Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

I've temporarily (or so I hope) lost my blogging mojo. I took a week off at half term as I was also on annual leave from my day job and quite frankly needed a rest...and I'm currently struggling to get back into it. I've done loads of cooking over the past few weeks but haven't felt the urge to set up my camera and blog any of the recipes - although I wish I had taken some photo's of the Spinach and Sweet Potato soup I made on Monday! I'll just have to make that again I guess.

I thought I'd break myself back in gently with some cupcakes I made a while ago but never got around to publishing. Everyone loves a light and fluffy cupcake with a smooth and creamy butter icing don't they? These yummy Fudge Cupcakes make the perfect after school treat or bake sale offering (Red Nose Day is not too far off!) and are super simple to make. Enjoy!

Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING THE CUPCAKES

  1. The recipe can be easily doubled to feed a crowd.
  2. The un-iced cupcakes can frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
  3. If you don't have any fudge use mini smarties or chocolate chips instead.
  4. Use salted butter in the icing  - I find it gives it a much better taste.

OTHER CUPCAKE RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

 VANILLA FUDGE CUPCAKES




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Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

Light and moist vanilla cupcakes with a creamy vanilla and fudge buttercream icing.
Ingredients
  • 110g Butter, softened
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 110g Self Raising Flour
  • For the buttercream:
  • 170g Salted Butter, softened
  • 500g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 50ml Milk
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 6 pieces Salted Caramel Fudge, chopped
Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c/160fan and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.Step 2: In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs and vanilla extract and fold in the flour until all combined.Step 3: Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.Step 4: Whilst the cupcakes are cooling put the softened butter in a stand mixer (you can do this by hand too) and beat until creamy. Add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract and beat for a further few minutes until all combined.Step 5: Once the cupcakes are cool pipe the icing onto the cakes and sprinkle on the fudge pieces.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield: 12

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Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes


Vanilla Fudge Cupcakes

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Meal Plan 20th - 26th February 2017

Meal Plan

I took a much needed break from blogging last week to enjoy half term off with the kids. I managed to give the house a good spring clean (two car loads to the dump and one to the charity shop) and we even squeezed in a day trip to London on Friday - which from Cornwall is no mean feat! We left the house at 6:45am and drove to Exeter to catch the train, did a whirlwind tour of the main sites before getting home at 11:30pm. It was a looooong day but the kids loved it and we even caught a glimpse of Prince Charles as he drove out of Buckingham Palace. I'm tempted to take them back for the day in May half term to do the museums.

Back to the reality of school runs and clubs this week, although I'm not back to the day job until the 27th (yipee)!  I'm hoping to use the time whilst at the kids are at school and nursery, to create lots of new yummy recipes for the blog, which will be a lot more relaxing than having to do all my recipe development in the evenings. Keep your eyes peeled for this Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry recipe which I'm hoping to post this week!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK

Monday 20th February
Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole with Broccoli and Peas

Tuesday 21st February
Chilli Mac n Cheese with Salad

Wednesday 22nd February
Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry with Rice

Thursday 23rd February

Friday 24th February
Pulled Pork with Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 25th February
Roast Chicken, Sweet Potato Mash and Creamed Leeks

Sunday 26th February
Leftover Roast Chicken Carbonara

Valentines Day Chocolate Brownie Hearts

Chocolate Brownie Heart Platter
I'm not really into Valentines Day - it's a bit commercialised for me, but even though hubby and I don't celebrate (it's been about 10 years since we last went out for a meal on Valentines Day I think), I do like to make a bit of effort these days for the kids.

If you're of my persuasion and not really fussed about it, but feel like you ought to make the effort for your loved one or the kids, these easy chocolate brownie hearts are the perfect recipe for you!

Chocolate Brownie Heart Platter

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING A CHOCOLATE BROWNIE HEART PLATTER

  1. I added some fudge pieces to the brownie batter but  you could use chopped up chocolate bars (Mars Bars and Double Decker's work well), dried fruit or nuts instead (in the same quantity as I used the fudge).
  2. I made a quick salted caramel sauce to drizzle over the brownie hearts and the red raspberries added a nice colour contrast. You could even use a shop bought sauce or coulis and decant it into a nice jug.
  3. Once out of the oven, chill the brownies for a few hours before cutting into heart shapes with a heart biscuit cutter. They will be much easier to cut when cold.
  4. Dust with cocoa powder or icing sugar and serve. A dollop of clotted cream would make it the ultimate indulgent treat.

OTHER VALENTINES DAY RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE

  1. Mini Berry Cheesecake Hearts from Jam and Clotted Cream
  2. Jammy Shortbread Hearts from Jam and Clotted Cream
  3. Love Bug Cookies from My Fussy Eater
  4. Raspberry Shortbread Hearts from Baking Queen 74
  5. Jammy Dodger Chocolate Brownies from The Crazy Kitchen
  6. Valentine Crispy Hearts from Raising Emily
Chocolate Brownie Heart Platter

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE HEARTS PLATTER





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Valentines Day Chocolate Brownie Hearts Platter

Chocolate Brownie Hearts Platter

Chocolate Brownie Hearts Platter for Valentines Day served with Fresh Raspberries and a Salted Caramel Sauce.
Ingredients
  • 300g Plain Chocolate (less than 60% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • 125g Butter
  • 1 TBSP Cocoa Powder
  • 90g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 150g Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 100g Fudge pieces
  • To serve:  Fresh fruit, nuts, salted caramel sauce
Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c/160cfan. Line a 20x30cm baking tin.Step 2: Place the chocolate, butter and cocoa powder in a microwaveable bowl and melt in the microwave. I do 10 second bursts and stir in between to make sure it doesn't burn.Step 3: Stir in the sugars, eggs and flour. Pour half into the tin, scatter over the fudge then pour the other half of the mixture on top making sure the fudge is submerged.Step 4: Bake for 25 minutes. Once out of the oven allow to cool then pop in the fridge overnight. Use a heart shape cutter to cut out hearts and place on a platter with fresh fruit, nuts and candy.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield: 10 hearts with off cuts



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Chocolate Brownie Heart Platter

Chocolate Brownie Heart Platter

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10 Things To Do After You Hit Publish

10 Things To Do After You Hit Publish

This is a bit of a departure from my usual recipes, but I've finally got around to writing a blog post about blogging.

Jam and Clotted Cream has been in existence for very nearly 9 years now, which is a miracle in itself as I'm not usually one for sticking at something that long - I must really love it! Although it's still just a hobby for me (I'm a Town Planner in 'real life'), I feel I've acquired a lot of knowledge on the subject of blogging over the last few years and thought it was about time I shared some of that with newbie bloggers out there or people who are thinking about starting a blog.

With so much competition in the blogosphere, I learnt the hard way that even if you write the most amazing post with fantastic photo's, without promotion, it wont go anywhere. Over time I developed a 10 point checklist for myself to work through once I hit that publish button and I've found it really useful in keeping me focused. After all, there's no point posting my recipes online if no-ones going to read them. As a food blogger, you'll notice a couple of the points are very specific to promoting recipes but no matter what your blogging niche, I hope you find it useful too!

Pin the blog post for later...



Let's take this delicious Vanilla Raspberry Bundt cake and I'll show you what I did to promote it once I hit publish.

10 THINGS I DO AFTER HITTING PUBLISH

  1. Save a pinnable image of the recipe to Pinterest. I then use a link back to the pinned image in other social posts on Facebook and Google+ (e.g Pin the recipe for later 'INSERT LINK TO PIN' ). If you don't know how to create a pinnable image, take a look at this blog post from What Katy Said. Like Katy, I also use PicMonkey, and since she wrote her post, Pinterest have made it even easier to create Pinterest friendly images by adding a 'Pinterest Pin' crop function in the basic edits.
  2. Publish a picture of the recipe on Instagram and change the link in my bio to a link of the recipe I'm promoting. In terms of hashtags, I use about 7 key targeted hashtags in my post and then in the comments I might paste in some general hashtags such as #easyrecipe #homecooked #comfortfood. I have a list of these general hashtags saved in a google doc which I can access from my phone and I just copy and paste this into the comments as soon as I've published the Instagram photo.
  3. Schedule a post for Facebook using Buffer (Buffer tells you the best times to publish on different social channels so you can set up a schedule which optimises exposure). I generally don't pay to boost my posts but I may make an exception for a commissioned post. Facebook is my second biggest referrer so this point is an important one for me. 
  4. Send a tweet with a link and picture of the recipe and schedule in a few more over the coming few days (I use Buffer for this but there are other social schedulers out there like Meet Edgar - unfortunately I can't justify the expense but I know several pro bloggers love it).
  5. Blogger automatically posts new blog posts to my Google+ Brand Page but I also like to publicise it on my personal Google+ profile and more importantly share on the various communities I belong to e.g. Food Bloggers and Cooking & Baking.
  6. Save the post to Stumble Upon and then click again to actually stumble it. For a long time I just saved the post not knowing I needed to click again to stumble it. I use the SumoMe social share buttons on my blog to do this.
  7. Save the recipe to Yummly, which is basically a digital recipe box that people can search through.
  8. Save the very BEST image I have of the recipe to Foodgawker, which is an online photo gallery that allows visual search and discovery of new recipes... and then I pray my photo gets accepted. Since I started using my 50mm prime lens on my Canon (and using the DIY lightbox that hubby made me) over 90% of my photo's are accepted. I get a lot of traffic from Foodgawker so I'm trying really hard to improve my photography and my aim is to get 100% of my photo's published by the end of the year.
  9. Bloggers love a linky and I'm no exception. There are LOADS out there (this article from Tots100 lists a good number of them that you can link up to) but I always make sure I link up to A Mummy Too's #recipeoftheweek as I get the most traffic from this one.
  10. To help the post gain traction, the day I publish it I use threads on several Facebook groups I belong to (e.g. Bloggers Helping Each Other and Blogger Club UK) to help promote it. I'd really recommend joining these groups if you're a blogger. You can add your blog post link and also social links to the various different daily threads and other bloggers will share, like, RT, Pin it, comment etc for you...and you reciprocate for them. You rely on people completing the threads on time and unfortunately as with everything in life there are a very small minority of bloggers who let the side down on this front (which I'm happy to ignore rather than naming and shaming like some people do). In general though they are well run and well managed by the admins.
It's also worth pointing out that engagement is really important in the blogging world too, so make sure you join in debates and conversations on your social channels and not just be known a link dumper. If my real life job was blogging and not planning, I would double my efforts on the engagement front but as it is I try and do a little bit every day if I can. 

So that's my list! What do you do to publicise your blog posts? Is there anything I'm missing?

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Meal Plan 6th - 12th February 2017


We're nearly there!! It's half term next week and I for one am looking forward to a break from school runs, clubs, work and doing 5 lunchboxes every day. I'm trying to plan a few local days out with the kids and I've noticed that RHS Rosemoor in Torrington have got a special weather activities programme over half term that Lowen and Rory will enjoy, so we'll definitely be making a trip there. We might also try and get to The Milky Way near Bideford too and in between I'm going to try and tackle some gardening if the weather allows. I'm desperate to mow the lawns but it's still too soggy at the moment.

On the cooking front I made a really yummy Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry on Saturday (which we ate in front of the Rugby) and I've also frozen half to have later this week. I didn't bother browning any of the onion/garlic mix or chicken but despite this, it turned out perfectly, so a real chuck it all in and leave it recipe - I love those! I'll pop the recipe on the blog in the next few weeks so keep an eye out if you're a slow cooker fan.

Slow Cooker Curry

WHAT WE'RE EATING THIS WEEK


Monday 6th February
Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese

Tuesday 7th February
Slow Cooker Chilli Con Carne

Wednesday 8th February
Chinese Chicken and Cashew Nuts with Rice

Thursday 9th February
Pineapple Spiced Pork with Noodles

Friday 10th February

Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry with Garlic Naan Breads

Saturday 11th February
Sticky Glazed Salmon with Stir Fried Vegetables

Sunday 12th February
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puds

Ham, Cheese & Herb Savoury Muffins

Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins

Welly Foods, producers of yummy ham and chicken products, recently asked me to develop a recipe for their New Year #ThrifyEats campaign. To combat the post Christmas blues, Welly Foods will be sharing tips and tricks on how to reduce your shopping bill and also food waste during February, as well as showcasing several thrifty recipes from UK food bloggers like myself.

These yummy Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins fit the #ThriftyEats campaign ethos perfectly. We all know packing lunchboxes for your kids every day can work out very expensive, especially if you always buy pre-packaged food. These homemade savoury muffins however, utilise ingredients you will probably already have in your store cupboard and fridge so they make the perfect homemade frugal snack for little ones lunches whilst at the same time saving you the pennies.

This is a great base recipe that you can add too and I give some ideas below on how to create new flavour combinations to suit what your children like. They also freeze really well too so make a double batch (which is a great energy saving tip) and pop half in the freezer ready to pull out when you need them. If you do give these a try, don't forget to post a pic on social media using the tag #ThriftyEats.

Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING SAVOURY MUFFINS

  1. Up the veggies by adding a few spoonfuls of tinned sweetcorn, chopped sun-dried tomatoes (about 5), a grated carrot, half a grated courgette or even a handful of chopped rocket to the muffin batter.
  2. Remember not to over mix the batter - the less you mix the lighter and fluffier the muffins will be.
  3. Pop the muffins in the freezer and pull out what you need the night before. They will be perfectly defrosted by lunchtime the next day.
  4. Alternatively eat them just out of the oven with a bowl of homemade soup.
  5. If you don't have buttermilk in your fridge, just add a couple of squeezes of lemon juice to the same quantity of fresh whole milk and leave for 30 minutes before using in the recipe.

OTHER THRIFTY LUNCHBOX RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE

  1. Cheddar, Spring Onion and Smoked Paprika Scones by Jam and Clotted Cream
  2. Banana and Coconut Flapjacks from Jam and Clotted Cream
  3. Mini Ham and Cheddar Quiches from Jam and Clotted Cream
  4. Sweet Potato and Apple Muffins from Jam and Clotted Cream
  5. Pizza Whirls from Taming Twins
  6. Quick Vegetarian Sausage Rolls from A Mummy Too
  7. Chickpea and Apricot Couscous Salad from Easy Peasy Foodie
  8. Jammy Shortbread Slices from Jam and Clotted Cream
Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins

HAM, CHEESE & HERB SAVOURY MUFFINS





print recipe
Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins

Ham, Cheese & Herb Savoury Muffins

A savoury ham, cheese and herb muffin – perfect for kids lunchboxes.
Ingredients
  • 275g Plain Flour
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1 TSP Italian Dried Herbs
  • 125g Cheddar, grated
  • 100g Ham, chopped
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200ml Buttermilk
  • 90ml Sunflower Oil
Instructions
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190°c/170°cFan and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.Step 2: Put the plain flour, baking powder and dried herbs into a large bowl and stir through the cheddar and ham.Step 3: In a jug beat together the eggs, buttermilk and sunflower oil then gently mix into the dry ingredients.Step 4: Spoon the mixture equally into the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.

Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield: 12


Pin the Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins for later ...

Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins

Ham, Cheese and Herb Savoury Muffins

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Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for Welly Foods. All thoughts are my own.

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