Lunch at The Orange, Pimlico

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When Maria and Daniel were visiting a few weekends ago, we did what we always do; go shopping on the Kings Road. By lunch time we were near Sloane Sq and I thought it would be great to go to Daylesford Organic as they loved the Notting Hill branch. But it was no longer there. Luckily there are plenty of other nice places around and we went to The Orange instead.

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It was a lovely sunny day so we all wanted something light for lunch, like a salad. And so we did. Maria had the hot-smoked salmon salad with broad beans and pomegranate which she really enjoyed while Daniel and I went the more traditional route and had a Caesar salad each. And it was perfect. Crispy salad, not too much and not too little dressing, crispy pancetta and just enough croutons. Also juicy chicken breast and soft-boiled eggs. My only complaint would be that the eggs were a bit too cold, but that’s a minor details. Great cooking on the whole!

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There may have been another reason for having salad for lunch as well; we had our eye set on a stop at The Hummingbird Bakery in the afternoon. Daniel had a carrot cake cupcake while Maria and I agreed that salted caramel was the way to go! Super sweet but yummy!

The Orange, 37-39 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8NE 

The Hummingbird Bakery, 47 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3JP

Vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate frosting

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I know, cupcakes are so very 2010, but they’re still delicious (and I have a box full of cupcakes cases I need to use up). These are plain vanilla cupcakes made fromThe Hummingbird Bakery’s foolproof recipe topped with a cream and white chocolate frosting and some raspberries for fruitiness. My colleagues loved them and I was really glad I made them, as I rediscovered how fun piping is.

These were so scrumptious!

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Hummingbird Bakery’s vanilla cupcakes, makes 12

120 g plain flour

140 g caster sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

40 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120 ml whole milk

1 egg

¼ tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

300 ml double or whipping cream

170 g good quality white chocolate

Decoration: fresh raspberries

 

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.

A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil in a saucepan then pour into the chocolate. Stir until all melted. Leave to cool, keep in the fridge for a few hours. Whip with an electric whisk and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Decorate with raspberries. 

A repeat: the best frosting ever!

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I know, I know, cupcakes are SO 2010.

But since I have a preference for bite-sized food and pixie versions of any kind, I can’t let go of them completely. If they’re good I mean.

There are so many bad recipes for cupcakes out there, and some are focused more on the decorations (urgh for sugarpaste) than the flavour. But I have two great recipes for you.

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The chocolate cupcake from The Hummingbird Bakery is first class (and I thoroughly recommend their first cookbook) and this frosting recipe which is totally weird (you start with a roux) is utterly delicious and not too sweet or sickly.

 

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting

It has almost become a tradition for me to bake something for the office on a Sunday. I love baking, and feel I have enough time on a Sunday to spend hours in the kitchen, and most people like a little Monday pick-me-up.

Two Sundays ago now I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, their first cookbook.

I want to learn how to decorate cakes, but one step at the time, this time I piped the frosting and decorated it with glitter or rice-paper roses, all edible, but not sure the roses tasted much.

Chocolate cupcakes, makes 12-14

100 g plain flour

20 g cocao

140 g caster sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

40 g softened butter

120 ml whole milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Beat butter, cocao, sugar, baking powder and flour in a bowl until sandy. Mix milk, egg and vanilla extract in a bowl/jug and add that to the sandy mixture while whisking. Beat until fully combined. Fill cupcake cases to 2/3 and bake in 175 C for 20-25 mins. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Chokladfrosting, enough for 14 cupcakes

300 g icing sugar

100 g softened butter

40 g cocao

40 ml whole milk

Beat sugar, cocao and butter in a bowl. Add the milk bit by bit and beat until the frosting is glossy. Pipe onto the completely cool cupcakes. 

Rhubarb cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

On Sunday it was typical British weather with heavy rain and grey dull skies, so what is a girl to do when she doesn’t want to go out and get wet? She puts on her pinney of course and starts baking and spreading the lovely scent of cupcakes in the flat, and a cloud of dusty icing sugar… I have yet to learn how to make frosting without leaving the kitchen looking like it has snowed in there…

I brought these cupcakes to the office on Monday and they diappeared extremely quick, even the boys loved them and asked for the recipe! The recipe for the cake is from the Swedish blog Mumsfillibaba and the frosting is courtesy of a Swedish TV chef called Leila (but I made 1,5 batches).

Rhubarb cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, makes 18

Cake:

125 g softened butter
200 ml caster sugar
2 eggs
150 ml milk
450 ml plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 rhubarb stem, sliced

Frosting:

90 g softened butter
750 ml icing sugar
(1,5 tsp vanilla sugar)
1,5 tbsp lemon juice (I used rhubarb purée instead)
150 g Philadelphia cheese

Place 2-3 rhubarb pieces in each cupcake case. Beat butter and sugar white and creamy. Add one egg at the time. Mix in the other ingredients and divide between the cake cases. Fill them to 2/3. Bake in 175C for 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Beat butter, icing sugar and liquid creamy with an electric whisk. Add the cream cheese and beat until glossy. Decorate the cupcakes when cooled completely.  

Ambrosia cake

I sometimes feel that the classic cakes are forgotten among all the cupcakes and macarons nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cupcake and adore perfect chewy macarons, but let’s not forget the other great cakes.

This Ambrosia cake is a simple but very moist classic cake (at least in Sweden). I made it for work and it dissappeared very quickly. The combination of sugary icing and bitter citrus peel is a great touch and who ever thought of that was very clever.

This is a simple, classic beauty, perfect to end a dinner party or have with tea when the older generations are stopping by.

The recipe is from Swedish Cakes and Cookies.

Ambrosia cake, serves 8

2 eggs

150 ml caster sugar

150 ml plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

125 g melted butter, leave to cool

Icing:

300 ml icing sugar

2-3 tbsp water

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Grease a springform and cover with breadcrumbs. Beat eggs and sugar white and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and butter. Pour into the spring form. Bake in a low oven, 150 C for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before icing. Sprinkle the mixed peel on top.