Tuesday 21 February 2012

Chai Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream Icing

I love chai tea with that lovely blend of spices and a hint of honey. I've got some Choc Chip Chai loose-leaf tea from T2, and I woke up one morning with a craving for some chai-flavoured baking using the tea. What better to make than chai cupcakes?

I adapted this recipe and upped the chai flavouring by infusing the milk before making the cupcakes, and adding chai tea to the icing. It made it extra delicious! The recipe says it makes 12 cupcakes, but I managed to get 23 out of it, so I guess it just depends on how big you make your cupcakes!

Makes approximately 23 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
75g butter, softened
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
3/4 cup of milk, plus a bit extra (the amount of liquid will reduce slightly after you infuse it with the chai tea)
2 tsp loose-leaf chai tea (I used T2's Choc Chip Chai)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt

For the chai spice mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves

For the honey buttercream icing
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g icing sugar (approx)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup hot chai tea (black, no milk) NB: You only need 2 tsp for the icing, but if you make a whole cup you can just drink the rest! You can also substitute the chai tea for 2 tsp hot milk.
4-5 tbsp honey


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake papers.
  2. Mix spices together in a small bowl and set aside.

  3. Heat the 3/4 cup of milk gently in a small saucepan over low heat until it is steaming. Take off the heat, and add the chai tea. Set aside to steep and cool to room temperature.

  4. Beat together butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and salt, mixing until combined after each addition.
  6. Strain milk into a small jug, pressing down on the tea leaves to squeeze out the liquid. Top up to 3/4 cup again with the extra milk if necessary.
  7. Add milk and sifted flour alternately in two batches each, stirring until combined. Add 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and mix gently until batter is combined and smooth.

  8. Spoon mixture into prepared cupcake papers and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then cool on a wire rack.

Honey Buttercream Icing

  1. Beat butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually sift in icing sugar and add honey tablespoon by tablespoon to taste, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and two teaspoons of the chai tea, and beat until smooth. NB: I tend to make icing without measuring out my icing sugar. I just keep adding a little more until the icing has the right consistency.
  2. Place in fridge for 15 min to set slightly before piping onto cooled cupcakes.

  3. Sprinkle the cupcakes with the remaining spice mix and enjoy!

Thursday 22 September 2011

French Toast

I had Monday off from uni so I woke up late, and it was the perfect time of day for a nice brunch. I decided to make myself some French toast - quick and easy, and an excuse to have some sugar and ice cream for my first meal of the day!

Serves 1

1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 thick slices of bread (I managed to get 6 slices of a sourdough baguette out of this recipe, though!)
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp sugar, extra
1/2 tsp cinnamon, extra


  1. Heat a frying pan to medium. Place butter in the pan and allow to melt.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Soak a slice of bread in the mixture and place on the pan; repeat until the pan is full.
  3. Brown both sides of the bread. Add more butter to the pan if necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Combine the extra sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Serve the French toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, or with syrup, or with berries, or - like me - with raspberry ice cream!

Monday 19 September 2011

Gingernut Biscuits

I love Arnott's Ginger Nut biscuits. I love them. They've been my favourites since I was a kid. So when I stumbled across this recipe, I had to give it a go. I didn't have any nutmeg, though, so I substituted that and the allspice for half a teaspoon of mixed spice.

The best thing about it is that it's super easy and super quick - no beating or cutting required. They don't taste exactly like the Arnott's biscuits, but they're pretty close!

Makes about 18

2/3 cup self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
50g butter, chopped
2 tbsp golden syrup
Raw sugar


  1. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except the raw sugar). I sifted the flour, bicarb soda and spices together, then mixed in the brown sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs Stir in the syrup, and then press to a dough-like consistency - use your hands if you need to!
  2. Divide the dough into 18 pieces, roll each piece into a ball, and then press each ball down with your fingers on the prepared trays. Sprinkle a little raw sugar over the biscuit surfaces and press into the dough lightly with your fingers.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the trays for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, or eat them straight away!

Saturday 3 September 2011

Pizza Scrolls

These are my favourite snack, and so easy to vary. You can put whatever pizza-type toppings you like: try a Hawaiian with ham and pineapple, or add olives if you like olives, or diced capsicum. I love to freeze a batch and then take a couple with me to uni for lunch - they're thawed by lunchtime and are still super delicious cold.

Makes about 12 or more, depending on how thick you slice them!

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
30g butter, chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste or pizza sauce
1 cup grated cheese (I use Colby)
100g salami or ham, finely chopped
1/3 cup semi-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine the cheese, salami and tomatoes in a bowl.
  2. Sift flour into a bowl. Rub butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and pour milk into the well.
  3. Mix with a knife until the mixture forms a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  4. Roll out to a 30cm x 23cm rectangle. Spread tomato paste over the dough. Sprinkle the toppings mixture over the sauce. Roll up like a Swiss roll. Cut into rounds about 1.5cm thick with a serrated knife, taking care not to squash the roll.
  5. Lay scrolls flat on the prepared baking tray, about 3cm apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Scrolls will freeze for up to 3 months.


Monday 8 August 2011

Savoury Muffins

Being a poor uni student, I prefer to pack my lunch than to buy it. I love this recipe (which I adapted from here) because it makes a delicious muffin that's easy to freeze and throw into my lunch bag on my way out the door. You can substitute what you put in it, as well - try different kinds of cheeses, or ham instead of salami, or throw in some chopped olives if you like olives. It's a quick and versatile recipe!

Makes 12

80g butter, melted, cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 cups self-raising flour
100g cheese, grated (I used Colby because I like the taste, but you can try cheddar, or tasty, or crumbled feta)
100g sliced salami or ham, diced (I used salami for this batch)
1/3 cup (50g) semi-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
  2. Pour butter, egg and milk into a jug and stir to combine.
  3. Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour butter mixture into the well and stir until almost combined.
  4. Fold through the cheese, salami/ham and tomatoes. Try not to over-mix!
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan for 1 minute, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store muffins in an airtight container, or serve and enjoy!

Sunday 31 July 2011

Lemon Olive Oil Teacakes

It was Katy's birthday party last night and she requested non-chocolate cupcakes, so I decided to try out this recipe that I adapted from Just Jenn Recipes. It came out pretty well and had a nice texture to it - and it's also lactose free!

I managed to get 22 regular-sized cupcakes out of this recipe.

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon (zest and juice)
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
Icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Prep a mini cupcake pan with liners.

  2. Sift the flours together in a small bowl. Grate the lemon zest directly into the flour and set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, squeeze all the juice out of the lemon and set aside.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale:

  5. On low, slowly add the flour mixture, then the olive oil, and finally the lemon juice. You will get a lovely, smooth, glossy batter.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepped baking cups. Bake for 10-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

  7. Once cool and ready to serve, dust icing sugar over the tops of the cakes. Enjoy!

Monday 25 July 2011

Choc-Mint Sandwiches

I was inspired by the mint slice cake to attempt something else minty and chocolatey, and also transportable. I adapted my favourite gingerbread recipe to make it chocolate (and not gingery at all), and then added some fun fillings to make a really tasty combination.



For the Biscuits
1/4 Cup Golden Syrup
200g Butter, split into two 100g lots
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
2 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Self-Raising Flour
1 Teaspoon Bicarb Soda
1/4 Cup Cocoa

For the filling
1 Cup Icing Sugar
70g Butter
1 tsp Peppermint Essence
150g Dark Chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Cream 100g butter and sugar
  3. Mix the egg into the sugar and butter
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix well
  5. Melt the Chocolate and second lot of butter together, mix into the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Take the mixture out of the bowl, and knead it lightly.
  7. Roll it out quite thin, and cut out an even number of circular biscuits. Place them on lined/greased baking trays
  8. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  9. Leave to cool in trays for around 15 minutes, then remove from tray.
  10. Beat the icing sugar, butter for the icing, and the peppermint essence together to form a thick icing.
  11. Melt the chocolate, and spread a thin layer on the underside of each biscuit.
  12. Place a small dollop of mint icing on top of a layer of chocolate,

and then sandwich another biscuit on top, squashing together to spread the mint icing out.

13. Leave to set.
14. Eat.