Apple Crumble Cupcakes

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It’ has been ages since I made cupcakes. I have mentioned before that Mr Birdie likes to joke that cupcakes are all I make – well hopefully this blog has proved him wrong! I made these once before and Mr Birdie declared them ‘the best cupcakes I’d ever made’! I decided to make these as I had a couple of Bramley apples that needed using up.

These cupcakes are a combination of recipes – the cupcake recipe is from Eric Lanlard’s Cox, Cookies & Cake book and the cream cheese frosting and crumble topping come from the Cup O’ Sugar blog. If I had had lots of time I would have filled them with custard as my Dad gave me a cupcake filler gadget for Christmas that I am still waiting to try out but sadly time flew by today. I made 18 cupcakes from the mixture but this will probably depend on how much apple mixture you make.

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Chocolate & Pear Torte

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Our friends Simon & Louisa came round for lunch today (accompanied by their super cute son Finn). Following on from my carrot cake post where I was using up some carrots I was given at work I also had some pears that needed using. I decided to opt for Jo Wheatley’s Chocolate & Pear Torte from her ‘Home Baking’ book. You can find the recipe online here. I had considered this BBC Good Food flourless chocolate and pear cake and this BBC Good Food squidgy pear and hazelnut spread cake but I find Jo’s recipes easy to follow and that they produce good results.

This torte will serve 8-10. You will need a 25cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin that you have lightly greased.

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Carrot Cake

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I had never made a carrot cake until yesterday – shocking I know. There were two reasons for rectifying this situation. 1) On the last day of term at school we had lots of carrots left over from the free fruit and vegetables scheme for children in Key Stage 1 so I decided to grab some (thinking I’d actually feed them to the rabbit!) so I had plenty of carrots spare and 2) One of my good friends has just discovered her 6 month old baby boy is dairy intolerant. She loves cake and is missing out so I promised her I would investigate some dairy free cake recipes. After some searching on the Internet I have discovered it is hard to find dairy free cake recipes and when you do find them they require lots of special ingredients (like dairy free spread etc.) Luckily, I came across this BBC Good Food recipe that uses oil instead of butter and uses an icing made with orange juice and icing sugar rather than the traditional cream cheese frosting you might expect to find on a carrot cake.

It’s an easy recipe that only requires a couple of bowls (one for the cake and one for the icing). You will need an 18cm square cake tin, with the sides and base oiled and lined with baking parchment. (The recipe recommends using two long strips of paper crossed over making a double layer on the base.) It produces a lovely moist cake and the orange icing makes a tasty alternative topping.
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Blueberry Muffin Loaf

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Today was the baptism of the son of one of my best friends – the extremely cute Ellis. Knowing my love of baking my friend Rachael asked if I would make a cake for after the service. It was the perfect opportunity to try something new. I had some blueberries that needed using up so I decided to try out this recipe for Jo Wheatley’s blueberry muffin loaf. This is a lovely, moist, fruity cake with the added bonus of a crumble topping. Jo recommends serving it warm for brunch but I think it would go down well at any time of day. The recipe comes from ‘A Passion for Baking’ but you can find it online here.
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Love Is In The Air – Salted Rolo Brownies

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Love is apparently giving your last Rolo to your loved one. Well there’s no need to share with these tasty brownies. If you fancy treating your Valentine to a yummy treat this is the recipe for you! I spotted this recipe on the Delicious Magazine website and immediately knew I had to make them. We have a long week coming up at school so hopefully these will keep my colleagues going tomorrow.

There seems to be a ‘salted’ craze at the moment. This is the first time I’ve made anything with a deliberate sprinkling of salt. I added 1/2 a teaspoon (less than suggested) as when I tasted the batter I could definitely taste the salt. The brownies weren’t overly salty and if I was making them again I would probably add a little more. This recipe will make 12 large or 24 small brownies. Delicious Magazine suggest serving them as a dessert with banana-pecan ice cream and an espresso martini but they’re just as nice with a cup of coffee. The finished brownies can be frozen for up to 3 months (if well wrapped).
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Baked Rice Pudding

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This weekend has definitely been a weekend for a comforting, warming dessert. I tried making this recipe a couple of months ago but failed as I a) didn’t read the recipe carefully enough and didn’t realise just how long it would take and b) didn’t own a suitable dish to make it in. The dish situation was rectified through the Marks and Spencer’s sale where I purchased a shiny new dish with a lid. Be warned – the pudding needs a long time to cook (just under 4 hours) so you will need to plan and prepare ahead! It is easy to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of attention. This is a Jo Wheatley recipe from her ‘Home Baking’ book and serves 6-8. You will need a round glass dish (Pyrex or similar) 18cm wide and 8cm deep with a lid (my dish was a little bigger than this).
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