Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Homemade Tea cakes

I’d been eyeing up the teacakes in my Peyton and Byrne British Baking book for a while, but admittedly I was nervous about baking them; before last week I’d never made my own marshmallow and I’d heard plenty of horror stories about getting it wrong! Thankfully I had nothing to worry about –  the recipe is really easy to follow and the results are mouthwatering. The most difficult part is piping the marshmallow, but with a little practise, you’ll soon perfect your technique. The best tip I can give you is to put your piping bag in a pint glass, roll the sides over the glass edge and scoop the marshmallow in slowly with a tablespoon (that way you won’t end up covering yourself/the bag/the kitchen in marshmallow like I did the first time around…)

The original recipe also includes 1 tbsp of double cream in the biscuit base, but personally I don’t feel it adds anything to the taste or texture. Next time I’d love to try these with a layer of jam; I might even adapt the recipe to make homemade Wagon Wheels in the future.

Peyton and Byrne teacakes

The biscuit base:

  • 110g plain flour
  • 60g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the filling)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

The marshmallow filling:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of golden syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

The chocolate topping:

  • 250g of good quality milk chocolate (or dark if you prefer)


Make it!

  • Preheat the oven to 180/gas mark 4. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper and set to one side.
  • Grab a bowl and sift together the flour, baking powder bicarb of soda and salt.
  • In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix well, then add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Scoop the dough into 12 balls and roll gently in your hands before placing them onto a prepared tray. I found that the mixture doesn’t spread too far, so you may want to push down gently on the tops to prevent a biscuit mound and give yourself a flatter surface to pipe onto.
  • Bake for around 10 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  • Whilst the biscuits are cooling, you can move onto the marshmallow filling. Put all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of boiling water. Whisk continuously by hand for 10-15 minutes (ouch) until all the sugar has dissolved and mixture becomes frothy and slightly opaque.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and using a handheld mixer, whisk until you have the consistency of meringue. Once the mixture is white and holds its shape, it’s ready to pipe!
  • Pipe generous amounts of marshmallow on top of each biscuit. Don’t worry about creating perfect shapes – after all, you’re going to smother it in chocolate anyway.
  • Once the marshmallow has set (I found half an hour in a cool area was plenty of time) you can get to melting your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate is ready, remove from the heat and leave to sit without stirring for 7-10 minutes.
  • Place a wire rack over a tray lined with baking paper, line up your teacakes and start spooning the melted chocolate over the marshmallow. The best method is to drop the chocolate directly over the top and assist carefully with a teaspoon to ensure full coverage.
  • Leave to set and then enjoy! Ideally the teacakes should be eaten on the same day as making and no mater than the following day.

Nutella Cheesecake

If you’ve never attempted a cheesecake before, this is a really simple no-bake recipe that guarantees tasty results! Nigella’s Nutella cheesecake is a great go-to dessert that will be welcomed not only by your dinner guests, but by you; it’s perfect for those wintery days when you want something indulgent but you’re too tired to create a masterpiece.

DSC_0228

You’ll need:

  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 75g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 400g Nutella
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 500g cream cheese


Make it!

  • Put the digestives, butter and a tablespoon of Nutella into a food processor and blitz until incorporated. Add 25g of hazelnuts and repeat until you have a damp, sand like texture.
  • Press evenly into the bottom of a 23cm springform tin to create the base and pop in the fridge to chill.
  • Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together, then add all (yes all!) of the Nutella. Continue to beat until smooth.
  • Take your base out of the fridge and pour the mix over the top, spreading out with a spatula as you go.
  • Chop the remaining hazelnuts and scatter across the top, then place in the fridge for +4 hours (if you can wait, overnight is best).

Homemade Halloween

Originally this was going to be a straight forward “How To…Make A Poison Ivy Costume” post, but I had an absolute nightmare creating it and so, I’ve decided against that title – it’s entirely my own fault for being so stubborn and envisaging such a high calibre costume!

This Halloween my fellow hosts and I decided to run with a Batman villain theme; we had Bane, Scarecrow, Cat Woman, Two Face, the Joker, the Penguin, Harley Quinn and Black Mask. After some deliberating, I opted to dress more along the lines of comic book Poison Ivy than Uma Thurman’s portrayal in Batman & Robin, which meant I either had to go naked or find a green strapless bodysuit/leotard. Let me tell you now – unless you want to spend a fortune, it’s basically an impossible task! I preferably wanted a corseted bodysuit that would hold everything in, but it proved difficult enough to find anything that was long enough in the body AND kept my boobs under control.

Poison Ivy costume, Bane costume
Poison Ivy and Scarecrow

After checking eBay and Amazon everyday for almost a month, I cast the net wider and hit up every possible shop Westfield had to offer on the hunt for anything that looked remotely flattering and cost less than £30; I even resorted to riffling through the Ann Summers sale. Five hours later, I admitted defeat and it was only by chance that I found a black lycra bodysuit for £12.99 in TKMAXX the next day. My long red wig came from eBay for £10.99 (and was worth every penny) as did my Emerald Stargazer lipstick (£3.35) and I found some reasonably priced artificial ivy on Amazon for £4.90. My green tights came in at £1.50 from trusty old Primark and I used superglue (£4) to attach the leaves. Be warned – I spent hours sewing on an under layer of green fabric (I used my apron from last years costume) and I had to kindly ask my boyfriend to glue the ivy on to the bodysuit whilst I was a. wearing it and b. lying down to stop gravity taking its toll on the glue! I finished off the costume with black ankle boots and a green cardigan from my wardrobe. The cardigan was a stroke of luck as not only hid the back of the bodysuit – which I neglected after realising the leaves were going to fall off every 5 minutes – but it kept me warm on a cold evening.

PURSE FRIENDLY TOTAL = £37.73

I also made a few more tasty themed treats this year. The ginger dead men made a welcome return, whilst the pumpkin shaped rice krispie marshmellow bites and graveyard chocolate cake proved popular with our ghoulish guests. Charlie and I wanted to display our guacamole and crisps in an inventive way, so we carved a lovely vomiting pumpkin and spread the dip over a chopping board!

gingerdead man
pumpkin rice krispie treats
graveyard cake
vomit pumpkin

Just Desserts: Strawberry and caramel cheesecake

Remember back in August when I made Chocolate Pudding Cups for Domestic Sluttery’s ‘Just Desserts’ club? Well this time around the theme was cheesecake. Since the last cheesecake I attempted failed spectacularly (sob) I was eager to try a new recipe. Until last week I’d never made a baked cheesecake before, so, with a determined attitude and my sleeves rolled up, I dove straight in.

Confession time; this should have been a caramel and macadamia cheesecake but I accidentally burnt the caramel and used all of the nuts in the first batch. Drama! As non of my local shops seem to stock macadamia nuts, I had to improvise and alter the recipe slightly…but hey, it’s all part of the baking process, right? Aside from the additional strawberry topping, this recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s first cookbook. Enjoy!

strawberry and caramel cheesecake recipe

The cake:

  • 160g dry biscuits
  •  40g unsalted butter
  • 600g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60ml soured cream icing sugar for dusting

The caramel sauce:

  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 100ml double cream


Make it!

  • Pre-heat the over to 140°C and lightly grease a springform cake tin, lining the base and sides with baking parchment.
  • Whizz the biscuits in a food processor (or do it the old fashioned way and beat to death with a rolling pin) then mix with melted butter until you have a damp, sandy consistency. Transfer to your tin and flatten out evenly with a spoon/your hands.
  • Put the sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Slit the vanilla pod lengthways in half and scrape the seeds out into the bowl, then mix until smooth.
  • Gradually add the eggs and soured cream, whisking until smooth. Pour the mixture over the top of your biscuit base and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes until set; a skewer should inserted into the centre should come out with a slightly wet crumb.
  • Leave to cool in the tin until room temperature, then release. Be warned – transferring to a plate can be tricky with such a delicate cake! Serve on the cake tin base if you don’t trust yourself to drop it (or get a lovely assistant to help you lift it). Chill the cake for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.
  • To make the sauce, put the butter and sugar in a thick bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over a low heat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, dark caramel colour. The butter and sugar will look as if they have split but don’t worry, just keep stirring! Once you’ve reached that yummy colour, carefully add all the cream whilst stirring vigorously. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • To finish the cake, dust the edges with some icing sugar and pour your caramel sauce into the centre; depending on how long ago you made the sauce, you may need to heat it slightly. Top with freshly washed and cut strawberries et voila! You should have a beautiful cake that will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Just Desserts: Chocolate Pudding Cups

The minute Domestic Sluttery launched Just Desserts, I knew I’d have to get involved – not least because I knew that friend and founder Sian Meades would probably beat me to death with a rolling pin if I didn’t bake something for her.

If you’re throwing a dinner party, these chocolate cups are the perfect dessert choice; they look impressive, they’re super easy to make, they’re cheap to produce, AND they only take 10 minutes in the oven! It’s a basic recipe, but it’s one that works every time. The best thing about these baked pudding cups is that you can make them as fancy or as laid-back as you like. Want to give it a boozy kick? Add a shot of brandy instead of the vanilla extract. Looking to score top marks with your dinner guests? Present your homemade dessert with two big scoops of ice cream, lashings of honey, a sprinkle of icing sugar and a handful of sliced berries.

chocolate pudding cups

You’ll need:

  • 300g of the yummiest dark chocolate you can afford
  • 75g of unsalted butter (don’t bother putting it in the fridge, you’ll want it to be soft)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • Icing sugar to decorate
  • Ice cream or pouring cream to balance out the extreme chocolatey-ness
  • Greaseproof paper
  • 6-8 ramekins, pudding tins/dishes or moulds

Make it!

  • Heat the oven to 200°C and pop the baking tray in to warm up.
  • Grease your pudding dishes with butter and a pinch of flour. Cut out greaseproof paper circles and line the bases.
  • Break your chocolate into manageable pieces and slowly melt over a pan of steaming water, occasionally stirring as you measure out your other ingredients. Once it’s all gooey, resist the temptation to dip your fingers in it – leave it on one side to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until it’s nice and creamy (don’t worry, it’s supposed to look that small). Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add each egg one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the flour with a big metal spoon, followed by the chocolate and milk. Don’t forget to use a rubber spatula to ensure minimum waste!
  • Spoon out the mixture into your prepared dishes. If you’re going to eat them now, put them on the pre-heated tray and bake in the oven for 9-12 minutes or until the mix has risen and is just firm to touch. Turn out onto a pretty plate (try not to burn your fingers) dust with icing sugar, and serve straight away with a big dollop of ice cream.
  • If you want to save them for later, cover with clingfilm and pop them in the fridge for a few hours. When you’re ready to eat them, upwrap and bake as above.

chocolate pudding cup recipe

So, you want to get involved too huh? I don’t blame you. Each month the Domestic Sluts will announce a theme (this month it’s chocolate, obviously) and all you have to do is decide what you want to make, bake it, and blog about it, linking back to the Domestic Sluttery site and mentioning the Just Desserts pudding club. Find out more here!

How To… Bake Berry Muffins

I love all kinds of berries and often include strawberries, raspberries or blueberries in my baking. Berry muffins are so easy to make and taste great no matter what time of day you indulge (plus they’re totally acceptable for breakfast AND dessert!)

berry muffin recipe

You’ll need:

  • 360g plain flour
  • 370g caster sugar
  • 375ml buttermilk
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g berries

Make it!

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
  • Measure out the plain flour, salt, caster sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Throw it all into the same bowl and beat slowly with an electric whisk.
  •  Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract together in a jug. Add 1 egg and mix. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and beat until incorporated.
  • Melt the unsalted butter in a pan. Pour into the mixture, beating as you go until the dough is smooth.
  • Gently fold in berries with a wooden spoon (I used blueberries and raspberries this time). You can add more depending on your taste, but anything over 300g will effect the end result. Once the berries are evenly dispersed, spoon the mixture into your paper cases; this recipe should make around 10-12 muffins.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Skewer the centre of the muffin – if it comes out clean, your yummy treats are ready! Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to eat them all in one go; hot berries WILL burn your mouth.