Recipe | Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

So Halloween is quickly approaching (eeek!) I thought I would share with you a really tasty fun recipe that you could whip up for a party or however you're spending Halloween, Pumpkin Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Frosting! They're not exclusively for Halloween obviously they're super Autumnal and really depends on how you decorate them. I had some really cute sprinkles to use I picked up at TK Maxx, some lovely Autumn leaves and some spooky bats and gravestone ones. 

I really like how they look in the foil cases, sometimes with paper cases you loose the design after baking, but these looked so shiny and fun! The cake mix is filled with so much spice and the pumpkin gives it a lovely flavour and moistness. The frosting is a classic vanilla flavoured with cinnamon so it takes the edge off it being too sweet and sickly and compliments the pumpkin perfectly! 

Makes 12 Cupcakes -

Ingredients - 

For the sponge -

220g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
133g packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
227g pumpkin puree
120ml vegetable oil
80ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting - 

120g unsalted butter, softened
230g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp milk

Method - 

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. Set aside. 

2. To make the cupcakes, in a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, mixed spice and ginger together until combined. Set aside. 

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

5. To make the frosting, beat the butter until soft, add in the icing sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk and beat until you get the right consistency, soft and fluffy but still stiff. Ice the cupcakes however you like, I used a piping bag but a palette knife would work. Decorate however you wish, I used Autumnal and Halloween sprinkles! 

My Little Brooklyn Box | October 2016

I can't believe it's already October and I'm back again with another My Little Box, this one I think is my favourite od the the year so far, I absolutely love it, I was so impressed! This one is Brooklyn themed and as you'd expect, it's super trendy! Very much New York coffee and doughnuts themed! I'll start off with the lifestyle bits...

Firstly there was little stencil to make a pattern on the top of your coffee which I thought was so cute!   Along with that was the sweetest enamel mug (£10) with Coffee Made Me Do It written on the front, love this! You might have seen my DIY Patch & Pin Denim Jacket post a couple of weeks back, if so you'll know how excited I was when there was a Doughnut Pin (£6) in the box! It's fits perfectly with the fun theme of my denim jacket so I was over the moon! There was also two lovely Collar Tip Pins (£6), which I thought were really nice too. 

Onto the beauty bits, firstly there was a Polar Genuine Lapland Handcream which smells amazingly like arctic berries! There was a ByTerry Khol Eyeliner (£24), which is in a gorgeous golden shade called Golden Ornament, will be brilliant for sparkly gold festive eyes! Finally there was also a My Little Beauty Save My Nails Strengthening Treatment (£7), can't wait to give it a try!

Are you subscribed to My Little Box?

North East Visits | George's Great British Kitchen Newcastle

If you live in the North East you'll probably have heard about the new restaurant developments in Eldon Square, a brand shiny new section with lots of exciting new arrivals! A couple of those restaurants have already opened and one that me and Steven were eager to try was George's Great British Kitchen, although a chain they only have one other restaurant in Nottingham. It's not the biggest unit and we booked for the first available time on a Sunday which was 2:45pm. So it had been super busy, this meant that when we arrived we were informed of a few things that had ran out (teething problems I'm guessing!) I mean who runs out of diet coke?! Squeezed onto our little table we perused the menus which were in a newspaper style. 

The vibe here as you can probably tell is classic British, very seaside-esque with beach huts and the like. Although I found it wasn't tacky, quirky but still stylish. I didn't have massively high expectations for veggie options, their selling point I think is pie and chips, fish and chips etc. Their veggie options weren't bad and there were a few options I was happy to try. For starters I decided on the Goats Cheese Fritters, served with a beetroot chutney and pickles. I really enjoyed these, the batter was crisp without being greasy, really yummy. Steven went for the Katsu Chicken Goujons (partly because he was a little gutted they'd ran out of Chicken in a Basket for his main!) nevertheless the really liked them.

Onto the mains, I honestly couldn't believe the portion sizes, they were huge! Not bad for a tenner give or take! I went for the Chickpea Masala Pie, served with bhaji battered onion rings, chips and curry sauce. I thought this was a unique veggie option, not an afterthought like some restaurants have! It was really nice, although I didn't manage to polish it off! Steven went for George's Meets Geordie's Saveloy Pie, served with chips (Steven chose Stilton chips which looked incredible!) and onion gravy. He really enjoyed his, again though he didn't manage to finish it either! I was gutted we were too full for the infamous doughnuts and candy floss sharing dessert (damn you starters!), so I'll be sure to return to give that a go! For somewhere that's very recently opened the service was great, quick and friendly without any hiccups! 

Have you visited George's Great British Kitchen?

Recipe | Halloween Iced Coffee Pumpkin Cake

Making seasonal bakes has to be one of my all time favourite things to do! This time of year where I can tailor my recipes around Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas is so much fun! Speaking of Halloween, this is my first pumpkin recipe of the year! Pumpkin doesn't really get used all that much in the UK, if at all! Normally our pumpkins just get carved and that's it! It can also be difficult to find tinned pumpkin if you don't want to make it from scratch, I managed to get some in the American section of Tesco! So this recipe is an Iced Coffee Pumpkin Cake, it's called coffee because it's supposed to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee and doesn't actually have any coffee in it. The pumpkin here acts as a binder in this recipe so it doesn't have any eggs in, which makes for an extremely light moist cake, the spices and pumpkin work so well and it's honestly delicious! 

Ingredients - 

For the crumb topping - 

62 grams plain flour
60 grams unsalted butte, cold
100 grams packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the cake - 

250 grams self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
244 grams pumpkin puree
100 grams packed dark brown sugar
120 ml vegetable oil
82 grams pure maple syrup (or golden syrup)
60ml milk

For the vanilla glaze - 

120 grams icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

Method - 

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 9-inch square or round baking tin. Set aside.

2. Make the crumb topping first, in a small bowl, toss the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender or a fork. Mix to create clumps and crumbs. Set aside.

3. To make the cake, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mixed spice together in a large bowl until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, and milk together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Try not to overmix the batter. It will be very thick.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking tin and even out. Pour the crumb topping evenly on top and gently press them down into the batter.

5. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes until risen and golden and and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing onto a wire rack. 

6. To make the glaze, whisk the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk together until smooth. Add more milk to thin, if desired. Drizzle over cake, slice and enjoy! 

Mexico Travel Photo Diary | Part 4

If you hadn't already guessed my final part of my Mexico Travel Photo Diary features a trip to Akumal Bay to snorkel with sea turtles in the wild! Don't forget to check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3! So Akumal was about 10 minutes away from our hotel, we jumped in a collectivo and we were there. Even just the beach here is gorgeous, blue water and white sand, it was a total dream! 

 There were lots of people trying to con you out of your money here, if you visit, you can rent your own life jacket, snorkel and locker at the dive centre, don't listen to anyone who says you have to have a guide because they're just scamming you! For 300 pesos (about £12), we both rented all the gear, people were asking for 400 pesos each to have a guide! We saw 4 turtles all by ourselves and we were so so pleased! I was a little apprehensive at first as I don't like water, let alone the open sea and can often feel claustrophobic, but once I was in it was an amazing experience! They're not fazed by you at all and come here to eat a specific type of seaweed they like. They were so sweet and we both had a great time and would highly recommend it! 

I've finished off this final post with more shots of our gorgeous hotel, I'm still feeling the holiday blues, we had such a brilliant time and would definitely recommend a visit to Mexico to anyone! The people here were so friendly and really couldn't do enough for you, we would 100% recommend Sensimar Seaside Suites, great location, great food and facilities, all amazing! Let me know where you're planning to jet off to next or if you've visited Mexico before! 

Lush Halloween Haul 2016

What would Halloween be without a Lush haul?! I might dabble with Lush during Easter to pick up a bunch of carrots or a humpty dumpty, but Autumn/Winter is where Lush really livens up! I thought I'd share with you the bits and pieces that caught my eye and I decided to pick up! 

I actually decided to pick up the Pumpkin Gift Set (£20.95) as I wanted all the things that were in there anyway, and it came with a cute little pumpkin knot wrap. So in the set was, Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar this one is a classic, so so nice, but so messy! Pumpkin Bath Bomb, this fella is super cute and smells like home baking cinnamon goodness! Boo Bath Melt, made with ginger and cocoa butter, this guy will make your skin so soft! Finally Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb, another classic, this one is spicy and full of amazing colour!

Alongside the pumpkin I also picked up Autumn Leaf Bath Bomb (£3.75), I love the look of this one, and it smells like crisp leaves! Finally Monsters Ball Bath Bomb (£4.25), mine is a little bit battered as he was the last little man left! But he's still super cute! 

Have you picked up anything from Lush recently?

Mexico Travel Photo Diary | Part 3

Onto part 3 of my Mexico Travel Photo Diary, don't forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2! This post as you can probably tell features a couple of the excursions that we did when we were in Mexico. Starting off with Chichen Itza, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, so we were super excited to see it. It took us about an hour and a half to get there from our hotel, we booked the Thomson excursion which was so good and really well planned out. You leave at 6:30 am to beat the  crowds which was so worth the early wake up!

Our guide here was amazing, he told us so much about the Mayan Archaeological site, things that were really interesting and you could tell that he found them really interesting himself and was definitely passionate about the subject. We spent a couple of hours here which was more than enough in the boiling hot sun! 

Along with visiting Chichen Itza on this excursion we also stopped at a Mayan Village where you could swim in the cenotes, visit a tequila museum (which was really just a shop...) and also had your lunch included here which was a traditional Mexican buffet. It was really nice to have a couple of hours here and look at the things for sale etc. 

If you visit Mexico, chances are you'll here about Coco Bongos, they have 2 clubs, one in Playa del Carmen and one in Cancun. It's pretty much just a huge club where they also have dancers and acrobats on too. It's a lot of fun and i'd recommend it to anyone visiting. It's co-owned by Jim Carrey, so it's pretty insane, people dressed as the mask and Beetlejuice and lots of acts based on movies, it's worth a visit! Stay tuned for the final part coming soon! 

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