Beary-Cute Mini Cupcakes

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Do you have certain foods or snacks that you enjoy purely for the nostalgia factor?

I have a whole list. Most of them I rarely, if ever, consume today. It seems that as children, we were instinctively drawn to food that came in shiny, colourful plastic packets and was stuffed with sugar and fake flavours and colours… they were essentially staples of one’s diet.

As I grew up I turned away from these sugary, salty, colourful confections and instead snacked on things that came in more dull packaging that boasted words like “organic”, “gluten free” and “raw” because they make me feel like a proper adult.

But for the sake of nostalgia, and also to give me something to actually write about in this post, I’ve decided to scour the interwebs and share with you some of my favourite sugary snacks as a young lass.

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HavaHeart ice cream: I was honestly a little surprised that I only found one picture of these on the Internet… maybe they weren’t as popular as I thought. But these heart-shaped, chocolate-coated, vanilla ice-cream bundles of goodness on a stick were the Number 1 way to make a hot summer afternoon even better*. I think if they were shaped like regular ice-cream I probably couldn’t have cared less, but because they were shaped like hearts they were just downright amazing.

*Notice I said “even better” and not “bearable” like I usually would when talking about the hotter months of the year… yes, I actually liked summer when I was a child. Shocking, no?

roses

Cadbury Roses: Okay, so you were probably expecting more kiddie, colourful, sugary snacks on this list. I mean, Cadbury Roses? Aren’t those a little bit classy for a 5-year-old? Maybe. So I guess I was a rather classy 5-year-old, because I loved these. This bright blue box of chocolates would magically appear on most “grown-up” special occasions – parents’ birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers’ Day, and other such events. The shiny wrappers that clearly differentiated the chocolates were a bonus. Not only were they super pretty, but they allowed me to swiftly avoid the “disgusting” flavours which my 5-year-old self was not fond of, such as strawberry or mint.

tinyteddies

Tinny Teddies: Normal biscuits? Boring. Biscuits shaped like small bears with varying personalities? HECK YES. Tiny Teddies were the ultimate snack of my childhood. I used to pretend that they were going on little adventures into the “cave” (i.e. my mouth) where they would then proceed to scream in terror as they were chomped into a mush. Yes, that’s a bit creepy. Don’t worry, I don’t do that anymore.

Reminiscing about these beary-delicious snacks inspired me to whip up some cupcakes in their honour. Mini-cupcakes, so you can eat three times as much… I mean, because they’re small and cute.

Mini-cupcakes with pieces of dark chocolate in them, to balance out the childishness with a bit of classiness… everyone knows that classy adults love eating dark chocolate, right?

Mini-cupcakes with “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” icing made from crushed Oreos… because each Tiny Teddy might get a bit lonely by itself on each individual cupcake, and will need a friend… even if that friend is an Oreo that’s been crushed into tiny pieces and mixed with sweet buttercream icing to produce an unappetizing gray yet extremely delicious substance.

So the icing was a bit of an experiment, and could maybe do with oh-so-slightly less Oreo… hence why it’s that awkward grey colour. Everyone did seem to like the icing, but for aesthetic reasons you may want to cut back a little. It’s up to you; add as much as you’d like to suit your tastes. Maybe you could try out the choc-filled Oreos or one of the other flavours! That could be fun.

Here is the recipe – bake and enjoy!

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Beary-Cute Mini Cupcakes

½ cup caster sugar
80g butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped

ICING:
80g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
75g Oreos, crushed

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 24-hole mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the egg, and stir well to combine. Sift in the flour and add the milk, vanilla extract and dark chocolate chunks. Stir well to combine.

Evenly distribute the batter amongst the cupcake cases, and bake for about 15 minutes, until cupcakes are well risen and spring back lightly when touched. Leave to cool fully before icing.

To make the icing, beat the butter and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the crushed Oreos. Using a knife or a piping bag, ice the cooled Cupcakes. Top each with a Tiny Teddy or some other cute animal-shaped cookie. Maybe even Mini Oreos. That could look nice.

Nutella Swirl Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese frosting

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let me tell you, these past few weeks have been a little on the crazy side, but now that all the madness is over, I can finally say that I’m no longer a student!

Yes, that’s right, I’ve finished my graphic design course at last. I’m in the “real world” now and to be honest it’s a bit terrifying. Like, it’s not just my “holiday” break right now, a time that I can spend lazing about, watching movies, playing The Sims ‘til 3am and baking cookies all day long. This is my life now. I have to apply for jobs and be a grown-up.

So, I went on a job-applying-spree the other night, and had my first interview on Wednesday! It was for an unpaid internship, but experience is experience. I threw on my brand new pair of what I call my “job interview shoes” (sensible, black high-heels, which are actually more reminiscent of an old lady’s Church shoes than a pair of sexy businesswoman shoes, but shhh, no-one has to know that), a dress I’d bought the other week, and a smart cropped blazer. I felt like a savvy, sophisticated businesswomen, at least until the shoes started painfully digging in to the back of my ankles (ouch ouch OUCH) as I limped my way back home… then I felt more like a child playing dress-up. :P

That’s been my life lately, I just thought I’d give a bit of an update. I don’t know, do you guys enjoy reading blogs where the writer gives little insights into what’s happening in their personal lives (nothing too personal, don’t worry, I’ll keep my shower-stories and other private things to myself), or have you been skimming through these paragraphs whilst thinking, “Gosh darn it, get yourself back in the kitchen, woman! I want me some cakes, just get to the recipe already!”

Well if you identify as the latter option, don’t you fret! Cakes are coming. I’ve got a few different recipes up my sleeves; different things I’ve baked in the past few weeks. I baked Hot Cross Buns for the first time ever, then I baked them again, for the second time ever! It was my first time baking with yeast… exciting, no? That’s going to be the next post, though. Today I’m going to share something sweet and Nutella-packed, as a delicious apology for the neglect I’ve been showing you, my dear readers, lately (in fact, maybe it’s make up for all the times I’ve promised to post more and then neglected to do so… there is a lot of Nutella in these after all).

So I present to you…

Nutella-swirled vanilla cupcakes…

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…with Nutella and Cream Cheese frosting!

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Didn’t end up taking a proper shot with my SLR camera, so I hope you’re all okay with Instagram pics! If you’d like to follow me on Instagram my username is sarahwielgosz but be warned that I don’t only post baking pics, much of it will be selfies, my dogs, books I’m reading, cups of tea and just general weirdness… I’ll try to tag my food/baking pics with #sneakypudding so you can just search those up if you need a Sneaky Pudding fix. ;)

So here’s the story. Easter was a couple of weeks ago, remember? If you chowed down on enough chocolate and ended up in a sugar coma, your memory might be a little fuzzy, but I assure you, Easter most definitely happened. Anyway, a bit before Easter, we got a packet of these candy-coated Easter eggs so I could back something Easter-themed… but as I ended up baking a batch of Hot Cross Buns on Easter Sunday itself, I figured I should use up the candy eggs by the Sunday after, because it feels weird to eat Easter stuff when more than a week’s gone by since the special day. We also had a jar of Nutella in the cupboard, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t eat Nutella with normal meals or snacks; it’s most definitely a treat/indulgence.

I decided to use up both in the one go, by whipping up these delectable cupcakes! The icing, by the way, is amazing. Way too amazing. There was some left over and for the next few days, I would occasionally indulge in a sneaky teaspoon or two as “dessert”. Hey, I was stressed out with assignments, okay? Chocolate helps. Oh, and fun fact, it was my first time successfully using a piping bag! Go me!

Here’s the recipe. Left-over candy-coated Easter eggs optional, of course. Personally, I think topping each one with a strawberry would be a good decision too. Whatever floats your boat!

Nutella-Swirled Cupcakes

80g butter, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons of Nutella, approximately

ICING:

1 cup Nutella
225g Cream Cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar, approximately

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add the egg and vanilla and stir until well-combined.
Sift in the flour and salt, and add the milk. Stir until well-combined (don’t overmix!)

Evenly distribute the batter amongst the cupcake liners. Using a knife or skewer, swirl small amounts of Nutella into each cupcake to create a marbled effect. (if your Nutella is a bit solid, you might want to microwave it for a little to melt it, just to make this task easier).

Bake for 18-20 minutes in the oven, until the cupcakes are well-risen and spring back lightly when touched. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.

For the icing, combine the Nutella and Cream Cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and well-combined. Add the icing sugar and continue to mix until combined (you can adjust the amount of icing sugar if you’d like, adding less or more depending on how sweet/thick you want the icing… I find the icing sweet enough without it, but added some to make it thicker and easier to work with).

If the icing is a bit runny, place it in the fridge for about half an hour; this will make it easier to decorate the cupcakes.

When you’re happy with the consistency of the icing, use either a piping bag or a knife to spread it on the cooled cupcakes. Top them with whatever decorative element you wish (or leave them plain if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins with Coconut Sugar

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Happy, happy, happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a spectacular time ringing in the New Year alongside your nearest and dearest, and I wish you all the best in keeping your New Years Resolutions for at least two weeks or so, until you realize that these resolutions are pointless and you’re always going to be the same person who makes the same mistakes year after year… hah, just kidding! I’m sure it will be a fantastic year :)

In fact, I too have some resolutions – to bake more and not neglect Sneaky Pudding so much! Expect way more posts and delicious recipes this year. I also want to try and get into baking healthier snacks and such, so keep an eye out for those too.

And now I bring you the first recipe of the year – Apple & Cinnamon Muffins! Fresh out of the oven on New Years Day. Hooray!
What makes these muffins interesting is that I’ve decided to try something new. A while back, I bought a packet of “coconut sugar” from the supermarket. It was a bit of an impulse buy, but it intrigued me. So, what is it? Well, it comes from the flower blossom of the coconut palm – the syrup is heated to evaporate the water, creating a slight caramel flavor. Also, it’s apparently way healthier than cane sugar – it’s got way more iron, magnesium and over ten times the zinc. Wow!

I used coconut sugar in place of cane sugar in this recipe, but if you can’t get your hands on coconut sugar, feel free to just use caster sugar instead. I’d highly recommend coconut sugar, though. It’s delicious!

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Apple & Cinnamon Muffins with Coconut Sugar

65g butter
½ cup coconut sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/3 cup of full cream milk
1 apple (you can use any kind – I used Pink Lady) cored and sliced thinly

TOPPING:
2 heaped tablespoons coconut sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift in half the flour and the cinnamon, then stir in half the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, and stir until combined.

Distribute the batter evenly amongst the 12 paper cases. Top each muffin with a thin apple slice. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the muffins are risen and spring back gently when touched, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

While the muffins are cooling in the tray, make the topping. Melt the tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and brush over the tops of the muffins while they are still slightly warm. Combine the coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and sprinkle this over the top of each muffin.

Once the muffins have cooled in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely, or serve them warm (they’d go nicely with some vanilla custard!)

Peppermint Candy Cane Cupcakes

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One of my favourite parts of baking for Christmas time (or for any holiday or birthday or whatever) is making cupcakes and getting creative in regards to decorating them. I mean, cupcakes are awesome at any time of year, but it’s always a blast to jazz them up to suit the occasion!

I don’t exactly do a lot of cupcake-decorating, though. I don’t even own a piping bag, so I can’t do that fancy swirly-whirly icing that always looks so pretty. But I’ve got tonnes of ideas – I even have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to snazzy-looking cupcakes.

For Christmas this year though, I decided to keep it simple – choc-mint cupcakes topped with mini candy canes. After I kind of failed at making peppermint marshmallows (hey, it’s my first time attempting marshmallows, don’t judge) I still wanted to whip up something sweet and pepperminty for my extended family at Christmas… so I figured, why not cupcakes? Everyone loves cupcakes!

These guys are super simple to make, and can be made in normal- or mini-form depending on what floats your boat. If you’re making them as mini cupcakes though, just remember to bake them for 12-15 minutes rather than 18-20; otherwise, just follow the recipe.

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Peppermint Candy Cane Cupcakes

80g of butter, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
1/3 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/3 cup dark choc chips

ICING:
1 cup milk chocolate buttons
¼ cup cream
½ teaspoon peppermint essence
12 mini candy canes

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then stir in the egg until well combined.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and add the milk, peppermint essence and dark choc chips. Stir until combined.
Divide the batter amongst each cupcake liner, and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes are risen and spring back lightly when touched (and a skewer pierced into the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean). Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the topping, melt the milk chocolate buttons with the cream and peppermint essence in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken slightly, then smooth over the surface of each cupcake. Top each with a mini candy cane.

Carrot “Angel Wing” Cupcakes

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I cannot believe there’s less than a week until Christmas! It’s come up so fast. Time has just flown by. I’m super excited, of course. I love Christmas! Wrapping presents, singing carols, baking…

Ah, yes. Baking. Oh the many delicious treats I love to conjure up during the festive season! Gingerbread cookies shaped like little stars and Christmas trees, buttery shortbread that melts in your mouth, fruit mince pies (which I’ve never actually made… but I like eating them!)
Unfortunately, I’ve hardly had any time to bake. Story of my life, right? I never have time to bake. Yet I somehow run a baking blog. Weird.

I really didn’t want the Christmas season to whiz by without a good amount of delightfully festive treats popping out of my oven. Just tonight I started baking some “Pepparkakor” – a Swedish recipe that I actually got from a Kikki.K catalog (blog post coming soon, I promise!) But while the dough rests in the fridge overnight, I figured I’d share with you a recipe I’ve been making for the past few Christmases which is always a big hit.

So, for the past few years, I’ve whipped up a batch of Carrot Cupcakes to share with my extended family during our annual Christmas gathering. They’re fairly quick and easy, they taste delightful, and your arm gets a good workout grating up the carrots, burning off all those pesky Christmas calories in advance.

Last year, in the spirit of the season, I decided that rather than icing them like regular old cupcakes, I’d make them into “angel wing” cupcakes. I love doing this with cupcakes – it looks so pretty, yet it’s the easiest thing ever – just slice off the top, cut it in half, drop a generous glob of icing onto the cupcake and stick the “wings” on top. And don’t forget to dust them with icing sugar for the whole “fake snow” look!

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Carrot Cupcakes

½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup olive oil
½ cup golden syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
250-300g grated carrots

ICING:
250g spreadable cream cheese
½ cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners (if you wish, you may want to get a second tray and add two or three extra liners if you’d prefer smaller cupcakes)
Place brown sugar, oil, eggs, golden syrup and vanilla in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.
Sift flours, bicarbonate soda, and cinnamon over the top and fold through. Add grated carrot (and nuts if using) and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into the muffin tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked (the tops of the cupcakes should spring back lightly).
To make the icing, simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
When the cupcakes are cooled, carefully slice a circle off the top of each one, and cut each circle in half. Place a spoonful of the icing into each cupcake, then top with two of the halves as “wings”.
Before serving, dust with icing sugar.
Makes 12-15 cupcakes.

Strawberry & White Choc Mini Cupcakes

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Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day everybody! I hope you all got to spend some time with those you love – your friends, your family, your special someone, or even your multitudes of cats. Everyone deserves love! :3 I had a pretty great day – a romantic picnic and a surprise serenade!

I haven’t updated Sneaky Pudding in a while as I’ve been a little too busy to bake, and soon I’ll be going back to college, which takes up even more of my time. But I’ll try to post up a new recipe and/or baking adventure once a week or so.

So, as I mentioned before, I prepared a picnic for my boyfriend – and what Valentine’s Day picnic is complete without adorable, tiny, delicious, pink cupcakes? I know Valentine’s Day won’t be here again for another year, but don’t let that stop you from making these cupcakes – they’re a great gift for someone you love at any time of the year!

I wanted to make strawberry-flavoured cupcakes – something about strawberries just says “romantic”! Since the strawberries I had weren’t as sweet as I like them, I decided to stir in a tablespoon of caster sugar after chopping them up to enhance their flavour a bit. I left them in the fridge while I was at work, so they abosrbed the sugar and became sweeter, and the mixture became nice and soft. When the cupcakes were baked, the sweet strawberry flavour really stood out, but the texture was still quite smooth – there weren’t really any big, annoying chunks of strawberry in the cupcake.

The best bit was decorating! The icing is white chocolate and cream, and once it’s cooled it should work pretty well in a piping bag. I didn’t use a piping bag though, I just spread it on with a knife, although I do think a piping bag would create a prettier result. Once the icing is on, get creative with your decorations! Small heart-shaped chocolates, heart-shaped sprinkles… clearly, I’m a fan of heart-shaped things. Whatever floats your boat! Maybe you could bake several batches and write an elaborate romantic poem with one letter per cupcake. Actually, don’t do that, it’s kind of weird.

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Strawberry and White Choc Mini Cupcakes
(adapted from The Complete Series – Cupcakes)

CUPCAKES
80g butter
½ cup caster sugar + extra tablespoon
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
¼ cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla essence
½ cup chopped strawberries
pink food colouring (optional)

ICING
1 cup white chocolate, chopped
½ cup cream

Chop the strawberries up very finely, place them in a bowl and stir in an extra tablespoon of caster sugar. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to add to the batter.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 24-capacity mini cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then stir in the egg until well combined.

Sift in the flour. Add the milk, vanilla essence, strawberries, and pink food colouring (if using). Stir until all combined.

Spoon the mixture into the mini cupcake cases and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until risen and springing back lightly when touched. Allow to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, melt the white chocolate and cream in a small saucepan until smooth. Set aside to cool completely (otherwise it’ll be really runny). Spread onto the cupcakes with a knife, or use a small piping bag. Decorate with sprinkles. Place in the fridge until ready to serve to ensure icing is firm.

Makes about 36 mini cupcakes.