Tag Archives: coffee

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

There’s nothing quite as good as a cup of coffee in the garden with a little sweet treat to go with it. This week I knocked up a batch of my quick coffee cupcakes and sat in the garden in the last of the sunshine before Storm Hector swept in and spoiled all our summer fun.

Cupcakes are something I make quite a lot of at home. They’re so quick and easy to do and I often have a fresh batch of buttercream in the fridge for emergencies. I know this is potentially an unpopular opinion, but cupcakes are just buns with fancy icing. If you can master a basic swirl people think you’ve got mad baking skills. I’m not going to win any prizes for my decorating, but I can do some basic piping, enough to turn a humble bun into a cupcake. If I can do it, you can too!

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

These quick coffee cupcakes are great to make in a hurry. I piped plain vanilla buttercream on these, but if you’re baking for a real coffee fan, then you can easily make coffee buttercream. You can ramp the coffee flavours up further by adding a Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffle from Beech’s Fine Chocolates to the top, this turns a simple cupcake into a lovely grown up after dinner treat!

Win a selection of Beech's Fine Chocolates Gourmet Packs

Quick Coffee Cupcakes

Ingredients:
150g butter or margarine
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (large)
150g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaped teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 tablespoon of milk

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beech’s Fine Chocolates Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffles

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180° and put paper cases in a bun or a muffin tray.

Cream your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy.

Dollop a large dessert spoon of the cake batter in each case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave cool on a rack.

While your cupcakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add your vanilla extract and beat it in thoroughly.

Once your cupcakes are cool, put your vanilla buttercream in a piping bag with a star piping nozzle – I use a Wilton 2D nozzle. I did a standard buttercream swirl, if you’re not sure how to do it, watch this short video.

I then decorated the buttercream swirl with a Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffle from Beech’s Fine Chocolates. Serve with a cup of very good coffee.

If you wanted to up the coffee content of your coffee cupcake, you could add some coffee to your vanilla buttercream. Dissolve some coffee in a splash of milk and beat it through thoroughly.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like these popcorn cupcakestangy marmalade cupcakes or romantic rose cupcakes.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

Review: Press’d Coffee – proper coffee in a squeeze!

I was sent a couple of little bottles of Press’d Coffee to try out. Pressd Coffees are little (48ml) bottles of 100% coffee concentrate. It looks like a syrup but without the sweetness. Each bottle contains enough for 16 cups of coffee and tastes like good quality filter coffee, not powdery instant.

I’m not entirely sure I could effectively function without coffee. It gets me going in the morning when I need to get cracking, and gives me a boost during the mid-afternoon slump. I am a coffee snob, I like the proper filtered stuff, thick black and strong, unapologetically tainted with milk and sugar. I don’t always feel I can justify making an entire 4 cup cafetiere just for me. Apart from the fact I always make way too much, there’s faffy washing up to take care of too.

Coffee Review: Press'd Coffee - proper coffee in a squeeze!

Press’d Coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans from Columbia and is available in three varieties-
        – Original Columbian
        – Vanilla Coffee
        – Caramel Coffee

I was sent the Original Columbian and the Vanilla Coffee to try, so I took them to the Alpine Tea Room in Didsbury to try with my friend Lou who owns the cafe, like me he likes a decent brew, I trust his opinion and it was an excuse to go out and drink coffee with a friend.

Coffee Review: Press'd Coffee - proper coffee in a squeeze!

We tried both coffees black with no sugar, as nature intended. The Original Columbian delivered a rich coffee hit, deep and pure and an all round winner. Once we added milk and sugar the coffee mellowed slightly and turned into a nice afternoon brew.

The Vanilla Coffee for me didn’t really suit being drunk black, with milk and sugar added it brought out the rich vanilla flavours and made it a very enjoyable drink. I don’t normally go for flavoured coffees, but I could make the exception for this I think. 

Lou agreed that the coffee was good, and worked out that at £2.99 a bottle it was just 18p per cup, which isn’t bad. The little bottles would be really handy to take out and about with you, to have at work, or in meetings, or take on holiday, or just to have at home, like me.

Press’d Coffee is available from Ocado. 

Note: I was sent these samples for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

The Daily Grind – Finding Caffeinated Happiness

I have for a number of years been a proper coffee addict. Everything about a good cup of coffee sings of happiness. The smell of freshly ground beans in the morning is enough to make my mouth water, and a decent pot of coffee is the key to my productivity as a copywriter and I love a lazy weekend with a pot of coffee and all the newspaper supplements I can manage. Though if you push it too far with the strong stuff you can be burning the midnight oil for all the wrong reasons.

I was converted to the joy of freshly ground beans by my father-in-law, a great man who grew up drinking steaming shots of sturdy middle eastern style coffee and very much enjoyed sharing his love of coffee with me. He taught me the finer points of making a good brew and where to find the best roasted beans, though these days the world is awash with artisan coffee bean roasters who boast beans from across the globe and a thousand different flavour notes. My father-in-law had a seriously beautiful antique coffee grinder on his kitchen wall and I loved standing by it as he ground the beans for his next brew, it just smelt so darn good.

When hubs and I moved into our home together, along with all the relentlessly practical things any household needs, top of my list was a good coffee pot and a good quality coffee grinder. We searched around a bit for what I wanted and eventually found a really good quality coffee grinder from John Lewis. It’s done nearly four years of almost daily service and it’s still blessing me with caffeinated happiness every day.

I couldn’t exist without my coffee, it puts a spring in my step and some zing in my day, I know I would be a sleepier, grumpier person without it.

coffee grinder

York Coffee Emporium – gourmet coffee

My love of a good brew is not a secret, we recently put our gorgeous retro coffee grinder on our kitchen wall and we were desperate to use it, with a degree of perfect timing we were sent some lovely beans from York Coffee Emporium to try.

The beans we were sent were Ethiopian Kaffa Forest beans and had been freshly roasted in York. Just grinding the beans made the house smell absolutely incredible (if you’re trying to sell your house, don’t bother making a pot of coffee, grind the beans instead, it’s just fantastic).

My friend has a cafe which is well known for its tea, but when I visit him we always drink pot after pot of good strong coffee, so I was keen to try it out with him.

We brewed the coffee and it smelt beautiful, the flavour was mellow, almost chocolatey caramel, it’s a really easy drinking coffee and perfect for weekend drinking whilst leisurely reading the papers. The Ethiopian Kaffa was described on the packet as having “lovely floral notes, delicious juicy apricot, forest honey and tongue hugging caramel”, we didn’t really get the apricot, but it was a delightfully soothing mocha-caramel brew.

I fancied something sweet, so we made a little take on affogato. Traditionally it’s a shot of espresso poured over vanilla gelato or ice cream, sometimes with a liqueur poured over the top. Bereft of liqueur I sweetened a shot of the Ethiopian Kaffa with sugar and poured it over some ice cream, it was delicious, admittedly not the traditional affogato, but close enough for a daytime treat.

The Ethiopian Kaffa is a bit deceptive, it doesn’t taste super-strong, in fact we both drank double the amount of coffee we normally would, it’s so mellow and buttery and easy to drink. York Coffee Emporium give this a 4/5 strength rating, and as I type this a good two hours after drinking two pots I’m feeling a lovely coffee buzz. Do not be deceived by it.

It’s a lovely cuppa and I’m looking forward to enjoying it again whilst perusing the Sunday papers. I’ll most definitely be ordering from York Coffee Emporium again, I’m pretty keen to try a few of their other roasts and blends, my coffee loving cafe owning friend was impressed enough to say he’d stock it, so it must be good!

York coffee emporium

Note: I was sent a bag of Ethiopian Kaffa Forest beans free of charge from York Coffee Emporium for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Coffee Mourning – I Quit Coffee for a Month (and survived)

I can’t believe a month has passed since I had a cup of coffee, it’s gone so quickly.

I also quit tea and diet coke. I’ll admit that I cheated a little and had some jasmine tea, but as it’s not black tea I think I can just about get away with that. I was ill with a vomiting bug last week and the only thing I wanted to drink was flat diet coke, so I did allow myself a couple of glasses of that, but only because I was poorly sick sick.

Apart from those minor indiscretions I think I’ve done pretty well considering. The aim of it was to see of giving up dark coloured drinks would make a difference to the colour of my teeth. I think so, and while the change wasn’t massively dramatic I think it was enough to make it worthwhile. I’ve taken a before and after picture, which isn’t great, but in real life there is less staining and more of a sparkle.

teeth before and after

They don’t look much different, but in real life they are

I’m pretty impressed with the results after just a month and although I will be going back to having all the drinks I missed, I won’t be drinking as many of them as I used to. I do love coffee and diet coke but it’s been nice to make the change, even if it was only temporary.

For me the worst thing over the month was the lack of caffeine. I had a bad headache for the best part of a week and really struggled to stay awake and alert for most of the month. I don’t think I’ve been as productive and as sparky as usual either. To be honest, top of my agenda now is getting a really good brew inside me. Personally I think I’d rather be awake and alert and have slightly stained teeth than pearly whites and a constant need for a nap. But each to their own.

Disclaimer: Oasis Dental Care have sent me a pack of goodies including toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss and chewing gum as a thank you for documenting my quitting coffee journey.

Coffee Mourning – Surviving a Caffeine Free month!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about me quitting coffee, tea and diet coke for a month to see if it’ll make a difference to the colour of my teeth. Not only that, I wanted to try going caffeine free for a while. I thought it was about time for a catch up; so here’s how the last couple of weeks have gone.

I was a serious diet coke addict. I’d drink a couple of pints a day, easily. On top of that there were the four or so cups of coffee and the odd cup of tea when I fancied it. Looking at that written down, that’s quite a caffeine habit.

Coffee Mourning - Surviving a month Caffeine Free!

The first week was not easy at all. It was clear was addicted to caffeine and I suffered the usual headache that goes with going cold turkey and caffeine free. I had a stonking headache for 6 days. These kind of headaches are for some baffling reason (a Doctor told me) impervious to painkillers, so there was nothing I could do about them really.

I soon realised my life was essentially propped up by caffeine; within 48 hours of stopping I could hardly keep my eyes open. Annoyingly I kept nodding off, it was awful. Admittedly my pain medication which makes me sleepy at the best of times wasn’t helping, but that first week was nothing short of hell.

I’m at the end of week two now. I am sleepy but not nodding off like I was last week. I’m missing my favourite drinks. I’ve replaced them with lemon squash and hot chocolate when I need a hot drink. It’s not too bad really. I’m feeling ok about the next couple of weeks without coffee, tea and diet coke.

But, is it making my teeth whiter? I think so, not dramatically, not Hollywood white, but they are definitely less stained. I’m happy with how things are going and it’ll be interesting to properly compare my teeth once the month is up.

Could you go caffeine free for a month?

Coffee Mourning – Quitting Coffee for 30 Days

Hello, my name’s Jane and I’m a coffee addict. I’m also about to try quitting coffee for 30 days.

It’s not like I roll out of bed and my first thought is COFFEE, but it’s not far off that. I will drink instant, but my weakness is really good filter coffee. If I’m in the mood for a coffee with a bit of foamy frippery, then a cappuccino is the order of the day.

For the next 30 days I’m quitting coffee. I’m quitting to see if I can cope without it and I’m quitting to see if it’ll make a difference to the colour of my coffee stained teeth. I am also quitting because I’m utterly addicted to caffeine and need to stop, or at least cut down.

Coffee Mourning - Surviving a month Caffeine Free!

This is going to be a real test for me. I’ll be giving up coffee, tea and my precious diet coke too. It’s going to be a tough month; missing out on all my favourite drinks and going caffeine free and cold turkey for 30 days.

Drinks like coffee, tea, red wine and coke can really stain your teeth over time. Your tooth enamel contains tiny pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink. Pigments from these dark-colored drinks can become embedded in those pits and ridges and cause permanent, yellow stains on your teeth.

Obviously prevention is better than a cure. If you can stop your teeth yellowing in the first place; then you can reduce the need for expensive tooth whitening treatments later on. Cutting out caffeine will not only have a positive impact on my general health and well-being, it could also help my teeth stay whiter and brighter for longer.

I’m pretty excited (and slightly terrified) about this. I suspect giving up coffee, tea and diet coke will do more to me than make my teeth a slightly paler shade. So who knows what I’ll be like in 30 days, watch this space!

Coffee Mourning - Quitting Coffee for 30 Days

Will they get whiter?

Could you give up your favourite brew? How would you go about quitting coffee for a month?