vanilla musk mini cupcakes

Everyone loves red velvet cupcakes right? Well what if you created something that looked like red velvet but tasted like something else delicious?
I’d been wanting to play around with colouring cakes since I made red velvet cupcakes and thought this would be a fun idea.
The frosting was flavoured with musk essence and the cupcakes are vanilla. You can flavour the cupcake batter if you wish but I find when you’re baking something the flavour fades, whereas it stays fresh and vibrant in frosting – this is a helpful thing to remember when making macaroons too, I always flavour the filling rather than the macaroon shells. But you can have a play around and do whatever works best for you.
So when I put these little beauties down, I got the reaction I wanted, “Are these red velvet?”
As everyone tucked in, they looked at me in surprise as they tasted the musk and were expecting a red velvet flavour.
It’s nice to surprise people with your cooking, that’s something I’ve learnt while watching endless cooking shows on television. Cooking elevates the senses, why not throw a tasty spanner in the works?


90g butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
190g vegetable shortening
400g icing sugar
40ml water
musk essence
pink food colouring

Preheat the oven to 180°C and place 24 mini patty cases into a cupcake tin.
Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, milk and vanilla essence into a bowl and mix with an electric beater until ingredients are well combined. Add in some food colouring until you get the desired colour.
Spoon the batter into the patty cases and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Turn the cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the buttercream frosting, cream the vegetable shortening with an electric mixer until it becomes light and white, then add the sifted icing sugar, water and musk essence to taste. Mix until well combined.
Pipe the buttercream frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate.

black forest cupcakes with rose petal decoration

IMG_1031[1]I bought rose petals the other day and have been absolutely itching to use them. They’re so pretty and add another element to cupcake decoration.
It was funny though, then I was buying them from the shop (which sells mainly kitchen supplies) the first thing the lady asked me was whether I was using them for in the bath. That made me think for a second – are these meant to be eaten. Then I told her I would use them for cooking and she smiled and nodded. Phew, they’re edible.
It was amazing when I opened the box, this incredible smell reminiscent of Turkish delight wafted out and I wanted to shower my kitchen in these little pretties. In fact while I was decorating the cupcakes, my kitchen quickly started smelling like Turkish delight. Lucky it’s one of my absolute favourite smells/tastes.
The trick with using them is restraint as they’re kind of expensive and I just wanted to pile the cupcakes high with them.
I made these cupcakes for my grandfather’s birthday, I made Black Forest and iced them, sprinkled with shaved chocolate but they still looked bare. That’s when I remembered the petals and I knew it would finish them off perfectly. I was a bit unsure though as they are so feminine, but I’m thrilled with the end result and I hope he likes them too.
I made three dozen of the cupcakes (the recipe below is for about 14) and gave one dozen to my grandad and the other two dozen I took to work to celebrate a wonderful collection we’d done at work. We’ve been collecting food and clothing for the local homeless community and we had some of the local organisations who work with the homeless, into the office to collect their goods and to enjoy a morning tea to say thank you for everything you do.
The ones that weren’t eaten were sold to my colleagues for a donation of their choosing, they money then went into a collection to purchase some Street Swags for the homeless.
So this is a pretty lovely recipe 🙂


200g butter
200g dark chocolate buttons
1 cup raw caster sugar
3/4 cup hot water
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
1 jar pitted cherries
1 block chocolate shaved with a peeler.
200g vegetable shortening
500g icing sugar
40ml water (may need more)
Cherry essence

Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 12 cup cupcake tray with cases.
Place butter, chocolate, sugar, water and vanilla essence in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until the ingredients have melted and mixture is silky smooth. Set aside to cool.
Stir in the flours using a whisk, then whisk in the eggs. You can use a wooden spoon but I find a whisk makes a smoother mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and press in the pitted cherries. Bake for about 25 minutes. Stand in the tin for about 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream frosting, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. You may need a touch more water to get the consistency you want.


afternoon teal to raise money for ovarian cancer research


The other day, I organised a fundraiser at work to raise money for the Australian Ovarian Cancer Foundation.
February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and the colour is teal – coincidentally my favourite colour.
I baked some caramel cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and decorated with teal pretties.
We raised $75 for the cause – not bad for a first effort.

90g softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
375g caramel – store bought
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
Vanilla buttercream frosting (200g vegetable shortening or butter, 500g icing sugar, 40ml water, vanilla essence)
Preheat oven 180°C and line a 12-hole cupcake tin with patty cases.
Beat the butter, vanilla extract, caramel, eggs and flour in a bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. The mixture should become thick and glossy.
Spoon the mixture into the patty cases and cook in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Take the cupcakes out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream frosting.
Whip the vegetable shortening or butter, icing sugar, water and vanilla essence until fluffy and well combined.
Spoon the icing into the piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cakes. Then decorate!