The husband chose cupcakes for me to make for his birthday, with chocolate frosting.
I made a simple sponge recipe, like the one I used for the reindeer cupcakes earlier this year. As my boy likes Bailey’s, I tried replacing the 2-3 tbsp of milk with Bailey’s- which tasted YUM in uncooked batter form, but sadly by the time they were baked it couldn’t be tasted at all. Sad face 🙁
After covering with chocolate butter icing, I decorated using some cupcake stencils- using icing sugar to stand out against the chocolately topping:
This cake is not as faffy as it seems and it is de-licious.
100g castor sugar
100g clear honey
3 large eggs
225g self raising flour
The recipe calls for a 20cm square shallow tin, but I used a round one!
Firstly, preheat your oven to 180ºC. While it’s heating up, line your tin with baking paper and measure out your ingredients.
Next, toast walnuts in the oven for 5-6 mins; cool a bit, then roughly chop and set to one side.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over a low-ish heat. And the sugar and honey and stir until dissolved. Once it’s nice and smooth, bring it to the boil, then pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool to about room temperature.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs lightly. Add to the cooled honey mixture and whisk until evenly blended.
Finally, gently mix in the flour and chopped walnuts. You should now have something that resembles a cake mix! Pour it into the tin, level out, then bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. I was using a fan oven and it was pretty much done after about 25 mins; just keep an eye on it, once it’s a lovely deep golden brown and springy on top, it’s ready!
Allow to cool on a wire rack, then slice it up and eat it- makes a great accompaniment to coffee or Bailey’s. Or indeed coffee and Bailey’s.
While we were in Florida, I picked up a whole new load of candy making stuff- mostly Wilton. Actually, I think all of it was Wilton!
I got peanut butter flavour and dark chocolate candy melts, a new candy mould, some squeezy bottle things, and some decorating brushes. Making peanut butter cups meant I got to use EVERYTHING.
The squeezy bottle things say you can half fill them with Candy Melts, then place the bottle in a bowl of hot water until they melt. Well yeah, sure, that sounds simple enough. Except the bottles are still light and half full of air, so the just float- you end up having to hold the bottle in the water! And then, (because you’re trying to keep it so the water can’t get in) all the melted candy is at the bottom, and it takes aaages to work its way to the nozzle when you’re ready to start, by which time it’s cooled a bit and is reluctant to come out. Bah. Bah!!
I squidged a little melted dark chocolate into the bottom on the mould and then used the little brush to make sure the sides were covered. This bit was a lot easier to do with the brush, however because the choc had cooled a bit, by the time I’d done half a dozen cups the brush was basically a stick with a lump of chocolate on. But I got there. Guess which one I did last:
While these were cooling, I got on with melting the peanut butter candy filling. After the first attempt, I modified my method slightly, and left the bottle to rest like this:
It still took a while, but at least I could leave it where it was for a bit. You do have to keep sqidging the bottle a bit to make sure it’s melting right the way through.
Anyway, onto filling the cups. This took a lot longer than the old dolloping-in-with-a-spoon method, and in the end I gave up and reverted back to my old ways- which were quicker, but a heck of a lot messier!
Phew. Nearly done. After the filling had set, I smoothed more melted chocolate over the base to seal, and once that had set they were done and ready to be turned out into pretty little cases:
EVER. Seriously. The husband and I had people round for dinner and I made a batch of 12 lemon bars; we each sampled one before the guests arrived, of course, but the other 10 we ate between the four of us quite quickly! They were just too nice, if I do say so myself; I had my proud face on all evening.
Here’s the recipe- lots of steps but simple enough and so worth it.
140g/5oz plain flour
60g/2oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
115g/4oz cold unsalted butter
1 lemon, unwaxed and scrubbed
2 large eggs, room temperature
200g/7oz granulated sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Before you begin, grease and line a roughly 8-inch square baking pan (mine was rectangular and about 7″ x 10″!) and stick the oven on to preheat at 180 C.
First up, the pastry base. Start by stiring together the flour, sugar and salt with a whisk until evenly blended. Cut the butter into cubes and combine with the dry ingredients. I did this by hand; one of the benefits of having constantly cold hands is that I have the power to make great pastry 🙂 The consistency you’re after is mostly coarse crumbs, but still a bit chunky. Basically, I would make sure there are no huge lumps of butter and then not worry about it too much. Press this mixture evenly into your prepared baking pan.
This goes in the oven for 15-20 mins until lightly golden, giving you the perfect amount of time to prepare your filling.
Zest and juice the lemon. You’ll need 1 tsp of the zest (or more, if you like it zesty) and 2 tbsp of juice. Put these in a big bowl and add the eggs and sugar. Beat these together until well mixed (I recommend an electric whisk, if you have one) then speed things up for about 1-2 mins, until themixture is pale and foamy. Combine the flour and baking powder and then whisk into the lemon mixture.
By now your base should be ready. Pour the topping evenly over the crust and pop it back in the oven for 25-30 mins, until lightly golden on top.
Once you’ve taken it out of the oven, DO NOT get over excited and try to take it out of the pan to cool. Leave it in there. After it’s nice and cool you can turn it out, cut it up and enjoy!
The recipe suggests dusting with icing sugar, however, while it looked pretty and tasted nice, it tended to just fall off when you picked them up; which is a shame as I spent ages dusting little stars!
I know, I know; I’ve done one of these posts about cookie cutters already; it would seem I’m always lusting after them. But, oh, Williams-Sonoma, yours are too wonderful not to bring to people’s attention.
The Star Wars Heroes & Villains set I have already. They are AWESOME, if a little pesky to ice. But I just discovered yet more excitement.
Star Wars Vehicles!
SPIDER MAN COMIC BOOK!!
In two months time team Craft Fantastic will be heading to Florida, where there is an actual Williams-Sonoma shop, and we CANNOT WAIT.
This is something I found in my grandma’s recipe notebook and thought it sounded interesting. The notebook is a little scrappy one, with no cover (shock horror! If Grandma Wheeler were still alive, she would have recieved a fancy new notebook for Christmas) and the contents are often equally scrappy, meaning there’s often a small amount of guess work. Here’s the recipe as it stood, word for word:
Beat 4oz marg and 5oz caster sugar together. Add 2 eggs and beat until smooth.
Sift 4oz S.R. flour and 4 oz cornflour tog. and add to ingredients with 1 tbsp milk.
Divide mixture into sections and to each add a diff. food colour, or cocoa to one mix.
Grease a 7″ baking tin and drop a little of each coloured mixture into the tin, till all mixture used up.
Bake at mark 4 for 3/4 to 1 hour.
Now, this seems quite straightforward, but if you are going to attempt this, here are some handy tips…
DOs: Use butter instead of marg if you wish, it’ll be fine. Really make sure the flour is mixed in well; there’s a lot of it! Thus, when it says ‘drop a little of each mixture’ what it should really say is ‘thwack it off the spoon’. Seriously, with all that flour it’s never going to be dropping consistancy. I made a MESS doing this.
DON’Ts: Be careful what kind of tin you use. I used a round one, which was fine, but it meant that the mixture went in lumps side by side; I think it would be much easier to use a loaf style tin, and try to layer the mixture. If you do dollop, (which does provide a nice effect still) when you’ve dolloped the mixture into your tin, don’t just leave it; I was in a rush and made the mistake of leaving mine in dollops, and ended up with a… textured surface… I think perhaps trying to level it would have been a good idea.
However, once it was cut up it did look rather pleasing.
Due to the cornflour, the taste and texture was a bit different to regular sponge cake; however, not at all stodgy or heavy, which was my worry. It was in fact rather tasty.