Carrot cake cupcakes

Hello dear readers. How is your Sunday treating you? I am so excited! I received my first baking order this week for a carrot cake. Yay! Let’s hope this is the first of many. I decided to try a Jamie Oliver carrot cake recipe, and boy is it yummy. The cake is moist, soft, light and subtly spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. The topping is a zesty mascarpone, cream cheese and lime icing. I made cupcakes instead of a big cake, but next week I’ll be making a big carrot cake for my order.



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This cake is really quick and easy to make. If you are a fan of carrot cake, then try this one.

Jamie Oliver’s Carrot Cake with Lime Mascarpone Icing

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cake

  • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250 g light brown soft sugar
  • 5 large free-range eggs
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 170 g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 slightly heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 100 g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus a handful for serving
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 250 g carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • sea salt

For the lime mascarpone icing

  • 100 g mascarpone cheese
  • 200 g full-fat cream cheese
  • 85 g icing sugar, sifted
  • zest and juice of 2 limes



Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line two cupcake trays with cupcake paper cups. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one by one, and add the orange zest and juice. Stir in the sifted flour and baking powder, and add the ground almonds, walnuts, spices and grated carrot and mix together well.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then gently fold them into the cake mix. Scoop ice cream scoop sizes of batter into each paper cup and cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until golden and risen. You can check to see if the cake is cooked by poking a cocktail stick into it. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out on to a rack and rest for at least an hour.

Mix all the icing ingredients together and spread generously over the top of the cake. Finish off with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. (In my case, I caramelised some slivered almonds and crumbled that on top for a bit of crunch.)


It’s as simple as that. If you try it out, let me know what you think of it. I’m still on the fence about the icing. I like it, but I’m wondering if my cream cheese icing that I normally make would possibly go better with this? I’d definitely still add some lime zest though! I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday dear readers.

‘Til then.


An experimentation with fondant.

Happy Tuesday everybody!

I am super excited for this coming weekend! I have two big parties on and I’m baking for both. The first party on Saturday is a baby shower for my cousin Bronwen. She is expecting a little boy very soon.

I’ve decided to make blue velvet cupcakes with fondant toppers. Running with the theme of the nursery (airplanes), I have created cupcake toppers in blue and white. What do you think? I have never worked with fondant before, but I found it quite easy (admittedly the toppers are very simple in design, but I didn’t want to go too crazy first time round).

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I’m also trying a new velvet cake recipe for the blue velvet cupcakes. I’ll post a pic of the completed cupcakes next week.

I’m also excited to show you the concept I have for the second party on Sunday. It’s my cousin’s daughter’s first birthday (expect lots of pink).

Till’ then…


Rockin’ cupcakes

Hello again!

I know, I know…  I’ve been missing a while… (ahem, more like abandoning my poor blog for a couple of weeks). Sorry guys, I’ll try my best to post more regularly (as much for your entertainment as for my sanity).

Life, or should I say work, has been insanely busy and will get even more crazy till the end of the year (eeek!). Not to worry though. I have a few baking projects coming up – which will hopefully balance out the work bit.

Speaking of baking projects, I completed one this past weekend. I baked my first bulk load of cupcakes in celebration of my father-in-law’s 50th birthday party (pictured below).



The party theme was “rock ‘n roll” (colours being black and red with a touch of beige). What a rocking party it was! A live band played classic rock hits as well as modern songs from Mumford & Sons and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, amongst others. Despite the great music, the love and strong bond between everyone in the room was amazing, and is one definite positive of marrying into an Italian family.


Another positive of becoming part of an Italian family is sharing in their love of food. My darling sister-in-law and I provided the desserts. She baked a beautiful two-tiered chocolate cake, complete with fondant records and musical paper. I baked a whole bunch of red velvet cupcakes.

This was quite an interesting adventure. Firstly, I have never made over 60 cupcakes before. Halfway through mixing the batter, I realised that my dear Kenwood mixer could not handle that amount of batter. With said machine pathetically whirring and whining and batter overflowing, I (frustrated and red-faced), had to admit defeat, plonk batter in to the largest tupperware I could find and proceed to mix with an even smaller hand-held mixer (cue higher pitched whining).


Eventually, I managed to mix and bake 60 + cupcakes (this all took place on the Friday night). I made the icing on the Saturday morning. Smooth sailing? Not a chance! First of all, I bought the wrong sugar. Castor instead of icing sugar. Halfway through mixing the icing I realised this and in a panicked state rushed off to the shops.

Secondly, I ignored the mistake I had made the night before and decided to mix the whole quantity of icing in one shot. I don’t think I need to explain what happened…


Despite the mistakes, they turned out well. Wrapped in pretty black and red cupcake wrappers, they were topped with “rock ‘n roll” themed paper toppers and finished off with red sprinkles. They seemed to go down a treat – and that’s all that matters really. As long as my baking makes people smile, I’m happy.



It’s Friday. Have a cupcake!

Happy Friday everyone! How are you planning to spend it?

I decided to celebrate the approaching weekend in the most appropriate way…



Thanks to Carly at Happy Little Kiwi, I was able to create these naughty little cupcakes and share it with friends and family just in time for the weekend. Try the recipe here.

The only addition I made was to add Milo (dissolved in boiling water) to the icing mixture. Being in South Africa, I used Bar One as the topping, instead of the Mars Bar originally used by Carly.


Give these a go, you won’t be sorry.

No better way to celebrate the weekend ahead I say!

Chocolate/Caramel cupcakes – the recipe

Do you need a chocolate fix to get you through the week? I’m not sure if you spotted the moreish looking cupcakes further down the page… I posted photographs of these little babies – without the recipe.

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I did it just to keep you all in suspense 😉

I won’t make you suffer any longer though. Here is the recipe for my Chocolate Caramel cupcakes. 

Recipe taken from Donna Hay Magazine – Issue 65.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing

1 cup (150g) self-raising flour, sifted

¼ cup (25g) cocoa, sifted

¾ cup (135g) brown sugar

100g unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate buttercream icing

185g unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups (240g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted

½ cup (50g) cocoa, sifted

1 ½ tablespoons milk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Spoon the mixture into 12 x ½ cup-capacity (125ml) tins lined with cupcake cases. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer (I baked mine for 21 minutes). Place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the chocolate butter icing, place the butter in an electric mixer and beat for 6-8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla and beat for a further 10-15 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Spread the cooled cupcakes with the icing to serve. Makes 12.

This is where I added the twist. I scooped out a little hole in the top of each cupcake with a teaspoon and filled the holes with caramel (I used Nestle Treat Caramel). I halved the buttercream mixture and unashamedly added caramel to the one half – creating a glorious, almost mousse-like icing.

I quite like that half the cupcakes were topped with a fluffy light buttercream icing and the other half were crowned with a gloriously smooth caramel/chocolate icing.

So simple to make and even easier to eat.

Buon appetito!