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.

Cupcake, Sweet

Halloween Strawberry Brain Cupcakes

I had really intended to post this on Halloween but as usual the time has completely ran away from me and before I realised it is over a week into November. 

It might be a bit late but I was really happy with the way these came out and they were so easy to do that I wanted to share the recipe so that everyone can make them.

No one can say that baking doesn’t make you clever, after making these you’ll feel very brainy! Hehe.


Strawberry Brain Cupcakes

This recipe will make 12 average size cupcakes or 9 larger muffin ones (larger will need longer cooking).
image

4oz Sugar
2oz Margarine
2oz Butter
4.5oz Self Raising Flour
2 eggs
1-2tbls Whole Milk
1-2tsp Strawberry Essence
Red or Pink Gel food colouring (if using liquid colour then do not add the milk) I used claret gel colour.

Pink buttercream:
2 – 3 large tablespoons of butter or margarine
Icing sugar
Red or pink food colouring

Pre-heat oven to 180c Gas 4

In a bowl cream the butter, sugar and margarine till it becomes pale.
Mix in the food colouring till completely combined.
Add one egg and half of the flour, try not to overwork this.
Add the second egg and rest of the flour.
Stir in the milk (if using gel colour) and the strawberry essence.

You should now have a lovely very vibrant colour. The colour should be brighter than you think it needs to be as it will lose some colour once baked.

Divide the mixture into your cake cases and bake in the oven till the tops of the cake spring back after a gentle poke. This should take 18-20 minutes.

Once cooked, cool on a wire rack.

Whilst the cakes are cooling make the buttercream.
The best way to make the buttercream is by taste. Add 2-3 large tablespoons of butter or margarine in a bowl and stir in 3-5 tablespoons of icing sugar and a enough food colouring to give it a very bright pink colour. If you think it needs a little more icing sugar then add more to taste. You’ll be surprised how much icing sugar you can add to a buttercream.

Once the cakes have cooled fully, fill a piping bag with a small star nozzle.

To decorate – pipe 2 lines down the centre of the cake the either side pipe tight zigzags. This will give you a lovely brain look!

Experiment with colours and zombie brains, I’d love to see any pictures if you make some.

Cupcake, Sweet

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Most people don’t like the same things, like Marmite or marzipan they divide opinions; but there is one flavour you always seem to be able to rely on as a crowd pleaser and that is chocolate orange.

Just the smell of it makes me think of Christmas and for me its a happy memory. I love to buy a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and then eat it in bed on a Saturday morning over Christmas, the best bit is the middle stick after you’ve eaten the segments. Mmm.

Anyway, I digress.

I wanted to make some cakes for my cousin and thought instead of the standard vanilla I would make chocolate orange ones.
Its a really easy recipe to do but looks and tastes really good.
I decided to use some Nutella in the buttercream icing to make it more chocolatey and it worked very well.


Chocolate Orange Cupcakesimage

4oz Margarine
4oz Caster Sugar
4oz Self Raising Flour
1oz Cocoa Powder
2 Eggs
1tsp Orange Essence
Handful chocolate chips

For the icing – a very large tablespoon of margarine mixed with 3-4 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1 level tablespoon of cocoa powder. Once this has been mixed together till it is very light add a tablespoon of Nutella and a teaspoon of orange essence.

Pre heat the oven to 180c Gas 4

In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar together till it becomes pale.

In a separate bowl combine the flour and cocoa powder.

Add one egg and a third of the flour and cocoa powder then mix in till just combined.
Do the same with the 2nd egg and flour and cocoa powder.

Stir in the remaining flour along with the orange essence and chocolate chips. You want the consistency to be a little thick but easy to stir. If it looks a little dry add a small drop of milk.

Separate into cake cases and bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes, or until you can press the top of the cakes and they spring back up.

Once cool, top with the chocolate buttercream and decorate how you like. I used gold glitter and a jelly orange slice.

Cake, Sweet

Quick apple fruit cake – my birthday cake

In our family, I am the person who always bakes birthday cakes for everyone and it is a job I love to do but this also means that I bake my own birthday cake.

Now don’t feel sad for me, I get what I want, and I’ve also been bought a fair few (I had a great hello kitty one a couple of years ago) but nothing quite beats a home made cake so I choose what I fancy and make it.

image
Happy birthday to me…

This year I a wanted a fruit cake with marzipan and icing so I used this recipe Easy Apple Fruit Cake as my base and then decorated with ivory icing. I used Ivory for no other reason than I found it in a shop for £1 for a 1000g, no special design purposes.
Then, because I was decorating my cake at night again I thought “this would look quite good with stars painted on it”. (!) Seemed like a quick and easy thing to do at the time. 21 hand painted stars later and a border, I also hand painted with hundreds of little dots, I was done. I am fairly pleased with it though it could have been a lot neater but I will blame my boredom by the end. I will definitely use this method again.

Although my birthday isn’t till tomorrow, I’ve started eating the cake already… My birthday cake, my rules! Hehe.

PS, I never write happy birthday on it, that would be weird.

Biscuit, Sweet

Half an hour to make Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

I have finally caught one of the million Spring/Summer colds going around and although I feel a tiny bit sorry for myself, I have done pretty well in being able to avoid having one for a while.
So today after getting the little-ist Baker down for her afternoon nap I wanted to do a bit of baking but nothing that took any brain power, or arm power as neither really felt up for the challenge.

A lot of people like peanut butter, including the little-ist baker so I have very recently bought it for the first time.

As it is an ingredient I don’t usually own or eat I have never really thought about using it to bake with but I wanted to make some biscuits and thought that peanut butter cookies might be an easy recipe to make. I have never even looked at a recipe for them before but I have heard about them on American shows mainly and thought that if that many people talk about them then they cant be that difficult to make; and luckily I was right.

This recipe from the brilliant chef Paul Rankin is both easy, quick and hardly uses any ingredients at all. Luckily it doesn’t make too many either as these are one cookie I won’t be touching.


Paul Rankin’s Peanut Butter Cookies

I used smooth peanut butter as I don’t have crunchy in and the batter for the mix seemed to come out very well. I am thinking about trying these again but substituting one spoon of flour for cocoa powder and the peanut butter for Nutella.