{RECIPE}: Coconut and Peppermint Cupcakes

I have news. I’ve entered the National UK Blog Awards in their food and drink category.

Given the scale of the competition, I almost didn’t enter. National? Scary! But I figured there was no harm, and it could turn out to be quite fun. And, it is! And, if it leads to a few new people discovering my little space and liking it enough to stick around then that wouldn’t be such a bad thing either. I’ve really enjoyed discovering lots of new blogs in all the other categories, too.

But, it means I have a favour to ask from you. My chances of winning are pretty slim, and I don’t say that to sound all humble, or whatever. I really mean it. I’ve checked out the competition and have already bookmarked a few sites I’ve fallen in love with and undoubtedly I’m sure you will, too. However, it would be nice to get at least a few votes. You know, so I don’t look like a complete loser. If you enjoy my blog then I would love for you to vote for me!

You can vote by clicking on the badge below or the one on my side bar (psst, over there —>), and then click on ‘vote now’. I swear it’ll only take you 2 minutes, and it would also mean a lot and I would be really, really grateful. To all of you who have already voted or are going to vote – thank you so much!

I decided to direct some of the candy canes away from my mouth and into these cupcakes instead … and then into my mouth. Crushing all that peppermint is actually pretty therapeutic, and that minty goodness combined with coconut is just a breath of fresh air. I decided to top it with vanilla buttercream and then decorated with heaps of dessicated coconut, edible glitter or more crushed peppermint – I just can’t get enough of it!

Coconut and Peppermint Cupcakes

RECIPE: Preheat oven 170C/325F/Gas mark 3. Makes 12.

For the cupcake
145g self raising flour
170g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter
145ml coconut milk
1 egg
100g peppermint candy
Optional: 30g dessicated coconut

For the vanilla buttercream
560g icing sugar
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml milk
1 vanilla pod

To decorate (optional):
Dessicated coconut
Crushed peppermint candy
Edible glitter

1. In a bowl, combine all your dry ingredients – the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Mix well and rub the butter until you get a breadcrumb-y consistency.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and eggs and mix well. Scrape the seeds of a vanilla pod using the back of a knife and add the seeds to the milk.

3. Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing well and making sure everything is combined.

4. Place the peppermint candy into a plastic sealable bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add the crushed candy and dessicated coconut to the cake mixture and fold in.

5. Fill 2/3rds of the cases by scooping a couple of tablespoons of the mixture into each one.

6. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

7. Once baked, remove from the tin immediately. Place on a cooling rack and allow to completely cool before adding the frosting.

8. For the frosting – mix together the butter and icing sugar. Add the milk, and deseed a vanilla pod using the back of a knife and add the seeds to the frosting. Continue mixing for another 5 minutes. The longer you mix, the fluffier it will be.

9. Place frosting inside a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Optional: sprinkle cupcakes with dessicated coconut, crushed peppermint candy, or edible glitter.

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{RECIPE}: Banana Bread

I haven’t posted at all in the last two weeks (if you’ve missed me then I think you should come say Hi on my social networks!) and I have two reasons for that. One) The end of school means I now have an insane amount of free time to finally do all the things I haven’t had the time for. In the last couple of weeks I’ve read, watched movies, eaten out almost everday, gone shopping, caught up with people I haven’t seen in years, confirmed my post-grad choice, attended a sleepover, booked my first holiday in 10 years, and helped organise, baked for, and enjoyed my cousins engagement party yesterday. Life has been crazy busy and I’ve been loving every second of it, but unfortunately it didn’t leave me with much time to check in on here.

I’ve hinted for a few months now of changes I wanted to make to the blog. Over time those ideas have morfed from just a few tweaks here and there to a complete new look and re-brand. I want to change everything and start from scratch. It will still be a food blog and I already have a new name for it, but I’ve been advised by a number of people to not go ahead with it – I’ve worked on this blog for over 2 years now and have slowly shaped it into something real that not only I enjoy, but others too. My traffic will suffer the most, but honestly? It was never about that in the first place. I’m more worried about losing the few readers who I’ve built strong relationships with. I won’t go into any details just yet, there’s still a lot left to figure out and I want to make the transition with as little disruption as possible and hope it won’t be too much bother for people to make themselves at home in my new site when its finally up. I’m so excited for the changes and hope you like what I have planned! For a little more teasing info look  at and you will see what I have planned!

But that bring me to reason two. Considering this site won’t be up for much longer, I’m trying to invest more time in setting up the new one. So until the transition is made you may not find me here as often. I’ll still be posting here for the next few months at least (I want to take things slow because a) I’m not so good at all the techy/coding stuff and am having to wiki everything and b) that crazy schedule I mentioned earlier). So if things get a bit quiet around here then feel free to visit the archives or get chatty on any of my social networks. See you there!

Anyway. Banana bread. When it comes to my food, or even just life in general I suppose, I’m really not into anything all that fancy. Banana bread is hands down my favourite cake, but I rarely get the opportunity to make it because the bananas in my house rarely last long enough. I even had to hide a couple from the rest of my family (and myself) to get the chance to make this. In terms of food essentials that always make it onto the shopping list, bananas come way before milk and eggs (but after bread and butter because as you all know I live on toast).

By now my family have learned when I pull something out of the oven it’ll still be a few hours before they’re allowed to enjoy it. I still have to let it cool, decorate and photograph and only then does it become theirs. So when I pulled out the banana bread, let it cool just enough to handle and then began slicing it almost immediately, it left my family a little confused. They were pleased they wouldn’t have to wait, but disappointed by how ‘boring’ it looked. But it wasn’t long till they were convinced the taste and texture more than made up for its understated appearance.

Banana Bread

THE RECIPE: Preheat oven 170C/325F/Gas mark 3. Makes a 9lb loaf.

255g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
270g flour
1tsp bp
1 tsp bs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
130g butter, melted

1. Whisk together the sugar and eggs, and then fold in the mashed bananas.

2. In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Add this to the egg mixture and carefully fold the mixtures together.

3. Melt the butter and leave to cool. Onced cooled, add the butter to the mixture and carefully fold it in.

4. Pour into a greased and lined 9lb loaf tin and bake for approx. 1 hour. Once baked, allow to cool in the tin until cool enough to handle. Turn it out and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Can be enjoyed both warm and cold.