Thursday, 29 July 2010

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes :)

So I finally got a chance to use my new recipe book, called "Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery." I decided to try out the Strawberries and Cream cupcakes first, as it's a friends birthday tomorrow and I thought they'd make a nice summery treat for a picnic we're having. They were really good fun to make, and my sister has decided that "they're the tastiest cakes ever!"

Here's the recipe if you'd like to have a go at making them too:

225 g caster sugar
210 g self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
25g cornflower
125g fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and crushed
225g unsalted butter
4 large eggs

To decorate:

Quality strawberry jam (1 teaspoon per cake)

Vanilla Buttercream icing: 110g unsalted butter, 60ml semi-skimmed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 500g icing sugar (this amount makes the icing very sweet, you may wish to experiment with using less.)

12 fresh strawberries


1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees or Gas Mark 4, and line a 12 hole muffin tray with the appropriate size cupcake cases. (You may wish to use silicone cases, as they're easier to use and stop the cake sticking when you eventually want to eat it.)

2. Cream the butter and the sugar together gently by hand and then begin to use an electric hand whisk. Beat in the eggs one by one, and then add the remaining ingredients and beat well together. (Alternatively you can put the sugar, flour, baking powder, cornflour and strawberries into a food processor, pulsing for about 4 seconds until evenly mixed, and then add the butter and eggs and process for a further 10 seconds.)

3. Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. The cakes will be fairly moist even when cooked. (If using smaller cake cases then the cooking time will vary and be closer to 15 minutes. I found best results came from placing the cakes in the middle of the oven, as on the top shelf they browned very quickly. Also as the cakes are quite moist they don't rise very much, so you can almost fill the cupcake cases if you wish.)

4. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for up to 10 minutes before placing on a wire try to cool.

5. Once completely's time for the fun bit! Carefully make a small hole in the centre of each cupcake using a knife and then use a teaspoon to push the strawberry jam into the whole. (You can slightly warm the jam in a saucepan first to soften it before pushing it into the sponge if you wish. This allows some of the jam to soak into the sponge.)

6.Make the buttercream icing-add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix carefully at first by hand to avoid a icing sugar explosion! Then mix with a hand whisk for approximately five minutes so it is creamy and smooth.

7. It's time to ice your cupcakes! Using the flat side of a palette knife work icing sugar over the entire cupcake. Use enough icing sugar so that you can form a central peak with excess icing. Then dip the end of the knife into the centre of the cupcake and drag in a anticlockwise circulate motion to create a "swirl effect."

8. Decorate the cupcakes as desired! (You may wish to cut fresh strawberries in half and place them onto the cakes shortly before serving, or use something such as sugar balls for a more decorative finish.)

Leave to set, and enjoy! Perfect for summer picnics, parties or just an afternoon snack, they're sure to be a hit with everyone!

Preparation time: 1 hour plus cooking time

Makes 15-20 regular cupcakes

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Millionaires Shortbread...

Millionaires Shortbread is definitely one of my favourite deserts-you get chocolate, toffee/fudge and shortbread all together! What could possibly be better?! I made this for my family the other day, and needless to's all gone already!


For the shortbread base:

-225g plain flour

-100g caster sugar

-225g butter

-100g cornflower

For the topping

-175g butter

-175g caster sugar

-4 tbsp golden syrup

-1 x 397g can of condensed milk

-200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces (this can easily be substituted for milk chocolate should this be what you desire. You can also use melted white chocolate to drizzle on top of the dark chocolate after it has set.)


1. Set the oven to 160 degrees, or Gas Mark 2. Lightly grease a 20cm x 33cm oblong/swiss roll tin, or use a small cake tin should you prefer. (Try to make sure that the tin is quite deep-remember there are three layers to your millionaires shortbread and you don't want to run out of room for the chocolate!)

2. Place all the base ingredients into a food processor and mix together until they form a smooth dough. This can also be done by hand in a bowl if you prefer, and small amounts of milk can be added if the dough refuses to stick together.

3.Press the mixture into the base of the swiss roll tin and prick slightly with a fork. Bake for about 30-40 miunutes until golden and firm, and then set aside to cool.

4. To make the toffee/fudge, place the butter and sugar into a saucepan. Heat gently for about 2 minutes until the butter has melted and the sugar has begun to dissolve. Then add the syrup and condensed milk and stir over a low heat. (Ensure that the heat is not too high-as it may burn the sugar and you will end up with burnt sugar within your toffee layer.)

5. Begin to bubble the mixture gently for five to eight minutes, stirring all the time until it becomes thick and fudge like. (The colour will darken to become more golden, and the mixture becomes quite a lot thicker.) Then pour immediately over the cold shortbread to form an even layer. Leave to cool.

Melt the pieces of chocolate in a bowl placed within a pan of simmering water. Wait until it is fully melted to form a smooth mixture, and then pour this over the toffee/fudge layer and leave to set. (Should you wish you can then melt a small amount of white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, and then drizzle this over the darker chocolate using a small teaspoon, for decoration. You may also wish to place chocolate chips around the edge of the shortbread for decoration as I have done, or a similar decoration such as sugar coated silver balls. Be creative-you want the shortbread to look as good as it's going to taste!)

When the chocolate is set cut the finished shortbread into small squares and store in an airtight container. It's advisable to eat within 3 days so that the ingredients taste at their freshest...luckily this part shouldn't be too much of a problem!

Preparation time:
30 minutes + cooking time

Serves 8-10
(or more if you cut into smaller squares)
Enjoy :)

I got a cupcake recipe book from "Primrose Bakery" in London for my birthday last week, and am keen to try out the chocolate orange, caramel and chocolate and banana cupcakes in particular, so hopefully that'll make my next post! I have also been given some silicone cupcake cases and am learning how to make sugar flowers and decorations to put on top, so I'll keep you all updated.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cookies

Had a go at making Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cookies today after getting the recipe from an aymer :) They turned out pretty well-its the first time that I've made cookies that have stayed soft and "gooey" in the centre even after they've cooled!

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cookies Recipe

250g butter, softened
1tsp vanilla extract
165g caster sugar
165g brown sugar
1 egg
300g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (or alternatively use self raising flower)
120g finely chopped or grated dark chocolate
120g finely chopped or grated milk chocolate
120g finely chopped or grated white chocolate
(45g finely chopped roasted hazelnuts or 60g mini marshmallows are an optional extra)

-Preheat oven to 180 degrees or Gas Mark 4 if you've got an old fashioned gas cooker like me :)

-Grease baking trays, line with baking paper.

Leave on top of oven so they warm up whilst you're making the cookies.

-Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl, then add vanilla extract and egg, beating until light and fluffy.

-Stir in flower, cocoa (and bicarbonate of soda if appropriate.) Adding this in two batches makes it easier to mix.

Stir in chocolate (and nuts or marshmallows if appropriate.)

-Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls and place approx. 5cm apart on baking tray. (Do not be tempted to make these balls any larger, they make surprisingly large cookies!)#

Bake for 12-14 minutes (no longer as this prevents them from turning "gooey" when they harden.)
-Leave to cool, and then enjoy!

Makes 25-30 cookies (or more if you roll them into smaller balls)

Preparation time up to 1 hour

First Post....Here Goes!

Over the summer I plan to cook something new as many days as possible, and will be sharing all my food and recipes with you on my blog :) I'm new to blogging so please bear with me....if you'd like more information on a recipe or have any tips/hints to share with me, please leave a comment!

First off, Banoffee Pie!

This is a classic pudding, and it's also my parents I enjoy making it for their birthdays and special occassions like mothers/father's day. The picture posted above is of a banoffee pie I made for my Dad's birthday, unfortunately the picture doesnt really do it justice, but next time I make one I'll take time to take a photo where you can see all the layers of the pie.
Here's the recipe if you're interested in making it too :)
Crumb Case:
-250g/8oz digestive biscuits
-125g/4oz butter
-175g/6oz butter
-175g/6oz caster sugar
-425g can of condensed milk (You can also add up to four tablespoons of syrup with this if you prefer a "gooier" toffee filling
-4 bananas
-1 tbs lemon juice
-300ml whipping cream
-50g dark chocolate, grated
1. Crumb the biscuits in a food processor or place between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and crush with a rolling pin. (I find its nice not to fully crush the biscuits, as it makes the base crunchier.) Melt the butter in a pan and then stir in the crumbs.
2. Press this mixture evenly over the base and sides of a deep, greased, 20cm/8 inch round flan tin. Chill until firm.
3. Make the filling. Place the butter and sugar in a plan and heat gently, stirring until the butter has melted. (Gently is key here-otherwise the sugar burns and you end up with black burnt sugar in your layer of toffee.) Stir in the condensed milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for up to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes thick and a caramel colour. Pour into the base, cool, then chill until set.
4. Here's for the fun bit....slice 3 bananas into thick slices and toss in the lemon juice. Spread these bananas over the filling. Then slice the remaining banana into very thin slices, toss in the lemon juice and put to the side. Whip the cream and spread over the top. Decorate round the edge of the pie with the reserved bananas, and then sprinkle with the grated dark chocolate.
Serves 6-8
Takes about 1 hour to prepare, plus chilling time.