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.

heart

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.

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.