Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas Cupcakes

I wanted to make something with all the taste of christmas but much lighter than a rich fruit cake. I think these cupcakes did just that. They were light as you would expect from a cupcake but have a huge about of christmas flavour. To get the christmas flavour I made a plain cake batter and added some homemade mincemeat and spices. I topped these cupcakes with creamy cinnamon buttercream.

Homemade mincemeat, ready to be stired in to the cupcake batter.

The cake batter with the added mincemeat, it looked amazing and smelt glorious.

Almost ready to go in the oven. Whilst cooking the house was filled with a lovely christmas smell.

The "naked" cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes recipe

150g Caster sugar
150g Butter
150g Self raising flour
3 Eggs
2 Tablespoons of mincemeat
1 Teaspoon mixed spice

Pre heat the oven to 170oC.
Cream the butter and sugar together for 5 minuets until very light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined.
Now fold in the flour.
Add the mincemeat and mixed spice, mix until well combined.
Spoon into cupcake cases and bake until golden brown this should take about 20 minuets.
Leave to cool before topping with buttercream.

Cinnamon Buttercream

250g icing sugar, sifted
80g butter
25ml milk
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix icing sugar and butter with a whisk until well combined.
Add the milk and mix well untill light and fluffy.
Stir in the cinnamon, add as much as you like, I added 2 teaspoons as I love to really taste the cinnamon.
Pipe onto the cupcakes.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Apple Crumble Pie

My boyfriend started a new job on monday, so I decided I wanted to make him a yummy dinner. For the main we had fish pie, which he just loves. To me a dinner is not complete without a pudding. I had been asking my boyfriend for a while what pudding he fancied and he asked for an apple pie. I though an apple pie just sounded a little dull but I wanted to give him what he wanted, he often ask's for something quite simple and I make something the complete opposite. So I started to make the apple pie. Call it fate or luck on my part but I did not have enough butter to make enough pastry. So thinking on my feet I thought, what else can I make, I thought I could just make an apple cumble, another of my boyfriends favourites, but this just didn't seem special enough for the occation. I thought why not combine the two! A moment of genius I thought! It turned out just scrummy. The pastry was crisp, the apples were rich, soft, buttery with lots of cinnamon and the cumble was light and biscuity.  

The apples cooking with butter, sugar and cinnamon, it smelt delicious. Be careful not to over cook them as they will be cooked again once in the pie.

The pie ready to go in the oven, I brushed it with milk, I should have used egg so that it went golden brown, it was a little pale, as you can see in the picture below.

The finished pie, I served it hot with some vanilla icecream. And most importantly my boyfriend loved it. Which is a good job as it is a large pie and we will be eating it for days!

Apple Crumble Pie.


250g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
110g Butter

Put the flour, salt and butterin an electric mixer and mix until a sandy consistency and is all combined. Add a tablespoon of water and beat until well mixed, then add a second tablespoon of water and beat until you have a smooth even dough, if still too dry add a little more water. 

wrap in cling film and leave to rest for an hour. During this time make the apple filling. 

Apple Filling

100g butter
1.5kg apples, peeled and sliced
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
180g caster sugar

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, once the butter has melted add the apples and stir until they are well coated in butter, then add the sugar and cinnamon. Cook untill soft but not too soft as they will be baked again inside the pie. Then leave the filling to cool. Meanwhile make the crumble.

Crumble topping

110g butter
55g caster sugar
55g demerera sugar
200g flour

Rub the butter, sugar and flour together until you have crumble.  


Pre heat the oven to 170oC. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board then line a deep pie dish. Trim the edges to make it neat. Add the cooled apple filling and top with the crumble. Brush the pastry edge and any pastry decoration with beaten egg. Cook on the middle shelf for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for half and hour then slice and serve with vanilla icecream.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Summer berry sponge cake with creamcheese buttercream.

With all the rain we having be having lately I was being to feel a little fed up, so what could I do to cheer myself up, well bake of course! I decided to make a summer berry sponge as I had been berry collecting in by Nanna's garden and had loads of blackberries, I also had some strawberries and raspberries to use up so these also went in.

The cake batter looked glorious with the colourful berries running through it, my mouth was watering even before baking it.

The sponge it's self was light and fluffy with the lovely soft fruits, I ate the first slice whilst it was still slightly warm, I just couldn't wait. It was delicious. I then had to trim off some of the cake to make it look untouched as I was taking it with me to my mum's for lunch. I hope I am not the only one that occasionally has to trim off extra pieces of cake, or arrive with one less cupcake than intended!

I decided to proceed and cover the rest of the cake (well what was left of it!) with creamcheese buttercream. I make creamcheese buttercream a lot but this time I had a box of organic unrefined icing sugar from m&s to use so I thought I would give it a go. This made the buttercream a rich golden colour, it looked lovely but was actually a little to sweet, everyone loved the way it looked, but agreed that my normal creamcheese buttercream is actually much nicer.

Summer Berry sponge recipe

225g Butter or margarine
225g Golden caster sugar
225g Self raising flour
4 eggs
125g summer berries

pre heat the oven to 170oC

Cream butter and caster sugar together, until very light and creamy. I do this for at least 5 minuets

Add eggs one at a time with a little flour, mix until all the eggs are combined

sift in the flour and fold in.

stir in the berries.

Add to a greased and lined baking tin and bake until golden brown.

Cream cheese buttercream recipe

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Beat icing sugar and butter untill the mixture comes together and is well mixed, add the cream cheese in one go and beat untill it is completely incorporated. Then mix on a high speed untill light and fluffy.

do not overbeat, as it can become runny.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Carrot cake - with no nuts

This week it has been my boyfriends birthday. I had been asking him for weeks what cake he wanted and he finally decided on a carrot cake. I was a little worried as I have never made a carrot cake before. Even though I love carrot cake I have always put off baking it, im not too sure why, I think it is all the grating of the carrots that put me off and it wasnt even that bad! The cake was actually lovely and I will be making it more often, much to the delight of my boyfriend and my mum.

Because I needed this cake for a birthday I wanted it to be perfect, so I reached for my trusted hummingbird bakery cookbook. I adjusted the recipe slightly as my boyfriend wanted a cake with no nuts, and his wish was my command on his birthday! the recipe was also for a 3 layer cake but I wanted a more traditional two layer cake, so I just had slightly larger sponges.

I filled the cake and covered it with cream cheese frosting. It covered really well and there was enough buttercream left to add some piped detail. For the writing I used melted milk chocolate. So far the cake has lasted 3 days and is still really moist.

Carrot Cake  


300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml oil
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g grated carrots

preheat the oven to 170'c

Mix the sugar, eggs and oil until well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.

Stir in the grated carrots until evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into 20cm (8") cake tins lined with grease proof paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes untill golden brown.

leave to cool and cover with creamcheese buttercream. I used a double quantity so I could cover and fill the cake

Cream cheese buttercream (single quantity)

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Beat icing sugar and butter untill the mixture comes together and is well mixed, add the cream cheese in one go and beat untill it is completely incorporated. Then mix on a high speed untill light and fluffy.

do not overbeat, as it can become runny.

I think this recipe would also work well as cupcakes, I will try them and post the results soon.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Ameretto and Cherry Cupcakes with amaretti biscuits

My work friend Lina has just retured from Italy and retured with two packets of Amaretti biscuits for me to use in my baking, this prompted me to bake my current favourite cupcakes. I call these my "grown up cupcakes" as they are quite rich and contain a good glug of ameretto, cherries and chunks of amaretti. biscuits.
Look how pretty the biscuits are!

I think these work really well in normal cupcake size as an indulgent treat, but for occasions such as partys or work, when people don't have time to sit down and eat, the bite sized ones are perfect.

Little bite size cupcakes.

Ameretto and Cherry Cupcakes with amaretti biscuits

Cupcake Ingredient's

125g Margarine
125g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
80g Self raising flour
45g Ground almonds
Splash of milk
Teaspoon Almond essence
Cherries cut into small pieces
Broken up amaretti biscuits


Pre heat oven to 170oC

Cream the margarine and caster sugar untill light and fluffy, I do this for at least 5 minutes until it has almost doubled in size. Add the eggs, with a little flour and mix untill combined. Sieve the flour and fold this in. Add a splash of milk, ground almonds, almond essence, cherries and amaretti biscuits. Fold untill combined, be careful to not over mix. Spoon the cake mixture into cupcake cases. Bake for appox 20mins, untill they are light golden and the sponge springs back when touched. leave to cool for a few minuets in the cupcake tray, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

For ease and to obtain even sized cupcakes, I use an icecream scoop, like so!

I love how pretty the mixture looks with the cherries showing through like glowing red gems.

Buttercream Ingredients

250g Icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml milk
5ml Ameretto or 2.5ml Almond essence if not wanting to use alcohol


Beat the icing sugar and butter together using an electric mixer on medium speed untill the mixture comes together. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and add the milk and ameretto, once incorporated, turn the mixer up to a high speed and beat until light and fluffy, at least 5 minuets. It is now ready to pipe on top of the cupcakes.

The buttercream, before adding the milk and Ameretto.

I am very lucky to own a kitchen aid, it was a gift from my Nanna a few years ago and is my favourite thing I own! Altough it makes the biggest cloud of icing smoke when making buttercream, if anyone has any ideas how I can stop this please leave commets below, I have tried everything I can think of. 

The finished cupcake, with its lovely light buttercream.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Chocolate chunk cookies

I made these cookies for a night shift at work. Food always vanishes in seconds at work so I made loads, thinking they would last for some time. I could not have been more worng, they were finished in all of about 10 minuets!

They were soft, chewy and full of lovely large chocolate chunks, just what you need during a night shift. I have made these may times, using all different kinds of chocolate. I like to use a mixture of milk, dark and white chocolate and I use thick chocolate bars so that I end up with large pockets of chocolate. These also work well with chocolate orange, nuts and rasins.

I use the hummingbird bakery recipe, I find it to be perfect everytime.


225g unsalted butter
350g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
225g chocolate

Makes 24 cookies


Preheat oven to 170'c.

Mix butter and sugar untill light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Continue mixing adding the vanilla extract. Add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and mix untill a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the chocolate.

Arrange small balls of cookie dough on greased baking sheets, making sure that they are well spaced out as they do spread while baking. Bake in the preheated oven for 10minuets, or untill flat and the edges are golden brown. This will give you a soft chewy centre, if you prefer a crisper cookie, cook for a few minutes longer. Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet as they will be quite soft and bendy untill cooled, finally transfer onto a cooling rack untill completly cold.

I hope you enjoy them as much as my work colleagues!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

My first Blog, well here goes!

Like all family occations I bake a cake. And a visit to my sisters for pizza and games night was no different. I asked her and her boyfriend if they had any requests and they did, for some lemon meringue cupcakes. I had first made these for my sisters baby shower and they were a big hit.

A moist lemon sponge topped with Meringue. My two favouite things, cake and Meringue in one yummy cupcake. The sponge is quite lemony but more or less lemon juice can be added dependent on you own taste. I love the tartness of lemon and this stopped these large cupcakes from being too sweet. They were the perfect size to have as a pudding or as an afternoon cake fix. I have made these before as bite sized cupcakes made in mini sized cakes cases and they worked equally as well.

 This is the cupcake without its paper case. I like there being a good balance between cake and topping. The Lemon curd in these cakes sank towards the bottom of the cake making the sponge very moist. I thought it might be better to cut a small pocket into the cooked cake and then add the lemon curd, but was assured by all that ate them that they liked them just the way they are!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we all did!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

The Sponge
160g Caster Sugar
160g Margarine
160g Self Raising Flour
4 Medium free range eggs
1 Lemon - juice and zest
Good quality or homemade Lemon Curd

The Meringue Topping
4 Free Range Egg Whites
125g Caster Sugar
125g Icing Sugar

Pre heat the over to 170oC. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin case's. Cream the margarine and sugar untill very pale, I do this for at least 5-10 minuets. Add the eggs one at a time with a little of the flour to stop it form curdling. Then gently fold in the flour. Add the zest of the lemon and all the juice mix until this is evenly combined. Place a scoop of cake batter into all cake cases untill half full. Place a small teasoon of Lemon Curd into the centre of each one and the top with cake batter until the cases are 3/4 full. Bake in the oven for 10 minuets until the tops are just firm. Meanwhile make the Meringue topping. Place the 4 Egg Whites into a mixer, or mix by hand untill you have soft peaks. Now add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whilst still mixing. Once this is combined add the sieved icing sugar and fold in gently by hand. Pipe or spoon the meringue on top of each cake. Return to the oven for about 10 minuets, untill the meringue is crisp and starting to colour. Mine took 8 minuets, leave for longer if you prefer a crisper , darker meringue.