Tag Archives: Tea Time Treats

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.

Cheddar and fig soda bread

Cheddar and Fig White Soda Bread

I have been busy starting work recently and loving it so far! I have however also managed to fit in lots of baking as well – macarons, cakes for BBQs, desserts for dinner parties..lots to come! Sometimes though I really just fancy baking something savoury and today is time for one of those savoury blog posts. If I want to bake something that is quick I often turn to scones, but when I fancy making a loaf of bread that is speedy then I always turn to soda bread. Ilove it, so easy to make, so delicious and you can jazz it up by adding what you like to it! In this case I opted to make a white soda bread with cheddar cheese and dried figs (something I had in my cupboard after making this fruit cake with figs!) and it really, really works – scrumptious! Try it sliced, served warm and spread with butter ….. mmmmm! Give it a try!

Cheddar and fig soda bread

To make this Cheddar and Fig White Soda Bread you will need:

300g white flour
50g porridge oats
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
25g butter
250ml buttermilk (or natural yogurt)
80g grated cheddar cheese
90g (approx) chopped dried figs

Ingredients

 

Mix the 250g of the flour with the oats, bicarb and salt. Rub the butter into this mixture. Add the cheese and chopped dried figs and mix in. Finally add the buttermilk and incorporate into the dry ingredients, bringing the mixture together to form a dough. If the dough is too wet then use the remaining 50g of flour until you have a dough that you can work with. Lightly dust a surface with flour and gently knead the dough to bring it together. Place on a greased baking tray and cut a deep cross on the surface of  the dough using a serrated knife. This not only looks effective once it is cooked but by cutting deeply it also helps the centre of the loaf to cook. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for approx 45 minutes.

Dough

 

The next step is to enjoy a slice!

Loaf

 

Tonight is a big night in the world of baking with the return of the Great British Bake Off. Exciting! Last year I hosted a GBBO blog challenge, you can see lots of the entries here and here. Maybe I will bring it back this year!

Lottie xx

Edit:

I have entered this into November’s Tea Time Treats Challenge – dried fruits!

This is hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

tea time treats

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

 

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Half a Sixpence Cake!

Half a Sixpence Cake!

 This month I am performing in Half a Sixpence with my local amateur dramatic company (Nic from Nic’s Feasts and Treats is also in the show!). The company is called Epsom Light Opera Company, they stage 2 shows a year at the Epsom Playhouse and have an excellent reputation for putting on high quality, award winning shows. The next show is Half a Sixpence, a story set in Folkestone in the early 1900s. It follows the story of Kipps (played by Tommy Steele in the film) who gives his childhood sweetheart Ann half sixpence. The story tells of how Kipps falls in love with Ann, gains a fortune and enters High Society, falls in love with Helen Walsingham and gets engaged before realising he doesn’t like his high society life and that it is Ann he really loves. There are some great songs including ‘Flash Bang Wallop’, ‘Half a Sixpence‘ and ‘Money to Burn’, lots of dancing and plenty of laughs. It is looking to be a fantastic show. Last rehearsal I took along a Half a Sixpence Cake that I made for the cast!

 

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Half a Sixpence is on at Epsom Playhouse from 9th to 13th October. If you live in London/Surrey and aren’t too far from Epsom and like musicals then I can thoroughly recommend it! Tickets can be bought from the company box office or online from the Epsom Playhouse. I play the part of Flo, one of the shop girls. You can see a video with some bits from our rehearsals here:

Now back to the cake! The idea was to turn the flyer into a cake. The cake is a Victoria Sponge, filled with jam and buttercream.

To make the cake:

10oz butter or margarine
10oz caster sugar
10oz self raising flour
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture, add the vanilla  too. Fold the flour into the mix using a spatula. Pour the cake mixture into a greased and lined tin and bake at 180C. The cake is done when it is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.

To make the buttercream (filling and decorating):

300g unsalted butter
600g icing sugar
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

Beat the butter to soften it. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl and start to fold it into the butter using a spoon. Once it has started to combine use an electric whisk to beat it. Add the vanilla and milk.

To make the hat and sixpence I used fondant icing that I coloured with food colour paste. The writing is done with royal icing. To make the ruffles on the side of the cake I used a Wilton 104 petal nozzle. You can see the ruffle effect you can create better here on my chocolate cake with pink ruffle icing.

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6half-a-sixpence-flyer

 

Don’t forget to get your entries in for the next Bake Off Challenge round up! Deadline is 5th October!

Lottie xx

I am entering this into November’s Tea Time Treats, the theme is cake! This is hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

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Fondant Rose Cupcakes

Fondant Rose Cupcakes

Halloween this year just seemed to pass me by, I sadly didn’t even get round to baking anything pumpkin themed. Last year was the first time I made a pumpkin pie and I think it will have to be done again soon. In fact I only really registered it was Halloween when I was having dinner in Croydon on Wednesday and the Grim Reaper glided past on rollerskates with a sign saying ‘Free Hugs Or Else’! So instead of some Halloween baking I have something much prettier to post about. Last time I posted I wrote about the Rose Cake I made but because my sister managed to spread out her birthday so long, the week after I got another chance to make a rose themed cake. Yay! This time we have Rose Cupcakes and I decided to try my hand at some sugarcraft, something I hadn’t done before. It was rather therapeutic though really, I spent an evening learning to make and making lots of little fondant roses! This is the video I used to learn how to make them. I used a Renshaw Ready to Roll icing which is a lovely bright pink, I was quite pleased with the result. The cupcakes themselves are simple vanilla cupcakes and they are iced with runny fondant icing. I finished them off with a sprinkle of Rainbow Dust Edible Silk, which meant that when she blew the candles out the air was full of glitter!

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To make the cupcakes:

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

Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well, add the vanilla extract. Add the flour and fold in with a spatula until it is all combined. Spoon into cupcake cases but don’t fill them too much, you want to have a nice flat top to your cupcakes when you ice them. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 20 minutes and leave to cool before icing.

To ice the cupcakes make up some icing with a couple of drops of rose water. You can use standard icing sugar or fondant icing sugar for a fudgier texture. Spoon the icing onto the cooled cupcakes and leave the icing to level out and create a flat surface. Ice the cupcakes right to the top of the case.

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Add your Roses and sprinkle of glitter and they are done!

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Lottie xx

I am entering this into Tea Time Treats. The theme this month is CAKE! It is hosted byLavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

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A Rose Cake for a beautiful Rose

A Rose Cake for a beautiful Rose

My sister’s name is Rose. Therefore her birthday cake had to have roses. And be pink of course. Queue the Wilton 1M, ready for some rose swirls! Rose is a lovely name, very pretty and it means she is so easy to buy presents for. I am probably most guilty of always buying her things with roses on them but this  I managed to steer away from anything printed with roses, even wrapping paper … although I did still opt for arRose themed cake of course. Oh and it had to be pink or I think she might have cried (yes, it was her 21st). Rosie, if you are reading this, after the success of the ‘Rose Cake’ your challenge is now to make a ‘Lottie Cake’ … Good Luck!!

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My sister’s 21st birthday was great fun. She managed to spread it out over an awfully long time but I think that is allowed when it is your 21st. It started at the after show party for ‘Half a Sixpence‘ where she turned 21 when the clock struck 12. This is where we had this cake. The next day we all went for afternoon tea at Fanny’s Farm in the pudding room. Fanny’s Farm is a delightful place and the pudding room was lovely…and yet more cake! I made her another cake too that she took to work that week and then the weekend after it was time for a meal out with family friends and then off to party. This time I made cupcakes…Rose themed cakes of course! Then at the end of this week she was off to the Ritz for afternoon tea, lucky her! … yet more cake!

You might recognise the theme of dark chocolate cake and pink icing from a cake I have previously blogged. I think it is really effective and everyone loves chocolate cake, so I went for it again, but with a different cake recipe this time. After the success of the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake I made for another recent birthday I decided to use the sponge recipe for this cake. It is a lovely moist and chocolatey cake. You can find the recipe here. It is from theHummingbird Bakery Book ‘Cake Days’. I used exactly the same recipe but isntead of dividing the mix between 3 tins I used 2 this time. You can also see a previous Rose Swirl cake I have made here.

The icing is a simple vanilla buttercream, the only thing is you need a lot of it to do the rose swirls. It is better to make more than you need as well so you don’t have to make up more and try to get the same colour. With an electric whisk beat together 500g softened unsalted butter with 1kg sifted icing sugar. Add 2 tbsp milk to loosen the mixture and add food colouring to acheive the colour you want. I used Sugarflair Pink Paste for this, you only need a tiny bit. Put a small amount of buttercream on the cake board you are using to stick the bottom layer to. Ice the top of this with a layer of buttercream and sandwich with the second layer.

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Coat the cake in a thin layer of buttercream. There will be gaps between roses so this will hide the gaps a bit and also catches the cake crumbs. Fill a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M (or other large star nozzle) and cover the cake in rose swirls. These are done by starting from the inside and swirling out. I did 2 layers of roses on the side of the cake in different colours and also covered the top in 2 colours of roses. You can fill the gaps with more piping but don’t worry about little gaps too much.

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And this is the cake I made for her to take to work. It is exactly the same sponge but just one layer and uses vanilla buttercream too.

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More Rose Cakes to come!

Lottie xx and Happy 21st Rose!

I am entering this into November’s Tea Time Treats, the theme is cake! This is hosted byLavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

chocolate cake with raspberry cream

Chocolate cake with Raspberry Cream

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day! I would really quite like our summer back, as much as I like winter I don’t want it all year round. I have exams coming up but as long as the sun arrives for when my exams finish I will be very happy! Please sun, put your hat on! One of the great things I love about summer are the summer BBQs, just a hint of sun is an excuse to get the BBQ out. And what is a BBQ without dessert to finish it off? My Amdram group managed to choose a day with a bit of sun in this rainy summer for their BBQ, which was a fantastic success. This is the cake I made for that BBQ. I made it at the same time as I made my brother’s Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake, so to make life simple I used the same basic cake for both cakes, a lovely moist chocolate cake. To make it summery I used fresh raspberry cream to coat it and decorated it with some fresh raspberries too. Sadly I had to leave the party before dessert so I don’t have any photos of the cake once it is cut, you will have to imagine it! A great cake if if you are a chocolate lover but want something summery too!

This cake has 2 layers, I made the chocolate cake in two 8 inch round tins. The recipe is exactly the same as this one here for my Chocolate Fudge Cake. The cakes come out with a nice flat top too, so they are easy to work with and to stack.

The cake is filled with raspberry cream and chocolate ganache. Again you can see how to make the ganache here but this cake only uses a little so if you are only using the ganache for this cake use 50g dark chocolate and 50 ml double cream. As long as you use equal amounts of each, you can make as much or as little as you want.

To make the raspberry cream:

300ml whipping cream
100g icing sugar
150g raspberries

Put the cream and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk until firm. Add the raspberries to the cream and whisk quickly until the raspberries are combined but so that there are still pieces of raspberries in the cream and the cream is just a pale pink colour.

Spread the raspberry cream on one cake and chocolate ganache on the other cake. Sandwich the 2 together and tidy up the edges if any leaks out.

Now use the rest of the raspberry cream to cover the whole cake.

Finish with some raspberries and decorate with some piped chocolate ganache. Put in the fridge until you serve the cake.

Lottie xx

Please leave a comment below and follow me on Twitter @lotts_louise! Thanks!

I am entering this into Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked. The theme this month is Summer Fairs and Cake Stalls, I think this would work for either!

I am also entering this into Simple and in Season hosted by Homemade by Fleur and Ren at Fabulicious Food.

 

blueberry_lemon_and_white_chocolate_cookies

Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

The London to Brighton Bike ride is just 1 week away now so today I did an exhausting 37 mile bike ride to prepare. We cycled through Wimbledon Common to Richmond Park, around the park, along the Thames for a bit and back home. Hopefully it was good preparation for next week. I am very ready for my bed right now but I have to stay up to watch the final episode of Desperate Housewives! So I’m using this time before it begins to write a blog post. I have posted lots of cake recently and nearly decided to blog the angel cake that I made this week but I thought that perhaps it was time for a brief break from cake to blog about cookies! Because everyone loves cookies! My Mum actually makes the best cookies, she gave me some today, I will have to get the recipe soon to blog about them! These cookies are blueberry and white chocolate and are based on this recipe from the Nestle Carnation site. I saw the recipe a while ago and wanted to try it as I have never used condensed milk in cookies and thought they looked good. I had lots of frozen blueberries so switched the raspberries for blueberries and also added lemon zest. They worked out really well. They give cookies that are big, flat and slightly chewy, a bit like the ones you get in the packets in supermarkets. Though be warned, this recipe creates a lot of cookies, about 25, so you might want to halve it!

You will need:
225g softened unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
350g self raising flour
150g white chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces
150g blueberries
zest of one lemon

Start by creaming together the butter, sugar and condensed milk until well combined. Mix the flour, chocolate and lemon into this mixture to form a dough.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Take a small handful of the dough, roll into a ball and flatten. Put a few blueberries in the centre and fold them into the cookie. Flatten again and place on the baking tray. Leave large gaps between cookies as they spread a lot during baking.

Bake the cookies in a preheated oven at 180C for about 15 minutes until they start to turn golden. Leave them to cool slightly on the baking sheet so that they harden a bit, before transferring to a wire cooling rack. They are ready to enjoy! Nice and easy!

 

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment! I hope you like my new blog lay out!

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There is a link on my blog to the Cosmo blog awards, if you enjoy reading my blog then I would be very grateful if you could please nominate me for Best New Food Blogger, it would mean a lot to me! As my blog is less than 1 year old you can also follow the link to the Next Newcomer Blog Awards and enter my blog there too. Thank you!!

Happy Baking!

Lottie xx

I am entering these cookies into Tea Time Treats hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is summer fruits!