Father’s day was not too long ago and as the designated baker in the family, it was my task to provide cake or cupcakes for the celebrations. I wanted to try a new recipe but wanted it to be a ‘manly one’ somehow. What do men generally like? Football, beer, cars. Luckily, I remembered a recipe Jemma posted not long ago for chocolate Guinness cakes – and it seemed really fitting!
I wasn’t sure what to expect – would you be able to taste the beer? Would it be weird. Little did I know that they will turn out to be amazing. Chocolatey but not overpowering, very moist and with an extremely velvety texture. It is like chocolate cake and fudge had a love child.
You can find the video recipe here but I have written it out below (easier to copy paste ingredients for a shopping list, etc.). Since mine were for father’s day, I had to write little messages with food coloring on a fondant plaque:
Father’s Day Hit
Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
125ml of Guinness Original (from a bottle, not a can)
125g chopped unsalted butter
140g plain flour
35 g of cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
70g sour cream
1 large free range egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 batch of cream cheese frosting (or use Jemma’s recipe)
Melt butter in Guinness over low heat and set aside. Sieve dry ingredients in a bowl and give it a whisk to mix them all in. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream, the egg and vanilla as well as the Guinness butter (cooled down). Add dry ingredients to wet ones and whisk until it is all incorporated.
The mixture will be runny so pour it in a jug. Line a muffin/cupcake tray with cases and split mixture amongst 12. Bake at 150 degrees Celsius (fan oven) for 22 minutes. While they’re in the oven, prepare the frosting.
Let cool and decorate with cream cheese frosting.
Today was totally one of those days. My Out-Of-Office no longer ‘protecting’ me, very tired yet high on caffeine, 300 million things to do – in my world this automatically means highly irritable, flashing a red ‘Beware’ sign on my forehead. Until a personal email came in late in the afternoon – from the contact form of this humble blog no less. Suddenly I couldn’t erase the stupidest grin off my face, my work inbox no longer seemed overwhelming and having to stay in the office late no was not a chore anymore. But… since it is concerning more of a long-term project, I will keep this a secret for now. Not an easy task, I tell you – if it was up to me I would be screaming at the top of my voice for the entire baking & blogging world to know but let’s not jinx it just yet 😉
It did, however, remind me I still haven’t posted any details of another special encounter. Sometimes you really wish for something to happen. You envision it many times in your head, you tweet (a lot) about it, yet nothing happens. Eventually you get tired of constantly refreshing Twitter and move on, thinking it wasn’t meant to happen, maybe another time etc. A little part of you keeps dreaming though. But enough talking in code.
I had been dying to meet Jemma. I had tweeted her and her shop in Soho. No reply. Nothing. But I found myself in her shop on a recent business trip to London. The girl behind the counter was nice enough while I was silently debating on how many mini cupcakes I can gorge on without being sick. But then Jemma walked in. My hero. My idol. The one. We exchanged small talk, I ended up buying all 7 available flavours of mini cupcakes, she even agreed to take a picture of me, and I walked away. The happiest person on Earth. Whatsapping the photo to a select group of people while still outside the shop. Ecstatic. It wasn’t much, a 2 minute conversation with no real significance but you guys, I met her. And what I am trying to say is, keep dreaming. Even if the outcome is not guaranteed (it never will be), even if you have been discouraged before, even if you think your dream is beyond far fetched. Keep dreaming. And when it happens, you will mentally high-five yourself and you will hopefully remember my advice and whisper a thank you to me. You’re welcome.
So. Much. Happiness.
Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? Is is a pie? It is all of the above! It’s also pretty close to pure awesomeness.
This weekend I had a play date with a puppy so I simply *had to* bake. Not for the puppy, of course, but for his owners, who refer to my baked goods as (and I quote): ‘little pieces of Heaven’. Looking for something simple, yet effective, I stumbled across Jemma’s newest recipe online – Whoopie Pie Smiles. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! May I say, they came out perfect and took some time to make but were very easy. Have a look yourself:
Now to assemble
Personal remarks: I doubled the recipe which produced 36 discs or 18 Whoopie Pies. I think otherwise it produces too little and it’s not worth the effort! My recommendation is to print 2 pages with 6 identical circles and place these underneath your baking parchment in the tin. Then pipe on those circles. Or try and be SuperMan and pipe exactly the same circles without a pattern.
I also used the store-bought Marshmallow Fluff – do not recommend it. I am not sure if it was the heat or the humidity or simply the texture of the fluff, but while it looked perfect for the first 10 minutes or so, some of my smiles ‘drooled’ quite a lot, which is to say the frosting leaked out and also it didn’t hold well enough for me to stack them in a tupperware.
Lessons learned: Next time, I will definitely make the frosting myself. And I am not sure if I will go for marshmallow, I think peanut butter buttercream will taste incredible in those and will also hold better. And I may lose the teeth. While they look pretty awesome, it did take me a while to stick all those tiny mallows on.
I am at the airport travelling to Vienna as I type so there may be a few days of no baking and subsequently no posts, unless I stumble across a bakery worth a report from far lands. Bis bald!
Guys, I have a confession to make. No, it isn’t that my mixer has a name (sad, I know). Also no, not the fact I am a compulsive shopper when it comes to baking tools, decorations etc. No, it isn’t that I am perfectly happy to stay up until 2am finishing a baking job knowing full well I will be dead tired the whole next day either (also sad, I’ll give you that too). If you have actually met me in real life, I am pretty sure you know where this is going.
So here it is: I lOVE CupcakeJemma and want to be her when I grow up. While it may be a tad too late for me and some may argue I am already grown up, I lay awake at night trying to imagine what it is to be her. To be living my ‘cupcakes, little cutesie bakery in the heart of London, being totally awesome’ dream. What I would say to her if I am lucky enough to meet her one day? Would she think I am a stalker and call the police on me? When I look at her (on YouTube), it is like a magic mirror – very much like me but already a successful, professional baker. Self-taught, no less. Covered in tattoos. Down to earth. Funny. A little crazy. Chasing her dream. Just look at her:
Jemma at her new shop in London / Photo courtesy of the London Evening Standard
Now quick, follow her on Instagram, susbcribe to her on YouTube and order her book. You won’t regret it. Oh, and wish me luck – I am going to London in a month and I am keeping my fingers crossed to meet her when I go for a cheeky mini cupcake to Crumbs & Doilies in Soho.
P.S. I am baking Whoppie Pies tomorrow. Stay tuned!