Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes

If you are a parent and have children, you will know that from year 6, exams become an important part of their lives. Whether it’s SATS, GCSE’s, A Levels. College or University exams. The end game always focuses on tests or exams. Since today is the start of GCSE’s here in England these Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes, are designed to lift the spirits and fill the tummies of all students sitting their exams.

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes with coffee – study fuel!

Of course these cupcakes could and should be made all year round, such is their delicious simplicity. Chocolate cake topped with the ultimate white chocolate vanilla frosting. Perfect for chocolate lovers everywhere.

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes the reflect balance of flavours.

Since these cupcakes can be made, from start to finish in under an hour, they are also handy for short notice or unexpected guests. Likewise they can be whipped up, literally, in moments. The comforting aroma of home baking, wrapping around your weary children, like a cosy, soft blanket, when they arrive home.

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes comfort at the ready.

While my hard working teens are sitting and studying for their exams, I can be found in the kitchen. Busy rustling up delicious, sustained energy food and lots of treats. The amount of energy burned up during studying is vast. Since this can be a tough time of year for them, their usual ‘healthy’ food intake is topped up with extra yummy goodies!

Recipe: Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes makes 12

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

50g/2oz Caster Sugar

50g/2oz Light Brown Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Free Eggs

60g Plain White Flower

1tsp Baking Powder

40g Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

For the frosting:

150g/5oz Icing Sugar

75g/3oz Unsalted softened to room temperature

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

100g/4oz White Chocolate

Sprinkles of your choice

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

First of all line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

  • Into a medium sized bowl add the butter, both sugars and salt. Beat together until the mixture is free from lumps and smooth.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and all three eggs.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
  • Beat/whisk all of the ingredients together until fully mixed.
  • Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases – approximately one dessert spoonful of mixture per case.
  • Place the cupcake tin into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • The chocolate cupcakes are baked when they spring back from a light touch.
  • When baked remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes  before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to fully cool.
FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Making, filling and baking chocolate cupcakes.
  • Preparing the frosting and decorating the cupcakes:
  • Note – due to the high chocolate content of the frosting it is advisable to make it directly before piping, while it is soft.
  • Firstly, break up the white chocolate and place in a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Set to one side.
  • Into a separate bowl add the icing sugar, butter and one teaspoon of very hot water, from a recently boiled kettle. Whisk until almost combined.
  • Place the bowl with the white chocolate into the microwave. Heat for 20 seconds, stirring in between, until the chocolate is liquid.
  • Pour the warm, melted chocolate in with the butter and icing sugar mixture.
  • Whisk the ingredients together immediately and then continue to whisk until the frosting is light and fluffy. During the whisking add the vanilla bean paste.
FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Making the frosting, piping and decorating the chocolate cupcakes.
  • Fit a large piping bag with a large closed star piping nozzle.
  • Fill the piping bag with the frosting and proceed to pipe rose swirls on each cupcake. Starting in the centre of the cupcake, pipe the shape of an ‘e’ then continue around until the cupcake has a complete swirl on top.
  • Finally, sprinkle over your choice of decoration.
FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes so good!

Serve with a hug, smile and a hot drink!

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes much needed.

Store these cupcakes in an airtight container where they will last for three days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes you may also like these:

Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Gluten Free Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Drizzle Cupcakes

Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Double Chocolate Exam Busting Cupcakes
Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

While cupcakes are delicious, the cookies are for those meltdown moments when the pressure is simply too much. Firstly, so that whoever reads this blog post realises that they aren’t on their own. Sometimes it all gets too much. Fresh air, good music and a break all help. As do hugs, talking and simply letting it all out.

Wishing anyone taking exams, all the very best. If you do your best, no one can expect more of you than that x.

Sammie xx

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Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins a healthier autumnal treat that celebrates seasonal produce.

I have most definitely fallen in love. The kind of head over heels, mind consuming, heart compelling love that completely takes over one’s life. The object of my desire is orange, coincidentally my favourite colour, big and round. Pumpkin where have you been all my life? It would seem, puréed in a can, far, far away. Until now, where I can hoard cans of this delicious ingredient, ready to make Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins whenever I desire.

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins good for you and delicious.

Americans, Canadians, no doubt many other countries have long known the delight that is pumpkin purée. Whilst not the most compelling ingredient straight from the can, it lends a flavour and texture to bakes that other ingredients cannot.

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins welcoming in Autumn.

Venturing into Pumpkin Spice World with my very first pumpkin bake, these doughnuts, I soon realised that I had uncovered an amazing ingredient. The tenderness, colour and delicate flavour that pumpkin purée lends to a bake is unique. Resulting in some of the best bakes I have ever tasted.

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins great for grabbing breakfast on the go.

Since I have found a regular supplier long may this love affair continue. I intend to explore as many different bakes and desserts using my newly discovered love and they will be posted on here. Sharing my passion seems only fair. Hopefully you will discover a love for all things pumpkin, by the time October ends.

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins perfect for sharing.

As always, here on Feasting is Fun, sharing is a key part of my passion behind blogging. An example of how I share, just happened. Unable to drive at the present see here, I appreciate the Pharmacy, adjoined to my doctors, delivering my prescriptions. Just now, once I’d received my medications, I was able to share one of these Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins with the delivery lady. The perfect way to show my thanks.

Recipe: Makes 12 Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

100g Unsalted Butter melted and cooled

200g Pumpkin Purée – available from Sainsbury’s

150g Full Fat Natural Yoghurt – I use Yeo Valley

2 Large Free Range Eggs

125g Plain White Flour

100g Wholemeal Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

85g Chopped Walnuts

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

150g Soft Light Brown Sugar plus 1tbsp

2.5tsp Pumpkin Spice Mix see here if you want to make your own

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 3

  • Firstly melt the butter in a heatproof, microwaveable jug and set to one side to cool.
  • Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases, I used pretty tulip wrappers.
  • Next, in a large bowl add the flours, chopped walnuts, sugar, spice and salt. Stir with a balloon whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly and break up any lumps in the sugar. Dry ingredients.
  • Once the butter has cooled add in the yoghurt, pumpkin purée and eggs. Beat with a fork until the ingredients are combined. Wet ingredients.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then pour the wet ingredients into the dry.
  • Mix until just combined. Over mixing will cause the muffins to become tough.
FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Bringing the muffin batter together.
  • Spoon the muffin mix into the muffin cases, distributing the mix as evenly as possible.
  • Finally, using the extra tablespoon of sugar sprinkle a little over the top of each unbaked muffin.
FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins ready for the oven.
  • Place the muffin tin in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • My muffins were baked at 25 minutes, but I started checking after 20 minutes.
  • Once baked the muffins should be just firm to the touch, without any visible wobble (this was present when checking at 20 minutes). The Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins will have a slight sparkle, or sheen to them from the additional sugar sprinkled just prior to baking.
  • As soon as the muffins are baked remove the tin from the oven.
FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins their smell will fill your kitchen.
  • Inhale deeply. The baked pumpkin spices smell of warm, comforting, welcoming food. Who needs scented candles?
  • If you have used the tulip style muffin wrappers I strongly suggest leaving them to cool completely in the muffin tin. I have found that this prevents them from unwrapping themselves, as can be the case if removed whilst hot.
  • Regular muffin cases can be removed after cooling for 10 minutes in the tin. Place on a cooling rack.
FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins best served warm.

These delightful Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins are their best served warm. One of the benefits of using tulip style wrappers is that they unfold to create the perfect napkin, to hold and enjoy the experience of eating a muffin.

Pulled apart or bitten straight into, these muffins are all that is good about Autumn, wrapped up in an edible parcel. Golden in colour, they imitate the autumnal palette, crunchy walnuts akin to walking through fallen leaves. Warm spices and tender crumb resemble falling into a big sofa near an open fire, after a crisp afternoon walk.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins you may also enjoy these:

Baked Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Baked Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

Autumn Apple Almond Cake

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Autumn Almond Apple Cake gluten free.

Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Spiced Fruit Loaf

Baking these Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins releases the aroma of the pumpkin spice mix within, creating a welcoming ambiance in the home. When visitors arrive, or the postman knocks on the front door, I want them to feel welcome. Nurtured by the warmth of our home and good food, they leave contented and comforted.

While baking, making and creating in the kitchen, my aim is to convey love, acceptance and warmth through food. Sharing the food made, is an extension of home and all it represents. Meeting another’s needs on both a physical and emotional level, whilst sharing time and companionship over a coffee and a home baked treat shows, food really can be so much more than fuel.

Sammie xx

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Toffee Apple Crumble

So it is June 1st 2016 today. If you were expecting an ice cream recipe, or a light, summery pavlova, sorry folks. It’s been pouring with rain since yesterday, with very little let up and it’s cold. Instead I have a wonderfully comforting pudding for you, Toffee Apple Crumble.

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble tart Bramley apples topped with a toffee crumble mix.

The perfect combination of flavours. Tart, just cooked slices of Bramley apple, covered in a light crumble with more than a hint of toffee flavour.

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble a delightfully comforting pudding.

Toffee Apple Crumble came about as the result of a need for something warm and comforting, that was also not too labour intensive to make. Whatever the reason; tiredness, pain, just-can’t-be-bothered, it’s been a long day, this recipe is quick and easy to make. Bake in the oven, whist you relax and you have yourself a top notch pudding that feels like a warm blanket is being wrapped around you as you eat.

I will also confess an extra cheat. I had 2 x 300g packets of ready prepared, frozen Bramley apple slices, from  Waitrose in the freezer. Some days I just have to use ready prepared and I’m good with that.

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble extra yummy when served with homemade custard.

Now, in all honesty, I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘pudding’ person. In most instances I’d rather have cheese and biscuits…….. Thought I’d give you all a moment there to digest that fact (my puns are getting worse!!!).

However strange it may seem, I do actually like a proper pudding instead of a meal. Yesterday, when I made this Toffee Apple Crumble, I actually ate it for lunch. Quite often, for example over Christmas, I’ll have Christmas pudding and cream for lunch or supper. So I do enjoy puddings, just on their own, as a meal in itself!

I know I am in the minority and that there is such a thing as a ‘pudding tummy’ where, once you have finished your main meal there is ALWAYS room for something a little sweet to round off the meal. I applaud you, I really do. When I’m full, well, that’s me finished. No pudding or cheese and biscuits.

Oh how I wish I could eat as much as I did when I was younger and competing in every sport I could!!!

FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble a tasty twist on a classic dessert.

Oddly, I really enjoy making puddings. My hubby is definitely a pudding man. Upon receiving a microwave as a wedding present, it took him under 30 seconds to find the recipe for lemon sponge! Something I still have yet to make for him. Oops!

I think it is the joy of seeing someone’s face, full of pleasure, as they tuck in and devour a well made, tasty pudding, that gives me so much pleasure. My wonderful hubby’s face when he saw the Toffee Apple Crumble, was absolute pleasure. Married twenty years this year and I still enjoy cooking for him as much as I always have.

Recipe: Toffee Apple Crumble serves 6 real pudding lovers!

250g/9oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Baking Powder

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – cold and cut into cubes

1/2 packet  Wright’s Baking  Toffee Cake Mix – TIP make double the amount of crumble topping add a whole bag of Toffee Cake Mix and freeze half in a freezer bag for up to 3 months!

2 tablespoons Demerara Sugar

600g Peeled Sliced Bramley Apples – peeled weight – start with approx 1kg of apples

1 teaspoon Corn Flour

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl, add the cold, cubed butter.
  • Use either a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour see Perfect All Butter Shortcrust Pastry, or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the toffee cake mix into the bowl and thoroughly mix.
  • Place the Bramley apple slices in a deep pie dish.
  • Add the corn flour, sugar and cinnamon and toss the apple slices, to coat them with clean hands.
  • Cover the apple slices with the toffee crumble mix and then sprinkle over the demerara sugar for extra crunch and an added toffee flavour.
FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble ready for the oven.
  • Place the Toffee Apple Crumble dish onto a baking tray and place in the centre of a preheated oven.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden and the apples underneath are softened.
  • Once baked remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. I’ve found that letting a crumble sit for a while stops the topping from falling apart as I dish it up.
  • Serve with homemade custard (recipe coming soon), cream, vanilla ice cream, or on it’s own. If it hadn’t been so cold and wasn’t raining, I would absolutely have gone out to the garage and had  Very Vanilla Ice Cream with my custard!
FF Toffee Apple Crumble
Toffee Apple Crumble and homemade custard.

Toffee Apples are traditionally associated with Autumn, when apples are in abundance. My Toffee Apple Crumble brings those flavours together in a dessert that is perfect, whenever a warm, comforting pudding is needed.

If you have enjoyed this Toffee Apple Crumble recipe here are a few others you may also like:

Amazing Apple Pie

FF Amazing Apple Pie
Amazing Apple Pie with a delicious pie crust

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

FF Blackberry Nectarine Tart
Blackberry Nectarine Tart quick and easy with puff pastry.

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble

FF Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble another fast ic crumble recipe.

Do you have a ‘pudding tummy’?

Do you choose your dessert first, when out for a meal?

I love hearing what your eating habits are, as weird as that sounds. I’m not talking peculiar flavour combinations, simply which foods you prefer and those you try to avoid.

Thank you again for all the kind comments that you leave here on the blog and on Instagram and Twitter. Please keep them coming along with the gorgeous photos of your makes and bakes.

I hope the weather is beautiful wherever you are and you can enjoy feasting and haing fun in the sun!

Sammie xx

Wright’s Baking sent me some cake mixes to try. I was not paid for writing this post and as always, all pictures, content, opinions and views are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

As a family of five, make ahead meals really are helpful when life gets busy. Make the recipe one pot and I am eternally grateful. My Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole ticks both boxes. Bubbling away on the hob, or alternatively in the oven, it’s aroma fills the house with a warm spicy scent. Welcoming you home like a warm hug.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole.

Before we get on with the recipe, I wanted to share my thoughts. Autumn, or Fall as it’s called in the States is my favourite season. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Summer, in fact, I like all the seasons. Much as the glorious, unending sunshine places like California offer, I simply love the change in seasons we enjoy here in England. Read Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

While there is something about, at first, the almost subtle change in weather, usually towards the end of August/beginning of September where I live. The deep, deep green of the leaves on the trees, the rustle as the wind blows through the drying out leaves. Followed by the gorgeous change, through deepest red to fiery orange and a last nod to the daily lowering of the sun in the sky, as the leaves turn yellow. And confetti, like fluttering of the leaves on a blowy day. The ravages of an adorned tree, ripped overnight of its leafy covering, by a violent storm.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole just add Crusty Bread.

Sunshine is always welcome. Especiall on a clear, frosty, day. Also, there is something to be said though for darker, rain & wind filled days, snuggled up on the sofa, the smell of a spicy casserole, gently bubbling away in the oven. And puddings! A must, some may say essential,  during the colder months.

Since first making this dish it has evolved to the final recipe given here. While most of the ingredients are relatively cheap, it is essential to use good quality sausages. Pale, flabby pink sausages will simply disintegrate during the long cooking process. Adding quality pork sausages adds to the overall flavour of the dish. Especially as one packet will feed up to six people.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

You will need a large ( 4 litre) ovenproof casserole dish, or bigger if doubling the recipe to feed a crowd.

Recipe: Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole serves 4 – 6

1 Large Onion – chopped into small dice

1 Aubergine – chopped into 1/2″ cubes

450g/1lb Good Quality Sausages each sausage chopped into 4 pieces – I use Graig Farm Sausages

2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin of baked beans

2 x 400g butter beans – strained & rinsed with cold water

4 individual bulbs of garlic – minced

1 chilli (or 1tsp chilli flakes) finely chopped

200mls of red wine I use Claret( or 100ml Port – any type except Tawny)

2 tbs tomato puree

1/2tsp Celery Seeds

3/4tsp Fennel Seeds

Handful of fresh parsley chopped and added after serving

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to season.

Note: Having made this dish many times, it has never needed the addition of salt.

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • Place the onion, aubergine & sausages in the casserole dish & pour over the red wine or Port.
  • Add both tins of tomatoes, then half fill each tin with cold water, swirl around so that you get all of the tomato juices left inside the tin and pour over the casserole.
  • Next tip in the baked beans and swirl the tin with water as before, pouring into the dish, then add the rinsed butter beans.
  • Add the tomato purée, minced garlic, chilli, celery seeds, fennel seeds and a good grinding of black pepper
  • If needed add more cold water until all the ingredients are just covered with liquid. Making sure there is still a good inch between the liquid and the top of the casserole dish.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Making the casserole.
  • Place the lid (or cover tightly with tin foil) on to the dish and place in the oven.
  • Cook at 180C for 1/2 hour then reduce the heat to 140C/120C fan, gas mark 1.
  • Leave to cook for 3 hours. Check and top up with recently boiled water so that the ingredients are just covered with liquid again.
  • Clamp on the lid (or foil) and return to the oven for 2 more hours. You can repeat the liquid adding throughout the day, the longer this casserole cooks the better it tastes!
  • The Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole will be cooked after 5 1/2 hours.
  • Serve in bowls, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley for fresh, grassy, Vitamin C filled flavour.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole dinner is served.

Finally sit and enjoy eating, chatting, and sharing the food with those you love. Most importantly remember to serve thick slices of bread, ready to dunk into the spicy juices.

Leftovers can be chilled, portioned into individual freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole you may also like these:

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Slow Roasted Cider Pork.

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chunky Chilli

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Chunky Chilli

 

Great memories are attached to making this meal, while in Devon on holiday. Cooking dinner for our hosts resulted in more people being added to the guest list during the day. Extra beans, tomatoes and wine added, we sat happily around their big oak table, enjoying good food and most importantly, great company. Friendships forged as conversation flowed. Most importantly, a feast to remember.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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