Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Passion and Bizenghast RPG

Sorry to say that this is not a baking post. But it’s about passion, and that’s cool because the blog is called: Cupcakes, Cake and Passion. (clues in the name)And also its my blog and I post what I likes, so nah.

However, this post is super major important. Have you ever been so passionate about something that you would do anything to see it? I am passionate about loads of things: baking, cakes, food in general.  

But did you know I adore manga and anime? NO! I bet you didn’t.
Well 10 years ago, I walked into an Ottakar’s bookshop (remember those? The shop is called Waterstones now!) and found that small little section of manga books. It was 4 shelves of manga and I had the hard choice of which one should I purchase with my hard earned (ironing, cleaning my room and studying) pocket money as I was only 12. 

Honestly, I was intimated by the choice as some were romance and kind of cutesy and too girly. I mean girly is fine, but even I had to pass on these books.

I can recall looking over the books for a long time thinking: I must make an investment, if I don’t like the story of the book, I won’t read the rest!

And then I thought about food. But then something magical (and clumsy) happened. As I was putting a couple of books back onto the shelf, I knocked all the books off and I madly rushed to shove them back. Then I picked up this book…

The Violin Girl (which I dubbed Dinah at the time) really caught my attention as it was so delightfully strange, which was right up my alley and it still is. Even the name Bizenghast was appealing, I can’t remember why, but I’ve never ever looked back.

After that first Bizenghast, I got hooked.  I had to keep up with the adventures of the Bizenghast crew. So the fandom seed was successful planted.  I have been a huge fan of M. Alice LeGrow (aka Marty) ever since and her crazy attitude and amazing artwork inspired me to try drawing too! I often use her work as inspiration.

10 years later, I have all 8 bizenghast books, a letter from Dinah, 3 of the Riddle Road Books, a continuation of the Bizenghast books, with number 4 on the way, a little cuddly Edrear! (I had such a crush on Edrear and now I have my own Edrear to cuddle) and that’s just the Bizenghast stuff!

So it’s from this crazy fandom is why I’m showing my support for this in new venture in the Bizenghast world. Cosmic Forces, M.Alice LeGrow  and Tokyo Pop are joining together to introduce the Bizenghast Role Playing Game (RPG). Now this game looks epic but it can’t be made without your help. The product needs the funding before it can go ahead.  I suggest you watch the promotional video and you’ll see that this game will be absolutely worth it! Since its Kickstarter as well you’ll not only get a copy of the game but even more rewards when you donate!

You’ll be funding a great game and get rewards. What more could you ask for?! You can donate from as little as $2 which is less than a cup of coffee (at least in the UK that is).  

I’ve donated $100 (£60 I believe) because that’s all I can afford as I’m still a student and that’s because I’m passionate about Bizenghast. I would love to donate more because I love the series and I remember that feeling of picking up that first Bizenghast and thinking: this story is a good one, why has not one done this before? The artwork is amazing and I can totally relate to Dinah! I wish I could be in this story.

I’d like to think that I’m not here to advertise but rather to draw attention to a great series that I’ve loved for years and that I’m really passionate about.

Show that you care by supporting this project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cosmicforces/bizenghast-video-game
Follow the antics of the artist: http://malicelegrow.tumblr.com/

Many thanks for reading and Bake On!

(FYI: This post is purely based on my own opinion and I haven’t been paid to say any of this. I’m just a super snaky fan of Bizenghast and would love love LOVE to see the game made!) 

Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

No Bake Rice Crispie Pops

A cake pop mould, lots of cereal, and a desperate need for a break from university work. This recipe was born with a mad idea that you don't want to get too much into baking because work is waiting... I must thank one of my work colleagues who was the inspiration behind it. Many thanks Ali, Fab idea! 
This is what you get, a crispy, chocolately pop of goodness sprinkled with goodness (or sprinkles or whatever you have at hand.) It doesn't take that long and its ideal for kids to make as well as there's no oven involved. 

Recipe: Makes around a generous 14
·       95g Rice crispie cereal
·       453g Good quality milk chocolate, plus 735g good quality milk chocolate for dipping
·       Sprinkles like popping candy, heart sprinkles glitter its up to you completely.
·       Heatproof Bowl x 1
·       Bowl for various sprinkles
·       Wooden spoon
·       Lolly pop sticks
·       Cake pop mould
·       Microwave  
·       Greaseproof paper
1.    Break 453g of 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. Alternatively microwave for 30 seconds bursts until completely melted.
2.    Mix the rice crispies into the chocolate.
3.    Spoon the mixture into one half of the cake pop moulds. Do the same for the second half.
4.    Quickly sandwich the two halves together and stick the lolly sticks in the top where the hole it. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
5.    While waiting set up your sprinkles into a bowl and greaseproof paper ready for the chocolate pops to dry. So you've got a little production line going.
6.    Pop the chocolate pops out carefully.
7.    Melt the 735g of chocolate, in the same way for step one.

8. One at a time, dip the pop into chocolate and wait until the excess has come off.

    9. Dip into your sprinkles and place onto greaseproof paper until completely dry.

Bake on (or No-Bake On...in this case)
Bake On! Penny x

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Happy Pancake Day!

Happy Pancake day! Make these no fuss pancakes and top with sweet, savoury or indifferent toppings. Bacon and chocolate works... but concoction will you come up with?

Recipe: Pancakes (Makes 6 pancakes or more)
·       110g plain flour
·       Pinch of salt
·       2 eggs
·       250ml milk
·       50g butter, for frying
·       Bowl
·       Whisk
·       Frying pan
·       Large palette knife
·       Jugs
·       Sieve
1.    Sieve flour into a bowl and add salt.
2.    Make a well in the middle, add the egg and ½ of the milk.
3.    Whisk until the lumps have disappeared. Then add the rest of the milk and whisk until the mixture looks runny.
4.    Put into a jug and rest for an hour at room temperature.
5.    Heat the butter in a saucepan to coat. Make sure it’s not too oily. Pour a little of the batter into the saucepan, so has a thin layer of batter.
6.    When the pancake begins to blister, flip over using a palette knife. Cook on the other side, until a light brown colour.
7.    Serve hot with sugar, lemon, chocolate sauce, bacon, the cat etc. Be creative. 
Make sure if your flipping pancakes make sure you don't hit the ceiling >.< (I did twice erg.)

Bake On! Penny x

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Candied Bacon Cupcakes (The first sweet and savory cupcake on this blog)

I'm a firm believer in sweet cupcakes, the clue is in the name. CUPCAKE. It's a cake. Cakes are sweet!
So this is why I felt at one point, that savoury cupcakes just don't work. But there is a growing trend in savoury cupcakes, with strange and wonderful ingredients. 
Often there, were times when I have to stand up and shout: "NO! I do traditional sweet cakes! Not crazy sushi tuna with wasbi buttercream! No! What ever happened to a good quality chocolate cupcake?! NO! DON'T RUIN CUPCAKES OK?"
As the years have gone by my opinion is slowly beginning to change. I do believe in experimenting. Thinking about it from a chef-y point of view, it can lead to some amazing discoveries. Like peanut butter and jelly (jam to us in the UK), who would have thought to combine the two? I mean maybe a sushi cupcake is a little over the top (if you find a sushi cupcake or happen to make one please post the link underneath and it will be something to laugh about later on). In any case, here's my take on the sweet and savory cupcake, cant beat bacon and chocolate so together there a match made in food goodness.  

Candied Bacon (recipe adapted from The Three Kitcheneers  )
·       450g thick cut bacon (about 12 slices)
·       150g dark brown sugar
·       1 tsp cinnamon
·       A  pinch of cayenne pepper 

For the Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Cupcake Heaven Magazine):
·       150g unsalted butter, room temperature
·       150g caster sugar
·       ½ tsp vanilla extract
·       3 large eggs
·       150g self raising flour
·       ½ of the candied bacon, chopped

Dark Chocolate frosting (recipe adapted from Cupcake Heaven Magazine):
·       150g unsalted butter, room temperature
·       285g icing sugar, sieved
·       25g cocoa powder, sieved
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, sieved

·       Wire rack x 2
·       A sheet of spare baking sheet
·       Baking sheet or baking tray covered with foil
·       Electric hand whisk
·       Chopping board
·       Sharp knife
·       Bowl 1x small, 1x big
·       Sieve
·       12 holed muffin tray lined with 10 cupcake papers
·       Measuring jug
·       Fork
·       Metal spoon
·       Piping bag or palette knife

1.    Preheat oven to Gas Mark4/ 180c/350f . Line a 12 holed muffin tray with cupcake papers. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2.    Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne in a small bowl.
3.    Place bacon on a wire rack over an aluminium covered baking sheet and sprinkle the sugar mix on top of the bacon. Patting down as you go.
4.     Place the bacon in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. (Bake longer if needed, as not all bacon is the same thickness) Once caramelised, let cool on another wire rack for about 30 minutes. (Don’t be tempted to start eating the bacon goodness, there’s a serious burn risk with hot sugar )
5.     Chop the bacon up as thinly as you can.
6.    To start the cupcakes, place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat the mixture with an electric hand whisk until it becomes light and fluffy.
7.    Lightly, beat the eggs in a jug then slowly add to the mixture whilst on medium speed, beating well after each addition.
8.    Sift the flour into the cake mix and add ½ of the chopped bacon, and fold in using a metal spoon until just combined.
9.    Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, until 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 mins.
10. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
11.For the buttercream: Place the butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper and vanilla into a bowl and using a hand-held whisk beat slowly. Once the ingredients are beginning to combine, turn up the speed of the electric whisk and beat the frosting until light and fluffy.
12.  Pipe or spread the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream and garnish with ½ of the chopped candied bacon.

So that's my first attempt at sweet and savory cupcake. 
Have an excellent weekend

Bake On! Penny x
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