Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween: Pumpkin Cupcakes and Dracula Biscuits

I hold fond memories of Halloween from when I was younger. Each year, my parents would take my brother and I to our respective scout and brownie parties, bob apples, carve pumpkins, the lot! I always dressed as a witch with an obligatory eyebrow pencil mole on my cheek and my mum's lipstick.

This year, I decided to do some Halloween cakes. I had them planned for weeks, I was to have chocolate cupcakes with a wickedly orange coloured swirl of icing. Unfortunately, I decided at the last minute to turn them into pumpkins, which didn't turn out brilliantly. My chocolate icing solidified, causing me to have to use white icing to paint the unconvincingly scary faces on.

As sad as it seems, the failure of these cupcakes played on my mind all week. Eventually, I forced myself to start my Halloween bakes from scratch. I got the idea of Dracula cupcakes from the Wilton website and used my regular Vanilla Cookie recipe.

I am really proud of myself with these, they taste and look great. They could even be a bit spooky!

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Viennese Whirls

Viennese Whirls or Melting Moments? Hmmm...

These biscuits are an amalgamation of a few recipes, the main one being vanilla butter biscuits from The Caked Crusader, as always! I'd like to point out here that I do own recipe books, you've just got to stick to what you know, right?

I really struggled to pipe these into a delicate whirl as I had hoped too but I gradually got the hang of it and I'm pretty pleased with the results! At first, I panicked over the small amount of dough that the recipe made and I made them quite small but they spread out to a perfect size whilst cooking, and kept their shape too!

For the filling, I used Hartley's seedless raspberry jam (nobody likes seeds in their teeth!) and a vanilla butter cream from a recipe by SilverSpoon. I added my vanilla gradually, though, and to my own taste as I worried a full tablespoon of vanilla would be too much.

I made the mistake of stirring the jam in order to make it smoother and it was too runny, this only added to the look though, at least according to my boyfriend! Keep 'em sweet and all that...

Tada! They taste amazing :)

Recipe adapted from The CC and SilverSpoon


For the biscuits:

115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons icing sugar
150g plain flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the filling:

100g Butter (softened)
200g Icing Sugar (sieved)
1 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Any jam of your choice

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
Line two baking trays with baking paper- I used a large baking sheet
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- this will take a few minutes so don’t skimp!
Beat in the flour and vanilla and mix until you have a dough
Fill a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the lined baking trays, they can also be piped into fingers
Sprinkle some sugar over the biscuits, making sure that some settles into the grooves
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown- mine took 18 or so minutes
Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving onto a wire rack to cool completely to allow them to harden up
Meanwhile, make the butter cream. In a large bowl beat the butter with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until light and fluffy
Gradually mix in the icing sugar until smooth and creamy
Add the vanilla and sufficient milk to give a fairly firm spreading consistency
Choose two biscuits that roughly match each other in size, spread jam on one half and pipe butter cream onto the other
Sandwich the two together and press gently- mine needed setting in the fridge for a while

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Happy Birthday Pa!

Today is my daddy's birthday :) I love my dad, he is beyond amazing and he deserves nice cake! Although he's a dedicated dieter these days, I asked him if I could make him a birthday cake and he said 'no thanks, but I'd like some for the office please', (an example of how generous he is!) and stated it needed to be chocolate fudge cake. Lovely, I thought, I'll make my famous Death By Chocolate cake. Stupidly, I forgot to add the butter to this cake and the results aren't even worth documenting!

Note to self: never bake when ill!

After getting a tad too annoyed, I frantically hopped on the computer and paid a visit to The Caked Crusader who, in true superhero style, saved me from a very sticky situation.

I chose this recipe for a few reasons; it used all of the ingredients I had without needing to go to the shops, it was easily doubled and they looked delicious!

As you can see, the batter for these cupcakes was deliciously smooth, even though it used cocoa powder as opposed to chocolate.

For once, all of my cupcakes came out evenly, and a great size, I love this recipe!

I cheated a little and used Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge icing but this was because it is truly beautiful and it topped off a great bake in a great way! I still need a bit of work on my icing skills, I would have liked the icing all over the cake!

All in all, a very nice bake, a very happy office and a very happy daddy! Thanks CC!

Recipe from The Caked Crusader, you can find it here in it's original form


These quantities will make 12 cupcake sponges – the mix doubles up easily should you wish to make 24

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoon milk
50g white chocolate chips- I didn't put any in as I had none


Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Line a cupcake pan with paper cases
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs, flour, cocoa and milk
When the mixture is smooth and well combined, stir in the chocolate chips
Spoon the batter into the paper cases
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Mine took around 17 minutes, which didn't burn them!
Remove from the tin as soon as possible and leave to cool on a wire rack – removing from the tin is important as the heat of the tin will mean that the cupcakes continue to cook
Pipe or spread your chosen icing over the chocolate cupcakes and decorate as you please

Monday, 3 October 2011

Malteser Fridge Cake :)

Chocolate Fridge Cake used to be my favourite thing to make when I was younger, it was forever a hit among my brownie group! Unfortunately, the recipe was from a book my Dad got me and was lost years ago and as a result, I have forever hunted for a replacement!

I'd like to thank My Dish for helping me rediscover my love for the first thing I ever successfully baked, if you class it as baking...

Warning: these cost next to nothing to make (providing you have the staples in the cupboard like I tend to!) and are mega mega delicious, not a good idea for those attempting a diet!

Malteser Fridge Cake- from My Dish


100g margarine, softened- I used unsalted butter as it was in the cupboard
6 tablespoons golden syrup
250g cooking chocolate (milk)- I used Sainsbury's 27p choc, doesn't alter the taste as you'd expect!
200g digestive biscuits, roughly crushed- I used Morrison's own
200g Maltesers, cut roughly in half- I used 135g as this bag was cheaper...


Melt margarine, syrup and chocolate over heat (or in the microwave stirring often)
When it's all melted, take it off the heat and add the crushed biscuits and maltesers, mix well
Spread into a lined greased swiss roll tin
Chill in the fridge then cut up into small squares
Keep refrigerated, can also be frozen!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Macmillan Coffee Morning: Cakes and Bakes

A while back, I was asked by a friend to make some cakes for a bake sale her Grandma was holding as part of Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning. This scared me as the circumstances in which I normally make cakes never call for them to be particularly outstanding...

After much deliberation, I settled on a Coffee and Walnut cake, a Madeira and some Lemon Biscuits, all of which I have made before without much difficulty.

This is a picture from the first time I attempted Lemon Biscuits. These were left circular and un-iced as my family tend to prefer bakes without icing. As the biscuits for the bake sale needed to be extra special, I used a circular star type cutter and decorated them with lemon icing.

In order for the icing to remain on the biscuit and not dribble over the sides, I piped icing around the edges and allowed it to dry completely before adding the rest of the icing.

I was seriously impressed that I'd come up with this idea, it worked spectacularly. I finished them off with some citrus sprinkles by Dr. Oetker.

Next, I made a Madeira Cake. I've made this cake hundreds of times without any problems so it was really just typical that this turned out poorly when it really mattered! As I have just purchased Mary Berry's Baking Bible, I decided to follow the Madeira recipe in it.

My regular recipe is from the original GBBO book and I felt this would also be a great bake. The recipe told me to throw everything into the bowl and mix, which I was uneasy with. The cake came out unrisen and a bit flat which I believe was due to the lack of method behind the recipe.

I therefore had to smother the cake in a lemon icing in order for it to look less rubbish. On the day, my Granddad bought the cake so disaster averted!!

And, for my 'Show Stopper'...

This cake was received in the best way I could have possibly imagined it to have been, I was so proud! Having made this cake previously, I knew that the sponges came out thin in the tins I was planning to make them in and therefore doubled the mixture. The cake was, quite frankly, colossal in size, and apparently was selling for £1 a slice!

Not necessarily a full house of successful bakes but it was all in aid of a charity very very close to my heart. I only hope the efforts of myself and my fellow bakers have helped Macmillan in all of the amazing work they do!

Coffee and Walnut cake from The Great British Book of Baking, Madeira Cake from Mary Berry's Baking Bible and Lemon Biscuits from Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets
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