Vegan Vanilla & Oreo Cupcakes!

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I often dabble in a bit of acting, and last week in the U.K it was the Easter half term, meaning all the children were off school for two weeks and the time had come to open a production of George’s Marvellous Medicine to sell out audiences.

Now, as is tradition, baked goods were to be supplied for opening night… however this time there was a twist, one of the guys I was working with is vegan. I had never actually baked vegan cupcakes before. I made a vegan brownie once, my first foray into free-from cooking, but I kinda hated it. So, I looked up some recipes and found one that consisted mostly of things I had in the cupboard already, I just needed a couple of vegan alternatives, such as almond milk and a plant based butter, then I was ready to rock.

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The recipe I followed was this one >> Vegan cupcakes << by cornfairy, which I found on the all recipes website. As I am a novice vegan cook, I followed the recipe to the letter at first, not knowing what the colour or consistency should be like. I baked two cupcakes to start, to see how it turned out, but they were completely raw in the middle weren’t quite right, so I made a couple of adjustments. I also should note that these were almost more like vanilla and coconut cupcakes, due to the coconut oil used in them, however, that might just be the oil I have that gave it that coconutty flavour. It was delish anyway.

If these look like something you fancy having a whack at then give the recipe I used a try, as in the end they got two thumbs up from the entire cast and crew. For ease, I’ve listed the ingredients and method below and have put changes I made in brackets:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 330ml almond milk
  • 250g plain flour  (+ an extra 20g to thicken the mixture slightly.)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda  (I used Bicarbonate of soda.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 120ml melted coconut oil   (I melted it first, in the jar, and measured it in it’s liquid state, rather than measuring it solid and melting it after.)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract   (+ extra 1 3/4 teaspoons.)

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper cases. (I preheated my fan oven to 160 C)
  2. Pour the apple cider vinegar into a measuring jug. Fill with almond milk to make 350ml. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. (I measured 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar into a bowl and then added 330ml of almond milk as per the ingredients list. All together it came to around 340ml, and I left it at that.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases, dividing evenly.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the tin set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Ice with your favourite icing, if liked. (Originally, I baked them for 20 minutes at 180 C, as suggested, but the tops were brown and the middles raw. This is why I dropped the temperature to 160 C and baked them for around 30 – 40 minutes, checking them every so often. At first, I left them in the tins to cool and popped put them on a wire rack to finish them off.)

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I have to say they still turned out the teeniest bit stodgy in the middle, but that texture was 👌. Overly wet or mushy foods make me gag (I mean soup is a nightmare) but these were on point. Not raw but not super firm, just moist and melty. Mmmm. I’m salivating writing this, not going to lie.

I topped them with a vegan buttercream, the recipe for which I have linked here >> Vegan Buttercream<<. I found this on Holly’s blog, ‘The Little Blog of Vegan’, after searching for a while for a recipe that wouldn’t melt, would pipe and didn’t have a million ingredients I would have to go out and buy. Common sense told me just to substitute the butter for vegan butter, but having a recipe was a little more reassuring the first time I had made it. I have to say I’m absolutely pants at making buttercream, I don’t think I have ever got it right… up until now. Honestly, this was the best buttercream I’ve ever made.

To make it an Oreo buttercream, I used a 154g pack of Original Oreos and scraped the cream from the middle of each biscuit into the buttercream, putting the biscuits to one side. Once the oreo cream was mixed in to the topping, I piped it onto each cake using a star nozzle. I crushed the oreo biscuits pieces in a bag and then sprinkled them on top. It added a lovely crunch to the end product… and Oreos are just yummy.

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So there you have it Vanilla, Oreo and kind of coconut vegan cupcakes! Moist, sweet and totally moreish! I have definitely put these recipes in my makeshift cook book!

P.S. I have heard people question how vegan friendly Oreos really are, however the guys I was making these for are 100% OK with Oreos. If you are dubious, you can make them without… it’s only the topping after all!

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Toffee Apple Cupcakes!

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Holy Moses, cover me in caramel and call me a toffee apple. Well, they are two things that sit together in harmony, caramel (or toffee depending on what you call it) and apples.

Every Halloween or Bonfire night, I would break my teeth on those little blighters. Or more so I would bite all the toffee off, throw the gently softening apple in the bin and be on a massive sugar high for a couple of hours before I’d crash. You know what’s better than a toffee apple though? A toffee apple cake! That’s right, cake. Most things are better with cake.caramel1ckc

This is what you could call a “first impressions” post. I went in, not having tried it before, which meant a whole lot of saying ‘is that right?’ ‘Is that supposed to look like that?’ ‘What does a fluffy egg look like?’ So I was already flapping a bit, blindly following a new recipe, but this recipe is meant to make a 10″ cake. Instead, I decided I wanted to make cupcakes. Cue a hell of a lot of ‘oops’s, ‘umm’s, ‘nevermind’s and ‘ah well, just shove it in’s.

Because I wanted cupcakes instead of one large cake, this meant I needed to adjust the cooking times and not knowing what the mixture would turn out like, how many it would yield and what size they would be, meant that I had no idea what I was actually doing. I asked myself the question, “what would Mary Berry do?” Something must have clicked because they turned out ok.

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Below is the link to the recipe I used for you to peruse if you fancy giving it a bash, as well as a few notes on what I discovered whilst absolutely devastating what I’m sure is a wonderful recipe for a 10″ apple and pecan cake with a toffee glaze.

>>All Recipes Toffee Apple Cake recipe<<

Turns out you need to preheat your oven to 160℃ (fan assisted). I managed to make around 18 large-ish cupcakes with the above recipe, filling each cupcake case around 2/3 full. They didn’t rise huge amounts, probably due to the fresh apple used in them, adding extra moisture and weighing them down. Each batch took around 25 minutes on average to cook. I went with 20, then checked them by poking them with a tiny stick, giving them a bit more time if needed.

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I also didn’t use the full amount of apples or pecans. I was eyeballing it, but only used around about 250g – 300g of diced apple and 100g of crushed pecans (oh yeah, I couldn’t chop the pecans. The little buggers didn’t want to be chopped. My knife went through and the bits were pinging off left, right and centre, so I gently smashed them to bits with a heavy, marble rolling pin, then broke the big chunks with my hands. Same result.)

Instead of the toffee drizzle or sauce or whatever it recommends in the recipe, I topped them off with a swirl of vanilla buttercream streaked with caramel or, if you’re from my neck of the woods, dulchay doo leechey (dulce de leche). Honesty hour, I tried making salted caramel buttercream, but I forgot to get the butter out of the fridge, so it was too cold. I tried anyway and the bloody lot of it curdled and ended up too runny… so I went for the emergency icing option. Canned frosting and canned caramel, artistically swirled together so they looked less crap.

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Then I squashed them all when I put them in the carrier to take to my friends (I couldn’t challenge myself to eat all 18 now, could I? Not because I wouldn’t have won, but because I’m trying not to head to the dentist unnecessarily.) I had also panic iced the second batch, which was still warm at the time, so when I unveiled my masterpiece… it was a runny, gooey explosion. Still, they tasted good.

Moral of the story: try new things, share with your loved ones and don’t judge a cake by it’s icing.

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In Pizza We Crust | Tortilla Pizza Cups.

Well here’s a golden oldie dug out from the depths of the CKC vaults. It’s a staple in my kitchen, A STAPLE I tell you. When you’re lazy, hungry and going through a ‘wrap’ phase, this is perfect. It’s good for snacks, gatherings and even last minute, thrown together meals that look fancier and more well thought out than they actually are. Pizza. Pizza fixes everything. Who needs support from IRL humans when you have pizza and internet fandoms?

pizza-love_ckcI originally saw a picture of the little pizzas floating about on Twitter donkeys ago and, whilst I am clueless to who came up with the idea, this is my version. There’s no real measurements just eyeballing everything. It’s all done in blobs and pinches my friends, how easy could it get?

Now, you are free to use whatever toppings you fancy. Me? I used some mozzarella and some bacon, a bit of cheddar and a bit of sweetcorn.

To make around X6 basic margarita pizza cups you will need:

X1 large wrap (wholemeal if your feeling all healthy and grainy.)

Tomato puree

Dried oregano (this gives it that ‘fresh from the local Italian’ taste.)

Dried garlic granules

Dried onion granules

Mozzarella (or grated cheddar. Whatever floats your dairy/non dairy boat.)

You’ll also need a muffin tin and a round biscuit cutter that will give you circles slightly bigger than the holes in your muffin tin.

Method:

1. Cut the tortillas into circles.

1) Cut your tortilla into circles, as many a you can.

2. Put a blob of tomato puree into the centre and spread, leaving a small edge for the 'crust'. Sprinkle with a little granulated garlic & dried oregano (or whichever herbs you want).

2) Put a blob of tomato puree in the centre of each tortilla circle, spreading it out evenly and leaving a little gap around the edge for the ‘crust’. Sprinkle with a pinch of oregano, granulated garlic and onion. Remember that a little goes a long way, you don’t want it too strong.

3. Place over the holes in a muffin tin so they will dip down. (They sometimes collapse, so cutting them to fit is also an option. You could also try baking them on a flat baking tray too).

3) Place a pizza base over each of the holes in your muffin tin, making sure that the edges cover the edges of each hole. This allows the base to dimple down under the weight of the toppings without sticking to the pan. If a pizza cup slips or falls during baking, don’t worry, it’s not a big deal.

4. Put on your desired toppings, but bare in mind how small your base is. For these I used grated cheddar, mozzarella, sweetcorn and pre-cooked bacon. Put in a preheated oven on 180° c (fan) and cook until golden brown.

4) Add any desired toppings. For margarita, I added some shredded mozzarella, but grated cheddar is also a good choice. The other toppings I added to the ones pictured above is a teaspoon of sweetcorn or a few squares of chopped, pre-cooked bacon (it’s safer to pre-cook any meat you want to use because lurgees.)

5) Cook in a pre-heated oven on 180° c (fan, 200° c otherwise) until golden brown. I’d give it about 8 – 10 minutes, but keep an eye out, it might change dependent on your ingredients/oven/size of pizzas, cutters and/or muffin tin.

Then just devour. They might be dainty, but you don’t have to be. These things NEVER last long in my company. (That’s why there’s no photo. Sorry, not sorry.)

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Biscoff Cupcakes!

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Yeah, I’m jumping on the deliciously caramelised bandwagon, okay?

I saw the spread a while back, sitting right there next to the Nutella, but paid it no mind as my attention was focused solely on it’s chocolately cousin. Then I saw lots of Biscoff treats popping up; it’s ok Kate, just focus on the Nutella at hand. Then Zoella or some blogging guru started and oh God it all became a big thing… so I caved.

I always liked Biscoff. I used to nick ’em from my parents when they got them with their coffees in restaurants. I still do to be honest… or a chocolate mint. I do love a chocolate mint.

Where the After Eights at, bro?

I digress.

I found the recipe on the blog shewhobakes.co.uk. Honestly, Britt’s blog is one of my absolute favourite blogs ever. I know I say that every time but this one isn’t just a fave for baking, but in general. It’s idiot friendly, so I can spend hours doing some serious, carefree browsing and getting baking envy. My entire bookmarks bar is just filled with things I want to attempt to bake and try from her massive archive of tutorials and recipes. Ugh, it’s just so beautiful and filled with yumminess. #BakingGoals

The most I can do is try, right? I’m not smart enough to make up recipes this advanced!

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I followed Britt’s recipe almost to the letter and the results came out pretty perfect, so if you fancy giving these a stab, as well as the icing (which I don’t normally do. I just don’t. I get it from a tub. I can’t handle making buttercream, it’s a baking fault I bare the brunt of, so bite me) the link to the ingredients and method for both batter and icing are below:

>> She Who Bakes Lotus Biscoff (Caramelised Biscuit) Cupcakes<<

As always, there were just a couple of tweaks made, but mainly because I’m a div who bought the wrong ingredients. However, I did get compliments on it, so pretended it wasn’t a quick fix and I MEANT to do it. Of course I MEANT to do it. Don’t be silly.

Instead of the Crunchy Biscoff spread, I bought the smooth spread and crushed around six or seven Biscoffs into the batter. I did the same with the icing too, but you REALLY need to crush ’em for that, otherwise they’ll get stuck in your piping nozzle! The amount is all a matter of taste too.

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Now for the trumpetty-trump-I-do-baking language: I used a 1M tip to pipe with, instead of a 1J like Britt suggests, which is still an open star nozzle. To get it to look all fake and photo ready, I piped a blob in the centre of the cupcake, then swirled the icing from the outside in, building it up around the blob in the centre, to give it a little more height. Then I ruined it all and squashed an entire biscuit on top. Sorted.

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Mmm, it looks like a coronary failure on a plate and it tasted like biscuity heaven. It was delicious, quite sweet but not as rich as the Triple Chocolate Nutella & Salted caramel cookies in my last baking post.

It’s good to try something new.

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Triple Chocolate, Nutella & Salted Caramel Stuffed Cookies!

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I’ve never felt the need to give a cookie a good stuffing, but once you’ve done it you’ll never want a non-stuffed cookie again.

I’ve adapted the recipe from Izy Hossacks’s blog Top With Cinnamon, a fabulous blog full of mouthwatering recipes (no, honestly, I legit got a bit dribbly and tummy rumbly reading through her posts). Honestly, all the Gods need to bless this woman for bringing this recipe into my life. It’s become one of my favourites almost instantly.

I originally baked these as a treat for a particularly long work shift but they went down so well with everyone, apart from my Nan who said they were too chewy and chocolatey… take from that what you will, that I thought I’d bake them again for my birthday. Super rich, chocolatey, fudgey and with that gooey surprise centre, they are bound to go down well (unless my Nan is about.)

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The original recipe is here: Izy’s Salted Caramel + Nutella Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe – and also has a handy step by step video collab with the guys over at Sorted Food.

I always say go by the original recipe (unless you’re making a change due to allergies, etc) and if it doesn’t look right, bake a trial cookie and see what happens before adjusting it. That way you don’t bugger it up prematurely and at least give it a go in respect to the person who wrote it. However, just to let y’all know what I did (after my trial cookie went a bit wrong and goopy and weird) I’ll list my adapted version below.

INGREDIENTS

110g melted butter.

350g soft, light brown sugar.

55g coco powder.

2 medium eggs. (The size of the egg is what I think threw my second batch. I used large and had to play around adjusting the flour, baking powder and coco powder to fix the runny consistency.)

1/4 tsp salt.

1 tsp baking powder.

280g plain flour.

50g dark chocolate chips.

50g milk chocolate chips.

Nutella (around 5 tbsp-ish.)

Salted caramel (I used the Tesco Salted Caramel Dessert Sauce and it worked a treat, but I also tried Izy’s method of using a caramel filled chocolate and that worked too (I sq. of Dairy Milk Caramel did the trick for me.)

Dr. Oetker salted caramel crunch (optional.)

METHOD.

1. Preheat your oven to 180°c (fan assisted, if not then adjust to whichever oven you have.) Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Mix together the butter, sugar and eggs.13940017_10154397111986310_1886157179_o (1)_Fotor

3. Add the coco powder, salt and baking powder and mix well.

4. Add the flour and stir until completely
combined, no white powder to be seen hanging about in this recipe.

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5. Add your chocolate chips (if they don’t seem to stick to the rest of the dough, that’s ok. Mine didn’t either at this point.)

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6. Take a rough tbsp of dough, roll it into a ball and place on the baking tray. (If it seems a little too sticky, add a touch more flour. If it sticks to the tips of your fingers, make sure you haven’t got any rogue dough on your hands before handling the mixture).

7. Make a well in the centre of the dough ball. Add half a tsp of Nutella and half a tsp of caramel sauce (or just shove it in until it’s full, not necessarily in equilibrium, it’s totally up to you, chef.)

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8. Take half a tbsp of dough and flatten it out, laying it over the top of your dough ball and sealing the edges (like a little hat.) You could add a few pieces of the Salted Caramel Crunch on top for decoration now if you fancy it, so it bakes into the cookie and doesn’t fall off.

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9. Repeat until you have filled your tray, remembering to leave enough room between them so they can spread in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

10. Let cool on the tray for a minute before gently transferring to a cooling rack.

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Banana Muffin Recipe!

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I had SUPER, over ripe bananas in my fruit bowl.

I neglected them and then had to figure out what to do with them. I’m sorry my banana brethren, we were in this healthy eating kick together and I left you so long I had to sacrifice you to the baking Gods

It’s ok because you were delicious.

Yep, I was trying to knock some of the en-mass cake eatings on the head, but baked goods will alway creep back into my life and I’m totally, 100% ok with that.

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Not wanting to waste my cheeky banans, I looked up recipes for banana bread. Yet I ended up stumbling upon this recipe from All Recipes UK.

I tweaked the original recipe a little to suit my own tastes, but followed this plain, simple and delicious one, pretty much to the letter.

For the full, original and more generally helpful recipe follow this link:

All Recipes UK Banana Muffin recipe.

For my abbreviated version, including my ingredient additions, keep on scrollin’ my friends:

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INGREDIENTS:

DRY:

200g Plain Flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

WET:

3 large mashed bananas (or as close as you can get)

150g caster sugar

1 egg

75g melted butter

1 tsp vanilla essence.

METHOD:

1) Pre heat your oven to 160°c (fan assisted)/G
as Mark 4. Line a baking tray with 12 cupcake liners.

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2) Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl (save the larger one. Don’t do what I did and end up making a big, overflowing mess because you got mixing bowl happy).

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3) In your larger bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients, including the sugar (which traditionally is a wet ingredient don’tcha know… learnt that one from Mary Berry. Ta Bezza.)

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4) Slowly combine your dry mixture into your wet mix, making sure it’s smooth… apart from the banana. I mean, that will leave lumps. A-duh.

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5) Spoon into your cupcake liners and bake for around 25 minutes or until they spring back if you poke ’em.

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I found the mixture to be quite runny, so don’t be alarmed if the batter is a little wetter than your usual bakes. It works itself out once you add heat and pressure, much like one of my recurring existential crises.

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I did prick mine with a cocktail stick and it came out clean, which is always my method of checking if something is done. However, be careful that it is actually raw batter coating your cake stabbing utensil and not just banana!

These were absolutely delicious, easy to make and can accommodate most changes, as long as you have a quick google about conversions and substitutions. The best thing is that this recipe only used things that I already had in my cupboards… aside from the bananas, which we had already established were rotting in my fruit bowl.

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A quick, tasty, moreish and satisfying snack.

Mid morning cup of tea, banana muffin and we’re ready to go.

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Disney Inspired Cupcakes | Sleeping Beauty, Mickey & Minnie!

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Time for another birthday batch of cupcakes and this time for a Disney nut.

I wanted to do something a little bit different to what I normally do and experiment a bit with royal icing and fondant work.

The two designs I eventually created, after a bit of rethinking, twiddling and changing around, is a Micky and Minnie cupcake and a Sleeping Beauty inspired cupcake (based on Fairy Fauna’s wonky, no magic, birthday cake for Princess Aurora!)

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The best part is, you don’t need any special fondant tools to make them and you can make the entire batch from one bowl of batter! It could be as simple as a zip lock bag and a circle of greaseproof paper, or you can go ahead and use a piping bag and your favourite nozzle!

The cupcakes themselves were red velvet (because it’s my friends favourite, you can use any cupcake flavour you want) and I made two sizes: small and large.

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To make the smaller ones I filled the cupcake liners around 1/2 full with batter. To make the larger ones I filled them around 3/4 full with batter.

The smaller ones give you room to pipe the butter cream on top and the larger ones give you enough of a rise above the liner to give you room to stick your layer of fondant.

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Mickey & Minnie Cupcake.

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Firstly, you want to do a swirl of your favourite butter cream icing on top of the smaller cupcakes.

Step 1. Roll out your basic fondant shapes. Each Mickey or Minnie requires 3 balls of black fondant: 1 large and 2 smaller. To make lots in one go I rolled out 2 sausage shapes of fondant and cut them into smaller chunks, which I could then roll into the balls.

Step 2. Either using water/apricot jam or a tiny spot of royal icing, stick your smaller balls onto the larger one to create the ears! (If you use royal icing, you may want to cover it, once it’s dry, with some black food colouring, depending on how visible it is).

Step 3. If you are making MICKEYS’, then all you need to do is sprinkle with a bit of edible glitter for that Disney sparkle.

If you are making MINNIES’, then take a small piece of red fondant and roll out to be around a millimetre thick. Using a sharp knife (please get help if you need it) cut out some little triangles. Once you have two, use a dab of royal icing to stick them to the top of the head/the ears to make your bow.

Step 4. Taking a small ziplock/piping bag (I made one by folding a circle of greaseproof paper into a cone and cutting the tip off to make a tiny hole) place a few white polka dots onto Minnie’s bow.

Then place a Minnie & Mickey into your buttercream swirl and add any more accents or decorations you want to top it off!

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Sleeping Beauty Cupcake.

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Step 1. Roll out some light blue fondant (like the top of Fauna’s cake) to around 3 millimetres thick. Find something circular that will cut your fondant to roughly the same size as the top of your cupcake so it will cover it.

Step 2. Cut it out and remove the excess fondant so you can use it again.

Step 3. Put a blob of royal icing on top of the cupcake and spread it so a thin layer covers the area you want to cover with fondant. The icing will act like glue.

Step 4. Lay your circle of fondant over the top of your cupcake, making sure to smooth down the edges and get out any wrinkles.

Step 5. Using royal icing and the same piping bag as the Minnie & Micky cupcakes, draw the outline of a splodge. It should look like a blob of icing is starting to run and dribble, like on Fauna’s cake.

Step 6. Flood the inside of the splodge to fill it in, using a tooth pick to close any holes in the icing and neaten up the edges.

Once the royal icing has dried a little, you can add a blob of butter cream. I added mine off centre to go with the wonky effect, and add a candle (or two) just like Fairy Fauna. I did have pink candles too, but I ran out!

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There you have it. Simple but effective and totally cute. Disney inspired cupcakes from mice to princesses! Have a super day!

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Easter Cupcakes!

Happy Spring and a Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

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I decided to whip up a few last minute treats to share with my family this weekend. The first I made were inspired by the Dr.Oetker Bunny Bum cupcake design, the second was my own take on the more traditional chocolate nests.

I went for looks over taste and decided to use basic box mixes and shop bought icing… because I was having a lazy baking day, okay?!

First of all, the bunny bums.

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I first saw this on the Dr. Oetker better baking Twitter page. I then decided it was too cute not to try out!

I whipped up some Betty Crocker Devils Food Cake mix, and popped it into cupcake papers, filling them around 2/3rds.

Whilst they were baking I mixed half a tub of Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Buttercream with a generous helping of the Dr. Oetker green food colouring gel. I used a no. 233 piping tip (aka, the one with all the little holes in it that looks like an octopus when you squeeze the icing out. I like to call it the octotip) to pipe the green frosting to look like grass, covering the cupcake.

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When this eventually failed on me, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing and will reserve those tips for piping royal icing only in the future, I spread on a relatively thick layer of butter cream, them tapped it with the back of a fork to make peaks. This method works just as well.

To make a rabbit hole for the bunny to go down, I used a blob of left over chocolate fudge icing (from the nest cupcakes). It’s as simple as that. I used a Malteser for the bunny body and fashioned some feet from ready-to-roll chocolate icing (supermarket homebrand).

I then added some cute, Cake Angels royal icing flowers & used a touch of buttercream to make that fluffy tail!

The nest cakes had more steps but weren’t nearly as fiddly!

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First I made some basic vanilla cupcakes. Whilst they were baking I made some small chocolate nests. I’ll post a link to my recipe at the bottom of the page incase you would like a how-to. Remember they need to be able to fit on top of the cupcakes!

Once the nests were set and cupcakes baked and cooled, I piped a swirl of Betty Crocker chocolate fudge frosting on the cupcake, making it relatively thick in order to hold the nest. Then I placed the nest on top. Once I was happy it wasn’t going to nose dive off, I precariously popped some Galaxy golden eggs on top! Done!

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So there are my Easter bakes! Fun ideas that look far more decadent and difficult than they are. I actually used up a lot of odd bit I had in the cupboard, such as half tubs of icing, left over Matesers (although that is a rare occurrence), half bars of chocolate and left over cereals. They all went down a treat though, and the kids absolutely loved them!

My chocolate nest post is here : Chocolate nest how-to.

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The Cheats Chocolate Birthday Cake.

My friend and I like to bake, however, when everything else fails… you cheat.

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Now that’s not a life assessment. That’s a kitchen assessment. If you can’t do it from scratch, do it from a packet.

So this is how we ended up making our friend a cheats chocolate birthday cake!

This was, admittedly, our back up plan just incase the original idea failed or we ran out of time. Both of which happened.

However, this is simple, easy and effective! Anyone can do and make something to be proud of!

We used:

1 Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake box mix.

1 tub of Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge frosting.

1 share bag of Maltesers (approx 230g)

1 1/2 packets of chocolate fingers (we used Fox’s because they were on offer. You do you.)

Holographic edible glitter (optional)

You will also need:

x3 8″ cake tins.

Butter/spray to grease the tins.

Egg, oil and water to add to the cake mix.

Something to put your cake on (a stand/base/plate)

Something to store your cake in if you need to (some kind of box/tin with an air tight seal is preferable just to keep it fresh)

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  1. Now, we started with a Devils Food Cake box mix. I’m not an advocate of box mixes, as I do like to bake cakes myself, from scratch, but I have to say, it was quick, easy and tasted good. Chocolate cake is always a tricky one to get right!

2. We followed the instructions on the box. Pricking the cake with a cocktail stick once the timer went off and adjusting any extra cooking time if it wasn’t completely baked.

 3. Once the cakes were cool, we spread the frosting between each layer, stacking them up evenly. We then used what was left to cover the outside of the cake, making sure it was even and there were no gaps. It’s important to make sure there is enough frosting to hold the chocolate fingers!

4. Because the cake was so tall, we put a row of Maltesers along the bottom of the cake, just to raise the row of chocolate fingers so they met the top edge of the cake. That way all of the sponge is covered and there’s a neat edge.

5. Then, in a circular pattern, we began laying the Maltesers on top, making sure they were all held in place by the frosting.

6. Once we squeezed them all on top, with as few gaps as possible, we sprinkled it with a little bit of the glitter and tied it up with a bow! Et voila! A super sweet, chocolatey cake!

Just make sure if you’re gifting it to someone during a fasting period that they haven’t given up chocolate for it. We didn’t check. The recipient still hasn’t eaten any of it.

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Ferrero Roche Cupcakes!

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Hello lovelies!

I hope your 2016’s are already starting to look up and be bright!

I started mine off doing what I love; entertaining. Last year it was by chance, this year it was by choice. I had a group of some of my wonderful ladies over to mark the first day of the new year as a glorious one. I wanted to start it off right, surrounded by people whose company I enjoy. People who empower me, who make me laugh, who make me feel safe and happy.

To make this extra special, I thought I would attempt a new recipe to go along with the new year. I rarely bake chocolate cake because I can never get it right. It is always too dry, too stodgy, not chocolatey enough, too bitter. However, these were my best attempt yet. Incredibly rich and moist chocolate sponge cake with a Ferrero Roche locked away inside!

After a little googling, I found a yummy looking recipe on the food blog Oh My God Chocolate Dessertswhich I shall link here for you:

http://omgchocolatedesserts.com/ferrero-rocher-cupcakes/

The blog itself is lovely, and Vera’s chatty and unique style made me definitely think about trying this particular recipe out. It is easy to follow, with both ingredients and method laid out clearly and simply (however it is measured out in cups, rather than grams… just a heads up!)

A few things I found with the recipe is that it seems really oily, especially once I put it into the liners and it started to bake. Leave it! Once they are cooked they are not greasy at all. I think the oil adds moisture to the sponge! The batter is incredibly thick and I almost added some water to it, but once again, don’t do it! It bakes up perfectly! Definitely make sure you freeze your Ferrero Roche (12 of them, you’ll need 24 in total) so they don’t melt beyond recognition once they’re baking into the centre of your cake. This recipe made 12 exactly for me, using cupcake cases (not fairy cake or muffin cases. I contemplated both, yet I found the former too small and the latter too big).

If anyone fancies trying out a new recipe this year, I encourage you to give this one a go! (Even if they are tricky to eat, they are delicious!)

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