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Welcome to my blog- A place of food, cakes and bakes! Just a fun-loving student who loves to bake!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas has really started for me now. At school, we've had the Christmas carol service, at my acting company we've had our Christmas party and I've finally broken up from school! I'm really looking forward to a Christmas break with my family and lots of food! 

This is from my new book, The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers. I was such a avid follower of the show that I had to have the book! So my good friend Beth bought me it for my birthday. This recipe is called English Summer Cupcakes.

For the cupcakes, you'll need:
125g (4½oz) Unsalted Margarine or Margarine, at room temperature
175g (6oz)Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
175g (6oz) Self-Raising Flour
Good pinch of salt
3 tbsp Milk

Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4.  Beat the butter in a bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes so that it's very light and fluffy.

Beat the eggs with the vanilla and then add the mixture a little bit at a time beating well in-between each addition. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl to include all the mixture. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and add the milk. Gently fold together.

Spoon the mixture into the cases and distribute evenly. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and risen. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for a couple of minutes, then transfer them to a cooling wrack. 

For the icing: 
125g (4½oz)Unsalted Butter or Margarine
400g (14oz) Icing Sugar
3-4 tablespoons of Milk
Red, Green and Blue food colouring
Christmas Decorations

In a bowl, beat the butter until it's light and creamy. Gradually sift the icing sugar in and beat in. When all teh icing sugar has been mixed, divide the mixture into 3. For the first batch of icing, colour it red and ice 4 cupcakes using a palette knife. I decorated mine with snow and snowmen. 

For the blue icing, I used an icing nozzle shaped like a cross and used to create a swirling spiral effect. 

With last batch of icing, keep a little bit spare as the normal colour. Spread a layer of this on the remaining 4 cupcakes. Colour the remaining icing green. Using a star nozzle, pipe a wreath in short bursts of icing. Using a small round writing nozzle, use some left over red icing (or a red writing pen) to create the ribbon and berries. 

Last Christmas I made a whole batch of wreath cakes: 

Happy Baking and Merry Christmas!

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P.S Here's a picture of me and my friends at my 16th birthday meal!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Mighty Mince Pies Are Back!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.. a partridge in a pear tree. It's nearly Christmas! And so the mince pies have come made their first winter appearance. Now I'm ashamed to say that I was never a fan of mince pies until I bakes these last year with my Mumma. I liked them so much that they are going to be my first Christmassy bake this year. 
Things have been so busy recently and also very musical. My mumma and I went to a strings concert last week and then went to see Carmen the Opera in London was very urrm unusual but still had amazing singing and music. At school ,we then had our Christmas concert where my friends and I performed as a harmony group. The following was my birthday and I had a great time but I'm now very much looking forward to Christmas! 

You'll need:
175g (6oz) Plain Flour
100g (3½oz) Margarine or Unsalted Butter, cubed
1 egg yolk, beaten
350g (12oz) Mincemeat
Icing Sugar

To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour to create a "breadcrumbs" effect. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and work it into the dough. You made need to add some water if the dough is dry. 
Knead the dough gently, until smooth. Wrap in cling-film and leave to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 180oC/355oF/ Gas Mark 4. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to a thickness of 0.5 cm. You don't want it to be thick as you'll get a whole mouthful of pastry! Using a crimpled round cutter, cut out 12 circles. Grease a 12 hole muffin/cupcake tin and line each whole with a pastry circle. Gently, press the circle fully into the hole. 

Spoon a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into each case. Roll out the left over pastry and cut different Christmas shapes and place on top of the mincemeat. Glaze the pies with milk or egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with icing sugar. These are lovely served with cream; double or brandy flavoured. 

Happy Baking! 

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Orange Upside-Down Pudding Cake

Well it seems ages since I've been on here writing a blog! School has got busy and I feel I can never justify neglecting that spanish coursework that needs learning in order to bake. But I found a window of opportunity to bake when my godparents came to visit and a pudding was needed. Mum had ventured into the sweet side of the kitchen (usually cakes are a "no go" area" and had baked this a few days before and we liked it so much that I made it again. It's best served with thick double cream and when it's slightly warm. It's very much a feel good pud!

You'll need:
2-3 Big Oranges
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
115g (4oz) Margarine, plus extra, at room temp.
115g (4oz) Caster Sugar
2 Eggs, at room temp.
115g (4oz) Self Raising Flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180oC/356oF/Gas Mark 4. You will need 1 8 inch cake tin. If your using a non stick tin, just greaes it. If not, line the bottom with greaesproof paper as well as greasing.

Grate the rind of 2 oranges and put to one side. Using a sharp knife, cut away the skin and the pith and cut the oranges into slices. Reserve the juices for later. Place the orange slices on the bottom of the tin. If you would like the entire top of the cake to be covered, you may need to use 3 oranges, if not, 2 will be sufficient. Using the extra margarine, dot the oranges with it and sprinkle over the brown sugar.

For the cake mixture, cream together the margarine and sugar using an electric mixer. Mix in the orange rind. Add 1 egg and beat well, repeat. Fold in the flour. The mixture may be quite dry; if so add in the juices from cutting the oranges. 

Spoon the mixture onto the oranges, making sure no orange can be seen. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The top may go very brown before the middle is cooked; If so, cover with tin foil and leave to cook inside. 

The pudding will be cooked when the cake is firm and springs back when touched. Also, when a skewer is entered into the middle, it will come out clean. Leave to cool for 4 minutes in the tin and then turn out onto the serving plate. Serve hot or cold. 

Happy Baking! 

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I am entering this into Tea Time Treats by Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is cake.

P.S Here's a picture of me and my friends at Bryony's Alice In Wonderland themed fancy dress party for her birthday. Yes, there is a Shrek and Fiona in the picture. They were supposed to wear the outfit earlier in the year but were unable to so they wore it to this party. But, to be honest, the costumes were so good, we let them off! 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Tangy Plum Crumble

Now it's got a a bit chillier, the time has come for those classic warming winter puddings- crumble is one of my favourite! And in my opinion, there is no better than my mum's (although I suppose I am a bit biased). She makes it with a nice chewy textured topping and sweet fruit in side. The filling varies from apple, plum and apple and blackberry-really whatever needs using and what is in season. So I nicked the recipe off of her and had a go at making it myself and it was really nice but not as good as mums (maybe she has magic fingertips?) This does create quite a big crumble but when there's two crumble-lovers in the house, it never lasts long! 

For the belly warmer you'll need:
170g (6oz) Plain Flour
170g (6oz) Brown Sugar plus extra 
170g (6oz) Margarine, cubed
6 Plums (or enough to half fill your dish when they are halved) 

Preheat the oven to 180oC/356oF/Gas Mark 4. 

In a bowl, mix together the flour and brown sugar. For the crumble topping, add the margarine, and using your fingertips, rub the flour  mixture into the margarine, creating a breadcrumbs consistency. 

Wash the plums and cut them in half. Remove the stones and place into your dish. Sprinkle on 2-3 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar on top and a tablespoon of water. 

Put the crumble topping on top of the fruit and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown.

Happy Baking! 

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I'm entering this into Fabulicious Food's Simple and in Season event this month as Plums are in season.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes

Beware of the cupakes! Haha! With it being the first Halloween that I've had my blog, I thought that I had to bake something spooky and Halloween related. I ummd and arrd over spider cakes, graveyard traybakes, but settled for these mild but spooky cobweb cupcakes. I have to say, I do rather like Halloween; the dressing up, the baking, the atmosphere but I do with we did it as big as America! Now they really do go to town with all the decorations and parties!  I wanted to try a new chocolate cupcake recipe so I searched and found one used for Cookies and Cream cupcakes (Will defiantly be trying those soon!) by The Primrose Bakery. I used the design of of the Spider Web Chocolate Muffins of off the Good Food website and used chocolate ganache to achieve this.

For the cupcake:
Makes 16 (but I halved it to make 8)

115g Dark Chocolate
85g Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
175g Soft Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs (separated)
185g Plain Flour
¾ tsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch of Salt
250ml Semi-Skimmed milk (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 190oC /gas mark 5. Line muffin trays with 16 muffin cases.

Break the chocolate into equal sized pieces and melt it in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Leave to cool slightly.

In a clean bowl, using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Do this before anything else, to avoid having to wash your whisk/beaters.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Slowly add the egg yolks and beat well.
Next, add the melted chocolate and beat again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and salt into a separate bowl and stir together.
In a jug, stir the vanilla extract into the milk. Gradually add alternate amounts of the milk mixture and flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and beat well between each time.Using a spatula fold the whites into the batter until everything is combined.

Spoon the batter into the cases, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave the cakes in their tins for a few minutes to cool and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

For the Chocolate Ganache and cobwebs:
200g Dark Chocolate
200ml Double Cream
50g White Chocolate
Break up the chocolate and put into a bowl, along with the cream. Melt together over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally to combine them. Once they are fully combined, leave the ganache to cool and thicken slightly. This will make it easier to spread it onto the cupcakes.
Once the ganache has thicken, spread some onto the top of the cupcake. Tip: If any cupcakes have peaked whilst cooking, slice off the top and eat it! This will create a smoother finish.
To create the cobwebs, melt some white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and spoon into a piping bag. Pipe a small circle on top of the cake and then bigger circles around it. Using a toothpick, draw a line from the centre outwards and it will drag some of the chocolate wit hit creating a cobweb. 

Happy Baking! 

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I'm entering this into Dolly Bakes and LauraLovesCakes event- Calendar Cakes!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Mum's Chocolate Marble Birthday Cake

What a great 2 weeks I've had! The show, Half a Sixpence, was really good and I had a fab time! Then on the last day, Saturday, it was my mum's birthday so I made a big fuss of her and as she was doing the show to, she had a lovely birthday. Saturday becomes a very busy day as we do two performances, so I promised my mum that I'd make her a birthday cake on Sunday (despite being very tired from the after party on Saturday night). Originally, I was going to bake Lorraine Pascale's Crounching Tiger Hidden Zebra Cake:

but I didn't have time to buy the disposable icing bags, so I settled for a marble cake. 

And this week we had the Great British Bake Off Final! And John won!!! I was torn between John and James so I didn't mind if either if them won as they both fully deserved it. I did like Brendan but his bakes didn't appeal to me as much. Who did you want to win? 

For the cake you'll need: 
175g (6oz) Butter/ Margarine, At room tempertaure
175g (6oz) Caster Sugar
1½ tsp  Vanilla Extract
3 Eggs, At room tempertaure
150g (5oz) Self-Raising Flour, sifted
1 tsp Baking Powder, sifted
25g Cocoa Powder, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 5. Grease and base line 2 8inch sandwhich tins with greaseproof paper.  

Cream the butter and sugar together, until light and fluffy, with an electric hand mix. Add the vanilla extract and add the eggs one at a time with a tbsp of flour. Beat until each is egg is fully combined. Fold in the rest of the flour and the baking powder.

Split the mixture into two bowls and fold in the chocolate powder into one of the mixtures. 

Put half of the vanilla mixture into one tin, and the rest in the other. Do the same for the chocolate mixture. 

Use the the handle of a spoon to swirl the two mixtures into each other. Then bake for 20-25 minutes; a skewer should come out clean when inserted and when pressed, the cake should spring back. leave to cool in their tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the greaseproof paper off of the bottom. 

Due to my tiredness, I simply decorated the cake with chocolate buttercream and chocolate chips.

Happy Baking! 

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

It's show time! The last 6 months has been leading up to this week as the show I'm in (along with Lottie from Lottie's World of Cakes and Bakes)  starts this week- Half a Sixpence. I spend the whole of today at the Epsom Playhouse settling into the theatre as the orchestra rehearse with us for the first time and the scenery is put up. Then in the evening, we have a technical rehearsal for the backstage crew. It's an exciting, but very long, day and so I thought I'd make a refreshing lemon cake to perk every one up in the teas breaks. 

So not only have I got a week of fabulous musical theatre, but I went to see Chicago the Musical on tour on Friday. It's practically my favourite musical and I know the film inside out, so it had been something I was dying to see. It was on at Woking theatre so we went along after school for the 5.30 show and it didn't disappoint! The costumes were the sultry, revealing type and everyone was in black. The choreography and dancing amazed me, especially in numbers like All That Jazz and The Cell Block Tango, but even the subtle moves during the dialogue were affective. Bernie Nolan was to play Mama Morton but unfortunately didn't perform in the show we saw and Steven Booth (who played Greg in EastEnders) played  Billy Flynn. It was a great show and I'd really recommend it! 

This recipe comes from my Mum's friend, Lorraine. 
You'll need: 

230g (8oz) Self Raising Flour, Sifted
170g (6oz) Caster Sugar
170g (6oz) Butter/Margarine, at room temperature
2 Eggs, at room temperature
Rind of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
Milk, to loosen the mixture

Preheat the oven to 180oC/375oF/Gas Mark 5. Grease your loaf tin (I think mine is a 2lb one but I'm never sure!) 

Put the flour, sugar, butter/margarine and eggs in a bowl and mix until it's a smooth consistency. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix. You then need to add milk, a little at a time, to get the mixture to a dropping consistency. be careful not to get it too runny as it will take longer to cook. 

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for approx. 1 hour. When the cake has a nice golden look, place some foil over the top and this will stop the top from burning and it will speed up the cooking of the insides. The cake will be cooked when a skewer is inserted and it comes out clean. 

Tip the cake onto a cooling rack to cool down. Once cooled use the Juice of half a lemon and a tiny bit of water and mix with sifted icing sugar. WARNING. Don't over do the liquid as it makes the icing runny and it won't stay on top of the cake. "Drizzle" over the icing and use lemon zest to finish. 

Happy Baking! 

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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Toffee and Apple Sauce Muffins

Sometimes, I just want to bake something that is really flavoursome and smells wonderful. Well I've certainly found a recipe that fits that description! These smell amazing when they're in the oven and, if I do say so myself, taste delicious! What with the show (see below) and starting back at school, I have seemed to be very busy recently, so I needed something that wasn't too time consuming and these were surprisingly easy. Also, with the weather getting cooler and the feel of Winter lingering over us, these are very comforting and I'd defiantly recommend baking them, (even if they don't look like something Mary Berry would make). So take a look and see what you think! 

This recipe is from Eric Lanlard's Home Bake recipe book but admittedly  they look more "rustic". I have tweeked some of the amounts slightly as I found they worked better. I found out the other day that he baked Lady GaGa's birthday cake!

Makes 6 Muffins
For the Apple Sauce:
½ a Large Bramely Cooking Apple
50g (1½oz) Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Calvados (Optional. If not using, use a tsp of water)

Peel, core and dice the apples into small cubes. Place the apple into a saucepan, along with the sugar, cinnamon and calvados/water. Cook on a low heat until the apple is tender, but not mushy. Leave to cool.

For the Muffins:
140g (4½oz) Plain Flour
50g (1½oz) Caster Sugar
½ tbsp Baking Powder
1 Large Egg
75 ml Milk
200g Fudge, chopped into small chunks
Extra Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6. Line a muffin tin with 6 muffin papers.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar.

Beat the butter and the milk together, then add the milk. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture and then stir in the fudge chunks.
Half-fill the muffin cases with muffin mix and then spoon on two thirds of the apple sauce. Cover with the remaining muffin mix. With a small spoon, dribble on some apple sauce on top. Cover with lots of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
I made a mistake here, and put on some fudge chunks. This was a bad idea as the fudge melted and candied the muffin cases making them very sticky!

Bake for 20-25 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Serve with fudge chunks on top.

Happy Baking! 

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P.S  I am in a show at the Epsom Playhouse called Half A Sixpence with Lottie from Lottie's World of Cakes and Bakes from Tuesday 9th-Saturday 13th October. We play the parts of two shopgirls called Kate and Flo!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Cinnamon Pear and Chocolate Tart

It's safe to say that I am a big lover of fruit and, as cheesy as it sounds, I'm very big on getting my five-a-day. So when I go to the kitchen and find a measly grapefruit in the fruit bowl, I'm not a happy bunny. I expressed this to my mumma, and the next day she consoled me with enough fruit to open a fruit stall! Name any fruit and we had it! I couldn't help but giggle when I saw how much she'd bought. Anyway, she'd bought some pears and we don't often have pears so this was exciting times! Except, she'd bought about 6 of them, along with the other mountain of fruit. So being the good non-wasteful person I am (ahem), I came up with this: (excuse the dodgy photography, was in a bit of a hurry!)

You'll need:
Approx. 200g Shortcrust pastry
3 Pears, peeled and quartered
110g (4oz) Caster Sugar
Zest of half a Lemon
50g (2oz) Dark Chocolate
30g (1oz) Butter/Margarine
3 tbsp Golden Syrup/ A large squidge full
1 Egg
Half a tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6. Grease a 9inch fluted tart tin and line with your pastry. Bake blind for 10 minutes.

Put the pears in a pan and cover with water. Add 50g of the sugar, the lemon zest and a good shaking of cinnamon. Bring to the boil and then cover and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pears and leave to drain in a colander/sieve.

Put the chocolate into a bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile, heat the sugar and the syrup together until the sugar has dissolved. Make sure the sugar has fully dissolved or you'll end up with slightly crispy crust on top of your filling once cooked. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 3-4 minutes but make sure it doesn't burn. 

Whisk the egg into the melted chocolate and add the syrup mixture along with the vanilla extract. Mix well. On a chopping board, cut small slices in the pears but making sure they don't go all the way through! Pour the mixture into the pastry case and then place the pears in. I did it the other way around and found it hard to  pour in the mixture without covering the pears. Bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set. 

Happy Baking! 

Please leave a comment below! 
Follow @nicsfeasts and  @NicckkNackk

P.S  I am in a show at the Epsom Playhouse called Half A Sixpence with Lottie from Lottie's World of Cakes and Bakes from Tuesday 9th-Saturday 13th October. We play the parts of two shopgirls called Kate and Flo!