Monday, 30 August 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Muffins

I popped into town to meet my best friend for a coffee and we decided to have a look around some book shops. I bought a new baking book which boasts 1001 recipes. I got home and flicked through the pages. “But where to start with 1001 recipes?!?” I wailed to Jim. I ended up texting my friend and asking her to pick a number between 1 and 1001. Then these cropped up. I probably wouldn’t have given them a go but they are delicious.

Adapted from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and Other Tempting Treats


280gr plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

115gr caster sugar

100gr plain chocolate chips

250ml milk

6tbsp vegetable oil

2tsp peppermint essence


1, Preheat oven to 200o/c and line a 12 holed muffin tin with muffin cases

2, Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl

3, Blend all the wet ingredients together in another bowl or large jug

4, Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.

5, Gently mix the two together using a spatula until just combined.

6, Divide evenly between the 12 muffin cases.

7, Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden, well risen and firm to the touch.

8, Cool on a wire cooling rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Cake Britain

(This one is my favourite! Look at the pretty sugar cubes on his neck!)

Jim jogged into the kitchen on Thursday, straight from work in his suit, thrust a newspaper clipping at me and bounced out into the garden to hunt for tomatoes. It was about an art exhibition at the Future Gallery (just outside Leicester Square Tube) for an art exhibition. Made entirely of cake. I wanted in on that.

It showcased works from Bompass & Parr and Lilli Vanilli amongst other sugar sorcerers.

It was a great, albeit small, exhibition and the best part is, today it is all being cut up and eaten! We decided to go yesterday to see it all in one piece!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

Its been raining... All day...

But this beautiful book turned up this yesterday (thank you Amazon!) and I have only just managed to get to the post office to pick it up so it has brightened my day no end! (despite the slight mark on the front!)

I first heard of this book when I was flicking through the paper and the blurb simply reads 'a unique compendium of flavour combinations' which sums it up perfectly and I've already devoured the first few pages. Trouble is, I can't decide whether to keep this with my cookbooks or on top of the pile of books on my bedside table...

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Blackberry Crumble Cake

We went blackberry picking on a recent walk around some local lakes. We ended up stained fingers and a hefty freezer bag full and as the bushes around the three mile walk of the lake were heavily thick with them and there were twice as many that were almost ready to get ripening.

Almost as soon as I got home I knew two things I definitely wanted to make. Apple and Blackberry Crumbles and Blackberry Crumble Cake. But what to do with the rest…?

Blackberry Crumble Cake

Cake Bottom

115gr butter

115gr golden caster sugar

2 eggs

115gr self raising flour

1/2tsp good vanilla extract

Fruity Centre

150gr blackberries (washed well if you picked your own)

Crunchy Crumble Topping

(this makes twice the amount of crumble topping than you’ll actually need. I used the rest to make some simply apple and blackberry crumbles)

75gr plain flour

75gr demerara sugar

50gr ground almonds

30gr butter

Preheat the oven to 180o/c

1, Make the cake base by creaming the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs and extract, mix and sift in the flour. Cakey base done!

2, Line a 28cm by 19.5cm rectangular roasting dish with greaseproof paper and pour in the batter.

3, Sprinkle the blackberries on top

4, Make the crumble topping by mixing all the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter until just combined. Sprinkle half on the cake.

5, Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

6, Cool through before serving.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Gingerbread Man Cupcakes

My previous post explains how I made 60 cupcakes for Jim's birthday and as they were disappearing at an alarming rate he decided to stash some back for his department.

I didnt actually get to eat a single one and I was lamenting this to him. So he brought me one back. A lovely little gingerbread man one.

These were by far the favourites so I thought I would share the recipe etc with you!

The gingerbread recipe makes a serious amount of gingerbread. I've got a sizeable chunk of dough now in my freezer after making the gingerbread men.


125gr butter
115gr golden caster sugar
2 eggs
10gr dark brown sugar
1tsp ginger powder
1tsp baking powder
125gr self raising flour
12 small chunks of jarred stem ginger (cut into about 1/2cm cubes)

Gingerbread Men
350gr plain flour
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp baking powder
100gr cold butter cut into cubes
175gr soft brown sugar
1 egg
4tbsp golden syrup

1, First make the gingerbread by sifting the dry ingredients together into a bowl and rub in the butter.
2, Add in the sugar and mix well.
3, Add in the eggs and syrup and mix together to form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for an hour.
4, Preheat the oven to 180o/c. Remove from the fridge, lightly dust a worktop with flour and roll out to about 1cm thick. Stamp out gingerbread men with a cutter.
5, Spread out on a lined baking sheet and bake for 5-10minutes until golden. Cool before decorating and use on cupcakes.

6, To make the cupcakes, cream together the butter and two sugars until pale and fluffy.
7, Beat in the eggs
8, Sift in the flour, ground ginger and baking powder and fold in until well combined.
9, Fill cupcake cases with the mixture and poke under the surface of the batter a chunk of ginger
10, Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180o/c until golden and springy to the touch. Cool well before icing.

Ginger Buttercream
115gr soft butter
260 gr icing sugar
1/2tsp or 1tsp ground ginger (depends how gingery you like things)

1, Beat the icing sugar and butter together with the ground ginger until smooth.
2, Using a large star nozzle, pipe swirls on top.
3, Gently sit a gingerbread man on top.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Cupcake Attack!

It’s Jim’s birthday!

I had been nagging him for at least a month, trying to get him to decide on what he wanted by way of a cake (He gets one every year and I take it up to his office in London. It’s amazing how quickly a bunch of accountants can demolish a Doctor Who Tardis cake…) and so I decided for him, cupcakes, and he picked the flavours… Team effort!

Lemon Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange

Chocolate Cupcakes

Rocky Road Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Hummingbird Bakery - Soho

It’s Jim’s birthday today so we headed up to London. Jim commutes so when he’s up there for five days out of seven, the last thing he wants to do is spend his weekends there but there was something geektastically tempting for him up in the British Library. We detoured through Soho and Chinatown on the way back and found the Hummingbird Bakery. Jim wanted to leave me there and I would have quite happily lived in there…

We got a Rocky Road Cup and a Cheesecake Brownie!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Welsh Cakes (Pice ar y maen)

This recipe is my fail safe. Every time it produces beautiful little griddle cakes. And today, I didn’t need anything else to go wrong (but luckily I only came away with a £40 vet bill that proves that cats don’t always land on their feet). Everything is mixed together by hand, so no need to be scraping bits of dough out of the Kitchenaid attachments and they are cooked in a dry frying pan so no waiting for the oven to preheat. They keep well in an airtight container and can be topped with anything, sugar mixed with mixed spice, honey, butter, jam…


250gr self raising flour

125gr butter (the recipe I inherited calls for half butter and half lard, I like it better with butter though)

1 handful of sultanas (about 70-80gr)

80gr caster sugar

1 egg

2 pinches of mixed spice

1, Rub the butter into the flour and mix in the mixed spice.

2, Add in the sugar and sultanas and mix well.

3, Mix in the eggs, first with a fork but then get your hands in there and form it into a dough

4, Turn it out onto a well floured surface and roll out to about half a centimetre thick. Cut out little rounds with a pastry cutter. I used a one with a fluted edge but press down hard to cut through any sultanas.

5, Heat a heavy based non stick frying pan to a medium heat and place in as many as you can fit bearing in mind you will need to flip them over.

6, Brown evenly on each side and transfer them onto a cooling rack as they will need to be cooked in batches.

For the record, this is the cat who doesn't always land on her feet. Her little sister however is made of rubber and springs and tiggers...

Friday, 6 August 2010

Courgette & Lime Cake

Dear Mr/Mrs Courgette Plant

I hate you. Well, actually I love you but you have taken over my garden, forced me to relocate your neighbouring cucumber and pepper plants, sat and watched as the relocated cucumber died, slurped every drop of moisture out of the ground, and to top it off you sneakily grew about a million children in about three days.

So I am turning your children into cake.

Lots of love,


Adapted from this recipe


250gr grated courgette (grate them and wring as much juice as you can out of them. I wrapped mine in muslin and gave it a good squeeze)

2 eggs

115ml vegetable oil

180gr golden caster sugar

225gr self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

Grated zest of three limes

Preheat oven to 180o/c

1, Whisk the egg, zest, oil and sugar together until pale and creamy

2, Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until well combined

3, Stir in the grated courgette

4, Pour into either two 7inch sandwich tins, muffin cases, or silicon baking moulds and bake for 25 minutes. The larger cakes will take more time. Check they are cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

5, Make a simply glaze with juice from two limes mixed with icing sugar to your preferred consistency.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Root Vegetable Cake: Ginger and Beetroot

Fresh beetroot? Pickle it? Throw it in a soup, a smoothie or a salad? It’s got limited options. I had heard of a ginger and beetroot chutney and this recipe confirms that ginger and beetroot go deliciously well together.

I have a great carrot cake recipe and decided to switch the carrots with beetroot and add in some stem ginger. Plus baking this in muffin cases makes the packed lunch fairy’s work a lot easier!


170gr brown sugar

110ml vegetable oil

2 eggs

190gr self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

200gr coarsely grated fresh beetroot

1inch piece of stem ginger (from a jar) finely chopped or 1/2 inch of fresh ginger grated

Preheat oven to 180o/c

1, Whisk the sugar, eggs, ginger and oil together for around 2-3 minutes until thick and pale.

2, Add in the flour and baking powder and mix until well combined.

3, Stir in the beetroot until just combined.

4, Spoon into a lined muffin tin and bake for 20-30minutes until browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

5, Wait until cool and then drizzle on glacé icing and top with ginger slices.