Monday, 24 October 2016

October snapshot

The year is speeding along. We've arrived at our final public holiday until the silly season. I don't know about you, but this single Monday off has been a long time coming for me. Everyone is so busy being busy lately. In fact, it's a great conversational starter. But what exactly is everybody doing?

Here's some of what I've been up to this month.

October snapshot

These shoes were made for walking
  • My blacklist of shops I'm boycotting until my Christmas watershed is officially lifted on 1 December is growing daily. Seriously, it's not Christmas in October!!
  • I'm loving the second series of Grand Designs NZ. I was so worried that a massive dose of cultural cringe would overpower my enjoyment of the show, but it's been really well made and local architect Chris Moller is a great presenter.
  • My musical renaissance artists this month are Elvis Costello and Van Morrison. Irish goodness all the way.
  • Everyone I know loves curly fries except for one particular 3 year old boy with curly hair. Co-relation?
Curly fries are the best

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Pineapple lump cupcakes

Pineapple lumps are some of my favourite lollies. The chocolate pineapple combination makes it scarily easy to polish off a pack before you know it. Remember this ad? It's not just me who thinks they are good.

With pineapple lumps in the pantry and baking to do today, I thought about how I could combine these two things and modified a recipe for pineapple and coconut cupcakes. The result was 24 delicious pineapple cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting and, of course, crowned with a heavenly pineapple lump.

Pineapple lump cupcakes

  • 240 g plain flour
  • 280 g sugar
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 80 g butter, softened
  • 240 ml milk
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 g crushed pineapple, drained (1 x 440 g tin)
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Line two 12-hole muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  3. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter on slow speed until reaching a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  4. Mix the milk and vanilla together in a measuring cup. Pour into the flour mixture on medium speed until well combined.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and mix well, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula in between additions.
  6. Fold in the crushed pineapple with a spatula. The mixture will be wet and sloppy.
  7. Fill the cupcake cases until two-thirds full. Using an ice cream scoops helps spread the mixture evenly.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cupcakes bounce back when touched and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tray for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate buttercream

  • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 30 ml tepid water
  • 20 g cocoa, sifted to remove lumps
  1. Beat the butter and sugar on high speed using the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add water and mix to combine.
  3. Add cocoa and mix until smooth.
Pipe or frost the cupcakes when cool, then top with a pineapple lump.

Pineapple lump cupcakes

Piña colada cupcakes

You can vary this recipe to make piña colada cupcakes.
  • Replace milk with coconut milk.
  • Replace vanilla essence with rum.
  • Frost with vanilla buttercream and sprinkle with desiccated coconut to decorate.