Muffin, Sweet

Banana “‘Nana! ‘Nana!” Muffins

Oh dear, I’ve been very lax in writing the past few weeks.  With the post Christmas lull and my ‘get slim before 30’ diet (I’m hurtling towards my 30th birthday in August!), my mind has been otherwise occupied.

I have still been baking, a little, despite not having many left who aren’t on diets to eat my baking.

The littlest baker is now 15 months old and learning new words at an alarming rate.  Two of her current favourites are:
Din-dins meaning dinner.  It is best shouted any time you think someone is even thinking about making something to eat, just in case they don’t bring you some. 
Nana meaning banana.  This is squealed in delight at the sight of this yellow fruit. Also combined with pointing and saying word repeatedly till you receive… a ‘nana.

Unfortunately, as you are probably more than aware, bananas ripen at a ridiculous rate and even a small bunch becomes over ripe very quickly.
So to counter this I’ve made the over ripe bananas into banana muffins.

It’s a staple recipe that every baker probably should have made but I never have.  Although this is my first time making them they have come out very light and tasting of banana.

The littlest baker might not automatically shout “nana!” upon sight of them but they should make a nice little treat for her.


This is the recipe I used but I only had 2 smaller bananas so I reduced the flour to 8.5oz instead of 9oz.
I did not add any nuts to this either.

BBC Banana Muffin

Sweet, Traybake

Chocolate Fudge Mountain

The other day the little-ist Baker went for a walk to the park whilst I stayed home to keep an eye on the workmen who were fixing a window. It was the first time I was kinda alone in the house since she was born so I felt a little excited and decided that I was going to try and make something that I had wanted to do since I was a kid… make fudge!image

When I was about 13 years old I found a recipe to make fudge in a magazine. It looked so easy to do and I had visions of an endless supply of fudge I could make myself. Sadly, it didn’t work so all I got was a large bowl of melted, sticky sugar. I was heartbroken and until a few days ago I never tried to make it again. I knew where it had gone wrong, it was because I had no sugar thermometer to get it to the magic 114c, aka Soft Ball Stage. I tried dropping the bit into a glass of water but it wasn’t accurate enough to get it to work.

This time I was armed, sugar thermometer clipped to the side of my pan… I was ready.

And low and behold – I made chocolate fudge. Not just a little chocolate fudge, a lot of chocolate fudge. In fact, I made enough fudge for a small chocolate fudge mountain in my kitchen. If I wasn’t on a diet it would have been heaven but instead it called me to eat it knowing I had to be a little bit good that week. I decided to bag it up into little individual bags and gave it away to family.

I might have a go at doing this again at Christmas as it would make a lovely little present to give to everyone. The recipe I used was from the Home Made Sweet Shop book which I’d recommend to anyone with a love of old fashioned sweet and a burning desire to make them yourself.

Don’t forget to keep any crumbly bits that break off when cutting. I used these to put into vanilla cupcakes.

Cupcake, Sweet

The Micro Cupcake

The best things come in small packages.  I’m not always too sure that statement is totally correct but it fits well with what I baked today… The micro cupcake! Ta-dah.  No longer will people say a cupcake is too sweet for them or use the excuse of being on a diet as this cake is good for everyone. 

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I guess now I’ve ‘big’d’ it up you should really try it.

I’ve always had a fascination with objects in miniature size (please, no rude jokes!) Model railway, model villages, the tiny versions of Bournville and Dairy milk chocolate bars you used to get in tins of Roses.  I love the way they are so cute, like full size but shrunk down.  So today when I was making some full size lemon cupcakes I had a little bit of mixture left over.  It would have only really been enough for one or two cakes but I decided to use the petite four cases to make tiny versions.  I’m really happy with how they came out considering they weren’t in a baking tin to cook as I don’t have one that small.  I thought they might spread too much but the cases held really well.

I’m probably really late and these were fashionable last year or something but I think they’d make a great wedding cake or look lovely on a cake stand for afternoon tea.  If only I had a cake box small enough then I’d make more of these cute little cakes.

Cupcake, Sweet

Liquorice Allsort Cupcakes

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As I said in my last post, this unfortunate baker is on a diet so I had a good idea of baking some cupcakes with a flavour I really don’t like but other people do – liquorice!

I had this cupcake idea a while ago so I had already bought a bag of liquorice allsorts in preparation to use as decoration.

I tried not to make the decoration too girly. This time I went for the ‘dog poo’ swirl on the top instead of my usual rose shape and didn’t use a single bit of glitter.


Liquorice Cupcakes

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For the cakes
4.5oz Self Raising Flour
4oz Margarine (you can use half/half butter and marg if you prefer)
2oz Dark brown sugar
2oz Caster sugar
2 Medium eggs
2 tsp Anise extract

For the icing
In a bowl add a extremely generous tablespoon of Margarine (I always use Stork as I’ve found other brands split) Then add approx 5-6 tablespoons of icing sugar and beat together until very light and fluffy. Add a teaspoon of Anise extract and a small amount of black gel food colouring. Don’t use liquid food colouring as this will cause the mix to be too runny. Mix in another tablespoon of icing sugar and beat until combined. This can be stored in the fridge until needed and either piped on or use a flat knife.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 180oC

In a bowl mix the margarine with the two sugars and beat until it looks lovely and has changed into a paler colour. You can’t over beat at this stage.

Add an egg and a tablespoon of flour and mix until just combined. Do the same with the second egg and another tablespoon of flour.

Add the remaining flour and Anise extract and gently mix together. You don’t want to over beat the eggs in the mix, just to combine them.

If the mix looks a tad dry (this can happen due to variations with the size of the eggs or the different brands of flour) then add a small dash of milk.

Spoon the mixture equally between your cake cases. I used cupcake cases and these made 8 cakes.

Bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes before opening the door to see if they are done. Larger cakes will need 25-30 minutes but very small fairy cake cases will cook in 20 minutes.

To check they are done they should look a light brown colour and should spring back when you gently press on the top.

Once cooked, remove and cool before decorating with the buttercream icing and adding a liquorice sweet to the top.

Food Ramblings

The end of Christmas

The end of Christmas is nearly upon me.

You probably think I have gone mad and that Christmas ended almost a month ago now but for me it is very soon… because we are finally down to the last few pieces of Christmas cake.

Anyone who makes a Christmas cake realises the time and love that goes into it. You make it at the end of October, bake it for hours, then lovingly feed it every week (dark rum for mine) and finally you take your time to decorate it with your hand crafted sugarpaste decorations.

This year I spent a lot of time working on my decoration as it was made over 2 of our lessons at my college sugarcraft course. I learnt how to draw it on paper first, cut it out and then build it up till finally I had something which resembled Santa and his reindeer.

The only good part of finishing last years Christmas cake is that I can start designing this years. I have my idea already so I really should write it down; I don’t want to end up panicking on Christmas Eve and icing it with whatever decorations lie around my cupboard.

Unfortunately as well, the end of the Christmas cake also signals the start of the New Year diet.

Don’t worry though readers, I won’t be hanging up my apron just yet, I just need more volunteers to eat my baking – any offers?