Friday, 28 February 2014

Cake'n'Bake Club: Peanut Butter Cookies

I know I usually post Cake'n'Bake recipes on a Wednesday, but since I struggled to post anything at all towards the later part of last year, I think I'm going to start posting these on a Friday instead. I have a lot of Cake'n'Bake recipes to type up and catch up on too... I was just seriously bad at blogging in 2013!

For Cake'n'Bake Club's January 2014 meeting, our theme was "free-from", so I knocked up these vegan and gluten free cookies. Originally I had used gluten free flour, but they didn't hold together too well so I remade them last weekend using oats and they were much better! The recipe below started it's life over on this blog here, but with a few tweaks from me ;-)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes
Makes 18 cookies

150g rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
250g crunchy peanut butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp water

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 and line a couple of baking sheets with grease proof paper
  2. Pop 100g of the oats into a blender, and whizz to a fine powder. Don't worry if there are a couple of rough bits. Stir in the remaining oats and the baking powder and put to one side.
  3. Beat together the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla extract and water until well combined. Stir in the oats until a crumbly dough starts to form, then knead this gently with your hands until the mixture comes together. 
  4. Roll the dough into balls and pop on the baking sheets, leaving a little space in between. Press down with a fork to make a criss cross pattern on top.
  5. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown and starting to get crisp on top. Don't worry if they are still gooey when you take them out of the oven, they will firm up as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking tray for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy!

Happy Thoughts

Friday, 21 February 2014

Vegan "Sausage" Rolls

Last Friday at work we had a charity bake sale in aid of Hand in Hand for Syria and the British Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan Appeal. I sit on the charity committee and am starting to get a bit of a name for myself with my baking. I just missed our on the Star Baker award at our Christmas do last year, but have got it in my sights this year. At any rate, it had been requested that there are more vegan and gluten free offerings made at bake sales, so I did my best to comply.

All credit for this recipe goes to my friend Joy, who bought these "sausage" rolls to Cake'n'Bake a few months back. They are super simple, and I wouldn't have guessed that the ingredients were vegan friendly, but they are! I'm not sure if all brands would be equally vegan friendly, so just check the labels to be sure.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 18-20 minutes
Makes 24 sausage rolls

200g sage and onion stuffing mix
Boiling water (as needed)
1 packet of ready-to-roll puff pastry
1 tbsp soy milk, to glaze

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160, and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  2. Tip the stuffing mix into a bowl and stir in boiling water. Check the packet of stuffing mix to get the quantity of water, as I believe this varies brand to brand. I used around 350mls. Pop the stuffing to one side to cool.
  3. Unroll the packet of pastry and cut into 24 evenly sized rectangles.
  4. When the stuffing is cool enough to handle, roll into 24 balls. Pop each ball onto the centre of each rectangle of pastry, and warp the pastry around the stuffing, making sure to tuck in the edges of the pastry as you go.
  5. Brush the sausage rolls with a little soy milk to glaze, the pop in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Can be enjoyed hot or cold!

Until next time,

Happy thoughts x

Thursday, 20 February 2014


I'm on holiday this week - and enjoying it very much! As such, I've found myself with a bit of spare time to do a bit of tidying up around here. I'll be taking a few pages down and then re-adding them later in a slightly different format, so please accept my apologies for any disruption! Hopefully a new and improved blog will be coming your way soon :-)

Happy Thoughts

Friday, 14 February 2014

Love and Fudge

My dear Valentine,

I made you some fudge. It tastes good.



Every year I try to make/bake an edible valentine that I'm able to post out to girlfirends. This year I also gave some to some boys - my housemate and my boyfriend. So, I give out a lot of valentines... everyone deserves a little love, right? I had a couple of packets of Love Hearts and knew I wanted to make something with those, and a colleague had recently told me about making fudge with marshmallows. So I did a bit of research, and decided to give it a go. My fudge is based on the recipes here and here, but in the end I left both my phone and my laptop in my bedroom so just ended up winging it. I think it worked!!

Photo by the wonderful Ms Zoe O.

25g margarine
300g dark brown muscovado sugar
150ml evaporated milk
180g mini marshmallows
300g white chocolate, broken into chunks
Heart shaped sprinkles and love heart sweets, to decorate

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cool time: at least 3 hours
Makes 25 pieces

  1. Line a square cake tin with cling film, and put to one side.
  2. Place your margarine, sugar and evaporated milk into a large saucepan and stir over a low heat until the margarine has melted and the sugar dissolved. Stop stirring and allow the mixture to come to the boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and add half of the marshmallows to the pan. Fold these into the hot mixture until they have completely melted, then repeat with the remaining marshmallows. Stir in the chocolate until this has melted and the ingredients come together as a smooth, yummy, gloopy mixture. Pour this into the lined brownie tin.
  4. Sprinkle on your sprinkles (ha!) then place the love heart sweets message up into the mixture. It doesn't take long for a film to develop on the top of the fudge, so work quickly and just press your sweets onto the fudge lightly so that they stick, but don't sink. Pop your fudge into the fridge for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. Using the clingfilm to help you, lift the fudge from the tin and place onto a chopping board. Use a long knife to slice the fudge into squares, using the love heart sweets as a guide. Pro tip when it comes to fudge slicing (seriously, I was taught to slice fudge by the guys at Cambridge Fudge Kitchen) - place your knife against the fudge where you'd like to slice, and press down in a smooth movement. Then, gently slide the knife out of the fudge towards your body. Hey presto, smooth sided fudge!
  6. Taste one before sharing with you friends and loved ones. This is a very important step - you need to show yourself some love, too!

Happy Thoughts

Friday, 7 February 2014

Sticky Toffee Cake

So, he didn't want a big fuss made but today is my boyfriend's 30th birthday, and I think that deserves a fuss, so I'm dedicating today's blog post to him and his birthday cake. Ali absolutely loves sticky toffee pudding, but also loves cakes with lashings of buttercream, so for his birthday cake I decided to try and mix the two. This is what I came up with (a layer for each decade!!)

I got the recipe for the sponge cake from good old BBC Good Food, but switched in some dark muscovado sugar for a rich sticky toffee taste. The buttercream is just my standard recipe with caramel flavouring instead of vanilla!

For the cake:
200g margarine
200g golden syrup
pinch of salt
300g self raising flour
200g dark muscovado sugar
30ml milk
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream:
250g butter
500g icing sugar
2tsp caramel flavouring
1-2tsp milk, if needed
One diam bar, to decorate (optional)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 12-16

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees, and grease the cake tins.
  2. Pop the margarine, golden syrup and salt into a saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Put to one side to cool.
  3. Sift the flour and the sugar into a large bowl. I know it seems weird to sift sugar, but I find that when using muscovado sugar this is the only way to ensure that you can all the lumps out!
  4. Tip the milk, eggs and vanilla into a jug and whisk until combined.
  5. Stir the cooled butter and syrup mixture into the flour, then stir in the milk and egg mixture until it all comes together to make a smooth, runny batter.
  6. Share the batter evenly between the three cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until springy to touch. remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cake have cooled, make your buttercream. If you're using a stand mixer, just pop all of the ingredients into you mixer, turn it on and come back in a few minutes. If, like me, you prefer to mix up your buttercream by hand, you might find it easier to add the icing sugar to the butter around 150g at a time. Beat in the flavouring, and the milk if needed to make the icing a spreadable consistency.
  8. Place one of the cakes onto your serving plate, and leave the other two on the cooling rack. Divide the buttercream evenly between the three cakes and spread the the edges before carefully stacking the cakes. Sprinkle crushed up diam bar onto the top tier, and Robert's your father's brother!
  9. Make sure to inhale a lot of the yummy toffee whiff that this cake gives off before eating. Seriously, it smells good!!

Happy Thoughts