Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes with a Jammy Centre

A good friend of mine had a birthday recently and - as I am a strong believer that every birthday should feature lashings of cake - I decided it was utterly, completely, 110% necessary to whip up something sweet and pretty. I landed on the idea of coconut cupcakes with a tasty secret - little jammy raspberry centres. It's not difficult to give your cupcakes a surprise middle, and it's a real crowd pleaser move. I'm happy to say they went down a treat.*

Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes with a Jammy Centre 

To make a large batch of cupcakes (around 18)

Weigh 4 large eggs in their shells, then use the same amount of:
 - plain flour
 - caster sugar
 - unsalted butter, room temperature
50g dessicated coconut
3 level tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
good raspberry jam (a few tbsps)
optional: pink food colouring, to desired strength

For topping

100g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g icing sugar
50g dessicated coconut
optional: coloured sprinkles

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180oC/160oC fan assisted.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar (i.e. mix the hell out of them until well-combined and light in colour).
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the eggs into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time. Each time you add an egg, add a spoonful of the flour mixture as well (to stop the mixture curdling).
  5. With the last egg, add in the vanilla extract (and food colouring if using). Mix until combined, but don't go to town on it. Over working a batter can make your cakes tough.
  6. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown and springy to the touch. Transfer cakes to baking rack to cool. 
  7. When cooled, using an apple corer and a twisting motion, remove about an inch of the middle of a cupcake. Cut this piece in half and discard the bottom half (into your mouth). Spoon a small amount of jam into the hole, and pop the little cake stopper back in. Repeat with each cupcake.
  8. To make the buttercream, beat together the butter and icing sugar well. Like, real well. Use a knife to apply the buttercream to the cupcakes. 
  9. Pour some dessicated coconut on a plate (and mix in some coloured sprinkles if you're using them). Press the top of each cupcake into the coconut, rolling around to cover all of the buttercream.  
  10. Eat your pretty pretty coconutty cupcakes. 

*Author's note: I don't think any of my IRL friends really read this blog, but just in case - Duncan 'coconut tastes like shit' Palmer - this one's for you.

More cupcake recipes:

Amaretto Sour Cupcakes
Lemon Poppy Seed Drizzle Cupcakes
Zesty Lemon Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Motivational Monday #3

Keeping it sweet and simple for this week's Motivational Monday. Ron Swanson has spoken many wise words, but perhaps none wiser than these:

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."

You can buy this frankly charming print as a digital download from the Printable Quirks etsy shop and (assuming you're the lucky kind of so-and-so who owns a printer) have this inspirational quote up on your wall almost instantly! How good is that? Motivation post-haste!

Image source: Printable Quirks

Monday, 19 January 2015

Motivational Monday #2

I often skip past video posts on blogs, because I'm on the go, or watching TV (I know, I know, screen-overload). If you're like me... Wait! Don't go! I urge you to give this cute little three and a half minute video a chance. 

Back in 2013, Maria Popova, writer of the ridiculously good blog Brain Pickings, shared the 7 things she learned in 7 years of reading, writing and living. It's a lovely piece, with lots of thoughtful insights that stay with you. To pick just a few: 
"It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself."
"You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you." 
"Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued."
Inspired by Maria's essay, the people over at Dissolve went and made this sweet video version. A soothing voice-over and gentle music make this a warming, smile-inducing watch. Give it a gander for a little motivational pick-up this Monday! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Costa Rica: Samara

I spent two weeks in the little beach town Samara at the end of my Costa Rica trip. I've already written about what it was like studying Spanish there. My time in Samara was about more than studying though, so I wanted to share a few photos from outside the school. Above, a couple of snaps of my homestay including one of my two tico pups, Lyca and Poochie. I miss those little goofballs! 

A couple of photos from my tico little brother's graduation. In Costa Rica they have graduation ceremonies at a bunch of stages through their school lives; in this case, moving up to high school. The younger children did some super cute dance routines, and some were dressed up in adorable festive outfits. Feliz Navidad! 

Finally a few obligatory beach shots; Playa Buena Vista at sunset. Not the most picturesque of beaches, if I'm honest - rocky and tricky to navigate compared to the main, sandy Samara beach. But, if you want a great view of the sunset, worth the effort (see above).

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