Summary

Give me cake or give me death cookies.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Trifling Experiment- Part 2

Blueberry banana cheesecake trifle.


Oh my. This trifle was delicious, but so, so heavy. A definite no for ending a dinner party, where everyone will already be stuffed by the end. Last week's blueberry strawberry and peach trifle is still in the lead!

The components of this one were:

-Vanilla sponge
-Whipping cream
-No-bake cheesecake filling (made with low fat cream cheese, vanilla pudding mix, whipped cream and condensed milk)
-Sliced fresh bananas
-Fresh blueberries
-Blueberry compote

It's also not as attractive as last week's contestant, either. Ah, well. Like I said, delicious- but heavy. Much better to end a dinner party with something lighter.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Trifling Experiment: Part 1

Blueberry, strawberry and peach trifle.

blueberry, strawberry and peach trifle

My house is going to invite a couple of relatives around for Christmas this year, and I'm in charge of dessert (surprised?) Trifle seems to be a popular request amongst family members, so I'm going to be test-running a few ideas for trifle in the run up to the get-together- making them in small individual portions for now so my house doesn't get fat before the actual party. Starting... now.

The components of this one were:

-Vanilla sponge
-Vanilla bean custard
-Whipped cream
-Blueberry compote and fresh blueberries
-Strawberry jam (thinned with a little water) and fresh strawberries
-Peach purée and sliced peaches

Everything was home-made, apart from the strawberry jam (I considered making strawberry compote too, but I felt like good old strawberry jam is more fun).

Oh, and I topped them with gold star sprinkles and sprayed the top lightly with edible gold spray, to try and get into a Christmassy mood (it didn't work, I only felt a little grumpy since it's only October- but it did look cute).


I'm thinking once I've done a few I'll do a final family vote to decide on which one to make for the dinner party. It might be a tough call- this one already got rave reviews, and it's only my first attempt.

Some (but not all) ideas I'm going to try:

-Banana blueberry cheesecake trifle
-Crystal traffic light jelly trifle
-Pumpkin and gingerbread trifle
-Strawberry chocolate trifle
-Green tea red bean trifle

Can't wait!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

And This Year's Birthday Cake Is...

This year I was adamant that I wouldn't have to make my own birthday cake again. I had a very special request: a cake that was my childhood favourite. In fact, this cake is probably the childhood favourite of thousands of children across the UK- known for its roll of chocolateyness, Smartie spots, white chocolate feet and, of course, the white chocolate face that is bestowed upon the birthday girl or boy.

I'm talking, of course, about Marks and Spencer's Colin the Caterpillar.


marks spencer caterpillar cake

colin the caterpillar cake






 You knew you were a somebody when you got a Colin the Caterpillar cake for your birthday. Friends would be jealous of the lucky receiver of the chocolate face, while everyone hoped to get one of the solid chocolate feet when they got a slice of the cake.


See this chubby-cheeked cherub here? This is me with a Colin the Caterpillar cake when I was nine years old.


See how friggin' happy I am, despite the hideous couch cover I'm sitting on? That pottery wheel was also sweet, and that Pocahontas mug? It was my favourite for years and years- it changed colour when you put hot drinks in it.

Seventeen years later and this cake is no less awesome.


Oh dear lord my face hasn't changed at all, has it? At least the sofa got an upgrade.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Birthday Treats for the Office: Nutella Cupcakes

Or, to be more specific, chocolate-hazelnut cupcakes filled with Nutella, frosted with chocolate buttercream and finished off with gold-sprayed hazelnuts.

nutella filled cupcakes 3

I brought in mini chocolate fudge cupcakes for my birthday last year because I was short of time, but this year I had a little more time to make fancier cakes (it's my birthday on Sunday, but since I'll be busy all day I decided to being treats in on the Friday before instead of the Monday after.

I'm quite proud of this recipe because I totally made it up based on my understanding of how each ingredient works- and it worked! I'm also working on the assumption that everyone loves Nutella.

Right?

This recipe makes 36 cupcakes since I wanted everyone in my department to be able to have one, so you may want to halve it for yourself. Or not!

Ingredients:

-6 eggs
-12oz unsalted butter (softened)
-12oz caster sugar
-8oz self-raising flour
-4oz ground hazelnuts
-6tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
-1tsp vanilla
-5tbsp milk
-A pinch of salt
-1tsp baking powder

To Fill:

-1 large jar of Nutella

To Frost:

-8oz unsalted butter, softened
-900g icing sugar
-5 heaped tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
-4tbsp milk
-1tsp vanilla

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and line a couple of muffin pans with cupcake cases (you might have to do this in a few batches if you only have one or two pans like I do).

2) Make the cupcakes like you normally would any sponge cake: cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, whisk the eggs in thoroughly, and alternately whisk in the dry ingredients and milk until you have a smooth cake batter.

3) Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes or until springy when you poke them (if they leave a dent when you poke them, give them a couple more minutes).

4) Take them out of the oven, cool, and using a small knife cut around the centres to make wells. Now fill them up with teaspoonfuls of Nutella!



5) Make the buttercream by whisking the butter until pale, and gradually adding in the cocoa, sugar, milk and vanilla (again alternating wet with dry ingredients to make mixing easier). Fill up a piping bag, and get swirling.

6) This part is optional of course, but for me it's the best part: decorate your cupcakes with sprinkles, toppers, anything you like.

nutella filled cupcakes
Enjoy!


Friday, 4 October 2013

Birthday Cake Request: Dotty Borders

I got another request from the same people I made this cake for, this time for a three-layered birthday cake. This time since the cake was taller and the sides looked bare plain, I had a bit of fun with some border work.

Spots and dots!