Sunday, 26 September 2010

Carrot Cake and Charity Bake sale.

Ok so the end of last week was pretty much taken up by baking so even though Sunday is usually my baking day I havn't made anything today (Although I did make some sushi), Wednesday was when I made the Chocolate cupcakes and Ice cream cone cakes (Which I'm naming conecakes) Then Thursday I made a Carrot Cake. And It was all in aid of a charity bake sale that was running at my work for Macmillan nurses.

I decided on cupcakes because I couldn't help myself, They're my favourite to make. Then I decided to make a carrot cake as it's something that always goes down well at these type of things.

So I got to work and around mid morning started helping to set up the table with the organisers while people just kept arriving with more and more great homemade treats. The table looked awesome.

Here it is:
 Don't they all look scrummy! We have alot of talented bakers at my work. You can see my cupcakes fron the last blog and also my carrot cake all sliced up and ready to go near the bottom right hand corner.
 Some one even brought in the cutest cupcake stand.

I think it was a great success, We started selling cakes at 10am and there was a big crowd and within an hour most of the cakes had gone. I love helping out at things like that it's always so much fun to see what everyone makes and get some new ideas.

I didn't Take any individual pics of my Carrot cake  as I didn't finish it until late on Thursday and I was so tired I forgot. But I'll still post the recipie as I've used the same carrot cake recipie for a few years now, it does have quite a few ingredients but it's a really easy cake to make and it always gets lots of compliments on the taste.

Here's how it's done:

2 x 8 inch cake tins (You can use 6 inch for a slightly smaller but taller cake)
Baking Paper
8oz/ 225g Carrots
8oz/ 225g Self raising flour
2tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
5oz/140g Soft brown muscavado sugar
Zest of 1 Orange
2 tsp Cinnamon
4oz /115g Chopped Hazelnuts
2oz/55g  Desicated Coconut
2 large Eggs
1/4 pint /150ml Sunflower oil
Juice of 1 Orange

For the frosting

8oz/225g Cream Cheese
3oz/ 85g Butter
5oz / 140g Icing sugar

Preheat oven to Gas 4 / 180 deg C, grease and line the cake tins.
Peel the carrots and grate or use a food processor and blitz them for a few seconds. Seive the flour and baking powder into a bowl and mix in the carrots, salt, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, nuts and coconut. Beat the eggs and add to the mix. add the oil and orange juice and mix well till all the ingredients are combined. Spoon half the mixture into each tin and bake for 50 - 60 mins or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completley.

While the cake is cooling make the frosting, beat the chese and butter together till combined then beat in the icing sugar till soft and creamy. (It should be quite a soft consistency) Then take half the frosting and spread all over one layer of the cake then place the other layer on top and use the rest of the frosting to cover. You can leave the frosting smooth or use a fork to make pretty swirls, Put the cake in the fridge to chill before tranfering onto a clean plate or board.

If you have time you can even use marzipan and food coloring to make little carrots to go on top!

And thats it. I really encourage you all to try this recipie even though it does involve quite a few ingredients it's worth it.

Let me know if you make one! I'm now off to think of what cake to make next.

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Chocolate cupcakes

After spending most of last Friday dipping Strawberry's into chocolate and stuffing them into cupcakes I decided to go back to something a bit simpler. Well sort off, Something simple actually ended up with me playing about with ice cream cones and slicing up chocolate wafers - I just couldn't help try something different.

There's a charity cake sale in my work this week so of course I volunteered to contribute (any excuse to bake and if it's for charity all the better!)

I thought I'd start with a favourite - chocolate cupcakes, some with Vanilla Icing and some with chocolate! I thought I'd mix it up a bit with the decorations for variation and I even found tiny cupcake cases for little bite-size cakes. (Not sure these will make it to work once boyfriend spots them)

Here they are :
Tiny cakes,

Vanilla icing  - you can really see how tiny the little ones are here

You may have noticed the Ice cream cone in the middle of the plate in the pictures, well I had a little experiment and filled the cone about 3/4 full with the cupcake batter and baked for about 25 mins then I used Vanilla Icing to look like ice cream and a chocolate wafer sticking out. Here they are

and all together

And here's how to make chocolate cupcakes

Makes 12
100g Plain flour
20g Cocoa Powder
140g Caster Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
40g Butter
120ml Milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C, Gas 3

Put flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and butter in a bowl and mix either with an electric whisk or  rub together with your fingertips until you have a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together and add slowly to the mixture beating out any lumps. Mix for a couple of minutes till everything is well combined but don't overmix.

Spoon the mix into paper cases till about 2/3 full and bake for 20 - 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the frosting:

Chocolate: Ices 12 cakes
300g Icing Sugar
100g Butter
40g Cocoa powder
40ml Milk

Mix together sugar, butter and cocoa till well blended then add the milk slowly mixing until you get the right consistency. Be careful not to overmix.

Vanilla: ices 12 cakes
250g icing sugar
80g butter
25ml milk

Follow the same method as with the chocolate frosting (just without the cocoa)

And that's It! Simple, tasty, traditional Chocolate cupcakes.

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris

Friday, 17 September 2010

Champagne and Strawberry cupcakes!

This week is National Cupcake week so I had to try a new cupcake I'd been thinking about an idea for.

Ever since seeing some alcohol infused cupcakes at the Liverpool food festival I've been wanting to try a few ideas using that principle. Then last night on Cupcake Wars they had an aphrodisiac theme and I thought I'd go along those lines with a Champagne infused cupcake, then I thought what else goes well with champagne? oooh strawberry's and chocolate! So I decided to try out a Champagne infused cupcake then stuff it with a chocolate dipped strawberry and cover in champagne butter-cream. I had no idea whether this would work but I like them.

Here they are:

I also made a few cute heart shaped ones using some silicone moulds I bought the other day.

But I think they look most impressive cut in half because then you can see the chocolate dipped strawberry.

And here's how they're done:

Makes 12:

120g Plain Flour
140g Caster Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Baking powder
40g Unsalted Butter
100ml Champagne (I just bought a cheap mini bottle)
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
12 Strawberry's
100g Plain Chocolate

Preheat the oven to 170 deg C.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or rub the ingredients together till you get a sandy consistency and all the ingredients are combined. Beat in the Champagne until it is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg and vanilla together then pour into the mixture and beat until just incorporated.

At this point as it was really my first time experimenting with this I tasted the batter and adjusted slightly to my own taste, more champagne, sugar etc. But this is up to you. Spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cases until 2/3 full and bake for 20 - 25 mins or until Golden on top ( a skewer inserted should come out clean)

While the cakes are in the oven, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water then dip each strawberry in the melted chocolate and stand top down on a plate.

then put these in the freezer for a few minutes to let the chocolate set.

Once the cakes are done remove them from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Once cool cut a cone shaped piece out of the middle of each one and place a strawberry in the gap.

You can then use the crumbs from the cut out to press back on top of the strawberry.

Then for the Icing:

250g Icing Sugar
80g Butter
15ml Champagne
couple of drops of vanilla

Beat the butter into the sugar then beat in the vanilla and champagne. And again as before I then adjusted to taste.

I tried out a few different ways of icing and decorating using the tops of the strawberry's as a decoration. I know most cupcakes you see are piled with icing but even though it looks good I don't like to much icing and this is quite a strong tasting icing so doesn't need to much.

So there you go! My aphrodisiac champagne and strawberry cupcakes! 

Bye for now 
Cupcake Kris 

Liverpool food and drink festival.

As well as fitting in baking bread and brownies last weekend Sunday involved a day of pigging out at the Liverpool food and drink festival.

The festival included talks and demonstrations by chefs including celebrity chef, James Martin as well as stalls from local bars, restaurants, deli's and bakery's. There were a few free samples (but not as much variety of samples as I'd like) as well as a ton of tasty dishes to try.
Loved the eclectic display on this stall.

The only thing about the day I wasn't to impressed with was the demonstration area it didn't have enough seating and unless you queued for about 40 minutes before there was no way of getting anywhere close enough to the tent to see anything.

The food there was great though and there's now so many restaurants I'd never been to in Liverpool I wan't to try. So first Boyfriend tried some African Lamb Stew with rice and plantain. I have always wanted to try plantain and now I love it definitely going to be buying some to try and cook at home.

Then after a break we popped over to a stall from a local Thai restaurant

 I had the starter platter but the real stand out dish was the Thai prawn curry that Mum and Boyfriend (yes a second meal for him) had. I will definitely be visiting this restaurant (Chaophraya) and ordering that dish.

We then popped by the Wagamama stand to pick up some dumplings for little bro and enter a competition to win a book and meal kit. And boyfriend tried some duck dumplings (yes he's an eating machine) which were very yummy even though I was super full by this time.

We then stopped to watch some cute kiddies learn how to make pasta and I swooned over a bread stand while getting some ideas for loaves to make.

Then came my favourite part of the day! Cupcakes!
There were some gorgeous ones with pretty sprinkles and a ton of frosting from Just Cupcakes.

Love the Bumblebee and I'm definitely going to be investing in some cute sprinkles and edible glitter as well as more food colouring to make pretty colours. There was also a stall with Jack Daniels and coke cupcakes (Not sure I'd like) and Baileys Cupcakes (Definitely trying.)

It was a really good day, there was yummy food, great weather, fun music, and lots of different beers. The stalls were all busy and I think it got to much for one staff member.

Before going home I bought a bottle of Coconut chilli sauce which I cant stop eating with toasted pita. We then finished the day with some beers and I introduced mum to Frulli, a strawberry beer which she loved.

So a tasty day overall I ate tasty food and got some great ideas and I will definitely be going back next year.

Now I'm off to buy some pretty sprinkles for cupcakes.

Till next time
Cupcake Kris

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Fresh, tasty, easy bread!

Blergh so I'm off work sick today and I feel awful but one good thing has come of it, I've discovered a program called cupcake wars on the food network! and its awesome! Cupcakes have to be one of my favourite things to make just because they're so versatile, you can be so creative with them and make them look so pretty. So I'm thinking of some new cupcake ideas for me to try next week now, so keep an eye on the blog for updates.

Any way, as I mentioned in the last blog I'd been bread baking. This is quite a new thing in my house and it's quickly become a little bit of an obsession. Boyfriend even made his own loaf which turned out lovely.

I've made bread before in the past but they've always been more complex tearing type loaves flavoured with cheese and herbs etc. This time I really just wanted a great everyday bread that can be made relatively quickly and easily and can be used as a replacement for the everyday loaf bought at the supermarket for sandwiches, toast etc.

So instead of buying a loaf at the supermarket why don't you give this a go, Its cheap as it only uses a few ingredients, easy, relatively quick, tasty and hey doesn't everyone just love the smell of freshly baked bread!

Yes I'm totally rubbish at slicing bread.

So here's how it's made

500g all purpose flour (or substitute 125g for whole grain flour for brown bread)
1 packet (7g) instant easy bake yeast
1tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1tbsp vegetable oil
300ml warm water (1 part boiling to 2 parts cold)
2lb Loaf tin

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix oil together with the water. Make a large well  in the dry ingredients and pour in water. Mix this together till all the ingredients are bound together.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8 -10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. shape the dough and place into a 2lb loaf tin, loosely cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (45 mins - 1 hour)  While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 200C

Once risen, bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 - 35 minutes, until the loaf is golden on top. The bottom of the loaf should sould hollow when tapped.

Leave to cool.

And that's it! easy!

don't have a loaf tin? I made a little dough into bread rolls.

These were perfect for lunch rolls. They take a little less time in the oven, about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of roll, or when the tops are golden.

This recipe may seem like something really simple and plain for me to do but I can't explain how much satisfaction comes with baking bread there's something so homely and rewarding about it and the smell is just amazing. Boyfriend gave his loaf to his mum and dad while it was still warm and I've never seen anyone so happy and impressed to get a loaf of bread hehehe.

Bye for now!

Cupcake Kris

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Raspberry cheesecake brownies.

Hey all,

Phew, it's been a busy weekend for baking and tasty treats there's been bread baking, cheesecake making and a visit to the Liverpool food and drink festival. So as I sit here full of Thai food, free samples and allot of cake I thought I'd fill you in on the most sinful of treats I made this weekend.

On Saturday mummy dropped of some fresh raspberry's from her garden and of course I had to make them In to the most unhealthy thing I could think of which was Hummingbird bakery's Raspberry  cheesecake brownies.

Now I'm not a religious girl but If I was the Hummingbird bakery in London would be my Church and their recent book all about cakes would be my bible. The recipes In the book do often need a bit of tweaking with quantities but never fail to produce the tastiest of cookies and cakes which are always unashamedly fattening.

And here's the finished brownie:

And how it's done:

200g Dark Chocolate
200g Unsalted Butter
250g Icing Sugar
3 Eggs
110g Plain Flour

400g Cream cheese
150g Icing Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Eggs

Cream Topping:
300ml Double Cream
100g Icing Sugar
150g Raspberry's (plus extra to decorate)

33x23x5cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper

Preheat oven to 170c/ gas 3
For the brownie: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water. Beat the butter ans sugar together until well incorporated, add the eggs one at a time until mixed well. Gradually beat in the flour mixing well after each addition until you get a smooth mixture. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into the baking tray and smooth over.

Then start on the cheesecake:

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together until smooth and thick. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well. The mixture should be smooth and creamy but be careful not to over mix or the cheese will split. Spoon on top of the brownie mixture and smooth over. Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges.

Leave to cool completely then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

For the cream topping:
Put the cream, sugar and raspberry's in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until firm but not stiff. Lift the brownie out onto a board and spread the topping evenly over the top and decorate with more raspberry's.

This one requires quite a bit of effort but trust me it's yummy! However next time I think I'd make less of the brownie mix and possibly increase the cheesecake part, but that's personal preference.

Let me know what you think!

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Makin Whoopie!

I don't know how many of you have heard of Whoopie Pies but according to many across the pond in the US they're the new cupcake.

Hearing this I just couldn't help myself try them out.

Basically, for those of you who don't know, Whoopie Pies are sort of a mix between a cake and a cookie, two pieces are sandwiched together with your choice of filling. You can make them in an array of flavours (I went for chocolate) and fillings and even top them with even more icing (However they're really sweet as it is)

My first attempt wasn't the best ever as I made them quite a bit to large but they still tasted yummy.

Here they are:

With Chocolate frosting filling.

Peanut Butter Icing. (my fave)

And melted Marsh-mellow. (not the best and these ones were way to big!)

Here's how they're made:
125g butter
150g chocolate
225g sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g flour
30g cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder

Pre- heat oven to 180c/ gas 3, 

Melt butter and chocolate together (best to do this in a bowl over a pan of water)
Try not to eat the yummy melted chocolate, hehehe 

Mix sugar eggs and vanilla then fold in the chocolate mix. Then sift the flour and cocoa powder together then fold into the mix. 

Place spoonfuls of the mixture on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven  - they take about 6 - 8 mins. 
This mixture should make about 24 half's (12 cakes)

Now for your filling of choice: 

Mashmellow is easiest, basically just take a marshmellow or 2 and place on one half of whoopie pie, then place in the oven for a minute or so until the mashmellow is soft, then sandwich the other half on top. Voilà!

For the peanut butter I used about 3tbs of crunchy peanut butter blended it with about 1tbs of butter and 3tbs Icing sugar. I cant remember exactly how much I used in quantities as I then just adjusted the ingredients adding a bit here and there to suit my taste. Spread on 1 half then sandwich together. 

And finally the Chocolate. 150g Icing Sugar, 50g Butter, 20g Cocoa powder, 20ml Milk 
Cream butter sugar and Cocoa powder then ad milk bit by bit but be careful not to over-mix, consistency should be thick. 
Pipe or spread onto one half of Whoopie pie then I found it better to place that half in the fridge for a little while to help icing set harder before placing the other half on top.

And that's what you get for making Whoopie!

Sorry about the terrible pictures too I'm hoping to get better at that. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Welcome to my Blog.

Ok so here goes...... welcome to my baking blog!
Cooking and baking is something I've always loved, add that to my love of anything cute, sparky or pretty and you get a cupboard filled with way to much food colouring, icing and hundreds and thousands.

I spend alot of time in the kitchen baking and food in general is one of my biggest passions. Recently I've been reading alot of baking blogs and eventually thought hey why not start one of my own!

So here it is, it may not be the best around but hey Its gotta be better than some right, I read on which suggested using a pre mixed box of cake mix, and well that's just downright cheating in my book!

So if you like all things yummy and baked keep coming back for posts, pictures and recipes of my culinary adventures and experiments.

Anyway got to go I've got a bun in the oven, Literally.

Cupcake girl Kris