Tuesday, 11 September 2012

An overdue update

Hello all!

Just a quick update to explain my huge absence from the blog over the past few months.

Following a painfully long and intense battle with illness, my family and I sadly lost our beloved Yaya, the most wonderful grandfather that there ever was.

I had unfortunately already been losing my baking mojo and, as my Yaya was one of my favourite cake testers, I have since been unable to take myself back into the kitchen.

However, with the new series of the Great British Bake Off, I have no excuse to get back to it, especially as his favourite cherry cake was a Mary Berry classic!!

So, in a lasting promise to my handsome Yaya, I hereby announce my sleeves rolled up and the pinny back on!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Birthday Cakes!

Last week was my big brother's 23rd birthday so I decided to make him his favourite cake: Coffee and Walnut! The 5th of May is a special day for our family as my parents celebrate their anniversary on the same day as my brother's birthday, so we get a double celebration!

This cake is forever a favourite among the coffee lovers in our family and is truly an enjoyment to make, albeit a little bit of a lengthy process. The recipe is from the first Great British Bake Off book!

Unfortunately, out of the six people who were to consume the cake, three of us hate coffee cake so I also decided to make some cupcakes. I'm a complete novice at decorating cakes and I've been desperate to get better (somebody please help me!) so I invested in Ruth Clements The Busy Girl's Guide to Cake Decorating which has clearly answered my prayers.

Yes, ok, they aren't a huge achievement but I have to start somewhere! I invested (I say invested because the set cost me twenty pounds...) in a Wilton cutter set for letters and numbers which I hope will be used a few more times, I have to get my money's worth!

I used the vanilla cupcake recipe from Ruth's book and was incredibly dubious as it called for four eggs, though the resulting cupcakes were very nice and fluffy. I attempted to use my initiative when decorating the cupcakes and only consulted the book for advice on how to stick the icing together, a good triumph in my eyes! I'm pleased to say both lots of birthday cake went down very well!

On a last note, my apologies for the lack of posts I've written recently, especially as the ones I have written have been mainly pictures and no recipes! It is currently the end of my first uni year so I'm finding myself low on time and my family is also going through a tough time. I will continue to attempt to blog and my thanks goes out to you all whole continue to hear my blabber on such rare occasions!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Boy Who Bakes- Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Cookies

For Christmas, I received The Boy Who Bakes by Edd Kimber and what an amazing book it is! As an avid Great British Bake Off fan, I loved Edd and was excited to start baking some of his mouthwatering recipes.

The book is jam packed with impressive cakes and bakes and, even without a tempting picture, my brother and I were keen to try his Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Cookies.

The pictures aren't great but they were eaten so quickly, we didn't really get any photos! As you can see, the cookies are a wonderful size. Although the recipe said it made twenty two, we got nearly forty five out of the dough and they were all what I would class as 'large' cookies. This made me very happy!

All in all, a wonderful cookie! They were chewy but crunchy, sweet but salty and totally moreish, I thoroughly recommend you to make these! I won't post a 'how to' as I want you to all invest in this book :)

Happy Baking everyone!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Clandestine Cake Club- March 2012

I have once again stumbled upon that time of year where I have several deadlines looming over me. My apologies for the lack of posts over the past few weeks, I'm a bit stressed and seem to spend hours over my laptop writing about David Cameron and Bridget Jones, such a peculiar combination!

As you all know, Clandestine Cake Club is massive at the moment and last month, I was lucky enough to attend my first one! The theme was 'Baking with Beverages' and my, what a creative lot we are!

There were a lovely selection of cakes but I only managed to get a few photos as my brother and I were too busy filling our faces! I made a Pink Lemonade cake, playing on the lemon and raspberry flavours. My 'rival' cake was a Lemonade Cake and it was beautiful, it even had sugary crystals!

My 'Pink Lemonade' cake was a classic lemon victoria sponge, layered with raspberry creme, lemon curd and raspberries. I got some great feedback from some wonderful people and I can't wait to go back! My thinking cap is on for next month...

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Where on earth have these little beauties been all of my life?! I am absolutely in love!

I've never been a lover of anything 'spicy' but, for a while now, I have been on a complete cinnamon binge. I made a large batch of cinnamon sugar for pancake day and it's been sitting brewing into something wonderful ever since. As unhealthy as it is, I'm loving this on hot, buttered toast!

So, as the cravings continued, I decided to make Snickerdoodles! These are the most wonderful, sugary, cinnamony mouthfuls you could ever imagine. When googling snickerdoodles, The Caked Crusader came right up. As you all know, I'm a great fan of the CC and, having looked at a few recipes, decided to follow hers. I promise this obsession will stop at one point, her recipes are just brilliant to have in your files!

I get the impression that each recipe produces a different sort of snickerdoodle, some cake like, some more flat and biscuity. This recipe gave me a crunchy exterior with a wonderful cake interior!

I had so much fun rolling these around in the sugar, even though my hands turned a very unattractive yellow in the process! I didn't follow the recipe exactly and used my own cinnamon sugar which I made by using a ratio of 2:1 (sugar:cinnamon)

These biscuits have gone down brilliantly in my house, even the non cinnamon lovers have been converted! My favourite thing is that both my brother and my dad complained they had nothing to do with snickers, oh dear!

Snickerdoodles- from The Caked Crusader


For the biscuits:
125g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg- I omitted this!

For the sugar coating:

2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder

- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4

- Line two baking trays with baking paper

- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla

- Stir in the flour, baking powder and nutmeg until you have a sticky but well combined dough

- On a plate, stir together the sugar and cinnamon to make the coating- this would have worked well in a bowl too!

- Taking a teaspoon of the dough at a time, roll between your palms to make a little ball. Roll the ball around on the plate with the coating and ensure it is completely covered

- Place on the baking sheet. Place a maximum of 12 biscuits per sheet as they will expand while cooking. Repeat until all the dough is used

- Bake for 15 minutes or until the biscuit is golden brown and slightly cracked on top

- Let the biscuits firm up on the tray before you move them to cool completely on a wire rack


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes- Take 2!

Every time I check my blog statistics, the numbers for my original Kinder Bueno cupcakes keep going up and up. This makes me feel like a very poor blogger as they really have nothing to do with the delicious bar besides a chunk on top!

And so along came the huge and continuing urge to redeem myself and create a real Kinder Bueno cupcake! This was easy; chocolate cupcake and hazelnut buttercream. But then came the quest on how to create the 'smooth milky and hazelnut' buttercream. At first I thought I'd use hazelnut flavoured Baileys but was unable to find a miniature version. I also wanted to eliminate alcohol so Frangelico was out of the question! Then, after what seemed like hours trailing around Newcastle, the idea struck- hazelnut syrup...

I used my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe from The Caked Crusader and also followed her step by step guide for making Swiss Meringue Buttercream which is hugely helpful even after you've made it several times!

The hazelnut syrup works really well with the buttercream, and provided a really subtle flavour, just like a Kinder Bueno! I added around 2 and a half teaspoons of syrup although you could add more for a stronger flavour

I'm really happy with these cupcakes, I feel like I've finally redeemed myself! Happy baking everyone!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Football Pitch Birthday Cake

It was my wonderful boyfriend's birthday last week and, having made him a bakewell tart last year, I decided to go all out this year! Football consumes every inch of our lives, whether it's being played or watched, so the theme was a no brainer...

Unfortunately, none of the photos seem to justify the colour of the icing. I used nearly half a bottle but still couldn't go beyond a slightly pale shade of green!

For the sponges, I doubled a bog standard victoria sponge recipe and baked them one at a time in a large tray bake pan. I planned this cake about a month before making it and obsessed every single day over whether this would be too shallow. Following several attempts, I just went for it and it was a monster of a cake!

I followed a ratio of 2:1 icing sugar to butter for my buttercream and it was delicious! The footballers were a set by Wilton that I found in Lakeland and for once, I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap they were!

I struggled to find a cake board to accommodate such a whopper of a cake, so my dad bought me a cheap chopping board and we covered it with tin foil. It worked wonderfully!

Never again do I want to repeat my car journey with this cake on the front seat, journey of terror. All in all, a lovely cake and a very happy boyfriend! That makes me a happy Ray :)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Liebster Award

The lovely Jo at What Do You Make of My Cake gave me a Liebster Award this week, thanks so much! This is such a compliment for me, especially to know that my endless rambling is being enjoyed out there! You should also go check out Jo's blog if you haven't already, she would definitely be getting this award from me if I was allowed to do that. So, in keeping with the tradition of the award, I am passing it along with great honour.

"The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note."

The rules:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  • Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
  • Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

1) Nelly's Cupcakes- Nelly is a fellow blogger from Newcastle and her tweets always get me in the mood for cake! She is always there with support and really helpful suggestions

2) What Kate Baked- this blog is full of wonderful ideas, I'm loving the Valentine's biscuits Kate has on here at the moment. Bakes also come with a musical outburst!

3) A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate- if the title picture isn't enough to entice you into this blog then I don't know what is, that cake just looks so heavenly! A lovely mixture of sweet and savoury and a delightful read

4) Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog- definitely living up to the well earned title of 'cupcake queen', they're absolute beauties!

5) Chocolate and Pears- A delicious mix of all things baked, check out the cookies!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Marbled Cupcakes

I can never decide what I like best in a cake, chocolate or vanilla. Luckily, these cupcakes have both! As part of my Christmas present, my boyfriend bought me a book dedicated just to cupcakes, which is where I found this little beauty of a recipe!

The batter looked great as it sat in the cupcakes cases, however I was worried that there wasn't going to be enough of it to make the 12 cupcakes that it claimed to make. Despite having to be a tad economical, there was enough for 12 healthy sized cupcakes in the end!

The marble in these cakes looked great when you bit into them. They also tasted fantastic, next time though, I'll put more vanilla and chocolate in their respective batters.

I also used my Wilton 1M for the first time when decorating these cupcakes and I have no idea where it has been all of my life! As you all suggested, a larger nozzle really has defined my buttercream swirls and I'm looking forward to using my 2D.


Friday, 3 February 2012

A Little Bit of an Update

Not a lot to report on the old blog this week as my beloved KitchenAid has been away for repair and I've been practising my boyfriend's birthday cake. So today, I'll finally get around to showing you all of my lovely new baking goodies from Christmas and my Birthday!

My brother was on top form this xmas/birthday and got me a lot of the things that I had wanted for ages. Firstly, he got me the Fred M-cups which I have been dying to get my hands on! I hate having to avoid recipes that are in cup measurements but these little beauties separate into six different cup sizes and they're adorable! He also got me baking beans and the lovely mini heart tin, clearly a further hint towards making him a lemon meringue tart!

Among the pressies from my brother are the new tray bake pans from my aunt. My previous tray bake tin is more of a deep roasting tin and now I can make individual ones too! Thank God for Lakeland. I also received a cookbook stand from another aunt and a cake lifter from my parents though my dad couldn't quite understand what it was for!

Also in the picture is a little gift to myself, some Wilton nozzles. I am absolutely in love with the 1M and it really has made my icing swirls so much more perfect! I'm yet to use the 2D but can't wait...

As you can see, I got loads of new cookbooks! Im gradually making my way through them and have some exciting new posts coming up...

This present is genius! I'm forever finding recipes online and now I can write them down and keep them in this adorable tin. It came with loads of recipe cards for soups, starters, desserts etc.

This one was a present with no reason from my dad, how sweet! It has recipes for several types of pastries and is glass, so is great for keeping the pastry cold whilst rolling it out on the guides. I now have no excuse to keep buying pre-made pastry, do I?

Last but by no means least, is this little beauty from my brother...

I absolutely love this! It's so alike Kevin it's unreal, I can't wait to finally get it up on my wall. So, there you have them, all of my baking gifts from my gorgeous family!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Eteaket- Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh

Last week, my boyfriend and I took off to Edinburgh for a couple of days before I went back to Uni and life hit reality once more. Edinburgh is such a homely place for my family as my brother lived there for four years and it's always a favourite choice when taking a few days off.
I've heard people rave about Eteaket on Frederick Street and, having exhausted ourselves just enough for a cup of tea, knew we had to try it. I was completely taken away upon entering, the decor was just as I expected as I expected a 'tea boutique' to be. There were mismatched cushions and bright colours on the walls, it was exactly how I'd have my own cake shop!

We chose a cosy seat in the corner and ordered our goodies. My boyfriend had a cappuccino and a millionaire's shortbread which he said was delicious and, having sneaked a mouthful, I can totally agree.

Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed with my order. I was really impressed with the wide range of teas on offer (that's totally how it should be in a tea boutique) but all I wanted was a bog standard cup of tea, something that they could not offer me. On the plus side, however, my scone was huge and I had sufficient butter and jam to slather both sides of it, wonderful!

All in all, a recommended place that did not fail to please. The mismatched china was so beautiful and I felt the need to take plenty of photos of it! The atmosphere was excellent, we were surrounded by art students drawing together, friends meeting for coffee and a lovely woman reading her book alone, soaking in the surroundings. The staff were lovely too, taking our order at the table and generally being more than willing to help.

Next time your in Edinburgh, give Eteaket a try, such a wonderful place!

N.B. I have since received a lovely email from the wonderful people over at Eteaket informing me that a new menu has been released with a 'regular cuppa' on it, yaaaaay! :)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Plum Cupcakes and a Very Big Thank You!

Firstly, my blog celebrated it's first birthday last week and I had been planning a special bake for a few weeks. My boyfriend and I, however, decided to go away for a few days so the bake turned into a quicker one in order to pack!

When I started off this blog, I only had one recipe book and rarely baked. Having been lucky enough to buy my KitchenAid, I was challenged to start off a blog by two very special people who knew how much I loved to bake. I eventually plucked up the courage and now, 1 year later, I feel I have succeeded in not only improving my baking skills, but in making a lovely blog. I've met (you know what I mean!) some wonderful people along the way and would like to thank you all for reading my posts, commenting on them and continuously supporting me through the process!! What an amazing year...

Right, soppy stuff over! Here are the 'Plum Cupcakes' I made from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book. I believe they should be called 'Plum Jam Cupcakes' as that's pretty much all that's in them...

I was so disappointed with these cakes! First of all, they use brown sugar which made them heavy and really didn't work well with the plum jam that was incorporated into the mix. Secondly, there was jam in the cupcake mix, which made the cake taste delicious, but then this was ruined by the jam layer within. I followed the recipe and used the correct amount inside the batter but this was far too much and completely ruined the cupcakes. So much so, I threw my dummy out and refused to eat them!

The recipe states jam in the cupcake, as a filling and in the buttercream but this was just overkill for me and I opted for a plain buttercream in the hope it'd tone down the jam. This worked but the jam was just so bitter!

I have hope in these cupcakes yet, so next time, I'll experiment with a lighter sugar and would also omit the jam filling!

I sent these off to my Dad's work and the feedback was great, so maybe they're being nice or I'm missing something? Who knows!!


For the Sponge:

120g unsalted butter, softened
340g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large egg yolks
360g soft light brown sugar
180ml buttermilk
270g plum jam

For the Frosting:

500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, softened
50ml whole milk (I used Semi Skimmed and it worked fine)
70g plum jam
plum slices to decorate, optional


-Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 and line your muffin tins with cases
-Using a hand held mixer or stand mixer, mix together the butter, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until well incorporated and crumb like in texture
-In a jug and using a hand whisk, mix together the egg yolks, brown sugar, buttermilk and 120g of the jam until combined. Add half of this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add the remaining mixture, then increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth
-Fill each paper case up to one third full with batter, then top with 1 tsp of jam, followed by a similar quantity of batter (filling each case about two-thirds full)
-Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when you lightly press them. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
-For the frosting, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until fully incorporated and still powdery in consistency. Pour in the milk while mixing on a low speed, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy. Finally, stir in the jam by hand, ensuring it is evenly dispersed
-Spoon the frosting on the cupcakes once they are cold, gently smoothing the tops with a pallette knife. Decorate with fresh slices of plum

Monday, 23 January 2012

Individual Bakewell Tarts

I have so much to write about! I need to share all of my bakey type Christmas and Birthday presents and a few of the bakes I've been doing recently. But for now, here are the Bakewell Tarts I made recently.

I've made a large Bakewell before (try here for the recipe!) and, having had a really strong craving for some, attempted them again. I made some individual tarts on the day after New Year's day and they turned out perfectly and, as a result, they went down a storm. My more recent attempt, however, didn't go as smoothly.


1) In the original batch, the pastry turned out perfectly, in the 1st of this weekend's batches it did not. Solution= grease the tins (obviously? I didn't realise pastry needed greased tins!). This worked well.

2) My largest cutter did not fill the whole cupcake tin which was fine originally but worked against me this weekend.
Solution= create a bottom and attach long strips to make sides. A seemingly clever idea, until they separated upon cooking and created a Victoria Sponge type affair!

3) I used Lorraine Pascals recipe which suggests shop bought pastry. Problem is, it's rubbish!! Solution= give up and never make Bakewells again...

Yes, they weren't problems that caused major damage and they still tasted amazing, especially covered in custard but following several disastrous bakes, my morale was at it's lowest. Keep Calm and Bake On, ey?

Monday, 9 January 2012

An Overdue Christmas Update

Happy New Year everyone! This post is completely overdue as Christmas is wonderfully hectic in my family, especially as my birthday is on the 27th December, right inbetween all of the festivities! As a result, I didn't get around to doing much baking and when I did, they didn't hang around long enough for me to take photographic proof!

As I've never made a Christmas cake, I used Mary Berry's version of Delia's all in a bag cake. I hate Christmas cake, but the smell of the fruit and the spices really got me into a festive mood!

As everything was measured for you, and pre soaked, it was the easiest way to make a Christmas cake. Unfortunately, as we've had far too many indulgences over the last few weeks, my cake is yet to be decorated or eaten, so I'll keep you all updated when it is!

We also got our new oven just in time for Christmas, and I got straight on to making festive shortbread. I found some lovely little presentation bags in Morrison's and bagged them all up, ready to hand out to friends and family.

As always, the photos for my bakes are either rubbish or non existent! Alongside Christmas cake and shortbread, I made peppermint creams and miniature bakewells, all of which were eaten so quickly that I didn't get to take any pictures! I promise that my New Years resolution is to take better pictures!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, all the best!
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