Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hello again

So I have been AWOL, again. This time, for health reasons which have meant I've had to remove myself from lots of different obligations and commitments (something that as a "cannot-say-no-er" I've really struggled with) and which also meant I just cut social networking (and real-life socialising) from my life as I hid myself away. I'm getting back on track now (though many friends still haven't seen my actual face for several months now and getting better is still being, at times, a frustratingly slow process.)

I do love blogging, but I've always found it hard to fit into my long and busy days, doing a job where almost any time off feels like it's stolen. That said, I've realised I need to keep a balance, and that things that make me happy are also good for me. So, I've come back to the fold, and I hope you'll forgive this second long absence. I have some new project ideas coming up I would like to share with you, as well as a heap of makeup, budget dress acquisitions (Ebay is enemy to many a seller but has until now been my friend!) and nail polishes.

For the mean time, by way of thanks for sticking around, please let me offer you a virtual cupcake...



recipe. Which is kinda a Rabbit invention (well, a heavily adapted Hummingbird Bakery recipe, anyhow). There are a heap of Chai Tea Latte cupcake recipes out there - but many are overly sweet, too heavy on the cinnamon at the expense of other spices, and do not feature a totally delicious mascarpone topping. Aside from cream-cheese frosting, it's the only icing I can eat enthusiastically (I have an almost-savoury sweet tooth and cannot bear buttercreams and fondants) The addition of tea-infused milk to this recipe makes for a melt-in-the-mouth cake; the cocoa gives the slightly-bitter depth that proper, builder's brew, endlessly boiled chai has.

For the cake
120ml whole milk
3 regular teabags
2 tbsp chai spice powder, or  a mix made of: 2 tsp of ground ginger, 2 tsp of cinnamon,  tsp of crushed black cardamom seeds (or seeds popped out of 6 cardamom pods and crushed)
100g plain flour
17g cocoa powder (sifted)
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the mascarpone frosting
2 tbsp of icing sugar
6tbsp mascarpone
1 tsp of chai spice powder or above homemade mix
little bit of chai spice powder or cinnamon to sprinkle on top
 a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
Makes 12
1. Put the milk, 1tbsp of the chai spice mix and tea bags in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Take off the heat, and leave to cool, with teabags left in the milk.
2. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) Gas 3.
3. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa together and remaining tablespoon of chai spice mix in a bowl. 
4. Cream butter and sugar together with the vanilla in a separate bowl, then add egg and beat until fluffy. Add the cooled tea to the mix (squeeze all the tea out of the bags to get as much tea-flavour out as possible!)
5. Add a tablespoon of flour mix to the batter at a time, and mix.
5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
6. For the mascarpone frosting, beat together icing sugar, chai spice mix and mascarpone. I've suggested 2 tbsps of icing sugar, but sweeten to taste.
7. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the frosting on top and decorate with a light sprinkling of chai spice powder or cinnamon.