This week’s recipe comes from a feature I put together for Cheers Magazine last month in which whiskey and sherry were the heroes. I have to be honest and say that sipping spirits has never been my thing, I am more of a wine gal myself! But I do keep a small stash of tipple tucked away for culinary purposes. A splash of brandy here, a dash of sherry there… they certainly add a deep richness to the dishes they are added to. These easy dark chocolate cupcakes are proof that whiskey is not only good for sipping but also has its place in the kitchen (and that cupcakes aren’t just for the kiddies!).
Continue reading “Dark chocolate cupcakes with whipped whiskey ganache”
A few weeks ago I was given a pack of gorgeous saffron to try out at home. I have only ever used saffron in savoury dishes in the past (this saffron chicken dish
is one of my favourites) and wanted to try it in a sweet recipe this time around.
Continue reading “Lemon loaf cake with saffron syrup”
If ever there was an excuse to indulge in some comfort cooking, the chilly winter season is most definitely it. This latest recipe, which was featured in the May/June issue of Cheers magazine, has comfort food written all over it – a classic (dare I say old-fashioned) dessert that you can easily make at home on those cold days.
Continue reading “Caramel sponge pudding”
Crisp, white meringues are one my favourite things to make, but a few weeks ago I tried something a little different by adding some colours to the mix! The reason? I wanted to top my daughter’s rainbow birthday cake with rainbow meringues. I had so many party guests (well, the parents) asking me for the recipe that I have decided to pop it on the blog this week along with my go-to meringue recipe. I am also sharing a few tips for making your own rainbow cake.
Continue reading “How to make easy rainbow meringues (and a rainbow cake!)”
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen me raving about my latest favourite account – @josieluvslocal. Her passion for local products is inspiring! Jo and I are both crazy about Cape Town and supporting our local producers and have decided to team up for a fun (and delicious) giveaway for our Capetonian followers!
One lucky follower will be spoiled with their choice of treats from CupcakesandCouscous.com, yum! Keep an eye on the @josieluvslocal Instagram account where every day this week she will be posting another delicious treat. Give us a follow, tag your friends and you could be our winner. Too easy y’all.
So remember, local is lekker… and good luck!
The T’s and C’s:
- Competition starts Monday 27 March and closes midnight on Friday 31 March.
- Entrants must be Cape Town residents (our treats probably won’t fare well in the post!).
- Prize will be hand delivered to the winner on an agreed date.
- The winner may choose one treat from the nine that are featured on Instagram during the course of the competition.
- The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday 1 April.
We are all about the birthday vibes at Cupcakes and Couscous HQ at the moment. If you read last week’s post you might remember that we celebrated my daughter’s 5th birthday, and this week my little blog… drum roll… turns four!
Continue reading “Flourless dark chocolate cake”
I could not resist this recipe when I came across it – the title alone has me dreaming of soft cake drenched in sticky citrus deliciousness. It is adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi from their book Jerusalem. I also happen to have an excess of marmalade in my fridge and adore anything with coconut in it so this one had my name written all over it!
Continue reading “Semolina, coconut and marmalade cakes”
October was a rather hectic but very exciting month here at Cupcakes and Couscous HQ. Chaos continued to reign on the home front as renovations went on (we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, hooray!), my sister visited us from the U.K (double hooray!) and we had a couple of special family birthdays – my Dad, and my youngest James who turned two. He is completely obsessed with all things train related and so it was a no brainer as to what his party theme would be. I thought that this week I would share a few snaps from the day, perhaps they will give you a few ideas if you have a train party coming up.
The decor was heavily inspired by a couple of pics I saw on good old Pinterest. There were tons of train party related pins as you can imagine, such fantastic ideas that I probably would not have thought of myself. I went for a blue and green colour scheme and chose the following ideas:
- the snacks were served in a train. I painted disposable foil oven trays with blue and green craft paint, stuck black paper circles on the sides for wheels and strung them together with twine. I then used old cardboard boxes to make a train to go at the front (decorated in blue and green of course), lined the carriages with blue and green tissue paper and filled them up with delicious eats.
- a cardboard “birthday crossing” sign with paper lights underneath, and another sign that said “Platform 2”.
- “Thanks for chugging by” party packs displayed in an open suitcase marked “Baggage Claim”.
- the children played pass-the-parcel with train songs as the music.
- A train craft where the children could glue their own train pictures using shapes that I had pre-cut and cotton wool. (Apologies for the terrible photo!)
For the food I served a selection of nibbles – fruit and bran muffins, pretzels, crudités, train shaped sugar cookies, fresh fruit, cheese and train crossing biscuits made out of wafer biscuits. It looked rather sweet served up in the train carriages.
The main event of course, was the cake. I decided to make a simple round cake decorated with fondant cut outs and topped with a fondant train cake topper. It worked out great as I was able to make all of the fondant goodies a few days ahead of the party (less stress on the day!). I baked the cakes the day before the party, then on the morning of the big day I simply whipped up a batch of icing, iced the cake and popped all the decorations on.
Here are a few more details on how I put the cake together:
- I baked two 22cm vanilla cakes. I levelled off the bottom cake to make it easier to stack the other on on top, but I left the top one rounded to give it a “hilly” appearance.
- The cake was iced with a thin layer of pale blue buttercream icing.
- When it came to making the fondant train I referred to this easy tutorial, adding my own touches here and there.
- I also used fondant to make the train tracks (I used a sharp knife to score lines into them to give them a more woody look), clouds, “tunnels” with rocks around them, apple trees and hills.
- I finished the cake off by piping a little bit of green buttercream icing around the base to look like grass.
If you have a train party planned for your little one then hopefully this has given you a bit of inspiration. If you have hosted a train party lately I would love to hear about it!