Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas Cupcakes

I decided to take an old recipe I have for vanilla cupcakes and adapt it to make it Christmassy. I replaced the vanilla with cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice to give it that warm Christmas flavour. Continuing the Christmas flavour theme I replaced the vanilla essence in the buttercream with orange extract. I find a lot of Christmas food to be quite heavy, but these had an excellent amount of Christmas flavour and were light too. I made 28 cupcakes with the quantities below and so I put some in boxes and gave them as gifts to my family. 

375 g plain white flour                                  1 teaspoon baking powder
115g softened butter                                     200g caster sugar
3 eggs                                                         175ml milk
3 teaspoons cinnamon                                  3 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons mixed spice

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a muffin pan with fluted cases.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice.
3. Put butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk until light and fluffy .
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a large metals poon fold in the flour mixture and then the milk.
5. Fill each baking cup with a dessert spoon of batter and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. When cakes are cooled pipe on the orange buttercream icing.

Orange Buttercream Icing

175g softened butter                                     350g icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk                                          6 drops orange extract
Something festive to decorate with

1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy and sift in the icing sugar then beat until smooth, adding milk and orange extract.                

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree...

This year I decided to make a Gingerbread Biscuit Tree. I absolutely adore gingerbread at Christmas, I usually make stars of the same size and decorate my tree with them but this Christmas I took it to the next level. I used Lakeland's 3D Christmas Cookie Cutter Set ( and an old recipe I have for gingerbread biscuits. The bicarbonate of soda makes the biscuits rise and therefore they lose their shape a bit but I still achieved the festive appearance I was hoping for.
The recipe is an old one that I wrote in my recipe book many years ago. I like my gingerbread biscuits really gingery but use less ginger if you want it to have a little less of the kick. I piped icing around the edge of the biscuits and decorated the point of each star with a golden ball. I also dusted the whole thing with edible gold dust. Voila!


340g plain flour                                   115g butter
3 teaspoons  ground ginger                  1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 beaten egg                                          4 tablespoons golden  syrup
175g soft brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees centigrade.
2. Melt some of the butter and  grease the baking trays using a brush.
3. Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and stir them together over a low heat until melted.
4. Sift the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix in the syrup mixture and the beaten egg.
5. Mix together and knead into a dough then chill dough for 30 minutes in the fridge.
6. Roll dough out and cut using whatever Christmassy shape you desire.
7. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Orange and Cranberry Cookies

It is nearly Christmas. Rejoice in the name of our saviour... seasonal baked goods! These are apparently the best cookies I have ever made, which is quite a grand statement because I make some pretty amazing cookies. But in the spirit of Christmas I have made two batches in one week and therefore thought it would be nice to share the recipe. The scent of the orange zest baking in the oven overwhelms the olfactory senses with a real smell of Christmas. I love the smell of Christmas... cinammon, ginger, cloves, all spice, orange... I aim to make an amazing ginger bread Christmas tree over the next few days but for now here is the recipe for these really easy cookies.


225g butter                                           100g caster sugar
300g self-raising  flour                         Zest of one orange
1 x 75g pack dried cranberries             1 teaspoon orange essence (optional but highly recommended)


1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
2. Cream the butter and sugar, add the flour and orange zest. Add the orange essence if using and the knead until the mixture comes together. Mix in the cranberries. 
3. Form the dough into small balls and flatten out into 10cm circles.
4. Place on a greased baking sheet, leaving room between them for the cookies to spread.
5. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.

Blueberry and Vanilla Muffins

The moment has come for me to bear my burden and share with you the secret to these extremely moist, vanilla and almond muffins delightfully dotted with 'blueberry amethysts.' Yes that was a bit over the top, but the muffins deserve such an extraordinary introduction. The recipe is from a book called The Vegetarian Student Cook Book. I am afraid to admit that once I was a vegetarian student. I am relieved to announce that now I am neither.


150g ground almonds                                             150g  caster sugar
50g self raising flour                                              175g butter, melted
4 egg whites                                                           1 teaspoon vanilla essence
150g blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees centigrade.
2. In a large bowl mix  together the almonds, sugar, flour and butter.
3. Add the egg whites and vanilla essence and mix until you make a smooth paste.
4. Divide mixture among 10 paper  muffin cases and scatter with the blueberries.
5. Bake in the oven  for 15 minutes or until just firm in the centre.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Raspberry Muffins

These muffins are quite virtuous and also very nice so I implore you to make them. It includes buttermilk, which I was clueless about until a year ago. Let us all scoff at my ignorant past self, mwuahaha....

300g plain flour                                                          1 tablespoon of baking powder                            
115g caster sugar                                                       1 egg                                                                    
250ml buttermilk                                                        60ml sunflower oil                                                 
150g raspberries

1 Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade and arrange 12 paper cases in deep muffin tins.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, stir in the sugar then make a well in the centre.
3. Mix the egg, buttermilk and sunflower oil together into a bowl, pour into the flour mixture and mix quickly until just combined.
4. Add the raspberries and lightly fold in with a metal spoon. Spoon the mixture into the cases.
5. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and firm in the centre. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. Scoff two at a time. And maybe store two in your cheeks like a hamster.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Blondies - They know how to have fun

I have wanted to make some blondies for a long time now but every recipe I found had nuts in. I do not like nuts. But then... I was perusing through my new cake book bake-a-boo and 'voila, ici!' A nut free blondies recipe graced the pages before my eyes. They were delicious, but next time I might add some raspberries or something fruity. Or peanut butter and milk chocolate chips. Mmmm... the possibilities are endless.


400g white chocolate                                         100g butter
100 golden caster sugar                                     1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
3 large free range eggs                                       225g self raising flour, sifted


1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade and grease and line the bottom of a shallow 20 cm square baking tin.
2.Melt 300g of the white chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool a little.
3. Beat in the sugar and vanilla essence, then the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour until well combined. Chop the remaining chocolate into chunks and stir into the mixture, then transfer into the prepared tin and level with a spoon.
4. Cook in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the top appears crispy and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tine, then remove and cut into twelve extremely generous pieces.

Cake Mission

I decided to make this 'Autumnal Apple Cake' because my boyfriend's favourite cake is an apple and raspberry one that his mother makes. Now, I am not competitive... No... Not at all. But I have made it my life mission to find a cake that overtakes the illustrious apple and raspberry one in his estimations.
This recipe is from the lovely book bake-a-boo by Zoe Berkeley. The recipe uses sultanas, which disgust me, so I replaced the sultanas with blackberries. I think the wetness of the blackberries made the mixture wetter and so the baking time was increased but the end result was wonderful so I am putting down the recipe as I did it. Enjoy!


175g butter at room temperature                          150g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs                                                                200g apples, peeled, cored and sliced
100g blackberries                                                     175g self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon                               Icing sugar for dusting

2 apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
2 teaspoons Demerara sugar


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade and grease and line the bottom of a 20cm cake tin.
2. Cream the butter and muscovado sugar together until smooth and creamy, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Stir in the apples and most of the blackberries and then fold in the flour and cinnamon until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and level with a spoon.
4. Arrange the apple slices for the topping in a neat fan all the way round the outer edge of the cake, then make a circle in the centre and dot with the left over blackberries. Sprinkle the apples with the demerara sugar and then cook in the oven for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
5. Leave to cook in the tin and then serve dusted with icing sugar.

The cake was lovely. It has a wonderful warm flavour from the cinnamon. Unfortunately, however it is only the second best cake my boyfriend has ever eaten. *Weep weep.* My quest continues...

You can buy this recipe book from amazon: