Tag Archives: baking

Great Bloggers Bake Off: Chocolate Piñata Cake

Piñata cake

Wow! What a great final it was in the Great British Bake Off! Who guessed that Nancy was going to win? My money was on Richard but the luck was not with him during the final unfortunately. For the last great bloggers bake off, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps has challenged us to make our own showstopper.

Piñata cake

Therefore, I would like to present you with my technical showstopping chocolate piñata cake! I am calling it a technical showstopper as during the final, the bakers had to make 12 mini Victoria sponges as part of the technical challenge. A piñata cake is basically a Victoria sponge with a hole in the middle and some extra decoration to make it look really special. I have seen them for ages on Pinterest and always thought they might be quite hard to make, however I could not believe how easy and quick it was to do. Daniel was in the kitchen with me and happily played in his walker while I got on with it.

Chocolate Piñata Cake
Ingredients (makes 1 large 8 inch cake)
For the cake
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4 large free range eggs
For the filling and outside decoration

 

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate, melted
  • 1 large bag of Minstrels
  • 2 large bags of Skittles/Smarties for the filling and the top

Method


  1. Grease and line two 8 inch sandwich tins and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a food processor, add in all the cake ingredients then mix until combined.
  3. Divide the cake evenly between the two tins and then bake for 20-25mins until a knife comes out clean from each cake. Leave in the tins then set aside until completely cool.
  4. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. In a food processor, add in the butter, icing sugar and melted chocolate until combined. Add a splash of water if needed until you have a spreadable consistency. Set aside.
  5. Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the tins and using a chef’s ring (or a cup/small saucer) draw a circle on both cakes with a sharp knife. Do not cut all the way through the cake. You only need a tiny bit. Remove some cake from both these circles but do not remove too much otherwise your cake will fall apart.
6. Add some sweets into the middle of one of the circles. As much as you can fit in and still get other cake on top. Then spread buttercream on the outer edge next to sweets then put other cake on top. Using a palette knife, cover with buttercream and then decorate with the rest of the sweets. Allow to set at room temperature then eat and enjoy!
* you may not want to go to dentist immediately after eating this cake LOL!
Thank you to Jenny for organising the Great Bloggers Bake Off again!
 

 

 

 

 

 

#teamhonkbakeoff – Mr B’s Hidden Red Nose Cake

You may remember that a little while ago, I took part in the Team Honk relay and was one of 200 plus bloggers taking a baton from Lands End to John O'Groats. Well my, Great Bloggers Bake Off friends and I decided that we would like to help Team Honk in the only way we can and host another bake off to raise funds for Sport Relief.

So, without any further ado, I present my 'Mr B's Hidden Red Nose Cake'. Mr B was the nickname the baton was given as he travelled across the country. The cake is a Victoria Sponge Cake with glacé cherries inside (the red noses!) sandwiched together with strawberry jam and decorated with a picture of Mr B, with three stars to represent England, Scotland and Wales. Here is how I made it:

Mr B's Hidden Red Nose Cake

Ingredients

  • 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g Self-Raising Flour (take a tablespoon of the measured flour out into a separate bowl and mix the glacé cherries with it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 3/4 jar of Strawberry Jam, for the middle and to help stick icing
  • 750g red fondant icing
  • Icing sugar, to help roll out fondant icing
  • Selection of coloured icing for the decoration including blue for the baton and yellow for the stars

Method

  1. Grease and line two 8 inch sandwich cake tins
  2. In a bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and the flour and mix lightly until combined. Gently fold in the baking powder, vanilla extract and cherries. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into middle of both cakes
  3. Leave the cakes to cool completely in their tins. Once cooled, sandwich together with the majority of the strawberry jam. Leave behind a bit to stick the fondant icing to the cake.
  4. Once sandwiched together, using a pastry brush, cover the cakes in the remainder of the jam.
  5. Roll out the red fondant icing, using icing sugar to prevent sticking to a round circle bigger than the cake. Using the rolling pin, place the icing over the cake and use a cake smoother to smooth out the icing. Trim away any excess.
  6. Using the other fondant icing colours, cut the out the shape of the baton and long strips of different coloured icing for the ribbons. Use a star cutter to cut out the three stars. Stick them on cake using a tiny bit of water. Admire your handiwork, eat and of course enjoy! Feel great about yourself for supporting a much worthy cause!!*

*the cake was decorated at 11pm at night after 3 hours sleep the night before, and after the bedtime from hell routine from Thomas followed by two glasses of wine! It is probably not my best work but I am very happy I made it and supported the amazing work of Team Honk again :-)

Mummy Mishaps

 

Christmas Bloggers Bake Off: Mincemeat Flapjacks

Hands up, who has a jar or 1/2 jar left of mincemeat in your cupboard? I did and I am sure many of you do too. This year I was determined to put my leftover mincemeat to good use. With a baby due any day now (hopefully ASAP!!) I have been looking for easy to make filling snacks that I can eat while chasing round after a toddler and a newborn baby. This fits the bill nicely and I think it proves that mincemeat is not just for Christmas but can be used all year round to make delicious treats!

Mincemeat Flapjacks (makes 12-16 small squares)

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 300-350g mincemeat
  • 350g jumbo oats
  • 100g glaice cherries, chopped

Method

  1. In a saucepan, put the butter, golden syrup and mincemeat and heat gently until melted. Turn off the heat.
  2. Stir the oats and glaice cherries in until well combined. Then pour into a foil Traybake tin (from Lakeland) or a well lined small roasting dish.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.
  4. Allow to cool completely then cut into squares. Eat and enjoy!

Thank you to Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen for hosting the Christmas Bake Off.

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off – The Masterclass: Sticky Ginger & Treacle Traybake

The Great British Bake Off is now finished until sometime next year, however Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen gave us the whole month of November to make anything from the series that we wanted to make again or try for the first time. As ever, I am leaving it until the last minute to link up and take part.

After watching the four Masterclass episodes I decided to make Mary Berry’s ginger and treacle spiced Traybake. I liked the look of the combination of flavours and thought it was very different to the usual traybakes that you see around. It was very easy to make and I only made one adaptation to the recipe. I added in a teaspoon of dried ginger instead of the mixed spice and allspice as I did not have any in. I think the recipe needed the extra ginger in it to work, however I really love ginger! I took this into work on Wednesday for my last day in the office before maternity leave. Everyone loved it and it disappeared very quickly!!

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 7: Spotted Dick

This week, the Great British Bake Off contestants were challenged to make a suet pudding, Religieuseand a selection of puff pastry treats. Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Helen of The Crazy Kitchen are asking us bloggers to do the same. As pastry is my nemesis, I decided to stick with suet as I have generally found it to be quite easy to work with.

I have always loved traditional steamed suet puddings such as treacle sponge and spotted dick made for me by my nan since I was a little girl. She always made them in the traditional manner but steaming the puddings in a saucepan, however due to the demands of modern life, I do not have the time to do this so I made mine in a microwave instead. I was interested to see how the taste would be affected compared to my Nan’s. I decided to make Spotted Dick as I have not had it got ages and have never made my own. This has got to be the most easiest and the least attractive of my bakes so far. The recipe below reminds me of Spotted Dick’s from my childhood but does seem to be missing something so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Microwave Spotted Dick

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry person)

  • 25g of sultanas or currants
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • 25g soft unsalted butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 25g shredded suet
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of vanilla extract
  • Custard to serve

Method

  1. In a cup or a small bowl, put the currants and the water in the microwave and cook on high for 30 seconds to plump up the currants
  2. Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Add in the currants and their water and mix again.
  3. Pour the mix into a greased small pudding bowl and put in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until cooked through and leave to stand for 2 minutes.
  4. Serve with the custard

PS: I have lots of things to blog about other than the Great Bloggers Bake Off. I just have not had much time recently. Please bear with me.

PPS: Many thanks to Debenhams and Home Bargains for sending me some baking stuff recently. I will be using it in another post soon

 

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 6: Belgian Buns

This week, the Great British Bake Off contestants had to tackle sweet dough in the form of a tea loaf, a Couronne and sweet buns. As ever, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen are asking us to do the same.

I love sweet dough but do not get the chance to make it very often so I seized this opportunity and made one of my favourites, Belgian buns. A brief search on the Internet brought lots of recipes for Chelsea buns but not many for Belgian buns. I eventually settled on this one from Riverside Baking as it only made 6 (or my case 7!) Most of the recipes I found made 12 or 13 buns. This would not normally be a problem but as I am pregnant and craving sweet things, I do not want that many in the house as I will eat them!!

I adapted the recipe slightly. I used bread flour instead of plain and made the dough in my breadmaker. I put all the dough ingredients in at once (wet ingredients first) then put my breadmaker on dough setting. I followed the recipe from that point on but added extra glaice cherries into the dough with the sultanas. They are the best bit of a Belgian bun in my opinion! I overcooked them by a minute or two so they are slightly crisper than what they should be. I enjoyed making these and look forward to making them again soon!

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 1: Rhubarb & Custard Sandwich Cake

The lovely Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Helen of The Crazy Kitchen have created a new linky for all bloggers who are fans of the Great British Bake Off. Each week, we have to cook something related to that week’s challenges on the show. This week it was cake and the contestants had to make sandwich cakes, an Angel Food cake and a chocolate creation. I would of loved to have attempted an Angel Food cake but being a bit short of time, I did not feel brave enough to give it ago.
Inspired by one of the contestants on the show and determined to take the normal Victoria Sponge to the next level, I have dreamed up a rhubarb and custard sandwich cake. This recipe is a hybrid between my normal sandwich cake recipe and Nigella’s custard birthday sponge. I am not going to put the full recipe down as I mostly followed the Victoria sponge recipe for the cake. I only added a couple of tablespoons of custard powder to the mix at the same time as the flour. I followed Nigella’s recipe for the buttercream with an added bit of yellow food colouring to make it more custard like. The rhubarb (from my Nan’s garden) in the middle was roasted for about 20 minutes in a hot oven with a tablespoon of caster sugar, mashed up slightly with a fork and then cooled. The top is decorated with more buttercream using the duo icing kit from Lakeland.
I served the cake this morning at my local NCT branch coffee group. Everyone loved it. It is one I will make again. :-)

 

Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Cupcakes

 

I was recently contacted by the good folks at jamieoliver.com and was asked if I fancied trying one of Jamie's recipes out and letting you guys know about it. As I am currently craving chocolate, a recipe where it was one of the main stars of the show seemed the best way to go. I decided on the sticky toffee cupcakes with chocolate topping as I always tend to make vanilla cupcakes and wanted to make something a bit more interesting. The recipe was very simple and easy to follow. The cake mix smelt very lovely and full of traditional sticky toffee flavour. The cakes rose quite well. The chocolate topping was very simple and easy to make too.

I was also sent some dark chocolate from the Jme range to use in my baking. It is called 'Tall, Dark and Handsome' (just how I like my men LOL!) and it was some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted. I had to use most of it to decorate the cakes but I did get to try a bit. It was rich, very smooth and did taste more luxurious than most dark chocolate I have eaten. I will definitely use it in my baking again.

Disclosure: I was sent the chocolate to use in my recipe and review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Cooking With Your Toddler: Jam Tarts

Cooking with your toddler: Jam Tarts

This is hopefully the first of many ‘Cooking With Your Toddler’ posts that I will do on this blog. A couple of months ago, I was looking for a simple food related activity that Thomas and I could do together. I suddenly thought of jam tarts has Thomas had tried one recently and loved it.

While he was having a nap, I used a pint glass to cut out the circles of  shop brought shortcrust pastry and put them in my Yorkshire Pudding tin. I then spooned some smooth jam into one of his food bowl and gave it a good stir. I rolled out the remaining pastry and left it on the plastic sheet it came on, with my star and a flower cutter next to it. I then eagerly awaited Thomas waking up from his nap.

Once he had woken up, we got to work. I made Thomas spoon the jam into the pastry cases and I was very impressed with his handiwork. His spoon control was excellent and I was very impressed. Once I showed him what he had to do, Thomas got the hang of it very quickly. Once all the tart cases were filled, I showed Thomas how to use the flower and star cutters. He was not strong enough to press the shapes out so I helped him do that. Thomas gave it a good go though. I showed him how to get the shape out of the cutter and was very impressed when his small fingers made easy work of getting the pastry out of the cutter.

Thomas did get slightly confused when it came to putting them in oven. I think he thought you could eat them straight away. We let them cool for as long as we could then we both tried one once Thomas had his dinner. He got in more mess eating them, then did making them! He even got jam in his hair. I really enjoyed our first cooking activity together and cannot wait to do another one soon :-)

Easy Easter Nest Cupcakes

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Easter is just around the corner and to get you in the mood, I have some inspiration for some easy Easter nest cupcakes that children can easily decorate themselves.

The chocolate cake is actually Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe. The version I used is here. The recipe makes a massive quantity of cake mix and easily makes 30 cupcakes. I adjusted the cooking temperature to 175 degrees as I have an electric fan oven and baked them for 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean. The mix is very runny and it is easier to pour it into the cake cases before baking. I let the mix stand for an hour before baking and it thickened up slightly, making it easier.

Once cooled, I made up some chocolate buttercream (250g unsalted butter, 500g icing and 100g dark chocolate melted) and decorated the cupcakes using a grass/hair nozzle to give it a twig effect. The grass nozzle is very forgiving and you are almost given permission to not be perfect for the nests as the messier the better! This nozzle is perfect for children to learn basic piping techniques as they can hardly go wrong. This method of decorating does not use as much buttercream as you think and I ended up with some leftover for use another day. I finished the decoration off with my favourite Easter chocolate, Mini Eggs. I am impressed with myself that all the Mini Eggs made it onto the cakes! Where I found the willpower from not to eat them all, I do not know!

What are you baking this Easter? I would love to find out :-)

PS: I am taking these to Blue Door Bakery’s Cake Club tonight. I am looking forward to talking about cake, cake and even more cake!

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