Category Archives: Cakes

Ruffle icing

From Cradle to Crown – Renshaw Baking Royal Baby Cake Competition

As I am sure you will all know there is a Royal baby on the way! If you don’t know, then where have you been?? It is all quite exciting and what better way to celebrate the arrival of a Royal baby than with cake! I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Renshaw Baking who invited me to take part in their ‘Royal Baby Cake Competition’ and they even sent me the icing and marzipan to do so.  As if that wasn’t incentive enough to get involved in the competition, the first prize is a place in a class at the Peggy Porschen Academy, I couldn’t say no – I would absolutely LOVE to win that! All I had to do next was come up with an idea. I played around with a few ideas, but not knowing if the baby is going to be a boy or a girl made it a little bit more tricky. Last time I made a royal themed cake was for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I used a stencil on that cake, you can can see it here. This time I wanted to use the icing I was sent to create a topper for the cake, this isn’t something I do very often so thought it would be a good chance to get some practice in! In the end I opted for a red, blue, white and gold colour scheme for the cake. Red, white and blue for the Union Jack colours and gold to add a bit of royalty. For the theme of the cake I decided on ‘From Cradle to Crown’, after all this baby may be King or Queen one day! This is the result:

Royal Baby Cake

Top of cake

The cake itself is a fruit cake, I chose to make this for a few reasons, one is that it is traditional and the Royal Family is something that is traditional so I thought it well suited. Another reason is that the fruit in the cake bejewels the cake, especially the glace cherries, again making it suitable for a royal cake. This recipe is a quick and easy fruit cake, you can even alter the fruits that you put in to your taste, I used dried figs, sultanas, raisins and glace cherries.

Cake

To make the cake you will need (makes a 6 inch cake):

120g chopped dried figs
150g sultanas
150g raisins
150g glace cherries (halved)
150g unsalted butter
175g golden syrup
175ml milk
225g plain flour
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
Rum (or brandy or sherry)

Heat the butter, syrup and milk in a pan until they are well combined and the butter has melted, simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the figs, raisings, sultanas and cherries. Mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and eggs. Pour the batter into a greased and lined 6 inch cake tin and bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours at 150C until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Pierce the top of the cake with a skewer several times and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of rum, repeat on the bottom. You can keep feeding the cake with alcohol a couple of times a day until you ice it.

Fruit cake

To decorate you will need:

Apricot jam
Marzipan
White ready to roll icing
Red, blue and yellow icing
Water
Gold lustre powder
Gold ribbon

Now it is time to ice it. I was sent this lovely box of marzipan and icing from Renshaw Baking, it contained a packed of natural marzipan, a packet of white ready to roll icing and a primary colour pack of ready to roll icing that contained blue, red, yellow, black and green icing. Plenty to work with! Renshaw Baking are the royal warrant holders for their almond products so I definitely wanted to include marzipan in the cake. I decided to both fill and cover the cake with marzipan.

Renshaw

Heat the apricot jam gently with a tablespoon of water until it is runny. Cut the cake in half and brush both cut sides of the cake with a little apricot jam. Roll out the marzipan to about 5mm thickness and lay over the bottom half of the cake. Trim the edges and place the top layer on top. Roll out the rest of the marzipan, brush the top and sides of the cake with some more apricot jam and then cover the cake with the marzipan, trimming the edges and smoothing down to give a neat finish.

Marzipan filling

Marzipan

Next cover the cake in white icing, rolling it out to about 4mm, draping it over the cake, smoothing the top and the sides and finishing it by trimming the edges. I used a patterned rolling pin to create texture on the top of the cake and then brushed the top of the cake with gold lustre powder. Make the feet out of red and blue icing, make the soles of the feet and then add little balls of icing for the toes. Make the crown out of yellow icing, brushed with gold lustre and finished with red icing for the jewels. Make the cradle out of white icing, creating a base first, adding a rim around the top and a pillow. Make the baby out of marzipan, a ball for the head and a sausage for the body. Finish it by making a blanket for the baby, use the edge of a metal knife to create a criss cross pattern and brush the blanket with gold lustre powder. Finish both the cradle and the crown with a thin gold ribbon and use the same ribbon around the top of the cake, tying it in a bow.

DSC_0871

Baby

 

Position the baby in the cradle, the footsteps and the crown on the cake so the footsteps lead from the cradle to the crown.

Cake toppers

The final step is to finish the cake off with some ruffled butter icing on the side of the cake in red and blue.

To make the buttericing beat together 200g unsalted butter with 400g seived icing sugar until well combined. Divide the icing into 2 bowls. Add red food colouring to one and blue food colouring to the other and mix well. I like to use paste food colourings. Fill 2 piping bags fitted with petal nozzles with the butter icings. I like to use the Wilton 104 nozzle, it is also good for creating rose petals. Alternate red and blue around the cake moving the nozzle from side to side to create the ruffle as you pipe a line from top to bottom. You can read more about the ruffle piping technique here. The cake is now finished and ready to enjoy if you can bring yourself to cut it!

Ruffle icing

 

Slice of cake

 

Thank you to Renshaw Baking for inviting me to take part in the competition and sending me the icing and marzipan. I found all the products really easy to work with and was very happy with the finish they gave. I also love the colours in the primary colour ready to roll icing pack, they are lovely and vibrant.

Happy Baking!

Lottie xx

 

 

 

Chocolate Lemon Cake

Chocolate Lemon Cake

This weekend I completed the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride, but this time on my lovely new bike! It was a great day, I really enjoying doing it, although it can be hard at times, it was also a great way to celebrate father’s day and to finish the day off I gave my Dad a chocolate and coconut cake. I think he was pleased with it. You are allowed to eat cake after cycling 60 miles! I was looking through some past posts recently and noticed that after I finished the London to Brighton last year I made this Angel Cake, which was rather strange because when we got home from the ride this year my sister had made a lovely Angel Cake, completely without knowing! Here is a picture of it, I love the technique she has used for the icing. As I told you in my last post I got a rather amazing personalised but huuge bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk recently and I have been using it in lots of baking. This post is another one of those recipes! I love chocolate cake but I also like combining chocolate with other flavours in cakes, orange, cherry, beetroot, raspberry but I hadn’t tried lemon before. I didn’t see why it wouldn’t work, orange and chocolate and lime and chocolate work so well and you often get a lemon chocolate in a box of chocolates. I gave it a go and it is now one of my favourite cakes! It is actually inspired by a book by Aimee Bender called The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. She bites into her mother’s chocolate lemon cake and realises she can taste emotions in food, in the case tasting her mother’s despair and desperation. Don’t worry, this cake isn’t sad at all!

Chocolate Lemon Cake

 

This cake consists of 3 layers, a lemon layer sandwiched between 2 chocolate layers. All 3 layers are brushed with a lemon syrup before assembling. The cake is filled and covered in a milk chocolate ganache. The recipe for the chocolate layers of this cake is based on my chocolate fudge cake recipe but this time with the addition of lemon. This recipe will make a 6inch cake. If you only have 8 inch tins then you can either adjust the amounts of use the recipe as it is, it will just give thinner layers so your cake won’t be as tall.

The best way to make this cake is to make the ganache and the sponge the day before assembling the cake, so that the sponges are cold and the ganache is set when it comes to putting the cake together, it will make your life much easier and make for a much neater cake!

To make this cake you will need:

For the chocolate layers:
220g plain flour
100g soft brown sugar
250g caster sugar
90g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
250ml whole milk
125ml sunflower oil
zest of 1 lemon (unwaxed)
250ml boiling water

For the lemon layer:
100g unsalted butter or margarine
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1tbsp milk
100g self raising flour
zest of 1 lemon

For the lemon syrup:
2 lemons
2 tbsp caster sugar

For the milk chocolate ganache:
250ml double cream
300g milk chocolate

Cake

 

Make the ganache first, preferably the day before. Gently heat the double cream in a saucepan, add the milk chocolate and stir well until all the chocolate has melted and it is thick and glossy. Leave to cool and leave to set in the fridge overnight. You want it to be a spreadable consistency to ice the cake.

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line three 6 inch sandwich tins. To make the chocolate layers mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the eggs, milk and oil and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The mixture will be very runny but don’t worry about it, it gives a lovely moist cake. Divide the batter between two prepared tins and bake in the oven at 180C for about 1 hour. They will be done when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the lemon cake beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs and milk and beat well. Stir in the lemon zest and then fold in the flour using a spatula or metal spoon. Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake tin and bake in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes until as skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cakes have cooled trim the tops of the cakes so that they are all equal and have a flat surface. Make the lemon syrup next by gently heating the sugar with the juice of 2 lemons in a saucepan until all the sugar is dissolved. Using a skewer or fork prick some holes in the cakes and using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the cakes with the syrup. Be generous to get lots of lovely lemon flavour! Leave the cakes to cool completely before assembling.

Cake layers

When you are ready to assemble the cake take the ganache out of the fridge. Using a palette knife spread the ganache on top of one of the chocolate layers and place the lemon layer on top of this. Repeat a layer of ganache and place the final chocolate layer on top.

Cake assembly

 

Now cover the outside of the cake with the remaining ganache trying to get as smooth a finish as you can but be gentle so you don’t break the cake. Once the cake is completely covered finish with a sprinkling of cocoa powder, I used a Peggy Porschen style stencil for mine, it is from this pack.  If you are using a stencil brush a light coating of oil on to the side of the stencil you are going to put down onto the cake to avoid it sticking and ruining your design and your smooth finish on your cake.

Sliced cake

I made this cake for some friends when they came round for dinner, this is the only picture I managed to get of the cake before we cut it!

Cake

 

And here I am with my Dad and little (but not so little!) brother at the end of the London to Brighton:

Bike ride

PS. I am entering this into the Tea Time Treats challenge hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage. This month’s theme is Layer Cakes.

 

 

 

Butterfly cupcakes

Raspberry and Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Butterflies

I have this thing for butterflies, I love them. In fact our whole flat is decorated with butterflies, my boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind, he must have a secret love for butterflies too. It is a bit like hide and seek but with butterflies, they are dotted around everywhere!  At the moment you seem to be able to buy butterfly stickers and feather butterflies everywhere, perfect for making the flat prettier. I like to use butterflies to decorate my cakes too, one of my very first posts back in 2011 was in fact some pretty butterfly cupcakes and I adorned this ruffled pink chocolate cake with butterflies too. Recently I came across these wafer paper butterflies on Amazon from Eshack, colourful and realistic looking butterflies that are just perfect for cupcakes! These raspberry and vanilla cupcakes are vanilla sponge cupcakes with a raspberry jam swirl, decorated with two tone cream cheese vanilla frosting.

Butterfly cupcakes

 

To make the cupcakes you will need:

170g butter or margarine (I use Stork)
170g golden caster sugar
170g self raising flour
3 eggs
splash of milk
1tsp vanilla extract
raspberry jam

Start by preheating the oven to 180C and lining a muffin tray with cupcake cases. In a bowl beat together the butter and the sugar until creamy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour to the cake mixture and gently fold in using a metal spoon or a spatula until it is all combined. In a small saucepan gently eat a few tablespoons of the raspberry jam until it is runny. Now spoon the cake mix into the cases until they are half full. Drizzle a spoonful of jam over each cake and top with the rest of the cake mix so that each case is about 3/4 full. Now use a skewer to give each one a swirl. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes or until they are golden and springy to touch. Take out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Jam

Jam swirling

 

 

To make the cream cheese frosting you will need:

200g unsalted butter (softened)
200g cream cheese (I used Philidelphia)
500g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the butter and icing sugar in a bowl until well combined, trying not to get icing sugar everywhere like I do! Now add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat in well. Add the milk if you need to loosen up the mixture a bit. Beat the frosting so that it is light and creamy and keep in the fridge to set until needed.

Icing the cupcakes

To ice my cupcakes I used a Wilton 1M nozzle (my favourite!). To do the two tone icing you need to paint a stripe of food colouring down the inside of the nozzle and piping bag, I like to use the food colouring pastes as I find they work much better than liquid food colourings. I used Sugarflair pastes in pink and tangerine, putting a stripe of each inside the bag. Once you have added the colour put the icing into your piping bag, squeezing it down to the end and pipe straight onto your cupcakes. To get this effect I have used pipe from the outside in. Piping from inside out will give you a pretty rose effect. You will find that the first few cupcakes have a very bright colour with diminishes the more you pipe, so to keep your colour bright you might want to use a couple of piping bags and do half of your cupcakes with each.

Cupcakes

 

Inside the cupcakes

 

Hope you all enjoyed some bank holiday baking this weekend!

Lottie xx

Slices of cake

White Chocolate, Blueberry and Lemon Layer Cake

With exams over it is time to bake! This is my end-of-exams-celebratory-baking cake and is inspired by Peggy Porschen’s absolutely lovely layer cakes. I recently took a trip to the Peggy Porschen Parlour (you can read about it here) and loved the cakes so much that I bought her Boutique Baking book. It is full of such pretty cakes in lovely pastel colours, perfect for spring/summer. I particularly like the stencil effect she uses on a lot of her layer cakes so it was this book that inspired this cake. I also based the sponge recipe on a recipe from the book, the original recipe is for a gorgeous White Chocolate Passion Cake, I added some lemon and changed the quantities (as sadly I don’t have any 6 inch tins so had to make enough to make a 3 layered 8 inch cake – time to invest in some more cake tins I think!) to make the sponge for this White Chocolate, Blueberry and Lemon cake.

Blueberry, white chocolate and lemon cake

 

Slices of cake

These are 3 of my absolute favourite flavours and I think they work really well together, I used them before for these lovely chewy cookies. This cake is a white chocolate and lemon sponge, filled with a blueberry and lemon curd (homemade!), coated in a whipped white chocolate and blueberry buttercream and decorated with fresh blueberries and a dusting of icing sugar. I used a stencil from this pack, I love the effect cake stencils give, so simple yet so impressive and this bird one is my favourite in the set.

Cake stencil

The cake itself is lovely, moist and chocolatey, it is almost like a blondie. To make the white chocolate and lemon sponge (based on Peggy Porschen’s White Chocolate Passion Cake from Boutique Baking):

This will make a 3 layer 8 inch cake.

180g white chocolate
250ml milk
90g soft light brown sugar
330g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
320g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon

Layer cake

Preheat the oven to 160C and grease and line 3 sandwich tins (you could also make it in 1 tin and divide into 3 once cooled). Put the chocolate in a saucepan with the milk, brown sugar and 130g of the caster sugar. Heat the mixture and stir so that all the chocolate is melted and bring the mixture to the boil. Take off the heat. In a bowl cream together the butter and the rest of the caster sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt and mix in with a spatula. Now add the chocolate mixture to the cake mix (the hot chocolate mixture tastes delicious – try it before you mix it in!) a splash at a time, mixing in well until it is all well combined. Divide the cake mix between the tins and bake at 160C, if you are using individual sandwich tins this will take about 30 minutes. Once cooked the cake should be golden and coming away from the side of the tin. Leave them to cool in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Do not try to ice a still warm cake, it just goes wrong and with these cakes they will firm up if you leave them for a while, making them easier to trim and ice.

Blueberry and Lemon

The Blueberry and Lemon Curd is best made first or even better would be to make it the day before so it has time to firm up. The addition of blueberries to lemon curd gives it a fantastic purple colour that I love. You will need:

200g frozen blueberries
2 unwaxed lemons
200g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk

Start with the blueberries, put them in a pan and gently heat them, breaking them up as you stir them. You want them to release there juices and to break up, once this is done then pour the blueberries through a sieve, pushing as much through as you can. You should get a gorgeous deep purple juice/puree. Discard what remains in the sieve. Use a fine grater to zest the lemons and put the blueberry puree, lemon zest and the juice of the lemons in a heatproof bowl with the butter and sugar. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, as though you were melting chocolate. Stir and heat until the butter has melted. Whisk the eggs together and then add them to the mixture, whisking well until it has all combined. This now needs about 10 minutes to cook, but keep stirring every now and then. The mixture should be creamy and thick after 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Keep in the fridge until you need this.

Icing the cake

The White Chocolate and Blueberry frosting is make using blueberries to give the lovely colour, you will need:

200g frozen blueberries
250g unsalted butter (softened)
250g icing sugar
50g melted white chocolate

Start with the blueberries by making a blueberry puree like you did for the curd. Heat the blueberries in a pan so that they break up and release their juice and then push them through a sieve. In another bowl beat together the butter and sieved icing sugar, whipping it until it is nice and light. Add the chocolate and mix well. Now add the blueberry juice a bit at a time until you get the colour that you want.

Sliced cake

You can now assemble the cake.

Stack the 3 layers on top of each other with a layer of blueberry and lemon curd in between each of them. Use a palette knife to spread the frosting over the cake. The best way to do this is to first spread a very thin layer over the cake to catch the crumbs and give you a neat shape to work with. Leave this in the fridge to firm up before using the rest of the icing to completely cover the cake. Use a cake scraper to get a neat finish on the side of the cake. Decorate with fresh blueberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am also now entering this into June’s Tea Time Treats hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage. The theme is layer cakes!

I am entering this into the Simple and in Season Food Blog Challenge for May.

simple and in season

 

I am also entering this into Calender Cakes hosted by Lauralovescake and Dolly Bakes. This month’s theme is all about World Baking Day.world baking day

calendar-cakes

Sliced tiger cake

Chocolate Orange Tiger Cake

Many of you will have seen/heard of/eaten/baked a zebra cake before but it is something that I only recently came across online and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to try it. This might have revolutionised my marble cake baking, no more dolloping in the pan and giving it a quick swirl, by putting the cake mix into the pan in a specific way you can create such a beautiful stripy pattern! Amazing! This is normally done with chocolate and vanilla cake to give a black and white zebra appearance. Lorraine Pascal called hers a ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Zebra Cake’ but I decided to go all the way to making mine look like a tiger cake, it isn’t fair for zebras to get all the fame in this marble cake. I used orange food colouring and flavoured my cake with orange to create a chocolate orange, black and orange stripy tiger cake. I hope you like it. If you too are new to this method of cake marbling then I suggest you get a mixing bowl out right now and give it a go.

Tiger cake

 

To make this cake you will need:

Chocolate cake:
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
100ml milk
130ml sunflower oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
220g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder

Orange cake:
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
100ml milk
130ml sunflower oil
1 to 2 tsp orange extract
finely grated zest of 1/2 an orange
250g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
orange food colouring (I used sugarflair paste in tangerine)

Sliced tiger cake

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line an 8 inch cake tin. You will need 2 mixing bowls, one for the chocolate cake, one for the orange. Start with the chocolate cake. Mix together the eggs, sugar, milk, oil and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, baking powder and sieved cocoa powder and stir in. Now make the orange cake, mix together the eggs, sugar, milk, oil and orange extract in another bowl. Add the flour and baking powder to this and mix in. Add the orange colour a bit at a time until you have the desired colour.

Now for the fun part….making the stripes!

You need to put a bit of orange and then a bit of chocolate mix into the pan alternately, pouring each bit on top the the last. So start with orange and pour or spoon 2 tablespoons of mix into the centre of the pan, straight away put 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mix on top of this, then 2 tablespoons of orange on top of this, then 2 tablespoons of chocolate on top of this and keep going. As you put each mix on it pushes the others out and they form rings around each other so you should have a cake mix in the pan that looks something like this (don’t worry if it isn’t neat, it doesn’t have to be exact, as you can see mine isn’t!):

Tiger cake mix

Bake in the preheated oven at 180C for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

If you want to ice the cake then you need to level off the top. Once the cake is baked leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once it is cool slice of the top to create a nice, flat level surface. This also gives you a chance to see the rings inside!

Tiger cake inside

 

To ice mine I used a whipped chocolate ganache. Gently heat 300ml double cream in a saucepan and break 200g dark chocolate into it. Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted. Leave the ganache in the fridge to set for a pit. Once it is cold take it out of the fridge and use and electric whisk to whip the cream. Spread the ganache evenly over the cake and finish with a dusting of cocoa powder. Now it will be a surprise for your guests when you slice into the cake!

Iced cake

Slices of tiger cake

Enjoy! I think that by using a more liquid cake mix you could create even narrower stripes and an even prettier cake, I might have a go.

Lottie xx

Edit:

I have entered this into November’s Alpha Bakes Challenge – letter O!

This is hosted by The Occassional Baker and Caroline Makes.

AlphaBakes Logo

Chick cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes – Chicks and Nests

Last Easter I decided it would be a good idea to make chocolate Easter eggs in real, dyed egg shells. This was an absolute mission, you can read about what I did here. In the end they worked and I was quite pleased with them but they were certainly hard work! And it was unbelievable the amount of chocolate that fitted in one egg, about 100g chocolate in each egg! I was running up and down to the shop buying chocolate! This year I decided to opt for something a bit easier, cupcakes, easy to make and easy to make look good. A little bit of research on line to get some inspiration for Easter themed cupcakes lead me to this Betty Crocker page for Easter Chicks Cupcakes. As well as  chick cupcakes I made some chocolate nest cupcakes with eggs. The sponge for both cakes is chocolate orange, the chicks have orange flavour icing and the nests are made with chocolate orange icing. Two delicious Easter Cupcakes.

Chick cupcakes

To make the sponge for 12 cupcakes:

6oz self raising flour
6oz butter/margarine
3 eggs
6 oz self raising flour
splash of milk
1tsp orange extract
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the milk and orange extract. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder with a metal spoon or spatula. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and bake in the oven at 180C for about 15-20 minutes.

To make the icing:

250g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp orange extract
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder (for the chocolate nests)

Beat all the ingredients together until you have a smooth icing.

Easter nests

To make the chicks:

Add some yellow food colouring to some dessicated coconut and mix well until all the coconut is coloured. You also need some chocolate drops for the eyes and jelly sweets cut into triangles for the beak.

Add some yellow food colouring to the icing for the chick cupcakes. Spoon a dollop onto a cupcake and use a palette knife to smooth the icing and form a dome. Cover the cupcakes in the yellow coconut and add the eyes and the beak. You might need to use a bit of icing to stick these on.

Chick cupcake

 

Happy Easter!

Lottie xx

 

 

Cake sliced

Apple and Blueberry Loaf and The Primrose Bakery App

Apple and Blueberry Loaf

I love recipe books. Even if I’m not making anything I love to look through them and get ideas for another day. I love pretty recipe books even more, those books where you can flick through and admire all the lovely photos. In Australia I took a trip to ‘Books for Cooks’ in Melbourne. It is an amazing shop, wall upon wall upon wall of cook books, every cook book you can ever imagine from the old to the new. I could have spent all day in there. If you are in Melbourne it is worth a visit, you will be amazed and find yourself lost in there. I came across a lovely little book called ‘The Ritz London Book of Afternoon Tea, The Art and Pleasure of Taking Tea, published in 1986. It opens with a quote from 1708, Colley Cibber, The Lady’s Last Stake, “Tea! Thou soft, thou sober, sage, and venerable liquid, thou female tongue-running, smile-soothing, heart-opening, wink-tipping cordial, to whose glorious insipidity I owe the happiest moment of my life, let me fall prostrate.” While  that does sound rather strangely enthusiastic about tea, I am too tea lover, be that English Breakfast or a lovely fruity tea, and a fan of afternoon tea too. The book is lovely, it tells of the history of tea at the Ritz, how to make proper cucumber sandwiches and has some lovely afternoon tea recipes.However, despite my love of recipe books sometimes it is nice to have recipes instantly, maybe you are out and about and fancy whipping something up later, with a recipe app you can get some ideas instantly and buy the ingredients while you are out.

Primrose Bakery App

I recently purchased The Primrose Bakery App, for just a fraction of the cost of a recipe book you can have 70 Primrose Bakery recipes instantly on your iPhone. The app has 70 recipes, divided into cupcakes, layer cakes, loaves and slices, biscuits and icings, with recipes including banoffee pie cupcakes, strawberry cake and coconut and raspberry slice. Each recipes has an overview giving you the time to make and difficulty, a list of ingredients and the steps to follow. It is also full of some lovely looking pictures, has the option to create shopping lists and has tips section with videos on how to ice a cupcake and how to make a piping bag. A lovely little purchase I think. Now I can read recipes on the train too! And as an added bonus, when you are baking you don’t even need to worry about getting your screen dirty because you don’t even need to touch it, the touch free option means you can just wave your hand over the screen to change page! To test out the app I opted to make the Apple and Blueberry Cake, a recipe which can also be found in The Primrose Bakery Book.

 

To make this cake you will need:

225g self raising flour
pinch of salt
125g butter
175g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 apples (I found I needed 3) – peeled and thinly sliced
125g blueberries
2tbsp apricot jam

Cake sliced

 

Preheat the oven to 190C and grease and line a loaf tin. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and add the butter (the app tells you to sift the flour, salt and butter into a bowl….not quite sure how you are supposed to sift butter!). In a food processor or using your fingers mix until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and eggs and mix again. Pour half of the batter into the tin. Scatter half the sliced apples and half the blueberries over the batter and top with the remaining cake mix. Arrange the remaining apple slices and blueberries on the top of the cake. Bake in the oven for about 1 hours. When the cake is ready to come out gently heat the arpicot jam and when you take the loaf out brush the jam over the top of the cake. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack. Enjoy warm or cold.

Slice of cake.

 

Lottie xx

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christmas-cupcakes2

Christmas Cupcakes!

Christmas Cupcakes!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

There is something just so magical about Christmas, everything is so exciting and there is so much going on! I am away for Christmas this year and will actually be on a plane so I am determined to make the most of everything Christmassy before I go. We may not be here on Christmas Day but the Christmas Tree is still up in our flat, decorated with red and gold glittery baubles, glittery little birds and traditional white lights. When the Christmas tree goes up that means that Christmas really is here! I made some of my own decorations too this year and have given them to people as presents. I dried oranges (which made the kitchen smell delightful), then threaded them with cranberries and cinnamon sticks to make decorations! And of course I have been doing some Christmas baking, mince pies and even Panettone this year. These though are my Christmas cupcakes for this year, they have a variety of decorations, the snowflake ones being similar to my Winter Cupcakes from last year. These cakes were made to sell at ELOCs performances of Jingle Belles where I was working behind the bar and selling lots of mulled wine!

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I made half of them vanilla and half of the chocolate cupcakes. I topped the vanilla cupcakes with either the festive red sparkly icing or with the fondant icing present design. I topped the chocolate cupcakes with either chocolate icing and holly or blue icing and snowflakes. All of them were finished off with a touch of edible silk shimmer dust.

To make the vanilla cupcakes:

6oz golden caster sugar
6oz butter or margarine
3 large eggs
6oz self raising flour
splash of milk
1tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one. Fold the flour into the mixture with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Add a splash of milk and the vanilla and mix in. Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes.

To make the chocolate cupcakes I used the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book which gives lovely, moist cupcakes. You can see the recipe here where I used it for my Black Forest Cupcakes.

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To make the frosting:

Beat 250g softened unsalted butter together with 500g seived icing sugar. Add 2 tbsp milk and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Beat until smooth and creamy. To make the chocolate icing add seived cocoa powder to the frosting.

The cupcake toppers were made out of rolled fondant icing using holly and snowflake cutters.

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I rolled a pattern onto my present toppers using a textured rolling pin like this, I love the effect!

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Merry Christmas everybody!

Lottie xx

I am entering these into Calendar Cakes hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

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