Salted Caramel Lindt Lindor Cupcakes

For National Cupcake week I decided I’d ask the community on my Facebook page what they’d like to see me make. There were calls for Ferrero Rocher cakes, Kinder Bueno, Sherbet Lemon, all sorts of drool worthy ideas but the second I saw the shout for Lindt Lindor I knew I had to go with that. So here we are. Cupcakes topped with a salted caramel butter cream and a Caramel Lindt Lindor centre.

saltedcaramelcakesaltedcaramelcupcakesI made a batch with a Lindor baked in, and a batch with it added after. Testing variables like this is all part of how I develop my recipes and normally helps me to recommend the best way to do something. This time however, the jury was out so I’ll give you directions for both options in the recipe. You can choose between baking the Lindor in to the cake transforming its center in to a permanent liquid caramel chocolate or popping one in after baking, giving a firm bite and no mess. My cake tester (Mum) preferred the molten version, but for me the solid Lindor was the winner. It’s up to you, you could always do half and half.

The cupcake its self isn’t caramel flavoured, I feel that would have led to a case of ‘too much of a good thing’ as caramel can quite quickly become sickly. The icing sugar I’m using is courtesy of Sugar and Crumbs who make twenty-five different icing sugar flavours and although it’s a bit more expensive than standard stuff, I was blown away by their salted caramel flavour. I don’t think I could replicate it easily any other way.

This recipe makes 6 large cupcakes/muffins, perfect for small house holds or solo bakers, but feel free to double or even treble up for a bigger batch. You’ll need:

100g Softened butter
100g Sugar
100g Self raising flour
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Baking powder
6 Caramel Lindt Lindor
125g Sugar & Crumbs Salted Caramel Icing Sugar
60g Softened butter
 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius and line a muffin tin with cake cases. Combine the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and baking powder in one large bowl and beat until the mixture is well incorporated and smooth. If using an electric whisk or food processor, it takes around 2 minutes.

Spoon the mixture in to the cake cases until half full. If you’d like to bake your Lindt Lindor in, rest one on top of the mixture in each case. There’s no need to press them in, the cake will come up to cover them.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cakes bounce pack when pressed and are golden brown.

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool. If you’re choosing to add the Lindt Lindor after baking, use a cupcake corer or the handle of a teaspoon to cut out the centre of the cake to fit the Lindor leaving the base of the cake intact. Whilst the cakes are still warm, push the Lindor in to the hole, trimming excess cake from the cut out before placing back on top.

 
lindor cupcake

Once cool combine the butter and icing sugar, mixing until smooth. Using a small spatula (courtesy of OXO), place around two teaspoons of the buttercream on top of each cupcake then use the spatula to spread over the cake top.

icing cupcakesLindt Lindor cupcakes

Now, I’m going to end this blog post sharpish- I’m pretty sure I can hear them calling me from the cake tin…

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Let in the light

I adore my Parent’s home for many reasons but if I had to name one, it would be the amount of light it has. If I’m there, you’ll usually find me in the ‘sunroom’, under the huge VELUX windows with light flooding in. I nestle in to the corner of the sofa and it’s there that I’ll do my blogging. All this light in the house was carefully planned by the Architect that helped to bring the vision my Mum and Dad had for their home to reality. Light was particularly important to them because my Mum finds herself battling tiredness as Winter’s short days draw in; a problem known as seasonal affective disorder. I’m sure it must affect most of us to a certain degree.

It’s my absolute dream to one day to live in a house with as much natural light as my Parent’s house gets. I for one feel happier in a brighter room.

velux windows

One // Two // Three

Our house is a late Victorian terrace and although I can give them kudos for the ceiling height and mouldings, we don’t have the light that I love so much in my Parent’s home.  As Matt and I continue our house renovations, we’ve started to look at the idea of installing a VELUX window or sun tunnel at the end of our kitchen to brighten up a dark spot. I’m hoping it will also make the room feel larger.

We’ll be using some other tricks to get that light effect in our rooms, a huge mirror has done the trick in our bathroom makeover. I’d love to hear any tips you have, what’s made the difference in your house?

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DIY Pillow Mist

At night time I have a routine. I’ll make a hot drink and take myself to bed. Emails will be closed, lamp on, candle lit. I’ll go and wash the day off, take my contacts out settle down with something on Netflix. Then finally, I use a pillow mist to scent my pillow with something relaxing. It’s a habit that started with a dab of a Lush perfume stick on my wrist to send me to sleep, then I started to use aromatherapy oils instead. It’s a comfort thing, akin to that clean sheet smell that makes fresh sheets more enjoyable and I sleep better for it.

It’s really simple to make your own pillow mist using any fragrance that you’d like. I thought this sleep spray would be particularly helpful now that school is back in session- I’m looking at you Mums and Teachers!

pillowspray2Lavender is a classic sleep aid, but if you’re like me and it just doesn’t appeal, there’s plenty of others to choose from. My essential oils and bottles came from Baldwin’s, they’ve been trading for 170 years and know the aromatherapy world inside out. You can check out their essential oils map below to help choose the best oil for you:

body_map_oils_RGB_final_WEB

To make your sleep mist, all you need is:

Bottle with spray atomiser 

10 drops essential oil of your choice

30ml Water

30ml Vodka or isopropyl alcohol (this helps to disperse the oils in the water)

Pillow spray 4Add the water, alcohol and essential oil to the bottle and screw the spray atomiser on tightly.

pillowspray

That’s it. Just give the spray a shake before use and mist lightly over your pillow. A 5 minute DIY that will hopefully help you wind down and get a good nights sleep. If you make one, please let me know which essential oil you choose and how you get on, I’d love to know.

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Two whole years of blogging & a giveaway

simple cake decorating

Gin & Tonic cake post here.

Today marks A Life of Geekery’s second birthday. When I started this blog, I had no idea where it might lead. Did I think I’d film my recipes with Loyd Grossman? Hell no. See my recipes on the side of products in a supermarket? Dream land. It’s been an incredible two years and I honestly feel that without my blog to focus on, I might have gone crazy from all the medical drama that whips in and surrounds me from time to time. So thank you!

And next year? Who knows. I’ve been playing with the idea of You Tube and filming more recipes, maybe that will happen.

I wish I could send a thank you to all my regular readers, instead I’m running a giveaway to win a retro sweet hamper from All Occasion Sweet Shop. The hamper includes: Sarsaparilla Tablets, Kola Kubes, Sherbet Lemons, Pineapple Cubes, Midget Gems. Chocolate Limes, Blackcurrant & Liquorice, Haribo Hearts, Pink Millions, Blue Millions, Flying Saucers, Foam Strawberries, Parma Violets, Candy Whistles, Lovehearts, Double Lollies, Drumsticks, Sherbet Fountains & Space Dust.

If you’d like to win this whole lot of retro sweet awesomeness, just use the rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mojito jellies & five garden party tips

We still have a month or so left to enjoy our gardens in reasonable temperatures this year so I thought I’d share a recipe for mojito jelly – a perfect garden party treat – along with a few tips to make party planning as stress free as possible.

MOJITO JELLY

Mason jar style shot glasses courtesy of Drinkstuff.com. Keep reading for the recipe…

One // Keep food simple and prepare as much as you can the night before to cut down on any last minute rush or stress. One pot meals like chilli con carne are great for feeding a crowd whilst ‘build your own’ options like tacos are an easy way to cater for everyones’ dietary requirements. Whatever you decide on, a good rule to follow is that unless you have enough room to seat all your guests at a table, don’t serve anything that needs cutting up. No one wants to tackle a steak whilst balancing their plate on one hand.

Two // Forget matching garden furniture. Picnic blankets, benches, dining chairs and bean bags all make perfect garden party seating. Look around the house, some indoor furniture lends it’s self perfectly; nests of tables and tray tables make great places for guests to rest drinks.

Three // Don’t be too shy to ask guests to help out or bring things. There’s always someone willing to take over the barbecue, bring along dessert or help you set up.

Four // Keep a stack of blankets, cardigans and jumpers to hand ready for the temperature drop. Even if the weather is glorious you never know what our British weather might bring, especially as night time falls. Candles and chimineas will be welcome additions and bring some cosiness as well as the opportunity to toast some marshmallows.

Five // Have a few entertainment ideas ready to boost the mood. Background music is a good start, especially if you can use something like Spotify to let your guests queue the playlist themselves. There are some great board and card games for large groups (Articulate, TabooCards Against Humanity) and if there’s children; some garden friendly games will keep them occupied, but don’t over plan.


Now, back to the subject of food. This refreshing mojito jelly recipe can easily be made alcohol free but if you’d like to add rum, you can sub in a few measures in place of some of the water.

LIME AND MINT JELLY

To make approx. 1/2 pint of jelly you’ll need:

Juice of 1 lime
8 mint leaves 
200ml water
2 tbsp sugar
6g gelatine powder
 

Using a blender, blitz the lime juice and mint until smooth.

Heat the water and sugar over a low heat until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Then sprinkle over the gelatine and whisk until combined. Stir in the mint and lime mixture then pour in to clean molds and chill.

I used these cute mason jar style shot glasses, from Drinkstuff.com. Seeing as they’re quite large for a shot glass, they’re the perfect side for mouses, cheesecakes and jellies. I love the old country style of them and I’m guessing by the popularity of mason drinks jars on Pinterest that some of you will love them too.

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