Monday, 28 April 2014

Treat Petite April 2014 Round-Up and Competition Winner

What a bumper crop of petite Treat’s we have had this month for Treat Petite. Spring Into Easter certainly got those creative juices flowing.

Our first entry was from Lucy at Supergolden Bakes who made Strawberry Tartlets with Matcha Pastry cream. She was sent some green tea powder which she made the pastry cream from and was going to make mini-cakes for Mother’s Day but work got in the way. She made these instead – lucky mum!

Secondly was Angela at My Golden Pear who entered her very fun looking white chocolate mousse eggs. She had recently made chocolate coconut mousse, but wanted to try it with white chocolate instead and she served it up in little hollow easter eggs. They look cracking!

Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker made these delicious looking Peach and Blueberry Maple Syrup Muffins. Those three ingredients right there just sound perfect for breakfast, and the wholemeal would make me feel very healthy indeed!

Kate – the Gluten Free Alchemist, made these rather vibrant looking Easter Egg Pops from a frozen chocolate sponge in her freezer and some candy melts. Kate wasn’t too happy with the outcome but I think they look really fun.

Another Easter breakfast treat from Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker were these mini chocolate and peanut butter croissant. I love PB in anything, so these were a hit for me.

Camilla at Fab Food 4 All entered these Easter Chocolate Granola Cakes.  A twist on a classic, Camilla made these with maple and pecan granola cereal and dark and milk chocolate. All these flavours together sound so good.

Laura at How to Cook Good Food actually sent these Hot Cross Buns with lemon, rosemary and white chocolate to Kat at the Baking Explorer, who forwarded them on. And I’m glad she did as it’s another flavour combo I would never thought of but would like to try – lots.

Kate – the Gluten Free Alchemist also entered these gluten free Blackcurrant Flower Biscuits. Made with freeze-dried blackcurrants, these biscuits look vibrant and very spring like. Apparently they are like eating Ribena, how bad can that be?!

Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker also sent in her chorizo and manchego cheese hot cross buns. How original and scrummy do these sound? Ros made these for a competition I also entered. Sadly neither of us won, but Ros really should have with this savoury concoction.

Helen from Family-Friends-Food celebrates Passover rather than Easter and asked if it was okay to submit a Pesach recipe. Her no-bake chocolate coconut balls contain no wheat flour which isn’t allowed during Passover. They look nice and rich and a perfect entry for Treat Petite.

Shel at Sweet Petite submitted her Easter biscuits. Shel’s creations show she is a very talented baker and decorator. They are super-cute and very festive.

Pauline at Pauline’s Occasional Baking Adventures entered her Easter Chocolate Cornflake Nests. Pauline had never made these before, but was making them for a quick charity bake. I’m sure they raised lots of dosh!

Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker also entered some Chocolate Easter Egg Nests. These bring back so many memories from my childhood and are such a classic.

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe entered her Easter Chocolate Egg Nests too. She bedecked hers with M&M Speckled Eggs. Haven’t heard of them in the UK? Johanna is from Australia where they are available. They look very nice and are a nice difference to the mini eggs.

Ness at Jibber Jabber UK entered her Easter Simnel Cupcakes. Ness usually make a whole Simnel cake, but this year went for cupcakes. The cupcakes, like the cake, feature eleven marzipan balls, each representing one of the apostles. Judas didn’t get one, so Ness decorated the twelfth to symbolise Jesus.

Helen at Family-Friends-Food also entered her coconut cupcakes with raspberry apple syrup. The ingredients mean this bake is suitable for Passover and they really look lovely drenched with the raspberry apple syrup. I also loved the little cupcake cases which Helen says she picked up in one of my favourite stores – TK Maxx.

Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker must be exhausted as she had time to enter another delicious bake – Chocolate Easter Eggs with a twist. The twist is that the cakes are baked into eggshells. The shells are then peeled off to reveal egg shaped cakes. How ingenious is that?!

Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes made lovely light looking white chocolate and cranberry hot cross buns. She added her own speculoos spice mix to these. As you may remember, I have an addiction to speculoos (or biscoff as it’s being called these days), these are a huge winner for me!

Camilla at Fab Food 4 All also entered these gorgeous Wholemeal Apple Hot Cross Buns - she stayed up 'til one in the morning perfecting these beauties!

Laura over at I’d Much Rather Bake Than… entered her Peanut Butter White Chocolate Rocky Road Cake Pops. All of these ingredients sound like heaven to me. Laura made them after being sent some baking goodies from Renshaw.

Emily at Cooking for Kishore entered her Greek Easter Dessert Bread or Tsoureki. I have seen plenty of Italian Easter Bread about this year, but this is the first Greek one I’ve seen. The bread is flavoured with allspice, caraway seeds, cinnamon and star anise so would pack a spice filled punch. Red dyed hard boiled eggs are added to the plait before baking, making for a stunning loaf.

Tina over at The Worktop entered her Strawberry Banana Mini Pie Bites. These are so incredibly cute, they consist of a square of shortcrust pastry, topped with pastry cream, banana and strawberry. Tina explains about grocery items she can't find on the supermarket shelves here in the UK, which she used to get in her native LA. 

Choclette over at the Chocolate Log Blog entered her deliciously Jammy Flapjacks - they contain some of her fig, apple and pomegranate jam. And the added Eastery bonus was the chocolate on top which was left over from her Easter bundt cake.

Kat my Treat Petite co-host entered her Crème Egg Cupcakes. A crème egg is actually baked in the middle of these chocolate cupcakes and then topped with half a mini one. Crème egg overload has never looked so good!

And as for myself? I entered this Tie-Dye Fudge into Spring into Easter. The vibrant colours just scream spring to me. The easy to make fudge tastes just like white chocolate and was a huge hit with everyone.

Thanks to everyone for Springing into Easter this April. Check out The Baking Explorer for May's Treat Petite soon.

And congratulations goes to @T18LIsaa who won the Sainsbury's Cake Book. The book will be on it's way shortly!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Chicken and Rosemary Buttermilk Scones

chicken and rosemary buttermilk scones

It’s one of those rare moments again, a savoury Cakeyboi recipe. Actually the savoury ones are getting slightly more frequent, but these Chicken and Rosemary Buttermilk Scones were born after having enough sweet stuff over Easter!

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally my sweet tooth occasionally gets replaced by a more savoury one.
I fancied something chickeny, like those crackers that were called Shapes and disappeared off of the supermarket shelves. They were called chicken crimpy I think.

Anyway, I didn’t want to make crackers again, after making my cheesy owl crackers back at New Year. Then I thought, why not have savoury scones flavoured with chicken and rosemary? Perfect! But how to get a chicken in scone dough – answer was chicken stock cubes. 

They pack tons of flavour and would hit that savoury spot I was after. The scones didn’t rise as much as I had hoped, but I’ve found out why after a spot of research, read on…

Yield: 12 – 14 scones

150 grams self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
1 teaspoon sugar
70 grams cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
180 ml buttermilk
Coarse salt (optional)
Adapted from Spoonful

In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder, stock cube and sugar. Add the butter and cut this into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives. You should be left with pea sized pieces of butter through the mix.

Add the rosemary and buttermilk and mix just until the dry ingredients have absorbed the liquid.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat out to about ½ inch thick.

Cut out shapes (  I used a round cutter) and place the cut out scones on to a lined baking tray, slightly apart.

Cover the tray with clingfilm, when all scones have been cut out and cover with clingfilm. Pop this into the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C in the meantime. After the hour, brush the tops of the scones with some buttermilk, taking care not to let it run over the sides. Grind some salt on top, if using. Pop them into the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. They will have risen and become golden brown on top.

Tip Time: Don’t, like me, use plain flour, and don’t let your wash (i.e. the buttermilk) dribble down the sides as this can cause the scones to stop rising as much.

Mines were fine, just not as airy as they should have been. But the taste was all there. Very chickeny and the rosemary also came through lots. They hit the savoury spot perfectly!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Fudgy Beer Brownies

fudgiest brownies ever made with beer

I recently saw my friend Stephanie make these on her fab website Kitchen Frolic and knew I had to make these very Fudgy Beer Brownies too!

Stephanie is from Toronto in Canada (a city I love!) and we met after starting our blogs around the same time. It’s been great to see how our sites have both developed in the past couple years. Stephanie also hosts a Cookie Advent Calendar in December, featuring a different blogger, with a different cookie recipe every day. I have been thrilled to be a part of this!

But last week, I saw the beer brownies Stephanie had made with Samuel Adams beer. They looked so gooey and delicious I knew I wanted to make them.

I decided to use a different tipple to Samuel Adams. A favourite of mine and Disneyboi’s is Blue Moon – a beer that is brewed with Valencia oranges. It’s really delicious and so perfect to add to the brownies. 

Plus I decided to add some candied orange peel to the top of the brownies for added crunch.
Stephanie explained that the brownies need a  good while to set, several hours, so these aren’t a make, bake and scoff sort of affair. Instead something to be left overnight, waiting to be devoured. Here’s how I made mine, tweaked for British kitchens...

Yield: One 8”x8” pan of brownies

250 ml Blue Moon (or your beer of choice)
Peel of one large orange
115 grams granulated sugar
60 ml water
340 grams dark chocolate, chopped
225 grams unsalted butter, cubed
345 grams golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75 grams plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Candied Orange Peel adapted from Bright Eyed Baker
Brownies adapted from Kitchen Frolic

Firstly candy the orange peel. Cut the peel of the orange into strips about 1/4 cm wide. Pop them into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring them to the boil and then drain. Repeat this two more times.

Add the granulated sugar and water to the saucepan and stir together. Pop on the heat and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 8 minutes, without stirring (this causes the sugar to crystallise). Add the orange peel and knock the heat back to low and simmer for 40 minutes. The peel will be translucent and the syrup will have thickened. 

Transfer the peel to a cooling rack and allow to cool whilst you make the brownies.

Cover an 8”x8” pan with kitchen foil, leaving some overhang. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Bring the beer to a boil in a saucepan, then simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow this cool slightly.

In a large bowl add the dark chocolate and butter and place over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir until chocolate and butter have melted together then remove from the heat.

 In another bowl, whisk together the caster sugar, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the chocolate mix, a little at a time then whisk together until smooth. Add 60ml of the reduced beer and stir this in. Lastly add the flour and fold this through.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and pop into the oven for 40 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the pan and scatter the candied orange peel over the top of the brownies pushing it down slightly in the crust which has already formed.

Place back into the oven, rotating the pan, and bake for another 25 minutes and then remove from the oven. A toothpick won't come out clean, so don’t worry.

Now the hard part – leave overnight (or 8 hours at least). The next morning lift from the pan, using the foil overhang and carefully peel the foil from the brownies. If it sticks a little, use a knife to loosen the stuck bit.
Slice the brownies and there you have the fudgiest brownies you have ever tasted. 

They are delicately flavoured with the beer and the candied orange peel actually goes crispy on top, giving a nice citrus crunch when you bite in, which compliments the Blue Moon perfectly.

A big thanks to Stephanie for the inspiration for this bake and please, please visit Kitchen Frolic.

I am entering these fudgy beer brownies into 'Baking with Spirit' hosted by Janine at Cake Of The Week. This month anything that has alcohol and chocolate is allowed. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Squidgy Chocolate Cake for Cake Club

Delia's Squidgy Chocolate Cake

A couple of Sunday’s ago it was Clandestine Cake Club time again.

I can’t believe that the cake club has been going for a couple of years now. And that I am now one of it’s organisers!

But this wasn’t my turn at organising (that’s next month). This time the honours went to my good friend Jac (blogging goddess – check out Tinned Tomatoes).

courtesy of

The secret location was revealed at last minute, and it was the Apex Hotel in Dundee. And the theme set by Jac was ‘Bake like Delia’.

Any cakes from the archives of the legend Delia Smith were allowed.

I turned up at the venue (we were in the Venice function room) and most of the cakes were already out on display.

As I’m sure you’ve assumed from the picture, I made Delia’s delicious Squidgy Chocolate Cake. This is a light chocolate cake, layered with a layer of chocolate ganache, whipped cream and chopped chocolate. If you’d like the recipe check out Delia’s website. The pic below gives you an inside glimpse of the cake

The other cakes were all very different and equally delicious. They included:

A lime and coconut cake – I love those two flavours together – very tropical!

There was a classic chocolate fudge – so much better than those pre-made ones.

A coffee and walnut cake, with a very delicate taste of coffee. The coffee wasn’t weak, just really mellow and not bitter at all, which some coffee cakes can be.

The lemon cake made with fresh homemade lemon curd was light airy and tangy!

We also had doublers at the cake club. Jac and group member Ellen both made Delia’s Sticky Toffee cake, with toffee buttercream. Both cakes were actually quite different, but both delicious.

There was an apricot and hazelnut meringue cake, which was my personal favourite of the night. I never thought those two flavours would marry well together, but they really did!

The Apex was a lovely place to have the cake club, having our own little room for the event.

The hotel, apart from having 151 luxury rooms, boasts a bar and brasserie, perfect for a meal and some drinks.

courtesy of

There is also a spa where you can unwind, exercise or take a dip in the pool.

courtesy of

Plus, of course, the meetings and venues rooms.

Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa
1 West Victoria Dock Road
Dundee DD1 3JP

T +44 (0)1382 202 404
F +44 (0)1382 201 401

To make a reservation:
T 0845 365 0000 (UK)
T +44 (0)131 441 0440 (Outside UK)

Now, my turn to find the next venue. I'd better get my finger out!