aargh!!!! Pirate Cakes

The other week was the annual Buttoned Down Disco mid-summers boat party. My friends and I attended this last year and very much enjoyed the novelty of dancing around all night in nautical gear and this year was even better as Pete was on the decks.. Get it? Pun-intentional! I'm a loser I know.
Anyway as it was also Pete's birthday I decided to bake some themed cupcakes for the occasion. I have been wanting to expand my baking skills so I made some of my own honeycomb which was so much easier than I thought it would be. I decided to put these on top of some chocolate cupcakes which were covered in delicious chocolate icing. I can't actually take the credit for the baking on the cupcakes with these ones as LK worked her chocolate magic and whisked these up for me, my touch was just the honeycomb.

Who would have thought it was so easy???
SEE!!!! I made honeycomb!!!!
arghhhhh pirates cakes with golden treasure!!!
Thanks to LK for her help in the kitchen and also thanks to
Miss Meggles who gave us this amazing
apron from Paris.. Cat's + Baking.. is there anything better?

The second cupcakes I made was chai flavoured with butter cream icing. Pete has been bugging me to make chai flavoured cupcakes ever since he had an amazing chai flavoured milkshake in Melbourne. I can't blame him, chai and all its awesome spiciness is one of my favourite flavours too. I looked around for a few recipes, however since I had the chai powder I just decided to make it up and substituted some of my flour for the chai powder. The colour instantly changed from a cream colour to a dark beige and I thought I'd over done it, but I love chai so I thought it tasted fantastic and by the way the flew out of the boxes at the boat party I think others enjoyed them too.

Chai cupcakes with edible wafer anchors! A-hoy!

And just a few more pictures which were taken by Helena on the night.. thanks Helena!

I look a little to pleased to be eating my own cake
DJ cakes
Happy Baking x

Low Fat Gluten Free Coffee Cake

I thought I would try another recipe from one of my favourite books the Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood. I love this book as unlike other low fat recipes it uses normal ingredients, rather than sweeteners and artificial ingredients.

For the coffee flavour it called for a "Camp Chicory & Coffee Essence" which was actually given to me from a workmate to try out. I had never heard of it before and it is a very intense coffee syrup. It gave the mixture and the icing a very rich coffee flavour and I'm interested to see how if its just enough flavouring in the cake or if its too much!! Either or I think it looks delish!

Happy Baking x

Monte Carlo Biscuits... some much missed Aussie treats! And the Start of the Women's Weekly Challenge

When I was back home in Australia in December I purchased the Women's Weekly Biscuits and Macaroons Recipe Book.

I was very excited about many of the recipes in this book which includes loads of recipes for biscuits I missed from home, including honey jumbles, anzacs and of course monte carlo's, but also the much loved and colourful macaroons which I want/feel I should have a good at baking.

As I had a 'few things' to bring back to London that wouldn't fit in my 23kg's of luggage, I had to pack a number of  items in boxes to be shipped and for some reason I put the recipe book in there too... silly me! So you'd think after the long awaited 3.5 months before I was reunited with the book I'd get straight in there and bake something from it, but here I am another 3 months later. Anyway, I got in there tonight starting with monte carlo's.

The recipes was very simple, and the dough was very easy to make and then play around with. I wanted to get them all perfect so I even went to the point of measuring out each tiny little dough ball to 13grams, but it was totally worth it.

a much missed treat

The smell from the oven was incredible when they were done and I am quite proud of these little ones. I will be taking them into work to share, and even though they won't know what they are they are, I think they might still find them a nice treat. 

Happy Baking x

Easter Egg Cake - a slight fail...

I've been hiding this post away for awhile as you can probably tell as its titled "Easter". This is mainly because the cake didn't work at all how it was meant too and its not fun writing about everything that went wrong... but here goes.

This recipe came from my friend Tracey who has perfected this cake several times and it didn't appear to be that difficult. She gave me many tips from the many times she has made this so I should have been able to do it, but playing around with chocolate is difficult. Her biggest tip was to use cooking chocolate and not to try and be 'fancy' using nice chocolate as she said it just doesn't work. The first problem is that in Australia the chocolate that is in the cooking isle is aptly called 'Cooking Chocolate' and this is very easy to find. However in the UK I find I'm in the deep in when I'm choosing chocolate. In the baking section of several supermarkets I am yet to find a 'cooking chocolate' in any baking sections. They have 'chocolate cake covering' which I don't even like the sound of and sounds far from what I need. Anyway if anyone in the UK has tips on this I will be all ears.

Anyway, so basically I was going to make a cake look like an Easter Egg which the kids could break open to reveal more eggs. I had baked a lovely chocolate cake with chocolate icing and on top of this I put an array of different eggs, including the mini eggs which seem to be a UK favourite and some Cadbury crème egg mini's. The cake itself looked delish and I knew the kids would love it. Next was the hard part, getting a chocolate shell to cover the cake which would then be the actual egg which the kids could then break open to reveal the cake. I tried doing the shell several times, but it just wouldn't come unstuck from the bowl. In the end I managed to get one out, but it wasn't smooth or even looked remotely like an egg. The next problem was the 1.5 hour drive in which by the time we ended up at the family gathering the chocolate had complete melted all over the cake despite being in a cooler bag.

The cake wasn't a complete disaster but I did feel completely defeated by it. Unfortunately I didn't get to stick around until they cut it, but apparently it still went down well and the eggs were a surprise in the middle.

I think I'll try again next year.. maybe!

Happy Baking x

Apple Pie Nana Peg would be proud of!

If you were following my blog in September last year, you would remember that I was very excited about the arrival of the pie dish LK had bought of Etsy. Well now 8 months on I've actually got around to using it.

Pie for me needs to have an occasion and because of that its taken me a while to actually make one, and also because I prefer celebrating birthdays with cake and candles. My occasion wasn't anything to special, just a Sunday Roast that Pete was cooking for some friends and I decided this was a great chance to cook my pie.

I haven't made an actual pie for a very long time, actually I can't even remember, but I know I have. This was another thing my Nana Peg was known for and I loved watching her bake it; and so to be able to make one was important to me. I feel very lucky (and lazy) as I have Big Red to make amazing dough without getting my hands dirty and she did just that. I used the Hummingbird Apple Pie recipe from the first book as that book was the reason we bought the pie dish in the first place as their pies look so scrumptious.

I fixed it up properly with patches
but forgot to take a photo.. oops!

I made the dough the day before and then cooked the pie early Sunday morning. It didn't think it would be so simple, but it was. The apple were softened in sugar and cinnamon and if I was in my kitchen I think I would have used some nutmeg too. Cinnamon + Nutmeg = amazing!

After the apples were all softened and covered in cinnamon, a sugary syrup that was left behind that was so delicious I had to pour it down the sink before I literally drank it. I wanted to keep it and use it for something else but I didn't know what, any suggestions for next time are welcome.

I didn't quite get the top layer of dough on as successfully as I could have, but my patch work wasn't to shabby. I even made little pastry leaves to put on the top like they do in the book, however I know I'll never be a creative cake maker by sculpting things out of fondant etc as I was struggling to think about how I was going to cut a diamond... but I think I did quite well.

We served it up with some Cornish vanilla ice cream.... perfect.

Happy Baking x