Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Fondant Iced Cupcakes

This was my first attempt at icing cupcakes with fondant. Normally I love cupcakes covered in lashings of butter cream but I've seen lots of pretty cupcakes decorated with just fondant and pretty flowers and desperately wanted to try it myself. I did worry they might be too dry but I managed to sneak a thin layer of butter cream and jam underneath the fondant which helped, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised, a nice change from the normal butter creamy swirly ones I normally do. I definitely will be trying these again with some different flower designs.

I realised as I got all my ingredients together that I hadn't actually got any white cupcake cases, so went with a red theme having got quite a few red cupcake cases left over from Christmas.

I finally got round to using the embossing mat that I bought months ago and was impressed with the lovely paisley print it gave the fondant. I also got round to using the rose mould that again, I bought months ago. It was super easy to use and produced these really cute little roses.

I hope everyone had a good Easter? I had a super busy 4 days...on the Friday morning I went to a lovely relaxing Yin Yoga class and got all blendy and blissful as our teacher, Kirsty, likes to call it for the weekend. In the afternoon I made these cupcakes, although perhaps I should have made something a bit more easter-y?! Saturday and Sunday were filled with a bit of gardening - mowing and re-seeding our lawn and DIY with Karl putting pictures up round the house and me following with the Dyson. Finally, on Monday my lovely friend Jenny and I went on a little road trip to Chester where we had a mooch around the shops and afternoon tea...I will leave you with a couple of piccies of our feast - it was all so scrummy!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Orange Cake...and a bit of an update

Yet again I have been a useless blogger and not updated for a while. It has been an exciting few months since I last posted so I feel I owe you all a bit of an update. Shortly after I posted about xmas pudding cupcakes Karl and I jetted off to New York for 4 amazing days of shopping and sightseeing. Here I am at Rockefeller Centre near the biggest christmas tree I have ever seen, and yes that is a Lindt bag I am holding - I was feeling very happy about finding a Lindt shop and had just got Pick and Mix Lindors - they have loads of different flavours we dont have here- peanut butter, baileys, vanilla and more!

It was the most fantastic trip I have ever been on and was made even better by the fact Karl proposed on our last night!! Obviously I said yes and we spent the rest of December when we got home ring shopping until I eventually settled on this one...its a stunner of a ring and I absolutely love wearing it...

Apologies for the dodgy red mark on my finger - I managed to burn it on the oven shelf about 2 weeks before we went to NYC and was quite miffed at the fact I had a yucky looking finger for the proposal!

Since then my life has revolved around looking at and buying stuff for the house and hunting for a wedding venue. We have finally found a venue which is all booked now for 2015 - aaaages away but everyone assures me it will fly by. We are now on the hunt for a photographer and various other wedding-y things that need to be booked well in advance. It is all very exciting and busy!

Housewise we are still trying to get our lounge sorted with a new fire and furniture - I cannot wait until its finished. We have gotten round to finishing our bedroom - we went for a yellow and grey theme which looks lovely and spring like....

Anyway..onto baking...I have had a few days off work this week and was determined to get back into the kitchen and bake something. I decided to bake the orange cake out of the 2nd Primrose Bakery Book. I have been wanting to make this cake since I got the book and always love the recipes in the Primrose books for the layer cakes. This cake definitely did not disappoint. It was lovely and light in texture and the orange made it taste really fresh.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Next on my list to bake were Christmas Pudding Cupcakes - I've really missed making cupcakes whilst I've not been baking. This recipe was one I saw in the second Primrose Bakery book and I must say as soon as I saw it I was intrigued to know what the cakes would taste like.

I had an absolute disaster the first time I made them - the recipe stated it made 12 but infact it would have made double this and I ended up with overflowing cupcake cases and throwing the whole lot in the bin - something that I've never had to do before!

On my second attempt I halved the recipe and got 12 perfectly sized cupcakes. The Christmas pudding flavour of the cupcakes comes from a combination of mixing mincemeat into the cake mixture and then adding brandy to the butter cream. I got quite a taste for brandy whilst making these cupcakes and added nearly double the amount to the butter cream! They really did taste like Christmas! I sent Karl off to work with this batch as apparently the lads at his work seem to be craving cupcakes.

Cherry and Ginger Florentines

Wow, I can't believe that my last post was back in May! So much has happened in the last few months and I have been super super busy!

I started a qualification in Housing through my work which was only supposed to be '3 hours or so on a Sunday afternoon' according to my teacher which ended up taking over mine and the other girls on the courses lives!

As well as this we were also trying to buy a house. It was a very stressful 6 months as the first house we wanted fell through, but we have finally bought our perfect little house - a 3 bedroom, semi detached and we love it!

So unfortunately, due to both of these things baking got a little bit forgotten about. However, as soon as my course finished 2 weeks ago I dived straight back into the kitchen to bake! Every year I see everyones post on their blogs about what lovely cakes and bakes they made for christmas and I'm always either too busy or too ill to do anything so this year I was determined after not baking for months on end that I too would make delicious christmas treats!

First on my list was florentines. I always always buy a box of florentines without fail at christmas - they are definitely one of my favourite christmas nibbles and I've seen several different recipes for these treats but in the end I decided to go with a Hairy Bikers Recipe for Sour Cherry and Ginger Florentines:


2 tbsp butter
75g/2½oz golden caster sugar
2 tsp flour
75ml/2½fl oz crème fraîche
50g/2oz flaked almonds, toasted
2 tbsp candied peel
2 tbsp crystallised stem ginger
50g/2oz dried sour cherries
150g/5oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces


1.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2.Heat the butter, sugar and flour in a pan over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

3.Gradually add the crème fraîche, stirring continuously until well combined.

4.Add the almonds, candied peel, stem ginger, and sour cherries and mix well until combined.

5.Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place teaspoonfuls of the florentine mixture onto it. Space the teaspoonfuls out at 2.5cm/1in intervals so they don't merge together when heated.

6.Transfer the florentines to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on the tray, then transfer the florentines to a cooling rack.

7.Bring a little water to a simmer in a pan. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the chocolate pieces and stir until smooth and melted.

8.Turn the florentines so that the flat base is facing upwards. Spread the melted chocolate over the florentine bases and set aside to cool and set.

I tried this recipe using the sour cherries - but in the end I preferred the much cheaper alternative of glace cherries. Don't leave the florentines to go completely cool on the greasef proof paper or it can be an absolute nightmare to get them off it!This recipe made about 12 small florentines which had a lovely chewy texture to them. These are perfect for little christmas presents too - I bought some cellophane snowflake food bags and gave some to my parents on a recent visit.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Nanaimo Bars

I recently received a copy of Cox Cookies and Cakes. I've been pondering over buying this book for a little while but must admit never really got round to it! There are some gorgeous cupcake recipes in this book that I can't wait to try, however as I haven't been well again recently and snowed under by course work for the housing course I have just started I just wanted to make something easy but still yummy. I was very intrigued when I saw the pictures of the Nanaimo Bars. They were so eye catching in the book with their bright yellow layer, I couldn't wait to make them.

Apparently these chocolatey, butter creamy bars are a popular sweet in Canada - I'd unfortunately never heard of them. They have a base of biscuit, coconut, coco powder and walnuts and then a yellow custard butter cream filling with a chocolate layer on top - seriously good!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Posh Rocky Road

Sometimes you just need a super duper chocolate fix....for me thats unfortunately ALOT of the time! I think I've have found the perfect recipe for this. I am a massive fan of Rocky Road. I just love marshmallows and chocolate - amazing combo! I don't enjoy the super market rocky roads - there never seems to be enough marshmallows etc mixed in, so I have been searching for a good recipe.

My Dad has been raving for a while now about how good some Rocky Road is that he's tasted at work. Apparently, his colleague's wife makes it and then sends him into work with it. I have therefore been constantly nagging him to get me the recipe so I can sample it for myself. He's finally emailed me it so I set about making it last weekend for when my Mum and Dad visited and, well it is actually quite amazing. So amazing infact, I have made it again this week and taken it into my work (it lasted about 5 minutes!)and will probably make it again next week!

The recipe is so simple, no baking required but involves lots and lots of chocolate, maltesers, snickers bars, mars bars, marshmallows, cherries and apricots.

It actually made quite alot too - it seemed to go on forever. I managed to give some to my Mum and Dad to take home with them, take some to my friends Jenny's to have after our tea, give some to my friend Vikki whilst she had to sit for hours in A&E after breaking her ankle and then there still seemed to be loads left for me and Karl!

Posh Rocky Road

700g milk chocolate
4 x regular sized mars bars/snickers (maybe I'm just greedy but I used 6 in total, 3 of each!), roughly chopped
50g marshmallows, plus extra for the top
50g maltersers
50g diced apricots, roughly chopped
50g raisons/sultanas or cherries (I used cherries as Karl doesn't like raisons!)
50g cornflakes
chocolate sprinkles for decoration

Line a baking tray 33 x 23 x 2.5 with grease proof paper (I didn't have a tin of this size so used a slightly deeper smaller one.)
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water, stirring every so often.
Once melted, take the chocolate off the heat and mix in all of the dry ingredients.
Make sure it is all evenly distributed through the chocolate.
Pour into the lined tin and using the back of a spoon, flatten the mixture into the tin.
Decorate the top of the rocky road with more marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles.
Allow to set in the fridge over night or at least for a good few hours.
Once set, remove from the fridge and leave out for an hour or so(or else you'll never manage to cut it!) and cut into pieces.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Toffee Mocha Cupcakes -

I have recently been contacted and asked to be involved with a campaign. Although I had heard of this website before from the recent Eric Lanlard tv programme (they sponsor it!), I had never taken a look at the website.

I was asked to re-create a recipe from the website and blog about it. After spending quite a bit of time looking through all of the yummy recipes on the website I thought I would try and find a cupcake recipe. I feel its been a while since I last made some cupcakes and am missing them!

There are plenty of yummy cupcake recipes on the Baking Mad website along with loads of helpful tips and solutions for all sorts of baking issues. If you've not had a look at this website then you definitely should.

In the end I settled on making the Toffee Mocha Cupcakes:

Toffee Mocha Cupcakes
100g butter unsalted
60g golden caster sugar
60g light muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g dark chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
For the butter cream
3 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
3 tsp hot water
3 tsp espresso coffee powder
150 grams butter unsalted
300 grams golden icing sugar
Fudge pieces, grated chocolate and toffee sauce to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 170 C fan/ Gas mark 4. Line the muffin tin with muffin papers, or grease and flour each hole individually.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat together the eggs and vanilla extract.
Gradually add the flour and eggs into the butter and sugar mixing all the time.
Gently stir in the chocolate.
Spoon into the muffin papers, about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

To make the icing, mix together the cocoa, expresso powder and hot water until dissolved for the mocha flavouring. Beat together the butter, icing sugar and mocha flavouring, until well blended. Fill the piping bag, and pipe onto the cupcakes.
Grate chocolate over the icing and scatter on some fudge pieces. Finally drizzle on some toffee sauce.

I did change the recipe slightly, rather than completely following the one on the Baking Mad website - I'm a chocaholic and felt the cake needed some chocolate adding to it so I mixed in 50 grams of chopped up chocolate. Also I changed the method - I made these the first time following the original method which said to melt the butter and sugar in a pan and then stir them into the beaten eggs. Even though I let the butter and sugar mixture cool as the recipe instructed, I still felt it cooked my eggs and left me with a really lumpy cake batter. The second time I made the cakes I creamed the butter and sugar together first, rather than melting them.

I also tripled the ingredient quantities for the butter cream (the quantities above provide the amount of butter cream I used) - I do like a LOT of buttercream on my cupcakes!! And then as well as grating dark chocolate onto the butter cream, for extra naughtiness I also added fudge chunks and a simple home made toffee sauce to to make them a bit more toffee-ish! The toffee sauce was made by melting 120g of light brown sugar with 120g of butter in a pan. Once melted, I added 100ml of cream and heated till it was bubbling and then took of the heat and allowed to cool.

Over all I really liked these cupcakes - the coffee-ish chocolatey butter cream was really good, especially with toffee sauce drizzled over it. I think if I was making them again though I would tweak the cake recipe - for me they were a bit too muffin like in texture, rather than a cupcake. I think some toffee sauce in the centre of the cupcake would be good too..yum!