroccan Mint and Deep Dark Chocolate Orange and Chilli have been joined by Cosmopolitan, Dirty Martini, Chocolate Three Ways and one more which I will leave for you to discover.

The four new flavours have been created to celebrate the second Sex and the City movie by representing each of the female lead characters. The two that I bought to taste were the following:

Blitzed cranberries infuse vanilla sponge cake with a hint of lime zest to stand up to the sweetness. Topped with a Cranberry, Orange and Lime Frosting, the only thing missing is the Vodka! An ode to Ms Bradshaw.

Dirty Martini (Salted Chocolate Caramel)
Light chocolate cake is wrapped in salted martini-chocolate frosting and drizzled in caramel. Elegance with a feisty kick and a potential classic. Samantha perhaps?

I saved the sweet treats to enjoy with my Indian Monsoon Malamar coffee from Extract Coffee. I preferred the Cosmopolitan cupcake and didn’t like the idea that the dirty martini was made up of cake, not dense enough. The coffee was great.

I must mention that I don’t intend to watch either of the Sex in the City movies. I find the concept of them sexist and stereotypically cliched – so it’s not the movie that caused my excitement. I just love variety and new flavours.

Swinky Sweets Ltd, 20 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JA

Boston Tea Party, time to linger

Two poached eggs on a buttered white bagel. Saturday morning. The coffee is a large sized vanilla soy latte. Not the Boston blend, I find it too mellow, but rather the normal dark blend.

On my own this would be my favourite way to start the day. Ideally it would follow a run but that doesn’t always happen. I would have picked up a newspaper from somewhere close by and dedicated the next hour to getting through some part of it. With company I would have to negotiate the time spent reading and talking until my company either got bored or fed up.

Recently the poached eggs have been on brown toast. I’ve had a waffle when craving something sweet. At the cafe on Whiteladies Rd they don’t serve the large size coffee, or poached eggs, so it’s the scrambled choice or a sizeable portion of porridge with soy milk and jam.

That’s breakfast. Slow mornings and time to linger.

Midday and afternoon allow for an additional menu of proper meals. There is the vegetarian burger which is soft and tasty, coloured slightly red from the beetroot, and not dry at all. Served with potato wedges the dish is substantial. There are salads and wraps, other burgers, falafels etc.

In true South West spirit, the Boston Tea Party sells Weston’s organic cider and Bath Ales. Fresh juice and summery iced teas are located next to the cake display at the Park St cafe. The shelves are stacked with home made cakes such as lemon drizzle and coffee and walnut. There are decadent and deliciously extravagant iced cup cakes which are dense, sweet and amazing.

I left the sandwiches until last because, while they generally have a great selection of flavours, they are made with such thick bread that I’m usually a little put off by them. Nevertheless the food is not just any ordinary food, it is ethically sourced, local and organic where possible. See the website for more details.

The Boston Tea Party is a small chain of seven family run cafés based in the West Country which pride themselves on serving outstanding coffee tea and creating delicious, original affordable meals. That’s what they say and I tend to agree.

My favourite cafe is in Bristol on Park Street. The other six can be found at Barnstaple, Bath, Bristol – Clifton, Bristol – Whiteladies, Exeter, Honiton and Worcester.

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