Rhubarb and Ginger Cupcakes

Have you ever heard of hygge? I only stumbled upon this Scandanavian word and concept this year and it perfectly sums out what I always crave in the wintertime. The more I look into this, the more I love it. Unable to be translated easily, the concept seems to cover that feeling of cosiness, togetherness, well being, contentment- the perfect example I found was an idealistic, traditional white Christmas. The loved ones, the soul food, the warmth and contentment.  I came across the concept in an article of easy easy to incorporate hygge into your life- lots of warm, comforting soups, quality time with friends and family, acknowledging those small treasure moments of a good book, cozy blanket and roaring fire. Sounds simpler in theory than practice in this crazy busy modern life but I suppose the key comes down to recongnizing and creating those little simplicities in life that are pure nourishment for the soul.

These last few weekends I’ve been able to step back and really open my mind to all those beautiful hygge moments that just appear in life naturally- driving up to my childhood home in the hills, seeing all the beautiful fading autumn colours and the smell of wood fires. Or spending a good few quiet hours on Sunday morning in my pj’s (something I never do), soaking in the rate winter sunshine with the cats. Man, it’s so easy to feel beyond grateful that these are moments I can happily relax away in.

And of course- the baking. The beautiful warming pies, poached fruits, banana breads, all the carbs that I plan to hide the consequences of until summer! After stealing some rhubarb from the parents garden, I baked up these cosy little cupcakes to take along to a girlfriend’s house. She’s a ginger fiend and when I make these next I’ll make sure I boost the ginger even more than I did this time- all though it gives a delightful little kick to the icing, it’s wasn’t strong enough for us full-bore ginger lovers (so I pimped with crystalized giner- NOW we are talking!)  The original recipe is from CallmeCupcake (find it here!), and man, if you haven’t checked this blog out before- GET. ON.IT. Those photos are to die for! These cupcakes are a dense style, so if you are after a fluffy little number they are not for you- but studded with rhubarb pieces and tingly little nuggets of ginger, they are hygge to the core.

 

Sour cream rhubarb cupcakes

1 ¼ cups + 2 tbsp (195 g) all purpose flour
¾ cup + 1 tbsp (180 g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
100 g softened butter
2 medium eggs
½ cup (125 ml) sour cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
100 g rhubarb, trimmed and finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
50g crystalized Buderim ginger, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Prep your pan with cupcake liners in your chosen size.
    2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, ground ginger and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add butter, eggs, sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in chopped rhubarb and ginger.
  3. Divide batter amongst the cupcake liners and bake for 20-23 minutes for normal size cupcakes. Leave to cool before icing.

 Poached vanilla bean rhubarb

100 g rhubarb, trimmed and finely
chopped (about ¾ cup)
1/3 cup + 1  1/2 tbsp (100ml) water
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Put rhubarb, water, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan.
  2. Let simmer very gently for about 3-5 minutes. The original calls for caution and they are not joking- do not wander away from this or you will have stewed rhubarb.
  3. Put a strainer on top of a bowl. Pour mixture into strainer and put the rhubarb pieces in another bowl to cool. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Pour into a bowl to let cool. Mix together rhubarb and liquid.

    Ginger cream cheese frosting

Ingredients

150 g softened butter
1 – 1 ¼ cups (120 – 180 g, to taste) icing sugar mixture
200 g cream cheese
1 tsp dried ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Beat butter until pale. Add icing sugar and beat until smooth and pale, about 1 minute.
  2. Add cream cheese and ginger, beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pipe a generous swirl onto the cooled cupcake. Use a small spoon to create a little well in the centre of the icing.
    4. Spoon a dollop on poached rhubarb into the well. This is a gorgeous tart flavour so I definitely recommend being over-zealous with the dollop.

Happy baking and happy hygge hunting, beautiful people!

Snoz xx

Vegan Rum Balls

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Delicious and easy vegan rum balls- sweetened condensed coconut milk is the key to success here!

These last few months have been a whirlwind so I have to admit I have not had the time to even glance at my little bloggy outlet. How shameful! This recipe has changed that though. I feel like anyone who has even been nervous to attempt vegan baking (or technically not baking as we have here..) needs to know this recipe. So here I am, back and messier than ever!

As a non-vegan, I have to admit I get a little nervy at the thought of sacrificing my sacred butter. However, when your vegan best friend is getting married and you’re throwing her bridal shower- you’ve got to learn fast! All in all I baked up vegan cupcakes, orange cake and these little guys- a nice addition for the dessert table amongst all the ‘standard’ baked-up treats.

I’m fussy though. When people hand me a slice of ground nut vegan cheesecake screaming ‘you’ll never know the difference’….man, I’m sorry but you can. I’m not saying it’s not delicious! There are some brilliant vegan recipes out there and I’m committed to trying as many as I can to find all these gems. BUT- it’s tricky to find them both budget friendly and a near perfect substitute for the non-dairy baking. These little balls of deliciousness are one of these gems! I definitely suggest giving them a go as man oh man, they are moreish.

The all important substitute; sweetened condensed coconut milk. By using this, along with a vegan cookie (stick to Nice biscuits by Arnott’s if you’re an Aussie) this is a really easy way to make a popular picnic bring-a-long vegan friendly.

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VEGAN RUM BALLS RECIPE

Ingredients

1 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk
1 packet of Arnott’s Nice biscuits
3/4 cup desiccated coconut (+ additional 1 cup for rolling)
1/3 cup good quality dark rum
1/2 cup cocoa

Method

  1. Blitz up your Nice biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. No food processor? Double bag the biscuits in paper bags and vent some anger on those bikkies with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. Be wary of splitting the bags though!
  2. Transfer the crumbs to a glass bowl and mix in the can of sweetened condensed coconut milk. I used the Pandan brand which you can find at Coles in the Asian grocery aisle. One note; this can be a little runnier than your typical sweetened condensed milk so expect your rum balls to be a little softer when molding than a usual recipe.
  3. Add your ¾ cup desiccated coconut, cocoa and rum and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour your 1 cup of remaining coconut onto a flat plate, ready for rolling. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
  5. With clean, cool hands form balls approximately the size of golf balls with the mixture. Working quickly, roll the balls in the plate of coconut to coat thoroughly.
    Transfer onto your baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
  6. Pop your baking tray into the fridge overnight to firm the rum balls up.Then it’s guilt free, cruelty free, happy eating!
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    Vegan rum balls among the chaos of party set up!

    Happy baking lovelies.

Snoz xx