Wednesday, 29 December 2010

If this is Torture, Chain Me to the Wall

Disney Classic # 27 - Oliver and Company

I really enjoyed Oliver and Company - like many of the lesser-known Disney Classics, it's completely underrated. I'd decided quite early on that I would be basing this weeks cake on the appearance of one of the main characters in the film: a ginger cake for the ginger kitty Oliver. Simple as that really.

I used a recipe in my trusted Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes. I have to admit that I had a bit of a problem with the timing of this cake... the original recipe said to bake the cake at gas mark 3 for 30-35 minutes, but I thought no way a cake of this size would bake that quickly at such a low temperature, so I decided to put my cake in at gas mark 4 for 45 minutes. It ended up taking an hour and a half to cook!! In the end the cake was still warm when served and the icing started to melt... but the movie had ended and we were still waiting for the cake to cool! Nightmare! I'd recommend trying to bake this cake at gas mark 5 for 45 minutes, and see where that gets you... just give yourself a lot of time to play with!

Prep time: 20 mins           Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins           Serves: 8-10 slices

200g margarine
175g dark molasses sugar
3tbsp honey
150ml milk
2 large eggs
4 pieces stem ginger, drained from their syrup
300g self-raising flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
4 tbsp ginger syrup, drained from the jar
300g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter
2 tsp lemon juice

  1.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line a baking tin.
  2. In a large saucepan, gently melt the butter, sugar and honey over a low heat then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Whilst the butter mixture is cooling, chop the stem ginger into very small pieces and place to one side. Beat the eggs in a small bowl.
  4. Once sufficiently cool, stir the milk into the butter/sugar mixture, followed by the beaten eggs and the chopped stem ginger.
  5. Sift the flour and ground ginger into the mixture and combine thoroughly.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface with the back of the spoon. Place in the preheated oven for around 1 hour 15 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes, but check after 1 hour. When a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean the cake is done. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 1 hour before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cool, skewer the top of the cake in various places and pour 2 tbsp of the ginger syrup all over.
  8. Beat together the remaining syrup, icing sugar, butter and lemon juice until thick and smooth and spread this over the top of the cake. Cut into slices and serve ^_^

Next time it's The Little Mermaid - my first EVER Disney movie, and to celebrate I'll be trying my hand at baking and decorating a sea-themed novelty cake!
Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Thank You, Dawson.

Disney Classic # 26 - Basil the Great Mouse Detective

I think my rationale for choosing to make a cheesecake for this movie is fairly obvious; Basil is a Mouse, and mice like cheese... Besides, it's nice to try different kinds of dessert rather than making a sponge cake each week. Plus I absolutely love cheesecake, and have gotten pretty good at making it over the years. You'll have to forgive my dodgy photos of this cake... for some reason I just couldn't get a good shot! We also didn't have the DVD case as I borrowed this from a friend who bought it round on USB, so I think once I own Basil on DVD I'll make another cheesecake and replace these photos.

I first came across this cheesecake recipe in school, when I did a project on incorporating more fruit into the diet for my GCSE Food Technology. Suffice it to say that was many years ago, (and my mini-apple cheesecakes did not go down so well...) but I've now perfected the recipe to produce a delicious lemon cheesecake. Unfortunately I no longer have the original hand out the recipe was given to me on, nor my own notes from my trials when using the recipe in the project. In fact, I generally just guestimate when I'm making cheesecake so I wasn't even sure on the measurements!! For the purpose of the blog, I weighed everything 1 used this time... I figured that would be more helpful than saying "a packet of biscuits" and "a bit of butter". ^_^
Prep time: 30 mins    Cook time: No cook but needs at least 2 hours to set     Serves: 8-10

300g ginger biscuits
50g margarine
400ml double cream
400g cream cheese
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon curd

  1. Line a loose based cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Break the biscuits into a food processor and blend until fine crumbs. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over a low heat, then mix this into the biscuit crumbs. Tip the crumb mixture into the lined cake tin, and press down firmly with the back of a spoon, until all of the crumbs are compressed and completely flat. Place this base into the fridge to set whilst you prepare the cheese filling.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the double cream to soft peak stage. Add the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon curd and continue to whisk until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Spoon the filling mixture onto the biscuit base and smooth the top. Place in the fridge to set for at least two hours - the longer the better though!
  5. To serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the cake tin and cut into slices. 

Next time it's Oliver and Company, and I'll be making a yummy ginger cake for our little ginger protagonist.
Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Disney Classic # 25 - The Black Cauldron

I didn't remember very much about the Black Cauldron, other than that it is the darkest Disney movie by far and scared the poopies out of my little sisters so much that we hardly watched it as kids. It is pretty creepy... from what I remembered before watching the movie this week there is this evil skull-faced king, and a magical cauldron, and if the king gets the cauldron he can raise an undead army... and there's this ginger kid who works on a farm and has a magic pig and he has to try to stop the evil king.

Why am I giving you this sketchy synopsis? Well, that's what I remembered of the film - so you can imagine how difficult it was to come up with an idea for a dessert to fit! Anyways, I did a little research and found out that the film is based on a book (or series of books) which in turn are based on Welsh folklore. And there is our connection!! I'd never made Welsh Cakes (or pice ar y maen) before, but they seemed to be akin to scotch pancakes, and my friend Sarah K said they're really tasty, so I decided to give them a go.

That's me on the left, showing my dislike for currants. Everyone else thought the cakes were fab.

Based on a recipe I found here. (I rely on BBC Good Food far too much for this!)

Prep time: 10 minutes      Cook time: 20 minutes      Makes: 8 cakes

225g plain flour
85g caster sugar (plus extra for dusting)
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g butter
50g lard, plus extra for frying
60g mixed dried fruits
1 egg
splash of milk (if required)

  1. Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice and baking powder into a large bowl.
  2. Chop the butter and the lard into small pieces, and then add these to the bowl of flour.
  3. Rub the butter and lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
  4. Tip the mixed dried fruits into the bowl with the mixture, and stir in with your hands.
  5. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the egg. Add the egg to the rest of the mixture, stirring with a fork. Once the egg is mostly incorporated, begin to work the mixture with you hands to form a soft dough. If the mixture is too dry to bind as a dough, add a little milk as required.
  6. Dust the work surface well with flour and roll out the dough to roughly 1 cm thickness. Cut rounds out of the dough and place these to one side, and re-roll the trimmings to continue making cakes.
  7. Grease a heavy frying pan with lard and place over a medium heat. Fry the cakes in batches (I could fit three in my pan at once) until golden brown on both sides. For me this took roughly 2 minutes on each side, although I did flip them over a few times to make sure they weren't burning. Once cooked, dust the cakes with a little caster sugar and serve.

Next week we're watching Basil the Great Mouse Detective, and I'll be making a scrumptious cheesecake to go with it!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Best of Friends

Disney Classic # 24 - The Fox and the Hound

Now this was one of my more clever ideas. I thought of it quite early on in the challenge, and haven't been able to come up with anything quite as good since. I took the idea from the film of using two things that stereotypically shouldn't go together, (such as a fox and a hound dog), but that actually work really well together, (such as Todd and Copper becoming best friends despite the notion they are natural enemies.) And that's how we ended up with chocolate chilli brownies ^_^ One would think that chocolate and chilli shouldn't go together, but actually they taste great!

Chocolate and chilli, the best of friends.

I based this recipe on one I found on a recipe card in my local supermarket back in February (it was a valentines recipe). As a side note - I love picking up recipe cards in supermarkets... they should do more of them! Anyways, these brownies are fairly simple and very very tasty - they are deliciously warming on a winters evening with a good cup of tea; I definitely recommend giving them a go!

Prep time: 20 mins       Cook time: 35-40mins      Serves: 9

1 red chilli pepper
225g margarine
100g cocoa powder
4 medium eggs
450g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g self raising flour
1 tsp extra hot chilli powder
icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line a square baking tin.
  2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once the margarine has completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Leave to one side to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Whilst the cocoa is cooling, chop the chilli pepper as finely as you are able to. Discard most of the seeds, but don't worry if a few are left over.
  4. Tip the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk until pale and foamy. 
  5. Stir in the cooled cocoa mixture, the flour and the chillies and beat until well combined. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40mins, until the top is firm but the middle is soft.
  6. Allow the brownies to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and slice into squares to serve. 

Next week we're watching The Black Cauldron, and I'll be making traditional Welsh Cakes.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

R-E-S-C-U-E Rescue Aid Society!

Disney Classic # 23 - The Rescuers

I have to be honest - I really really struggled to come up with an idea for this one (and it's sequel, The Rescuers Down Under!) When I first started this challenge, I made a list of the 49 movies in the Disney Classics Collection, and I used to write down any ideas I had for cakes next to the respective movie, so that I wouldn't forget. However, I ended up with 15 movies (including The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under) that I simply did not have a single idea for. It's not that I don't enjoy the Rescuers movies - I was just drawing a blank when it came to inspiration for the cakes!

As it turns out, sometimes good ideas come to you when you least expect them to. One night/morning way back in early September I woke at 5am and found myself unable to get back to sleep. So I started flicking through some recipe books, just to give myself a way to pass the time that wouldn't disturb my sleeping Mr. That was when I stumbled across a recipe for "porter cake". On reading the title, I initially thought, "Bernard is a porter! I could make a Bernard cake!" Yes!! An idea! OK, I know that technically Bernard is a "janitor" - but that's just a technicality, the two roles are synonymous (I even checked a thesaurus :-P) and of course, the "porter" in the recipe refers to beer rather than a job role - but I for one thought the link was great.

My one issue with this idea was that I didn't feel it right to make a "Bernard" cake without making a "Miss Bianca" cake - and I still needed an idea for The Rescuers Down Under, so I set about searching for my "Miss Bianca" recipe. And I found it the same evening! In a few weeks time I'll be making a sophisticated Hungarian Dobos Torte in honour of our sophisticated Hungarian madame mouse - this week I made a lovely porter cake in honour of Bernard, our porter/janitor extraordinaire.

This recipe came from, yep you guessed it, BBC Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes. I followed the recipe to the letter, as it was an unusual method I didn't want to ruin anything. As always, the 101 Cakes and Bakes recipe did not fail to impress!

Note: this cake takes a long long long time to bake! Just wanted to forewarn you!
Prep time: 40 mins     Cook time: 1 hour - 1 hour 15 mins        Serves: 8-10

175g slightly salted butter
450g mixed dried fruit
1 orange
175g light brown sugar
200ml porter (Guinness or Caffrey's)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs
300g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
2tbsp flaked almonds
2tbsp coarse demerara sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, and grease and line a deep baking tin. (I used 7.5" round)
  2. Chop the butter into cubes and place this in a large saucepan, with the mixed dried fruit, the zest and juice of the orange, the light brown sugar, and the porter. Begin to heat the ingredients slowly, stirring consistently until the butter melts. Once the butter has melted increase the heat under the pan until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will start to foam up, this is supposed to happen!
  4. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then stir them into the mixture a little at a time.
  5. Sift the flour and mixed spice into the pan and mix well until completely combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and demerara sugar onto the top of the cake and then bake in the oven for 1 hour - 1 hour 15, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. The cake tastes better if left in the cake tin until just before serving!

Next week we're watching The Fox and the Hound, and I'm dishing up some delicious chocolate chilli brownies.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Rumbly Tumbly

Disney Classic # 22 - The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Well, it really didn't take me too long to come up with a cake for Winnie the Pooh - there was no way I could get away with NOT using honey as the main ingredient, so it was decided fairly early on that I'd be making a honey cake. And since we watched this movie on a cold November evening, I decided to make it a warm honey cake.
Pooh Bear approves of warm honey cake.

I used a recipe from my trusted BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes recipe book, (Devonshire Honey Cake, pg 12). I use this recipe book quite a lot, quite simply because I love it! I've not (yet) tried every recipe in the book, but I've never been disappointed with the recipes I have tried, and more often then not am surprised at how well the recipes turn out. Sure, I expect them to be tasty, but mostly they exceed expectations!

Anyways, I decided to serve the cake warm from the oven, as it was a rather chilly evening, and I also decided to use a honey syrup to top the cake, rather than just to glaze it with honey as the recipe suggests.

Prep time: 30 mins        Cook time: 1 hour      Serves: 8-10

275g clear honey
250g butter (slightly salted)
110g dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
300g self-raising flour

  1. Cut the butter into pieces and place in a non-stick pan with the honey and the sugar. Melt slowly over a very low heat, stirring occasionally. Once liquid, increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil for one minute. Remove from heat, and set 3tbsps of the mixture to one side to top the cake. Set the rest of the mixture to one side to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, and grease and line a deep baking tin (I used a 7.5 inch tin and this was the perfect amount of cake mixture.)
  3. Beat the eggs, and then add these in to the cooled honey mixture using a wooden spoon.
  4. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, and then pour in the honey mixture. Beat this mixture until all of the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth creamy mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed. If you are unsure, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and pull this out, if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done, if there is residue the cake needs a little longer!
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly in to pan. Reheat the honey syrup that was set aside for topping the cake slowly over a low heat. Remove the cake from the pan (careful not to burn yourself!) and place on a serving dish. Pour the warm honey syrup over the centre of the cake and allow it to run down the sides.
  7. Cut into generous slices and serve nice and warm! (The cake also tastes pretty good when cooled, but it is outstanding when warm!)

Next time we're watching The Rescuers, and I'll be making a cake based on one half of the heroic duo, Bernard!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Disney Classic # 21 - Robin Hood

Robin Hood was another of the films that I struggled to come up with a dessert idea for. Quite often when I'm struggling for ideas I fall back on the location that the film is set - it's often a fail safe method!

I wasn't able to find any Sherwood Forest cake, but I did come across the next best thing - Nottingham Pudding. I'd never heard of Nottingham Pudding, but on doing some research I found out that the pudding dates back to medieval times, when it was originally served as a side dish to savory main courses. Since then the dish has evolved and became more commonly served as a dessert.

I had toyed with the idea of making some target practice cupcakes, with little cocktail-stick arrows pointing out of them, however, the Nottingham Pudding had started to grow on me, and made the cupcakes seem a bit of a boring option in comparison!

I experimented and played around with the recipes I found. Most of the recipes I found suggested using one apple per person, stuffing the apple with the spiced butter, and covering with the batter before baking. However, I decided against using whole apples and opted to slice mine instead. There were a few reasons for this - first of all that I didn't know how many people would be coming so I wasn't sure how many apples I'd need; secondly because I thought a whole bramley apple (which are rather on the large side) might be a bit much for one person; thirdly because there are normally between 5-8 of us, and I don't have a baking dish big enough to fit that many apples; and finally because I was dubious about whether the 30 minutes needed to cook the batter would be enough to bake the apples thoroughly and make them soft.

So instead I decided to slice the apples and soften them in the spiced butter before adding the batter and baking. I think it worked out fairly well, we ended up with a pudding that was soft apple and caramel on the bottom, and crispy pudding on top, and everyone seemed to enjoy it - especially with lashings of custard!

However... on the day of baking I had a horrible feeling that this would all go very wrong - a medieval recipe that I've never tried before but am adapting anyway... and I was worried we'd end up dessert-less. Well, when I was sick my Mum came to visit and we watched Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals. Jamie made some jam tarts which reminded us of my Mum's favourite cakes that we always used to bake together when I was little, a kind of jam and sponge tart that my mum called Maids of Honour. Anyways, feeling a little nostalgic, and uncertain about the Nottingham Pudding, I decided to honour Maid Marian by making some delectable Maids of Honour tarts as a back up plan. (Plus I don't like apple... so this way I get to share some of the baked treats!)

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm... cake!

Below are the recipes for my version of a Nottingham Pudding, based on recipes found here, here and here. For the Maids of Honour I used my mum's old recipe, but decided to try it with Jamie Oliver's idea of layering the jam and sponge, as described here.

Nottingham Pudding

Prep time: 45 mins          Cook time: 45 mins         Serves: 8-10


75g plain flour
1 medium egg
85ml milk
40ml water
pinch salt
3 large bramley/cooking apples (mine came to 838g)
75g butter (plus a pinch of salt if you are using unsalted butter)
50g dark brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, and grease and line a baking tin
  2. Prepare the batter mixture. Sift the flour into a bowl and create a well in the centre. Add the egg, milk water and salt to the flour and beat until smooth (this takes about 2 minutes with an electric beater, or about 5-7 minutes by hand.) Put the batter in the fridge to rest whilst you prepare the apples.
  3. Peel, core and slice the apples and place these into a bowl. Pour the lemon juice over the apples.
  4. In a large pan over a low heat, gently melt the butter. Add the sugar, salt, cinnamon and spices and stir until syrupy. Add the sliced apples and lemon juice to the pan and stir well, ensuring all of the apples are coated in the syrup. Cover the pan and leave to cook over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the apples start to soften.
  5. Take the batter from the fridge and beat quickly with a fork until smooth again (it may have separated slightly in the fridge, this is normal)
  6. Place the softened apples and the syrup into the baking tin, and cover evenly with the batter. Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins, until golden brown and crispy around the edges.
  7. Cut into slices and serve immediately.

Maids of Honour

Prep time: 20 mins       Cook time: 20 mins      Makes 12 tarts


125g plain flour
55g butter
pinch of salt
2-3tbsp water
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
100g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
100g mixed-fruit jam (raspberry also tastes great!)
  1. Cut the butter into cubes and place in a large bowl with the plain flour and the pinch of salt. Rub the flour, butter and salt together between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Using a cutlery knife, stir in the water a little at a time, using just enough to make the mixture form a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 10 minutes, whilst you prepare the fillings.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and grease a bun tray. (Make sure to grease the tray really well so you can remove the tarts easily!)
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the margarine and caster sugar until smooth and creamy, then beat in the egg. Add the almond to the mixture and sift in the flour. beat well until all of the ingredients have combine to a thick, stiff batter.
  5. Place the jam into a small bowl and beat for about a minute to soften it. put the jam and sponge mixture to one side.
  6. Take the pastry dough from the fridge and generously dust your work surface with flour. Roll out the pastry and cut 12 circles from the dough. Gently place these circles into the bun tray, pressing them lightly into shape.
  7. Spoon 1/2 tsp of jam into each pastry case, followed by 1/2 tsp of sponge mixture, and another 1/2 tsp jam. Finish by topping the last layer of jam with another 1tsp of sponge mixture on each tart. (tip - try not to let the jam or sponge mixture flow over the sides of the pastry case!)
  8. Bake the tarts in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes, and then carefully remove each tart using a tablespoon. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
  9. The tarts taste great warm or cold - which means you should eat one straight from the oven and save one for later!! ^_^ (Tip - if you're going to eat the tarts warm, give the jam around 5-10 minutes to cool first, or you may burn your mouth!)

Next week we'll be watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and filling our rumbly tumblies with a delicious honey cake.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Ev'rybody Wants to be a Cat

Disney Classic # 20 - The Aristocats

The Aristocats was one of the first films I came up with an idea for. As soon as I thought of the movie I thought of millionaire's shortbread - there seemed to be a really obvious link between the movie and this tasty tasty biscuit-y treat. (I simply love millionaire's shortbread!) Just as eccentric cat-lover Madame Bonfamille enjoys sharing her millions with her beloved kittens and ally-cats, I love sharing my millionaire's shortbread with my own pets. (by pets I mean friends/loved-ones. Somehow I don't think my goldfish would enjoy *that* much caramel!)

Although I vaguely knew how to make the shortbread (or at least I knew what went into it...) I followed a recipe I found here for the measurements.

Prep time: 1 hour       Makes 16 slices


225g plain flour
80g caster sugar
340g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
150g dark brown sugar
397g can of condensed milk
300g milk chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a square baking tin
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, caster sugar and pinch of salt. Add 170g of the butter to this mixture and rub in until it forms a crumb-like texture. Press this mixture evenly into the baking tin and bake for 15-20 minutes - until golden brown.
  3. Set the shortbread to one side to cool whilst you prepare the caramel. Place 150g butter and the dark brown sugar in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. (Tip - if you are using unsalted butter then add a pinch of salt to the butter/sugar, otherwise you may find that the butter does not mix in!) Stir continuously until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add the condensed milk to the pan and continue to stir until bubbles start to appear on the surface. Remove the caramel from heat as soon as it starts to boil.
  4. Spread the caramel evenly over the shortbread base and leave to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least 30 mins.
  5. Once the caramel has set, melt the chocolate and the remaining 20g butter in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel and return to the refrigerator to set.
  6. Once completely set, cut into squares or bars and serve! (Tip: dip the knife you are using to slice the millionaire's shortbread into boiling water before cutting into the shortbread, as this will make it easier to slice through the solid chocolate.)

Next week it's Robin Hood, and we'll be paying cakey homage to the hero with a traditional Nottingham Pudding ^_^

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Don't Pick the Prickly Pear by the Paw

Disney Classic # 19 - The Jungle Book

I got my inspiration for this cake when flicking through a recipe book. I came across the recipe for a mango, banana and coconut cake, and immediately I thought "JUNGLE FRUITS = Jungle Book!" It's amazing actually, I think I'm constantly subconsciously looking for cake ideas, just any old thing can trigger it and make me think of a Disney movie.

I have to admit I was a bit dubious about this weeks cake - somehow the thought of mixing mango, banana and coconut just didn't seem to sit right in my mind. My Mr. agreed, he thought that instead I should make a chocolate cake, as chocolate is brown it could represent the bark of the trees in the jungle. *rolls eyes* If the Mr had a say in it, we'd have chocolate cake every week. However, the purpose of this challenge was to experiment, so experiment I did.

Unfortunately my local grocers was fresh out of paw-paws and prickly pears...

I found the recipe in the old trusty BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes. (Page 54 - Mango, Banana and Coconut Cake). I've never baked a cake with fresh fruit before, but I know that adding fresh fruit to cake mixture can do strange things so I decided to follow the recipe to the letter.

I'd like to make a note here that at various stages this cake mixture looks all kinds of wrong and nasty. Do not despair! Once you've added the flour it will return to something resembling a normal cake mixture, and once baked it tastes delicious and is really very moist!

Prep time: 20 mins     Cook time: 30-35mins      Serves: 10


1 medium sized ripe mango
2 medium sized ripe bananas
1tsp vanilla extract
225g margarine
140g light brown sugar
2 eggs
50g desiccated coconut
225g self raising flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice

For the filling:
200g packet soft cheese
2tsp lemon juice
50g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and grease and line two 8 inch baking tins
  2. Peel, stone and chop the mango, and then puree the flesh. Put the mango to one side for now. Peel the bananas and break these up into a small bowl. Mash the bananas to a pulp using a fork, ensuring that there are no large lumps remaining. Mix half of the mango puree into the mashed banana, and put the other half of the mango puree in the fridge for later. Add the vanilla extract to the banana and mango mixture and mix well. Put this fruit mixture to one side.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs, and then add these to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time. (Note: this is when the cake mixture starts to resemble something not very nice - do not worry, just keep at it and it will taste delicious!)
  4. Stir in the banana and mango mixture, and then add the desiccated coconut.
  5. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice, and fold into the mixture until thoroughly combined. (Note: by now the cake mixture should look fairly normal, if a bit stiff!)
  6. Divide the mixture between the two baking tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 30-35 minutes until firm to touch, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once the cakes have baked, leave to cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once the cakes have cooled, prepare the filling. Beat together the soft cheese, lemon juice,and icing sugar until smooth and glossy. Stir in the reserved mango puree. Spread the filling evenly onto one of the cakes, and then place the other cake on top of that. Dust the cake with icing sugar to decorate, and serve!

Next time round it's the Aristocats, and I'll be making some very yummy millionaire's shortbread.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Sword in the Scone

Disney Classic # 18 - The Sword in the Stone

OK, I have to confess that I'm cheating a little bit with this one. Originally I was going to try to make a cake in the shape of an anvil sitting on a rock, and I was going to make a cookie sword and stick it in. Then I would have asked the One True King to remove the cookie sword so we could eat the cake, it would have been amazing. However, back in August (yes... I plan these cakes far too far in advance! Actually, I keep a list of my ideas, if and when they pop into my head. Sometimes I'll have a cake planned for months, sometimes I don't come up with anything until the day before. It's just how it goes!) Anyways, back in August I was watching The Great British Bake Off and one of the challenges was to make Paul Hollywood's scones, and I thought "I haven't made scones for years! I'd really like to make some scones." So I set about trying to think of which Disney film I could bake scones for. And that's when it hit me - the sword in the scone!! (Hahah)

You see, my reasoning is that scones do look a little bit like rocks, so if I could figure out how to stick a sword into each one then people would (hopefully) recognise the image from the movie. Also - in case you need further convincing - The Sword in the Stone is based on the legend of King Arthur. Whilst many of the tales of King Arthur vary, his castle Camelot is thought by many to have been located in Cornwall. Not only that, but Arthur's mother was the Duchess of Cornwall. Anyone who's ever been to Cornwall knows that you can't take 5 steps without coming across somewhere that sells cream tea (aka scones and cream).

In the end, my rational for choosing scones actually linked into the film pretty well (much better than some of my other ideas where I've really had to clutch at straws!) - I guess I just did it a bit backwards this time, choosing the film to match the dessert rather than the dessert to match the film. Oops. I still think it counts though...

Afternoon tea, anyone?

Anyway, I decided not to use Paul Hollywood's recipe, because it has eggs in it, and I've never made scones with egg before and I think that's a little weird, especially as most other recipes don't use egg either. Not that I'm questioning Paul Hollywood, I just don't fancy eggy scones. So I made a variation (or three) of the recipe I found here. (Good old BBC Good Food!) I ended up making three batches of scones: some plain scones; some raisin scones (at the request of my Mr.) and some chocolate chip scones (because these are my favourite and they're not sold ANYWHERE - serve with a little butter, yum yum yum!)

The recipe posted below can be used for all 3 types of scones (just add raisins/chocolate chips/anything else you fancy putting in where applicable,) and produces a batch of 6.

Prep time: 5-10 mins         Cook time: 10-12 mins       Serves: 6


275g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
tsp baking powder
65g margarine
3tbsp caster sugar (plus extra for sugar crusting)
135ml milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg to glaze
Optional - 60g raisins, sultanas, cherries, dried apricot, chocolate chips or anything else you fancy putting inside the scones!

Whipped cream and jam to serve

  1. Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and place the baking tray you plan to use into the oven to heat up.
  2. Tip the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl, and then tip in the margarine. Rub the ingredients together with your fingers until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar to the crumb-like mixture, and mix in with you hands. Add any dried fruits or chocolates to the mixtures at this stage.
  4. Heat the milk in the microwave for around 30 seconds until warm, but not hot. Add the lemon juice to the milk and set this to one side for a few minutes.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk. Mix these together using a cutlery knife until they combine to make a wet dough, being careful not to overwork.
  6. Scatter flour over the work surface and tip the dough out onto it. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Fold the dough over itself 2-3 times until it becomes smooth, again being careful not to overwork. Pat the dough out (it's better to pat than to use a rolling pin) to around 3cm thick.
  7. Using a cutter of your choice, cut scones out of the dough. Tip - do not twist your cutter as this seals the sides of the dough and may prevent your scones from rising.
  8. In a small bowl, beat the egg for glazing. In another small bowl, place some caster sugar. Dip each scone firstly into the egg, and secondly into the caster sugar, before placing carefully onto the warm baking tray. Tip - try to keep the egg only on the top of the scone, if it runs down the sides it may prevent the scones from rising.
  9. Bake the scones in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. The scones can be served warm or allowed to cool before serving, and are best eaten on the day of baking. Will keep for 1-2days in an airtight container, but they won't be as melt-in-your-mouth-soft as the day of baking!

Next week we're watching the Jungle Book, and I'll be making (and serving) a juicy jungle fruits cake!

Happy Thoughts

Monday, 25 October 2010

Good news...

So after a 12 day stay in hospital, I've finally made it back home (without the need for surgery just yet)! Woop!!

What's even better is that I'm now allowed to eat again, which means Disney nights can resume! Double woop!

Hopefully there'll be no more serious illness and hospital stays for me for a long long time, and the blog can return to normal. The next recipe will be posted on Wednesday morning for your perusal!

Happy Thoughts

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bad news...

Oh dear.

Well we had a break back in July due to my illness, and unfortunately we're going to have to take another one now. I was admitted into hospital again last Wednesday, and this time it's likely I'll be having surgery on my bowel. (Fortunately I was allowed out today on day release!)

This unfortunately means that I am being fed via a tube, so that means that whether I'm in hospital or at home there is no cake for me.

Therefore this blog will probably be quiet for a little while (I'm hoping no more than a couple of weeks, but who knows!)

Please do check back in a couple of weeks as there may well be a recipe waiting for you!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Mamma, I'm Hungry

Disney Classic # 17 - 101 Dalmatians

After a few weeks of novelty cakes I decided it might be a good idea to go back to basics with a simple a tasty classic. (I've also had a complication with my illness, and my Dr has told me not to do anything! Well... we can't have that, so I'll compromise by keeping it simple for a few weeks. ^_^) In honour of these wonderfully spotty dogs, I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately though - all of the shops in my area seem to have simultaneously sold out of dark/milk chocolate chips, so we ended up with chocolate chunk cookies instead. Still, the idea was there... and the cookies were tasty! I once read somewhere that each dalmatian puppy was animated with 32 spots. I was going to try to fit 32 chocolate chips in each cookie, but figured there'd then probably be chocolate than cookie...

You can be a champion too if you eat Kanine cookies...

This recipe is based on a recipe in my favourite cook book, BBC Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes. It started off as their "Smarties Cookies" recipe on page 196, but I've made a few adjustment, basically to cater to what I had in my cupbards at the time!

Prep time: 15mins        Cook time: 10-12mins per batch       Makes: 24 cookies


200g margarine
100g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp clear honey
300g self raising flour
1tsp vanilla essence
75g milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks
50g white chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper
  2. Beat the margarine, brown sugar and caster sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy.
  3. Add the honey, vanilla essence and half of the flour and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the chocolate chunks, the chocolate chips and the rest of the flour to the bowl, and work into a dough with your hands. 
  5. Divide the dough into 24 balls. Place these well apart on the baking sheet (note - do not flatten the balls, they will spread in the oven to make a thick round cookie) and bake for 10-12 minutes until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely. (note - when the cookies first come out of the oven they will still be a little soft, do not worry! they will crisp up as they cool and you will be left with a delicious chewy cookie!)

Next time we're watching The Sword in the Stone, and I'll be making some yummy scones!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

15 Layers with Pink and Blue Forget-Me-Nots!

Disney Classic # 16 -  Sleeping Beauty

Ah me. So I had another disaster - but thankfully managed to avert this one!! Originally (and up until the day before baking/serving the cake) I had planned to try out my icing techniques and create a beautifully detailed cake. It was going to be vanilla sponge, covered in white fondant icing, and topped with an image of Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip. Around the sides of the cake I was going to ice and/or paint images of the three good fairies, of rose bushes and thorn bushes, and a fiery silhouette of Maleficent. It would have been lovely. However - I knew that I do not posses the drawing skills required to ice a picture of Aurora/Phillip straight onto the top of the cake (the ones on the side would be fine, as they are much smaller and require less detail) - so instead I decided to create a sort of topper, by tracing the image in royal icing. I traced two of these, as I couldn't decide whether I wanted Phillip in the picture, and also just in case one of them went wrong.

Well they both went wrong. The idea was that the royal icing would set, and I would be able to remove the greaseproof paper from underneath and gently place the applique/topper on top of my iced cake. However, after I finished tracing them it soon dawned on me that I had used a very very thin icing nozzle, and that would probably cause issues. I realised that the royal icing would be too long and thin to hold together, and that my toppers would probably crumble at my touch.

Whereas the fairies decide to use their magic to fix their wreck of a cake - for me that wasn't an option, so I decided to come up with a couple of back up plans. I'm clutching at straws ever so slightly, but I decided to base the cake around the scene where Briar Rose/Aurora goes out into the woods to collect berries - brilliant! Black forest gateaux!! Except that as it was very last minute I was unable to get hold of any cherries (my local shop doesn't sell them, the grocers is closed on Sundays and I didn't have time to go up to the major supermarket) so I used strawberries and raspberries instead. So it's sort of a forest berry cake - ish.

Originally I had hoped to stick to plan A and make the vanilla sponge iced lovely thing, but then I realised that I should try to handle the toppers as little as possible, which meant waiting until the cake was baked and iced before moving them, which meant I wouldn't know whether to make vanilla sponge or chocolate sponge until it was too late. Gah!! So plan B was to make the chocolate sponge, go out and buy the cherries (which ended up being strawberries and raspberries), and to place the topper on top of that (given that the topper worked...) Plan C was the same as plan B, but without the topper.

Well, coming to the end of my very long story about how we arrived at the cake we did - when I lifted the greaseproof paper from the baking sheet this happened:

So here's the recipe for plan C! Briar Rose's woodland berry* cake.

*do strawberries and raspberries even grow in woodlands? I don't know - but for the purpose of this cake, let's just pretend that when Briar Rose went out into the woods to pick berries, she picked up some strawberries and raspberries.

I've yet to come across the perfect recipe for chocolate cake. Don't get me wrong, I've never found a bad recipe for chocolate cake, I've just not come across a perfect one yet... so I'm still looking! This time round I based my cake on a recipe found here. The flavour of the chocolate cake was delicious - not too rich as some can be, but by no means not chocolate-y enough, as I've also come across before. However, the sponge was a little too crumbly for my liking, I would have preferred it to be much more moist, and the mixture did not seem to rise in the pan at all! Hence my search for the perfect chocolate cake recipe goes on... nevertheless this was a pretty tasty cake! (I'm just being extremely picky here - there were no complaints for the finished product, and everyone [except me, I was trying to be good] went back for a second slice!)

Prep time: 20mins Cook time: 25-30mins Serves: 14


150g dark chocolate
30ml milk
150g margarine
150g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
150g plain flour
50g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
half a punnet of strawberries
half a punnet of raspberries
50g icing sugar
200ml double cream
white and milk chocolate, for decorating

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line two baking tins (of the same size!)
  2. Break the chocolate into chunks and place this and the milk into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted and then place to one side to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the chocolate mixture.
  4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and continue to fold until all of the ingredients combine.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for around 25-30mins, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to rest for 5 minutes before removing them from their tins and leaving them to cool on a wire rack.
  6. Once the cakes have completely cooled, prepare the filling and topping. Set aside 2 strawberries and 3 raspberries for decoration. Hull and slice the the strawberries, and half the raspberries. Arrange the fruit on the bottom layer of the cake, completely covering.
  7. Whip together the double cream and icing sugar until it is thick and pillowy. Carefully spread this over the berries then place the second layer of cake on top of this.
  8. Melt a little white and a little milk chocolate and drizzle this over the cake to decorate. Place the strawberries and raspberries that were set to one side earlier in the centre of the cake.
  9. Cut into chunky slices and enjoy! (Due to the fruit/fresh cream in this cake it is best kept refrigerated and eaten the same day.)

Next time it's 101 Dalmatians, and I'll be making some chocolate chip cookies :-)

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

And We Call It Bella Notte

Disney Classic # 15 - Lady and the Tramp

I love looking at photos of cakes, especially novelty cakes, so it probably comes as no surprise that I often buy cake decorating books. Before I ever dreamed of "Disney movie nights" I had found a very, very cool "spaghetti and meatballs" cupcake recipe in one of my cake books, and I've been waiting for an excuse to make them. Well, then the Disney nights started, and what better reason could I possibly have for making spaghetti and meatball cupcakes than in honour of this classic scene from the movie:

I found the original idea in Karen Tack and Alan Richardson's Hello Cupcake! but used my usual recipes for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream. These cakes looked great, but with all the icing, the jam and the chocolate piled on top they were very sweet and sickly! We also found them quite messy to eat, and most of us ended up using a fork or spoon - expect a very gooey and very sweet cupcake!

Prep time: 30 mins      Cook time: 20 mins      Serves: makes 9 cupcakes


100g margarine
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 medium egg
Few drops of vanilla essence
12 Ferraro Rocher chocolates
250g strawberry jam
150g unsalted butter
350g icing sugar
Drop of milk
A little white chocolate, for grating

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with white cupcake cases.
  2. Cream the margarine and caster sugar together in a large bowl. Sift in the flour and fold this into the mixture. Add the egg and vanilla essence to the mixture and beat well until all ingredients have combined.
  3. Carefully spoon one tbsp of cake mixture into each cupcake case (this made 9 cupcakes) and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to touch.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven and set to one side to cool.
  5. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the butter cream. Beat the butter in a large bowl to soften. Sift in a little of the icing sugar and beat into the butter. Continue adding the icing sugar a little at a time until it is all combined. Add a drop of milk to the mixture to soften it, if required, and beat in some vanilla essence.
  6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cover each one in a thin layer of butter cream. Place the rest of the butter cream in a piping bag and pipe "spaghetti" onto the cupcakes. This actually looks better if you do it roughly, allowing some pieces to hang over the edges and overlapping the icing, rather than if you try to keep it neat and tidy.
  7. In another bowl, stir the jam until it gets runny. Unwrap the Ferraro Rocher's and drop each one into the jam. Using a tablespoon, scoop one "meatball" (Ferrero Rocher) and some jam out o the bowl and place this on top of the "spaghetti" spoon any left over jam onto the cupcakes. Note: I used one "meatball per cupcake, plus an extra "meatball" on the serving dish or resting in the middle of the cupcakes, for decoration
  8. Grate a little white chocolate over all of the cupcakes, serve and enjoy!

Next time we're watching Sleeping Beauty, and I'll be testing out my piping skills to make something pretty ^_^

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Second Star to the Right and Straight on 'Til Morning

Disney Classic # 14 - Peter Pan

Peter Pan was my littlest sister's favourite when she was littler - so I've been toying with the idea of making a Neverland Cake for some time. However, I figured a cakey model of Disney's Neverland complete with mountains and all might be a bit much for a Disney movie night (it would be huge and would take me days to make, and there would be far too much cake to be consumed by the 6-8 of us that are usually present!) However, I knew I wanted Neverland to be the basis of this week's cake, so after throwing a few ideas around I decided to make a map of Neverland. I also decided that I was getting a bit fed up of vanilla sponge, so Neverland would be lemon flavoured.

Again no references for this one, I just sort of made it up as I went along.


300g ready to roll fondant icing
Various food colourings (especially blue, brown and yellow)
3 ice cream cornets
25g white chocolate
chocolate sprinkles
500g self-raising flour
500g margarine
500g caster sugar
4 large eggs
4tbsp lemon curd
2 tsp lemon juice
200g soft cheese
50g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
star shaped sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line a large baking pan
  2. Cream together the margarine and sugar in a large bowl.  Sift in roughly 1/4 of the flour and fold this into the mixture. Add one egg and beat until combined. Repeat this process, adding a little flour and then an egg, until all of the flour and all of the eggs have been added to the mixture. Mix in 4tbsp of lemon curd and 2tsp lemon juice.
  3. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, being sure to spread it to the edges, and bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and dry.
  4. Whilst the cake is baking, prepare the decorations for the top of it (I've posted a close up picture of all of the fondant bits below, for reference):
    • For the map: colour 200g of the ready to roll icing with a little yellow and a little brown food colouring, to give the impression of old withered paper. Roll this out to be slightly smaller than the cake, and tear and curl the edges a little. Using brown and blue food colouring, paint on the details of the map (brown for land, blue for water.)
    • For the pirate's ship: colour a little of the fondant icing brown, and mold this into a "ship" shape (I did an oblong curled up at both ends). Using a cocktail stick dipped in brown food colouring, poke windows into the sides of the ship. Carefully trim down three cocktail sticks, and press a little white fondant onto each. Insert these into the ship to look like sails. (be sure to take the cocktail sticks out before serving!)
    • For the lost boys' tree house: colour a little fondant brown, and a little green, and mold these to look like a tree. Use a small amount of flesh coloured fondant to model two heads, and stick these to the tree with water.
    • For the mermaids: model a rock and two mermaids from various colours of fondant - using water to stick the pieces together. (My mermaids had no arms as they were so small they kept breaking! Wendy says "Those mermaids just tried to drowned me!" Peter laughs, and says, "Don't worry Wendy, they're armless!!" Haha!)
    • For skull rock: model the skull and two smaller rocks out of grey fondant. Paint the skull details on using black food colouring.
    • For the Indian village: trim the ends off of the three ice cream cornets. Melt the chocolate and use this to cover the cornets. Before the chocolate sets, stick chocolate sprinkles to the cornets to look like entrances to the teepee's. Flatten a tiny piece of brown fondant and dip this in water and then into the chocolate sprinkles, allow this to dry (these are the logs for the camp-fire). Using a little orange and a little yellow fondant, mold a flame shape and stick this to the "logs".
  5. When the cake is cooked, remove this from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for at last ten minutes. Remove from the pan and place on the serving board to continue to cool.
  6. Prepare the frosting. Melt the unsalted butter and set this to one side to cool. Place the soft cheese in a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Using an electric mixer and starting on a low speed, beat together the cheese and the sugar. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer. When the frosting has reached a smooth, thick consistency (after around 5 minutes) add the cooled melted butter and the remaining 2 tbsp lemon curd. Continue to beat for a further 2 minutes, then add enough blue food colouring to reach the desired colour. Store the frosting in the fridge until it is ready to use.
  7. Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the blue frosting all over it. Place the map on top, and arranged the "3D elements" on top of the map, using a little frosting to stick these into place if needed. Place the star sprinkles around the edges of the cake to give the impression of the night sky.
  8. Cut into slices and serve!

Next time we're watching Lady and the Tramp, and I'll be making some savory looking spaghetti and meatball cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Clean Cup! Clean Cup! Moove Do~own!!

Disney Classic # 13 - Alice in Wonderland

My inspiration for the cakes (and drinks) came from the food and drink in the movie. Originally I was going to focus on the Mad Hatter's tea party; I was going to make a teapot shaped tea-flavoured cake, then thought perhaps it would be fun to bake the cakes actually in tea cups/mugs. I toyed with the idea of somehow making edible tea-cups, but I couldn't think of how to do so without spending hours moulding them out of sugar paste (which probably wouldn't taste too great with the tea flavoured cake) so I decided against the tea-party. Another idea that I toyed with for a while was a two flavoured mushroom cake - one side to make you grow taller, and the other side to make you grow shorter. (I will most definitely be creating this one in the future. Maybe one day I will hold an Alice style tea party!?) The idea I finally settled on were the "eat me" biscuits and cakes which make Alice grow bigger, and of course I couldn't serve cakes which make you bigger without serving the drinks to make you small again, so I decided to make some (adult) "drink me" potions too ^_^

The tea flavoured cake is a recipe I sort of invented earlier this year. When sat discussing the joys of tea and cake with my friends, Big Mike raised the question of whether or not I'd ever come across a recipe for tea flavoured cake. I hadn't, but for his birthday I decided that I would do the research and try it, however the only recipes I could find for "tea flavoured cake" used green tea. So I decided to adapt a basic sponge recipe by adding tea to it. For the vodka - I came across this video tutorial when searching for "colourful drinks" so I thought I'd give it a go.

Drink Me Potions (Skittles Vodka)

Prep time: 1-2 days             Cook time: none         Serves: this depends on how much you drink! There was more than enough for 10 of us to have a couple of drinks each


750ml Vodka
174g (share bag size) skittles

  1. Separate the skittles by colour into 5 different containers. Add 150ml vodka to each container and place in the fridge. Leave to dissolve at least overnight, but preferably for 2 days.
  2. Once the skittles have fully dissolved, use a coffee filters to skim off the excess fat/sugar place into bottles and keep chilled.
  3. Serve either in shots or with lemonade.

Eat Me Cupcakes

Prep time: 40 mins Cook time: 20 mins Serves: makes 20 cupcakes


60ml boiling water
3 tea bags
200g margarine
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2 medium eggs
4tbsp lemon curd
500g ready to roll fondant icing
various food colourings/dyes
piping icing
various dragees/sprinkles for decoration

  1. Place the tea bags into a container and pour the boiling water over them. Set this to one side for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and place cupcake cases into a bun tray.
  3. Beat the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Sift roughly half the flour into the bowl and fold into the margarine and sugar mixture. Add one egg to the bowl and beat well. Sift the rest of the flour into the bowl and fold into the mixture. Beat in the final egg until all ingredients are combined.
  4. The tea should now be cool, and quite thick (almost syrupy). Add the tea to the cake batter a spoonful at a time, mixing well.
  5. Carefully spoon 1tbsp of cake batter into each cupcake case and bake for 20 mins, until light brown and firm to touch. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.
  6. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, colour the fondant icing. I used 5 different colours (100g icing each) and this was more than enough to cover 4 cupcakes in each colour, plus some fondant left over.
  7. Once the cupcakes are cool, spread each one with a thin layer of lemon curd. Roll out the coloured fondant on a powdered surface until around 7-10mm thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut 4 circles from the fondant and place these on top of the cupcakes. Decorate each cupcake with writing icing, dragees and sprinkles and enjoy with a cup of tea (or some skittles vodka)

Next time we're flying to neverland, and I'll be making a map for when we're there!

Happy Thoughts