Category Archives: baking

Streusel topped fruity slices

If you are wondering what streusel is, it is fairly similar to the topping on a crumble. I certainly managed to confuse the boys with this, as they kept saying strudel, which is a pastry dish. Something else I’ve never tried making yet. Must give that a try sometime soon.

Streusel

Streusel topped fruity slices

Ingredients (makes 16)

200g self raising flour
120g soft brown sugar
140g butter
50g ground almonds
100g dried strawberries
100g dried apple
50g sultanas
30g oats

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Rub the butter into the flour.
Stir in the sugar and ground almonds.
Reserve 150g of this mixture for later to make the topping.
Add the egg to the rest and mix to a dough.
Place the dough in the tin and flatten.
Chop the strawberries and apples.
Mix all the fruit together in a bowl.
Spread the fruit over the dough base.
Mix the oats into the reserved mixture.
Sprinkle over the fruit.
Cover the tin with foil.
Bake on middle oven shelf for about 30 minutes until golden.
Allow to cool.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Streusel

You could easily vary the fruits used in the filling. So I’d love to hear if you have some alternative suggestions.

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Coconut and Jam Sponge

I recently organised a Macmillan Coffee Morning at work, so I thought I’d make one new recipe and one that was tried and tested. And importantly, so that the boys wouldn’t feel that they were missing out on a cake opportunity, I decided that I would incorporate ingredients that the boys aren’t overly fond of. So for my new recipe, I decided that the key ingredient was to be coconut. And taking my inspiration from a pudding I used to enjoy many years ago for school dinners, I made a traybake cake version of Coconut and Jam Sponge. But thankfully without the hideous pink custard. Who remembers weird coloured custards from their schooldays?

Coconut and Jam Sponge

Coconut and Jam Sponge

Ingredients (makes 16 slices)

225g margarine
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
100g desiccated coconut
200g raspberry jam

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degree C / 160 fan / Gas mark 4.
Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar.
Beat in the eggs.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Spoon into the tin.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before decorating.
Spread jam over the top.
Sprinkle with coconut.
Cut into 16 slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Coconut and Jam Sponge

So I’d love to hear what would be your top choice of tasty treat to either cook for a bake sale or to purchase there?

And I’m pleased to say that our Macmillan coffee morning raised nearly £100 for this very worthwhile charity.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

When it was my turn for baking and serving at the teahouse, I decided to make a couple of Lemon Drizzle Cakes as half of my contribution.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

200g margarine
200g caster sugar
2 lemons
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
milk to mix (optional)
75g granulated sugar

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 deg C.
Line a 21 x 8cm loaf tin.
Grate the zest from the lemons.
Cream margarine and caster sugar together.
Mix in lemon zest.
Beat the eggs in a jug.
Gradually beat in the egg.
Fold in the flour.
The mixture should be a dropping consistency. If it is too stiff, add a little milk to mix.
Spoon into prepared tin.
Cook on middle shelf of oven for about 45-50 minutes.
Test with a skewer. It will come out clean when the cake is ready.
Leave in tin.
Meanwhile squeeze the lemons.
Mix granulated sugar into lemon juice.
Make lots of holes in top of cake with a skewer.
Gradually pour over the warm cake.
Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon drizzle is one of my favourite cakes. I’d love to hear your favourite?

Lemon Drizzle Cake

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My Cupcake Toppers – the easy way to an artistic cake

Although I love baking, I’m not very artistic when it comes to cakes for special occasions, so the answer seems to be cake toppers. I was therefore very pleased to be offered a free £15 voucher to spend at My Cupcake Toppers.

I had a browse round the site and there is something for everyone and every occasion. And if you require something bespoke, they also offer a design your own cake toppers service.

My Cupcake Toppers - Minecraft

Initially I was planning to choose some Harry Potter themed cake toppers, but I then suggested that son1 have a look round the site too and we ended up swapping to Minecraft. Even so, there were three different Minecraft ranges to choose from, so he opted for Minecraft Blocks.

Having chosen the theme, the next thing to select was the finish. Son1 left that up to me.

So I added the following items to my basket, which totalled a very reasonable £14.10.
1 7.5″ edible icing disc
1 set of 30 x 1.5″ precut premium rice paper
2 sets of 12 x 2.13″ precut premium rice paper

The checkout process was reasonably straight-forward apart from a system glitch which wiped out the shipping options, but Anna at My Cupcake Toppers soon resolved that for me. Checkout has functionality for you to add a note to your order, so I was able to request the large cake topper in the diamond design from Minecraft Blocks.

The toppers arrived the very next day, packed in a cardboard backed envelope. You can’t get quicker service than that.

Minecraft cake topper

So I used the edible icing disc on a large celebration cake. It was simple to cut out and apply using a few drops of water. The boys thought it looked fantastic. Also as far as I could see all the large toppers are circular. It would be nice if a few square options could be added to the range.

My Cupcake Toppers Minecraft Cake

For the rice paper toppers, I made iced cupcakes. I used the smaller ones on fairy cake size and the larger ones on muffin size. I’ve specifically avoided using butter in the recipes below, due to one child’s intolerance. If you wish to adapt the recipes to use butter, please note that you will probably wish to reduce the icing sugar to butter ratio.

My Cupcake Toppers Minecraft Cakes

My Cupcake Toppers - Minecraft


Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 24 fairy cakes or 16 larger)

200g margarine
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
few drops vanilla essence

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 deg C.
Place cake cases in muffin trays.
Cream together margarine and caster sugar.
Beat the eggs.
Mix in the egg along with a spoonful of flour.
Sieve and fold in the rest of the flour and the baking powder.
Stir in vanilla essence.
Spoon mixture into prepared cake cases.
Cook for 20 minutes in centre of pre-heated oven.
Allow to cool before icing.


Buttercream Icing

Ingredients (sufficient for 24 large toppers)

100g margarine
400g icing sugar
few drops vanilla essence

Method

Cream margarine in mixing bowl.
Gradually sieve and mix in icing sugar, about 50g at a time.
Cream together margarine and icing sugar.
Spread on top of cupcakes.
Place rice-paper toppers on top of icing, pressing down well.
Serve and enjoy.

Minecraft cupcakes

My Cupcake Toppers - Minecraft

I did find that a couple of hours later, the rice-paper toppers don’t look quite so great as initially. Difficult to get round this, as unlikely to be able to serve immediately after icing the cakes. However all said, they are still far better than anything I could attempt to make and the children were all very pleased with the cakes. So I do recommend these toppers. Take a look at My Cupcake Toppers to find your favourite designs.

My Cupcake Toppers Minecraft Cake

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers of 10% discount off your first order at My Cupcake Toppers with code SINCERELY10

And if you live in the Glasgow or Lanarkshire area, I have some great news. You may also purchase cupcakes from sister company My Cupcake Heaven. Unfortunately for me, 100s of miles away, these are only delivered locally.

I’d love to hear about your favourite cake.

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Family Fever

Disclosure. I received a £15 voucher towards purchasing goods from My Cupcake Toppers. I only paid postage & packaging. All opinions are my own.

Welsh Cakes

Time to share one of my favourite teatime treats.

Welsh Cakes

Welsh Cakes

Ingredients (makes 15)

225g self raising flour
1/2 teasp mixed spice
85g granulated sugar
100g margarine
50g currants
1 large egg
lard (for frying)
extra sugar

Method

Add mixed spice and sugar to a large mixing bowl.
Rub in the margarine.
Sieve in the flour.
Mix in the egg.
Add the currants.
Draw the mixture into 2 balls.
Flatten to about 5mm on a floured board.
Cut out fluted rounds.
Meanwhile melt knob of lard in frying pan.
Add 5 rounds to the pan.
Cook for about 3 minutes until golden brown on underneath.
Turn and cook for about a further 3 minutes.
Place a layer of kitchen roll on a cooling rack.
Turn out the welsh cakes onto the cooling rack.
Dust with extra sugar.
Turn and dust on the reverse.
Melt additional lard in the frying pan if required and repeat twice until all welsh cakes are cooked.
Allow to cool.
Serve and enjoy.

Welsh Cakes

I’d love to hear your favourite baking treats?

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Chocolate Cake

My other half’s favourite cake has always been chocolate cake ever since childhood. However I haven’t tended to make it very often, as his mum used to make one and bring it on every visit. But as an afternoon tea treat, I decided I would make him one. Unfortunately I seem to have lost my grandma’s Devil’s Food Cake recipe which was the delicious version I always used to bake as a teenager and none of the recipes I see online are quite how I remember it. So instead I have opted to bake a plainer chocolate sponge cake, which my other half will probably prefer as he doesn’t like very much icing, which the Devil’s Food Cake would have had lots of.

Devil's Food CakeDevil's Food Cake

Chocolate Cake
Ingredients

150g margarine
150g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
milk to mix

250g icing sugar
100g butter
50g cocoa powder

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 deg C.
Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
Cream together margarine and brown sugar.
Beat in the eggs.
Sieve and fold in the 2 tbsp cocoa.
Sieve and fold in the flour.
Add sufficient milk to give a dropping consistency.
Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin.
Cook on middle shelf of preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool.
Turn out of tin.

Allow butter to soften at room temperature.
Cream butter in a bowl.
Sieve in the icing sugar gradually, mixing as you go along.
Sieve in the 50g cocoa.
Mix together until smooth.
Spread over the top of the cake.
Serve and enjoy.

As mentioned my other half doesn’t like too much icing but if you prefer you can make a larger quantity and slice the cake in half and fill with the additional icing. That would be my personal preference for my sweet tooth.

His verdict. A very tasty cake. Thumbs up.
devils food cake

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Disclosure. This post is my entry to the Great Denby Cake Off Competition.

Afternoon Tea with Scones and Nanny Violets Jams

I have just opened the most beautifully presented Valentine’s gift. It is a mixed selection of mini jams and chutneys which I have received free to review from Nanny Violets Jams.

Nanny Violets Jams

Nanny Violets Jams. What a fab name. It brings back memories of helping to pick fruit or stir the jam as a child when my mum made a batch. All jars were always saved for jam. And both my grandma’s used to make all their own jam. There is always something special about the taste of homemade jam compared to that from a factory.

So let me share what I’ve been told about Nanny Vi. She is 99 years old and I can see on Facebook that it is less than a month until her 100th birthday. You may see some lovely photos of Nanny Vi too – one from the family album each day during the countdown. She was taught how to make preserves by her father during World War Two and wrote the recipes in her large black recipe book.  4 years ago Vi’s grandson Shaun found her recipe book and wanting to make homemade gifts that Christmas, asked Nanny Vi to show him how. The following Christmas those who had received the produce the year before, asked for some to give as gifts themselves. Word spread and Nanny Violets Jams was set up by brother and sister Shaun and Jodie.

Nanny Violets Jams

I opened the lovely box and inside I found the following selection.
Strawberry Jam
Raspberry Jam
Papaya Jam
Onion
Spiced Apple & Plum Chutney

Nanny Violets Jams

As soon as I saw the jams, I knew there was only one thing to do. Bake some scones for an afternoon cream tea.


Scones with Nanny Violets Jams
Scones
Ingredients

200g self raising flour
50g margarine
50g caster sugar
150ml milk

Method

Preheat fan oven to 200 degrees.
Sieve flour into bowl.
Add sugar.
Rub in margarine until very fine.
Mix in sufficient of the milk to give a soft but not sticky dough.
Add more milk if necessary.
Knead dough slightly.
Press dough out to about 2cm depth on a floured board.
Cut out scones (I used a 7cm fluted cutter).
Place on greased baking sheet.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes near top of oven, until well risen, firm and golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
Serve with jam and cream.
Enjoy.

baking scones

We then had a delicious cream tea with Nanny Violets Jams. Please can someone tell me which is the correct etiquette to spread your scones. Is it jam first or cream first? Not knowing, we all did it our own way. I of course had to sample all three jams. They were all gorgeous but raspberry was my favourite flavour.

Scones with Nanny Violets Jams

And as for the chutneys, I served those with cheese and biscuits the next day. Again both were yummy.

Chutney from Nanny Violets Jams

The jams and chutneys were all really delicious, and apart from papaya which I am not familiar with, I could tell the flavours without looking at the labels. The combination of apple and plum together worked wonderfully in the chutney.

The Valentine’s selection of 5 mini jars currently retails for £10. They also sell a variety of size jars and their range of jams, jellies, marmalade, chutneys, relishes and pickles is extensive. You can find a link to their menu on Facebook. Everything is made in the Royal Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, and where possible grown there too, keeping the food miles down. I highly recommend Nanny Violets Jams. Go on, treat yourself or buy some as a gift. Place your order by sending them a message on Facebook. They also do hampers and baskets.

You may follow Nanny Violets Jams on Facebook or Twitter.

However I’m intrigued as to what the Plump Hill Projects mentioned on each jar label refers to? Maybe Shaun or Jodie can explain.

And one last thing. Let’s wish Nanny Vi a very happy 100th birthday next month. What a special day to look forward to.

Family Fever

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

The boys do Christmas baking!

We have a family tradition that the boys decorate boxes and then fill them with tasty homemade goodies as Christmas presents for their grandparents and cousins.

Making marzipan sweets

Making marzipan sweets

This year we did white chocolate shapes made on a mould from an old advent calender, marzipan stuffed dates, coloured marzipan shapes, popcorn and then they chose to make chocolate fudge from a recipe in a book they bought me for my birthday. The recipe was for a very large quantity to fill a 20cm x 30cm baking tray, so I reduced it to make two thirds of the quantity. Even so, we had some spare for ourselves and it was delicious. I adapted the recipe as I didn’t have any unsalted butter and I also chose to add cream. I’m sharing the adapted recipe here.


Chocolate fudge

Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

800g granulated sugar
175 ml milk
75 ml cream
75g margarine
350g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Grease a 20 x 30 cm baking tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Prepare an ice-water bath.
Break the chocolate into small pieces.
Put the sugar, milk, cream and margarine in a large pan.
Cook over a moderate, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved and margarine melted.
Stop stirring and bring mixture to the boil.
Without stirring, cook at a slow boil for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the chocolate.
Immediately place the pan in the ice-water bath for a few seconds.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour into the tin and leave to cool.
Remove from the tin and cut into pieces.
Store in an airtight container.
Serve and enjoy.

chocolate fudge

homemade Xmas goodies

Do you make any Christmas gifts? If so, I’d love to hear what you make.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Butternut Squash Muffins with Yoghurt Icing

This post is long overdue. I promised to share this recipe ages ago. These cakes are both very tasty and healthy, being full of butternut squash and iced with yoghurt. Also a great way of getting hidden veggies into kids. A very tasty bake for afternoon tea.

And with Halloween just round the corner, you could easily make them with pumpkin instead of butternut squash. And jazz them up with some spooky Halloween designs like spiders webs and witches hats on the icing.

Butternut Squash Muffins

Butternut Squash Muffins

Ingredients (makes 12)

200g plain flour
200g grated butternut squash
200g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
few drops vanilla essence
100ml milk
50ml sunflower oil
1 large egg
100ml boiling water

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 degree C.
Boil a kettle of water.
Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the milk, vanilla essence, oil and boiling water.
Mix together either by hand or with an electric mixer.
Beat the egg and whisk in.
Fold the butternut squash into the mixture.
Fill the cases to about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 20 mins in centre of oven until golden brown.
Allow to cool before icing.

Vanilla Yoghurt Icing

Ingredients

500g pot of vanilla yoghurt

Method

Pour the yogurt into a clean draw-string cloth bag.
(If you don’t have a bag, you may use a tea towel and string).
Tie the bag to the handle of an open drawer.
Put a bowl underneath.
Strain it for at least 3 hours until the yoghurt is thick, but preferably overnight.
Remove from bag into a basin.
Ice the muffins.
Serve and enjoy.

If you don’t have time to strain yoghurt you may alternatively make cream cheese icing.

butternut squash muffins

Disclosure.  This post is my entry to the Great Denby Cake Off Blogging Competition.
And I’m also entering this post to a Halloween baking competition hosted by Cakeyboi in association with Kleeneze.

Center Parcs Easter Challenge: Easter Egg Nests

Tots100 and Center Parcs have challenged bloggers to make edible Easter Egg Nests this month.  See this webpage for more details, where Center Parcs Chief Creative Chef, Lynn Dixon has shared her top tips. I was most inspired by Lynn’s first tip which says Mix some cereal, such as bran or broken up wheat, together with some melted chocolate and form the mixture in to nest-like shapes, leaving to cool for a finished nest.

I let son1 choose what cereal to use and he couldn’t make up his mind between rice krispies or cornflakes, so asked if he could use both. I couldn’t see a problem with that, so that’s what we did. We gave it an unusual twist by adding lime flavour cocoa powder to the recipe. And it was son1’s first time doing the hot parts of the cooking, now he is getting more responsible.

Lime Easter Egg Nests

Lime Easter Egg Nests

Here’s our recipe.

Lime Easter Egg Nests

Ingredients (makes 24)

50g margarine
2 tbsp golden syrup
225g plain chocolate
1 tbsp lime cocoa
75g cornflakes
75g rice krispies
2 bags of mini eggs

Method

Line bun tins with paper cake cases.
Break the chocolate into pieces.
Melt the margarine, golden syrup and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat.
Fold in the cocoa.
Mix in the cornflakes and rice krispies.
Spoon into the cake cases.
Place 3 mini eggs in each nest.
Chill in the fridge.
Serve and enjoy.


This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 April challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest.

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I’m also submitting our recipe to The Pink Whisk Easter Bake and Make Competition with Two Little Fleas.