Happy Bloggerversary To Me!
I can't believe it's been a year since my first blog post. A year of celebrating, of travelling, of learning, of meeting new people, of making great friends, and of achieving so much more than I ever imagined I would with this blog.
A big THANK YOU to all of you, my lovely readers, for all your great support, comments, emails, friendship and love throughout this year - you're the ones that have made this blog what it is, and it's because of you that I push for more, for bigger, for better, for prettier.
There is one person that's been left out throughout this year though - Bruce. And so, for my one year bloggerversary, I thought I'd let him have a say in what gets baked for a change. For months he's been asking me for just a 'simple chocolate cake with caramel'. You have to understand, Bruce isn't a fan of cooked fruit or anything fancy. He likes his basics, so that's exactly what I made for him.
Can you imagine my temptation to prettify it though? These chocolate cupcakes actually started out as a cake, then turned into brownies sandwiched with caramel, then cupcakes topped with caramel, then brownies with caramel chunks, then cupcakes again. That's how versatile this batter is, you can bake it any way you like.
But Bruce didn't want pretty, or fancy, just simple.
The first time he made this for me, I freaked out: I had images of the can exploding and me sitting on the living room couch, hidden under an open umbrella as dulce de leche dripped down on us from the ceiling for days afterwards. But I have to say, we've never had a can explode yet, and if you're going to try it at home, please be careful!
I also have to add that I think the cupcakes are just right on their own and that the combination of cupcakes and the dulce de leche is almost too sweet, which is what Bruce loves. Funny, considering that he's probably the most sensitive person I know when it comes to eating - he runs a mile from anything too rich. But hey, this isn't my blog post, it's his.
Brucelicious - baking by Bruce.
Speaking of which, he's just started his own blog, Cunningeye, where he's publishing a themed post of his best photos every week.
After baking these cupcakes for a month, altering things slightly for my final recipe (don't tell Bruce), some with cinnamon, others with caramel, with and without vanilla and/or amber sugar, I finally settled on a recipe that results in super moist cupcakes, and has a higher amount of salt than normal (half a teaspoon) - more than the normal 'pinch' as it really brings out the chocolate flavour, but not too much that it overwhelms the taste.
We've also been having the best weather, and anyone that lives in England knows that for the past 5 years, our Aprils have been the hottest months of the year, even hotter than any day throughout the height of summer. So Beth decided to have her first barbecue of the year at her place in Brighton. A whole bunch of food bloggers were invited and it was like a mini Food Blogger Connect. It was so nice to see and catch up with everyone again.
Taking more advantage of the lovely weather, Bruce & I decided to have a picnic over the weekend and invited Beth and her husband Chris. We chilled in the park with loads of food, pimms, cupcakes, and celebrated later with champagne, dinner and lots of laughs. If only we could have days like these all year round.
Just a quick little mention that I'm in the middle of rearranging the right sidebar (along with a few other details) on this blog, to clean it up and simplify it all, so please bear with me as I do so.
On a final note, I've got a little request: I'm thinking of expanding my wedding portfolio and was hoping that if any of you knew someone getting married in the near future, perhaps you could pass my details onto them?
Thanks so much!
Chocolate Salted Cupcakes (printable version)
300g caster sugar
50g amber sugar (can be substituted for caster sugar)
130g butter, at room temperature
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp vanilla paste (or 1tsp vanilla essence or seeds of 1 vanilla pod)
1. Preheat oven to 160˚C. Line 2 cupcake trays with cupcake cups.
2. Cream the butter and the sugars together.
3. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
4. Mix in the cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla paste.
5. Gently fold in half the flour, then mix in all the milk, then gently fold in the rest of the flour.
6. Add a good tablespoon full of batter to each cupcake cup.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back when pressed lightly.
- For really gooey cupcakes, bake them for no longer than 15 minutes. As they cool, a well will form in the middle, leaving a gooey centre.
- For moist cupcakes, always fold in the flour gently, taking care not to over mix.
- Substituting half the butter for a light and mild olive oil (flavourless) results in moist cupcakes.