Category Archives: Uncategorized

Homemade Princess birthday cake

Homemade Princess birthday cake

Image

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

ImageImage

  • 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.

Image

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.

Image

  • 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.

Image

  • 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.

Image

  • 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.

Image

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.
Advertisements

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.

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

Pasticcio

I made this dish for a group of friends coming overr.  I’d never heard of it before but everyone loved it. It’s a perfect recipes for friends as it’s quite quick to make. My guests helped themselves to Pasticcio, salad, garlic bread and homemade French dressing.  This recipe makes 6 but 4 of us polished this dish off – yummy scrummy!

1 tbsp sunflower oil

500g minced pork or beef

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes

90g tomato puree

90ml red wine

2 bay leaves

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried oregano

½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

250g short cut macaroni

salt and black pepper

Cheese sauce

30g butter

30g plain flour

300ml milk

175g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg yolk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

  1.  Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan, add the meat, onions and garlic, and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, and wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the bay leaves, sugar, oregano and cinnamon (if using) and season with  salt and pepper.  Simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
  4. Meanwhile cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes until just tender.  Drain and set aside.
  5. Make the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk.  Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, egg yolk, and mustard, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon half of the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish and add half of the macaroni.  Cover with the remaining meat mixture, then top with the remaining macaroni and the cheese sauce.
  7. Bake the pasticcio in a preheated oven at 180oC (350oF, Gas Mark 4) for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden.

Fruit cake

This fruit cake recipe is delicious and never fails.  It’s moist, tasty and goes perfectly with a cuppa. Guests always love it and it nevers stays around for long!

125g butter

125g raisins

125g currants

75g sultanas

150g light muscovado sugar

150ml (1/2 pint) water

300g self-raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice

2 eggs

  1. Put the butter, dried fruit, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Heat gently for 5 minutes and then to cool for 15mins.
  2. Put the flour and mixed spice into a mixing bowl.  Add the cooled fruit mixture and eggs and mix to a soft dropping consistency.
  3. Spoon into a 20cm (8inch) tin greased and based lined with oiled greaseproof paper (I used a loaf tin and it was perfect).  Spread the surface level and then bake in a pre-heated overn 160oC (325F), Gas Mark 3, for 45-55mins (My cakes always need about 55mins, some time more so don’t worry if it’s not cooked after 55mins).  The cake should be well risen, slightly cracked and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Tip:  If you have a fan assisted oven you might need to cover the cake lightly with foil after 30mins to prevent the top from overbrowning.
  4. Leave to cool for 10mins, then loosen the edges, turn out on to a wire rack and peel off the lining paper.  Leave to cool completed before eating – if you can wait 🙂  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Homemade French Dressing

This French dressing recipe is delicious. It’s easy to make and tastes so much nicer than shop bought dressings.

Peel and finely chop ¼ of a clove of garlic • Put the garlic, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of white or red wine vinegar (I always use white wine vinegar) and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

It’s that easy 🙂

 

 

Creamy courgette lasagne

I made this creamy courgette lasagne for a veggie friend who came to dinner.  It was quick and easy to make and went down well, even amongst the meat eaters.  I also topped with a bit of parmesen.

Serves 4

Dried lasagne sheets

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 onion, finely chopped

700g courgettes (about 6) coarsely grated

2 garlie cloves, crushed

250g tub ricotta

50g cheddar

350g Tomato sauce – I made my own sauce (recipe below)

Chilli flakes (optional)

 

  1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Put a pan of water on to boil, then cook the lasagne sheets for about 5 mins until softened, but not cooked through. Rinse in cold water, then drizzle with a little oil to stop them sticking together.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the onion. After 3 mins, add the courgettes and garlic and continue to fry until the courgette has softened and turned bright green. Stir in 2/3 of both the ricotta, cheddar and chilli flakes and then season to taste. Heat the tomato sauce until hot.
  3. In a large baking dish, layer up the lasagne, starting with half the courgette mix, then pasta, then tomato sauce. Repeat, top with blobs of the remaining ricotta, then scatter with the rest of the cheddar. Bake on the top shelf for about 10 mins until the pasta is tender and the cheese is golden.

For the tomato sauce

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, garlic cloves and carrot, roughly chopped and cook for 5-7 mins over a medium heat until softened. Turn up the heat a little and stir in the tomato purée. Cook for 1 min, pour in white wine, then cook for 5 mins until this has reduced by two-thirds. Pour over 3 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes and add 1 handful basil leaves. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool, whizz in a food processor.

Parmesan and Thyme Crostini

Serves: 9

150g grated parmesan

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 (200g) tub cream cheese, softened

1 baguette

1. Preheat the grill. Slice baguette into 1cm slices. Arrange the bread slices on a baking tray. Toast under the grill for 1 minute per side, or until both sides are slightly toasted.

2.In a mixing bowl, combine the Pecorino, garlic, thyme and cream cheese. Spread the mixture over the tops of the baguette slices. Grill for a further 3 minutes, until cheese is melted.

A lovely recipe to serve as a starter.  The cheese is very strong so you might want to serve with some grapes.  I served with Ricotta and roasted tomoto crostini and Prosciutto, pear & rocket rolls.  YUMMY!!!