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

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Obsession with Pumpkin and the Trip to Waitrose.

American's, please tell your obsession with pumpkin. Ever since I went to New York for a weekend years ago (years and years ago...), I believe it was for Thanksgiving weekend, so all the floats were all floating around the busy streets of the big apple, I saw this thing with pumpkin. 
It was pumpkin pie, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin bars, pumpkin cookies etc. There are tons more I'm sure.
The moment October graces the calender, a flurry of sweet based pumpkin recipes hits the blogs and websites especially on the wonderful blogs of the U.S. In the UK, the general use for pumpkin is for carving or for savoury dishes. In my case pumpkin soup.  
I always used to think how you U.S bakers do it? A pumpkin is too fiddley.
I'm way to lazy to clean out a pumpkin, peel it, cook it and then blend it into a bake-type thing because I knew it wouldn't last because I would moonch it all. 
Then I found out that you U.S readers have the access to canned pumpkin. This stuff takes the hassle out of baking with pumpkin and makes it so easy!
Now I'm going to make a confession here: I was a little jealous of this easy option. I couldn't canned pumpkin anywhere locally. 
This all changed when I went shopping recently in Waitrose and if anyone who has been to a Waitrose supermarket, will know what I mean when I say that it is considered a foodies paradise. 
 I mean check this out: gold leaf? I mean why would you want to eat this? Gold is for wearing, not for eating in my eyes. And then the booze! OMG Earl Grey and Lemon Gin and Salted Caramel vodka?!
I'm not a big drinker. Lets make that clear. But how much would you like to order a salted caramel vodka shot at the local pub?

But back to the baking story. I then found these on the shelves. 
Awe-strucked I grabbed what I could carry and ran to the till. So I wanted to find a recipe to test out this canned pumpkin. I've got the Complete Magnolia Cookbook which was my first baking book but it was in cups. I don't do cups, I'll always be a grams girl and I'll die a grams girl. Its not that I refuse to use cups, I just don't understand it. 

Recipe Name: Pumpkin Pecan Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe translated from Cups to grams The Complete Magnolia Cookbook)
Recipe-Makes 24 large bars:
·       180g plain flour, sifted
·       1  teaspoon baking powder, sifted
·       1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, sifted
·       1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
·       ¼ teaspoon salt, sifted
·       305g canned pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s
·       280g golden caster sugar
·       180ml vegetable oil
·       3 large eggs
·       60g toasted pecans, chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting:
·       288g icing sugar, sifted
·       200g cream cheese
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       3 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus a little extra to grease the baking tin

To decorate:
·       60g toasted pecans, chopped

·       Wooden spoon/ spatula/ Electric whisk
·       Bowl x 2
·       Jug
·       Baking tin lined with greased and lined with silicone paper
·       Baking sheet
·       Sieve
·       Can opener

1.    Pre-heat the oven to180c/350f/Gas Mark 4 and place the pecans on a baking sheet for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
2.    Grease the baking tin with a little butter and line with silicone paper.
Step 4. The finished icing sugar
3.    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. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
4.    Gradually the rest of the icing sugar until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
5.    In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Pop this to one side. 
Step 5. The pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs
6.    In the other bowl, on medium speed if using an electric hand whisk, beat together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs until smooth.
Step 7. The dry ingredients all mixed together
7.    Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Then mix in the pecans.
The Pumpkin cake after!
The pumpkin batter before

8.    Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into centred of the pan comes out clean.
The finished product!

9.    Remove from the oven and  allow to cool completely before icing. 

After baking these wonderful bars and tasting them I can now understand why you U.S readers love baking with pumpkin. Have you readers got any other pumpkin baking recipes that you swear by? 


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Bake On! Penny x
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