Rainbow Cupcake

There are a number of baking blogs I follow for inspiration. One of my favourites blogs is by Lyndsay and her website is Coco Cake Land. I have followed this blog for a few years now and she has made some incredible creations (without using too much sugarpaste), and her photography skills are amazing too. There are also some really helpful tutorials and step-by-step instructions and recently she has been into brightly coloured creations which I have wanted to try.



Last weekend, my friend LK invited me along to the pub for her birthday and I wanted to give her one of my cupcakes, so it was a good chance to try out something bright and colourful.

The idea was pretty simply; I used my normal vanilla cupcake recipe with vanilla butter-cream and split both the mixtures into 3 bowls and added my colours. Then I set up a piping bag in a pint glass and filled the bag with the coloured mixture. Ensure you keep the amounts down either side even so you get a good spread of each colour.



I was really impressed with how they turned out, so vibrant!



And my friend LK was pretty happy too, Happy Birthday LK!


Happy Baking x

Happy Easter

Just a quick blog update on this lovely long weekend. 

Hope everyone is enjoying the blue skies we have had so far, well at least in London.

I'm off to a Sunday Roast with my pals tomorrow and thought I would make a simple cake to take along.


Since my friend Kate doesn't eat milk or dark chocolate (weirdo), this white chocolate cake should do the trick, complete with Milkyway Mini Eggs The recipe can be found here at BBC Good Food

Happy Easter!! x 

My 7 Year Anniversary Celebrated with Strawberry & Cream (cheese) Cupcakes

Today (14th April) marks the 7 year anniversary of my arrival in London. This year the weather has replicated the lovely summer we had the year I landed. At the time however, I was hoping for an escape from the heat of Brisbane and I never really appreciated how lovely it actually was at the time.


I still remember my first day in London; it was 24 degrees and we sat in Regents Park with our Tesco picnic and I wondered why so many people had their clothes off... Do they not care about skin cancer and the hole in the ozone layer?? Anyway 7 years is a long time and at times, it feels like it's flown by and other times it does feel like an eternity. I had a moment the other weekend when I saw an old friend and we realised it had been 5 years since we’d seen each other. It was strange to think that since I only ever planned staying for 2 years, the fact I hadn't physically seen someone in 5 years was bizarre.

Yesterday the weather man was predicting good weather and as a result I had managed to pre-plan a ploughman’s picnic to take to Hyde Park for my friends and we enjoyed the sun for a few hours (all with our shirts on though).

Looking forward to the next 7 years!


Strawberry and Cream (cheese) Cupcakes
Makes 12

Ingredients
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12tsp strawberry jam

Icing
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, softened
125g cream cheese, cold

Mix all the ingredients (except the jam) together with beaters.

Cook in an oven at 180°C fo
r 18-20 minutes. 

Try not open the oven to check till about 18 mins is up - they should be slightly brown on top and check with a skewer.

Leave to cool and prepare the icing.

To make the icing, beat together the icing sugar and butter. Take cream cheese out of the fridge and add all in one go. Beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

When the cupcakes are cooled, use an apple corer to remove the middle of the cupcake and fill with a teaspoon of jam. Replace the middle and then they are ready to be iced.

Top with a Strawberry Haribo and enjoy with a cup of tea for the full English experience.

Happy 7 Years to me!

Happy Baking x

Butterscotch Sweets

One of my new years resolutions was to try master some new baking techniques. One of the techniques I wanted to be be more confident at is making toffee/caramel/sweets etc. I've always found it a bit daunting watching sugar boil away on the stovetop, but with a bit of practice I am hoping it won't be such a scary thing.



The book below was given to me from one of my lovely lady friends a few years ago and I always loved looking at the pretty pictures, but I had never actually tried anything. I have one excuse for not trying any of these recipes sooner and that's because its an Australian cookbook and a number of recipes use copha. I'm not sure if there is an UK equivalent, I am sure there is one, so if you know what it is, please let me know and I'll stop making excuses. 


I found this butterscotch recipe easy to make. There was just a lot of waiting for my thermometer to start beeping when it hit the right temperature. The only thing I realised I didn't have enough of were moulds. Luckily I had these Ikea silicone ice trays prepared just in case, as you have to be quick when its ready to come off the stove as it starts to set.


Butterscotch Sweets

Ingredients
2 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup thickened cream (double-cream)
2/3 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Lightly grease a couple of chocolate moulds (enough to hold about 20 sweets).

In a large, heavy-based saucepan over low heat, mix cream, sugar and water and keep stirring until sugar dissolves.

Add cream of tartar.

Increase the heat to medium and without stirring, boil mixture until it reaches 115°C. Add the chopped butter and boil until mixture reaches 135°C. Stir mixture occasionally.

Quickly drop teaspoon size drops of the mixture into the moulds. Set at room temperature in a dry, cool place for 45 minutes. Turn out of moulds and store in an airtight container.

Happy Baking x

The Travelling Pie Dish - Take 2

If you follow any of my social media lately you would be aware of (bored of) my recent pie dish updates. And so I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the story of the pie dish and why it was such a story to finally receive it and to say thanks to all involved.

A few years ago, back when I had started baking in London, my housemate at the time was also into baking and she found this lovely pie dish on Etsy. Back then I had very little baking equipment or baking dishes and therefore this was a welcome addition to our limited collection. I would like to mention that at this time I still think I was using a wine bottle as a rolling pin, but it did the job.

The original pie dish

A number of pies were made by various housemates, apple & blackberry, apple, low fat berry, pumpkin and one of my favourites, lemon meringue

When I moved out 18 months ago I was again without a pie dish. By now, my baking equipment collection had expanded, and I also didn't want to purchase just any pie dish, I wanted a similar pie dish that just felt 'homely'. I’d booked to go to New York last November to visit my friends and this provided the opportunity to find a new dish (as it's an American company) and luckily I found the perfect one. I had ordered it with plenty of time for it to be delivered before I got there, but sadly it didn't arrive and appeared to have been lost in transit. I left NYC a week later with no pie dish.

The following day, my friend informed me that it had arrived the day after I left! I was happy, but annoyed that she would now have to go to the trouble of posting it. By this time, I was going home to Australia for an extended stay and my friends were also heading off on their travels, so it wasn't posted until February this year. It finally arrived on the busiest day of the year at work for me, and I decided to wait until and open it after this week was over. 

On the Friday, I took the box out to the dining table to cut the tape and stupid me in my tired state, let the dish slip out the other end. I have about 6 tiles in my flat… and it managed to fall (still in the bubble wrap) directly on to the tiles and smash. 



 

I was so gutted :(
 

After all this I wasn’t going to bother about it for awhile, but then one of the underwriters was travelling out to our New Jersey office and I asked if he minded carrying it back for me. He said he was happy too and I managed to find another similar pie dish, but a pumpkin one this time. I got it delivered to the NY office and he kindly brought it back in his luggage for me and this time I managed to get it home and opened without smashing it. YEY!



So the next important question… is what pie to bake first???

Happy Baking x