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Mojito Cupcakes

Yep you read that right, mojito cupcakes. Cupcakes and mojitos, two of the tastiest things ever invented, combined in a delicious little cupcake. There is a god! This recipe shamefully did not come from one of my many cookbooks, but from another blog (when needing foodie comfort, if I don’t have a new cookbook to perv over, I turn to the food blogs) called OMG Cupcakes. Check it out, although don’t forget Neglected Cookbooks over here alright? Like any sane person, I love cupcakes and I definitely love mojitos, I’ve even been awarded a nickname by some over my love of the cocktail, so naturally when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. The first time I had a mojito I was in Cuba, and I’ve never had a better one since. But this is how it should be, as Cuba did invent the divine drink. Sadly, after that little taste of heaven, the hotel ran out of rum. For the entire duration of our holiday. I know, we thought it was fishy too, a Cuban hotel running out of a national drink, but what can you do? Perhaps this was the staffs revenge for rude tourists (there were a lot of them) speaking very bad holiday Spanish. Anyway, Cuba set off my love affair with the minty mojito and I am happy to say I am still very much in love.

The cake itself is your usual plain sponge with lots of lime juice and zest grated in. Once cooked and cooled, a little chunk of cake is scooped out the top to be replaced by a dollop of lime curd (I couldn’t find lime curd so had to make do with lemon), and then the cakes are topped with a rum and mint cream cheese topping and garnished with a mint leaf. You’ve got all your staple mojito ingredients right there in a cupcake: lime, mint, rum and sugar. And instead of a mixer, you have cake mix, what could be better? I will confess though, that although I would always rather use proper ingredients instead of synthetic substitutes, I couldn’t bring myself to buy a whole bottle of rum for the small amount needed, so bought rum flavouring. I know, I hang my head in shame. But I honestly couldn’t tell the difference and the icing still packs a punch. I should have more wild house parties so I always have whatever alcohol I need for baking! These cupcakes are delicious, and really do taste like a mojito. I really wanted to pipe the icing onto these babies, but I couldn’t get the icing thick enough and it just leaked out the piping bag, so they don’t look as pretty as I’d like, but they sure do taste good. It should be noted that these cupcakes definitely aren’t for kids, and if they tasted one I think they’d hate it, which in my eyes makes them all the more attractive. None of those pesky kids eating them all up before the grown ups even get a look in. They wouldn’t appreciate the zesty sponge, gooey and tart curd, and sweet cream cheese icing with a boozy smack in the face. Make them, eat them, and remember who told you about these genius cupcakes. I do accept cheques.

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PS: Don’t forget to check out OMG Cupcakes for the recipe if you want to give them a go.

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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Baking, Cooking, Food

 

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Red Velvet Cupcake Swirls

I promised I’d cook from my new Marian Keyes cookbook, and who am I to break a promise? Yes, I made Red Velvet Cupcake Swirls from her book, and I can now see why baking helped her out of a depression as they were pretty, pretty, pretty good and certainly cheered me up. There was an obscene amount of cocoa powder in these innocent looking little beauties, and with a sweet cream cheese mix swirled into the cake mix these are definitely an indulgent treat, but well worth it. If you need a chocolate hit then these will give you several. They were also ridiculously easy to make so for minimal effort you get pretty delicious little cupcakes. They look quite plain, but because the cream cheese is swirled into the mix, you don’t need to put the frosting on top of them. That would be cream cheese overkill (yes there is such a thing), and as someone who’s been through such a tragic event, I can tell you that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. All I’ll say is that if you are ever at Universal Islands of Adventure in Florida and get a red velvet cupcake from Snookers and Snookers, Sweet Candy Cookers, you too will know what cream cheese overkill is like. Top tip, also don’t eat it and then go on The Hulk as you will regret this. I make these mistakes so you don’t have to.

I took these cupcakes into work for our team meeting, which was really just a front for the more important issue of The Bake-Off. A friend had decided to go head to head with me with her ‘healthy’ lemon drizzle cake so the competition was intense. Everyone loves lemon drizzle cake and chocolate cupcakes so the heat was on! Unfortunately we will never know for sure as people were far too diplomatic to pick a winner, but they were both delicious so we’ll call this one a draw (grudgingly). Next time I will be triumphant!

 

All in all, a definite improvement on the pineapple cupcakes I made a few weeks ago, which had left me lamenting that I’d never be able to knock up a decent cupcake. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel! A great first recipe to try from Saved by Cake.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Baking, Books, Cooking

 

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Repenting for the weekend…

Unfortunately not much cooking has been going on in the Cookbook Neglectors kitchen this week. Having eaten a lot of rich food over the weekend it felt right to spend a few days eating healthily, and lets face it, no one wants to read (or write) a blog about grilled chicken and veg. I only cook and eat these delicious yet unhealthy meals for your reading entertainment you know, not because I’m greedy OK?  Glad we got that all straightened out! The only problem with me resisting the temptation of eating food is that I then struggle to resist the temptation of buying books about food. Which is what part of this challenge was about, getting the best out of the cookbooks I already had and curbing my addiction to buying the damn things. But in my defence, out of all the addictions I could have, this is probably the least damaging. I also spent one evening this week making a wish list on Amazon, and the whole thing was just a list of cookbooks, how ridiculous is that?  Anyway, when you see a cookbook by your favourite author (Marian Keyes), about your favourite thing (baking) and its bright pink, you become powerless to resist. I mean look at it, could you turn this down?  Exactly, and if you could turn this down, you’re a stronger person then I will ever be. Anyway, I’m a big fan of Marian Keyes writing. While her fiction books may be ‘chick-lit’, they are nothing like the fluffy, predictable boy meets girl nonsense that’s given chick lit a bad name. Marian covers topics ranging from addiction, depression, marital breakdown and death, yet the writing is imbued with this fantastic sense of humour that has had me laughing like a mad woman in public (note: the writing is also at times heartbreaking so you may find yourself laughing and then crying in short succession. It’s not a good look on the bus). I was really surprised when I saw she’d written a cookbook, and even more surprised to find out that baking is what has helped her recover from what sounds like a horrendous depressive episode. In her own words, “To be perfectly blunt about it, my choice sometimes is: I can kill myself or I can make a dozen cupcakes. Right so, I’ll do the cupcakes and I can kill myself tomorrow”. It’s deep stuff, but I applaud her bravery in telling the world about what she is going through, especially as people suffering with mental health problems are so easily stigmatised. Its not a depressing cookbook though, far from it. The recipes are stuffed with her trademark humour and it almost feels like a friend has written the recipes down for you (example, on brownies: “FYI, and this can be our little secret, the square in the middle will be the most delicious of them all. I’m only saying, for when you’re dishing them out, if you wanted to single someone out for a treat – and who’s to say it can’t be you? – then the middle one is the very, very best”). When you read these quotes – or indeed her books – you must, absolutely must, read them with an Irish accent in your head otherwise the charm won’t fully be there. You have been warned! Food snobs may turn their nose up at cheesecakes and tarts being covered in edible glitter, but Marians recipes look beautiful covered in the stuff and I know I won’t be able to resist pimping my cakes when I cook from this book. It may not be sophisticated but you’re not  trying to get a Michelin star so just relax and have fun with it, it’s only baking.

 

There are a lot of amazing looking recipes in this book, and they are all easily achievable and look stunning. If you want to get into baking and /or want some more unusual treats (Snickers cheesecake/tiramisu macaroons anyone?) then this is a great place to start. And if I’ve not convinced you of her genius writing yet, pick up a copy of ‘Anyone Out There’ or ‘Brightest Star In The Sky’ and then tell me she’s not amazing. I’ll be cooking from  ‘Saved By Cake’ at the weekend so I will update you on it then.

 

While I’m here, I would also like to make an apology to the Mexican Vanilla Cheesecake from the last blog entry. After leaving it in the fridge overnight and then taking it to work, something magical happened to the cheesecake and it became much more to my taste and more dense, like an actual cheesecake! It seems I lack patience which clearly is an attribute needed when dealing with such things. Lesson learned, I must try and restrain myself next time I make a cheesecake and leave it for 24 hours before eating. I can tell you now that it won’t be easy, but for the sake of taste and decency I will have to try!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Baking, Books, Cooking

 

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Double Whammy – Samosas and Cupcakes

So today I finally got round to baking after getting the oven fixed last week. The parents came round for some lunch, which I saw as a perfect opportunity to tick off a couple of recipes on the list. The recipes I chose were lamb samosas from Rachel Allens Favourite Food At Home, and pineapple cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese frosting from Irresistible Cupcakes by, err, Next! Making the samosas was fiddly work, I used ready made filo pastry and pretty much as soon as I’d got the pastry out of the bag I’d torn it. Luckily it was salvageable, but it made for interesting looking samosas. I lack finesse at the best of times when it comes to cooking (who am I kidding, when it comes to anything!), so working with torn pastry  took away any finesse I may have had. If I was on Masterchef – which  I never would be because I’m not a masochist – John Torode would have a heart attack at my lack of presentation skills and my disgracefully messy cooking style. It aint pretty! Luckily I am not on Masterchef, and my dad and step mum do not expect Michelin standards of me. They’d be very disappointed if they did. Anyway, enough about me and back to the samosas. Despite the fact that they were stuck to the pan, leading to an escaping  lamb/pea situation, they were pretty tasty although they could have been a bit spicier. Everyone seemed to like them, and there are plenty left to snack on through out the day. With the samosas I also served ham (cooked in cherry coke) baguettes, mini duck spring rolls and spicy prawns (these were from Tesco, I have a limit to how many nibbles I can make myself in one morning). Not a bad spread. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onto the cupcakes. These were from a book that todays guests bought me as a Christmas present, and my opinion on them was that they were a little bit dull. I adore pineapple, and even though it had chunks and juice from the fruit in it, it just didn’t taste enough of pineapple for me to love it. The cream cheese frosting was delicious and lemony, and without this the cakes would have been instantly forgettable. I don’t know if I feel this way because they genuinely are tasteless, or because I know someone who makes the most amazing cupcakes I’ve ever had, and therefore all cupcakes pale in comparison to her creations. I’m not kidding, they are delicious, and look amazing and are covered in the most decadent icing ever. She has wisely gone into business with these bad boys. My personal favourite is the mint chic chip flavour that she does, immense and a very popular choice amongst the lucky people to have eaten them. So perhaps my cupcakes were always doomed. But as I’ve got 2 more recipes from this cupcake book to cook, I will assess the cupcake situation at the conclusion of this challenge. Its still too soon to call!  

 

I’m hoping that eventually I will cook something in this challenge that I actually love, as other than the chicken fettucine a few weeks ago, I’ve not had much success. Fingers crossed next week will improve, I’ve got some lovely sounding recipes planned so I have high expectations!

 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Baking, Books, Cooking, Indian, Lunch

 

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