Chocolates/Truffles, Sweet

White chocolate Rocky Road recipe – an easy children’s bake

My daughter now has a little brother but until 6 months ago she was an only child; luckily we do have a street full of other children to play with.

The problem is me, I’m starting on the new adventure of parenting called ‘Entertaining other people’s children’! So on a Saturday morning in the summer I ended up with 6 girls playing in my garden (sometimes happily, sometimes bickering) but only one was mine.

I thought it would be a good idea to invite them in to come and make cakes which they were very excited to do.

I told them all to ask their parents whilst I set up my kitchen for something I was hoping would be a fun task for them all… And it was!

After diligently washing their hands each girl had their own little bowl and a teaspoon, and in the middle of the table I set up an array of things. There were lots of cupcake cases, rice crispies, glace cherries, marshmallows, raisins and my special case of cake decorations. I did the job of melting white chocolate over a bain marie then gave each girl two tablespoons of white chocolate. I instructed them to add their own treats and stir all together. Once complete they each put them into two cupcake cases, decorated with random decorations like silver balls and voila! 6 happy girls and 12 awful looking (but lovingly crafted) rocky roads.

It was a lot of fun and surprisingly easy to clean up. Bowls in the dishwasher, left over marshmallows in the bin and a quick hoover.

If you ever need ideas for a baking party then this is definitely it. They were proud of their cakes and so were the parents. Next time it’s decorating cupcakes…


White chocolate rocky road cakes

  • Large bar of white chocolate
  • Little marshmallows
  • Dried fruit (glace cherries, raisins)
  • Anything for optional crunch (rice crispies, nuts)

In a bain marie melt the chocolate slowly whilst stiring. A bain marie is a pot over hot water without the bottom of the pot touching the water. You can do it in a microwave as well but be careful to melt in short bursts and keep stirring.

Take the bowl off the heat (or out of the microwave) and stir in handfuls of the other ingredients till they stick together nicely without too much extra chocolate about but also not too dry they won’t hold their shape.

Then either pat down gently into a tray or spoon into individual cupcake cases. Whilst the chocolate is still warm sprinkle any decorations you like.

Chill in fridge for half hour till set.

Don’t worry, they are never going to be the cutest of cakes but kids and adults will love them! And they’re great for no baked cake emergency.

Cake, Sweet

Earl Grey Tea Bread

Surprisingly for someone who loves tea as much as I do, it took me until my 32nd birthday to try tea bread.
I don’t know why I never had this before its lovely! And as you’d expect from the name it goes perfect with my copious amounts of tea.

My boyfriend bought me my first ever one as a birthday present and it came from an expensive artisan shop so when I tried it it was beautiful. The next one I tried was from Aldi – I never noticed it in there before but now I suddenly saw it.

Now, had I tried the Aldi one first I’d have loved it but as I had the Buxton tea bread it just didn’t taste anywhere near as good.

As usual this prompted me to try and make my own version. I used this recipe but changed the tea.

Good to know – Tea Loaf

This is the recipe I have used for my base but instead of Roobios I have used a lovely loose Earl Grey tea to infuse my fruit. I left it for about 5 hours to soak and I also added some extra mixed spice and some cinnamon. To top the cake off, for the last 20 minutes I have sprinkled the cake with a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you how this has come out yet because although the cake looks and smells amazing, it says to wait at least two days!

I’m stuck looking at a lovely hot cake which I can’t eat. I really hope it’s worth it because I don’t have much restraint for resisting cake but if it makes it special then it’ll be worth it.

Cake, Sweet

My 2013 Christmas Cake

The celebrations might be over but Christmas isn’t officially finished till all the decorations have been put away and… you’ve eaten all of the Christmas Cake!

I love a rich fruit cake and our Christmas cake is the only cake that I spend 2 months loving crafting.
Feeding the cake is fun and seems to be a challenge to get as much alcohol in it as possible.

This year our cake was drowned in brandy.

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I really wanted to spend a lot more time decorating our cake after spending so much time making it but like everyone else I came down with a winter cold.

Suddenly my plans became a rush to try and get the cake decorated so it was at least covered. I went for a simple design and decided to make it a bit more personal with a little Darth Vader head.

Next year I will think a bit more of the design but I was just glad to have something done.

Cake, Sweet

Alice’s Party cake – In the Night Garden

I created two first birthday cakes for my daughter, the first was a small zebra cake to take with us to the Safari Park (as seen in my last post) then the second one I made was a lot larger for her birthday party.

Alice isn’t really into much at the moment, being only 12 months old so far, but she will stop everything she is doing to sit down and watch an episode of In the Night Garden.  It is also a great theme for a cake as there are loads of colours and simple characters to make.

I decided to be brave and have a go at making a figure for on the cake – Maka Paka!

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I have only ever made one figure before and that was a rather sad looking teddy bear which was far too fat and sunk down after a few weeks.  It wasn’t my finest cake decorating moment so I don’t know what possessed me to try again but I did.  I think he actually came out ok, not perfect by a long way but he had the general appearance, though his eyes were quite big giving him a ‘chibi’* look.  He managed to make it to the party without his head or any other limb falling off so I think that was a bonus!

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Sorry for the poor photo, it was late at night when I finished.

I also made circles of icing of the other characters and places them around.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a clear image in my head of what the final piece would look like but I hoped that when I started to put it together I would get an idea.  The cake board I bought was too large, the cake didn’t seem high enough and the green colour icing I made was a little too bright but I thought that I had come this far… I was going to finish the cake!

So this is it, my final In the Night Garden cake.  There are lots of little bits that I would have changed on it but for my first time trying to do something like this I was happy with it and so were the family and friends who came along.In the Night Garden Cake

The cake itself was a simple sponge filled with seedless raspberry jam and a buttercream.  It is strange how when you put these ingredients together and use fondant icing then it always tastes shop bought?  It was soft and moist and held together well when cut so I am pleased with how it tasted as well as looked.  Next year I guess I am going to be doing this again, I wonder what she will like next time.

*as in the Manga meaning of Chibi – cute, small, big eyes.

Cake, Sweet

Happy first birthday Alice – The Zebra Cake

Unfortunately there’s been a lot going on over the past couple of weeks which have caused me to be forgetful in updating my blog.

I’ve celebrated my daughter’s first birthday, been made redundant from my job and but also been offered a new job!
Although its been pretty rubbish to lose my job, I want to speak about the happy thing – Alice’s first birthday.

I haven’t done too much baking recently except to bake for her birthday party but I definitely did plenty of baking for that.
I made 2 birthday cakes, both sponge with buttercream and fondant icing.

The first one, that I will talk about today, was a small cake I made, enough to feed 6 hungry adults and a little lady, I think this equated to an 8″ cake.  I didn’t want it to be too large or fancy as we were taking it to West Midlands Safari park and I needed it to survive the car journey and trip round the animals. 
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This is one of the reasons why I decorated it with a zebra theme, simple but effective.

I iced it with white fondant icing and then used edible airbrush paints to hand paint on the stripes.  I was a bit worried it would look a little old for her but it was linked to her day out.

I coloured the royal icing, that I used to pipe the writing with a baby pink but on the cake it seemed to come out white.
I was quite pleased with the end results and the advantage of painting the cake was that you didn’t have to colour icing black – which is a pain to do.

I should have used my big camera (Canon 50d) to do some good photos but the house was so full of things for the party that there was barely room to store the cake!

Anyway, I’ll finish this on one of my favourite jokes:
What’s black and white and eats like a horse?

…a zebra!