Archive | October, 2010

Zombie themed cupcakes.

29 Oct

If you are hoping to see nice cute Halloween cupcakes then you won’t be finding them on this particular post. Infact, this post and these cupcakes are definitely not for the faint hearted. If you are looking for gross cupcakes featuring blood, gore and severed body parts then you are in the right place….Welcome.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. You chose to ignore the warning signs!

(Vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and topped with a fondant icing sign).

You could clearly see there had been some kind of struggle.

( Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, topped with a fondant icing knife and drizzled in blood)

of course it’s not real blood…..honest!

You found evidence of something quite gruesome when you found these severed digits.

(Vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream, topped with a fondant icing finger)

So quite clearly you should have known, it was only a matter of time before you came across the

ZOMBIES!!!!!!!!

I am really going to miss these guys!

All packaged nice and secure inside a cupcake box, ready to be delivered to my brother and his wife. These cupcakes are an early Halloween surprise, hope they like them.

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Banana and Butterscotch Layer Cake

26 Oct

This moist all in one banana sponge cake is layered with cream, walnuts and sliced banana, and finished with a drizzling of butterscotch sauce. You can make this really quickly in a food processor or just mix it together using a wooden spoon or electric beater in the conventional way. Serve as a delicious dessert cake or as a special tea time treat.

Ingredients

  • 110g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for tins.
  • 250g self-raising flour.
  • 1 level tsp baking powder.
  • 275g caster sugar.
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten.
  • 3 ripe medium-sized bananas, peeled and mashed.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • 55g walnut halves, roughly chopped.
  • 5 tbsp natural yogurt.

Butterscotch sauce

  • 55g Demerara sugar
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 100ml fresh double cream.

Filling

  • 200ml fresh double cream, whipped.
  • 1 ripe large banana, peeled and chopped.

Decoration

  • 55g walnut halves, crumbled into chunks.

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4.
  • Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter, line the bases with baking parchment.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix the butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
  • Gradually add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy.

  • Add the mashed bananas, lemon juice, chopped walnuts and yogurt and beat for a few seconds.
  • Add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix until well blended.
  • Divide the mixture between the cake tins.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool a little.
  • Remove them from the tins and cool completely on wire racks.
  • Meanwhile make the butterscotch sauce.
  • In a small saucepan, gently heat together all the ingredients , stirring continually with a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is bubbling hot (handle this carefully as very hot sugar can cause bad burns). Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

  • To make the filling, gently stir the chopped banana into the whipped cream.
  • Place one of the sponge cakes onto a plate or board and spread over two-thirds of the filling. Then drizzle over half of the butterscotch sauce. Place the second sponge on top of the filling. Then cover the top of the cake with the remaining filling. To finish sprinkle with the crumbled walnuts and drizzle over the remaining butterscotch sauce.

I must admit i am not very fond of bananas at all but i did try a small piece…..ok a medium size piece of this cake and i surprisingly thought it was very tasty. The banana didn’t overpower it like i thought it would and i can honestly say i actually enjoyed it.

Recipe from Magical Christmas market booklet (available via Lidl) Recipe by Lesley Waters

Engagement cupcakes

26 Oct

These cupcakes were made for an engagement party. They were vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. The cupcakes were topped with various fondant/sugarpaste items to tie in with the theme of engagement, they included, hearts, champagne bottles, it’s a toast and wedding rings.

I should hopefully be getting a photograph of the cupcakes set up at the party, which i will add as soon as i receive it.

Halloween food and drink ideas.

25 Oct

I have been doing some searching around the internet, trying to find some good ideas for Halloween food and drink. These are my favourite finds so far.

Bloody brain shooter

Cemetery slime punch

This one looks gross, perfect for gruesome kids.

Vampire blood tomato soup

For lots more recipes and great ideas visit Foodnetwork.co.uk

The following were all found at Our Best Bites Take a look at the site, there are lots of great ideas.

Bones and Blood

Monster Jaws

Slimy worms on a bun.

How about these fantastic  Dark Chocolate graveyard pots perfect to finish any Halloween dinner.

I am really looking forward to Halloween, even more so now that i have a few good ideas for the food and drink. I hope this post proves to be useful to you. Have a great Halloween.

Remember to keep checking back as i will be updating this page as i come across any new recipes of interest.

Ginger Cake

19 Oct

After trying a few different recipes for Ginger cake, i think this one has to be my favourite. This recipe is by James Martin, it is easy to follow and produces mouth-watering results every time. This cake has also been named as a Ginger Parkin but unlike a traditional Parkin there is no sign of oats/oatmeal in this recipe. However this recipe does give a very light and moist  ginger cake that does taste like Parkin. Very delicious and definitely worth baking.


Recipe

  • 225g / 8oz self-raising flour
  • 110g / 4oz caster sugar
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml / 7fl oz milk
  • 55g / 2oz butter
  • 110g / 4oz golden syrup

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C / 300 F / Gas mark 2.
  2. Line a 22cm / 8″ tin.
  3. Sieve the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
  4. In a small pan gently heat the butter and syrup until melted.
  5. Beat the egg into the milk.
  6. Gradually pour the butter and syrup into the flour and stir. The mixture will be thick.
  7. Pour in the egg and milk and stir until smooth.
  8. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 1 hour.

Once my Ginger cake had cooled i cut it into squares and enjoyed it with a cup of tea. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that this type of cake will get better after a few days. If wrapped and left for 2-3 days the cake would become more moist. I however do not know if there is any truth in this or not as i have never been any good at resisting anything sweet.

Pumpkin Carving….the first attempt.

18 Oct

Well after making those deliciously scrummy Pumpkin and Ginger cupcakes the other day, I decided i wanted to make use of all of the pumpkin. First i put the pumpkin seeds to one side ( I have plans for these but that will be in another post, sometime soon). I then turned my attention to the pumpkin and decided instead of throwing it away, it might be fun to have a go at carving it. This also doubled up as a good excuse to have a practice before Halloween aswell ( I won’t tell anybody if you don’t). I didn’t want to do the usual face on a pumpkin and i wanted to try something different. After finding some really cool sites on the internet with fantastic pumpkins that really are out of this world, I decided to do my favourite *cough* err i mean my children’s favourite cartoon character. Yes you guessed it, he lives in a pineapple under the sea, so why not also be carved out of a pumpkin……Spongebob. This was my first time carving a pumpkin in this way, usually I just cut out triangles for eyes, a triangle nose and a mouth, not very imaginative I know but hey. So as you can see this was going to be a lot different to norm and quite a challenge, although I always love a challenge. I think it took somewhere around 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete but i am happy with the result. It is a little bit rough here and there (which probably comes from not having the proper equipment and having to improvise by using a chopping knife). Also i made a few mistakes but on the whole i love it…….I think i may have just found myself another hobby!

This is the finished carved pumpkin.

and this is the effect with a tea light placed inside, then lit and the lights turned off.

Here are some interesting pumpkin related websites that you may wish to visit.

http://www.pumpkincarving101.com

This next site is called Extreme Pumpkins and is one of my favourite sites and not a cute pumpkin to be seen anywhere. You have been warned. It was here at extreme pumpkins that i first saw my all time favourite…..the pukin pumpkin designed by Tom Nardone who is also the creator of the extreme pumpkins website.

Since creating the website Tom has also written 3 books, head on over to the extreme pumpkin website and take a look for yourselves.

http://www.extremepumpkins.com

Here is a site that has some free pumpkins carving patterns

http://www.ehow.com/halloween/templates.html

Pumpkin and Ginger cupcakes.

16 Oct

Well this is the first time I have ever baked with a pumpkin, I usually only stretch as far as carving one for Halloween (or 2 or 3). Anyway just like the saying goes, there is a first time for everything. Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons, with October, November and December been my favourite months. Everything just seems so much more exciting around this time of year, from flavours and textures of the foods that we eat to the uncontrollable urge of being able to throw whatever you want into a cupcake or cake and somehow make it work or should I say and sometimes make it work (there are exceptions here of course). The richer, the spicier, the darker, the better, just about sums it up for me and the dark, cosy nights just add the cherry to the top of my cake aswell. Does anyone else find that they experiment more with flavours in the Autumn/Winter months than in the Spring and Summer?

Well after lots of experimenting, juggling and swapping ingredients and quantities, i have finally come up with a recipe i am more than happy with. Hope you like them as much as i do.

These cupcakes are really delicious and very moist, they have a very light and almost melt in the mouth texture. Once you have baked them you will find it very hard to leave them alone.

Pumpkin and Ginger cupcakes.

3 oz / 85g stem ginger in syrup.

6oz/ 175g muscovado sugar

7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened

9oz/ 250g pumpkin, grated

7oz/ 200g plain flour

2 large eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the icing.

8oz/225g icing sugar

4oz/ 125g full fat cream cheese.

4oz/ 125g unsalted butter

Splash of milk

Please note.

If you haven’t got pumpkin, butternut squash may be used instead.

When making the icing use full fat cream cheese, the lighter and half fat alternatives will make the icing runnier and less easy to manage.

1) Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5 / 190C / 375F

2) Line a muffin tin with cupcake/muffin cases.

3) Grate or finely chop the ginger.

4) Cream together the butter and the sugar, until lighter and fluffier in appearance.

5) Beat the eggs in, one at a time.

6) Add the stem ginger and the pumpkin  to the butter/sugar mixture and stir until evenly blended.

7) Sift in the flour, baking powder and all the spices.

8 ) Fill the cupcake/muffin cases with the mixture.

Fill nearly to the top of each case.

9) Bake for 25 minutes.

10) Once cupcakes are baked, remove from the oven and transfer onto a cooling rack. Once the cupcakes are nearly cool start to make the icing.

11) Cream together the butter, splash of milk and the cream cheese, once blended add the icing sugar and whisk together until smooth. Add more icing sugar if a thicker topping is required.

Now your icing is finished, you can either spread some on top of your cupcakes using a spoon or why not fill a piping bag and pipe a pretty swirl on top. You could then top your cupcakes with a little grated stem ginger, crystallized ginger, maybe a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or anything else that takes your fancy. Enjoy x

These look fabulous when placed on a cupcake tree and would also make a lovely autumn gift for any cupcake lover.

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