Thursday, September 26, 2013

Blazing out of this place

A last minute order for a leaving-do, from a fire station!  I got the message from L that she needed some cupcakes for a colleague who was leaving the Fire Service and could I help, as she knew we were headed off to Oz very soon.  Sure thing I said, and baked her up some strawberry ripple cupcakes with a dollop of jam (kind of like fire, see?) in the middle, topped with luscious vanilla buttercream and wishes of good luck in flames on top.  Ciao, adios, adieu - enjoy!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Becca does decorations, and holidays

The Team were invited to a friend's birthday party, and I was asked to make the party cupcakes.  All very thrilling, and right up our street... But we were going on a late holiday this year, in the October school holidays, to Australia (yes indeed, you read that right!  Australia!!  For the first time in over a decade, and thus with the children.  For nearly 40 hours door-to-door) and were leaving the day of the party.  So not only could we not attend, I couldn't make the fresh cupcakes.
So the mother had an inspired idea - could I make the decorations, and she'd make buy some cupcakes from the supermarket?  Sure thing I said...  Butterflies, flowers, birds and buttons - Happy 6th birthday E!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Berry bake - come on Autumn!

You may have noticed that I like to pick up recipe magazines now and then.  And try out new recipes that I think sound good.  Well, here's another one...
This one is officially called Little Chefs apple, berry and yoghurt traybake but I prefer to think of it as a Cinnamon Apple Berry bake.  It smelled great when it was cooking, and was so moist and quick to eat! And it seems quite healthy too, with 3 different fresh fruits, natural yoghurt and not much sugar. Certainly I was happy for The Team to have their fill.  
 It even looks good raw, don't you think?  All those delicious berries, mmm...
When the time was up for baking, it seemed very soft inside, so I returned it to the oven for a further 15 minutes or so.  It was still soft and very moist, but I felt it must be done so removed it finally.
It cut up easily once cooled, and was moist all the way through - totally delicious!!  Although for the next time, I'll add a fair bit more cinnamon for a bit more of an Autumnal flavour.  And a friend tried it and she added mixed spice - that would work too.  Enjoy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mars Bar Slice, with added fun

I had some orange flavoured chocolate buttons and some Reese's Pieces in the baking treats bucket, and couldn't think how best to use them.  Until I noticed the Mars Bars in the sweetie cupboard - bingo!  Off to buy some Rice Krispies and it was game on...
They looked kinda silly lined up like that on the whole tray, but once cut into bite-size pieces - oh my, they looked and tasted amazing!  Lucky for us that this treat was all for The Team  :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One Direction, every little girls dream

It was that time of year again, D's birthday, and this year she was planning a One Direction themed party. They had so enjoyed the little lilac mini cupcakes from last year that that was the go-to idea for this year.  I started out with the little named decorations and let them dry out overnight.  Then made up dozens of mini cupcakes, all named and some even with the party-guests names on!  Then once they were decorated they were lined up and ready to be eaten.
Happy birthday D - hope it was fabulous!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

I made a clafoutis...

I had heard of Clafoutis before, but never really known quite what it was, nor how to make it.  Then I came across a recipe in a magazine (nope, sorry I can't recall which one) that looked quite easy and thought, what the hey, I'll give it a go!
It seems like a custard that sets up a bit, with some fruit thrown in for good measure.  I'm not sure I'd bake one again, but am pleased that I finally have.
You can see that it didn't rise much, and has a soggy sort of texture to it.  It did pretty much taste as it looks, so was quite quick and easy to eat.  Almost like something you would think to serve a young child perhaps... Have you ever had it before?  What was your verdict?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Say Happy Birthday with purple roses

This lady loves purple.  She asked for light and dark purple roses on mini cupcakes to be the centerpiece of her birthday celebrations.  I had made sugarpaste roses before, but only once or twice, so confidently said, sure thing, I can do that!
Then spent far longer than anticipated on getting them good enough.
I used vanilla bean paste this time, rather than the usual extract, so there were tiny little dots throughout the sponge and icing.  Lovely taste, will try this variation again soon. 
They went down a storm at the birthday lunch I believe, and her children took the leftvoers in to school the next day in their packed lunches.  And every other child wanted to trade snacks, yey!!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Sticky toffee pudding cupcakes with salted caramel icing...

I had been invited to the launch party of the Great Pink Bake Off, a charity event in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer.  It was to be held in Edinburgh in an early evening on a Thursday.  I thanked the PR lady for inviting me, but explained that as I live and work in Dundee it simply wasn't feasible for me (time and childcare issues basically).  I passed the information on to my colleagues and one was able to attend.  She brought me back a goodie bag, and I set to making these Mark Greenaway Sticky Toffee pudding cupcakes for the adults coming to our tea party (the kids got the personalised mini cupcakes).
As you can see, the recipe was a bit of a palaver, with lots of different little sections to combine.  I hadn't yet made a sticky toffee pudding, despite it being one of my favourite desserts, so I quite enjoyed doing all the necessary parts.
I found making the salted caramel sauce a little tricky.  It seemed to go from white sugar to a dark brown sauce very quickly, and tasted bitter to me.  I asked Mr Becca to try it, and whilst he agreed it tasted good it also seemed burnt/bitter to him.  When making up the icing, the required amount of cream cheese was nowhere near enough for a piping consistency, so I added more cream cheese and far less caramel sauce. Then I felt I had to add in way more icing sugar to make it sweeter.  By the time I'd played about with ingredients to achieve consistency, I ended up having to throw out a fair bit of the caramel sauce...
The end result looked and tasted good though.  The combination of the delicious sponge, with the slightly bitter-sweet icing and drizzled sauce worked really well.  All the adults loved them, and even some of the kids tried them too.  I took the spares in to work the next day, and the colleague who'd been to the launch party and tried the original version deemed them a good copy indeed!  Go Becca  :)