Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter gifts...

Are people moving away from bought chocolate eggs? Whenever I go to the supermarket, I doubt it. There are rows and rows of foil-wrapped, perfectly formed delicious goodness. But they are all the same, can be snaffled down in a matter of minutes and can lack a personal touch. Plus my sister-in-law has inspired me as she wants to give fair-trade eggs and is on the hunt for the perfectly sized ones.

Now the fella and I don't feel compelled to give each other eggs. We would be okay with a hot cross bun instead, or a block of chocolate even... And with my girlfriends we tend to make things for each other. Last year being so far away I made an enormity of fabric "eggs" (really misshapen balls), took a photo and sent it off. As for this year...

The first thing I've had the energy to create has been these Easter cup-cakes. Why they are associated with Easter, I'm not sure to be honest. They came from a Coles catalogue a few years ago labeled as "Easter Mud Muffins". I have changed them a little, make them as cakes and think they look swell with a little Easter decoration. If you are going to call a baked good "Easter ---" it should at least have some connection through decoration, don't you think? So when a girlfriend came to tea, she left with a few of these. And the fella keeps sneaking them out of the fridge. The container this morning had only five left! There were originally 17, with some given away also... but only five left!

My next Easter baking adventure I hope will be an Easter nest cake. I've then got Russian Easter bread to make for a family gathering. The kitchen, here I come.

Easter Cup Cakes
Makes 16 or so

100g butter
100 g chocolate, broken up
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c plain flour
3 tbs baking powder
2 tbs cocoa powder
3/4 c apricots, diced
1/2 c walnuts, roughly chopped

Pre-heat oven to 160* C. Line a 1/2 c cupcake/muffin tray with papers.

Combine butter, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan. Melt over a low-medium heat. Remove from heat.

Stir in the milk, followed by the eggs once the mixture is not boiling hot. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, stirring to combine. Fold in the apricots and walnuts. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin, filling to 3/4 full or so.

Bake in the oven for around 18-25 minutes, checking after 18 to see if they are cooked. Rotate the tray if you want to also. Remove and cool for around 5 minutes before turning cupcakes onto a rack to cool completely.

Butter Icing
Makes enough to generously ice these cupcakes

3/4 c butter
2 c icing sugar
2 tbs cocoa

In your mixer, beat the butter until very light and white in colour. This will take at least 5 minutes. Add the icing sugar and beat for a further 5 minutes until the icing is very light and fluffy and smooth. Add the cocoa, mix until combined throughout.

Spread mixture generously over the tops of the cakes. Decorate with an Easter egg or similar if you want to.

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