Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Cakeyboi Alphabet - L and Blogger Awards

Last month I was extremely lucky to be awarded two blogger awards – The Liebester Award from Ryan at Baked with Kindness and The Versatile Blogger Award from Kat over at The Baking Explorer. I figured I must be doing something right to be presented with these!

The Liebster Award is for bloggers with less than 300 followers and the recipient nominates eleven fellow bloggers asking them eleven random questions. The rules state that a nominee must link back to the blogger from whom they received a nomination. The nominee will write eleven random facts about themselves and then answer the eleven questions that have been set for them. They will then nominate another eleven bloggers and post eleven questions to them.

The Versatile Blogger Award’s rules are sorta similar
1.Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Include a link to their blog
3. Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you've discovered recently or follow regularly
4. Nominate those 15 blogs/bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award (include a link back to your post!)
5. Finally, tell the people you nominated (and your blog readers) 7 things about yourself

Well, to be honest I’ve been stressing about how I’m going to do both of these awards justice.  Thinking of 18 questions, 26 bloggers etc. was going to br a tall order. So I’m going to cheat (please forgive me) and award both awards to 13 fellow bloggers (splitting the difference), and answer the 11 questions posed by Ryan, state 11 random facts about myself and ask another 11 of the recipients. This will incorporate the Verstile Blogger award too. It will be entirely up to the recipient which award to pass on...

Answers to Ryan’s Questions

1.                  What is the worst baking accident you've ever had?
Usually burning cakes to cinders as I have forgotten they are in the oven!

2.                  What is your favourite cookbook?
Outsider Tart’s Baked in America

3.                  Scone (as in stone) or scone (as in gone)?
Scone (as in gone)

4.                  Do you have pets?
No pets, wish I could have a dog though, but not at home often enough sadly

5.                  Have you ever bought something and passed it off as homemade?
I don’t believe I ever have – I’d feel too guilty

6.                  Have you ever met someone famous? Who was it?
I’ve met Danny Wallace at a book signing

7.                  Cake, pastries, bread, or biscuits - which do you bake the most?
Probably biscuits (cookies, if they count)

8.                  Cake, pastries, bread, or biscuits - which gives you the most hassle?
Pastries! Pastry is my nemesis

9.                  Do you sing and/or dance in public?
I have sung karaoke in my youth, and danced – but not for a long time!

10.              Do you prefer to be too warm or too cold?
            I’d rather be too warm. Good question as my office has problems with cold tatties and hot scones!!

Random Facts about Myself:

I have hypermobility syndrome (can bend limbs quite freakishly!)
I lost 3 ½ stone between 2011 and 2012
I have a second cousin who wrote ‘Proud’ with Heather Small (you know, ‘What have you done today…’)
I once had heart surgery for a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome
I was auditioned for the Great British Bake Off 2013, but never heard back 
I once auditioned for the Million Pound Drop but didn’t hear back
My favourite musical is Wicked
I used to spirit level the pictures in my home to make sure they were straight (I got a life thankfully!)
The first single I ever bought was ‘Mull of Kintyre’ by Wings
My favourite Soap was Knots Landing
I am a quarter Italian

Questions for Recipients:

What was your first pet?
Tea or coffee?
If you could be any cartoon character who would it be any why?
Who is your favourite TV chef?
What colour eyes do you have?
Indian or Chinese cuisine?
Have you ever fallen asleep in the cinema? If so what was the movie?
Gym or sofa?
Is there a blog you aspire to be as successful as? If so, what is the site?
When was the last time you recorded on to a video cassette?
Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry?

Lastly my nominees are:
Stephanie @ Kitchen Frolic
Stephanie @ Munch I Munch
Becca @ Becca Bakes

Thanks again to Ryan and Kat!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Hot Cross Scones

After my first attempt at making scones a few weeks back (CheddarberryScones) I was eager to try more. My combo of cheddar and strawberries went well, so what else could I come up with?

As it is Easter soon, I wanted to try and encapsulate this holiday in a scone. My mind got to thinking and I thought of putting a Hot Cross Bun and a scone together. If you aren't familiar with Hot Cross Buns, they are usually a soft sweet bun with fruit and spices in them. They are topped off with a pastry or iced cross.

I found a recipe and these scones had added allspice, mixed peel and sultanas. And I made the thick sugary crosses on top with natural orange flavoured icing sugar, to give them a bit of added citrus zing and crunch. I received the orange icing sugar from the kind people at Sugar and Crumbs, who did a lot if different flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders. amongst other things. 

I wrote this recipe for a guest post at my friend Stephanie's site - check it out there...Munch I Munch

Disclaimer: I was sent the icing sugar free to review and was not compelled to write a favourable review. The views expressed are my own.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Easter Cartoon Time

He's dressed as a bunny, overheated and grumpy, so...

Monday, 25 March 2013

Disco Bunny Cupcakes

Another Easter inspired idea. This time I wanted to cover the tops of cupcakes in spring like colours, have rabbit ears popping out of the top. Then I saw a recipe for cupcakes over at Bakerella, where she incorporated coloured sprinkles into the batter, ensuring every bite was as garish as the outside!

I made my usual marshmallow frosting, which I piped onto the cooled cupcakes and then dunked them into a bowl of Rainbow Drops, little puffs of rice and corn, which taste deceptively like Froot Loops. If you can’t get Rainbow Drops, multicoloured mini-marshmallows or even crushed Froot Loops would do just as good a job.

For the ears I took foam bananas and piped on a little icing to make it look like the insides of the lugs. I plunged these into the top and the bunnies came to life (almost!). The cupcakes are moist and vanilla-delicious. Plus the texture of the slightly crunchy topping is a nice contrast – perfect for Easter parties!

print recipe

Disco Bunny Cupcakes
  • 270 grams plain flour
  • 340 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 75 grams rainbow sprinkles
Preheat oven to 180oC and line a couple of cupcake trays with white liners. In a mixer, blend together the flour, sugar and baking powder. In a separate gently whisk together the egg whites, milk and vanilla. Add the butter to the flour mix and blend until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg white mix and beat until no dry ingredients can be seen. Add the sprinkles and fold through gently. Fill the cupcake cases about 2/3 full and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 18 cupcakes

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Cakeyboi Alphabet - K

We've reached K in the alphabet - in Cakeyboi's world this is Kiss

When I think of Kisses in the sweet world, I think of yummy Hershey Kisses, but Kisses can also refer to a cookie made with egg whites and sugar!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Easy Easter Pops and Easter Bark

 Here are a couple of quick Easter ideas for you.

I have been asked to do a few more kid friendly recipes and I think the above Easter Pops are very simple. And of course, no holiday can go by, without my bark, equally as easy, and kids love it!

To make the pops, look for small Easter type sweets, such as micro mini eggs, bright coloured mini-mallows, Froot Loops look very spring-like (well the US ones, not the horrible, drab UK ones). I also got little wafer bunnies in TK Maxx, but just pick up what you like really. Oh, and get some lolly sticks too!

Melt some white chocolate then drop it on some greaseproof paper, on a baking sheet. I tried to shape some into egg shapes, but circles were a bit easier. Push the sticks into the pop and place some more chocolate over the top of the stick. Then decorate, adding what you like. Place the pops into the fridge to set and when ready to eat, peel off the paper and enjoy.

My bark doesn’t need any explanation (or if it does, clickhere), and I won’t go over the recipe again, but I added Eastery type treats and broke into shards.

Very easy to do and kids love them! And I think the Easter Bunny might as well…

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Cartoon Time - Eggs Factor

Congratulations to Helen D from Southampton who won the Great British Bakeware, which is winging it's way to her right now. Now for this Wednesday's cartoon and it's sorta Easter themed...

Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies for Red Nose Day

Happy Belated Red Nose Day everyone! £75 million on the night is quite an achievement in this economic climate. In our office we made £315 just from selling our baked goods and some books.

If you are not from the UK, you might wonder what the heck that entire last paragraph meant. But Red Nose Day is a fundraising day, held once every two years in the UK, in aid of Comic Relief, a charity that aims to eradicate world poverty. The tagline is ‘Do Something Funny For Money’ and folk raise money by doing madcap things. At my work we were a little more restrained and had a cake and book sale (and a raffle for a lovely cake provided by a co-workers mum, won by Charmaine below).

My particular contribution this year were Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, which I made with my able assistant Disneyboi by my side. He also helped raise money in his office too. I doubled this recipe, which usually makes about 15 pies in total.

And before we get to the recipe - a HUGE well done to Jake who baked a cake for his mum's Office Bake Off Competition in aid of Comic Relief. Jake asked Cakeyboi personally for a recipe and as he is such a good baker, Jake won! Here's a picture of Jake with his winning certificate:

print recipe

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
  • 1 egg
  • 200 grams plain flour
  • 200 grams light brown sugar
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 ml buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 145 grams cream cheese
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 115 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small bottle red food colouring
Preheat your oven to 180oC. Line a couple of cookie sheets with greaseproof paper. Sift the flour into a bowl and whisk through the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until slightly thickened in consistency. Add a third of the flour mix and stir until just combined. Add one half of the buttermilk, blend, one more third of flour mix, last half of buttermilk, and finish with the last third of flour. Lastly add the food colouring. Eyeball it until you get a deep red colour, you want these to pop! Scoop tablespoon amounts onto the baking sheet, spacing them out slightly as they do spread a little. I got 12 per sheet. Pop them into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove allowing them to cool completely, removing them from the paper after 5 minutes. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft, add the sugar and beat until combined. Then add the cream and vanilla and beat until the filling is very thick. Pop this mix into a piping bag and pipe on to the pies, sandwiching them together. And your pies are ready!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 15 whoopie pies

Saturday, 16 March 2013

{REVIEW} Happy Easter from Hotel Chocolat

A quick break from the Cakeyboi Alphabet this week, as I have something delicious to share with you.

Easter is fast approaching and if you haven’t bought your loved ones' egg yet, here is something a bit more special than the average chocolate egg on sale at the supermarket!

I was asked to review an Easter egg from the good people at Hotel Chocolat. Have you been to one of their stores before? They are exquisite and decadent. Wall to wall chocolate in every flavour and combination you could imagine.

If you don’t have a Hotel Chocolat beside you, you can also order their goods online, including their Easter range. I was sent a Salted Caramel Egg Sandwich to review and I have to say I was extremely impressed.

It was delivered when I was at work and left in a nearby hairdresser to collect (?). I was worried that it may have been left neat the dryers and melted but it was fine when I collected it. In fact there was so many packing chips around the egg, it was in no danger of harm. So no broken eggs from Hotel Chocolat.

The egg itself, is a fair size and comprises two slabs of salted caramel and milk chocolate, with chocolate chips and salted caramel pieces  and an egg shape on top of each slab. The chocolate itself was very creamy and rich. I did manage to polish one half off myself, but I broke the other slab in pieces and shared with Disneyboi and my colleagues at work. They all loved the chocolate too. And the salted caramel taste was a hit also. It is subtle, yet there is definitely a salty kick going on somewhere when you bite down.

The other variations of Egg Sandwich available are ‘Serious Dark Wrap’ and ‘Raspberry Eton Mess’. The latter sounds amazing and might just be what I order for Disneyboi’s Easter. At £8 each, the quality of the chocolate make these good value for money.

Have a look at the site, and take my word for it, you won’t be disappointed!

Disclaimer: I was sent the egg free to review and was not compelled to write a favourable review. The views expressed are my own.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Creme Egg Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s getting close to Easter and although I am not religious, I like the whole Easter Bunny, chocolate eggs and time off from work shenanigans!

And I wanted to share a few Easter themed recipes in the build up to the event. The idea for this one stems for the craze to stuff just about any sort of sweet/candy inside a cookie. And I know what you are thinking – a creme egg inside a cookie?! Well, not exactly. I put a Creme Egg Splat in the middle. If you haven’t seen these, they are little flat chocolates stuffed with the delicious gooey fondant found in Creme Eggs. Bit of a cheat, but how else was I going to stuff a whole egg into a cookie?!

Yield: 12 large cookies

225 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
115 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams, dark brown sugar
170 grams granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
200 grams dark chocolate chips
12 Crème Egg Splats

Preheat your oven to 180oC. Line a couple of cookie sheets with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and slightly thickened.  Add the flour and baking powder and mix just until no streaks of flour can be seen. Fold through the chocolate chips.

Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for half an hour which will make it easier to handle. When chilled, take one twelfth of the dough and half this. Flatten the one half and place a Creme Egg Splat on top. With the other half of the dough, spread this on top of the dough and splat, pinching around the edges to seal in the splat.

Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough. Place into the oven for 15 minutes and the cookies will have turned golden brown. Allow to cool completely before devouring and enjoying the delicious gooey creme egg centre.

Oh, and the cookies themselves are delicious even without the treat in the middle.
Adapted from The Kitchen Magpie.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

St Patrick's Cartoon Time

Cartoon for this coming St. Patrick's Day - Cakeyboi's cousin...

Have a good one!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, Salted Caramel Frosting

What with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I wanted to make something that would tie in with the Irish theme. And at Cake Club recently I had a piece of Chocolate Guinness Cake. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was delicious. You couldn’t really taste the Guinness, but it left a certain something different.

As I am obsessed with Salted Caramel at the moment, I thought a frosting in this flavour would be a nice compliment. I found an easy Guinness cake recipe at Nigella’s place, which was easy to adapt to cupcakes. And I concocted a nice and easy Salted Caramel Frosting recipe which I made simple, by buying pre-made Salted Caramel (Tesco or M&S have yum ones).

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Nigella's Cupcake Ingredients:
250 ml Guinness
250 grams unsalted butter
75 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
400 grams caster sugar
140 ml sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
275 grams plain flour
2 ½ teaspoon bicarb of soda

Frosting Ingredients:
110 grams salted butter, softened
400 – 500 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60 ml salted caramel sauce (store-bought)
1-2 teaspoon milk

Cupcake Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180oC. Place paper liners into two 12-hole cupcake trays.
In a large saucepan melt the butter into the Guinness. When melted add the sugar and cocoa butter and beat all together. Take this off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a jug,  beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Add this to the Guinness sugar butter mix and whisk together. Lastly add the flour and bicarb and mix until just combined. Divide the mix equally between the 24 cupcake liners and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out from the centre clean. The cupcakes are moist, so you might see a couple of crumbs on the toothpick, which is okay. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, caramel and vanilla in a food mixer, until smooth. Add the icing sugar slowly until you get a spreadable consistency. If the mixture appears too dry add a splash of milk.

Either with a piping bag (I snipped off the corner of a food bag) or with a knife apply the frosting to the cooled cupcakes. I added some green sprinkles for St. Patrick’s sake.

My colleagues at work loved these. Wendy liked the slight iron tang from the Guinness which worked so well with the intense chocolate flavour. And the salted caramel topping was a nice compliment, with it’s subtle saltiness. If you make, enjoy!