Category Archives: Cakes

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

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Christmas cake

Lottie’s Christmas Cake

Lottie’s Christmas Cake

My blog has seen two Christmases now and here are some of the Christmas bakes I have posted so far: Lebkuchen – wonderful soft, spiced German biscuits. Christmas Cupcakes – decorated with snowflakes, holly, bows and glitter. Mince Pies – a Christmas favourite with cranberries. Chocolate Yule Log – a must have at Christmas. Orange Kugelhopf Cake – a German orange cake perfect for Christmas. Gingerbread house – this has to be done every year! Stollen – fruity bread with marzipan inside, a favourite this time of year.

This year I will be posting a few of my own Christmas recipes including Christmas Cake, Almond and Orange mince pies and German stollen. The first thing that has to be made though is the Christmas Cake, if you haven’t made yours yet then make sure you do very soon as you need plenty of time to feed it with alcohol before decorating it. My Christmas Cake is packed with  my favourite dried fruits including raisins, apricots and figs, as well as plenty of my favourite glacé cherries. It is lightly spiced and subtly flavoured with almond extract and chopped almonds. This recipe will make one large 8 inch cake, although I split mine to make a 6 inch cake and a couple of miniature cakes to give as gifts. I will be posting soon on ways to decorate your Christmas Cake with fruit and nuts and with marzipan and icing. Now time to get baking!

Christmas cake

For this Christmas cake you will need (makes 1 8 inch cake):

500g currants
180g sulatanas
180g raisings
75g glace cherries halved
50g chopped dried apricots
50g chopped dried figs
50g mixed peel
7 tbsp brandy
50g chopped almonds
pinch salt
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
225g unsalted butter
100g light soft brown sugar
125g dark soft brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp almond extract

Start 12 hours before you want to bake the cake. Put all of the dried fruit including cherries and mixed peel into a large bowl and add the brandy. Mix well, cover and leave for 12 hours.

Once the fruit has been soaked you can make the cake. Preheat the oven to 140C. Grease and line a cake tin. In a large bowl whisk the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Gently fold the flour, salt and spices in. Now add all of the fruit, along with the nuts, treacle, zest and almond extract and fold together.

Dried fruit

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake at 140C. If you have made an 8 inch cake this will take approx 4 hours. A 6 inch cake will take approx 3 hours. Keep an eye on the cake and if it starts to brown to quickly put a double circle of greaseproof paper on top of it. The cake will be done when a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for half an hour before removing it and leaving on a wire rack to cool.

cake

Once the cake has cooled use a skewer to make small holes over the top of the cake, drizzle a couple of spoons of brandy over the top of the cake. Wrap it up and store in an airtight container. Keep feeding it with brandy like this every few days until you come to ice it.

Feed cake with brandy

Happy Christmas Baking!

Lottie xx

2 cupcakes

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Someone asked me the other day as we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery just why cupcakes are so popular. It’s true, we really do have an obsession with cupcakes. While macarons, whoopie pies and marshmallows have all had their go and tried to become the ‘new thing’, the cupcake always wins. There are small (well kind of) and everyone loves little individual cakes but I think the real win is in their variation. There is a cupcake to suit everybody. Whatever flavour you want be that lemon, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, the list goes on. Covered in whatever frosting you like …. ganache, cream cheese icing, buttercream. Then of course they can be decorated however you want, be it with a quick dash of sprinkles or more elaborately with little fondant figures. It is no wonder everybody loves a cupcake. And that’s why when we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery we couldn’t help but be tempted inside by row upon row of absolutely perfect looking cupcakes and choose our individual, just what we want, cakes. Another thing…cupcakes are great fun to make at home and with a piping bag and a bit of simple decoration, very easy to make look professional.

vanilla and chocolate cupcakes

This recipe is for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, for that time when you can’t decide which you want. The chocolate sponge is dark and moist and is covered with a swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing. I finished these cakes with simple pink daisy, made from fondant icing.

Cupcake

To make the chocolate sponge (12 cupcakes) you will need:

110g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
125g caster sugar
45g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
125ml whole milk
65ml sunflower oil
125ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, add the sugars, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well. In another bowl beat together the egg, milk and sunflower oil. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The cake mix will be very runny so pour it into a jug so you can pour it out into the baking cases. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one half to two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 -25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate cupcakes

Now to make the icing, you will need:

125g full fat cream cheese (cold)
175g unsalted butter (room temp)
450g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter. If you are using an electric whisk or stand mixer then you might want to cover the bowl and whisk with a tea towel while you do this bit to avoid getting icing sugar everywhere. Now add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and whisk again. You want to mix until the ingredients are just combined, if you whisk it too much then the icing will go runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. Fill a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (I used the Wilton 1M nozzle – my favourite as I’m sure you know by now!) and pipe big swirls of frosting on to your completely cooled cupcakes. Finish with whatever decoration you fancy!

Tray of cupcakes

2 cupcakes

And while we are on the topic of cupcakes here are a few cupcakes I came across recently:

How absolutely amazing are these gorgeous cupcakes that I found in the Whole Foods Market in Kensington!

Flower cupcakes

And have you ever seen so many red velvet cupcakes in one place as at The Hummingbird Bakery in Soho??

Hummingbird Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Cupcake Baking!

Lottie xx

Lemon and blackberry cake

Lemon and Blackberry Cake

Everybody loves lemon cake, you can’t go wrong with it. This makes it the perfect option to take to a social gathering, in this case I took this cake along to my amateur dramatic group Summer BBQ. That’s the other thing about lemon – a perfect lovely summery flavour. As it has been approaching the end of summer blackberries have been coming into season and their lovely tart sweetness pairs deliciously with the citrus zing of lemons. Sadly these weren’t berries that I picked brambling, but I can’t wait to get out brambling and make lots of delicious blackberry bakes! The use of blackberries in a lemon cake also creates a great visual contrast with the pale yellow of the lemon icing to the dark juicy whole blackberries hidden inside the cake.

Lemon and blackberry cake

To make this lemon and blackberry cake:

For the sponge:

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
zest of 2 lemons (unwaxed)
splash of milk
100ml lemon juice
100g caster sugar

Flowers

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one. Add the flour and fold into the mix with a spatula or metal spoon. Fold in the lemon zest and 1 tbsp milk. Spoon the batter into 3 greased and lined 6 inch cake tins, dividing the mixture equally. Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for 15 to 20 minutes. Once baked leave in the tins to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on wire racks. Meanwhile heat the lemon juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Pierce the cakes with a skewer several times and brush the syrup over the cake, infusing it with the lovely lemon flavour. Leave to cool completely before icing.

Cake layer

For the icing: (the use of lemon curd is inspired by Peggy Porschen’s Lemon Limoncello Cake and it works so well):

250g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
100g lemon curd

Fresh blackberries
White ready to roll icing to make the daisies.

To make the icing put the butter (at room temp) and icing sugar in a bowl and beat well. Add the lemon curd and mix until well combined.

Layers

 

Use the icing to sandwich the layers of cake together, adding the whole blackberries in between the layers too. Use the remaining icing to cover the cake, giving it nice straight sides and finishing the top with a swirl.

The cake

 

You can use any remaining blackberries around the outside of the cake and use some fondant icing to make some daisies to finish off the top of the cake. Then you can enjoy!

slice

 

Lottie xx

And for those of you that don’t know I am very excited that I have a recipe published in the Macmillan CancerLittle Book of Treats‘. You can buy it for £4 in Marks and Spencer Cafes and support a fantastic cause, it is a lovely book with lots and lots of delicious recipes inside. You could also host a Macmillan Coffee morning, for more information visit the website.

I have linked this recipe up to the Four Seasons Food Challenge due to the autumnal blackberries in this cake. This is hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg.

fsf-autumn

 

Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry and Chocolate Cupcakes

Strawberries are everywhere at the moment, made famous by Wimbledon’s strawberries and cream, they are the perfect summer fruit. Therefore also the perfect fruit to use in your baking this summer! I can’t seem to get enough of strawberries right now but chocolate and strawberry are a perfect combination.

I finished University recently, finished 6 years of medical school and had a lovely graduation day (you can see a picture of me on my graduation day below) earlier this month at Royal Festival Hall as well as a graduation ball at the Tower of London. A fantastic end to an amazing 6 years! During my last placement I had promised my class that I would bake them something and bring it in, I made them 12 of these strawberry and chocolate cupcakes and 12 orange and lemon cupcakes and then transported them across London in my amazing 24 cupcake carrier! These cupcakes are chocolate sponge iced with a strawberry cream cheese frosting topped with a strawberry and a drizzle of melted chocolate.

Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

For the cupcakes I based the chocolate cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook as I find this Hummingbird recipe works very well every time, it is also a lovely moist chocolate cake. I used it in my very first blog post – Black Forest Cupcakes and also for these Christmas cupcakes. This time I adjusted the measurements of the ingredients to give a slightly bigger cupcake.

Cupcakes

To make 12 cupcakes you will need:

150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
210g caster sugar
2.5 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter (softened slightly)
180ml whole milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and beat slowly until the mixture looks sandy. You can do this with your fingers if you prefer, rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients. Whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together and pour half of this into the flour mix in the bowl. Beat well before adding the remaining milk and egg mix and beating again until well combined. The mixture should be smooth. Pour or spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake cakes until about two thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C. When they are done they should be bouncy to touch. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Chocolate cupcakes

To make the strawberry cream cheese frosting (I used this recently without the strawberry on some vanilla and raspberry cupcakes) you will need:

200g unsalted butter (softened)
200g cream cheese
500g icing sugar (sifted)
3 tbsp strawberry purée (made from fresh strawberries)
pink food colouring (I use the Sugarflair pastes)

Start by making the strawberry purée with a handful of fresh strawberries. There is no need to cook the strawberries first, using a food processor purée the strawberries. If you don’t have a food processor or blender just use an electric hand whisk. Once you have made a purée push it through a fine sieve to remove the little strawberry seeds that coat the strawberries on the outside.

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined and then add the cream cheese and beat well. Finally add the strawberry puree and pink food colouring until you get your desired colour. If you are using the pastes, a little goes a long way. Beat well but don’t over mix or the frosting will go runny. If this happens you can add more icing sugar or you can leave the frosting in the fridge to firm up so that you can pipe it.

Strawberry frosting

Now it is time to assemble the cupcakes! Use a piping bag fitted with your favourite nozzle (I used the Wilton 1M to create a Mr Whippy style swirl) to pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top each cake with half a strawberry and drizzle with melted chocolate. Leave the chocolate to set before serving. Enjoy some lovely fruity, summery cupcakes!

Cupcakes on stand

And here is a picture of me with my siblings on my graduation day, it was such a lovely day and a great way to end 6 years. Hope you like the shoes! On to the next chapter!

GraduationLottie xx

PS. I am entering these fruity cupcakes into this month’s Tea Time Treats and this month’s Calendar Cakes as theme for both is fruit! Tea Time Treats is hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked. Calendar Cakes is hosted by Laura Loves Cakes and Dolly Bakes.

calendar-cakes

tea time treats