Category Archives: Baking

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Lemon and Blackcurrant

Lemon and Blackcurrant Cupcakes

Hello everybody!

I’m sorry it has been a few months since I have posted a blog but now I am back! I have been super busy recently getting engaged, starting wedding planning and starting a new job! However that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to bake so after a short break to regenerate my baking and blogging batteries I am back with lots of lovely treats for you. And it is GBBO season, so what better time to get posting about baking! And not just that I’ve got ideas for lots of posts including lifestyle and travel, so keep your eyes peeled!

Today we have Lemon and Blackcurrant Cupcakes! These gorgeous little cupcakes are simple to make and decorate, look pretty and taste lovely, lemony and summery!

Lemon and Blackcurrant

To make these cupcakes you will need:

6oz butter or margarine
6oz golden caster sugar
6oz self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest 1 lemon

2tbsp caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon

500g icing sugar
250g unsalted butter
3 tbsp blackcurrant jam
ready to roll icing in yellow and violet

Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with muffin/cupcake cases. Beat together the butter/margarine with the golden caster sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs to this mix one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold the flour into the cake mix, mixing gently until well combined. Finish the mixture by adding 1tsp vanilla extract and the zest of 1 lemon. Spoon the mix into the prepared cases until 2/3rds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Heat the juice of 1 lemon with 2 tbsp sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Use a skewer to make half a dozen small holes in the top of each cupcake and spoon the lemon syrup over each cake. Leave the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Blackcurrant icing

To make the icing start with the jam. Gently heat a couple of tablespoons of blackcurrant jam in a saucepan, you don’t want it hot, just a bit more liquid. Pour the liquid jam through a seive so you are left with a smooth jam. Set to one side. Now beat together softened (room temperature) unsalted butter with seived icing sugar. If you are using a stand alone mixture try covering it with a tea towel when you do this to avoid icing sugar flying everywhere. Add 1-2 tbsp milk if necessary to loosen up the mixture. Add the jam a little at a time and mix well until you have acheived your desired colour.

Use a piping bag and nozzle to ice the cupcakes and finish with little flowers made from ready to roll icing. Tada, beautiful summery cupcakes!

Finished cupcakes

eat the cupcakes

With love, Lottie xx

 

 

Easter cake

Chocolate Fudge Marble Cake

I had a bit of a baking fest weekend with my sister this year for Easter, our creations were some pretty huge and tasty hot cross buns and this giant of an Easter Cake. Rather than an Easter cake in the traditional sense it is a chocolate fudge cake but we gave it some Easter-style decorations to suit the occassion! It is a 2 layer cake, made with pink and chocolate marble cake, filled with raspberry jam and chocolate buttercream. It is then covered in chocolate buttercream using a petal technique and finished off with some fondant icing flowers and butterflies and some chocolate mini eggs. I think it is rather pretty!

Easter cake

If you would like to recreate this cake then here is how you do so. We made this in a 6 inch cake tin as I wanted height for the cake but equally it would work in an 8 inch cake tin, it would just be a bit shorter.

For the sponge you will need:

12oz butter or margarine
12oz caster sugar
6 eggs
12 oz self raising flour
milk
cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
pink food colouring

Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl and add the eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Fold in the flour, 4 tbsp milk and the vanilla to the mixture. Now halve the mixture into 2 separate bowls. To one half add pink food colouring until you reach your desired colour. The other half will be the chocolate cake, I like to add the cocoa powder as I go rather than add a set amount, when I reach a chocolate colour I am happy with I stop, so play it by eye when adding the cocoa.

Pour the mixture into two 6 inch cake tins that are greased and lined. I used this tiger stripe technique for the cake marbling, it gives an effective stripy effect and I have posted instructions on how to do it here. You will need a wetter cake mixture than usual, so add more milk to the cake mix until you get a pourable consistency but not too runny. Another option is just to dollop the mixture in alternating pink and chocolate and give it a quick whirl with a skewer to marble it.

Bake the cakes at 180C for about 1 hour, they are done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before trimming the tops so they are nice and flat.

Marble cakes

Cover the top of one cake with raspberry jam (or other jam of your liking).

Jam

To make the chocolate fudge icing you will need:

500g unsalted butter (room temp)
1kg icing sugar (seived)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk
cocoa powder (seived)

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined. Ad the vanilla and milk and cocoa powder, again just add as much cocoa powder as you need to get the chocolatey-ness that you want, adding a little at a time. Beat well.

Cover the top of the other cake with chocolate icing and sandwich the two together.

two layers

Then cover the whole cake in a thin layer of chocolate icing.

Iced cake

Now time to cover the cake in chocolate petals. This is a really easy technique and very effective. Fill a piping bag with icing and snip off the end. Pipe blobs of icing onto the cake  and use a spatula to spread it out to create a petal style. Just push the spatula onto the icing blob and spread in one direction. Repeat until the cake is covered!

Petal technique

Petal icing

Finish off the cake with some chocolate eggs and some fondant flowers and butterflies to make it look pretty!

Chocolate easter cake

Lottie xx

I am linking this post to the We Should Cocoa challenge for this month – Easter. It is hosted by Chocolate Log Blog and Rachel Cotterill.

we should cocoa

Easter nests

Easter Baking Ideas

If you are stuck for something to bake or make this Easter weekend then maybe this will help give you an idea, here are some Easter bakes and makes I have previously blogged!

Yellow chick cupcakes – made by colouring desiccated coconut with yellow food dye and using sweets for the eyes and nose. Simple!

Chick cupcakes

Or classic chocolate nest cupcakes filled with mini eggs!

Easter nests

Or if you are more adventurous and want to make your own chocolate easter eggs, then how about trying these colourful chocolate eggs. Dyed egg shells filled with chocolate! Time consuming and quite fiddly but very effective!

Easter eggs

Optimized-DSC_0510 (2)

If you want to steer away from the chocolate and do some real baking then why not try making this lovely German Easter Bread – Osterzopf – a bit like brioche and flavoured with lemon.

Osterzopf

Or traditional Hot Crossed Buns:

Hot Cross Buns

Or how about this quick and easy version of a hot cross bun – the Hot Crossed Scone!

Hot Cross Scones

Happy Easter Baking!

Lottie xx

Cardamom cake

White Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Cake

Hello bakers! I’m back with a blog for you all! After a busy couple of months I haven’t posted since this mega Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake in February but I have still been very busy baking and have some lovely new recipes to share with you! Today’s recipe is a White Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Bundt Cake. It is light, sweet and zesty and the addition of cardamom gives it a subtle spicy grown up flavour. I made it in a bundt tin as the cake itself is simple and using a bundt tin makes it still look special and is very effective. I glazed the cake with a white chocolate ganache and topped with pistachios and orange zest.

Cardamom cake

 

To make this cake you will need:

250g white chocolate (melted)
250g butter
260g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
15 cardamom pods (or 1tsp ground cardamom)
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
160ml natural yogurt

Start by preheating the oven to 160C and grease and flour a bundt tin.  Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one at a time and mix in the orange zest. Crush the cardamom pods open and use a pestle and mortar to crush the seeds inside so that you have approx 1tsp ground cardamom. Add the flour, cardamom and baking powder and fold into the batter. Now add the juice of an orange and the yogurt and fold in.

Cake mix

Finally add the melted white chocolate and fold into the batter. Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin and bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skew inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Bundt cake

 

Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake is cooling in the pan make an orange syrup to flavour the cake. You will need 100ml orange juice and 2tbsp sugar. Heat the orange juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Use a skewer to make holes in the top of the cake and spoon the syrup over the cake.

Leave the cake to cool

 

Now to make the white chocolate ganache glaze. You will need 100ml double cream and 100g white chocolate, as well as pistachios and orange zest to finish.

Heat the cream gently in a pan, once almost boiling take off the heat and stir in the white chocolate until completely melted. Spoon the ganache over the top of  the cake and leave to drip over the sides. Sprinkle with pistachios and orange zest.

White chocolate orange and cardamom cake

Sliced cake

 

Enjoy and happy baking!

Lottie xx

Coconut and Lime Cake

Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake

Birthdays are the perfect time to experiment with cakes and to make big impressive cakes. It was my Dad’s birthday recently and when I asked him what cake he wanted he said he wanted a lemon cake. Now I do love a lemon drizzle cake but it just wasn’t exciting enough for me, I wanted to make a big layer cake and I have already made a lemon layer cake so wanted to try something new. I know he is a huge fan of coconut so I decided to keep to the citrus theme that he asked for but switched the lemon to lime and combined it with coconut, two flavours that work really well together. It is a 4 layer cake, the sponge is made with coconut milk, lime zest and drizzled with a lime syrup. The cake is covered and filled with coconut buttercream and then I piped soft meringue onto the top and covered the sides with coconut to finish. I’m not going to lie, I was quite proud of this creation and I’m sure I will be recreating it again!

Coconut and Lime Cake

To make this Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake you will need:

12oz butter or margarine
12oz caster sugar
12oz self raising flour
6 eggs
4 tbsp coconut milk
zest of 1 lime

For the syrup:
juice of 2 limes
80g caster sugar

Start by making the sponge. Cream together the butter and the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time beating well. Fold the flour into the mix and finally mix in the lime zest and coconut milk. Divide the mixture between 4 greased and lined sandwich tins and bake in the oven for approx 25 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and move on to making the lime syrup.  Heat the lime juice with the caster sugar in a pan until all the sugar is dissolved. Use a skewer or fork to make some holes in the cakes and drizzle the syrup over the cakes. Leave the cakes to cool completely before icing.

Sponge cakes

For the coconut butter icing:
500g softened unsalted butter
750g icing sugar
2 tbsp coconut milk
100g desiccated coconut (plus more for sides of cake)

To make the butter icing cream the butter and icing sugar together and beat well. Add the coconut milk and desiccated coconut and mix in well. Use the icing to layer the cakes and then cover the cake in a layer of butter icing, trying to get a nice smooth finish.

Layer the cake

Cover with butter icing

To make the meringue put the egg whites and the sugar in a heatproof bowl with 35ml water. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Use a handheld whisk to slowly beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. This will take about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat. The meringue should be thick and glossy. Fill a piping bag with the meringue and pipe onto the top of the cake.

Meringue

 

To finish the cake use a blow torch to give the meringue some colour. Cover the sides of the cake in dessicated coconut  and add a slice of lime to the top of the cake. Tada!

Layer cake

Coconut and Lime Cake

 

Lottie xx

I am entering this post into the One Ingredient Challenge hosted by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen and Laura at How to Cook Good Food.

one ingredient limes

Chocolate valentine cupcakes

Valentine’s Cupcakes – Renshaw Baking Competition

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, time to get thinking about what gifts you are going to buy/make/bake your loved one. Cupcakes make the perfect present so maybe these Valentine’s themed cupcakes will give you some inspiration to make your own! I was recently contacted again by the lovely people at Renshaw Baking who invited me to take part in their Valentine’s Day Baking Competition. Last year I took part in the Royal Baby Competition and made this ‘From Cradle to Crown Cake‘, so I was ready for another competition! The challenge was to ask a loved one to bake something special for Valentine’s Day using Renshaw Baking products we were sent. I asked my lovely sister Rose, who jumped at the opportunity to test out some icing and make some cupcakes! I’m sure you will agree that what she came up with is fabulous! She couldn’t decide which products to use so she went for several of them and came up with three different Valentine’s cupcakes.

So here we have it – Valentine’s Cupcakes for the Renshaw Baking Competition made by my lovely sister Rose!

Valentine's Cupcakes

To make the vanilla cupcakes :

6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz unsalted butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

These are really easy to make, just put all the ingredients in one bowl and use an electric mixer to combine all the ingredients together. Spoon out into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes. Then it is time to ice and decorate!

These first cupcakes are my favourite, they are iced with the Renshaw Baking snip and swirl milk chocolate flavour icing. It is a lovely chocolate fudge flavour and texutre. They are decorated with Renshaw mini chocolate beans, hearts made from Renshaw ready to roll red icing and finished with a sprinkling of edible glitter.

Chocolate valentine cupcakes

These next ones are iced with a delicious Renshaw snip and swirl strawberry flavour icing, decorated with Renshaw Pink and white pearls and finished with a foil wrapped chocolate heart. Beautiful!

Strawberry Valentine's Cupcakes

Finally we have these ones decorated beautifully with a rose. These are iced with Renshaw snip and swirl vanilla icing, decorated with dots of red icing and finished with a handmade rose made from Renshaw ready to roll icing.

Vanilla cupcakes

Here are the beautifully iced cupcakes and the decorations she used.

Iced cupcakes

Renshaw

I hope you agree with me that she has done a fantastic job! Here she is with her cupcake creations:

Rosie and her cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Baking!

Lottie xx

Thanks to Renshaw Baking for sending the icing and decorations.

renshaw

 

 

 

 

Pastries fresh from the oven

Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries

Danish Pastries are a recent addition to my baking repertoire, but after my success with croissants moving on to danish pastries was a natural progression. Again I turned to Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake‘ for advice on how to make a basic danish pastry dough and then I filled them with whatever I wanted. These particular ones are filled with vanilla creme patissiere, flaked almonds and dark chocolate chips. My favourite danish pastries are Pain aux Raisin, really just because I love the shape, so I opted to use the snail shaped swirl for these pastries too. They make take time to make but homemade croissants and danish pastries really are so much better than the ones you buy in the shop, the smell they fill your kitchen with when they are baking is also wonderful and the bonus is that you can add to them whatever you want. You can see my chocolate orange croissants here. Just be prepared as to how much butter both of these doughs really do use!

Danish Pastries

To make these Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries you will need:

For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
2 medium eggs
90ml water
125ml warm whole milk
250g chilled, unsalted butter

For the filling:
100g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
40g cornflour
500ml whole milk
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate chips
100g flaked almonds

To finish:
Beaten egg
Flaked almonds
Apricot jam
200g icing sugar

Start the dough the night before you plan to eat the pastries. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl, mix together. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix until well combined. If making in a mixer leave on a medium speed for 6 minutes, if making by hand then knead the dough for up to 10 minutes. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour remove the dough from the fridge and roll to a rectangle approx 50cmx20cm. Take the butter and flatten it with a rolling pin. You want to make it into a rectangle that will cover two thirds of the dough. You can sandwich the butter between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use the rolling pin to roll it out. Once the butter is flattened place it on top of the bottom two thirds of the dough, it should come almost to the edge. Fold the top third of dough over a third of the butter and then fold the bottom half up over the top. Pinch the edges and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Flatten the butter

After another hour take the dough out of the fridge and put on a floured surface. Have the short end towards you and roll the dough into a 50cmx20cm rectangle again. Fold up one third and then the other third. Chill for another hour. Repeat this twice more, chilling between each turn.

Dough

Now leave the dough in the fridge overnight to rise.

You can make your creme patissiere ahead of time too. Whisk together the sugar, egg yolks (discard the whites) and cornflour until smooth. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla extract. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Pour a splash of this milk onto the egg mixture and whisk together then pour all of it into the milk and stir over a gentle heat. Stir until it becomes thick and then remove from the heat. If you have any lumps don’t worry, just pour the mixture through a sieve to smooth it out. Add the butter, stir in and then leave to cool and chill.

The next day it is time to put all of your hard work into actually making some danish pastries. Take the dough from the fridge and cut in half, you should be able to see lots of lovely layers.

layers

Take one half and roll into a large rectangle with the long edge facing you. Spread the creme patissiere over the dough, leaving a couple of cm clear at the edge closest to you so it doesn’t leak out too much when you roll it. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and chocolate chips over the creme patissiere.

Sprinkle with chocolate

Roll the dough towards you, rolling as tight as you can. Cut the roll into slices approx 3cm thick and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough (you may wish to use a different filling for the second half of the dough – raisins and cranberries with some cinnamon work well sprinkled on the creme patissiere).

Ready to bake

Leave the pastries in a warm spot for approx 2 hours, they should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C, brush the pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes until lovely and golden. While they are in the oven heat a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam and brush the pastries with it as soon as they come out of the oven.

Pastries fresh from the oven

 

To finish mix the icing sugar with a couple of tbsp water and drizzle over the pastries, sprinkle with flaked almonds and enjoy while still warm!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am entering these into this month’s Calendar Cakes as this is me trying something new. This is hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

calendar-cakes

 

Chocolate and blackcurrant cake

Chocolate and Blackcurrant Cake

Happy New Year from Lottie’s Bakes! I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year! Now it is January and time to diet … or time to make a delicious chocolate and blackcurrant cake! First though I have some very very very exciting news …. I got a Kitchen Aid for Christmas! It is beautiful and I love it. It is a lovely pistachio green and is the star of my kitchen. I can’t believe how easy it is to use and I’m sure I make much less mess when I use it! So here it is – say hello! Do you think it is okay to give it a name? Any mixer suitable name suggestions very welcome!

kitchen aid

 

Now it is time to bake – this is the recipe for the very first cake my Kitchen Aid helped me to make! If you have had enough of dried fruit and spices now Christmas is over then why not turn your loyalties back to chocolate and make this delicious Chocolate and Blackcurrant cake. Chocolate and blackcurrant pair together so well, I have used them before in this Brownie base Blackcurrant Cheesecake and I had to use them together again. This cake is a 3 layer chocolate sponge cake, filled with blackcurrant jam and dark chocolate ganache and then covered in dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate and blackcurrant cake

To make this cake you will need:

220g plain flour
200g golden caster sugar
150g soft brown sugar
90g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
250ml whole milk
125ml sunflower oil
1tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water

Good quality blackcurrant jam

To make the ganache:
400ml double cream
400g dark chocolate

Start by making the ganache first, this can be made the day before and left at room temperature to set. Heat the cream gently in a pan, don’t allow to boil but once hot take off the heat and break the chocolate into the saucepan. Stir the chocolate into the cream until melted and you have a thick, glossy ganache. Leave at room temperature to set to a spreadable consistency.

ganache

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined. Mix in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until the batter is well mixed and smooth. Gradually add the boiling water and mix well until it is all combined. The mixture will be very wet but don’t worry it comes out as a wonderfully moist cake. Pour the batter into 3 greased and lined 8 inch cake tins, dividing the batter equally between them. Bake in the oven at 180C for approx 20-30 minutes. To test if the cakes are done insert a skewer, it should come out clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in their tins before removing. Handle the cakes gently as they are very moist.

Once the cakes are completely cool you can start assembling. Use a knife or palette knife to spread a thick layer of blackcurrant jam over one of the layers. Spread ganache over another layer and sandwich the 2 together. Repeat, spreading a layer of blackcurrant and ganache and sandwiching together.

Blackcurrant jam

 

Once the cake is assembled carefully cover the cake in ganache, trying to keep the cake as straight as you can and making sure the icing is spread evenly and smoothly.

Assembled cake

I finished my cake with a dusting of icing sugar using a stencil to create a snowflake design.

Snowflake

 

Happy Baking! Any Kitchen Aid tips and tricks then please send them my way!

Lottie x

Ps. I am entering this cake into this month’s Tea Time Treats. The theme is eggs and guess what, this cake contains eggs! It is hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage.