It's getting colder and colder here in Sweden, even if the weather is still unusually warm for the time of year with temperatures around 7 degrees Celsius, it still feels cold..and soon the snow will probably start to fall...and on top of it all, it gets dark already around 4-5pm! Don't get me wrong I actually love wintertime, and it's amazingly beautiful on a sunny winter day with the sparkling white snow. One of the best things to do on a winterday like that, is to dress warm and go out for a long walk on the countryside and afterwards stay at a cozy café for a "fika". You out there who are not Swedish may not be familiar with the "fika" culture we have in Sweden. Basically it means to have a coffee/tea/hot chocolate/cold drink-break with something sweet to eat, or sometimes a sandwich. So, even if I do like wintertime and especially Christmas, I must confess that I do miss Singapore...with its warm and sunny weather:-).
But so far we don't have any snow, and the trees are still very beautiful with all its colours!! I found this little cutie mushroom in the forest few weeks back, I know it's poisonous, but sooo cute and chubby, and I can't help smiling every time I see this picture! :-)
I baked both chocolate cupcakes (as my brother loooooves chocolate) and cardamom cupcakes; because that's one of many favourites...do I need to mention it's a favourite amongst many...:-)
100 g unsalted butter
1,5 dl sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
2 dl milk 3%
4 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
For the chocolate cupcakes I had 4 tbs of cocoa, for half of above mixture - but you can use as much or as little as you like. It all depends on the taste.
For the cardamom cupcakes I used whole cardamom seeds and then a pestle to break them into smaller pieces. You can use cardamom powder, but I like the taste of bigger bits. I used about 1tsp for half of above mixture.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C if you are making big cupcakes and 225 if you are making small ones.
Mix egg, sugar and vanilla sugar until white and fluffy. Stir in melted butter and milk. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and stir carefully into the mixture. Do not stir too much. If you mix it too hard, the "fluffiness" will disappear and make your cupcakes a bit dense. Now you can add the flavour of you preference, chocolate, cardamom, cinnamon, berries etc. Stir in, and taste:-)
I prefer to use a baking plate for muffins when I make cupcakes, because you minimize the risk of the cupcakes being too wide in its shape. Place paper moulds in the baking plate. Fill the moulds to 2/3.
Bake for about 20 minutes if your are making large cupcakes, and 12-15 minutes if you are making small ones. Check if the cupcakes are ready by sticking a toothpick into one of them, and if there is no mixture on the toothpick, your cupcakes are ready.
Leave the cupcakes to cool down and meanwhile you can make your topping.
Cream Cheese Frosting
60g soft butter
5dl icing sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
100 g cream cheese
A few drops of caramel colouring
Mix soft butter, icing sugar, vanilla sugar until creamy. Add and stir in the cream cheese. Add caramel colouring and mix well, or keep it white.
When the cupcakes have cooled down, spread the cream cheese frosting onto the cupcake or use a pastry bag with a nossle to make nice patterns. Decorate your cupcakes with flowers, sprinkles, etc. I made my own marzipan roses to decorate my cupcakes with.
Use marzipan and caramel colouring of your choice, or buy pre-coloured marzipan. Put plastic film on your baking table and on the marzipan, otherwise it will stick onto your rolling pin. Roll the marzipan until 2 mm thin. Cut thin stripes with an narrowing ending. To make the rose, start with the narrow part of your stripe and roll into a rose. All I can say is, practice, practice and it's actually not that difficult:-). Not that mine are perfect, I need some more practice myself.
Now, make some coffee or tea, gather your friends and it's fika time!!!