Lazy Dairy Free Cheesecake

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This recipe is simple. I mean so simple that I actually had trouble writing down anything detailed about it. Still you get the idea, and I’m sure once you put in the 15minutes of prep it takes you’ll love it as a fall back recipe as much as I do.

1 pack choc ripple biscuits
25-50g nuttlex
1-2 tubs of toffuti
1-2 packs of frozen berries
sugar to taste (probably 50g)
grind up choc ripple biscuits
melt nuttlex
combine biscuit crumble and nuttlex into a sticky mess. place in bottom of lined tin. Press firmly. Bake for 10-15min @ 180C.
Melt berries with sugar and some water.
Mash berries in with toffuti. Sometime soymilk can help, but isn’t necessary.
place on top of base. put in fridge until hungry.
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Actually it is such an easy recipe I haven’t bother with grammar. Ooops.

Champagne Cupcakes

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Alcohol is so cheap in the U.S that it really makes sense to use it as a substitute for water. Given that we had such a dry winter in California, it’s the most responsible thing to do.

I recently tried my hand at Champagne Cupcakes based on this recipe –> http://www.thetomkatstudio.com/champagnecupcakes/

I couldn’t find the cupcake vineyard prosecco so I used something called Italian Bubbles (it can only end well right?). I wish I had time to pipe the icing because it looked a little suspicious on the cupcakes but I assure you it was delicious. The champagne adds a nice hint of effervescence.

The recipe I used is as follow. I didn’t make the champagne cream filling in the original because I thought that was a little too much.

Cake Mixture

Ingredients:

  • Butter – 1/2 cup softened
  • White sugar – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Flour – 1 3/4 cups
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Sour cream – 1/2 cup
  • Italian bubbles – 1/2 cup (I’m not going to lie, I doubled it which was probably a bad idea)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Do whatever you need to get your tray ready.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer or a fork and lots of muscle power.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  4. Add vanilla and mix.
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  6. In a third bowl, beat together the champagne and sour cream (prepare for bubbles!)
  7. Take turns adding the flour and champagne mixture to the original bowl, begin and end with flour. Beat as you go.

Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes – in my experience they took closer to 25 but that may have been because I was overzealous with the champagne.

Frosting

Ingredients:

  • Italian bubbles – 1 cup and 1 tbsp
  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Confectioner’s sugar – 2 1/2 cups

Instructions:

  • Simmer 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Transfer it to a bowl or cup and allow it to cool.
  • Beat softened butter and sugar then pour in the reduced champagne.
  • Add the 1tbsp of champagne and beat until nice and fluffy.

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Awesome Chocolate Muffins

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This muffin recipe is the easiest recipe for chocolate muffins I have ever found. They are easy to make, reliably delicious, and can be made in about 25 minutes once you’ve got the hang of it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups of SR Flour
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2/3 cup of castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 185ml soymilk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Process

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix wet ingredients in a second bowl.
  3. Mix all ingredients together.
  4. Spoon into muffin trays (greased if possible)
  5. Bake at 180 degrees Celcius, for 15 to 20 minutes until they smell delicious.

Important notes:

  • I have tried this recipe with many different cup sizes, and as long as you use the same vessel for every ingredient it will work, you may just need an extra muffin tray if you use a beer stein (oh and maybe some eggs).
  • The best way to tell when muffins are ready is when your housemates come out to the kitchen to see what smells delicious. 

Drunken Devonshire Pasties

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These take many hours to cook, but believe me. They are worth every second!

The Graceful Cyclists

So awesome. Three types of stout went into these!

So we did make these up as we went along, but roughly the process was…

  1. Slow cook 6 lamb shanks in a mix of Amber Ale and Stout for 4 hours. We used 1x Squires Amber Ale and 1/3 of a Kilkenny at this stage. We recommend testing the mix of beers prior to adding to the shanks.
  2. Make a sour-cream based semi-short pastry, about 3-4 cups of flour worth.
  3. Remove lamb meat from shank. Add remaining Kilkenny, 6 potatoes, and 1 bottle of dark stout (Paddy’stout from Ireland). Transfer mixture to a pressure cooked for 30 minutes.
  4. Eat remaining meat off the lamb shanks in a way reminiscent of Neanderthals.
  5. Cut pastry into four lots, roll each one out and layer as per puff pastry using olive oil and spices to layers. Return to fridge.
  6. Steam carrots, swede, fennel, turnip…

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Chocolate Guinness Cake

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I’m a little bit in love with Nigella and her Chocolate Guinness Cake is always a hit. It’s a bit time consuming so leave yourself a free afternoon but it smells gorgeous as you bake.

I made this for the first party I hosted in the U.S. A friend tells me she ate more than she cares to admit.

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-guinness-cake-3086

Thanks to Nigella I add whipping cream or double cream to my cream cheese icings to make it extra fluffy. It goes down very well on a decadent red velvet cupcake.

Bon Appetreth!

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Red, White and Blue Marble Cupcakes with Vanilla Vodka Buttercream Icing

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Today is a French friend’s 21st Birthday so I wanted to create a special birthday surprise. Considering that we’re travelling in the U.S. the theme of red, white and blue seemed all encompassing.  I adapted a Martha Stewart vanilla cake recipe and got wild with the food dye.

Vanilla Vodka found its way into my baking cupboard and seemed an appropriate way to celebrate my friend’s American coming of age.

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CAKE MIXTURE – this mixture makes 20 cupcakes, halve for a smaller batch

Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter – 1 cup
  • All-purpose (plain) flow – 2.5 cups
  • Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar (white/granulated/regular variety) – 1.5 cups
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons
  • Eggs – 2 large
  • Egg yolks – 3 large
  • Vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Milk (I used low-fat 2% but you can use full/whole milk or even buttermilk) – 1 cup
  • Red food colouring- 1 tablespoon
  • Blue food colouring – 1 tablespoon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Do whatever you need to get your tray ready.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. If absent a whisk like myself sift and use a fork to toss around.
  3. Use electric beaters to mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in eggs and yolks (in small parts or one at a time) while beating on the lowest setting.
  4. Beat in vanilla then slowly add flour mixture and milk in small alternating portions. Start and finish with flour. Beat until just combined. Warning: overzealous beating leads to tough cupcakes!
  5. Separate mixture into three different bowls of roughly equal parts. Add red food colouring to one bowl, blue to another and leave the third as is. Mix the colouring into the mixture using a fork. Sift the cocoa into the bowl of red mixture (I do this to get a deeper red rather than a pink).
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The mixture should be on the less viscous side of the cake mixture spectrum. The addition of liquid food colouring will cause some changes but nothing to serious. Gel colouring is also a good option if available and can help you achieve deeper colours.

  1. Using a spoon place small amounts of each coloured batter into the cupcake cases. Once the batter is 1cm or 1/2 inch from the top of the case use a knife to swirl the colours together. Always swirl more than you think you need to.
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Mixture pre-swirl

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Mixture post-swirl

  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Insert a skewer into one and if it comes out clean then they are done.
  2. Allow to cool in tray for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack or in my case kitchen table.

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ICING MIXTURE/FROSTING

  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
  • Icing/Cane sugar – 2 cup
  • Vanilla vodka – a dash
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon optional
  • M&Ms – 1 packet
  • California Central Coast Chardonnay – 1 bottle
  • Scandinavians – 2
  1. Using the electric beaters mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Spread evenly on cool cupcakes using a knife.
  3. Deliver cupcakes to Scandinavians for M&M decoration.
  4. Share wine and enjoy!

Note: this recipe is fairly light frosting for 20 cupcakes. If you’re piping or like a lot of frosting then double it for 20 cupcakes.

What about those egg whites?

Try Martha Stewart’s Whipped Frosting <http://www.marthastewart.com/341535/whipped-frosting>. Substitute water for vodka (a good life practice).  I originally intended to do this but accidentally threw my egg whites out in a post cake cleaning frenzy.