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Showing posts from January, 2012

Sweetheart Cupcakes

I've been playing around with some baking ideas for Valentine's Day for some weeks now, and this was my first attempt at making some of them a reality. It also gave me the opportunity to try out some cute heart shaped foil baking cups I found in my local kitchenware store. These cupcakes are made using the Amaretto Cupcake and Frosting recipes from the Primrose Bakery Book. I've made a few of their recipes before, so was fairly confident the sponge would work (while delicious, the sponge was a bit dense for me), but the buttercream turned out a bit runny, so if making again, I would adapt the recipe to not include as much liquid. The little chocolate love hearts were made using one of my new toys - a silicone chocolate mold from Lakeland in the shape of little 'love hearts'. This was the first time I had melted chocolate to make decorations (I love doing this blog - it's making me try so many new things!). The one thing I learnt from this is the importa

Divine Chocolate Birthday Cake for the Weekly Bake Off

This week's challenge for the Weekly Bake Off , organised by Amy, was the Divine Chocolate Cake from page 204 of Mary Berry's '100 Cakes and Bakes'. It's a flourless cake, which is something I have not tried making before, and relies on the correct beating of egg whites to add lightness to the mix. 'Uh Oh, another recipe for disaster' I thought, particularly after last week. And again, I had my problems with this one. The cake itself tastes fantastic, but mine did not rise evenly in the oven (and a large crack appeared around the sides). It initially felt very dry on the top. This was later rectified by the icing, which then combined to form a gooey, fudgy cake that went down well with Mike and the boys. Anyway, here's the recipe. Ingredients 6 large eggs, 5 of them separated 215g caster sugar 265g plain 39% chocolate (I used Bourneville) 1 level teaspoon instant coffee 1 tsp hot water 150g ground almonds Icing 4 tbspn apricot jam 225g p

Blue Velvet Cupcakes for the Bluebirds

It's probably not often that football and baking go hand in hand, but as my beloved Bluebirds are returning to Wembley for the fourth time in as many years (and it'd be nice to actually win for a change), I thought it was about time I tried out something I'd been thinking of for a while. I've never tried a Red Velvet cake, but I had thought about adapting a recipe to make a Blue Velvet version. Instead, I found a fantastic recipe courtesy of Heather Baird of  Sprinkle Bakes . It is notoriously difficult to get a good colour with a Red Velvet cake, and similarly with blue -  I certainly was not able to replicate the deep denim blue Heather managed (at least on this attempt - I'll try a dash more violet next time). I also had the opportunity to use for the first time the US Swan's Down Cake Flour I sourced from The Stateside Candy Co.  (A lot of US recipes call for Cake Flour which is very finely ground (think 'oo' flour), enriched and bleached -

Maple Syrup Cake for the Weekly Bake Off (aka Icing Hides Many Things)

I'm really pleased to have discovered the Weekly Bake Off , (thanks to the morethanoccasionalbaker ), and which is organised by Amy from the Great British Baking Club . It's based on the challenge of baking every one of the 100 recipes in 'Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes'. I think it's a great way of expanding your repetoire and trying something new! This week, the bake off recipe is the Maple Syrup Cake, and I decided to have a go. Sadly, there will be no star baker badge for me this week. If there was a badge for funniest bake though ... I'll be upfront about this. It has been a disaster. It was going well up until putting the cake in the oven. The batter tasted really nice (yes, spoon licking does take place in this household). The cake looked lovely and level in the pan, so into the oven it went. The recipe says to bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. That was where my first niggling thought occurred 'That's a pretty wide parameter!'. Hav

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

Now that Christmas is over, the house is clear of festive goodies and I must admit to feeling as though there may possibly be such a thing as too much chocolate. Rooting through the cupboards the other day, I came across a forgotten jar of pistachios. With their intense greenery shrouded in purpley brown, they called to me that they had been left on the shelf for far too long. I also uncovered a large cache of dried cranberries, which had been bought a while ago with the intent of making Barefoot Contessa's orange and cranberry scones. On that occasion, my plans also got put on the shelf, so they joined the pistachios. Finding them again seemed a good opportunity to try something new. So, inspired by an Italian cookbook I had been glancing through, I searched for a recipe for biscotti, and hit golddust. This is a recipe adapted from one found on epicurious  which is sooo easy yet sooo good. It's a US website, so I have 'translated' some of the measurements an