Homemade Princess birthday cake

Homemade Princess birthday cake

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I made this Princess cake for my friends daughers 5th birthday.Having made a Peppa Pig and Hello Kitty cake in previous years she choose a princess themed party.  I thought it would be really difficult to make but it was actually quite easy.

Madeira Cake – 11” round tin – I also used the same mixture for the pyrex dish.

525g (18 oz) Unsalted Butter

525g (18 oz) Caster Sugar

525g (18 oz) Self Raising Flour

262g (9oz) Plain Flour

9 Large Eggs

11” round tin

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Grease and line the cake tin (pan) with baking parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy and pale. Sift the flours together in a separate bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling.
  4. Sift the remaining flour into the creamed mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon.
  5. Transfer to the lined bakeware and bake, for about 1.5 hours. When the cake is ready it will be well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean. My cake took a lot longer than this – it was more like 2.5hours so don’t worry if it still wobbles after 1.5hours. Just keep checking it every 10minutes.
  6. Allow the cake to cool then, leaving the lining paper on, wrap the cake in foil or place in an airtight container for at least 12 hours before cutting, to allow the cake to settle.

Pyrex dish

  1. Follow the same instructions as above but make sure you grease and flour the dish well as you need to make sure you can get the cake out easily once baked. Also cut out a piece of baking parchment the size off the bottom of the dish (which will actually be the top of the cake) to help the cake come out easily.
  2. Only fill the bowl 2/3 of the way as the shape of the dish mean’s it takes ages to cook anyway, plus you don’t want a big dome in the midde,
  3. I baked the cake for about 3 hours. I did keep turning the oven down to make sure I didn’t burn the cake and would recommend that you allow the cake to cook for about 1 hour 30mins, and then check it every 20mins but you your gut instincts.
  4. See more of my tips on creating a great sponge below:

Buttercream icing

Amounts for 1 quantity (I used 1 quantity for my cake and it was plenty to fill and cover the cake.)

Softened butter (preferably unsalted) – 250g

Icing sugar – 500g

Boiled hot water – 1 tbsp

Vanilla essence – 1 tsb

  1. Beat the butter until soft and fluffy
  2. Add the sugar, water and essence. Beat until pale and creamy.

Sugarpaste

The amount of sugarpaste will depend on how thick you want the icing to be but I bought 500g of white icing and 2 x 500g of pink.

 

The actual cake – Princess cake

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  • First make the Madeira sponge (see recipe above)
  • Cover the doll in cling film to avoid getting any cake / buttericing on to the doll.  Make sure you do the hair too as this will just get in the way when you’re decorating later.  I brought a doll from The Disney Store as it was slightly cheaper than a Barbie doll. Also Barbie dolls have very long legs so the cake would need to be bigger / higher.

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Once the sponge was baked, cooled and settled I trimmed around the circlular cake so that it matched the size of the rim of the bowl cake. Both these cakes make the skirt so you want them to be the same size.

  • I then cut both cakes in half and then, using a pastry cutter as a guide, I cut out a circle of cake in each layer to allow for the doll to fit.
  • Spread the buttericing and strawberry jam on each layer of cake and re-build the cakes to create the skirt.  Try to use a big, flat knife to do this to help avoid the layers breaking. (The reason the dome part of the skirt is a different colour in the pictures is because I didn’t cut anything off this cake and so it still has the “crust” on it.

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  • Line the circle holes up and cut off any excess cake although you don’t need perfection as its good to have bumps as it adds to the effect of the skirt (and with my cake, helped the royal icing stay in place).
  • Add a crumb layer using buttericing.  Once the crumb layer has set slightly, add more buttericing to smooth off the finish.

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  • Transfer the cake onto the board – this bit was quite difficult as the cake is now really heavy.  I used a spatula and a knife to move it, and did it a quickly as possible.
  • Add the Barbie doll into the hole of the cake, keeping the cling film on.

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  • Roll out royal icing for the board – I used white icing for this part and I used the left over icing for the front part of the skirt.
  • Roll out a small piece of white royal icing for the front panel and decorate to add texture.  I used a daisy cutter that I already had but you could use a knife to create a patchwork look.
  • Carefully place the white royal icing to the front of the cake.  This part is really delicate and so  don’t try to make it look perfect – you can hide any mistakes with flowers, other decorations etc.

To avoid colouring the skirt I bought pink royal icing but you could just colour white icing.

  • Roll the pink icing out as thinly as possible being careful not to roll it too thin otherwise it’ll rip when you move it. Also make sure you have rolled enough icing to cover the skirt – I made this mistake a  few times.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get this bit right and I ended up doing the skirt in 2 sections which  joined at the back.  I covered this join with shop bought flower decorations (see picture).
  • Once all the royal icing was in place, I lifted up any easily accessible edges and dabbed water there to help the skirt stay in place.  I’m not sure this is necessary but I didn’t want all the icing to slide off.
  • With the left over pink icing I rolled out a rectangular piece of icing and used this to create a top for the doll. Don’t worry about making the join between the body and skirt perfect as again you can hide any mistakes things under decorations.

I added lots of flowers to the dress which I think made the cake.  No one could see the join at the back of the skirt orsee the poor join between the dolls top and the cake.  I stuck the flowers on with a little dab of icing sugar. I put marshmallows around the bottom of the cake for the candles.

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A few tips I got some a great website – lindycakes.co.uk and a few of my own.

  1. Use real unsalted butter. Margarine and spreads have too high water content.
  2. Make sure you take your butter and eggs out of the fridge so they can reach room temperature.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until white. Turn on the mixer and leave it to do it’s thing whilst getting on with the next stage. This will take about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Line the inside of the tin as usual and then line the outside of the tin with newspaper – use lots of paper – at least 5 pages folded to about the height of the tin and secured with tape. This means that the cake will cook slower around the outside and more evenly throughout so you do not end up with a dome in the middle.
  5. Place a bowl of water on the shelf in the oven.
  6. After adding the eggs you can add glycerin. You need ¼ teaspoon per egg. This helps to keep the cake moist.
  7. When you spoon the mixture into the baking tin you need to scoop out the middle, so all the mixture is around the side of the cake tin and you can see the tin at the bottom (a bit like a ring doughnut!) Don’t be nervous and just make a small dip in the middle – you really need to scoop it up the sides of the tin.
  8. Put it in the oven and bake for 1½ hours. Check after this time with a skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, depending on how much ingredient sticks to the skewer, give it 10 minutes more until the skewer comes out clean. My cake took a lot longer than the recipe stated because of the newspaper. Just check every 10 minutes once the 1.5hours is up.
  9. Leave your cake in the tin to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. When covering a cake with buttercream, cover the sides first.  This allows you to hold the top of the cake steady with your other hand without getting too sticky.
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Blueberry Bakewell Tarts

Blueberry tarts 2

Makes 12

For the blueberry jam

125g blueberries

1 tbsp caster sugar

Squeeze of lemon juice

For the pastry

200g plain flour

100g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

40g icing sugar, sifted

1 large egg, beaten

For the frangipane

55g unsalted butter, softened

55g caster sugar

1 large egg, beaten

40g ground almonds

15g plain flour

  1. Combine the ingredients for the jam in a small saucepan and heat gently until the berries start to burst.  Cook for a few minutes until the mixture is very thick and has lost its watery appearance. This took longer than I thought so be patient.  Press through a sieve to remove the skins, then allow to cool completely.
  2. To make the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.  Using a palette knife cut in the beaten egg, then press together to form a ball of dough.  Wrap in clingfilm and chill  for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Roll out the pastry between a sheet of greaseproof paper and the clingfilm to 3mm thickness.  This took me a while and  I ended up rolling without the clingfilm on top, whilst I’m sure it’s better if you can, it was fine for me.  Using a cutter (5cm round), cut out 12 discs and use to line the bases in the muffin tray.  Cut 12 strips 1cm wide and 20cm long from the remaining pastry; use these to line the sides in the muffin tray.  Make sure you press the pastry together to make sure there are no holes.  Chill for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170oC / 325oF / gas 3. Place the ingredients for the frangipane in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  5. Carefully prick the bases of the pastry cases with a fork, then divide the cooled jam among them. Top with the frangipane. Bake for about 25minutes or until the frangipane has risen and is golden.  I’d recommend checking on them after about 20 minutes to make sure you don’t over cook them.  Cool in the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a cup of tea 🙂

Blueberry tarts 1

Croque Madam muffins

Croque madam muffinsMakes 6

6 pieces of bread with crusts cut off

Slices of ham

6 small eggs – 1 egg per muffin  (you’ll only need the egg yolk)

Grated cheese – I used mature cheddar but you could use gruyere

Small amount of butter

For the beccemel sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

200ml milk

1 tsp dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

  1. First make the Bechemal sauce –  Heat the butter in a saucepan. Once melted, add the flour to make a roux and then add the milk, slowly.  Once it’s started to bubble slightly add the dijon mustard and season with the salt and pepper. Keep it simmering for a few minutes so it starts to thicken.
  2. Cover both slides of the bread with butter (melted) and push into 6 muffin tins (or raminkins). Add a slice of ham, then the egg yolk, followed by the bechemal sauce and top with some grated cheese.  If you want, you can brush the corners of the bread with more butter to make it nice and crunchy and brown in colour.
  3. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes.  I put my muffins in for 15 minutes and the yolk was hard boiled so I would recommend cooking for less time as I think a runny yolk makes this dish.

I saw this dish being made on The Little Paris Kitchen with Rachel Khoo and would definitely recommend it. I’ve made these a few times now and everyone always love them and it’s so easy and quick to make.

Spicy chicken pasties

Spicy chicken pasties

Makes 6

For the pastry

225g plain flour

Good pinch of salt

½ tsp ground turmeric

125g unsalted butter, chilled and diced

About 4 tbsp icy water

For the filling

175g skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1.5cm cubes

3 tbsp natural yogurt

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2cm root ginger, peeled and grated

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp each of ground cumin and coriander

Good pinch of salt

2 tbsp mango chutney

Beaten egg, to glaze

To make the pastry

  1. Sift the flour, salt and turmeric into a bowl.  Add the diced butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
  2. Using a round-bladed knife, gradually stir in enough cold water to bring the mixture together to form a ball of soft but not sticky dough.  Wrap in clingfilm and keep chilled until needed.

To make the filling,

  1. Combine the chicken, yogurt, garlic, ginger, cayenne, cumin, coriander and salt in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  If you have the time, cover and marinate for a couple of hours in the fridge.  I didn’t have time to do this but they still tasted great.
  2. Preheat the grill to its hottest setting and line the grill pan with oiled foil.  Spoon the chicken mixture onto the foil and spread evenly in one layer.  Grill for 5 to 6 minutes or unitl the chicken is just firm and starting to colour.  Remove the grill pan from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF / gas 4.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worktop to a 24 x 36 rectangle.  Cut out 6 rounds with a 12cm cutter (I used a cereal bowl).  Divide the chicken mixture into equal portions, draining off any watery liquid that has collected.  Spoon a portion of chicken onto one half of each pastry round, leaving a 1cm border clear.  Be careful not to overfill the pastry (like I did) otherwise they’ll break / crack.
  4. Top each with a teaspoonful of mango chutney.  Dampen the pastry edges with beaten eggs, then foll the pastry over the filling to make a semi-circle and press the edges together firmly to seal.  Press down on the edges with the back of a fork to decorate and seal.
  5. Place on the lined baking sheet.  Brush lightly with beaten egg to glaze then make a small steam hole in the centre of each pastie with the top of a knife.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp.  Serve warm with extra chutney.

Chicken Biriyani

Chicken Biriyani

This dish is the perfect dish for a tasty, quick, mid week meal. It tastes even better then next day 🙂

300g basmati rice

25g butter

1 large onion – finely sliced

3 cardamom pods

small cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1 tsp turmeric

1 green chilli

4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks

4 tbsp curry paste (I used Patak’s Masala paste)

85g raisins

850ml chicken stock

chopped coriander and toasted flaked almonds to serve

  1. Soak the rice in warm water, then wash in cold until the water runs clear.
  2. Heat butter in a saucepan and cook the onions with the bay leaf, other whole spices and chilli for 10 mins.
  3. Sprinkle in the turmeric, then add chicken and curry paste and cook until aromatic.
  4. Stir the rice into the pan with the raisins, then pour over the stock. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and bring to a hard boil, then lower the heat to a minimum and cook the rice for another 5 mins. Turn off the heat and leave for 10 mins. Stir well, mixing through half the coriander. To serve, scatter over the rest of the coriander and the almonds.

Tip: I removed the cardamom before serving. They are difficult to find though so don’t worry if you can’t find them all.

Tip: I also made a yogurt dressing to go with the curry.

Thanks to bbcgoodfood.com

Toffee apple muffins

Delicious toffee apple muffins with a gooey centre – great for those cold evenings

2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

80g/2¾oz caster sugar

240ml/8½fl oz milk

100g/3½oz butter, melted

300g/10½oz plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

pinch cinnamon

2 eating apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped

200g/7oz shop-bought toffee pieces

I made these muffins for a bonfire night party and they went down a treat.  The toffee stays soft and gooey which makes them even more delicious.  They are so easy to make and would definitely recommend.  I doubled the recipe as I wanted the muffins to be quite big.

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/380F/Gas 5 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, milk and melted butter in a large bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into the bowl. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add the chopped apple and lightly mix.
  4. Using half of the mixture, quarter-fill each of the muffin cases with the mixture and top with a few pieces of toffee. If you use too much toffee it will spill out of the muffin.   Cover with the remaining filling so the cases are half full.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until well risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

Triple chocolate cookies

75g butter, at room temperature

175g light muscovado sugar

1 egg

150g self raising flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

100g white chocolate, chopped

100g milk chocolate, chopped

 

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until pale and creamy.  Stir in the eggs, flour and cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
  2. Stir in the chopped chocolate and spook 20 mounds of the mixture on to 2 greased baking sheets, leaving space between for them to spread during cooking.  I like my cookies to be big so I actually only made about 10 so just make how ever many you want. 🙂
  3. Bake in a preheated over, 180oC / 350oF / gas mark 4 for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.  Leave to harden for 1 – 2 minutes then loosed and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They are best eaten on the day they are made but mine lasted a few days and still tasted amazing!!

Tip – don’t bake the cookies for too long. They’ll look uncooked as they are still quite wet in the middle and the temptation is to give them a bit longer but they’ll harden when cooled.

Cajun spiced salmon

2 salmon fillets, about 140g/5oz

Juice 1 lemon

Pinch of chilli powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground paprika

½ tsp ground coriander

Pince of soft brown sugar

Drizzle of sunflower oil

Steamed rice, to serve

 

For the salsa

1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

2 spring onions

Juice of 1 lime

Splash of olive oil

Bunch of coriander, half roughly chopped, half picked

  1.  Put the salmon in a bowl, pour over the lime juice and leave the salmon to ‘cure’ for 5 mins. Meanwhile, mix all the spices together with the sugar. Lift the salmon out of the lime juice and roll in the spices so it’s completely coated.
  2. Heat grill to high. Grease a baking tray, then sit the salmon, flesh-side up, on the tray. Grill for 5 mins, until the salmon is cooked through and the edges are starting to blacken. While the salmon is cooking, gently mix all the salsa ingredients together with the roughly chopped coriander. When the fish is cooked, serve with the salsa, some rice and the coriander sprigs.

This is a really healthy meal but if you don’t use enough spices on the salmon and enough juice, it can be a little bland.  Play around with the spices to see what you prefer.

 

 

Homemade Hello Kitty birthday cake

I made this Hello Kitty for my friends daughters 4th birthday.  It was easy to make, tasted great and looked just like Hello Kitty 🙂

Madeira Cake – 11” round tin

525g (18 oz) Unsalted Butter

525g (18 oz) Caster Sugar

525g (18 oz) Self Raising
Flour

262g (9oz) Plain Flour

9 Large Eggs

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Grease and line the cake tin (pan) with baking parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy and pale. Sift the flours together in a separate bowl.
  3. Beat the eggs into the creamed mixture, one at a time, following each with a spoonful of flour, to prevent the mixture curdling.
  4. Sift the remaining flour into the creamed mixture and fold in carefully with a large metal spoon.
  5. Transfer to the lined bakeware and bake, for about 1.5 hours. When the cake is ready it will be well risen, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean. My cake took a lot longer than this – it was more like 2.5hours so don’t worry if it still wobbles after 1.5hours.  Just keep checking it every 10minutes.
  6. Allow the cake to cool then, leaving the lining paper on, wrap the cake in foil or place in an airtight container for at least 12 hours before cutting, to allow the cake to settle.

This is a different recipe to the Peppa Pig one I made last year.  I prefer this method and recipe – see tips at the bottom of entry.

Buttercream icing

Amounts for 1 quantity (I used 1 quantity for my cake and had loads left over)

Softened butter (preferably unsalted) – 250g

Icing sugar – 500g

Boiled hot water – 1 tbsp

Vanilla essence – 1 tsb

  1.  Beat the butter until soft and fluffy
  2. Add the sugar, water and essence.  Beat until pale and creamy.

Sugarpaste

The amount of sugarpaste will depend on how thick you want the icing to be but I bought 1kg of white sugar and coloured up what I needed.

The actual cake – Hello Kitty

  • First make the Madeira sponge (see recipe above)
  • Once baked, cooled and settled I cut out the shape of Hello Kitty using a print out  of an image I’d found online.

  • Once I had the shape I then cut the cake in half horizontally and filled with buttercream icing and strawberry jam and then assembled the cake back together

  • Next, I covered the cake with the remaining buttercream icing.

  • Then, I iced the cake and board with sugarpaste.  With the left over sugarpaste I used red colouring and made the bow.  I cut out 2 long strips and looped them over a rolling pin.  Once the icing has set slightly I attached them together and put a round circle of sugarpaste to cover the join and also make the middle of the bow.  This took me quite a while as I couldn’t quite get the shape right but stick in there.
  • To finish off I used wine gums for the eyes and nose and liquorice for the whiskers and used a small amount of icing sugar to “stick” them down.

 

A few tips I got some a great website – lindycakes.co.uk and a few of my own.

  1. Use real unsalted butter. Margarine and spreads have too high water content.
  2. Make sure you take your butter and eggs out of the fridge so they can reach room temperature.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until white. Turn on the mixer and leave it to do it’s thing whilst getting on with the next stage. This will take about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Line the inside of the tin as usual and then line the outside of the tin with newspaper – use lots of paper – at least 5 pages folded to about the height of the tin and secured with tape. This means that the cake will cook slower around the outside and more evenly throughout so you do not end up with a dome in the middle.
  5. Place a bowl of water on the shelf in the oven.
  6. After adding the eggs you can add glycerin. You need ¼ teaspoon per egg. This helps to keep the cake moist.
  7. When you spoon the mixture into the baking tin you need to scoop out the middle, so all the mixture is around the side of the cake tin and you can see the tin at the bottom (a bit like a ring doughnut!) Don’t be nervous and just make a small dip in the middle – you really need to scoop it up the sides of the tin.
  8. Put it in the oven and bake for 1½ hours. Check after this time with a skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, depending on how much ingredient sticks to the skewer, give it 10 minutes more until the skewer comes out clean. My cake took a lot longer than the recipe stated because of the newspaper. Just check every 10 minutes once the 1.5hours is up.
  9. Leave your cake in the tin to cool, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. When covering a cake with buttercream, cover the sides first.  This allows you to hold the top of the cake steady with your other hand without getting too sticky.

Chilli cornbread – thanks to Ian Norris

A wonderful chilli cornbread recipe from a guest blogger.  Looks absolutely delicious!

50g butter

150g self raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

1tsp sea salt

2tsp baking powder

½ tsp black pepper

150g cornmeal

2 medium eggs, beaten

300ml milk

1 deseeded and chopped green chilli

2 tbsp chopped basil

  1.  Melt the butter.  Preheat the oven to 180oC/ Gas Mark 4.  Grease a 20cm x 10cm loaf tin with a little of the melted butter.
  2. Sift the self raising flour,  caster sugar, sea salt and baking powder into a large bowl and stir in the black pepper and 150g cornmeal.
  3. Using a whisk, mix in the eggs, milk and rest of the butter to form a smooth batter.  Fold in the chilli and basil.  Pour into the tin. Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Test with a skewer