Friday, 28 December 2012

Rainbow Cupcakes

I love rainbow cake. Of course, if you know me IRL, or if you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll already know that! I love baking with bright and vibrant colours, and rainbow cake soon become a “signature dish” for me. I wanted to share my recipe for rainbow cupcakes, as I think they are fab, but also because I often use this recipe as a base recipe when making/decorating birthday cupcakes (which will be popping up on this blog in the near future!)



Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
200g butter or margarine
200g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
200g self raising flour
1tsp vanilla extract
Food colourings in red, yellow, green, blue and purple (or at least red, yellow and blue – you can mix the other colours if you need to!)

For the buttercream:
100g slightly salted butter
200g icing sugar
Vanilla extract, to taste
A little milk, if necessary
Edible glitter, to decorate

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 12 – 15 minutes
Makes 18 cupcakes


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Tip the flour into the bowl along with the vanilla extract, and fold into the mixture until just combined. (Be careful not to over mix here, as you'll be doing a lot of mixing when you add the colours!)
  3. Split the mixture into 5 even portions, then use your food colourings to colour the batter red, yellow, green, blue and purple. I use Sugarflair paste food colourings, as I find you can get a really vibrant colour without using too much. I'd be wary of using liquid colourings, as in order to achieve a vibrant colour you will have to use a lot of liquid, which could effect the taste and texture of your cakes.
  4. Place half a teaspoon of purple batter into the bottom of each cupcake case, and spread this evenly across the bottom of the case with the back of a spoon. Next, add half a teaspoon of the blue batter on top of the purple batter, smoothly gently with the back of the spoon. You want to cover the whole of the purple layer, but not mix it in, so try not to put too much pressure on the cake – just flatten it down as quickly and lightly as you can. Repeat the process adding half a teaspoon of green batter next, then half a teaspoon of yellow, finally adding half a teaspoon of the red batter.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm and springy to touch. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, beat your butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together to make your buttercream, adding a little milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Once your cupcakes have cooled, pipe swirls of buttercream onto the top of these, and then decorate with a sprinkling of edible glitter!

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas Leftover Loaf

Happy Boxing Day! I hope you've all had a wonderful few days, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

I know it's not Friday, nor is this a Cake'n'Bake Wednesday recipe, but I couldn't let the day slip by without sharing my Christmas leftover loaf with you all. You see, Boxing Day means many things to many people - for some it's about relaxing after zooming around on Christmas day visiting all their loved ones, for others it's about crowding around the telly to watch the football, but for us, it's about leftover turkey sandwiches.


So this is my take on a left-over turkey sandwich - the perfect Boxing Day recipe. This is also my last Christmas recipe of the year!  (Sad face)

Ingredients:
For the dough:
300ml warm water
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
7g sachet of dried yeast
500g strong white bread flour
Pinch of salt
A little beaten egg, to glaze

For the filling:
Any Christmas leftovers you need to use up! I used turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, but you could also use chopped up bits of leftover veg, pigs in blankets, whatever you fancy!

Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Makes 1 loaf
  1. Place the water, sugar, olive oil and yeast into a jug and stir well. Leave this to one side for a few minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and create a well in the centre. Tip the yeast mixture into the centre of the well, then work the flour into the liquid mixture using a fork.
  3. Once the ingredients have combined to form a rough dough, tip the contents of the bowl out onto a clean, dry work surface. Knead by hand for 7-10 minutes, until all of the flour is incorporated and you have a soft, springy dough.
  4. Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for one hour, until doubled in size.
  5. Whilst the dough is proving, prepare your filling. Chop the turkey into small chunks, and soften the stuffing with a little warm water if desired.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a lightly flour surface and knock back. Knead lightly for 3-5 minutes, then roll out to around 1 inch thick. Spread or sprinkle your filling ingredients over the dough (like a pizza) then roll the bread up like a swiss roll. Tuck the ends underneath the loaf and pop it into a well-greased loaf tin. Leave to rise, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes. The dough should double in size again.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, then brush the top of the loaf with a little beaten egg. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown all over. Slip the bread out of tin and tap on the bottom - if it sounds hollow then it's done, if not pop it back in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes to finish off.
  8. Leave the loaf to cool, then cut into thick slices and enjoy!
Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 21 December 2012

Sage and Onion Sausage Rolls

I actually feel a little guilty about posting this recipe, as it's a complete cheat. These sausage rolls are so quick and simple, but no one would ever know that because of the way the taste!


Ingredients:
1 medium onion
8-10 sage leaves
A pinch of black pepper
350g pack of good quality sausage meat
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
A little beaten egg, to glaze

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Makes two large sausage rolls

  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5.
  2. Quarter the onion and pop this into the blender with the sage leaves and pepper, then blend until very finely chopped.
  3. Tip your sausage meat out into a bowl, the tip on the sage and onion. Mix these together by hand until the sage and onion is evenly distributed.
  4. Unwrap the pastry sheet, and cut this in half. Place half of the sausage meat down the centre of each pastry sheet, and wrap or plait the two edges of the pastry around the sausage meat to seal it in - make sure there are no gaps, you don't want all the lovely juices escaping! 
  5. Brush the sausage rolls with the beaten egg, then pop them in the oven for 25 -30minutes, until golden brown all over.
  6. Once cooked, allow the sausage rolls to cool slightly before cutting into slices. Serve hot or cold - they are good either way!
Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Christmas Cake Cupcakes


Here is the third and final entry of the cupcake selection box I made for Cake'n'Bake Clubs' "Fabulously Festive" meeting last December. 


This recipe is perfect for last minute Christmas cakes. Most Christmas cake recipes require a lot of time and planning in advance, but this one only takes around an hour and is just as scrummy!.



Prep time: 30 minutes:
Baking time: 20 minutes
Makes around 12 cupcakes

90g margarine
250g dried mixed fruit
Zest and juice of 1 orange
90g soft light brown sugar
100ml Guinness (plus extra for glaze)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 small eggs
150g plain flour
1 heaped tsp mixed spice 
250g golden marzipan
250g ready to roll icing
Holly and berry sprinkles, to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases. 
  2. Chop the margarine 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. Place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each baking case, then bake in the oven for around 20 minutes
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to rest in the tine for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Once cool, roll out the golden marzipan to around 5mm thick, then use a cutter to cut small circles. Brush a little bit of the leftover Guinness on top of the cupcake, then place a marzipan circle on top. Once all the cupcakes are covered in marzipan, dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the ready to roll icing, again to around 5mm thick. Repeat the process: cut out circles, brush a little Guinness onto the marzipan and then place the icing round on top of the marzipan, pressing down slightly to make sure they stick together.
  9. Decorate with sprinkles or toppers as desire, then take a bite out of one of them - chefs duty :-)

Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 14 December 2012

Cranberry Jam

I've never made cranberry sauce or cranberry jam or cranberry jelly before, but I decided to make home-made Christmas hampers for my friends and family this year and thought that some sort of cranberry preserve deserved to be included. I'm calling it a cranberry jam, as it has a thick, jam-like consistency.



I used the recipe on the punnet of cranberry, with the addition of a couple of tangerines to make it even more Christmassy!

Ingredients:
2 tangerines
100 ml water
100g sugar with added pectin
350g fresh cranberries

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes 2 medium (200gish) jars

  1. Grate the zest of the tangerines into a saucepan, and then squeeze in the juice. Add the water and the sugar and turn on the heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the cranberries to the pan and allow the jam to simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the jam from catching on the bottom. 
  3. Meanwhile, sterilise the jars and lids by washing them in warm soapy water, rinsing in hot water and then baking on a low heat until completely dry.
  4. After 30 minutes, the jam should have reduced to a nice, thick mixture. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  5. Carefully remove the jars from the oven, and spoon the cranberry jam into them - it's really important to be careful here as both the jar and the jam will be very, very hot! Place the lids on the jars and leave to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge.
  6. Keep refrigerated and consume within 6 weeks.



Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Gingerbread Cupcakes

Ho Ho Ho! Here's the second variety of festive themed cupcakes included in my cupcake selection box for the December 2011 Cake'n'Bake meeting.


Following that meeting, I think that "ginger" can officially be classified as the flavour of Christmas 2011 - so many of us went for a recipe containing ginger!





Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 15-18 minutes
Makes around 12 cupcakes


Ingredients:
150g margarine
150g soft light-brown sugar
2 medium eggs
150g self-raising flour
2 heaped teaspoons ground ginger
small pinch of cinnamon
1 tbsp milk


For the icing:
100g soft cream cheese
50g vegetable shortening
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Sprinkles, for decoration


  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and line a bun-tray with cupcake cases
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one of the eggs, and beat well until you have a creamy batter, then fold in half of the flour and all of the spices. Repeat with the remaining egg and flour, then finally stir in the milk.
  3. Place a heaped teaspoon of the batter into each cupcake case (you may find you have a little leftover...) and bake in the centre of the oven for 15-8 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  4. Once cooled, create the icing by mixing together the cream cheese and shortening. Beat in the icing sugar a little at a time, followed by the lemon juice. Be careful not to over-mix this one, as the cream cheese and lemon juice can make it quite runny - mix until all the ingredients are combined and you have a nice consistency, but not much more than than! If yours does get a little runny, just pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up a bit. :-)
  5. Pipe or spread the icing onto the cooled cupcakes, and decorate with sprinkles as desired.

Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 7 December 2012

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Muffins

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - there is  type of cake I really hate. I know. It's sacrilege! Completely and utterly against my religion! I should be banned from the bake-blogging world immediately!! But it's true, I really can't stand fruit cakes. That includes fruit puddings too, so Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are not my friends. You see, I have a passionate dislike for raisins, currants and sultanas, and as fruit cakes contain an abundance of those things, we've never seen eye to eye. Or cake to mouth. So when I wanted to make some mini Christmas pudding for a Christmas party a few years back, I had to come up with a suitable alternative. I went with chocolate chip muffins. It worked for me!!


These muffins pre-date my blogging days, but they got a lot of complements so I wrote the recipe down in a notebook. Flipping through that notebook made me quite nostalgic, and I found a couple of SWEET recipes to share in the near future! I think I'm going to make some mini - muffin versions of these this Christmas, I'll post the photos below when I do!

Ingredients:

For the muffins:
100g soft brown sugar
150g self raising flour
3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
100ml vegetable oil
50ml milk
2 medium eggs, beaten
100g chocolate chips

To decorate:
150g icing sugar
A few drops of water
50g green ready-to-roll icing
25g red ready-to-roll icing


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Makes 8 muffins


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark four and grease a muffin tin really well.
  2. Tip your sugar, flour and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl, then stir in the oil, milk, and beaten eggs until all the ingredients combined to form a smooth batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each hole 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm but springy to touch. Leave the muffins to cool completely in the tin.
  4. Whilst the muffins are cooling, make your holly leaves and berries with the fondant icing. For the leaves, I rolled out the green icing and used a sharp knife to cut out a holly leaf shape, which is why mine are all uneven! You could also use a cutter, if you have one! For the berries, I simply rolled up small pieces of the red icing in my hands.
  5. Once cool, remove the muffins from tin. You'll be serving the muffins bottom up, so you may need to cut a little away from the top of each muffin to make sure they are level.
  6. Eat the cut off bits (this step is very important!)
  7. Put a wire rack or cooling rack over a tray or sheet of greaseproof paper (it's could get messy during the next few steps!) then place your muffins, bottom up, on top of this.
  8. Now it's time to make the icing. I made mine ever so slightly too runny, which is ever so easy to do, so always best to err on the side of caution. Pour the icing sugar into a bowl, then stir in the water 1tsp at a time until you have a spreadable, but still thick icing. I know it's tempting to add the water more than 1tsp at a time, but trust me - this kind of icing goes from solid to runny in 2 seconds flat. Be patient!
  9. Once your icing is of the desired consistency, spread a little over the top of each upside-down muffin, letting it go over the edge and start to dribble down the sides. If, like me, you made your icing too runny, the icing will probably stream down the sides, rather than dribble, and you'll be pleased you placed that greaseproof paper underneath to catch all the icingy mess!
  10. Place your holly leaves and berries on top of the icing, then leave to set.
  11. Serve with a cup of tea and some Christmas cheer!
Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


It was a fairly obvious choice of a theme for December 2011, but the only one we ever could really use: "Fabulously Festive" - and so Christmas month at The Princess and the Cake continues on Cake'n'Bake Wednesday, too! I chose to make some festive cupcake selection boxes which included three types of cupcakes: Chocolate Peppermint, Gingerbread and Christmas Cake. Here's the first recipe in the trio of delights I created - the Chocolate Peppermint variety!


I was a bit cheeky this time round, and decided to do a whole bunch of baking all in one go for Cake'n'Bake Club, but also for friends, family and colleagues' Christmas pressies! I ended up making 24 of each variety, so I've halved the quantities below, however don't be surprised if you end up with slightly more mixture than required for 12 cupcakes (as I recall I had a little bit left over for each!)




Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Baking time 12-15 minutes
Makes around 12-14 cupcakes 

Ingredients:
65g cocoa powder
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
60ml water
60ml milk (plus up to 60ml more for the filling/frosting, if required)
75g butter or margarine
150g granulated sugar
1 medium egg
100g box of "peppermint thins" (After Eights)
150g vegetable shortening
250g icing sugar
Peppermint flavouring, to taste
Sprinkles to decorate

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a bowl and put to one side. In a second bowl or jug, mix together the water and 60ml of the milk. In a third (and final - I promise!) bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and beat until combined to form a smooth batter.
  3. Fold half of the dry ingredients mixture into the batter, then add the milk and water, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, stirring until combined between each addition.
  4. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each cupcake case and bake for 12 - 15 mins until firm and spongy. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling begin to prepare your filling. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then reduce the heat as low as it will go. Put the peppermint thins into a glass bowl and rest this in the pan of boiling water, being careful not to get any water into the bowl. Stir this continuously until the mints have melted. They will probably form a gloopy ball at this stage, don't worry! Keeping the bowl in the hot water, stir milk into the chocolate a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency (it should be a ganache-like mixture, smooth enough to pipe but not too runny). Place this into a piping bag and put to one side to cool slightly.
  6. Cut a well into the centre of each cupcake, pipe a generous amount of the chocolate peppermint ganache into the well, then replace the top of the cupcake. (Don't worry if these stick up a little, that will be hidden by the frosting!)
  7. Once the cakes are completely cool, make your frosting by mixing the icing sugar into the shortening a little at a time. If your frosting is too stiff, add a little milk until it reaches the desire consistency, then add a few drops of peppermint flavouring. Spread or pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then finish with sprinkles.
  8. Take a big bite of one of them, just to make sure they are super tasty ;-)


Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 30 November 2012

Reindeer Cake Balls

A Christmas post!? Well, yes. You see for me, the Christmas season always starts on 30th November. This is largely in part because my Mum is absolutely crazy, and would have Christmas all year round if she could, so as a kid Christmas began with our advent calendars. It's also partly because the 30th November is the anniversary of the date that Alex and I first because a couple, and it's become a tradition of ours to celebrate by putting up our Christmas tree together on the 30th November. (6 years today! ♥ ) It makes sense if you think about it, because advent calendars start on the 1st December, so you HAVE to put those up on the 30th November, and if you're doing that, you might as well go the whole shebang, right? So, December will be well and truly Christmas month here at The Princess and the Cake. And I can't wait!


Anyways - onto the cake! I made these reindeer cake balls with my little sister last Christmas, and we had a lot of fun doing so. This recipe is great for getting into the Christmas spirit, and the decoration part is perfect for getting the kids involved (and that includes the big kids like my sister and I!)

Ingredients:

For the cake balls:
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
100g butter
200g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
Milk, if required.

To decorate:
250g milk chocolate (you may end up with a little left over)
1tsp vegetable oil
1 red smartie
8 chocolate covered raisins
White, red and black writing icing
Sprinkles (for the puddings)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 9 reindeer and 7 puds (see photo below)

  1. Start by making your chocolate antlers for your reindeer. Melt 50g of the chocolate and pour into a piping bag. Pipe 18 antler shapes onto a tray lined with grease proof paper, then pop this in the fridge to set.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcakes cases.
  3. Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour until the ingredients combined to create a smooth batter.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes,  until golden brown on top and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare your butter cream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy, adding a little milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  6. Take the cooled cupcakes out of their wrappers and break them into a blender. Pulse the cakes on a high speed to break them into fine crumbs. Once the cake is sufficiently crumbed, pour the crumbs into a bowl, then mix in the butter cream a tablespoon at a time until you get a mixture that holds together well without crumbling, but isn't too sloppy - you will not need to use all of the buttercream! Save the leftover buttercream for decorating.
  7. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and make some space for that tray in your fridge or freezer. Measure out 30g portions of the cake mixture, then shape it into a ball with you hands and place this on the baking tray. Pop the tray into the freezer for 20 minutes to set.
  8. Melt the remaining chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Once the chocolate has completely melted, stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil to "thin down" the chocolate. Don't worry - you won't be able to taste the oil!
  9. Take your tray of cake balls out of the freezer and place on your work surface next to the melted chocolate. Dip each cake ball into the melted chocolate and tap off any excess chocolate. Put the cake balls back onto the lined tray and allow the chocolate to set. (this won't take long if your cake balls are cold enough!)
  10. Use a little left-over butter-cream to stick two of your chocolate antlers onto the bottom of each cake ball, then stick a nose onto the top of each cake ball (the red smartie is for Rudolph, and the chocolate raisins are for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen!) Use the writing icing to draw eyes, and facial expressions onto each cake ball, and display on a plate with Rudolph in the middle.
  11. Turn any leftover cake balls into Christmas puds by spreading a little of the leftover buttercream over the top half, and decorating with sprinkles (as below!)



Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 23 November 2012

Quick Fix Chocolate Pudding


Have you ever found yourself in need of a quick and easy pudding? This recipe is perfect for when you're craving something sweet and naughty, but don't have a lot of time to make it. The recipe is basic and uses basic baking ingredients, (hopefully stuff you have in the cupboard anyway!)



As this one is cooked in the microwave, cooking times may vary and I'm afraid the only way you'll find out is trial and error! In my microwave, this take 3 minutes on a medium-high heat setting, but you'll know the sponge is done as it will be set but still sticky on the top. Finally – you will need a microwaveable bowl for this one.

Ingredients:
50g margarine
50g caster sugar
1 medium egg
50g self-raising flour
3tbsp cocoa powder
2tbsp milk
50g milk chocolate (optional)

Prep time: less than 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes
Serves 2-4 (depending how hungry/greedy you're feeling!)

  1. Place all of the ingredients except for the chocolate into a medium mixing bowl, and beat until combined into a smooth, slightly runny batter.
  2. Lightly grease a microwavable bowl (I used a frylight spray to give a light coating of oil) then pour the pudding batter into it. Cover with another bowl or plate and microwave on a medium-high heat for three minutes, until the pudding is set and spongy, but still a little sticky on top. Carefully remove the bowl from the microwave (careful, it will be hot!) and place on the side to rest for 2-3 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the milk chocolate in the microwave in bursts. Spoon the pudding into serving bowls and then drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of each. Make sure to eat it while it's still warm!
Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 16 November 2012

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Who doesn't love chocolate cake? I do, but for I while I had a hard time finding a chocolate cake recipe that I really, really liked. I've tried recipes that have had good chocolate cake before, but the icing isn't quite there. And I've tried some pretty amazing chocolate icing recipes, but the cake left something to be desired. This time, though, this time I think I've done it!


The recipe for the sponge cake is based on the sponge used in this recipe for Creme Egg Cupcakes on Peabody's blog, which I tried for Chicken Little. The chocolate fudge icing I sort of made up as I went along, drawing on my icing, ganache and fudge-making experiences. I also had a bit of Nigella's salted caramel sauce left-over in the fridge, so decided to chuck that in as well. It was a good day.

Ingredients:
For the cake:
130g Cocoa powder
200g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
120 ml water
120ml milk
150g butter
300g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs

For the fudge icing:
200ml double cream
400g dark chocolate
50g butter (cubed)
100g icing sugar

3-4tbsps Nigella's Salted Caramel Sauce (Optional)

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes 10-12 slices

  1.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease and line two 8" cake tins.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a bowl and put to one side. In a second bowl or jug, mix together the water and milk.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs and beat until combined.
  4. Stir half of the dry ingredients mixture into the butter and sugar, then add the milk and water, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, beating until combined between each addition.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth down the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25-30 minutes until springy to touch. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, make the fudge icing by heating the cream, chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir until the chocolate and butter have melted, then remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding the icing sugar, then whisk for around 5 minutes using a hand held electric whisk. By the time you're done, the mixture should be thick, glossy, smooth and delicious.
  7. If you're skipping the salted caramel sauce, then skip this step. If using the salted caramel,  place the bottom layer of sponge onto a serving plate and pipe a ring of fudge icing around the outside to create a barrier which will stop the caramel from oozing out too much. (it will probably still ooze out a little, that caramel is deliciously oozy!) Spoon the caramel onto the cake, trying to keep it inside the barrier you created.
  8. Spread just under half of the fudge icing over the bottom layer (on top of the caramel, if using) then place in the fridge for 5 minutes to set slightly. This will help create a nice thick layer of fudge between you cakes! After 5 minutes, removed the cake from the fridge and gently place the second chocolate sponge on top. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cake, and try to resist all temptation to gobble the whole lot!


Now, this cake is amazingly delicious and chocolatey as is, but, if you feel the urge to die and go to a warm chocolate fudgey heaven, I'd suggest sticking your slice of fudge cake into the microwave for 10 seconds before eating it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 9 November 2012

Individual Malty Malteser Cheesecakes

I'd like to start by thanking Gu Puds for the inspiration (and ramekins) to make some individually portioned desserts. I love cheesecake, but the trouble is there are only two of us living in my house, so most of the time making a whole cheesecake is just too much. So, I decided to make use of some old Gu ramekins and make Alex and I each an individual cheesecake... yum!



On the day I made these, I couldn't decide whether I wanted cheesecake, or maltesers. So I decided to have both! This cheesecake is light, malty with a subtle chocolate flavour - in short, it taste just like a malteser cheesecake should! The recipe below is for two individual portions of malty malteser cheesecake.

Ingredients:
25g margarine
5 malted milk biscuits
37g packet maltesers
100ml double cream
50g cream cheese
drop of vanilla extract
10g icing sugar
1tbsp horlicks
1tbsp cocoa powder


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 0
Makes two individual cheesecakes

  1. Melt the margarine in the microwave, then pop to one side to cool slightly.
  2. Put the malted milk biscuits into the blender, and whizz until they resemble fine crumbs. Tip the crushed biscuits into the melted margarine and stir until evenly coated. Split the biscuit mixture evenly between the two ramekins, and press down with the back of a spoon. Pop in the fridge to set whilst you prepare the filling.
  3. Tip the maltesers into a bowl and crush into rough chunks with the back of a spoon. Place to one side for the time being. 
  4. Pour 50ml of the cream into a small bowl and whisk until thick and pillowy. Add the cream cheese, vanilla extract and icing sugar, and whisk until all combined to a thick and creamy mixture. Stir in the crushed maltesers, then spread half of the mixture over each biscuit base. Pop them back in the fridge to set whilst you prepare the topping.
  5. Pour the remaining 50ml cream into a bowl with the horlicks and cocoa powder. Whisk until the cream is thick and pillowy, and the horlicks has dissolved. Spread half of the cream on top of each cheesecake and pop back in the fridge until ready to serve!



Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Rainbow Cake


Hello folks, and welcome to the latest feature of The Princess and the Cake: Cake'n'Bake Wednesdays! Back in October of last year, I decided to reach out to like-minded bake-a-holics in my local area, and to cut a long story short, the Cambridge Cake'n'Bake Club was born. We're a group of bakers, mostly amateur, some early-stage professionals, who get together once a month to share recipes, hints and baking tips whilst scoffing our faces full of the baked treats we've made. Simple really!

Anyway, we have a shared blog where we post our recipes (www.camcakeclub.blogspot.co.uk if you're interested) but since I decided to move the focus of this blog away from the movie challenges and make it more about my baking in general, I thought I'd start sharing my Cake'n'Bake Club recipes here also. Cake'n'Bake Club meetings take place on the first Wednesday of every month (in fact, it's our first birthday party tonight!) so I decided to turn the same day into my Cake'n'Bake Club feature on this blog - thus Cake'n'Bake Wednesdays! Some months there will only be one post, some months there will be more - it depends how many things I baked for any given month! I think that's enough jibber jabber for now, so if you want to find out more about Cambridge Cake'n'Bake Club, please click on the tab above, and if you'd like to see my recipe, please read on!

For our first ever club meeting in November 2011, we went with the "Signature Bake" as a theme - that is, bakers were asked to bake and bring something they thought represented them - either the first recipe they ever bakes, or one they'd come to be renowned for, and for me it could only ever be one thing:


Rainbow cake!

Firstly, I apologise from the poopy photos - I had no idea we'd be publishing a blog (never mind two blogs!!) so I didn't really give the cake photography the time and effort it deserves. Secondly, I wanted to point out that my cake got a bit squished in transit - please ignore the bottom half of the frosting in the first photo!

OK, before I type the recipe, time for a little cake-science. The reason the colours of the cake curl around each other is purely down to the fact it was baked in a bowl! when baking in a Pyrex bowl it's the bottom and sides that cook first, and as they cook they also rise, forcing the top colours down into the middle of the bowl - pretty cool, right? If you were to bake this recipe in a flat tin, your lines would all be even and you wouldn't get the swirls (the cake would still look and taste great though!)

Ingredients

For the cake:
300g margarine
300g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
300g self raising flour
2 tbsp lemon juice
red, yellow, and blue food colourings (I used gel food colourings as I find you get a vibrant colour without watering down your mixture!)

For the frosting:
150g shortening
300g icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
black food colouring
edible glitter (I used "white hologram")

Prep time: 30 mins
Bake time: 50-60mins
Serves 8-10

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a round Pyrex (or other oven-proof) bowl with foil.
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together until creamy. Beat in one of the eggs until well combined, then fold in a third of the flour. Repeat until all of the eggs and flour have been used up and you have a thick, smooth batter. Gently fold in the lemon juice.
  3. Separate the mixture into 6 even portions, and colour each red, orange, yellow, blue, green and purple. (In cake-land, indigo and violet merge to become "purple".) As a reminder, you mix a red and yellow to make orange, blue and yellow to make green and blue and red to make purple!
  4. Carefully place the red mixture into the bottom of the bowl and level with the back of a spoon. Layer each mixture on top of the other, spreading gently to the edges after each layer.
  5. Bake for 50 - 60 mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the bowl for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once the cake has cooled prepare the frosting. Mix the icing sugar into the shortening a little at a time until a smooth paste has formed. Mix in the lemon juice to taste, then spread evenly onto the cake. Place a little black food dye into the remaining frosting, then pipe a line across the cake. Add another drop of black colouring into the remaining frosting, and pipe a second line next to the third. Repeat for another two lines so you end up with a grey-scale rainbow. Sprinkle with the edible glitter to finish then serve!

Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 2 November 2012

Bonfire Cake

I absolutely LOVE this time of year. Don't get me wrong - I love the summer, sunshine and heat, but there's just something special about those wintry nights. It starts off with Halloween, closely followed by Bonfire Night, and then it's pretty much Christmas! (Did I mention I will usually celebrate Christmas at least twice in December... I'll tell you about it sometime!)



I know it's not Guy Fawkes Night until Monday, but I wanted to post this spiced-orange bonfire cake today to give you chance to make it over the weekend - trust me, after spending a chilly night out watching the fireworks and bonfire displays, this makes an extra special treat to come back to!


Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 large orange
300g margarine
300g light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour
50g ground almond
1/2 tsp baking powder
1tsp mixed spice


To decorate:
200g icing sugar
Orange food colouring
2 tsp orange juice (reserved from cake)
A few tsp water (as needed)
Orange flavoured chocolate sticks (I used just over one box of Matchsticks)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45-50 minutes
Makes 8-10 slices

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a round oven proof pyrex bowl.
  2. Zest the orange and squeeze the juice. Put around 2 tsp of the juice to one side for the icing - the rest will be added to the cake.
  3. Beat together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and mixed spice into the bowl and fold into the mixture. Add the zest and juice of the orange to the mixture and beat well.
  4. Tip the batter into the prepared bowl, then bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the bowl.
  5. Once the cake has completely cooled, turn in out onto a serving plate and carve the edges to achieve a more cone-like shape (see the photo above - you want it to look like a bonfire!). With the carved off bits, you could either eat these now, just to make sure they're OK, or you could freeze them and use the for cake pops later on!
  6. To prepare the icing, tip the icing sugar into a bowl with the orange food colouring and reserved orange juice, and mix well. You want the icing to be thick but spreadable and ever so slightly runny to make sure you can coat your cake evenly. If you need to, add one teaspoon of water at a time to the icing and stir in until you have the right consistency.
  7. Spoon the icing onto the top of you bonfire cake, then use a palette knife to spread this around the edges. Place the chocolate sticks around the cake, overlapping ever so often, to look like the branches of your bonfire. Break a few of the chocolate sticks onto the top of the cake.
  8. Note - the chocolate sticks make it a little tricky to carve this cake, so you may find it helpful to take one or two off to help you with slicing.
Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Witches Hat Cake Pops

Happy Halloween! 



I know my usual blog-post-date is Friday, but as I couldn't let Halloween pass by without sharing my recipe for these cute little cake pops! Besides... a little bird could be heard to say that there will be a new regular(ish) Wednesday blog post coming your way in addition to the weekly Friday posts :-)


It may seem like I've been bitten with the Cake Pop bug (and there's probably some truth in that!), but I absolutely LOVE these Halloween Cake Pops. They are a simple vanilla cake with vanilla icing style cake pop, dipped in dark chocolate. The trickiest part of this recipe was getting the colour of the cakes to match the colour of the fondant icing! The witches hats can also be made a few days in advance, if that helps!


Ingredients:
For the witches hats:
30g orange coloured fondant
30g purple coloured fondant
30g green coloured fondant
A little edible glue

For the cake:
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
Orange, purple and green food colouring

For the icing:
75g butter
150g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
Milk, if required.

To decorate:
200g dark chocolate (you may end up with a little left over)
1tsp vegetable oil

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Makes 15 cake pops

  1. Start by making your little witches hats, as you'll need to give these a little bit of time to dry. Starting with the orange icing, roll out to around 3mm thick and cut out five small circles (I used the wrong side on and icing nozzle for this). Gather the icing back together into a ball, and then tear chunks off to mould five small cones with your hands. Use a little of the edible glue to stick the cone to the circular base, and put to one side to dry. Repeat this step with the purple and green icing. Put the hats to one side to dry.
  2. Meanwhile, move on to the cake. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcakes cases.
  3. Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour until the ingredients combined to create a smooth batter. Split the batter evenly between 3 bowls, and use the food colouring to create an orange, purple and green batter.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes,  until golden brown on top and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare your butter cream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy, adding a little milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  6. Using one colour sponge at a time, take the cooled cupcakes out of their wrappers and break them into a blender. Pulse the cakes on a high speed to break them into fine crumbs. Once the cake is sufficiently crumbed, pour the crumbs into a bowl, then mix in a tbsp of the butter cream. Add more butter cream a little at a time until you get a mixture that holds together well without crumbling, but isn't too sloppy. 
  7. Now its time to get your hands dirty! First of all, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and make some space for that tray in your fridge or freezer. Measure out 30g portions of the cake mixture, then shape it into a ball with you hands and place this on the baking tray. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with the other two colour sponges. 
  8. Once you've turned all of your mixture into balls put these into the freezer for 20 minutes to set. You'll probably find that you have a small chunk of each different colour left over. You could mash this together to make a multicoloured cake pop, however, it's always best to just eat any leftover mixture :-)
  9. Melt your chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Once the chocolate has completely melted, stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil to "thin down" the chocolate. Don't worry - you won't be able to taste the oil! 
  10. Take your tray of cake balls out of the freezer and place on your work surface next to the melted chocolate and your decorations. The cold cake will set the chocolate very quickly, so it's important to have everything you need to hand here as you will need to work fast!
  11. Dip a lollipop stick around 1cm into the chocolate and then push this into one of the cakey balls. The theory behind this is that the chocolate will help to stick the cake pop to the stick! Stick each cake pop with a lollipop stick in this way. By the time you've stuck all of the sticks, the first one you did should be set. 
  12. Dip each cake pop into the melted chocolate and give it a quick spin to coat evenly. Take the tap the cake pop on the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate, then put the cake pop, stick side first, into a polystyrene block. Whilst the chocolate is still sticky, press one of the fondant hats in the corresponding colour onto the cake pop. Repeat with all the pops and then leave to set. 

Cake pop tips:
Use a tall, thin receptacle for melting your chocolate, such as a mug or small bowl. If you use a wide bowl your chocolate will be too shallow for dipping!

When dipping, it's best to get your cake pop in and out of the warm chocolate as quickly as possible, as the temperature of the chocolate and the bowl/mug will melt your cake pop and make it fall off of it's stick. Don't worry too much about doing it, just go for it and it will work.

Line a baking tray with clingfilm, then pour any leftover chocolate onto it and put it in the fridge. Once set, you can break the chocolate into chunks and store in a food bag until next time. Note - this doesn't work so well if you drop cake in the chocolate or keep dipping your fingers/a spoon in!

Finally: Practise makes perfect!

Funny story - I put the 3 less fortunate looking pops (one in each colour) to one side to use as the ones I would slice into to show you the cross section. It didn't cross my mind at the time that the purple one with chocolate down the stick would still have chocolate down the stick after I'd chopped into it! So this, ladies and gents, is why it's important to tap off the excess chocolate! :-)


Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 26 October 2012

Raspberry Milkshake Layer Cake

I'm taking a little break from posting the Halloween Style bakes as today is Wear it Pink day!

Wear it Pink day is Breast Cancer Campaign's biggest annual fundraising event, and the idea is simple – everyone makes a donation to the charity and wears something pink to show their support. If you're feeling particularly charitable today and would like to make a donation, or to find out more, just visit www.wearitpink.co.uk



Anyway, to mark the occasion, I wanted to share this recipe for my raspberry milkshake layer cake. The reason I call it raspberry milkshake cake is because it gets it's flavour from some raspberry Crusha – the milkshake flavouring syrup.

Ingredients:

For the cake:
200g margarine
200g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1tbsp milk
1tbsp raspberry Crusha
Pink food colouring
200g self raising flour

For the icing:
150g vegetable shortening (Trex)
400g icing sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
A little milk, if necessary
Pink food colouring

Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 - 25 minutes
Makes 8 – 10 slices


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease and line three 6 inch cake tins.
  2. Beat the margarine and sugar together until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl or jug, beat the eggs, milk, raspberry milkshake syrup and pink food colouring until smooth and slightly frothy.
  3. Mix a little of the wet mixture into the creamed butter and sugar, followed by a little of the flour. Repeat this process until all of the ingredients have been incorporated into a smooth batter.
  4. Put even amounts of the batter into the cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake layers are golden brown on top and springy to touch. (Please note: if you're cooking all three layers at the same time, you may find that they take different times to cook depending on which shelf they're on in the oven – just keep an eye on them and give them longer if need be!)
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Once the cakes have cooled completely, make the icing. Beat the Trex, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until you have a smooth icing, adding a little milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Use the icing to layer the three cakes, then spread icing evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Colour any remaining icing pink, then pipe this on top of the white icing to decorate.
Happy Thoughts
x

Friday, 19 October 2012

Vampire Bitten Cupcakes

Oh no! It looks like there's a vampire on the loose - and they have an incredibly sweet tooth!!


These vampire bitten cupcakes were another treat I created for Hoxton Street Monster Supplies' Monster Speed Dating event for Valentines this year, but, similar to the eyeball pops, they work just as well as a Halloween treat for humans! The gorgeous vanilla cupcakes are topped with a tasty, tangy cream cheese frosting, and filled with lots of yummy blood!


Just kidding - they're filled with strawberry jam. Honest.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp milk
100g self raising flour

For the frosting:
75g vegetable shortening (Trex)
100g cream cheese
350g icing sugar
A few drops of lemon juice or lemon flavouring

For the "blood":
60g strawberry jam
a few drops of red food colouring

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 - 20 minutes
Makes 12 cupcakes


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Beat together the margarine and caster sugar until smooth and creamy, then beat in the egg, vanilla extract and milk. Fold in the flour, the spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, filling each around 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown on top and springy to touch, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the vegetable shortening until smooth and creamy, then fold in the remaining ingredients until just combined (cream cheese frosting has a habit of going really runny if you over beat it!) Pu this in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  5. Cut a "core" out of each cupcake. Slice off (and eat, if you like!) most of the core you've cut out, but keep the top for later. Stir the red food colouring into the jam, and then fill each cupcake with a teaspoon on the very red jam. Replace the "lid" of the cupcake, then spread cream cheese frosting over the top.
  6. To decorate, dip a cocktail stick in to the very red jam and make two "blood" trails along the top of each cupcake. Poke the cocktail stick all the way into each cupcake at the top of the blood trails, to make puncture marks.



Happy Thoughts
x

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Eyeball Cakepops

I LOVE Halloween, it's one of my favourite times of year! My mum usually has a big Halloween party where we put up a gazebo in her back garden, spend a whole day turning it into a haunted house, spend another whole day making "scary" food, and then gather our weird and wonderful family and friends round in the costumes to enjoy it! Anyway, it's now mid-October, so I wanted the rest of the recipes I post in October to be Halloween themed - hopefully lots of treats and very few tricks!


The first of my Halloween inspired recipes is these eyeball cake pops, which weren't originally Halloween themed at all, in fact, they were made for Valentines Day. You see, one of my friends was doing an internship at the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies - London's only purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind. Part of Helen's responsibilities at HSMS was to look after the volunteers, and so she often put on social events for them to help them get to know one another better, but also to improve the human volunteers understanding of monsters, and vice verse. So, for Valentine's Day this year, Helen, another of the interns, Dee, and their monster colleague the Yeti decided to host a Monster Speed Dating event, and I was called in to do the catering. Below is the recipe for my "Eyes for You" cake pops, suitable for humans at Halloween, or for monsters at Valentines!

Ingredients:
For the cake:
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour

For the icing:
50g butter
100g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
Milk, if required.

To decorate:
200g white chocolate
1tsp vegetable oil
50g coloured fondant (in the colour of your choice - I used half green and half blue, but it might look fun with more spooky colours!)
Black food colouring or a black edible ink pen

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
Makes 15 cake pops


  1. Start by making the cake. I usually bake cupcakes if I'm baking specifically for cake pops, as they tend to cook and cool faster than a large cake would. However, cake pops are also a great way to use any leftover cake or cake scraps, so just use whichever cake tin is your favourite - your cake will end up in crumbs anyway!
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcakes cases.
  3. Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour until the ingredients combined to create a smooth batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes,  until golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare your butter cream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy, adding a little milk if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  5. Take the cooled cupcakes out of their wrappers and break them into a blender. Pulse the cakes on a high speed to break them into fine crumbs. One the cake is sufficiently crumbed, pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl, then mix in half of the butter cream. Add more butter cream one tablespoon at a time until you get a mixture that holds together well without crumbling, but isn't too sloppy - you might not need to use all of the butter cream for this!
  6. Now its time to get your hands dirty! First of all, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and make some space for that tray in your fridge or freezer. Measure out 30g portions of the cake mixture, then shape it into a ball with you hands and place this on the baking tray. Once you've turned all of your mixture into balls put these into the freezer for 20 minutes to set. Eat any leftover mixture (a 15g cake ball is no good to anybody!)
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the decorations for the cake pops. Roll out the coloured fondant and cut out circles - I used the "wrong" side of a Wilton icing nozzle which seemed to be around the perfect size. Use the black food colouring / food colouring pen to draw on the pupil of the eye in the centre of your coloured fondant then put these to one side to dry.
  8. Melt your white chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Once the chocolate has completely melted, stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil to "thin down" the chocolate. Don't worry - you won't be able to taste the oil! My tip here is to use a tall, thin receptacle for melting your chocolate, such as a mug or small bowl. If you use a wide bowl your chocolate will be too shallow for dipping!
  9. Take your tray of cake balls out of the freezer and place on your work surface next to the melted chocolate and your decorations. The cold cake will set the chocolate very quickly, so it's important to have everything you need to hand here as you will need to work fast!
  10. Dip a cocktail stick around 1.5cm into the chocolate and then push this into one of the cakey balls. The theory behind this is that the chocolate will help to stick the cake pop to the stick! Stick each cake pop with a cocktail stick in this way. By the time you've stuck all of the sticks, the first one you did should be set. 
  11. Dip each cake pop into the melted chocolate and give it a quick spin to coat evenly. Take the tap the cake pop on the side of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate, then put the cake pop, stick side first, into a polystyrene block. Whilst the chocolate is still sticky, press one of the fondant irises onto the cake pop. Repeat with all the pops and then leave to set. My tip for dipping is to get your cake pop in and out of the warm chocolate as quickly as possible, as the temperature of the chocolate and the bowl/mug will melt you r cake pop and make it fall off of it's stick. Don't worry too much about doing it, just go for it and it will work. And don't forget: Practise makes perfect!


Happy Thoughts
x

Monday, 8 October 2012

Ready Salted Caramel Cupcakes

My friend Dale is an incredibly talented artist, and he very kindly designed the images of “The Princess and the Cake” for me. You can check out his work on his Facebook page, Whaley'sWorld! As means of thanks, I wanted to make Dale some cupcakes. Dale's a big fan of caramel and white chocolate, but the main thing I wanted to include was ready salted crisps.


This might seem a bit weird, but there is a good reason for it. I grew up in a house of a lot of kids. I have a brother and two sisters so that's already four of us, but then we always seemed to have friends over too, so it all added up. My mum used to buy the big multi-packs of crisps, which never lasted long being as they were so many of us, but there were always ready salted crisps left over. Non of us wanted to eat the ready salted crisps, but my mum wouldn't buy a new multi-pack until all of the crisps were gone. Now, Dale LOVED ready salted crisps, so whenever he came over he would pack them away like a trooper to get rid of them all for us. It was a labour of love. Anyway, that's what I wanted to play with when making cupcakes for Dale, which is how I came up with the idea to make salted caramel filled cupcakes, (and my idea for the unconventional decoration!)

Dale's cupcakes, all packed up ready to go!
I used my basic vanilla sponge recipe, but substituted the caster sugar for brown sugar to give it a more caramel-y flavour. I used Nigella's recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce for the filling, and then topped the cakes with a white chocolate butter cream.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
100g margarine
100g light brown sugar
1 medium egg
A few drops of vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour

For the salted caramel filling:
75g unsalted butter
50g soft light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
50g golden syrup
125ml double cream
½ teaspoon of salt

For the white chocolate buttercream:
100g white chocolate
150g butter
300g icing sugar
1tbsp milk

A few ready-salted crisps to decorate (optional!)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 – 15 minutes
Makes 12 cupcakes


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases
  2. Start by making the cupcakes. Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined. Sift the flour into the mixture then fold in until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Fill each cupcake case around ¾ full (roughly 2 tsp in each) and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  4. Whilst the cakes are in the oven, make your salted caramel sauce. In a small, heavy-based pan, melt the butter, both sugars and golden syrup on a low heat then allow to simmer for 3 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally.
  5. Add the cream and the salt to the pan and stir in with a wooden spoon. Allow the caramel to cook for another minute before transferring into a jug or bowl. Set the caramel to one side to cool.
  6. Whilst the cakes and caramel are cooling, make your buttercream. Melt the white chocolate either in the microwave in short bursts, or in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water, (careful not to get any water in the chocolate – chocolate and water severely dislike one another!) Put the chocolate to one side to cool slightly.
  7. Meanwhile, beat the butter, icing sugar and milk together until smooth and creamy. Once the chocolate as cooled enough not to melt the butter, gently fold this into the buttercream. Place the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and place to one side until ready to use.
  8. Scoop a little cake out of each cupcake to make a well in the centre - keep the scooped out bits, as these will become the “lids”. Fill each cupcake with a little salted caramel sauce, then place the scooped out cake lids back on top of the cakes.
  9. Pipe a big swirl of buttercream onto each cupcake, then drizzle a little more salted caramel sauce over the top of this. Finally, add a ready salted crisp to each cupcake to decorate!

Of course, these cupcakes are equally as tasty without the ready-salted crisps on top!
Happy Thoughts
x

Saturday, 29 September 2012

So What Next?


We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney

The Princess and the Cake was my first blog, and it remains my favourite. It was born in April 2010 to document a challenge that had been set for me by my friends: to combine my love of Disney Movies with my love of baking. Each week (or thereabouts) my friends and I would gather in one of our living rooms to watch one of the Disney Classics collection (in chronological order, naturally!), and each week I would bake something for us which was (at times loosely) linked to the movie we were watching. I set up the blog because I figured that baking 50 themed cakes or bakes was a challenge worth documenting.

Two-and-a-bit years later we’ve now finished the Disney Classics collection, and have even baked the Disney Pixar collection to boot, but I don’t want that to be the end of The Princess and the Cake. Baking is something I’m genuinely passionate about, and (believe it or not) I often bake things that are not Disney-themed. I love baking and experimenting with recipes, so, in true Disney style, I’m going to allow my curiosity to take The Princess and the Cake down a new path; rather than becoming a blog solely about Disney, I’d like this to become a blog about baking, experimenting, and trying new and tasty things. Which in a way, is what it always was – the Disney element just added a little extra sparkle and imagination.

So, there will be a few changes around here over the coming weeks. I’m going to change the format of the blog a bit, and my brother-from-another-mother has created a gorgeous banner image for me. There will be things disappearing and the reappear on the site - so please bear with me! I’ll continue to add to the Disney Classics collection and Disney Pixar collection with each new release, but in between that I’ll also be posting recipes that aren’t themed to movies… just really good, tried and tested recipes for sweet treats and savouries. I really hope you all like it!

Happy thoughts,

Stay

X