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Showing posts from July, 2012

Olympic Flame Chocolate Chip and Orange Cupcakes

Tonight, the Games of the XXX Olympiad begin and the Olympic Cauldron will be lit over the city of London. For the next 17 days, it will burn brightly as a symbol of the Olympic movement and its ideals:    "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement. I've always loved the romanticism of the Olympics, and especially the flame. Who can forget the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics, when an archer fired a flaming arrow over the cauldron, which then ignited? So, when Laura of Laura Loves Cakes and Rachel of Dolly Bakes announced that this month's Calendar Cakes challenge (hosted by Laura) was based on the Olympics, I didn't have to think too long about what I wanted to do. Inspired by the orange of the flame, I decided to do an orange flavoured and coloured frosting, with a choco

Walnut, Pear and Blue Cheese Muffins

This month's entry for Alphabakes is a bit of an experiment. The challenge is organised by Ros, of The More Than Occasional Baker , and Caroline, of Caroline Makes , and is based on a different letter each month. This month's is 'W'. I decided to have another go at savoury muffins, using the classic walnut, pear and blue cheese flavour combination. I quite liked the result, as I love blue cheese in baked goods, and the crunch from the walnuts was nice. Mike was a little 'meh' about them though, as he felt the walnut taste was a little strong and he couldn't detect much cheese or pear flavour (with the pears this may be because I used tinned - which didn't have much flavour to start with). I definitely could taste the cheese, not so much the pear, but the cheese definitely balanced the walnuts. Maybe the difference was how the ingredients were distributed and then divided in the cases? The texture was moist, light and fluffy, although a little fir

Random Recipes 18 - Cookbooks

So this month's Random Recipes organised by the wonderful Dom at Belleau Kitchen , is an easy, if a little (for me anyway) embarrassing one. Keep reading and you'll understand why I say that. Dom kindly gave us a break this month from the usual format of Random Recipes - which is to randomly select a cookbook from your collection, randomly choose a recipe, and then cook it and blog it. Yes, this month, Dom decided that he wanted to see our cookbook collections. I think this will make for a pretty interesting round up come the end of the month! In the meantime, I think I've warned you previously, but here goes... Hello, my name is Susie and I am addicted to cookbooks. There, it's firmly out there now. I wish I could say that last photo shows the extent of my addiction. But there is more. Aaand, some more. The book shelves you can see have gradually made their way down the wall over the last 10 years. The shelf above the dresser was an over

Simply Chocolate Cake

I first made this simple, but oh so tasty, chocolate cake when Josh and Ben were little. It's now turned out to be one of their favourites. It's the recipe that I use for some of my chocolate cupcakes, which gives a rich, fluffy sponge. The chocolate ganache icing is also richly flavoured, so taken together, you get a whole mouthful of chocolatey goodness. It's been used several times as a birthday cake and school fair baking stall contribution, and has never failed to deliver eager smiles and requests for more. The cake itself is quite easy to make. You can use the 'all in one' method and simply chuck everything into a bowl and blitz with a handmixer. I have tended to use a slightly different method, creaming the sugar and butter well first, as I think this helps the sugar - which can be quite lumpy - to dissolve and makes for a fluffier sponge. The chocolate ganache icing is just chocolate and cream, melted together and then left to cool until you get

Bake Me... Sweet Bitesize Bakes : The Bake Swap

When I first started blogging back in December, one of the blogs that inspired me to do so was Sarah Trivuncic's  Maison Cupcake . Sarah started blogging in 2009, and her blog quickly developed into a way of exploring the world of baking. Now, in 2012, it has become one of the most well know food blogs in the UK and June saw the release of Sarah's first book, Sweet Bite Sized Bakes , one of the Bake Me I'm Yours series. This is on my 'want, want, want' list. To celebrate the launch of the book, the publishers organised a Bake Swap on their website ; if you signed up you would be paired with a partner to swap some baked treats. Hopefully, you might just find a friend, too. The bakes had to be posted on or before 2 July. I was paired with Emma. The email announcing this didn't give me any other details (other than her address), so I spent some time pondering what I could make, for someone I didn't know, didn't know what they liked