Monday, 25 June 2012

Monday Ta-da! - Hello Kitty Cake

Yesterday was Minibakebakegirls birthday, I can't believe she is 10!   This photo is from her second birthday, it was cold that day.  Her main present was a sand/water table and she played with it all day, her little hands were bright red but she wouldn't come indoors!

For the past three years I have made her a chocolate birthday cake and used fondant for a Hello Kitty design on the top, it has now become a bit of a tradition, which she may not want when she is a teenager, but I enjoy making it.

I make a standard victoria sponge cake for each layer, adding a tablespoon of cocoa to make it chocolatey. I made three layers this time, I was catering for 11 people, sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream.   This year though I made my buttercream so so so so quickly. How? I hear you ask. Well look.......

I have drooled over a Kitchenaid for a long time.  Minibakebakegirl gets embarrassed when I make a bee-line for them in John Lewis and then spend the next hour stroking them until I am asked to leave.  There come in so many pretty colours but I have always wanted a cream one and it looks sooo good in my kitchen. Ahhhh, happy Bakebakegirl, sad I know. Anyhoo this is amazing for making buttercream. I just put all the ingredients in the mahooosive bowl, covered with a teatowel, switched it on and ta-da buttercream! 

Minibakebakegirls only request for her cake was that it wasn't girly so I tried my best. The Kitty whiskers were a nightmare - I bought black writing icing and it just seemed to slide off. I went to bed hoping that there wouldn't be a lot of bald Kittys in the morning. Luckily just a couple needed touching up. 

Minibakebakegirl was very pleased with it and I think the rest of the family enjoyed it too.

Minibakebakegirl had a lovely birthday, lots of lovely presents, including some crafty ones.  The three of us went out for tea last night, she even managed to make room for a chocolatey pudding.

Thanks for visiting,

Minibakebakegirl's top three random ipod songs:

1. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5
2. I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas
3. Yellow Submarine - The Beatles

Monday, 18 June 2012

Monday Bake - Caramel Apple Loaf Cake

There was a Coffee Morning at Minibakebakegirl's school today to raise funds for Compassion, a charity involved with child sponsorship.  The child that KS2 sponsors lives in Uganda and the school have a monthly sponsorship commitment to meet.   They asked the parents/children to provide cakes so yesterday Minibakebakegirl made a caramel apple cake (I supervised). 

175g margarine
175g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour - sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp greek yoghurt
2 eating apples - peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks
100g soft toffees
splash of milk

Preheat the oven to 170c/Fan 150c/GasMark3
Line a 2lb loaf tin with a loaf tin liner (I use Lakeland)
Cream the margarine and sugar with an electric whisk in a large bowl until light and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well between each one, whisk in the vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.

(look at Minibakebakegirl's perfect cinnamon flour mountain!)

Then mix in the apple and greek yoghurt.
Spoon into the tin and cook for about 1 hour 20 mins.
Check the cake is cooked (when an inserted skewer comes out clean - if it doesn't pop
the cake back in the oven for another 5 minutes - then check again - repeat as necessary)
Leave to cool in the tin.

Melt the toffees in a small saucepan over a gentle heat until runny.  Add a splash of milk if needed and mix well.   Pour over the cake and allow to set slightly before serving. 

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the cake when it was finished! Will have to add in a photo at a later date when I make it again.

The two year 5/6 classes worked very hard at the coffee morning, Minibakebakegirl was one of the meeter and greeters to take the parents to the school hall, where other pupils brought you coffee, tea and cakes, others cleared up and collected donations.  They did a fantastic job, raised over £300.00 and I had a lovely catch up with a friend. 
Oh before I go I have to show you my new scales.......

As a lover of all things union jack I couldn't resist when I saw them in the sale yesterday!  I will still use my traditional scales as well but we liked the fact you could weigh the marg then reset the scales to add the sugar to the same bowl.  This will be handy for all in one recipes which Lorraine Pascale likes.

Thanks for visiting, next week will be a special post as its Minibakebakegirls birthday next Sunday so it's time for the annual Hello Kitty cake using my new kitchen gadget :o)

Todays top three random Ipod songs:

1. Video Games - Lana Del Ray
2. Like A Prayer - Madonna
3. Just A Ride - Jem 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday Fun - Limoncello

When I saw these lemons at the market I knew I had to buy them and use them in something special.  The weather had been so dreadful here, non stop rain and overcast skys so I decided to make some limoncello. 

I googled several recipes and they are all pretty similar.  This is the quickest version using a sugar syrup - only two weeks wait before you can drink it!

1 Litre of vodka
3 large lemons or 6 small ones
500g caster sugar
200ml water

Peel the lemons - trying not to get any of the white pith.  Squeeze all the juice out of the lemons and set aside. 

Place the caster sugar and water into a large saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the lemon peel, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add the juice, bring back to the boil and simmer for another 5 minutes.   Leave to cool for about 20 minutes.

Pour into a large jar and add the vodka.  Leave for 2 weeks shaking the jar gently every day.  Strain and pour into bottles. 

Serve chilled and drink while waiting for the sun to shine!

I am planning to experiment with other fruits and see what flavoured vodkas I can create!
Have a lovely weekend.


Monday, 11 June 2012

Monday Bake - Orange and Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

We are back after our lovely week away, the weather wasn't great (still isn't) but that didn't stop us doings lots - visiting castles and pebbley beaches.  I'll be back at work tomorrow and it will feel like I've never been away.....

This blog post came about as I needed a cake that I could make a few days in advance for some visitors. This is quite a dense cake and is actually better eaten the next day (or the day after that!)  There are three stages to this cake but don't let that put you off - they are very straight forward.

175g margarine
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
4 tbsp milk
175g self raising flour
Zest of one orange
25g poppy seeds, plus some for sprinkling on top

4 tbsp caster sugar
5tbsp water

5 tbsp icing sugar
Juice of one orange

Preheat the oven to 180c/Fan 160c/GasMark4
Line a 2lb loaf tin with a loaf tin liner (I use
Place the margarine and sugar in a large bowl.

Cream with an electric whisk until light and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well between each one.
Whisk in the milk.

Sift in the self raising flour, add the orange zest and poppy seeds fold in until all combined.

Spoon into the tin.
Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes.
While the cake is in the oven make the syrup.  Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Boil for a couple of minutes until thick and syrupy.
Check the cake is cooked - when an inserted skewer comes out clean - if it doesn't pop the cake back in the oven for another 5 minutes - then check again - repeat as necessary.

When the cake is done, prick several times and pour over the syrup.
Leave to cool in the tin.
While the cake is cooling make the icing by mixing the sifted icing sugar with enough orange juice to make the icing as thick or as runny as you like.  Remove the cake from the tin and pour over the icing, sprinkle with some poppy seeds.

Enjoy a slice with the remaining orange juice.
Thanks for visiting, hope to see you next week, bring the sunshine with you please!


Todays top three random Ipod songs:

1. Rehab - Amy Winehouse
2. Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
3. Foundations - Kate Nash

Monday, 4 June 2012

Monday Review - Jubilee Holidee

My work held a Jubilee party in the grounds last Friday lunchtime.   There was a barbeque and a cake competition.  I was full of ideas but I finally decided on a basic victoria sponge cake recipe adding some food colouring for the red and blue layers with buttercream for the white part.  I decorated the top with red and blue M&M's.  Minibakebakegirl enjoyed separating the M&M's, the first two large packets had lots of blue ones but only had about 6 red.....and we could only find peanut jubilee packets but eventually we had enough to decorate the cake.  

On Thursday evening after we had been to the fun fair I was in the kitchen sticking on the M&M's - I was worried the colours might bleed into the icing but they were fine.   If I had had enough I would of decorated the sides too.

It isn't the best photo of a slice but you can see the effect I was aiming for!  It didn't win a prize but everyone said they enjoyed it and it was all polished off :o)

We are on holiday this week in East Sussex so as I won't be baking I thought it might be fun to review places we have had coffee and cake so far!

Pigwidgeon & Pye - Tunbridge Wells

We spotted this Independent coffee shop as soon as we arrived.  It has lots of seating, including some outside and upstairs.  We ordered cappuccinos and Minibakebakegirl a pot of tea.  Hubby had a brownie and we had Jubilee cupcakes.  It was delicious and we especially liked the little wooden tray the tea came on.    If I am ever back in Tunbridge Wells I would go back either for coffee or lunch as that looked good too.

De La Warr Pavillion - Bexhill On Sea

Their website states: The De La Warr Pavilion is a Grade I listed Modernist icon and an international centre for contemporary arts on the seafront in Bexhill On Sea.  It is a beautiful building and has a lovely cafe on the first floor.  It was a bit to chilly to sit outside but I can imagine it would be gorgeous on a sunny day.

I had the mincemeat tart, Minibakebakegirl had a chocolate hazlenut brownie and Hubby the fruit and nut flapjack.  I have only ever had mincemeat at Christmas so this made a nice change.  All three were very generous portions.  Coffee and tea were good too and we liked the arty cups. 

I hope everybody has had a lovely jubilee weekend - even though the weather hasn't been great for parts of the UK I'm sure it won't have stopped the barbeques and street parties!


Todays top three radio songs:

1. Picking up the Pieces - Paloma Faith
2. The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tight Fit
3. Sing - Gary Barlow and The Commonwealth Band