Friday, 29 January 2016

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Christmas biscuits left over?
Chocolate coins lurking in the back of that cupboard?

Ok ok so I know I've not been around for a while but with exams and christmas going on I just haven't had a chance to bake let alone blog! For Christmas I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, not sure why but I didn't, it was the usual cupcakes and biscuits (see a running theme anyone?) 

However, moving past the lame apologies, I have a new creation to bring to you. A twist you may say on the bog standard cupcake you are used to seeing on this blog. Today I bring you the Cookies and Cream Cupcake!

Basically, I knew that I hadn't made anything lately and so I knew that it was time to raid my cupboards to see where I could go without having to leave my house. At the back of the cupboard I found a tin of unopened christmas cookies (the use by date isn't until July this year so we're safe!!) and a packet of chocolate coins. So take note, baking doesn't have to be fancy or an effort, guaranteed you have some treats lurking at the back of your cupboard and if you mix them with a simple recipe, hey it's another way of using up all those treats which means you can get on with getting into shape for the summer but without all the waste of throwing away your favourite treats!! 

Right recipe time!

175g Caster Sugar
175g Butter
3 Eggs
175g Self Raising
1/2tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Vanilla Extract

1. Simple, all you have to do is mix them all together with either and electric whisk or a wooden spoon until smooth and completely combined.
2. Pop into the oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

280g Icing Sugar
140g Butter
2-3tbsp Milk
Cookies (any chocolate chip will be fine)
Melted chocolate (mine is in the form of chocolate coins)

1. Cream the butter until smooth.
2. Add the icing sugar in a bit at a time until in breadcrumb form, then add in the milk until a smooth spreadable consistency is achieved.
3. Crush the biscuits and add to the buttercream.
4. Before adding the cream, what I did was cut a small indent in the cupcake and fill with the melted chocolate, then replaced the removed cake.
5. Tip to the wise spread the cream on don't try and use a piping bag, after my two failed attempts at trying to pipe and then removing to re-crush the cookies then repeating, I advise against it!!

The finished product! These were a huge hit with the family, thinking this will be a new family party hit!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this post and will try out this recipe, give it your own twist with literally anything you have lying around in your cupboards and let me know how it goes!

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Rainy Day Chocolate Flake Cake

Hi all!

As the weather from summer, to autumn, to the rain (lets be honest we don't really have a proper autumn or winter in the UK) we need our home comforts to keep us going when the weather brings us down! Therefore cake is the answer (it's the answer when its sunny too but who cares!). In particular chocolate cake! The cake I made a few weeks ago was so light and chocolatey! 
So a quick, simple and tasty recipe is in order.

  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder

  • 175g icing sugar
  • 75g butter
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 10ml milk

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time and combine.
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into the mixture and fold to create lots of air, this will ensure that you have a light and fluffy cake!
4. Separate the mixture into 2x 20cm round tins that have been greased and lined with baking paper.
5. Bake at 180C for 25 minutes or until golden brown and the mixture springs back when lightly pressed.

To make the icing:
1. Cream the butter until smooth.
2. Add the icing sugar and combine.
3. Add the cocoa powder.
4. Add the milk, only add to the consistency you want. The less milk added the stiffer and harder to spread on your cake the icing will be. Don't add more than the 10ml.

Decorate however you wish. I added half the buttercream to the top of one of the sponges then laid the other sponge on top. I then added the remaining buttercream and crumbled up some flakes we had left over onto the top of the cake for decoration.

So that was my simple chocolate cake for a rainy day, which seems to be most days at the moment in the UK! Let me know if you make this cake and I hope you enjoyed reading!

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Hi all! 

Just a quick post for a birthday recipe. So for James' actual birthday I made him one of his favourite cakes in the whole world! 
However, I did make it into a loaf because hey why not? Be creative, be different, don't go with the flow... or something along those lines!


  • 200g salted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • zest of 3 lemons (unwaxed)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g self- raising flour
  • 50g full fat natural yoghurt (makes all the difference I promise!)
  • 2tbsp good quality lemon curd (luckily I had some that I had made a week or two previously, see mason jar fillers post for the recipe)

For the decoration:

  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • icing sugar

1. Heat oven to 170c
2. Grease and line 2lb loaf tin
3. Place butter sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy.
4. Add one egg at a time and then fold in the flour, spoonfuls at a time.
5. Finally fold in the yoghurt and lemon curd.
6. Place the mixture in the tin and cook in the oven for around 40-45 minutes. Once cooked check by placing and removing a skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean then it is cooked, if not then place back in the oven for 2-3 minute bursts until completely cooked.
7. When cooked, cool in the tin for around 5 minutes, then cool on a cooling rack until completely cool. 
8. To decorate mix the lemon juice with small spoonfuls of icing sugar until your desired consistency. Then once there pipe or drizzle icing onto the top and let it run down the sides of the loaf to create the drizzle loaf effect.

Well, this was a huge success for my brothers actual birthday as it's his favourite! Let me know if you try this one out at all! 

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx

Brother's Birthday BBQ

Hi All,

So July we think Summer, BBQ's, sun and holidays! Well for me July brings the summer holidays and a few birthdays, in particular my brother James' birthday. This year we celebrated it with lots of family and friends, a BBQ and a very lovely sunny day! Oh and of course some goodies baked by myself!

For the party I knew I wanted to challenge myself and so decided to make something I had never made before, and that something was italian meringue. In this case a vanilla cake with Italian meringue buttercream and salted caramel (also handmade, see mason jar fillers post for recipe!)

I also made a batch of galaxy cookies. These also went down a treat and were gone within seconds! These were for people who didn't really fancy any cake, it is basically heart attack in a slice but oh so good! However most people decided on both, why not?!! 

Recipe time!

Cake ingredients:
  • 250g baking margarine
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

Icing ingredients:
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 350g very soft salted butter

Salted Caramel refer to mason jar fillers for recipe.

Cake method:
SIDENOTE: best to make this cake if you have a standing mixer as the methods require different speed and when making the cream it is harder to do this without a mixer!
1. Oven 180c, line 2x 20cm sandwich tins.
2. Cream the margarine and caster sugar (until pale and fluffy, this is important to ensure a light cake). On a low speed add the eggs one at a time.
3. Add the flow and vanilla and fold until there are no lumps of flour left.
4. Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 25 minutes, preferably on the same shelf.

Icing method:
1. Melt the sugar in the water and bring to 121c- SUGAR THERMOMETER NEEDED!
2. Whisk the egg whites with the 2tbsp of caster sugar until you have soft peaks, don't over whisk as you will end up with a sloppy mixture, so stop when your meringue is at a stage of staying in a peak when the whisk is removed from the mixture.
3. With the mixer on a high speed, gently pour the sugar syrup into the meringue. Try to avoid pouring onto the whisk and the edge of the bowl, you want to try and keep it in-between the two of them! It's tricky but believe in yourself!!
4. Continue whisking on a high speed until the bowl is cool to the touch.
5. To make the buttercream, add the softened butter to the meringue one tsp at a time. Don't add it all at one time as it will not work and you will get rid of all the air in the meringue straight away!!

Decorate accordingly. You can choose to decorate this cake however you like, I chose to fill with buttercream and caramel but you can do what you wish. Then I did layers of buttercream and caramel on the top as shown in the photo above.

Cookie ingredients:
  • 200g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 325g self- raising flour
  • dash of milk
  • 200g of any white chocolate that you like (I use milky bar as it's my favourite)
  • 200g of any milk chocolate (I use Galaxy as it's, well it's the best chocolate ever)

Cookie method:
1. preheat the oven to 200c
2. Combine the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3. Add the egg
4. Gradually add the flour in and it should all come together to form a dough, if it looks too dry then add in a dash of milk, if it's too sticky then add a little more flour.
5. Break up your chocolate and add it into the mixture.
6. Roll the dough into small sized balls and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, once placed on the tray push the balls slightly down (this will help to create rounder cookies.
7. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Don't leave them in any longer than this though as cookies should come out of the oven looking slightly soft as when they cool they will harden!

Overall, these recipes were a huge success with my family and I was so pleased with the way everything turned out! Let me know if you try any of these recipes.

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx

Mason Jar Fillers


Bold enough for you? Did you get the message?

Well, well, well, these are the three fillers I did for my mason jars! 

Super easy, super tasty and super useful!! 

Strawberry and Vanilla Jam
The jam making process was fairly simple and straightforward, I put into use the skills I had learnt from Richard Hunt during the Cake and Bake Show which made the process that little bit easier remembering the tips that Richard had shown me and if you're anything like me you learn best when you're shown how to do it and then asked to do it by yourself!

The recipe and method for the jam was fairly simple anyway without the prior knowledge to making jam!

Recipe to make around 2kg of jam:
  • 1.5kg strawberries (the softer the better)
  • 1.5kg jam sugar (preferably with pectin as it helps it to set)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1-2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped out

1. Sounds strange but trust me it's needed, pop 2-3 saucers into the freezer.
2. Put all the ingredients into a very large pan and heat slowly so that the sugar dissolves rather than burning.
3. Once the sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes. 
4. To test, pull one of the saucers from the freezer and drop a teaspoon onto it; if a skin forms and wrinkles when pushed the jam is ready.
5. If the jam isn't quite set then bring back to the boil for around another 3-4 minutes. I had to do this at least twice before mine set so it all depends on the way you make yours!
6. Leave all to cool for 15 minutes, then take out the vanilla pods. 
7. Pour into a sterilised jam jar, mason jar or any container you have that suits this purpose!

Lemon Curd
This recipe was so simple and tasty, it helped so much with another recipe I used and it made the recipe taste even better!!

Ok so for the recipe you will need:
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 100g salted butter 
  • 2 medium eggs

1. Add all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and whacks until the juice and eggs are all mixed in.
2. Continue to whisk over a low heat until the mixture is thick!

Ok so with this lemon curd I had the genius idea of trying some of it whilst it was still hot, please please don't do it!! As a matter of fact don't do it with any of these recipes as they will all be super super hot and burn a lot!! However once the lemon curd was a lot cooler but still warm I had the idea of dipping a digestive biscuit into the mixture and OMG heaven!! Definitely going to try out a lemon curd style biscuit in the next few months!

Salted Caramel
Last but certainly not least! The salted caramel that was a huge success with all my family when I used it in the birthday cake I made for my brothers birthday BBQ, recipe to come...

Anyway for the salted caramel you will need:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1tsp salt (however I used about 3tsp to make it really salty but your preference!)

1. Melt the caster sugar over a medium heat into a light brown caramel, keep swirling the pan to ensure no burnt sugar and DONT USE A SPOON AND STIR IT!!
2. This bit WILL splutter but don't worry it's supposed to, pour the double cream into the sugar (still on the heat)
3. Stir over a low heat until you have a smooth caramel sauce consistency and then add in the salt. Leave to cool and pour into your desired container/jar.

So thats all my mason jar fillers, let me know if you try them out! Coming in the next posts you will see how I have used these in my baking!

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx

Sunday, 23 August 2015

School Coffee Morning

Hi All!

So let's talk coffee mornings. In particular the Macmillan Coffee Mornings. What a great idea because let's be honest who doesn't love cake, coffee (or tea, your preference) and a good chat with friends?! And if it's all for a good cause then why not? I mean you choose how much you want to give to this cause and then enjoy the coffee and the rest that comes with a coffee morning!

Well in our school's case we had a 'coffee morning' in which we baked/ bought in cakes for to be sold for a cake sale which in all fairness raised a lot of money for Macmillan and all enjoyed the array of cakes and fizzy drink on offer. I of course baked something to be sold as I thought a good cause like this deserved to be supported and so I made chocolate chip cupcakes. 

The cupcakes turned out a great success but to me I was super disappointed with the recipe that I used as it gave me a very thin cupcake layer and so I had pretty much too much icing to cake ratio which bothered me, obviously it did not bother anyone else as they went pretty quickly and everyone seemed satisfied with them!

As the recipe supplied a very small amount of batter I was only able to make around 6 cupcakes that were good enough to decorate and sell to people... annoying!! None the less I ploughed on with decorating them with a simple vanilla buttercream and some chocolate chips to finish off with. Even if I do say so myself, I think I have finally cracked the way to get the best vanilla buttercream that just tastes so good and is not runny, too thick or too sweet!! HALLELUJAH!!

Ok so I won't give you the recipe for the pathetic cupcakes that I followed but I will give you a simple recipe that I always refer back to when I want to experiment and add in different flavours or surprises.

115g butter
115g caster sugar 
2 eggs
115g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180'C.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
3. Beat the eggs in one at a time.
4. Sift the flour in and fold in.
5. Stir in the vanilla extract and milk.
6. Divide the mixture into paper cupcake cases and put in the oven for 18 minutes until risen and golden.

Now I would give you the recipe to my amazing icing but I'm not ready to share that yet so... find your own haha!! I mean you could literally do anything with this simple sponge recipe, for example I've made mini Victoria sandwiches with them, made the whole batter into one big cake for a big victoria sandwich (if you do this cook for a little longer around 20 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, if after this time it's still not clean cook it for 2 minute blasts taking it out and checking each time) or you could decorate with simple white icing (icing sugar and water) and sprinkles or even decorate with fondant icing... the possibilities are literally endless!! 

ENJOY, HAVE FUN and BE CREATIVE!! Maybe you could even make lots of different batches of these cupcake and then hold your own coffee morning for Macmillan? Well that's all from me. Hope you enjoyed reading and let me know what you thought!! See you next time.

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx

The Cake and Bake Show

Hi All,

Ok so if you're from the UK then you will know and hopefully be a big fan of The Great British Bake Off aka THE GREATEST SHOW ON THE PLANET!! Well I was lucky enough to be able to spend a day with two ex-contestants of the show, Glenn Cosby and Christine Wallace. As well as Richard Hunt from the Devon Scone Company (genuinely the nicest man ever!!) The scones and jam he showed me how to make were literally amazing... I'm salivating at the thought whilst typing away here!

So a few months ago I was able to spend a day with a travelling food show called The Cake and Bake Show, in which I was able to learn from these three bakers about the baking world, baking under pressure and baking in front of a crowd. I also learnt, during down time/prep time, the different tools and equipment that will help me in future baking life, OMG it was a lot of stuff and I honestly do think I used around 3/4 of all the things I was told about!

Working with Richard all day until around 1:00pm was great because it was just him and I working together creating scones and jam. I learnt a lot from him in this short time but it was definitely worthwhile! He was the one who showed me the proper way to make jam and how to let it cool a lot before putting it in jars because otherwise it will not set and be the jam texture you would expect. Honestly I think I would have never known this and rushed to put it in jars whilst still hot, thrown it in the fridge and hoped for the best! I also learnt the proper way to put jam and cream on a scone, by pilling it on! 

After a well deserved coffee break from the rushing around trying to prepare scones with clotted cream and jam on to serve to the audience, I was able to watch Glenn and Christine do two separate shows, baking very different things. Glenn made salted caramel and italian meringue buttercream cake and scones with lemon curd (insanely good, I've since tried the italian meringue buttercream and wholey moley it was amazing!!) Then Christine made an Eton mess and something else but it was so long ago I honestly can't remember. Anyway whatever it was, I do remember it being delicious!

Lunch came round and we all ate pizza, drank coffee and prepared for the final show where, as we were running out of time, we staged our own miniature bake off!! It was brilliant and I was able to be out front helping Glenn make another salted caramel, italian meringue buttercream cake whilst Christine made more Eton mess and Richard made drop scones with salted caramel (more like stealing Glenn's left over salted caramel...)

Anyway through helping Glenn I was able to learn and do a lot for myself as Glenn basically just instructed me to do things rather than teaching me, which honestly I preferred to have his guidance whilst I did it myself rather than watching someone else do it and then I have to try and re-create it. I learnt how to heat the sugar up to the correct temperature and how to add it to the whisked egg whites to create the italian meringue. It really wasn't as hard as people make it out to be (I was very impressed with myself). 

Well once our bake off drew to a close, we found that it was a draw and that no one could win as all the food was just too good!! After the show I was able to get Glenn and Christine's books and also to get them signed! I was also lucky enough to be given the remainder of the cake Glenn and I had created, after the audience had enjoyed some of it!

Right so that's that. I thoroughly enjoyed spending this day with these lovely and brilliant people! I really learnt a lot from them and had tonnes of fun whilst doing it! Thank you to The Cake and Bake Show!!
Hope you guys enjoyed reading, don't forget to let me know what you think and see you in my next post!

Thanks for reading,
Caitlin xxx