Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas and Banoffee Cupcakes Recipe

2 days before Christmas and I'm watching the London news as I type and the weather is not looking good. 
90 mph winds and heavy rain, not the best start to Christmas. You want to snuggle up inside with a blanket with a good Christmas film- I'm watching this, which I got for my secret santa gift at work:

Because I'm very very lucky in saying that I'm ahead with my university work! Which means I can take a little break at the festive season. Thank goodness I need a break from the work. 

I'm back in the big smoke aka London, so I've got some time to have coffee with friends, dinner with my family and to do some baking! I wanted to make something a little different. I made banana cupcakes with a caramel buttercream-so banoffee cupcakes! Very yum. 
If you've never heard of banoffee, its an English dessert which has a crumbly biscuit base or pastry base with toffee made from condensed milk, sliced banana and whipped cream. It's a little old school but very tasty!

Banoffee Cupcakes Makes 24 cupcakes (Recipe inspired by The Primrose Bakery Book)

  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 500g golden caster sugar
  • 4 large lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 baking powder
  • 8 ripe bananas, mashed with fork or broken into small pieces (riper the better)

Caramel buttercream:

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 135ml/9 tbsp semi skimmed milk
  • 360g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Christmas sprinkles and glitter
  • Sieve
  • Muffin tins lined with 12 cupcake wrappersx 2
  • Heavy based saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Piping bag fitted with a star nozzle
  • Electric hand mixer/ worktop mixer (which I used this time)
  • bowl x 2
  • Masher
  • tablespoon
  • teaspoon
For the cupcakes:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180c/Gas mark. Line muffin tin with muffin cases
    Step 2. Creamed butter and sugar
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with electric whisk until pale and smooth.
    Step 3 The batter with all the eggs added
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition.
  4. Add vanilla extract and beat again.
    Step 5. The Cake batter with the flour added
  5. Gradually add the flour and baking powder and beat until well combined.
    Step 6. Mashed banana
    Step 6. The finished batter
  6. Mash the bananas up and add them to the mixture and beat until all combined.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases, filling about 3/4 of the way full. 
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes.
  9. Turn out onto a wire rack and wait for them to be completely cold before icing.
To make the buttercream:
Step 1. Butter, milk and sugar
  1. Combine the butter, milk and brown sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and put on the hob over a high heat. 
  2. Stirring continuously, bring the mixture to a boil.
    Step 3. Allow to boil
  3. Allow it to boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in half of the icing sugar
    Step 4. Add the rest of the icing sugar
  4. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then add the rest of the icing sugar and vanilla extract.
    Step 5. Thick and runny icing
  5. Stir until thick and slightly runny. (if it starts to set, put in a microwavable bowl and put on for a few seconds until runny and beat a little. If you need to add a little milk)

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!
Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 6 December 2013

Gluten-Free Birthday Chocolate Cake with a Vanilla Heart

Gluten free cakes. No matter how you want to try gluten free products, in my opinion, aren't as good as the real thing. I was asked to bake a gluten free chocolate cake for a good friend. I like a challenge! It was also a good excuse to use the Tasty-Fill Cake tin from Wilton, that I shoved in the back of the baking cupboard, which I recommend for a special occassion. So this is a nice excuse to back an epic birthday cake which had a heart of buttercream.
I've tried doing this with cake carving last year,which I think was my first baking post (aww memories). It was the hidden heart cake which needed some practice but otherwise tasty! 
While I have you I completely recommend using Doves Farm Gluten Free flour as the end cake result was really good for a gluten free cake. 

Recipe: Make a giant cake (Recipe adapted from Cupcakes from Primrose Bakery)
·       230g dark chocolate at least 70% cocoa solids
·       120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       350g golden caster sugar
·       3 large eggs, separated
·       370g Doves Farm Gluten-Free Plain flour, sifted
·       2 teaspoons gluten free baking power
·       1 ½ teaspoons gluten free bicarbonate of soda
·       ½ teaspoons salt
·       4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       500ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
·       2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

·       220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       120ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
·       2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·       8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
·       1kg icing sugar, sifted
·       175g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
·       225g unsalted butter
·       1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, room temperature
·       1teaspoon vanilla extract
·       250g icing sugar, sifted
·       Bowl x3
·       Mixer/wooden spoon
·       Measuring Jug
·       Sieve
·       Teaspoon
·       Tablespoon
·       Palette knife
·       Light oil spray for greasing the tin
·       Heatproof bowl
·       Saucepan filled with water
·       Metal spoon
·       Disposal piping bag
·       Scissors
1.    Pre-heat the oven to 170c fan/190c/375f/Gas Mark 5 and grease the tin with the light oil spray.
Step 2. melt the chocolate in a bain marie
2.    Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
Step 3. Cream the butter and sugar
3.    In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which should 3-5 minutes using an electric mixer. Put the egg yolks into the creamed mixture and beat well.
Step 4. Add the melted chocolate to the creamed mix
4.    Add the melted chocolate to the creamed mixture and beat well.
Step 5&6. Combine the dry bits and milk and vanilla
5.    Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in separate bowl all sieved together.  
6.    Combine the milk, and vanilla extract in a jug.
7.    Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added.
8. Clean your whisk!
The Unwhisked Egg Whites
Soft peak egg whites
9. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with a clean whisk, until soft peaks form.
Step 10 the finished batter
10. Carefully fold the egg whites with a metal spoon into the cake batter.
11. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes. Insert a skewer in the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean its done.
12. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about an 1 hour  before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once completely cool, you can ice the cake.
13.  To assemble use a palette knife to spread the icing in the grooves and spread until level.
14.  Put the cakes on top of one another. Then ice the outside of the cake with chocolate icing, making sure that it’s covered, even and nicely iced.
15.Put some of the vanilla buttercream in piping  bag and cut a tiny hole. Start writing your message on top of the cake and top with popping candy and chocolate hearts or other decorations.

  I was so scared it wasn't going to work and then my friend cut it and....
Wow! Heart of Vanilla! My friend did have a wonderful birthday. I was invited on her night out and it was a wonderful night out. I hope you had a great birthday Zoe and I hope you loved the cake! (I'm in the star dress with the fading purple hair. Yes I've done it again. Thats 4 times my hair has been purple in my little lifetime).  
Also I hope your planning your Christmas baking! Check out the siggie below featuring my Christmas dress! 
Merry Christmas Bakers!
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas Countdown Feature

Remember that interview for Gourmandize I did awhile back? Well more amazing news, I'm going to be featured for the Christmas Countdown! Watch this space! The recipe featured is my Christmas Yule Log.The recipe is already on the site here.
Bake On!

Bake On! Penny x

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

When Baking Goes Bad- With Good Results 'Fake-aroon' biscuit Recipe

Sometimes baking goes bad. I mean it goes seriously bad. Sometimes it hard to see the positive. 
I attempted to make macaroon's but it went badly. I'm talking just awful looking biscuit things, there aren't even worth presenting to people because their that bad. Oh dear...
It was my first time making macaroons so I wasn't sure what to expect or do and also down to a badly written recipe I found. So it was a mixture of things, I'm hoping to really work on on macaroons at one stage but at least now I've discovered a recipe that uses up some bits that are lingering in the food cupboards:
I've dubbed these: Fake-aroon biscuits

Recipe: Makes 20 biscuits
·       175g icing sugar
·       125g ground almonds
·       3 large eggs
·       75g caster sugar
·       A pinch of salt
·       Your choice of food colouring pastes (I used purple, pink, blue colourings)
·       Food processor
·       Electric whisk
·       Large metal spoon
·       Knife
·       Baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
·       Disposable Piping bag x 3
·       Bowl x 5
        Wire rack
1.    Blend the icing sugar and ground almonds in the food processor until very fine.
2.    Whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.
3.    Gradually whisk in the caster sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy.
4.    Carefully fold in the ground almond and icing sugar into the egg whites.
5.    Split the mix into 3 small balls and add the food colour to each.
6.    Carefully spoon the fakaroon mixture into each piping bag and pipe small round about ½ an inch away from each other. This is so they don’t run into one another.
7.    Leave the fakaroons to stand for 15 minutes to form a skin
8.    Heat the oven to 160c/325f/Gas Mark 3 while the fake-aroons are resting.

9.    Bake for 15 minutes until firm. While the fake-aroons are still warm, sandwich them together to form a macaroon shape. Cool completely on  wire rack. 

    So I think the lesson here is never be discouraged if you make a mistake because in the end they may taste great!

Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Happy Halloween 2013 Bakers

Reading all the lively and seasonal recipes and posts based on one of my favourite holidays. Thats halloween of course! Dios de los muertos is another favourite... and there's Christmas.... do birthdays count then?
Back to the subject at hand, sadly this year I havent had the chance to bake for Halloween. I know its bakery blasphemy but I've been bogged down with university work. Being the last year, its the toughest I've had to face. Super fun coursework includes:
*Business Research Product on female chefs
*Stragetic Management Report on Starbucks
*Stragetic Marketing Report on Tesco
* Working on the Slow Food society
So its pretty hectic at the moment. I have no outside life at the moment. But on the plus side I did do enough baking last year to make up for it. Heres the links for last years Halloween baking:
*Orange juice Cupcakes
* Day of the dead cupcakes
* Ginger Cupcakes with a Ginger frosting
So whats happening to the student who's not really that into boozing it up in her adult life and is too old for trick or treating (too many people asking where the kid is and I reply oh I guess that me. They give you a sad look), I'll be watching horror films back to back and scare myself stupid or go on a ghost walk. It depends on how cold it is outside!
Happy Halloween and... dont have nightmares....
Bake On!

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Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 25 October 2013

Horror Film Gory Cupcakes Recipe

Its less then a week until Halloween, I hope you all have fantastic plans. My plans to celebrate is with cupcakes. But not just cute little cupcakes...
Be warned- This post contains blood like decoration and if your  a little faint hearted or a bit weird with blood then look away now.

Coming to your kitchen soon! You wont be able to hide from these yummy yet disturbing treats. They will find you. They wont stop until they have been devoured. Its, its ITS...:
Horror Film Style Gory Cupcakes!!!!

Ahh! Those Poor Sour Patch Kids!!
Ok film time has finished, time for that recipe!
Recipe-Makes 14 Cupcakes:
·       225g plain flour, sifted
·       2  teaspoon baking powder, sifted
·       ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted
·       2 tsp mixed spice, sifted
·       1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, sifted
·       1/2  tsp salt, sifted
·       400g canned pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)
·       80g unsalted butter, melted
·       55g golden caster sugar
·       120ml evaporated milk
·       2 large eggs
·       1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
·       300g icing sugar, sifted
·       200g cream cheese
·       1 teaspoon mixed spice
·       110g unsalted butter, plus a little extra to grease the baking tin
To decorate:
·       Red food colouring
·       Sour Patch Kids with the heads cut off
·       Muffin tin lined with cupcake cases
·       Wooden spoon/ spatula/ Electric whisk
·       Bowl x 2
·       Jug
·       Sieve
·       Can opener
·       Straw

1.    Pre-heat the oven to190c/375f/Gas Mark 5 and line the cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
2.    Make the frosting first as it needs 2 hours to thicken in the fridge.
This will make it easier to spread. To make the frosting, in a large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric whisk/ wooden spoon/ spatula.
3.    Gradually the rest of the icing sugar until the frosting is smooth and creamy. You can make it last however, to make it very gooey and very drippy so it looks halloweeny.
4.    In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Put to one side.   
5.    In the other bowl, on medium speed if using an electric hand whisk, beat together the pumpkin, butter, evaporated milk, vanilla and eggs until smooth.
6.    Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

7.    Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester, until golden and risen. Cool tins for 5 minutes, then place onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure that the cakes are completely cool before icing.
8.    Spoon into icing bag and ice the cupcakes with the gooey icing.

9.    Using the red food colouring, get a straw and splash icing so it looks like blood. Then decorate with sour patch kids cut in half so it looks like a massacre. 

So in a little more detail: How to Bloody Up Your Cupcakes
1. Dip your straw into your liquid food colouring. Cover the top of the straw with your thumb.
2.Hover your straw above your chosen cupcake and release your
thumb so that the food colouring drips onto the cupcake. 
3.This will create a 'blood effect' and that's how you make a gory cupcake! 

In the end you will have a good and gory cupcake that you will be able to eat and Halloween night!

Have a good weekend and a Happy Halloween!

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Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Whatever Happened to that Leftover Pumpkin? Pumpkin Spiced Syrup Recipe

Its the time of year, when I and many, many others, start reaching for the hot drinks. Lattes, hot chocolates, herbal teas, cappucinos. None are safe from me when the cold months set in. 

Last week I had some  leftover canned pumpkin from the pumpkin and pecan bars. I couldn't come up with any recipe that had 120g of canned pumpkin, but I came across a blog, (which now I'm following) completely by mistake, that solved the problem. Stephanie who runs CopyKat recipes had replicated a recipe of the well sought out: Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte. I don't want to spoil her back story so just watch her video here. Its just so heart-warming, totally worth watching. 

Anyways,  full credit to her! She did it and she did it well! So here it is from cups to grams. What to do with leftover pumpkin: 

Recipe Name: Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Syrup (Translated from Cups to Gram by me, but the original recipe was invented by wonderful Stephanie at

·       600ml water
·       ¼ teaspoon mixed spice
·       1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
·       ½ teaspoons ground ginger
·       225g caster sugar
·       3 tablespoons of canned pumpkin puree (I used the leftover I had from the Pumpkin and Pecan bars)
·       Medium sized saucepan
·       Wooden spoon
·       Fine Sieve
·       Air tight containers

Step 1. Spices and Water combined
1.    Combine the spices and water in the saucepan.
Step 2. Bring the water to the boil
2.    Bring the water to a boil and then turn down the water with spices to simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 3. Sieve the contents into a jug
3.    Strain the spices out by pouring the water through a fine sieve and into a clean jug.
Step 4. Pumpkin Time
4.    Put the syrup back into a pan and mix in the sugar and pumpkin.
5.    Simmer the spiced water for another 10 minutes.
Step 5. Store in airtight container 
6.    Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 weeks. 

I find that about 3 tablespoons in your coffee is perfect. I used the latte packets because I don't drink alot of milk and I don't have a coffee machine. Thats the life of a student I suppose!
Happy Baking!

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Bake On! Penny x
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