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Friday, 30 August 2013

Express Lemon Cupcakes & Chocorange Biscuits

If they say never work with animals or small children today I broke a rule.  Actually, it wasn't that bad.  I just had to accept the following:

1. Children will lick spoons and put them back in the bowl - even when you have not finished mixing.

2. Expect things to end up on the floor.  Don't try and fight it.

3. You can't have it neat and organised.  No matter how much you plan and tidy around them, things will get messy.

4. Everything taste 'yum', even if its just sugar and butter licked of the beater of your mixer.

5. And finally, don't expect the end product to look like the picture in the book (and certainly the vision in your head)

Once I came to terms with those areas I started to enjoy myself and learnt the following:

1. It does not matter if what you end up with looks nothing like the picture in the book.

2. Children will sit quietly for ages rolling out dough, cutting them in to biscuits and then rolling out the leftover bits.

3. A bit of mess can be wiped away - worktop, floor or even ceiling, it will come off!

4. Always buy more eggs then you think you need (or keep your kitchen floor clean enough to scoop them back up and use if necessary)

5. And finally, family members will ALWAYS eat what is given to them without question and the reply is ALWAYS 'yum', or 'did you make these?' or 'wow, aren't you clever'.

Today I looked after my cousins two young daughters.  I say look after, they are both as good as gold and caused me no problems so looking after was more 'entertain' and have fun.  8:30am till 12:30pm.  I decided baking would use up the time quickly and thought about two simple recipes that they could make together.  Express lemon cupcakes, express because the mix is whizzed up in the food processor and chocolate-orange biscuits.

Rolling out the dough for the cookies seemed to be the best part of the morning.  Me trying to keep everywhere neat and tidy was the worst.  

Express Lemon Cupcakes
Makes 12

For the cakes
125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp room temp milk

For the lemon frosting
200g soft unsalted butter
550g sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest from the lemon

Pre-heat oven to 200C (180C fan) and place 12 cupcake (or muffin) cases in a tin.

Throw everything in to the food processor (or mixing bowl) and process for 30 seconds or so until it all comes together and you get a smooth mix.  It may be necessary to stop after 15 seconds and wipe down the sides of the processor bowl.


Using an ice cream scoop (about half filled each time) transfer the mix to the 12 cupcake cases.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and pressing the top of one springs back.  Leave to cool completely.

To make the frosting, put the icing sugar and butter in a large bowl, add the lemon juice and zest and mix.  You could put it in your mixer and beat, I got a small child to do it instead.



Transfer the icing to a piping bag and cover each cake, you may have some icing left over.  I did  but it was quickly eaten.

Add sprinkles and leave to one side for the icing to set. 


Chocorange Biscuits
Makes about 30

For the biscuits
85g soft unsalted butter
6 tbsp caster sugar
50g plain chocolate, chopped fine.
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
225g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder

For the icing
175g icing sugar, sifted.
3 tbsp orange juice
zest of half the orange
25g plain chocolate, melted.

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).  Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a mixer, fitted with paddle, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and smooth.


Add the egg and milk and beat until smooth again.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and chopped chocolate.  Mix until it all comes together to form a ball of dough.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut in to shapes.  Re-roll trimmings and repeat.  Place on the baking sheet.


Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until firmish, they will harden up once out the oven so don't worry if they are a little soft.

Leave to cool while you make the icing.  Mix together the icing sugar and orange juice/zest.  


Place some icing on each biscuit and allow to set.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave and drizzle, artistically, over the tops of the biscuits.  Leave to set.