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.

Biscuit, Sweet

In the Night Garden Cookies

In less than 3 months it is my little daughters first birthday! Its scary reminiscing about her being this tiny helpless little thing I bought home to only 9 months later having a very active little madam who wants to be everywhere and eat everything.

So I decided that I had best start thinking about her first birthday cake and how to decorate it. She doesn’t have any interest in TV at all (just wasted time she could spend exploring I guess), she won’t sit still for any books (see TV issue) so she doesn’t have a favourite character in that way.
After a little think I’ve decided to make an “In the Night Garden” cake and cupcakes. This is because my brother in law used to work on the programme making it and we have toys, books, DVDs and clothes for her. It also seems to be very popular with other young children.

My cake decorating skills are fairly none existent but I saw a way with icing that seemed to make it look easier than normal – flat shapes cut out and layered.

Please let me introduce – Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsey Daisy and 3 Tomliboos. No, I haven’t gone mad, that’s their names. Anyone with young children will probably be able to sing the song to.

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I made the circles of icing as a practice and then because I was quite pleased with myself I made some basic shortbread cookies for them to go on.

Now all I will have to do is try and make them again, at night, in 3 months time whilst being back at work full time. Hmm.

Cupcake, Sweet

What ever happened to the Fairy Cake?

Let me tell you a little story about a cake.
There was once a little cake who everyone loved. You would go to a party and there it would be sitting there happy and unassuming and everyone love the little cake. It was never too fancy for the grandparents to have or too boring for the children; and the cakes name was The Fairy Cake. Then one day a new cake came along and took over the Fairy Cakes place at the party table. It was always well decorated, sometimes even glittery and highly flavoured; and this cakes name was The Cupcake.

Soon everyone forgot about the Fairy Cake, it was never invited to the party anymore and after a while people forgot they could make it. The End.

But don’t be sad! Tonight, whilst the little baker slept, I decided to do a bit of ‘old skool’ baking and made… the fairy cake!

This was the first cake recipe I made when I started high school and I still have the recipe I wrote down about 17 years ago (has it really been that long?!) in my folder of magazine cutout recipes. I even drew a little picture of what it should look like, lest I forget.

Now, don’t get me wrong I love cupcakes and they are fundamentally the same thing as a fairy cake, but I remember that every birthday party I went to as a kid used to have these. They always looked the same, very home made but ultimately very tasty. You have to make sure you don’t overbake them as a dry cake is never very nice and there isn’t the amount of buttercream icing that is used on a cupcake to hide behind. They are very much an as they come cake, nothing fancy but I love them.

Let me know if you have made any cakes which seem to have been forgotten or send me pictures of your fairy cakes!


Fairy Cake

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  • 4oz Sugar
  • 4oz Margarine
  • 4oz Self Raising Flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Vanilla Extract

Buttercream to decorate – margarine mixed with icing sugar and a little vanilla extract. No need to measure, just beat in enough icing sugar till it tastes good.

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC Gas 4

In a bowl cream the sugar and margarine till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time with some of the flour and beat in gently.
Spoon the mix into fairy cake cases (these are the small cupcake ones). You should be able to get 12 out of this mix.

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Test by gently pressing the top, it should spring back up.

Allow to cool and decorate with a little blob of buttercream or icing sugar mixed with a little water. If you’re feeling really retro – add a glacé cherry.

Cake, Sweet

Due Date Cake

Yesterday was the day that the littlest member of the Happy Little Baker household should have made an appearance! 

Although only 5% of babies are born on their due date, I decided to keep myself entertained and bake a cake just for me… I call this my due date cake [ta-dah].  It isn’t anything really special but is one of my favourites – a simple vanilla sponge filled with jam and buttercream and decorated in fondant icing.  I didn’t spend too long on the decoration as I wanted to just eat it so I kept it pretty simple with my favourite flowers, the Gerbera.

I suppose that I should have eaten it all yesterday but even after giving myself a couple of pieces, my husband a slice and also taking my parents some down there is still plenty of cake to keep me going for the next day or two.

Cake, Sweet

One for the girls: Lemon drizzle cake

On Monday I was discussing with my work colleagues about how I have lots of lemons at my house. I bought them to make limoncello with but never got round to using them so I was said how I was thinking of making a nice sharp lemon curd.

Being the wonderful friends they are, they said I should make a lemon drizzle cake for them. It would help me by using up the lemons and they would be very nice and eat it for me.

For some reason I have never made a lemon drizzle cake before, even though it is very simple and I have eaten lots of lovely versions.

So this recipe is for you Gemma and Natalie.


Lemon Drizzle Cake

Cake:
Use the recipe from Lemon Meringue cake here for the sponge

Drizzle:
Juice of 1 lemon
Enough icing sugar to make a runny sauce
Tbsp Caster sugar

Create the sponge mix following the recipe.
Instead of putting the sponge mix into two seperate cake tins, put into one 8″ square tin lined with non-stick baking parchment instead.
Bake in the oven on Gas mark 4 for approx. 40-45 minutes – test to see if it bounces back or a skewer comes out clean.

Put onto a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes.

Whilst the cake is cooling make the drizzle by mixing the lemon juice mixed with enough icing sugar to make a runny sauce.
Poke holes into the top of the cake whilst it is still warm and drizzle with the icing.

Dont worry if seems to go translucent and dribble down the side of the cake, this is all part of the appeal – its a tasty cake but not the prettiest!

Once the icing has been poured on the cake, sprinkle with the caster sugar and leave to cool.