Bake Sale Chocolate Cupcakes

 

It seems that I need to whip up some baking for a bake sale quite a lot lately.  The baking bit is usually stress free but wrapping up the offerings in an inexpensive and practical way can be tricky.  If you know that each item will be sold for $1 each, you don’t really want to spend $5 on packaging for each one! It would be better to donate that money to the cause!  So, if the bake sale directives are for individually wrapped cupcakes I use this method. I bake my favorite chocolate cupcakes in good quality liners, then drop them gently into squat clear plastic glasses.  It is then I frost and decorate, taking care to keep the frosting away from the plastic glass  sides and making sure the frosting does not extend higher than the top. It is much simpler not to frost first, keeps everything clean and tidy.

Then you have two options:

  1. Cut squares of Seran wrap/cling film so there is an overhang around all edges and then I secure with a rubber band and then I slip a plastic spoon in behind the rubber band as it will be impossible to remove the baby cake from the glass without a hellish mess ensuing. This method is as cheap as it gets.
  2. Instead of using the Seran wrap you carefully drop each glass into a cellophane treat bag and tie with twine or ribbon incorporating the plastic spoon into the ribbon bow/tie. This version looks adorable but requires more attention.
    Obviously there are no pictures of the final wrapped product…. I was so rushed that I had no time for pics!  I will wrap some others and pop them here sometime soon.

Wanting to know about this frosting?  This is my trusty chocolate ganache made with milk chocolate and then whipped to be thick and light colored and piped on with a large nozzle.

     Chocolate Ganache frosting  – Milk chocolate version       ( Best whisked upon cooling)
  1. In a saucepan  add 1 cup of whipping/thick cream and heat until about to boil
  2. Add 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate buttons/bits and let melt for 3 mins and whisk to fully incorporate.
  3. Allow to cool and pop in fridge til needed.
  4. Whisk until thick and holds it shape without collapsing.  Ready to pipe!
Decoration

As I had left over Candy Melts from Easter I quickly melted, poured it quickly onto baking paper lined small tray and spread thinly and sprinkle generously with non – pareils or your favorite sprinkles. Move the tray to the fridge to set properly. Simply break into rough triangles and pop into the frosting, super quick and festive.

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

 

Although I am a true chocolate fan my second favorite sweet preference is anything lemon.  Luckily our lemon tree has gone crazy this last year and produced so many lemons I had to send the children out delivering them to the neighbors so I could reduce the poor tree’s load! It is nice to have the natural zest to add to your sweet delight rather than the waxy covering on many citrus you buy.

This was a delightful recipe which turned out perfectly, it yielded exactly 12 regular cupcakes and cooked nice and evenly.  Topped with a simple frosting and a fresh raspberry they were so appealing and delicious.  The two colored frosting made the presentation pop and I was so happy to package them up and give them to friend for her birthday.

The lack of a huge amount of frosting was made up for by the little burst of raspberry jam/preserve cooked into the cupcake and makes it a bit sturdier and less messy for transporting to a picnic or pot luck dinner.

Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups of confectioner’s/powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Raspberry jam/ jelly/conserve, seedless or strained if you prefer, enough for 12 teaspoons. I don’t mind the seeds so just used straight from the jar

Heat oven to 350 F

Line the cupcake pan with the cupcake cases.

Using an electric beater cream butter, powdered sugar and lemon zest, until the mix is pale and fluffy.

Add eggs 0ne at a time, beating very well after each one, it may look curdled or split if the eggs are too cold.

Add one cup of the flour and the baking powder, add the milk and lemon juice, mix lightly and then the other cup of flour gets folded in.

Spoon a large tablespoon of the mix into each cupcake case. Using the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the middle of each and then dollop a teaspoon of jam into each spot. Carefully top the jam with the rest of the batter equally, and make sure to seal the jam in around the edges to stop the jam escaping when cooking.

Bake for 23 mins.

Remove from tins and cool completely.

Simple Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp fine lemon zest (no white pith if you can)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry or berry preserve/jam
  • Fresh raspberries for top

In a small saucepan melt the butter and then add sugar, zest and finally the lemon juice slowly until frosting is how you like it and then frost 6 of the 12 cupcakes.

For the pinkish frosting just add the strained tablespoon of the jam into the remaining frosting and frost the remaining 6 cakes.

Pop a fresh raspberry on the top of each cupcake and bite into one immediately!!

Easy Peasy Pulled pork

I like the easiness of this pulled pork as it can be made with little effort, in advance to use in a multitude of lunch dishes.  Although, pulled pork is super convenient if cooked in a slow cooker I was lucky enough to be given a used Le Creuset lidded casserole which worked beautifully.

Dishes that are just thrown together, left to cook and then are versatile, ticks all the boxes as far as meal preparation. I am much better thinking about meals in the morning than at 5pm.

Although this pulled pork has its own light sauce at the end, you could add your favorite thicker BBQ sauce on reheating.  Also it may pay to chill the saucy liquid so you can lift off the set fat.

Pulled Pork

  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or a mix of both
  • 1 heaped tsp smokey paprika
  • 6 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes or to your taste
  • 1 onion (red or yellow) sliced
  • Pork butt 4-5 lbs
  • Salt and pepper

Place the chopped onion on the base of your slow cooker or heavy casserole dish.  Place the salt and peppered pork atop ( I do cut any thick fat layer off first)

Mix all the remaining ingredients together and pour over pork, making sure all sides are covered. Place lid on and turn slow cooker on high for 5- 6 hours, turning halfway through. Or, lid the heavy casserole and place in 320 degree F oven for around 4-5 hours. Turn once.

The meat is cooked when it easily breaks apart with a fork. Drain if you like and chill liquid to remove excess fat. Add BBQ sauce if you like it saucy.

Enjoy with tortillas, sliders, on rice or in wraps. So many uses.

FYI, I would serve coleslaw and tortillas on the side, not in the the thermos and assemble as I ate. Don’t forget napkins!

Another day, another lunch…

Hit’s a new day, time to jump up and pack that lunchbox. Not inspired? I hope I can help you out with a few ideas. Whether it be the kid’s school lunch, a workday lunch or a romantic picnic lunch, there will be some ideas here for you. Mix and match, adapt to suit and the stress of the empty lunchbox will disappear!