Sunday, 31 May 2015

Peanut Butter Cupcakes



If you like peanut butter then you're going to love these scrummy peanut butter cupcakes. This recipe makes approx 24 cupcakes. If you want to be more generous with the icing then you can double the icing recipe.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
270g butter (I use Stork)
100g peanut butter
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
250g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1-2 tablespoons of milk

For the icing:
150g butter
60g peanut butter
250g icing sugar

For the topping:
100g unsalted peanuts, roasted and chopped


Method

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC, 160ºC fan, Gas mark 4 and line two 12 hole muffin tins with paper cases.
2.  Cream the Stork, peanut butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3.  Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.
4.  Add the flour and the bicarb and mix until just combined.
5.  Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
6.  To make the icing mix the butter, peanut butter and icing sugar together and pipe onto the cupcakes. Finally, put the chopped peanuts onto a plate and dip each cupcake into the mix so you have a generous amount of peanut crumbs on the top.



Thursday, 7 May 2015

Babies, biscuits and cupcakes

Last week was all about babies, not only was there a new Princess born but more importantly my best friend had a beautiful baby boy! 





What better opportunity to bake some cute baby themed cupcakes. I bought these Baby Shower Cookie Cutters from Lakeland ages ago and have been waiting for an excuse to sue them. I was really impressed with them, they were really easy to use on biscuit dough and fondant.

I made the biscuits first, then cut out the shapes with fondant and stuck these onto the biscuits (they stick easily with a tiny bit of water). Finally I put them onto cupcakes.

I wanted to share the biscuit recipes with you as this is the best recipe if you want your biscuits to taste good and keep their shape.

Simple Vanilla Biscuits

Ingredients:
200g Stork
200g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
425g plain flour

Method:
  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan and line a couple of baking tins with baking paper.
  2. Cream the Stork and sugar in a bowl or food processor for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again briefly.
  4. Mix in the flour until a dough forms.
  5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out using a rolling pin. If at this stage it feels a bit too sticky you can add more flour.
  6. Cut out the biscuit shapes and lay them on the baking trays.
  7. Put the biscuits in the fridge for 5 minutes before baking in the oven for 12 minutes or until starting to brown at the edges.
  8. Leave the biscuits to cool on a wire rack.



Saturday, 1 November 2014

Happy Halloween - Eyeball Cupcakes and Gingerbread Skeletons


I have always loved Halloween, as a child I loved dressing as a witch going door to door asking for sweets. Now I'm too old (and scary) to go trick or treating so I make up for it by baking lots of creepy treats.

Halloween baking is all about the decoration and I had great fun making Eyeball Cupcakes and Gingerbread Skeletons this year.


These Eyeball Cupcakes are so simple they're a bit of a cheat. I bought some eyeball gummy sweets but you could easily make some eyeballs from fondant. Then choose your favourite cupcake recipe, I went for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes


The Gingerbread Skeletons are a great twist on the traditional gingerbread man. I used my simple Gingerbread recipe and decorated by piping melted white chocolate (100g was enough for all of the skeletons) but you could also use writing icing.

Simple Gingerbread Recipe

I love gingerbread. It took a while to find, but finally I have a foolproof gingerbread recipe. Perfect for spooky Gingerbread Skeletons for Halloween or the classic Gingerbread House at Christmas.

Ingredients

225 g (8oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
85 g (3oz) margarine
85 g (3oz) soft brown sugar
85 g (3oz) golden syrup


Method
  1. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl or food processor and mix together to form a soft dough.
  2. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 75mm (¼ inch). Cut into shapes using cookie cutters or a knife. I find it easiest to roll and cut the shapes on greaseproof paper so that you don't have trouble transferring to your baking tray.
  3. Pop on the baking trays and bake in the centre of preheated oven at 210°C, 190°C fan, Gas mark 7 for about 10 minutes. Check that the shapes are not scorching after about 6 minutes. They are ready once lightly golden brown.





Friday, 24 October 2014

October Clandestine Cake Club and my Halloween Graveyard Cake




Every October we have a Clandestine Cake Club with an Autumnal theme. This year I chose a cake with seasonal ingredients including squash and figs but gave it a Halloween twist too.

This chocolate cake recipe is one of my favourites; squash and fig sounds odd but works really well. You could also switch the squash for pumpkin which makes it a great way to use up pumpkin leftovers once you've carved your Jack O'Lantern.

Ingredients

100g squash or pumpkin
225g dark chocolate
175g margarine
3 eggs
175g dark muscovado sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
250g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
150g dried figs

For the ganache:
200g dark chocolate
100ml double cream

For decoration:
Gingerbread gravestones using my simple gingerbread recipe
100g dark chocolate

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, 160ºC fan, Gas mark 4. Grease and line your baking tin (you can make a standard round cake but to make a graveyard I used a square tin).
  2. Make the gingerbread gravestones in advance, melt the chocolate and pipe the names/dates on and leave to set in the fridge.
  3. Grate the squash or pumpkin and chop the figs into small pieces and set aside.
  4. Melt the chocolate and margarine together, either in a bain-marie or in the microwave is fine. Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and the sugars, then add the melted chocolate mixture. Stir in 275ml cold water then sift in the flour and baking powder.
  6. Finally stir in the squash or pumpkin and figs. Pour the mixture into into the tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
  7. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Prepare the ganache by melting the chocolate, then add in the cream and stir. Remove the cake from the tin and pour over the ganache. Before it dries add your gravestone biscuits and any other decorations.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Rhubarb Crumble

About once a month I have the family over to mine for Sunday lunch. When I say Sunday lunch, I mean lunch on a Sunday and not a full blown roast dinner (just to manage expectations). It's much more likely to be a shepherd's pie or a spaghetti bolognese.

On these family Sundays I ALWAYS bake something, and everyone leaves with any leftovers. They now arrive expectant, clutching their tupperwares and asking "where's the cake?"

Today was one of those Sundays and I decided to make use of the rhubarb my mum gave me from her garden a few weeks ago. And of course I opted for the classic rhubarb dish; rhubarb crumble.

I used this recipe from the Stork website. I know the chef who creates the recipes for Stork and I have tried quite a few and they always turn out really well.

I made a few simple adaptations; I used golden syrup sugar rather than normal caster sugar, added some digestive biscuits to the crumble and cooked it in one large pie dish rather than making four individual crumbles.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 40g golden syrup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the crumble topping:
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g golden syrup sugar
  • 50g Stork
  • 4 (or more) digestive biscuits, crumbled


Preheat the oven to 200oC / 180oC / Gas Mark 6.


Cut the rhubarb into small chunks.


Mix with sugar in a pan and cook for 8 minutes over a moderate heat stirring regularly. Add the cinnamon leave to cool slightly while you make the crumble.



In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar and the Stork to make the crumble.
Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the pie dish and put the crumble on top.
Sprinkle over four crumbled digestive biscuits.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked and golden brown.


I served it with natural yoghurt which is a great summery alternative to custard.

I wasn't even sure that I liked crumble that much but it was delicious. Rhubarb can be quite tart but the cinnamon seemed to balance it out and the digestives and golden syrup sugar made it even more delicious.

I'm now deciding what other crumbles I can make, apple and cinnamon, mixed berry, apple and raspberry, the possibilities are endless.

What's your favourite crumble recipe?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Strawberry Yoghurt Layer Cake - Perfect for Summer

With all of the great weather we've been having recently I have been in the mood to eat strawberries.

This cake is deliciously summery, perfect for a summers evening.

The recipe below is enough for one layer, just double up all of the ingredients to make the double layered cake - I warn you though, it's huge!






Ingredients
For the Cake:
90g strawberry yoghurt
75g Stork
150g caster sugar
3 eggs 
150g self raising flour

For filling and decoration:
200g strawberries
175g caster sugar 
200ml double cream
3 tablespoons jam




Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line a round cake tin.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour the batter into the tin and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins or until it passes the skewer test. After 5 minutes turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  3. One cooled smother in strawberry jam, whipped cream and decorate with strawberries. If you are making the larger, layer cake add the second sponge to the top and decorate with strawberries.