Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Snickers and peanut-butter muffins!

I have heard about Nigella Lawson many times, but for some reason I never felt inclined to buy her books.

I went to a local boot sale not long ago and looking into a box full of books I found "How to be a domestic goddess" by Nigella Lawson, hard cover, I didn't think too much and got it straight away, of course!.... for £1 can you believe it?, I'm such a lucky girl!. The book is absolutely GREAT!, loads of yummy recipes that I have started to try. I love her writing, she has the ability to pass her inspiration and passion for food through her words and I have to admit, it's catching!.

On page 218 you'll find "Snickers and peanut-butter muffins"....yummy!!!
Here's the recipe:

-250g plain flour
-6 tbsp (85g) golden caster sugar
-1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
-Pinch of salt
-6 tbsp (160g) crunchy peanut butter
-60 unsalted butter, melted
-1 large egg, beaten
-175 ml milk
-3 x 65 g Snickersbars, chopped
-12 muffin tin with paper cases

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 (I have a fan oven and 170C was fine)

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the peanut butter and mix until you have a bowl of coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter and egg to the milk, and then stir this gently into the bowl. Mix in the Snickers pieces and dollop into the muffin cases. Cook for 20-25 minutes (18 minutes was enough in my oven!, so check them every now and then) when the tops should be risen, golden and firm to the (light) touch. Sit the tin on a wire rack to cool. If you can.

Makes 12

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Citrus poppy seed cake

Every season is "cake season" to me so I'm always looking for new tempting recipes to try.
Not long ago I bought this little book: "Good Food 101 cakes & bakes" from Amazon, after reading all the excllent and convincing reviews. I have tried a few recipes and I have to say they are great!. This has been the only cake I managed to photograph so far because the other ones vanished before I could take my camera out of the bag! hahahahha...

Now, back to this cake in particular.....is very easy to do (you don't even need an electric mixer!) and 100% delicious. This has been the first of many more I'll make, no doubt!.
Here's the recipe:

-175gr butter, softened
-175gr caster sugar
-3 eggs, beaten
-250gr self-raising flour
-50gr poppy seeds
-Grated rind of 2 oranges
-Grated rind of 2 lemons
-4 rounded tbsp natural yogurt

For the topping:
-250gr tub mascarpone
-Grated rind and juice of 1 small orange
-3 tbsp orange or lemon curd
-Grated rind of 1 lemon

Before I continue let me tell you that I only sprinkled some icing sugar on mine, I didn't use the topping from this recipe simply because I didn't have the mascarpone nor the lemon curd, BUT....I'll surely try it next time!.

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas2/fan oven 130C.
Butter and line the base of a deep 20cm/8in round cake tin.
Using a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar,eggs, flour, poppy seeds, citrus rinds and yogurt until smooth.

2. Spread the mixture in the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until just firm. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then turn out and cool on a wire rack. Peel off the paper.

3. Meanwhile, mix the mascarpone with enough orange juice to make a spreadable icing. Lightly swirl in the curd to give a marbled effect. Roughly spread over the top and sides of the cake, and scatter the grated citrus rind over the top to decorate.

Serves 10

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Flower Power Cake!

Jasmine's 18th birthday was coming and as I promised to her, I made the cake.
I was getting a bit nervous as I knew I needed more time to practice with fondant and at the same time I wanted to make a very special and beautiful cake for her.
I used to take tips from the internet, YouTube and so on, but for some reason it didn't seem enough help!. So I went to Amazon's and looked for cake decorating books....there are loads, difficult to choose!. I started reading the reviews of the ones I liked and that's how I ended up buying "Cakes to inspire and desire" by Lindy Smith....fabulous book! it has just the right and very clear information you need, good recipes and priceless tips. Although I still need to learn A LOT, her book helped me with the basics and gave me more confidence to try new things. I recommend it 100%!

I thought at first I was going to make a simple cake, and by this I mean, a "one tier" cake... but seeing the pictures in the book was very tempting so I gave it a go, following all the instructions in the book...2 tiers then!, it worked perfectly well.
I used a 7 inch round cake for the base and a 3,5 inch cake for the one on top, rather small but very cute!...here's the result!

As I didn't want to write on the cake to not spoil the flowers, I made this tag with fondant and used an edible ink pen to write on it, I think it looks great, what do you think?

In the book there's a list of useful tools....I was quite impressed with the "Sugar Shaper", which I had to get, I couldn't resist it!... and let me tell you, Squires Kitchen has the best price online! :-)

Zoe's cake

I made this cake for a very special girl, Zoe, who turned 7 in July.
I have to say, it was quite difficult to cover the cake with fondant, it's not easy at all, it takes a lot of practice I think, so I'll keep on trying!.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lemon gateau

I tried a recipe that I found in a magazine. The picture showing the cake looked terribly appealing to me, I couldn't resist!.

What's a Gateau?
A gâteau (pronounced ga-toe) is a French cake, often specifically a sponge cake that may be made from almond flour instead of wheat flour. In general terms, any cake in France may be considered a gâteau, but some French cakes are more gâteaux than cakes you might see in other parts of the world. Yet if you order any kind of cake in France, you will be ordering a gâteau.

Gateau is the singular word for cake and Gateaux is the plural word, although the pronunciation is the same.

Let's go to the recipe, shall we? :-)

-Butter for greasing
-2 1/2 tbsp of semolina, plus extra for dusting
-6 large eggs, separated
-150 gr (5 oz) caster sugar
Link-2 large lemons
-40 gr (1 1/2 oz) ground almonds
-3 tbsp plain flour
-3 gelatine leaves (or 1 1/2 sachet of Vege-gel (from Dr Oetker) wich is the vegetarian alternative)
-150ml double cream

1. Grease an 8cm deep, 20.5cm loose-bottomed round tin. Line base with baking parchment; dust sides with semolina.

2. Heat oven to 180C (160C fan) mark 4.

3. Beat 3 egg yolks + 50grs (2 oz) sugar + zest of 1 lemon for 5 minutes. Fold in semolina +almonds + flour.

4. Beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Add 25gr (1 oz) sugar and beat for a few seconds. Fold 1 tbsp into cake mix, then fold in the rest. Spoon into tin and level. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool in tin.

5. Remove sides of tin and slide cake on to a board, leaving parchment in place.
Slice cake in half horizontally. Regrease and reline sides of tin with baking parchment.
Put cake half with paper attached into the tin, paper side-down.

6. Put gelatine in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave for 5 minutes.
*If you're using Vege-gel, empty a sachet and a half into a small bowl and add 200ml of cold water, stir with a spoon until is completely dissolved, leave it for a few minutes.

7. Heat the juice of 1 lemon until simmering.
Squeeze excess water of gelatine, then whisk into the lemon juice. Leave to cool.
*Using the Vege-gel: pour the Vege-gel mixture into the lemon juice using a sieve, stir gently whilst on lowest heat for a couple of minutes, then leave to cool.

8. Whisk remaining yolks + sugar + zest of 1 lemon until moussey. Fold in the gelatine mixture.

9. Beat remaining egg whites until stiff.

10. Whisk cream until it just holds its shape.

11. Fold cream into yolk mix, then fold in egg whites.

12. Pour into tin. Cover. Chill for 2 hours in freezer.

13. Put second cake layer over the mousse, cut-side down. Cover and chill overnight.

14. Turn out cake and peel off paper. Dust with icing sugar and using a knife or a metal skewer score lines on top.

Good luck and enjoy! x

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter cake

I have been very busy recently, trying to get everything ready to put the house for sale... it seems like an endless task!. Tiring times but I'm sure it will be all satisfactory at the end.
I thought I wasn't going to bake anything for Easter as I have very little energy these days.... and here I am!...

I love Easter, more than anything because it's the celebration of Spring.

This cake: vanilla sponge, caramel and raspberry jam filling, covered with buttercream, marzipan letters and bunnies, mini eggs and silver balls....YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My son's 2nd birthday and a starry cake :o)

I was thinking about the cake I wanted to make for my son's birthday for quite a while.
It was very difficult to cover my first cake with fondant, but I can say I learnt a lot while doing it on my own and I hoped to improve the next time...and I definitely did!. I managed to get the right consistency for the buttercream that goes under the fondant. I used ready rolled fondant this time. It wasn't perfect coming out of the roll, it was cracked...but I fixed it.
I also made some cupcakes to go with it.
My son loved it!.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My first cake decorated with fondant!

I wanted to surprise my husband who was turning 50, with a special cake. I watched loads of videos on YouTube about cake decorating and specially about how to cover a cake with fondant. It seemed quite easy...or at least that's the impression I had!!!. I was very excited and looking forward to start my first cake.
I wanted to get the ready rolled fondant that you can find in almost any grocery store....but when I went for it, it was all gone!!!, so I got 2 packs of 500grs ready to roll fondant and thought it was worth to try and do it all myself.
The cake was ready, the layer of buttercream seemed to be just perfect....how exciting!!!!....then, I rolled the fondant, added the icing sugar so it wouldn't stick to the table....so far so good!!, I placed the fondant carefully on top of the cake and when I was trying to smooth the sides....oops! it cracked and then I had uncovered areas....oooh dear, complete disasterrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!! I have to say, my heart sank!!, the cake looked horrible, impossible to take anywhere. I left it in the kitchen, I needed time to think, how can I fix it?...at first I thought that I could cover it again with another layer of white fondant....but it was going to be too much....then I thought....stripes to cover the sides....and I finally decided to use circles, using fondant as well....
This is the result:

I still need to learn a lot, but to be the very first cake I don't think it's too bad, what do you think?

This is what we had left...

I need to make another cake, for my son's birthday # 2, I already have some ideas, I just hope I'll manage to cover the cake properly!!!.
See you soon! :o)

Christmas biscuits

I know should have posted this a bit before Christmas!!
Anyway....here are the biscuits I made :o)

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