Pick n’ mix cupcakes

I decorated these cupcakes with Pic n’ Mix, hence the name. The icing does not look too great, I was in a rush and did not take much care, but I promise they taste delicious!

Ingredients for the cake mix

  • 200g butter (I use Stork)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam

Ingredients for the icing

  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2tsp raspberry or strawberry jam
  • Pick n’ mix sweets to decorate

Method

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until combined
  2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture
  3. Add the flour and beat well
  4. Add the vanilla essence and jam, add milk if the mixture is too dry
  5. Spoon the mix into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes for so at 180 degrees, until the cakes are golden and bounce back when you touch them
  6. Allow the cakes to cool and then for the icing beat the butter and icing sugar until combined well
  7. Add the vanilla essence and jam, this should give the icing a pink colour. Feel free to add food colouring if you wish
  8. Pipe the icing onto the cakes and add the pick n’ mix sweets

Hazelnut Praline Cakes

This is another Hummingbird Bakery  inspired recipe, I would recommend the ‘Cake Days’ cookbook again to any keen baker, it has become my baking bible. These bad boys are great for Nutella lovers!

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 145g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g melted butter
  • 150g chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)
  • 30g chopped hazelnuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees and line a cake bun tin with cases, this recipe makes around 10-12 muffins
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, 115g of the caster sugar and baking powder
  3. In a jug break the 2 eggs, add the whole milk and vanilla essence and beat until mixed
  4. Melt the butter, I used the microwave on a low heat
  5. Add the wet and dry ingredients together (so now in a bowl you have the flour/sugar mix, butter, milk and eggs)
  6. Beat in the hazelnut spread, the mixture should become smooth
  7. Spoon the cake mix into the cases
  8. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and caster sugar on top of the cakes
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins bounce back when pressed

I have to admit that I ended up smearing more Nutella on these muffins when eating them, yes I am very gluttonous!

Simple Peach Traybake

For me, Sunday afternoons spell baking. You know I have had a busy weekend if I go into work on a Monday morning without a tin of cakes or cookies I baked over the weekend.

This weekend was no exception, inspired by the sun I tried my hand at a peach traybake.

Ingredients

  • 250g butter
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • drop of milk
  • 50g almonds
  • 5tsp raspberry jam
  • Tin of canned peaches in fruit juice (or use fresh if they are in season)
  • Handful of flaked almonds

Method

  1. Grease your traybake tin and preheat the oven to 170 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and sugar
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well
  4. Add the vanilla essence
  5. Add the flour and baking powder
  6. Add the almonds and mix well
  7. Add a little milk if the mixture seems to try and too hard to beat
  8. At the bottom of your traybake tin put some sliced peaches, cut the rest and mix them into your cake mix
  9. Pour the cake mix into the tray on top of all the peaches in the tray
  10. Add a few blobs of raspberry jam in places and top with flaked almonds
  11. Bake for around 1 hour, until golden brown

My colleagues gave fantastic feedback, and we think it would be fantastic as a desert served with warm custard.

Lavender Shortbread

Having grown up in Kent, the ‘Garden of England’, we try to embrace all things Kentish and regularly visit Kent food festivals, pubs, vineyards and the like. We like to shop in the local farm shop and use Kent produce where possible.

With our wedding looming in the distance we wanted to make sure our wedding favours reflected our tastes, so I am embarking on a mission to bake the perfect Lavender shortbread recipe. Here is the recipe I used for Lavender shortbread trial 1:

  1. Two days prior to baking the shortbread infuse 130g of caster sugar with lavender culinary buds available from The Hop Shop (this is cheaper than buying Waitrose‘s pricey Lavender caster sugar)
  2. Line three baking trays with greaseproof paper and preheat your oven to 180c
  3. The baking stage – Rub 225g plain flour with the lavender caster sugar
  4. Beat 275g plain flour and 75g rice flour into the mix
  5. Add 5 drops of lavender culinary essence (also available from The Hop Shop) into the mixture, be careful not to do anymore, this is very overpowering stuff. Mix until it forms a dough like shortbread mixture
  6. Put the dough into clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes
  7. Dust your working area with plain flour, roll the mixture out and cut into any shape you like, sprinkle on a little golden caster sugar if you like
  8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy

Baking this will fill your home with the most amazing lavender smell. We felt this was a good first trial and our friends and family who got to sample the batch gave us really good feedback. This would be great as a summer desert with some vanilla or even lavender ice cream!

Oreo Brownies

If you love Oreos and you love brownies then this recipe is for you.

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade and line your brownie baking tray with grease proof paper
  2. Melt 250g of unsalted butter and 200g dark 70% cocoa chocolate (I put them in a dish on top of a pan of boiling water)
  3. In a separate bowl prepare mix 80g cocoa powder, 70g plain flour, 1tsp baking powder, 360g caster sugar and 4 eggs, beat this all together
  4. Once melted add your butter and chocolate mix to the bowl with the flour and eggs etc and beat until there is a silky consistency. Crush in some oreos (or nuts etc if you prefer)
  5. put some broken Oreo pieces on the bottom of your baking tray then pour in the mixture
  6. Bake for around 25-30 minutes so the brownies will remain a little gooey
  7. Eat and enjoy. Or continue eating like I do until they are all gone, then perhaps make some more.