Marbled Fondant Cookies

Fondant sugar cookies have become a popular choice for celebrating special occasions; used widely for engagement parties, birthdays, weddings, gifts and party favours. It’s easy to see why as they travel and keep well and are completely customisable.

I made a batch yesterday as Mother’s Day gifts for my Mum and Grandmas and experimented with the popular marble fondant trend which is surprisingly easy to achieve. The most challenging part for me was getting my message evenly spaced and straight, so I would encourage you to give yourself plenty of time to get this right (don’t make them in a rush like I did!)

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Ingredients (makes approx. 30 large round cookies*)
250g butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
3 cups plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Vanilla Glaze
½ cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Boiling water

Fondant Icing
Approx 300g fondant icing (I used Coles ‘Ready to Roll Icing’ in white)
Food colouring (I used Queen Pink food colour gel)
Letter press set (I used a Wiltshire 72 piece set)

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Method
Cream butter, sugar & vanilla using electric beaters until well combined. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy.

Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, mix sifted dry ingredients into wet ingredients until a dough forms. Knead gently for 1-2 minutes on a lightly floured bench and then divide into 2 roughly equal pieces, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C (160 fan-forced). Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin until you reach your desired thickness (I like mine around 5-6mm) and cut out circles using a large round cookie cutter. Repeat until you have used all the dough.

Place onto a baking tray (they don’t have to be spread out much as they don’t really expand) and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

While the cookies cool, make your vanilla glaze by combining the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and adding boiling water until you have a thick syrup consistency.

Divide your fondant icing into 3 roughly equal parts. Colour one deep pink (or whatever colour you’re using), one a medium shade and leave the other white. Roll the fondant pieces into sausage shapes and twist together. Bend in half and repeat 3 times with the twisting and bending process until you see a nice blending, marbled effect.

Roll out your fondant using a rolling pin on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar until 3-4mm thick. Use the same round cutter as for the cookie to cut out circles of fondant.

Brush each cookie with a small amount of the vanilla glaze and the top with fondant. Press down gently to ensure the fondant has adhered completely to the cookie. Repeat until all cookies have been decorated.

If desired, use a letter press to stamp a message onto the cookies. Admire your handiwork and enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘The Best Valentine Sugar Cookies’ on Alice & Lois.com
Decorations inspired by various versions on Pinterest

*I made 24 large and 12 small/medium round cookies in this batch

Pumpkin and Spice Cupcakes

Hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice combine beautifully with the natural sweetness of roasted pumpkin and, when topped with a light and airy cream cheese icing, make these the Autumnal cupcakes of my dreams. Try and stop at one!

Note: it is best to make the pumpkin puree the day before.

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Ingredients (makes 12)
½ a butternut pumpkin (approx. 550g)
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
225g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
115g butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

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Method

To make the pumpkin puree, preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut into 3cm pieces. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender. Once cooled, blitz in a blender until silky and smooth. Refrigerate until required.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and spices together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir with a silicone spatula until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 patty pans. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back when touched. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, add the cream cheese and butter to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, cinnamon and icing sugar and beat on low speed until just combined. Switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and airy. If the icing is too runny, add extra icing sugar.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large star piping tip (I use Wilton 1M). Ice the cupcakes in a circular motion from the outside in for a softserve look. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting’ from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Speckled Egg Easter Cakes

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Happy (almost) Easter everyone! Today I’m sharing my super simple recipe for these adorable miniature chocolate cakes topped with a Flake nest and speckled eggs. To make it even easier, feel free to use a packet mix cake (I like Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake mix).

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Ingredients (makes 2 10cm cakes, 1 10cm cake and 12 cupcakes, or 24 cupcakes)
125g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup self-raising flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup (160ml) water

90g dark chocolate melts
30g butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons hot water

1 packet Speckled Easter eggs (I used Darrell Lea)
3 Flake bars, lightly crushed

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Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160 fan-forced). Spray a 10cm round cake pan with cooking oil and line the base with a baking paper. Fill a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans*.

Place the butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, sifted flour and cocoa, and water into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just combined. Beat the mixture for a further 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth and pale in colour.

Fill the round cake pan about 2/3 way full and divide the remaining mixture evenly among the patty pans. Bake the cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes and the mini cake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate icing. Place the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl. Half-fill a small saucepan with water; bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Put the bowl of chocolate mixture on top of the saucepan and stir until smooth. Add a little of the sifted icing sugar and some of the water; stir until mixture is smooth. Keep adding the sifted icing sugar and the water, a little bit at a time, stirring, until the icing is spreadable.

When the cakes are completely cold, spread with chocolate icing using a metal spatula. Shape the Flake pieces into a nest on top of the cakes and top with speckled eggs. Enjoy!

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*Alternatively spray and line a second 10cm round cake pan, or prepare two 12-hole muffin tins with patty pans.

Cake and icing recipe adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Quick Mix Chocolate Cake’ and decoration inspiration from taste.com.au

Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes

I can’t believe it’s already March! 2019 is flying by and that means that St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and with it, my desire to tint food all shades of green.

While many of my St Patrick’s day recipes (such as my grasshopper pie, mint chocolate fudge and chocolate mint sundae cupcakes) rely on food colouring for their hue, these cupcakes get their colour entirely from the natural Japanese green tea powder, matcha.

I have wanted to make these extraordinary looking cupcakes ever since I received the Hummingbird Cupcake Bakery Cookbook in 2011, and finally had the opportunity to when farewelling a matcha-loving colleague last month.

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The cakes themselves only have a mild matcha flavour but the frosting really packs a punch. If you’re not a big matcha fan or want to appeal to a wider audience, I would recommend only adding in a fraction of the matcha powder into the frosting initially and adding more to taste. Or alternatively, frosting the cakes with vanilla buttercream instead.

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Ingredients (makes 12)
120ml milk
3 matcha green tea bags
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
40g butter
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Matcha frosting
250g icing sugar
80 butter
20g Matcha green tea powder (plus extra to decorate)
25ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Method
Put the milk and green tea bags in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until it reaches a sandy consistency with everything combined.

Combine the tea-infused milk (with tea bags removed) with the egg and vanilla extract. Slowly pour half into the flour mixture, beating until all ingredients are well combined. Repeat with the remaining milk mixture. Mix for a further few minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the patty pans until two-thirds full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes spring back when touched. Leave cakes in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the icing sugar, butter and matcha powder on a medium-slow speed until it comes together. Turn the electric beater down to low and gradually add in the milk and vanilla. Continue beating for a further 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Using a Wilton 2B icing nozzle, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with extra matcha powder. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Green Tea Cupcakes’ from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Spiced Mocha Santa Hat Cupcakes

Christmas is just around the corner which means one thing…

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….Bailey is being forced into a whole range of ridiculous but adorable costumes :’)

It also means that our kitchen is filled with the delicious scent of Christmas baking – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger are being added to just about everything!

These cupcakes are no exception with a rich Christmas spiced mocha flavour. I’ve topped them with a vibrant red buttercream and a white mini marshmallow to look like Santa hats, but decorate them however you like.

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Ingredients (makes 12)
Christmas Spice Cupcakes
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
100g butter, softened
160g brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
125ml boiling water
75g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon instant coffee

Frosting
100g butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
Wilton colouring gel in Red
12 white mini marshmallows

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Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with patty pans.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, bicarb and mixed spice. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and then beat in a third of the flour mixture followed by a tablespoon of the sour cream, repeating until all used.

Put the water, chocolate and instant coffee in a pan and heat gently until the chocolate melts. Fold this into the cake batter, being careful not to over beat.

Pour the batter into the patty pans and put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until each cake is cooked through but still dense and damp.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, cut the domes off the cupcakes until you have a flat surface.

To make the frosting, cream the butter for 1-2 mins in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add the milk, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 mins (until the mixture is light and fluffy). Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 mins or until of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet. Add colouring and beat in until combined and the desired colour has been achieved.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large, plain nozzle. Pipe frosting onto the cakes in a circular motion from the outside in until it looks like a santa hat. Top with a white mini marshmallow.

Enjoy!

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Cake recipe from Nigella Lawson ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’
Frosting recipe adapted from the ‘Crabapple Cupcake Bakery’ cookbook.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

It should be no secret by now that I love lemon meringue. I already have recipes on the blog for a traditional lemon meringue pie and for mini lemon meringue pies, but until now I haven’t had lemon meringue cupcakes.

Luckily, today is the day I rectify that sad scenario. This recipe is a combination of my butterfly cake recipe with my lemon curd and a lightly toasted meringue topping and the result is delicious!

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Ingredients (makes 12)
Cupcakes
1 cup (125g) self-raising flour
⅔ cup (125g) caster sugar
125g butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Lemon Curd
½ cup white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
½ cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 2-3 lemons)
Zest of 1 lemon
55g butter, melted

Meringue
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 egg whites

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Method
Preheat oven to 200ºC and line a 12-hole muffin tin with yellow patty pans.

Put all of the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among the patty pans (I know it doesn’t look like much batter, but they will rise a lot).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are baking, start making the lemon curd. Whisk together the sugar, egg and yolk in a large microwave safe bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, zest and melted butter.

Cook the curd in the microwave on full power for 50 second intervals, whisking after each interval. You will know your lemon curd is ready when it coats the back of a metal spoon (approximately three 50 second intervals). Allow to cool completely.

Once the cakes and curd are completely cool, use a teaspoon to dig a hole in the centre of each cupcake. Fill the holes with the lemon curd and set aside.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Continue whisking, gradually adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue whisking until sugar dissolves.

Use a piping bag with a star or plain nozzle to pipe meringue over cupcakes. Use a cook’s blowtorch to lightly toast the meringue. Enjoy!

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Notes:
– If you don’t have a blowtorch, simply bake the frosted cakes on an oven tray at 220ºC for 3-5 minutes or until the meringue is toasted.
– Any extra lemon curd can be stored in a sterilised container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Cupcake recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess
Lemon curd recipe from My Baking Addiction
Meringue recipe from Taste.com.au

Cream Tart Number Cake

I love the look of these number cakes (also known as cream tarts or alphabet cakes) that are all over Instagram and was thrilled when my sister asked me to make her one for her 21st Birthday.

While they’re a bit fiddly to make and decorate, I was surprised by how quick they are to make; largely as they take so little time to bake in the oven. I also love how customisable they are – you can use any letters or numbers you choose, pick your decoration colour scheme, and change the flavour of the filling to taste. I went with a traditional almond biscuit with a vanilla custard filling and decorated with strawberries and pink and white flowers, meringues and macarons.

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Ingredients (makes two A3-sized number cakes, serves approx. 20)
Pâte Sablée (biscuit layers)
– 225g butter, room temperature
– ½ cup icing sugar
– 1 egg
– 2¼ cups flour
– 1 cup almond meal
– 1 teaspoon almond essence
– 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Vanilla Custard Filling
– 6 cups thickened cream
– 3 100g packets Cottee’s Instant Vanilla Pudding mixes
– 1 cup icing sugar
– 3 teaspoons vanilla essence

Other
– Cut out A3 sized numbers (I used a 1 and a 2 stretched to fill an A3 page each in bolded Arial Black font)
– Extra large square silver cake board
– Fresh, pesticide-free flowers
Macarons
– Meringues
– Sugar flowers
– Strawberries (halved)

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  1. To make the biscuit layers, place all pâte sablée ingredients into a food processor and blitz until combined.
  2. Remove the dough from the processor and knead gently for 30 seconds until smooth. Halve the dough, press each into a disc shape, cover in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC.
  4. Roll one of the pieces of dough between two pieces of baking paper until it’s big enough for your number template (approx. 5-6 mm thick). Carefully cut out the first number from the dough, keeping the excess pieces. Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Repeat with the same number and the excess dough (remember that you need two of each number).
  6. Bake the two biscuits for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before VERY gently transferring one of the biscuits onto to the silver cake board and setting the other aside.
  7. Take out the second half of the dough from the refrigerator and repeat steps 4-6 for the second number.
  8. To make the vanilla filling, whip the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until peaks form. Alternately add the pudding mix and the icing sugar while beating, until the filling is combined and very thick.
  9. Spoon the filling into a piping bag with a medium-sized round nozzle and pipe even dollops in rows on each number (as below) IMG_9951
  10. Gently sandwich the biscuit pairs on top of the filling and repeat step 9.
  11. Decorate with flowers, macarons and meringues.
  12. Enjoy!

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Notes:

  • The biscuits can be made the day ahead and kept in an airtight container, but don’t pipe the filling or assemble the cake until the day of serving.
  • If any of your biscuits break, don’t panic, simply ‘glue’ the biscuit back together with some of the vanilla filling prior to piping the filling on top and decorating – no-one will ever know!
  • Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days but the biscuit layers will go soft.

Biscuit recipe adapted from ‘Cream Tart’ recipe on Home Cooking Adventure.com

Vanilla filling recipe adapted from ‘The Best Whipped Cream Frosting’ on Two Sisters Crafting.com

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Giant Cookie Cake

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For my birthday this year, I decided to bake something a little different. As much as I have enjoyed making (and eating!) my layered drip cakes (here and here) over the last couple of years, this year I was after something simpler. Enter the cookie cake.

I have admired the brightly coloured array of delicious looking cookie cakes on Sally’s Baking Addiction (my baking porn website of choice) for years, and finally got around to making it. Boy, am I glad I did! As promised, this ‘cake’ is so quick and simple to make and produces a deliciously chewy and flavoursome giant cookie. The recipe is also very easy to adapt – you could use M&Ms, or mix up the choc chips depending on your taste.

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Ingredients (serves 12-14)
170g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg + an extra yolk
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
Chocolate frosting for topping (optional)

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Method
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Spray a 23cm (9-inch) pie dish or cake pan thoroughly with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for about a minute or until combined. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla on until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours and baking powder. On a low speed, gradually mix into the wet ingredients until combined. Add in 1¼ cups chocolate chips and mix for until evenly dispersed.

Gently press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden brown (use a skewer in the centre to check it’s cooked). Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, use a sharp knife or metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cookie cake from the pan and transfer to a cake stand or serving plate.

Decorate as desired (I made a quick chocolate buttercream using butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder and piped it on using my Wilton 1M tip), top with the remaining chocolate chips and serve with vanilla ice-cream. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake’ on Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Lemon & Raspberry Muffins

I love Nigella recipes because they’re consistently quick, easy and delicious. These muffins are no exception, taking under 40 minutes from start to finish. The recipe is also incredibly flexible – you can use fresh or frozen raspberries (or any other fruit for that matter) or try switching the lemon for another citrus fruit of your choice. Happy baking!

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Ingredients (makes 12)
60g butter
200g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
150g caster sugar
Juice and z est of 1 lemon
Milk (approx. 120ml)
1 large egg
150g raspberries

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Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line a muffin tin with 12 patty pans.

Melt the butter in a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and lemon zest.

Pour the lemon juice into a large measuring jug and add milk until it comes to 200ml (don’t worry about it curdling). Add the milk mixture to the melted butter and then beat in the egg.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined (don’t overmix it as your muffins will be tough). Gently stir through the raspberries.

Spoon the batter into the patty pans and bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Nigella’s ‘Lemon-Raspberry Muffins’ in How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Autumn is here (at long last) and the trees are looking stunning! Even though I live in the Southern Hemisphere and pumpkin flavouring isn’t as prevalent as in the US, when I found myself free on a grey Autumn afternoon I felt the need to make something using pumpkin, cream cheese frosting and my favourite spices.

My Mum, sister and I visited the Hummingbird Bakery while we were in Notting Hill in London and tried one of their whoopie pies. While everything we tried from the bakery was delicious, the whoopie pie was our favourite and so I felt the need to replicate it at home. Luckily for me, the recipe was easily available online (and also in their cookbook Cake Days) and with a bit of tweaking to add in extra spices, it really hit the spot.

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Ingredients (makes 15 whoopie pies)
120ml vegetable oil
180g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
100ml pumpkin purée
250g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground ginger

85g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
80g cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
A splash of milk (as required)

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Method
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (approx. 150ºC fan-forced) and line two large trays with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla until combined and light in colour. Add the egg and pumpkin purée and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Sift together the remaining ingredients and add to the liquid mixture in two batches, beating until just combined.

Spoon 30 teaspoons full of the batter on to the prepared trays, leaving a 3cm gap between each. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden and bounce back when touched. Allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the cream cheese filling, use an electric beater to mix together the butter and the icing sugar on a low speed until smooth. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and spices and continue mixing on a low speed until just combined. Add milk or extra icing sugar as required.

To assemble the whoopie pies, take a sponge, spread approximately 1 tablespoon of filling onto its flat side and then sandwich with another sponge flat-side-down. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cake Days by the Hummingbird Bakery