It’s been a couple of weeks since our last pod, and I guess you could say that with this one we went a little crazy. Listen for yourselves

Visit tomorrow for our tutorial on how to make your own vanilla extract and sugar

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Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a combination of great flavours, tea and spice, sweet honey and vanilla.  I’ve made these several times and love them, but with most things I bake and cook it is a work in progress.

Makes 12 regular sized cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes

IngredientsVanilla Chai cupcakes


250g vanilla sugar

225g butter

1 tsp ginger paste

½ vanilla pod

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

200 ml chai mix

¾ cardamon pods crushed up

4 English breakfast T bags

75 ml honey

¾ tsp black pepper

¾ tsp nutmeg


225g all purp flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

Halloween cupcake papers

Butter cream

Purple food colouring

Halloween sprinkles

12 pumpkin lollipops

Pre heat oven to 350°

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Bring the chai mix to the boil in a saucepan, remove from heat and add in the t bags and crushed cardamon. Leave to steep for 10 minutes


Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

…Cream together the butter and sugar, and add in the ginger paste, mixing it in and scraping down the sides

Whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and seeds from the vanilla bean, beat this into the creamed butter, sugar and ginger paste

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Fragrant spices, add the remaining spices to the flour along with the salt, baking powder and baking soda. whisk them together to remove any lumps and to incorporate them well

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Pour the tea mixture through a strainer and…

Vanilla Chai Cupcakes…Mix the honey into the warm tea.

Alternate adding in the liquid and dry ingredients to creamed butter and sugar mixture, Do this slowly and remember to scrape the sides and bottom

Vanilla Chai cupcakesspoon into the cupcake papers and bake the mini cupcakes  for about 20 mins, and larger ones for 25 mins

cool and ice


Butter Cream Icing

1/2 pint of egg whites, about 8 eggs

16 oz sugar

A pinch of salt

1½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature & cut into cubes

Set a pan of water on the stove to simmer away gently

Whisk, whisk, whisk

Put the egg whites, sugar and salt into a bowl. I use the mixing bowl of my kitchen aid  because later this requires a lot of whipping. Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk, with a hand whisk, until the sugar dissolves and the whites are hot.

Sweet, frothy, slimy

Keep whisking, the last thing you want is scrambled egg whites.

Thick glossy white, can it get any better?

Transfer to the mixer and whisk on the second speed until you end up with thick glossy meringue. Keep going until the meringue is cold.

Only when the meringue is cold can you whip in the butter.  Add a little at a time, whipping on the second speed until all the butter is incorporated. Then increase to the third speed  and add the purple food colouring

Vanilla Chai cupcakes

Vanilla Chai cupcakesNow for the fun… decorating the cupcakes

Vanilla Chai cupcakes





Toffee for Cackle Cookies

You could buy  toffee, but it’s super simple and much cheaper to make it your self. This is more than you’ll need for the Cackle Cookies, you could always cover the extra in chocolate and nuts.


Lay out a baking sheet with a silicon baking sheet on top.  The baking sheet I used measured 9 x 13 inches. You can vary this depending on what thickness you want the toffee to be.

Toffee1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, 4 oz unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water

ToffeeI always use unsalted butter, and add the salt separately. That way I can always control the amount going into the recipe

Cook this over a medium high heat

ToffeePut the sugar into a pan. I used a frying pan, but it works the same in a saucepan

ToffeeAdd in all the other ingredients and stir constantly

ToffeeYou want all the sugar and butter to have melted before the mixture begins to boil


Once it begins to bubble stop stirring and set a timer for 10 minuets

ToffeeAt 4 minutes the bubbles look foamy, almost like frothy egg whites

ToffeeAt 5 minutes, there is barely any change, keep an eye on it


ToffeeAt 6 minuets, there is a definite colour change, the middle is a shade or two darker and that’s the spot to watch

ToffeeAt 7 minutes the mixture is bubbling beautifully

ToffeeAt 8 minutes the underneath will be darker, The toffee darken my the second and the aromas get stronger and yummier

Toffee At 9 minutes, toffee perfection. It is easy to say just a few more seconds, just a few more seconds, but the toffee will keep cooking for a fraction of time once it’s off the heat. Now’s the time to get it on the baking sheet so that it can begin it’s cool down

Use this toffee in the cackle cookies


The colour  of the toffee in the photo on the right may look Perfect, But the centre is a shade darker, and underneath darker still. In the photo of it being poured, seconds later it has continued to cook and is will be burnt and bitter.

Burnt Toffee

Burnt toffee