Monday, 19 September 2011

Stuffed chocolate cup cakes!

Yes I know, another cake recipe, I just can't help myself.  I have to be totally honest with you here and confess that I've officially sickened my husband of cake, he turns his nose up at it, as its constantly here in one form or another, thankfully I am still involved with the random feeding programme and give cake to anyone who stands near me for long enough, he he.

Well this idea came about because I don't always like the idea of just icing/frosting on the top of a cake, its lovely when it runs through it too.

To make 12 large muffin sized cakes you will need:

6oz soft brown sugar
6oz butter/margarine
3 medium eggs (beaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6oz McDougalls sponge flour
1 dessert spoon golden syrup
1 dessert spoon buttermilk
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder

For the topping and stuffing you will need:

10oz icing sugar
5oz softened butter
green food colour
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (don't be tempted to use essence it will taste vile)

Heat the oven to 160° fan, 180 conventional, gas mark 4

You will also need a muffin sized cup cake tin and 12 muffin sized cake cases.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

 Add the eggs and beat well.

Finally add the vanilla extract, syrup, butter milk, flour and cocoa powder and mix until you have a smooth batter, try not to over mix otherwise you will end up with tough cakes.

Add a generous tablespoon of mixture to each cake case.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for around 20-25 mins or until the cakes are well risen and a skewer comes out clean.

Transfer the cakes onto a cooling rack immediately.

While the cakes are cooling mix all the ingredients for the icing together in a bowl and whisk until light, fluffy and smooth.

To make the hole in the centre of each cake, using an apple corer to pierce and remove the sponge.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag or bottle and squeeze down the centre of each cake before swirling around the top of the cake.

I've finished mine off using Aero bubbles, which I'm glad to say the manufacturers have seen sense and returned the middles to mint green again, much prettier.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Chicken in a basket!!!

As I'm a child of the 70's I knew there would come a point when this would feature on my blog, it is a typical menu item from country pubs of that era, it was mainly chicken on the bone cooked along with chips and peas all put into a little woven basket and then later plastic ones that looked woven too,  I could not find the later in any shops when planning this for dinner so I had to come up with a plan, this quickly came together after watching The Great British Bake Off where they made baskets from bread to put rolls in.

The other version of chicken in a basket come courtesy of The Muppet Show where the Swedish chef would run around with his knife shouting "Chicky in a barsket",this was on the tv during the late seventies.

I've used chicken thighs and drumsticks for this, tossed in a little flour with salt and black pepper and then baked on a tray in the middle of the oven until golden and crisp.

The basket is made from strong bread flour, yeast and a little extra salt than normal, around 500g flour, 1 level teaspoon yeast and a dessert spoon salt.

You will also need a metal or oven proof bowl, oiled and turned upside down, to use as a template for your bread bowl.

Add the flour and yeast to a separate bowl and mix well, add salt and mix again, then add warm water a little at a time until you have formed a ball of dough, knead well and leave to rise for 20mins in a draft free place.

Roll the dough out into a large thin rectangle and then cut into strips to form the basket shape.

Add the strips from one side of the oiled bowl to the other, criss-crossing as you go and then add extra pieces in-between to give it strength and then four final pieces that will form the top of the basket.  I've added chicken shapes to the side of my bowl to finish  the effect, then brush with egg yolk before putting into the oven.

Cook on the middle shelf of the oven at around 180° for around 25 mins or until golden.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until almost cold before carefully removing the metal bowl.

Add the chicken to it once cooked and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Corn on the cob!

These are locally produced corns that were picked the day before I bought them.

I've found a really good way of cooking them to keep them sweet and tender by using roasting bags tied tight and baked in the oven, it keeps all the flavour right where it needs to be.

For each corn you will need a dessert spoon of butter, don't be tempted to use margarine or low fat spreads as you simply won't get the proper flavour.

As stated above you will also need a large roasting bag with a secure tie to keep the bag shut tight while cooking (you can get these from most shops and supermarkets).

pre-heat the oven to 200°fan/220 conventional/ gas mark 7

Place the filled roasting bag to a baking sheet and put on the middle shelf of the oven for an hour or until the corn is soft and juicy.

Serve alone or alongside grilled chicken.

My Mom's Oat Biscuits!

This recipe has literally gone around the world as I've passed it to so many people. My Mom always made these in huge batches and stored them in tins, the sort you get chocolates in at Christmas as they generally have a good seal to keep the biscuits fresh and crisp. I would often been seen taking a tin to school with me to share out with my friends, my children now do this as they all love them too.

Some points to note:
These can be made with either butter or margarine but both give different results, with butter you get a thicker more rounded biscuit with margarine you get more of a florentine appearance as they spread and are crisper and thinner, both are good.

These do however come with a warning as one biscuit is never enough!!

You will need:

4 oz/ 100g self raising flour
4oz/ 100g porridge oats (not fast or instant oats)
4oz/ 100g butter or margarine
4oz/ granulated sugar
1 rounded tablespoon golden syrup
1/2 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pre-heat the oven to 180c/160 fan oven or gas mark 4

Grease a large baking tray with butter and set aside.

Mix the flour, oats and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl, make sure you stir thoroughly to evenly distribute the bircarb into the flour and oats.

Put the margarine or butter into a pan along with the granulated sugar and golden syrup and melt on a low heat until the butter and sugar has dissolved and you have a smooth runny liquid, take off the heat and leave to cool for 5 mins.

Pour the butter mixture into the centre of the flour mixture and still well.

Scoop dessert spoonfuls of mixture onto the greased baking tray, spacing out evenly so they don't join together while baking(about two finger spaces).

Cooking on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 mins, they should be golden around the edges when cooked.  Leave to cool on the tray for 5 mins before transferring to a cooling rack (this helps the biscuits keep their round shape and from breaking into crumbs.

Repeat until all the mixture has been used.

These taste wonderful served with a cup and tea and still slightly warm.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Chocolate Fudge Cake!

I don't actually have a recipe to post with this photo as such, I made it using a standard 8oz sponge recipe and added cocoa and buttermilk, baked in two 8 inch sandwich tins for 25 mins.

The filling and topping is made with 100g dark chocolate (melted)
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
150g butter
2 tablespoons buttermilk

mixed altogether until you have a smooth icing.

spread over the top of one of the sponge cakes, then top with the other and spread the rest of the mixture over the top and sides.

Decorate with flakes or any other chocolate decorations.

I also brushed each sponge with sugar syrup before topping with the icing.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Chocolate and orange cup cakes!

I know that I already have a recipe on here for chocolate orange muffins but these are slightly different so I thought I'd post it anyway.

Makes 12 large cup cakes

Pre-heat the oven to 160° fan oven/gas mark 4/350f/180 conventional

5oz/125g Stork margarine/butter
5oz/125g light moscavado sugar
3 medium eggs
50z/125g self raising flour
1 teaspoon orange extract (not essence, it has to be the natural stuff otherwise they will taste like cheap orange pop)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon buttermilk or yoghurt

For the topping:

8oz/200g icing sugar
4oz/100g butter (softened)
1 teaspoon orange extract
finely grated orange rind (about half a large orange)
Orange food colouring

Mix the margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy, I prefer margarine to make sponge cakes as it keeps them light and moist, butter is better for frosting and for shortbreads and biscuits.

Add the eggs and orange extract mix well.

finally add flour, cocoa and buttermilk, mix just long enough for a smooth batter (overmixing with cause your cakes to go tough as it overworks the gluten in the flour)

put about a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each case and bake for around 20 mins or until risen or the cake skewer come out clean.

Turn out onto a cooling rack immediately and allow to cool before adding the buttercream.

Mix the icing sugar with the butter and orange extract and rind and beat until smooth and fluffy.

You can either spread over each cake using a palette knife or if you are giving them away as an edible gift use a piping bag with a flower nozzle on to make your own design on the top.

I made the roses using a flower nozzle and piping a swirl underneath first.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sunken blackberry and apple loaf cake!

As its mid August the wild blackberries are just starting to ripen here, so we went foraging and just managed to find enough to make these cakes, with a few eaten along the way.

These cakes are simple but are lovely and moist and will keep in an airtight container for 3 days as long as they are stored in a cool place.

You will need:

8oz soft brown sugar
8oz margarine (you can use butter if you like but Stork give a better finish to sponges)
8oz self raising flour
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 medium sized apple of your choice peeled and chopped into chunks
about 150g blackberries
a handful of oats
and a little brown sugar for sprinkling.

Pre-heat the oven to 160° (fan oven/ gas mark 4/ 180° conventional oven/ 350f

Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.  Make a hole in the middle of the bowl and scrape some of the mix around the sides, add all the eggs to the hole and then cover with the mix before beating together (I find this a quicker and better way of adding eggs if using a mixer)

Add the vanilla extract and flour and lightly mix until all the flour has incorporated

.Finally stir in the fruit and make sure it is evenly distributed.

This mixture make two 1llb loaf cakes, using cake tin liners.

Divide the mixture between the two tins, scatter the top and each cake with oats and brown sugar and bake for 35-45 mins or until risen and golden brown.

Leave to cool in the tins before lifting the liners out.

You can serve this with a hot drink preferably tea (for me) or you can use it as a pudding and slice it and pour lovely thick custard over the top.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Old Fashioned Pop!

When I was asked to sample some traditional style drinks and write about them on my blog I agreed because even though I've been approached many times, I can't just write about any old thing just because its been given to me, it has to have some sort of connection otherwise I would be nothing more than a lab tester and it wouldn't feel right.

I have lovely memories of old fashioned pop which came in glass bottles and if you took the bottle back to the shop you got 10p in return.  My Mom and Dad owned a shop which would have been classed as a general store a bit like Open all Hours, they sold all sorts of flavoured pop and one of my favourites was cream soda, this soda was bright pink a bit like the mouth wash you once got at the dentists but without the fright.

Everyone of these Ben Shaws old fashioned cans of pop tastes authentic and all the family loved them, the  one that I didn't think would be popular was shandy but my hubs loved it and said it really did taste like a flavour from the past.

The only downside to all this is that since we have sampled the lovely cream soda which I also used in a cake topping and the cloudy lemonade and the aniseedy dandelion and burdock, we cannot get them in any shops locally, I'm hoping they will appear sometime soon.

If you can find them near you and you want a real flavoured drink to quench your thirst then give them a try.

Ben Shaws have been going for 140 years, and in the beginning the pop was transported by shire horses, which was later replaced by a pop van.

They have also been asking people to vote on their favourite flavour, this is quite hard for me as I love both cream soda and dandelion  and burdock but I think by a slight margin it was dandelion just.

Chocolate chip cookie cups!

As its the summer holidays I was trying to think of new things to make for the children and these are what I came up with.

Its a basic soft cookie dough recipe and you still roll into balls as you would do with a tray  but you use a muffin tin instead then use a pastry bodger to shape the cup, if you push it down in the centre of the cookie ball, the dough slides up the sides and makes an indent in the centre, you bake for around 20 mins and leave to cool in the tins.  Once cool you slide them out and place on a cooling rack.

I made peanut butter filling for them which consists of smooth peanut butter, butter, icing sugar and milk.

Then all you do is pipe a blob into each cup and scatter with chocolate chips, they would also work with set chocolate ganache which you could scoop with an icecream scoop into the centre.

Cookie dough recipe made 22 of these from:

8oz butter
8oz soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 llb self raising flour

Friday, 17 June 2011

Cake Toppings!

I'm always on the outlook for new things to try and yesterday I popped into Marks and Spencers simply food and headed for the baking section first which I love for the cocoa powder and natural icing sugar both of which are organic and well priced, they now have a new section that is called terribly clever its a range of products that give you the main ingredients in a jar/bottle and then you add a fresh ingredient to them to complete the recipe.

I picked up a jar of butterscotch mousse starter and read the label I couldn't see how it could be turned into mousse as to me mousse is always aerated and fluffy but it did give me an idea as the instructions are clearly labelled on the side of the jar, I thought what if I were to add less double cream to it make it thicker and the flavour more condensed and it would work as a topping for cakes.

I tried this yesterday and this is the result it achieved


I went back today and got more flavours.

If you do have a go at using them the way I did just make sure you store the cake in a cool place or eat it the same day as it has double cream in it and could easily go off in the warm weather.  They would also be excellent used in my cakewich.

I would also like to state that this is my own find and in no way have I been sent these for free or been bribed to write about them for a fee etc, I'm not advertising just wanted to pass on a useful tip I discovered.