This Easter weekend, I have eaten a lot of cake. However, in the words of my inspiration, Nigella, you should only feel guilty about food if you do not feel pleasure from eating it. And each sweet treat was v pleasurable and therefore guilt free (until I stand on the scales)! I started off my sugarathon at Manuka Kitchen in Fulham where I shared a peanut butter, chocolate and pretzel tart with the BF. Very rich and indulgent, one to share was more than enough (pictures can be seen on my Instagram @hollylovescake). The ground pretzels were used to make the pie crust filled with a rich chocolate ganache and topped with peanut creammmmmmmmmm (Opps, sorry, just thinking about it is making me drool). Delightful. The cafe itself is stylish with an open kitchen at the back with black and white pictures from local industry adorning the walls, it serves a great brunch menu with pancakes as big as mattresses. The same day also saw us going to Dum Dum Donutterie located in Box Park, Shoreditch. Wow. They are all about the doughnut and they do it so so well. Every doughnut sounded like a dream including creme brulee. But I was all over the cronut, a big craze of cake hybrid mixing a croissant with a doughnut. Flakey yet doughy, buttery and sugary and oozing with pistachio cream. This was absolute filth in the best possible way.
Then off we went to Brighton for a couple of days. My main research for the trip was discovering the best places for cake, obvs. One place that kept appearing was Treacle and Co (www.treacleandco.co.uk) in Hove so me and BF took a long walk across the sea front to check it out for ourselves. Very rustic and artisan style, using an array of natural and seasonal flavourings. I opted for a slice of lavender and blackcurrant Victoria sponge which was lightly perfumed and the home made blackcurrant jam was a dream. Was very good that BF dislikes soft fruits as this meant more jam for me, boom.
I managed to find the most camp, cosiest and eccentric tea rooms in the whole of the UK. The Tea Cosy (www.theteacosy.co.uk) is dedicated floor to wall (and even on the ceiling) to the Royal family. You can find ceramic plates with Charles and Diana, mugs and posters with creepy sketches of Princess Anne and a life size cardboard cut out of the Queen, all jazzily decorated with twinkly fairy lights. You can order many different afternoon tea options including the Balmoral and the Queen mothers cream tea. William and Kate selection was my choice which compromised of a variety of scone options (I had pecan and maple syrup), sandwiches with the crusts sliced off and cut into triangles plus a slice of sponge cake (I had red velvet). The scones were delicious, cake was tasty and the sandwiches reminded me of my school lunch box. Obvs, it came with a massive pot of tea nestled in a hand knitted tea cosy. The surroundings in The Tea Cosy make this place worth the journey to Brighton alone.
This week I thought I would make something inspired by my sweet treat from Manuka Kitchen. I love peanut butter and I love it even more with jam. The peanut brittle adds a delicious crunchy texture. You can use crunchy or smooth peanut butter but I recommend crunchy. This would be amazing with home made jam once the strawberry season is upon us, if you are buying jam, use the best possible quality you can afford for the best flavour. Be super careful when making the hot sugar for the brittle, it will be hotter than the sun.
Peanut butter and jam cupcakes
- 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 275g plain flour, sifted
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Jar of good quality raspberry or strawberry jam
Peanut butter butter cream
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g crunchy peanut butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 4 tbsp whole milk
- 100g salted peanuts
- 100g caster sugar
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases
- For the peanut brittle, lay the peanuts onto a sheet of baking paper. Put the sugar into a saucepan over a low heat.
- Allow the sugar to melt, do not stir or it will crystallize! Allow it to come to the boil and turn a caramel brown. Immediately remove from the heat and pour onto the peanuts. Allow to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Put the milk into a jug and add the vanilla extract. Add one third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the center of one of the cakes – it should come out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool. Take a small sharp knife and cut small holes into the top of each cake, about 2cm deep and 2cm in diameter. Spoon the jam into the holes.
- Cream together the butter and peanut butter adding your sifted icing sugar and milk a bit at a time until you have achieved the level of sweetness you prefer (this may be more than 200g).
- Spoon the butter cream onto each cake. Break your cooled brittle into shards and decorate as you like. I used slightly larger pieces on mine but you could also pop the brittle into a food processor and create a crumb topping instead.