March 31, 2012

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

I searched and tried and tested different orange chocolate cakes and this one has been my favourite.  When my brother in laws were coming over to watch football with my other half I naturally headed to the kitchen not the shops (braving the newly opened shopping mall down the road later on in the day (BIG mistake on opening weekend but... apart from my wonderful trip to my first ever in store LAKELAND (heaven)) I should really get on with these amazing little beauties. Moist, rich but not overpowering, and a great flavour of orange throughout. 

These would be great for Halloween using orange and black coloured icing and creepy crawly things to decorate - oooo good idea I must remember it!!!

This recipe is from cupcakegirl's blog - cupcakesmile (tweaked a bit)
mine made 12 regular sized cupcakes 

for the Cupcakes
100g Plain Flour
20g Cocoa powder
140g Caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Zest of 1 orange (large)
40g  unsalted Butter
100ml milk (green or blue top)
1 Egg (large)
Juice of 1 orange (large)
2 tsp Orange extract (Sainsburys does a nice 
Valencian Orange Extract in their Taste the difference range but not online) - if you don't have any in the cupboard or can't find any at the shop don't fret - just use the orange (it just means the orange flavour will be subtle but it will be there!)

Now onto the fun bit - these don't take very long to make (depending on how you decide to decorate them!)
I will follow CupcakeGirls's method, a bit different to normal methods (for me anyway) but hey, less cleaning up so I'm game!

to make the Cupcakes
Line a cupcake tin with cases
Heat oven to 170degCelcius fan

  • In a med/large mixing bowl add the 100gflour, 140gsugar, 20gcocoa, 1.5tspbaking powder, pinch of salt, 40g butter and zest of 1 orange and combine as you would a pastry dough - with your fingers! :) rub together until the mix resembles crumbs

  • Add the orange juice of one orange and mix well.

  • In a separate bowl mix the 100ml milk with one egg and lightly whisk. Add half of the mix to the batter and mix to combine - make sure you get all of the dry ingredients stirred in. Add the remaining milk/egg mix and 1tsp orange extract and mix well. (have a little taste - add more extract if you think it needs it - I added a couple of tsps) 

Pour the mixture into a pourable measuring cup/bowl and fill the cupcake cases 3/4 full - you want to ensure that they don't rise up above the cases (if you overfill the cases with batter they will form into dome shapes which still taste good but limit how you can decorate (i.e. if you want to use fondant)

Bake for 18-20 min and then test to make sure they spring back when lightly touched.  (you can use a toothpick to pierce the middle ones to make sure no batter comes off). If there is some, put back in oven for 2 more minutes and test again. (just don't over bake!)

Leave to cool in tray until cool enough to remove with fingers - don't be tempted to use a spoon or knife to edge them out or the paper could come away from the cake or they could be squished out of shape. When cool enough, move to a rack to fully cool.

for the Buttercream Icing

600g Icing sugar
250g Unsalted butter
2 tbsp milk

(1-2 tsp Orange extract) optional

(40g Cocoa powder) optional
(sprinkles of any sort) optional

To make the Icing
Mix up the icing sugar, butter and milk until nice and fluffy (about 3-5min with an electric beater will do). Then lots of options  - I made 3 different kinds of icing with this mix by separating into three bowls after this stage - make whatever suits you (the more the messier!:)  (quantities above but adjust to suit your tastes - it's hard to muck up the icing bit!)
Plain (no cocoa/no orange/no colour), 
Orange (no cocoa/Orange Extract/Orange food gel/colouring)
ChocoalteOrange   (Cocoa /Orange Extract / no colouring required)
Chocolate (only Cocoa)

Once you have your desired icing made you can pipe, spread, glob, smear it on top of the cakes (only once they have fully cooled - if you are impatient and don't wait the icing might just melt off into a sloppy mess!)
Add some sprinkles or glitter or use fondant to top. All up to you! 

Et voila! enjoy!

The Big Egg Hunt I Found a Wally! THREE in fact

Great way to start a Saturday afternoon - "Wally says bring the whole family for the day! Join him, Larry the Donkey and Pearl the pig…" and so we did - off to Hackney City Farms for a last minute decision on breakfast.

Wally was hangin' with the chicks when we arrived!

Where's Wally by Martin Hanford 

Some more adventures next week to find some of the other 123 eggs left! (I know of someone who has already found 208 of 209 eggs hidden) that was over a week ago - amazing!

Happy Hunting

Oh and Pretty Polly artist Karen Hollis found my blog with a picture of her egg
Here is her tweet!

Check out this site:  A lovely Pretty Polly pic from 

Wally was round the corner from work on Friday - a place which has been run by 4 family members since 1910 and was the first hotel to have ensuite bathrooms in every room AND was where the dutchess of cornwall prepped for her royal wedding last year - the Goring Hotel

And the last Week of the Big Egg Hunt is coming to an end. I am happy - 209 eggs and Wally spotted twice. Brilliant. The last Saturday of the hunt I am on my way to a wedding fair which just completely by fluke happens to be across from the Museum of Childhood, a place I have been meaning to visit for a while. And what is today's clue?  Wally's surrounded by childhood trinkets at this East London museum... Brilliant. I love Wally popping up nearby. What ever will I do when this hunt has finished! :) Ok ok ok - i will BAKE

March 28, 2012

And the Hunt is Complete*

40days of searching (well not even that) and I have joined the 209 Club! That is 209 eggs found out of 210 - but there is one egg that still has yet to be placed out so the best you can do is 209*.

On 21 February 2012, 208 eggs were placed around London (one more added in March and one yet to be added) in aid of charities Elephant Family and Action for Children. The eggs were designed by artists, designers, groups, chocolate makers, jewellers and more and hidden within 12 Zones spanning across London from Knightsbridge to Liverpool Street and all in between. 

In addition there was a Where's Wally Egg  - Wally has been all over London and moves daily. Clues provided via Twitter to give hints to his whereabouts. I got a clue on a lovely sunny Saturday morning and he happened to be just up the road from ours at Hackney City Farm so it was a great excuse for an amazing farm breakfast too!

The eggs will be auctioned off for charity with the highest so far being sold at £16,000! 

Egg hunters like me, had maps of each zone which outlined the number of eggs to find in the zone along with Street Names of roughly where the eggs were located. Some were easy to find, others were down right nearly impossible!  When you find an egg you text in the number (if you find all 210 eggs you would spend about £55 in texts (for charity) and each text is an entry into a draw to win a £100,000 Faberge Egg - this very one in fact - the one I got to hold but couldn't run away with it sadly!

The funny little (big) Faberge Egg
in the lovely Faberge Shop in Mayfair

Throughout the last few weeks eggs have been Stolen, yes, charity eggs have been stolen from their pedestals but luckily most have been recovered by avid hunters and help from the police. Teams of volunteers have also rallied around to spruce up the eggs on a regular basis  - cleaning them from weather, birds and graffiti and other daily wear.

EGG Zones:
after initial searching, hunter blogs and twitter notes it was soon found that some of the eggs on the maps were indeed wrongly labelled - but that was something you could only find out when you happened upon them in a strange place! The following is a list of all of my blogs for each zone as well as the Egg Hunt Maps.

Zone 2   Mayfair                                                                  Zone2Map   47/47 eggs
Zone 3   Knightsbridge & Sloane Square                              Zone3Map  20/20 eggs
Zone 4   Green Park                                                            Zone4Map     6/6 eggs
Zone 5   St James's Park                                                      Zone5Map    9/9 eggs
Zone 6   Piccadilly                                                               Zone6Map   14/15 eggs *
Zone 7   Trafalgar Square                                                    Zone7Map    12/12 eggs
Zone 8   Carnaby Street                                                      Zone8Map    12/12 eggs
Zone 9   Covent Garden                                                      Zone9Map    24/24 eggs
Zone 10 Southbank                                                             Zone10Map  15/15 eggs
Zone 11 The City                                                                Zone11Map   22/22 eggs  
Zone 12  Canary Wharf                                                        Zone12Map   11/11 eggs
Wally - random places but I only found him once                                    1/1 egg

TheBigEggHunt has been an absolutely wonderful way to see London these last couple of weeks - even better that there has been so very much glorious sunshine and people and places. I loved every minute but thought I would share some of my favourites over the 40 days.

My ratings:
Favourite Zone - Canary Wharf - such a different World!
Hardest Zone - the City - mainly because it was the first one and we wandered around randomly looking without realising the street names were actually on the map - d'oh
Easiest Zone - St James's Park - first zone completed in 40minutes - round and round we go 

Prettiest Egg(s) 
 so many pretty ones but I loved the ones in Claridges, National Theatre and Green Park

Strangest Egg 

Best Located Egg
Pretty Polly in the Lake in St James's Park

For More Information on the Big Egg Hunt, Artists, Charities and Prizes - do check out their website or on Facebook or Twitter

Check out the Big Egg Hunt Pop Up Shop in Selfridges

The Big Egg Hunt Completed Zone 9 Covent Garden

Covent Garden feels like the home of the Egg Hunt. Egg Hunt Pop up shop, Moshi Monsters and now nearing the end of the hunt a new shop is hosting some of the eggs that have been sold already at auction. I do believe if I am not mistaken, all eggs will end up here in about a week's time.

Another glorious sunny day in London for egg hunting.

24/24 eggs found