Jamie’s Birthday Cake

Looking good………..

Cosy Cakes

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It’s my friend’s birthday today, and I had the day off work yesterday, so this was the perfect time to bake a cake! I’ve gone for a plain and simple vanilla sponge, smothered in chocolate spread, and decorated with the buttercream logo of Leicester Tigers to give it a personal touch. Initially I was going to decorate this was fondant icing instead of nutella, but after three tubes of food colouring had run out and I still hadn’t achieved the dark forest green shade I was looking for, I had to come up with a new plan. Eventually though I was happy with the outcome. As an extra plus, Tigers saw the photo and gave Jamie a birthday shout out so it worked as two presents in one! Happy Birthday Jamie!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

250g Butter

250g Caster Sugar

250g Self-Raising Flour

4 Eggs

For the Filling/Decorating:

2…

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

This looks really yummmmmy

Cosy Cakes

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I’m so ill! Yes, part of it may be self-inflicted, but I also have a cold and a headache and a sore throat and I’m generally just not loving life right now! So I took today to bake one of my all-time favourite recipes – I’m never too ill to bake – which will guarantee to cheer me up for at least a few minutes before I go back to feeling sorry for myself. Sticky Toffee Pudding is just perfection to me! The hot, sweet sauce, combined with the moist fluffy sponge with the pops of sharp raisin all cuddled together by a crunchy outer shell never fails to put a smile on my face. This recipe is adapted from the goddess that is Nigella Lawson’s website, with my own twist.

 

 Ingredients:

 

100g Soft Dark Brown Sugar

 

200g Soft Dark Brown Sugar

 

175g Self-Raising Flour

 

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After the pleasure…….

 

of last nights chocolate mousse I felt it was time to go back to the gym after several weeks (well months actually) off. Not just because of the vast amount of chocolate mousse I ate last night but there is a rumour of a re-run of the charity bike ride that I completed last year and I will need to be fitter just to be able to think about it.

Its the pleasure/pain (first the pleasure, then the pain) principle followed by the ‘no pain, no gain’ principle. So, down to the gym for a half hour session (always start slow, you can always do more another time!!) and then home to bake and knit!!

Baking

I wanted to make mini cupcakes but had no mini cupcake cases so had to make big ones! Thinking along the lines of Black Forest Gateau I’ve made dark chocolate sponge cupcakes with a cherry popped inside. I’ve not topped them yet but I’m thinking either a simple piped whipped cream with a sprinkle of chocolate on the top or a piped cream cheese frosting…….will decide on this tomorrow.

This is them before the oven.

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RECIPE

250g unsalted butter (room temperature)

250g caster sugar

250g self raising flour

5 eggs

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

glace cherries

 

Whisk together the butter and sugar

Add 2 eggs and mix again

Add half the flour and mix again

Add 2 more eggs and beat well together (electric whisk used for all of this)

Add the rest of the flour and mix well again

Mix the cocoa powder with a few desert spoons of water to create a paste-add water until you have a smooth paste

Add the chocolate paste to the cake batter and add the final egg

Pipe the mix into cup cake/muffin cases but only fill to about one third

Cut glacé cherries in half and pop on the top and gently push halfway into the mix

Fan oven: 160-cupcakes 12 minutes, muffins 15 minutes

Remove from oven, cool and top  (see above for topping comments!)

 

KNITTING

Well, I’ve now made 3 knitted beanie hats for the man who keeps complaining that he cant find a hat big enough in the shops, so he has NO excuse for a cold head!!

So, what to knit next…….

Having had a glass or two of wine last night (another reason for the gym) I decided to K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) so, after some internet search decided on egg cosies. Well, how difficult can this be????

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Ok, so it’s only one so far but I reckon by the end of the week I will have a family of egg cosies……if only I ate boiled eggs!!!!

For those who want to knit; it was a cast on of 15 stitches, very simple garter (knit) stitch, knit for about 18 cm (sorry, I lost count of the rows). Cast off and stitch up 2 sides, and there you have it; an egg cozy! Very simple and strangely satisfying.

Raspberry and Chocolate Pancakes

Saved…….

Cosy Cakes

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After a massive macaroon making DISASTER today, I needed a quick and easy recipe for dessert for a friend’s meal. I usually make my own pancake batter, but for the first time today (*disgusted gasp*) I bought pancake mix. If I hadn’t already battled with 3 hours of macaroons I would be more ashamed of myself, but right now I’m just proud I haven’t given up baking altogether. This was a quick and easy pudding to make, and I served them warm with Sainsbury’s own brand raspberry sorbet which is delish! For a more luxurious pairing, clotted cream or extra thick vanilla ice cream would also be lovely.

Ingredients:

Pancake Batter (shop bought, or check out my recipe on the blog)

Chocolate Spread

One Banana

Punnet of Raspberries

Flaked Almonds

Brown Sugar

Method:

1- Make the pancakes as per the instructions, or see my pancake recipe on the blog.

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Post holiday blues………

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So, after three weeks of glorious American sunshine (California, Arizona, Nevada) we are back home in the wet and rain (although today the sun is shining, it is still very damp!). Back to reality with a bump. 

With nothing better to do this morning than potter in the kitchen I thought I’d make some Chocolate Mousse for dinner tonight as there was some single cream leftover in the fridge. Great way to use up cream I hear you say……..

INGREDIENTS:

4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks

3 tbsp caster sugar

200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

250ml single cream

Grated white and milk chocolate, mini marshmallows or any sprinkles for decoration

 

Put the egg whites into a bowl and whisk until they make little soft peaks. slowly spoon in the sugar and keep whisking until the egg mixture has turned thick and glossy.

Melt chocolate in a bowl over a water bath (saucepan with boiling water!) and add cream. Stir gently and when the chocolate has melted beat the egg yolks lightly and stir them into the mixture.

Fold the chocolate into the egg whites.

Spoon the mix into bowls and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

If required, top with grated white and milk chocolate or decorate with mini marshmallows and other toppings.

I’ve used tea cups and saucers because I can and because they look pretty.

Fruity Cheesecake Tartlets

These look brilliant…..

Cosy Cakes

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My boyfriend and I spent the weekend with my mum and stepdad in Devon recently – she bakes too! Check out mamamakesandbakes.wordpress.com – which is something we don’t do that often as the drive takes about 5 hours! To break up the journey on the way back home, we decided to cross cultural boundaries and stop off in Cheltenham for Afternoon Tea. I spent 8 years at school in Cheltenham so it was really lovely to go back for a brief visit, and after a walk round the town, we headed to The Montpellier Chapter for our Afternoon Tea.

The hotel itself is gorgeous. A huge, Georgian building, with a beautiful interior, we were seated in the conservatory for our tea. The food itself was gorgeous: three sandwiches (smoked salmon, cucumber, and ham and mustard), mini chocolate eclairs, Victoria sponges, lemon and raisin loaves, fruit pastry baskets, and scones with…

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