Sunday, 28 June 2009

Happy Birthday to…. me :)

Well, a slight while ago now, but on the 4th June it was my 14th birthday! And what better way to celebrate than with …

Picture 008 a cupcake tier!

Picture 004

Two layers of delicious lemon cupcakes and lemon buttercream, decorated with sugar flowers and edible pink glitter, in pretty polka dot liners…

Picture 005What more could sixteen hungry 14year olds  (and one hungry Daddy) want?

Picture 006

Needless to say, they were a huge hit. I cannot take any credit for their delicious taste – thank you VERY much to my Mummy for making them all for us!


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

“Ooh Mama!”

Is what I said to my Mummy when she rang to ask how my muffins had turned out. And its true, they really are that good!

DSCF3498 The plan to make these muffins came from two main factors:

1) an abundance of lemons.
2) a craving for icing!

Oooh icing cravings. Bad things to suffer from as icing always has to follow shortly! But what better way for it to come then drizzled lovingly on top of a fluffy lemon+poppyseed muffin, the icing itself also tangy and lemony. It makes me hungry writing about it too-many days later!


The recipe for the muffins came from the fabulous Baking: From My Home To Yours, by the equally fabulous Dorie Greenspan. The book is so popular with many bloggers the weekly Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD) event was set up to celebrate the book by baking a recipe from it every week until everything is baked! Interestingly, these lemon muffins haven’t been chosen yet –travesty! I love reading the posts by all the TWD-ers, but haven’t joined myself for fear of not being able to bake the recipe every single week! To see all the great work done by TWD-ers, head here. And if you haven’t yet got the book itself – I urge you to. Even if, as an British person, it means getting your head round American cups and sticks – still get it! The book is choc-a-block full of great recipes and stunning photos. And American measures aren’t thaat confusing, especially with a pretty cup measuring set like mine (although I do still have to convert “sticks” of butter to ounces). And it is all the more worth it, if it gives you the chance to make these muffins!

DSCF3497 Lemon Poppyseed Muffins from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

[Quick Note: In the book, Dorie says the muffins are best on the day they are made. Sometimes you can stretch these bakes out for a few days or keep safe in a tin and they taste just as great 3 days later. With these though, it really is first day best day. The next day they become heavier and stodgier – so try hard to eat all 12 first day! Trust me, it won’t be hard ;) ]

For the muffins:

· 2/3 cup sugar

· zest and juice of 2 small lemons

· 2 cups all purpose flour

· 2 teaspoons baking powder

· 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 3/4 cup non sour cream

· 2 large eggs

· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

· 1/2 cup canola oil (optional, I didn’t use)

· 2 tablespoons poppyseeds

For the glaze:

· 1 cup icing sugar, sifted

· 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 400F. Prepare your muffin pan or whatever muffin cooking apparatus you will be using, and place on a baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is moist and you can smell the lemon.

3. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

4. In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and canola oil until well blended.

5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and with a rubber spatula gently and quickly stir to blend. Do not over-mix. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly in 12 muffin cups.

6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes, and then remove them from the tin and let cool to room temperature.

7. To make the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add more lemon juice as needed to get it to the consistency so you can drizzle the glaze over the muffins (I recommend putting a big sheet of cling-film under the muffins at this point to catch all the soft icing drips :D).

Monday, 1 June 2009

French Fancies

DSCF3521Something I always enjoy in baking is taking things which nowadays we seem to think are only possible if bought in a shiny packet from the supermarket. Its what inspired the Biscuit Mission, because I wanted to prove that homemade versions are just as good, sometimes better, than shop bought varieties. And of course there is always the plus side that by making homemade you know exactly what’s in everything you are eating. Big name brands which are constantly seen everywhere have sort of lulled us into thinking that certain foodstuffs do have to be made in a big factory somewhere. The brand I was focusing on recently, was Mr Kipling.
mr kip.
I will admit that I have eaten a fair share of Mr. Kipling products in the past – not just the French Fancies, but Cherry Bakewells, Battenberg and cake slices. And I’m not too ashamed to say I have enjoyed them – they are so popular some call them a national favourite. But my likeness of them fades slightly when I see this…
That many ingredients for a Fondant Fancy? And so the quest began to find a way to make them at home. There aren’t many recipes out there, and the ones that are just didn’t seem close enough to the Mr Kipling variety. Most are also under the name “fondant fancy” although not technically using fondant. Eventually, this little gem from BBC Good Food was found, made, eaten, and enjoyed.
DSCF3502First whizz up the chocolate cake base in the mixer.. DSCF3504 Cook, cool in the tin, and then cut it into even squares.
Place half a truffle, cut side down, on every cake square.
Smother each cake in dark chocolate icing, and drizzle with extra milk chocolate icing. Find the whole recipe here.
Rather a layering job as you can see, these are a slight kerfuffle! However, according to my taste testing family, they turned out very good! Not for the fainthearted, due to the four different types of chocolate involved, but soft and crunchy and sweet all at the same time! Sadly, not quite the same as Kipling. If anyone knows how to make the icing more fondant-like without being completely hard, and the little mound soft and buttercreamy – please tell me! Until then, enjoy these.