Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween - Spiced Pear Cupcake Fun!

I came home today, turned the light on and the fire alarm had fallen off the ceiling and smashed... bit strange but anyway............

move in to the living room and ALL the paintings have fallen off the walls..............

a coincidence or super creepy?? I'm going with creepy! 

I rang the boy, no answer so I ring my dad (obviously!) he says very strange but is concentrating on all the "trick or treaters" knocking at his door. I can hear them giggling and growling and it cheers me up! 

If there is a ghost living in my house I'm sure he or she is nice so, obviously over my scare, I potter off to make a Halloween chilli soup with sweet potatoes (which incidentally is yummy!).

Last Friday, after work, I ran a little Halloween cupcake decorating class. I modelled a spider, a cobweb, a ghost and a mummy. Then I let the team loose on the sweets, icing, squeezy tubes, piping bags and sprinkles. They either had a go at the ones I made or let their imagination run wild, and wild it ran!

 Here we are with all the goodies, concentrating hard!

My super quick mummy, ghost and spider (who has lost two legs)

The lovely Ros with her ghost, her son Montel would be proud!

Charlotte with her spider in a web!

My favourite! Super cute scary spider by Kinnery.

Colourful cobweb by Nicola

 Creative Diana with her grave and a dead hand sticking out.

Squished frogs by Catherine

I'm slightly speechless at this one!

It was a lot of fun and I hope the team enjoyed it!

The cupcakes underneath are spiced pear, I thought this was a nice autumnal recipe for Halloween cupcakes. They were moist yet fluffy (which is tricky to get), definitely a repeat recipe, I highly recommend them with a cream cheese icing. 

Spiced Pear Cupcakes

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Random Recipes - Banana Loaf

As I mentioned in my last post I took part in Dom's Random Recipe Challenge this month. The challenge was "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" and I was paired up with Jac from Tinnedtomatoes.comShe picked a random book and a page from my cookery book collection by selecting a random number.

Jac picked number 4 and that turned out to be........ The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook!

She picked page 66 which was a banana loaf. It is a very easy and yummy recipe. It's spicy and moist and lovely with a cup of tea. I had a few slices when I baked it then let the boy have it to eat at work.

Banana Loaf

270g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
200g bananas, mashed
280g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
140g unsalted butter, melted

1. Grease your loaf tin and preheat your oven to 170C
2. Cream together sugar and eggs. Beat in the mashed bananas.
3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly.
4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth over. Bake for about 1 hour, or until when inserting a toothpick in the centre, it comes out clean.
6. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. 

Thanks very much to Dom for the fun challenge and Jac for being a lovely partner! She had the great idea of trying out recipes on each other blogs. I tried out her scrummy coriander and chickpea patties and she made my key lime pie.

What a yummy weekend!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Easy Coriander and Chickpea Patties -

This month I am a newbee to Dom's from Belleau Kitchen's Random recipe challenge.

This theme this month is "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"

The idea is Dom pairs you up with another blogger and then you each pick a number which corresponds to a book in each others collection. You then pick a page number and voila random recipe.

I was paired up with Jacqueline from Tinnedtomatoes. She had the great idea that we would try out a recipe on each others blogs as well, so I tried: Easy Chickpea and Corriander Patties.

Jaqueline is a vege and blogs about yummy nutritious family friendly meals. She has a little boy and even has a blog just about food for him!

It was a struggle picking a recipe from her site (because they were so good!) I decided to choose something slightly different and go for a savoury dish. She has a great selection of really tasty recipes on her and a useful drop down box to help find the type of meal you want. Some other gems I found and definitely want to try out are:

Curried Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup

Herby Spring Pasta

Moroccan Parcels

The best part is these are "real recipes" you can make for a quick after work meal or a nice dinner party. Have a look for yourself, I am sure you will find some yummy treats to try out!

I made this for Charlotte and Joe. Charlotte is a vege too so I introduced her to and she has chosen loads she wants to try out already. The patties were delicious and even though I usually can't eat a meal without meat in (sorry Jac!) these were great and I will be making them again. A very easy mid week meal!

For the random recipe challenge I choose book 4 and page 216. You can see what Jac made here. I will be posting my random recipe soon, Jac choose book 9 and page 66 for me so wait and see!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Ginger Bundt Cake

  • What should I wear?

I seem to be asking myself this everyday and not it a normal "my wardrobe is full, but I have no clothes and hate everyone way" but because the weather is so random. Hot, cold, humid, rainy?!....who knows. Now as much as I love it not being too cold, I would rather the weather made up it's mind and I knew what was going on. I mean it's October, enough already, I want my cool crisp nights and snugly jumpers!

If the weather won't embrace the correct season I sure as heck will! Cue this spicy, rich ginger cake! I absolutely love winter and am really looking forward to Halloween, Fireworks night and Christmas (but we won't mention that yet). Anything that reminds me of the winter season is a favourite in my book. Ginger is so warm, flavoursome and lovely in this cake.
  • I used to make Bundt cake's all the time with my mum and grandma in america. They always produce moist cakes - something to do with not having to cook the middle of the cake - and they look great.

The trouble is getting it out of the tin (you can only grease the crevices so much) but it always seems to break a bit every time. I mean I don't mind so much because I use icing as a sort of glue which means you may get more icing as an added bonus when you tuck in.

I was super pleased recently when I found a silicone bundt tin! It is great, the cake comes out of the tin perfect every time.
  • I used a recipe from I love this site, It's really useful reading people's comments and making a tried and tested recipe. I did adjust it slightly because of the comments- my version is ingredients below.
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml treacle
  • 125g Golden syrup
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 teaspoon ground ginger (or use fresh if you can)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 250ml hot water

I topped it with cinnamon cream but it would also go great with cream cheese icing.

1. Whisk double cream, with half a teaspoon of cinnamon, until it forms soft peaks.
2. Slather on top - lovely and fresh!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Chilli Chocolate Swiss Roll with Cream and Blackberry Jam - We Should Cocoa

I am sure you have heard of We Should Cocoa but if you haven't, it is a monthly bloggers Chocolate challenge! Each month bloggers are challenged to combine a new flavour with delicious chocolate in whatever way they fancy. This months challenge, set by the super sweet Choclette, is CHILLI.

All my friends know that I have been meaning to make a chilli chocolate cake for ages so this was the perfect excuse. This is my first time entering We Should Cocoa so I was pleased it was such a great ingredient.

We had a dinner party on Wednesday with our friends, Kate and Harriet. I thought I would make something new, which may be difficult to transport (that's all I seem to do with my cakes, it was nice to just make one at home and eat it), and combine it with the challenge - hence the swiss roll. I have also never made one of these before and I have to say it was fun! I loved the rolling up part. I usually love frosting and filling and am always disappointed by the frosting to cake ratio. This cake is great, perfectly distributed filling - Yum!

I was slightly disappointed with this recipe because it only called for 100ml cream which as you can see from the picture just isn't enough (for me anyway) so I have doubled it below. Apart from that the cake was yummy, especially the day after. The cake is rich and the chilli just gives a nice warm after taste. The blackberry is a fruity kick to contrast with the chocolate.

I didn't leave the chocolate drizzle to cool long enough as I didn't want to leave my guests waiting, so you can see it is very runny. After we had eaten half of it and the chocolate had cooled down I drizzled some more on (pic below). This was the effect I was going for, it is how they did it in the book and it looked really effective.

The recipe is taken (but adapted to include chilli) from Peyton and Byrne - British Baking.

3 eggs, separated
130g caster sugar, plus 35g
100g self raising flour
2 tsp chilli flakes, crushed with a pestle and mortar
20g cocoa powder
pinch cream of tartar
Icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a Swiss roll tin or 33cm x 23cm baking tin. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the yolks and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. It will double in size.
3.  Sift together the cocoa powder, flour and chilli and fold in to the egg yolk mixture.
4. With an electric whisk, Whisk the eggs whites in to peaks. Whisk in the cream of tartar and 35g caster sugar until glossy.
5. Stir in a third of the whites with a metal spoon, then fold in the rest until combined. Careful not to remove too much air.
6. Pour into the tin and tilt the tin around so it covers the whole tin evenly.
7. Bake for 17 mins. I baked for 20 mins, as the recipe suggested, and it came out slightly dry.

200ml double cream
box of blackberries
5 tbsp water
1 tbsp caster
(or blackberry jam)

8. Meanwhile, simmer blackberries, water and sugar in a pan for 10 mins. Mash with a potato masher and leave aside to cool.
9. Whisk your cream until thick and in soft peaks.
10. Take the cake out of the oven a leave to cool for a few minutes.
11. Dust with icing sugar and cover with clingfilm. Put a chopping board on top of the tin and invert the cake on to the chopping board.
12. Roll the cake up incorporating the clingfilm and leave to cool.
13. When the cake has cooled, unroll it and spread on the jam and cream.
14. With help from the clingfilm, roll it up again (without incorporating the clingfilm this time)
15. Wrap the whole cake up in clingfilm and refrigerate.

50g Chilli chocolate bar
100ml double cream

16. When you are ready to serve, remove the cake from the fridge.
17. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl hovering over a pan of simmering water.
18. Stir in the double cream. Leave to cool for 15 mins.
19. Pour chocolate into a piping bag (that has a small snip out of the bottom) and drizzle over the cake.
20. Dust with cocoa powder or cover in sprinkles or do nothing except eat it!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Toblerone Cupcakes

Great British Bake off is over...........sob.

For some reason I missed the other series and people kept mentioning it to me. I snuggled down to watch the first episode and was absolutely hooked. I had a pen a paper at the ready to write down tips and recipe ideas, loved it! I was always on the edge of my seat and just like Whatkatebaked, the boy always knew he was cooking and being quiet the whole episode!

As I watched the last episode with super excitement but also a bit of sadness I followed them along by making some Toblerone cupcakes.

I looked around and found a lot of chocolate cakes with Toblerone but I wanted to try something different. The key ingredients to Toblerone are almond and honey. So I wanted to make a cake with ground almond and a honey icing.


Can be found here:
I substituted the chocolate for Toblerone - It's a bit tricky to grate but you can do it :)


250g icing sugar
225g butter ( I know it seems like a lot but it taste yummy, I promise)
2 tablespoons honey

Cream together the icing sugar and butter with an electric whisk.
Whisk in the honey, whisk for 5 minutes until beautifully fluffy!

I also think this cake would go really well with chocolate butter cream as the cake isn't that chocolatey.

I took this in to work for my lovely team. We are going through an "uncertain" time at work at the moment and I hope it cheered them all up.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Eton Mess Cake

Right so not the most glamorous of cakes.....but as long as it tastes good, right?!

I made the sponge from a lemon meringue cake recipe here but I wasn't impressed with the sponge - it took an hour and a half to cook and the cake was far too dense. The recipe says to cook the cake and meringue together which I thought was an interesting idea to try out.

I made the batter and covered it with meringue (pic below) and baked it for ages! The meringue was well cooked though and I managed to get them out of the tins okay (second pic below).

When I went to layer cream over the meringue shell it kept lifting the meringue shell off so in the end I crunched up the meringue and folded it into the cream. I then covered this in a layer of raspberries and plonked the top layer on top. I say plonked because it's not exactly neat, but as I had baked it with the meringue on top (and I was assembling it at work) I hadn't levelled out the cake, hence the floating top layer. If I had been able to transport it to work, without the fear of it spilling in my bag, I would have drizzled some purée on the cream. I had some blackberry coulis at home so I would have used that but any berry coulis or purée would be good. I also used raspberries as there were no strawberries in the little M&S I popped in to after work. You could have used either or both here.

The whole effect was yummy so I would make it again, I would just change the sponge recipe so it was light and fluffier. There are lots of combinations to try out really!

This cake was again for the lovely Alva on her leaving day. We ate half in the office and the other half with sparkling wine in St James Park (in the sun!). Yum.