Christening Cupcakes For My Baby Girl

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My daughter's christening took place on St Valentine's Day and we had a great day. The ceremony was personal and warming and we had a lovely family party afterwards. I wanted to enjoy the day and didn't want to be stressed out making a full on christening cake so I opted for simple vanilla cupcakes. I paid someone else to make the large cutting cake and it was worth every penny (even though it had the wrong date on it!). I used my trusty cupcake recipe http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/cupcakes_93722 and it remained foolproof! I made the cupcakes the day before the christening and they were fresh and moist on the day. I had sage green, pink and white ballons and used the same colours for the cupcake cases and decorations. The cupcakes were eaten at the party and the guests took a slice of cake home with them too. It was a thoroughly sweet day!

 

 

Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits & Festive Decorating

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I had a fab time earlier this week when I invited my friend Hannah and her little boy Ike to come over and ice and decorate some gingerbread biscuits. My baby girl watched on and stayed quiet munching a piece of gingerbread in her high chair! I used the Primrose Bakery recipe for gingerbread and cut out crowns, holly leaves, snowmen and bells. They were good biscuits to work with as they didn't break easily and they also last a few days if you want to give the biscuits as presents. I laid out some water icing and various sprinkes, coloured sugar and chocolate drops and we got to work! Ike was particularly creative! What a great way to spend an afternoon!

 

 

 

Poached Spiced Fruit

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This is a Primrose Bakery recipe which caught my eye when I was looking for something a bit different to make for breakfast. It is a winter alternative to fruit salad and I served it with Greek yoghurt but the recipe book suggests serving it with hot porridge or granola. Basically I stewed apples, pears and fresh cranberries and then added clementine segments. Each fruit needs to be poached in the syrup separately then removed and cooled because each fruit takes a slightly different time to cook. However the poaching syrup is what makes it special – you simply bring to the boil 1 litre of water, 500g of sugar, 1 cinnamon stick , 2 star anise, 6 whole cloves, a pinch of ground nutmeg, a pinch of ground ginger and a vanilla pod. I also think that the drained poached fruit would be a perfect winter pavlova topping. Mmmmmm…

 

Mince Pies

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I must admit mince pies aren't my favorite festive treat (and I'm not a fan of Christmas pudding either) but the men in my life, aka my husband and my dad, love them so I baked my first batch last week. I used Paul Hollywood's recipe. His sweet pastry has ground almonds in it and he suggests giving shop bought mincemeat a lift by adding fresh clementine, chopped apple and some orange zest. I also added a splash of brandy for some extra Christmas cheer! The recipe suggests making them in muffin tins so that the mince pies are extra deep with lots of filling. Of course they have to be dusted with icing sugar too – which in my case prevented them from looking like pork pies! The mince pies got a thumbs up and a request for a second batch has been made!

 

Racing Car Chocolate Birthday Cake

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I recently baked this cake for a special little boy's birthday. I am a volunteer for the charity Free Cakes For Kids which is a brilliant organisation which bakes birthday cakes for families who find it hard to provide a cake for their child. The cakes are baked by local volunteers with the child's favourite theme in mind. It's free, friendly and confidential. Families are referred to the charity by organisations throughout my local area who work with families and children http://www.freecakesforkidssheffield.com

A request came in to make a car themed cake and I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration. I needed a simple but effective idea for a car theme and found a perfect fondant racing car topper to copy. The chocolate cake was filled and topped with chocolate buttercream and a bit of piping and some silver balls finished it off nicely! I heard that the birthday boy enjoyed his cake and party too which makes baking the cake extra sweet!

 

 

 

 

Lemon Wedding Cake with Crystallised Roses

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I was honoured to be asked to be bridesmaid for my gorgeous friend Helen. Helen married Andrew on 30th August and their reception was held in a field overlooking the beautiful Kent Estury in Cumbria. The wedding had a vintage festival vibe and we had flowers in our hair and partyed to a ceilidh band in fantastic tipis! One of my tasks as bridesmaid was to ice and decorate the wedding cake. Helen's mum made four tiers of lemon gluten free sponge filled with lemon curd. The night before the wedding I stacked the cakes and artfully slapped on some lemon buttercream I had prepared the day before. Helen's mum had ordered some crystallised roses and rose petals from http://www.eatmyflowers.co.uk and they were gorgeous – a variety of delicate pinks and very vintage. They tasted lovely too! I had also made a bunting cake topper, which matched the napkins and bunting, to finish off the cake.

I think the cake was a successful team effort and it turned out pretty well considering we assembled it in a tent the night before! I made sure I had a slice and it tasted lovely! It really was an amazing wedding! I'm now looking forward to a catch up and pouring over the wedding album with Helen and the girls.

 

 

Booties Christening Cake

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I made this three layer chocolate cake for little Niamh's Christening last month. I used Mary Berry's chocolate celebration cake recipe and for some reason the cakes didn't rise very much hence the three layers rather than two – I had to quickly make another cake to avoid a pathetically flat cake! Also used her white chocolate icing which also took two goes to get right as the first was all lumpy as the white chocoate didn't melt sufficiently in the hot cream. It didn't set very well once I iced the cake either! I was planning to pipe it in roses all over the cake but there was no way that was going to work so I just spread it all on… not what I envisioned but hey ho! So all in all not the easiest but I put that down partially to having a 11 week old baby and it was also the hottest weekend of the year!

The booties are by clay dough and are not edible but they look like sugar paste. They will also make a nice keepsake for Niamh's mum Sarah. I also made some vanilla cupcakes with bootie toppers for the kids.

They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it all went, and I got lots of compliments, so job well done I suppose – even if it didn't turn out as planned! Most importantly Sarah loved it! They cake was really moist and not overly sweet so I would make it again – maybe when I'm not so hot and bothered!

 

 

 

Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream

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I haven't blogged for ages… because my real life little bun in the oven arrived on 13 May! She, Sophia, is my best bake ever! The iPad keeps me occupied and awake during these long nights so I am doing this quick post with baby on my lap! I made these little carrot cakes a few days before Sophia was born as a birthday treat for my friend Helen. I used Rachel Allen's recipe for the carrot cake (I have blogged this recipe In a previous post for carrot cake cupcakes) and made a normal sized sponge and then, once baked, I cut out small rounds using a cutter. I then layered the mini sponges with Primrose Bakery's cream cheese buttercream. To pretty up the cakes I made some fondant roses which were really simple to make. I only had half an hour to make the roses so they're not brilliant but still effective. Here is a link to a tutorial on fondant roses…

http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/article/how-to-create-a-fondant-rose.html

Not sure when I will next get a chance to bake but looking forward to it!

 

Choux Buns filled with Mocha Cream

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I made these choux buns as an alternative birthday cake for my other half as he prefers pastry to sponge. For the choux buns I used Mary Berry's recipe for profiteroles and watched a couple of YouTube videos to remind myself of the consistency of the choux mixture. Making the choux pastry is simple but ensuring the buns are cooked properly is a bit more tricky. I had to take them in and out of the oven a few times to make sure they had cooked and dried out. They took more cooking than the recipe suggested. The coffee cream is taken from another Mary Berry recipe and is a mix of instant coffee, vanilla essence, icing sugar and whipped double cream. I piped the coffee cream into the buns and then dipped them in melted dark chocolate and toasted almonds. I was pretty impressed with them… oh and my husband gave them the thumbs up too!

 

Pretty Pistachio Cupcakes

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These pistachio cupcakes are perfect for those who don't like overly sweet things. The sponge is made with ground pistachio nuts and is moist and nutty – and a delicate green colour. The fondant icing is really simple, quick to make and adds just the right edge of sweetness to make these a real treat. The link to the recipe is here…

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/470633/pistachio-cupcakes