Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcake-Toppers (Cheat)

Happy birthday, Mommy!! ❤

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I made these cupcakes a couple of days ago for a bake sale, but the main reason I made cupcakes was so that I could reserve three of them for today – my mom’s birthday. I don’t like making small-batch cupcakes because making a batch of 24 cupcakes requires the same effort as making 3. (Hence, why I always make cupcakes for bake sales).

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This is the first time that I’ve used chocolate cupcake toppers, but it definitely won’t be the last. They’re deceivingly easy to make, and they look gorgeous! They take the cupcakes to a whole new level, while only requiring an extra 5 minutes.

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I forgot to take photos while I was making the chocolate toppers, but basically, you just melt down some dark chocolate and pipe it out on parchment paper. If you’ve melted the chocolate gently, they should harden at room temperature and peel off easily, giving you these beaautiful cupcake toppers!

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There are so many things that you can pipe out using the chocolate. I stuck to some simple shapes. I used stars, hearts, flowers, the little thingy in the photo below, and random squiggles. Next time, I’d definitely try words and maybe I’ll challenge myself to piping out a puppy or something. We’ll see~

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With the frosting, feel free to choose any color you wish! I like the way that the pink contrasts with the darkness of the chocolate, but I’m sure that blue would be gorgeous as well.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Buttercream and Chocolate Cupcake-Toppers

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 280g granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 240ml  milk, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 300g unsalted butter
  • *400g-600g powdered sugar, sifted
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Gel food colouring of choice

For the chocolate cupcake-toppers:

  • 100g dark chocolate

*To taste

Method

  1. For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  3. Add in the butter and beat until the mixture has a sandy consistency
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until combined
  5. Pour half the milk mixture in with the flour and beat on high speed until smooth
  6. Gently mix in the rest of the milk mixture until jut combined. Do not over mix
  7. Transfer the mixture into a lined cupcake tin and bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
  8. For the frosting, in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy
  9. Beat in the powdered sugar for 5 minutes or so, before adding the whipping cream and vanilla extract and beating for another minute
  10. For the chocolate cupcake-toppers, chop or break the dark chocolate into equal-sized chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl
  11. Microwave the chocolate for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between each interval so that the chocolate heats evenly. When the chocolate has 80-90% melted, stir the chocolate until it’s fully melted
  12. Transfer the melted chocolate into a piping bag or into a sandwich bag with a TINY corner cut off
  13. Pipe designs of your choice onto a sheet of parchment paper. Allow to harden before carefully removing and placing on your frosted cupcakes. Enjoy!
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Banana Bread Waffles (Clean)

So relieved that it’s October break. It’s a very well-needed break. I wrote up a list on my whiteboard of all the things I need to accomplish over these next 7 days, but just looking at it makes me want to cry…UGH LIFE.

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On the bright side, not having school early in the mornings means that I can take a little more time to put together the perfect breakfasts (best meal of the day amiright?). I realise that my last post was also a breakfast post, but this just goes to show how important breakfast is. If you’re into pancakes, go check out that post, but if you’re into waffles, stay right where you are. I’ve got a hella good banana bread waffle recipe for you.

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Anyways, I’m going to take a few minutes here to just focus on how wonderful these banana bread waffles are, and hopefully forget about all my troubles for a bit.

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You’ll notice that I pretty much always top my waffles with ice cream. I’m not really sure why, I just think that waffles and ice cream are the best way to go. Especially when you drizzle over some melted chocolate and let it set and cover it with all sorts of delicious sprinkles and toppings and whatever you like. You know all the little pockets in waffles? The little indents? I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to fill those with ice cream so that you get 50% waffle and 50% ice cream in each bite.

God, I totally need to host a waffle party sometime. Look at all these different combinations! I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a great time making these.

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The waffles themselves are just what you’d expect from a recipe called “Banana Bread Waffles”. They taste just like banana bread – but in the form of a waffle! They have that sweet flavour of banana infused in a light, fluffy waffle with a wonderfully crisp edge. Yumm! *insert heart-eyes emoji here*

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Banana Bread Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup overripe mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 large egg or 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate (optional, highly recommended)
  • Other toppings (banana, berries, granola, nuts etc.) (optional)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, almond milk, mashed bananas, egg, and vanilla extract
  3. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Heat a waffle iron. When it’s ready, spray or brush it, to cover it in a layer of oil. Pour the batter into the heated waffle iron, adding enough to just cover the bottom layer of the iron. Everyone’s waffle iron is different, so just estimate this and make adjustments as you go. Cook the waffle according to the waffle iron’s instructions.
  5. Top with vanilla ice cream, melted chocolate, and topping of your choice

Chocolate Chip Almond Ice Cream (Cheat)

Summer is coming to an end (nooo), but that doesn’t mean you have to stop eating ice cream. I have so much ice cream in my freezer, I’ll probably be eating it all the way to October.

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I’m back from South Africa, and it was seriously amazing. God, I love animals. The highlights of my summer vacation were volunteering for a sea turtle conservation project in Sri Lanka and going on game drives in South Africa. Both such unforgettable experiences. I didn’t go to summer camp or write my Extended Essay (because I accidentally lost all my data oops), but nevertheless, it was a summer well spent.

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I’m quite devastated that summer vacation’s coming to an end. School starts tomorrow and I’m not academically prepared to be hit with the workload sitting around the corner. I’m not physically ready either, and by that, I mean I literally had just one night to adjust to a 6-hour time difference. Waking up at 7am will be equivalent to waking up at 1am. Welp.

But of course – I’m incredibly excited to see my friends and teachers again. Hi Anna. Hi Rebecca. Hi Bill. Hi Mr. Lugt.

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Back to the ice cream, though. This chocolate and almond ice cream is amazing. Based on the opinions of others, this recipe, and a recipe for mint chocolate chip ice cream (yet to be posted), are the best ice creams ever. That being said, they haven’t tried all the ice creams I’ve made (sometimes I’ll finish it all before anyone else can get to it – oops), but still, I stand by their opinions. This ice cream is really damn good.

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The ice cream base is a simple one – creamy and perfectly sweet. Then as the ice cream churns, you add in your chopped, aromatic almonds and the best part – the chocolate.

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I used to love making nana ice cream and pouring melted chocolate over the top, watching it set. This is the same. As the ice cream churns, you pour in a thin stream of melted chocolate, which sets instantly when coming in contact with the cold ice cream. Thus, you end up with chocolate distributed throughout all the ice cream, with chocolate in every bite, pairing beautifully with the full crunch of the chopped almonds. It’s a perfect combination, really.

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Note: Feel free to double the recipe if you wish. I made a smaller batch because my ice cream machine is quite small and I’d have to make the ice cream in two batches otherwise.

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

Adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped

Method

  1. Freeze your ice cream maker ahead of time (according to manufacturers instructions)
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the milk and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Add in the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and whisk until combined
  4. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions
  5. While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate has completely melted
  6. When the ice cream has reached a soft consistency, pour 2/3 of the melted chocolate in a thin stream over the churning ice cream
  7. Add in 2/3 of the almonds to the churning ice cream
  8. When the ice cream has finished churning, transfer it into a storage container, and sprinkle on  the remaining almonds, and drizzle the last of the melted chocolate over it
  9. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Allow to thaw before serving.

Blueberry Bread (Cheat)

It’s blueberry season (I think)! Have some blueberry bread~

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I’m still in utter disbelief that school starts in half a month. It’s honestly so depressing to think about all that work ahead of me that I’ve been procrastinating – college apps, extended essay, IAs…

GAH ok I won’t think about that now. For now, I’m gonna focus on telling you about this blueberry bread, aight? Blueberry bread. Blueberry bread.

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This blueberry bread is everything you’d want in a loaf cake. It has just the right texture and flavor, not to mention that its full of delicious blueberries! Each slice is guaranteed a generous amount of blueberries.

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I’ve never really cared much about flouring blueberries before mixing them into the batter. It prevents the blueberries from bleeding, but look the gorgeous patterns they make when they bleed! It’s so pretty! Food is art, I tell you.

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Blueberry Bread

Recipe adapted from Something Swanky

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC or 350ºF
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, and oil
  4. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until almost combined, with a few streaks of flour remaining
  5. Fold in the blueberries
  6. Transfer the mixture into a lined or greased 5×12 loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.

Cake-Infused Ice Cream (Cheat)

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I’m back!

It’s been like 3 weeks since I’ve posted a recipe. Sorry. I’ve been on vacation and my laptop decided to break (as always). I was in Sri Lanka for a week doing volunteering with turtle conservation, which was amazing beyond words. Watching the little turtles hatch and setting them free into the ocean were both unforgettable experiences. Seriously, if you haven’t already, volunteer for some sort of animal conservation. It’s absolutely incredible. I’m already thinking about what I’ll do next – shark conservation? Panda? Bear? Elephant? All of the above?

Other than that, I also went to the UK to make some final decisions about which universities I’d apply to, and then went to the Netherlands to reunite with my brother.

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In case you were wondering, my laptop still isn’t working, but thankfully, I have my brother’s.

Anyways, on to the recipe! I have so many ice cream recipes to share with you guys. Unfortunately, my brother’s laptop doesn’t have Photoshop and I didn’t edit any photos before I left, soo…we’ll see. But I did have this recipe waiting patiently in my hard drive to be posted, so here it is – cake infused ice cream.

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A while ago, I baked a cake. Two actually. It didn’t go so well. They were in the oven for like an hour. The toothpick came out clean and judging from the outside, they looked like they was baked through. They were mud cakes, too, so pressing the middle wasn’t really an option for testing out whether they were done.

After I let them cool, I cut off the top layers (I was making a layered cake), only to find that the insides were still uncooked. Nevertheless, there was a thick ring of the cake on each one that actually cooked through, so I crumbled them up and sat in my kitchen for a bit, thinking what in the world I would do with the cake crumbs. Mind you – there were lots of crumbs.

I settled for cake pops – obviously. It’s the classic thing to make when you have cake crumbs. I made Supernatural Cake Pops, but in addition to that, I figured I’d make ice cream and put cake crumbs into it.

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I stuck with the easiest possible ice cream base. It’s 2 ingredients and is no-churn! My favourite ice cream base ever. Then, I just tossed in a couple cups of cake crumbs, threw the whole thing into the freezer, and voila! Cake-infused ice cream.

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Cake-Infused Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cup chocolate cake crumbs

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a regular mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form
  2. Gently whip/fold in the condensed milk until fully combined
  3. Gently fold in the cake crumbs
  4. Pour into a container and cover with plastic film/aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours
  5. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes before serving

Best Ever Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (Cheat)

HELLO FRIENDS IT’S BEEN TOO LONG.

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In case you were wondering – it’s cause I was dying in exams. I’ve been gone for like a little over two weeks. One week was dedicated to studying, the other was dedicated to dying taking the finals.

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I’ve gotten some grades back, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t do too badly on them, except for Chemistry, of course, but luckily my other Chem grades saved me from this reaaallly really bad final exam grade.

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So I know that I just posted an ice cream recipe, but:

  1. It’s ice cream season. C’mon – there’s no denying that. The weather is H-O-T and we all need ice cream
  2. I owe a lot to ice cream for getting me through the difficult time of exams

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Oh, side note – to anyone still struggling to get through finals, I wish you all the best (of luck) and I wish that you have ice cream to help you get through it.

Anyways, with that aside, let’s talk about this seeriously amaaazing ice cream recipe. It’s honestly one of my favorites. I literally could not stop eating the ice cream batter. I probably ate like a third of the batter before forcing myself to put it in the freezer and let it be ice cream.

It’s got this wonderful, rich, and tangy flavor of cream cheese, which pairs beautifully with the sweet blueberry sauce. Speaking of which – blueberries are in season! Yay!!

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Anyways, I kid you not, this will be one of the best ice creams you’d have ever made. Please make it now and continue making it until summer is over 🙌.

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Best Ever Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

For the ice cream

  • 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the blueberry sauce

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 heaping cup crumbled Graham Crackers or digestive biscuits

Method

  1. For the ice cream, in a food processor, blend together the cream cheese, milk, whipping cream, brown sugar, and salt until smooth
  2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (about 30 to 45 minutes).
  3. While the ice cream is churning, make the blueberry sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, salt, and lemon juice together over medium-low heat. Stir until the berries burst and the juices thicken (about 5 minutes)
  4. Transfer the sauce into a small bowl and place in fridge until the ice cream finishes churning
  5. When the ice cream has finished churning, spoon it into a freezer safe container and swirl in the blueberry sauce and crackers/biscuits
  6. Place in freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Allow to thaw before serving

Éclairs (Cheat)

Éclairs!

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Éclairs are super fancy and although they’re not the “easiest” to make, they’re so worth it. To be honest, I found the process to be quite enjoyable. I love making choux pastry and pastry cream. Am I the only one? I mean, beating together a few ingredients and then watching the choux pastry cook into such a soft dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of your saucepan is almost magical. Then there’s whipping the heated cream mixture slowly into the egg yolk mixture to prevent the yolk from scrambling, before pouring the whole lot back into the saucepan and watching it thicken into a sweet, aromatic pastry cream. I sound insane. Okay, I’ll stop.

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You can experiment with so many flavors when it comes to éclairs, but I decided to stick with a pretty classic pastry cream and finish it off with chocolate ganache and melted white chocolate.

…I know I said I’d stop, but don’t you love making ganache too? Letting the hot cream sit with the chocolate and letting heat energy go back and forth between the two and disrupting bonds as the chocolate melts and becomes one with the cream…ok ok, I’m done.

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Well, what are you waiting for? Go make these delicious pastries for Mother’s Day!

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Éclairs

Adapted from Will Cook For Smiles

Ingredients

For the pastry cream:

(This will need to be prepared a few hours ahead, or the day before you assemble the éclairs)

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅔ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean

For the Choux pastry:

  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs

For the ganache:

  • 110g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Method
  1. For the pastry cream, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until combined
  2. Whisk in the flour until smooth and set aside
  3. In a saucepan, gently heat the milk, heavy cream, and butter together. Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture and add in the empty vanilla bean as well
  4. Heat until simmering, and then remove the vanilla bean and slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture, making sure that the egg doesn’t scramble
  5. Pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan and heat while constantly stirring until thickened. This should take a few minutes
  6. Pour the cream into a bowl or onto a plate and allow to cool before covering it with plastic wrap (with the plastic touching the surface of the cream) and placing it in the fridge for at least 4 hours
  7. For the Choux pastry, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  8.  In a saucepan, heat and mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and water together until the mixture is lightly simmering
  9. Beat in the flour using a wooden spoon until combined and the mixture doesn’t stick to the sides of the saucepan
  10. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure that each egg is fully mixed before adding the next
  11. Transfer the batter into a piping bag and, on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pipe thick lines of pastry about 4cm (1.5 inches) in width and 8cm (3 inches) in length. They should also be about 2cm (almost 1 inch) tall
  12. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before filling
  13. For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a small mixing bowl.
  14. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to simmer
  15. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes before stirring together with a whisk until smooth
  16. To assemble the éclairs, fill a piping bag with the cold pastry cream. Gently insert the tip into the cooled pastry and squeeze cream into it. Alternatively, cut the pastries lengthwise and fill the insides
  17. Dip each filled pastry in the chocolate ganache and drizzle a bit of melted white chocolate over it, if desired. Keep refrigerated.