This week I’ve been in my kitchen celebrating the arrival of my shiny new K-Mix – the very generous first prize from Kenwood for my Polish Spiced Christmas Cookies for Let’s Make Christmas hosted by Vanessa Kimbell. I am a very lucky girl indeed and I was super-shocked to hear that I had won out of one hundred and ten entries! Gifts were exchanged and prizes had been won at the Fortnum & Mason Gift Swap, but Vanessa had also opened the competition up to all by hosting an on-line event to run along side. You can see all the entries in Vanessa’s Ultimate Guide to making your own gifts here. Seriously, you would actually have to start making your Christmas gifts now if you even wanted to scratch the surface of all the edible treats that were on offer, including Jams, Pickles and Preserves, Drinkable Gifts, Sweet Gifts and Baked Goods. I was half hoping for a Let’s Make Valentine’s Day…but I think we might have to wait until Easter for another gift-themed blog event.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I decided to make my inagural ‘K-Mix’ a batch of cupcakes. A little pot of basil sat staring at me on my kitchen windowsill and although I know it’s not a logical combination, I really wanted to use some of it to flavour my cupcakes. My thinking (hear me out) was that during the summer, basil and strawberries work really well together, so perhaps raspberries and basil would do too. I then started thinking of ice-cream and of how we love a drizzle of raspberry sauce and that led me to think that raspberry ripple cupcakes would be a lovely way of cheering us all up. Can anyone follow my thinking?!
So, although British raspberries are not in season, I usually have some homemade raspberry coulis stored in the freezer, from the lazy, hazy summer or even late autumnal days gone by, but really, any good quality shop-bought raspberry coulis will work here.
As for the basil, just use a tiny amount, chop a few leaves and add them to the buttercream, or if you are not feeling brave enough, just add a spring for decoration along with your raspberry drizzle.
K-Mix v Kitchenaid
The K-Mix is a dream to use and it is a very welcome addition to my kitchen. Having used a Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer before, I was able to compare the two. I noticed that the K-Mix is a lot smoother when you first switch it on to mix, no sudden burst, no clouds of flour or icing sugar in your face. You get a K-Beater, dough hook and a whisk and a splash-guard that seems to fit onto the actual machine a lot better than the splash-guard on the Kitchenaid. There is a little lid you can lift on the K-Mix splash-guard so that you can add icing sugar in spoon by spoon and when making buttercream, the whole process seemed a lot cleaner and smoother. There is also a fold function, which is very handy as it means that the K-Mix will very gently fold your flour in, rather than mixing it in and causing the gluten to over-work. All in all,the K-Mix also seems to be a lot more streamlined, meaning that there are less nooks and crannies to clean. I am seriously impressed and were I to be in the position of looking to buy a stand mixer, I would have to think very carefully about my choice. The K-Mix is also British made…you can see how the ticks are stacking up in all the boxes.
Thank you to Penny at Kenwood UK for arranging delivery of my prize and to Vanessa Kimbell.
- 3 eggs, large, free-range
- 150 ml Plain, natural yoghurt
- 175 g Melted, Unsalted butter
- 175 g vanilla sugar
- 180 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 60 g ground almonds
- pinch salt
- 2 basil leaves
- 400 g icing sugar
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 2 basil leaves
- 4 heaped tablespoon Raspberry Coulis
- 12 Basil
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and double-line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
- Mix the yoghurt, eggs and melted (cooled) butter in a jug or bowl.
- Sift the vanilla sugar, flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, add the ground almonds and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Pour in the yoghurt, eggs and butter into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth. If using, add in the chopped basil leaves and mix.
- Use an ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon to fill your cupcake cases until about ⅔ full.
- Bake in your pre-heated over for 15-17 minutes, a stick should come out clean when they are cooked. Leave the cupcakes to cool for a few seconds in the tin, then take them out and leave them to cool on a rack.
- To make the buttercream, beat the 200g butter in a bowl until pale and then gradually add the icing sugar in small amounts. If the buttercream is a little thick, add a tablespoon of milk or water and beat again. Add the chopped basil leaves, if using.
- Put the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake - or just dollop on!
- Using a teaspoon, carefully drizzle over a little bit of the raspberry coulis over the top of each cupcake. Add a sprig of basil to decorate.
I’m also sending these pretty cupcakes over to Kate at What Kate Baked who is hosting the February Tea Time Treats Challenge (alternating with Karen from Lavender and Lovage) – with the appropriate theme of Romance!
The cupcake recipe I used is adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe for Rose Cupcakes (which would also be romantic) – regularly cited as being one of the best cupcake recipes around, made with yoghurt to keep the crumb lovely and soft.
Cupcakes are a perfect rainy (or in our case, snowy) day activity. As usual, I was battling with the stealing little hands who were as ever, eager to pinch these lovely little morsels as soon I had taken a few snaps…