12 Nov 2015

Pudsey Bars

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Raise money for Children in Need with these almond sponge cake bars filled with white chocolate and homemade jam. It’s a bit more creative than just dropping a pound in the bucket on the way in to work, and it’s easy enough to make that I had time to buy the ingredients and bake this after work on without advance notice.

For anyone not in the UK, “Pudsey” is the mascot for the Children in Need charity which runs a national collection every year. He has one eye and is covered in multi-coloured spots (hence the sprinkles). Read more

08 Nov 2015

Chocolate Apples

No Comments Baking and Everything Else

Not really a ‘recipe’ in the traditional sense, but still delicious and absolutely necessary for bonfire night. Rather than the traditional toffee/chocolate apples which are a whole apple on a stick, these are wedges which means you can eat them without getting chocolate all over your nose.

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07 Nov 2015

Firework Cupcakes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

After the huge popularity of the Chocolate Bonfires last week, these vanilla firework cupcakes were perfect for watching the Bonfire fireworks tonight. It’s the first time I’ve done a multi-coloured swirl but there are a few tricks I picked up. The bigger the piping bag, the better – regular sized ones are fiddly to spread frosting into. You need to keep it in long strips of different colours instead of scooping it in like normal. It should come out like toothpaste with all of the stripes next to each other.

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06 Nov 2015

Campfire Slices

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Americans would know these as S’mores bars, but only a handful of people know what a S’more is in the UK. These are chocolate, marshmallows and biscuits (ingredients for a S’more), but in a tray bake form. You can slice them as big or small as you want, but they’re fairly sweet, so smaller is better. I reduced the sugar in this from the original recipe’s 250g caster sugar and replaced it with brown sugar, which has a more rich, caramel flavour. As with all biscuit-based crusts/bases, you can vary the type of biscuits you use to totally change the flavour. Try it with Oreos or Gingersnaps.

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04 Nov 2015

Chocolate Bonfire Cupcakes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

Last year’s ‘Bonfire Muffins’ were a good learning experience, but this years attempt was 100x better. This is now going to be my ‘perfect’ sponge recipe – it turned out light, but solid enough to hold together with the frosting. The orange buttercream on top is two-tone (red in places, orange in others). I sprinkled popping candy on top just after piping the swirl, which with hindsight might have been a bad idea because it started popping straight away. If you’re making these for a party, you could either add the popping candy just before serving or serve it on the side for people to sprinkle on themselves.

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01 Nov 2015

Pumpkin Spice Cake

No Comments Baking, Bars / Traybakes and Cake

These spiced pumpkin mini loaves were similar to carrot cake. Unlike some other quickbreads and mini loaves, they were very light. They were frosted with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

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31 Oct 2015

Halloween Roundup

No Comments Baking

13 recipes over six weeks, that’s a lot of Halloween baking. As an easily excitable person, I jump at the chance to bake seasonal recipes. At 27 I’m probably too old to knock on doors wearing a mask, but it’s so easy to use Halloween as an excuse to bake.

Halloween baking roundup

Halloween baking roundup

This year has been an onslaught of Halloween themed cakes, cookies and puddings. Over the last couple of months, I’ve made…

Best of Halloween 2015

  1. Zombie brain cupcakes – Marshmallow flavour brains filled with strawberry/chocolate Angel Delight and marshmallows.
  2. Dracula’s blood cupcakes – Vanilla cupcakes with jam filling.
  3. Banoffee brains – Chocolate brains with an Oreo base. Filled with vanilla custard and chunks of banoffee fudge.
  4. Witches Cauldrons – Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and M&Ms.
  5. Peanut butter zombies – Zombies made from peanut butter, with peanuts for ribs.
  6. Gingerdead men – Spicy gingerbread made with treacle and decorated with rum frosting.
  7. Monster Cookies – Coconut and oatmeal cookies with eyes and white chocolate chip teeth.
  8. Marzipan Ghosts – Shortbread with marzipan ghosts.
  9. Cobweb Cookies – Chocolate chip cookies with Rolos and chocolate spiders.
  10. Witch’s Fingers – Almond shortbread with blanched almond ‘nails’.
  11. Pumpkin Cheesecake – Two layer cheesecake with an Oreo base.
  12. Poison Apple Slices – Maple glazed apple blondies.
  13. Peanut Butter Spiders – Thumbprint cookies with Reese’s peanut butter cups.

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27 Oct 2015

Marzipan Ghosts

No Comments Baking and Cookies

A crumbly shortbread with a layer of marzipan on top. This was the first time I’ve used Dr. Oetker’s Ready Rolled Marzipan, which I bought to try out. It made decorating slightly quicker than just buying a block of Marzipan, but it’s designed for covering a cake really.

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26 Oct 2015

Dracula’s Blood Cupcakes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

Having stocked the cupboards with damson and plum jam, I happen to have a kitchen full of blood coloured gooiness. I’ve tried a few sponge recipes and all tend to end up too heavy or too airy. These were perfect. The crumb was dense enough to hold together, but full of flavour and not dry. My secret this time was time spent beating the mixture – at least 5 minutes before adding the flour, then another 5 after to mix everything really well.

I fill them with at least 1 tbsp of plum jam and frosted with strawberry buttercream. The blood drips on top are more jam and if you look closely, there are also some vampire lips on each.

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25 Oct 2015

Cobweb Cookies

No Comments Baking and Cookies

Quick and easy to make, and an excuse to use more candy eyes! These are chocolate chip cookies with spiders made from the chocolate chips on the top of each cookie and Rolos.

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