Monday, 29 June 2015

Mini Victoria Sandwiches

mini victoria sandwiches

These are so cute – and not radically different, I know. Who doesn't love a Victoria Sandwich cake?

But now you can make them into little sandwiches – perfect for packing into a lunch box, taking on a picnic or having as nibbles at a party. Plus these are good for little hands too.

mini victoria sandwiches

I don't know what made me think of baking the cake like this, but I was quite impressed.

it may have been the individual brownie pan I have, which is like a cupcake pan, but the holes are square. You can get these quite easily nowadays – and definitely online, if you can’t get hold of them. They are good for so much more than brownies.

Baking the mini Victoria sponges in them, then splitting them in half and filling them with jam and buttercream couldn’t be simpler. These look so quintessentially British.

To make the sponge, I took a tip from Dame Mary Berry and used a baking spread, starting with 'St' and ending with 'Ork', instead of butter. It gives a good old-fashioned taste to the bake, like I used to have when I was a kid. Margarine and other non-butter spreads were used a lot in baking years ago. No one ever used vanilla extract in their Vicky sponge as far as I can remember!

mini victoria sandwiches

For the jam, you could make your own, but being short on time as ever, I used a shop bought one – which was sugar free to boot! Plus a simple mix of butter and icing sugar for a buttercream, instead of a traditional whipped cream filling means these can last a bit longer and don't have to be fridged if they are sitting out for any length of time.

Here’s how I made them…

Mini Victoria Sandwiches

Thumbnail Url Individual Victoria Sponges
in little sandwich shapes
Cuisine: Dessert Category: Cake Yields: 12 cakes
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:

  • 100 grams baking spread
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100 grams self-raising flour
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams strawberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 12 square hole baking tin.
  2. In a bowl, add the spread, caster sugar, eggs and flour. Beat until a smooth cake batter consistency is achieved.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the squares. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the centre.
  4. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Make the buttercream by beating the butter and icing sugar together until smooth and add the vanilla, mixing in.
  6. Split the cooled cake in half horizontally and spread, or pipe, on the buttercream and jam.
  7. Sandwich together and dust with some extra icing sugar.

I'm entering these mini victoria sandwiches into this month's Treat Petite, hosted by Kat, The Baking Explorer. The theme is Picnic Treats and these would be the perfect sweet treat to enjoy during a picnic.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

That's What I Call New #7

Hello! I haven’t posted for a while on a Saturday, time seems to keep getting away from me.

But I am back and I am dying to tell you about some new things I have been sent to try over the past wee while…

Savoury first and the people at  Chicago Town pizza invited me to try their new flavours of Deep Dish Pizza. These pizzas are so deep, filled with scrumptious fillings, they are almost like a pie – probably where the term pizza pie comes from.

They have new flavours to try in the Deep Dish range which are the New Yorker filled with mozzarella, ham, pepperoni and red onion.
There is the Sloppy Joe, oozing with Chicago Town’s signature tomato sauce, spicy beef, red onions, green peppers and mozzarella.
Then there is the Chicken Club, with chicken breast, bacon, ham and mozzarella. Finally the Pulled Pork. I tried their pulled pork pizza a couple of months back and loved the Smokey BBQ sauce paired with the pork and fried onions. The Deep Dish pizza was no exception.

Retailing at around £2.19 for 2, at most of the big supermarkets, all have been a hit in the Cakeyboi household!

Next up, a savoury and a sweet sampling from Thomas J Fudge. This company sell a large array of sweet and savoury snacks on their website and in some stores, and have very elegant packaging.

To sample, I was sent their Piquant Cheese and Peppercorn Crackers. I can tell you these were SPICY! The peppercorn was definitely not holding back in packing a punch. These will appeal to anyone who loves a bit of heat in their crackers. The cheese flavour was there, but hiding behind the nip of the peppercorns! A very very good cracker, perfect for eating on it’s own or spreading with a topping of your choice. These retail at £2.25 per pack.

Thomas J Fudge also sent me a pack of their Marvellous Milk Chocolate Flapjacks. Well, me and my sweet tooth were in heaven with these thick slabs of syrupy, oaty flapjacks dunked in a generous coating of milk chocolate. These retail at £3.25 for a pack of 8.

Check out their website for the full-range.

 Lastly today, Auntie Anne got in touch with me. Not my Auntie Anne, I don’t have one. But rather the pretzel purveyors. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them yet. I tried them in JFK Airport a couple of years back. They sell huge big delicious chewy pretzels in tons of flavours. You can choose from jalapeno, cheese and bacon, almond crunch and raisin to name but a few.

 And when they got in touch with me, I was surprised to hear they now had UK outlets, even one in Scotland. Auntie Anne said that she even sells a home baking kit so you can try making them at home yourself. She popped one in the post for me and I whipped up a batch. They were very easy to make – although my twisting technique could use some honing!

 The box comes with yeast, pretzel mix, baking soda and salt and cinnamon sugar. You can choose to make all salt, all cinnamon sugar or a mix, up to you.

Pop to the website to see where your nearest Auntie Anne’s Outlet is. The home baking kits can be purchased at outlets.

That’s all for now folks.

Disclosure Statement: I have received these items free to review. I have not been paid to endorse them. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Strawberry Jammy Blondies

Blondies infused with strawberries and white chocolate chips

Wimbledon will soon be upon us, a bit later this year than usual, and I don’t know about you, but I always think of strawberries and cream when I think of the tennis tournament. Strawbs and cream are plentiful there after all.

Blondies infused with strawberries and white chocolate chips

I have made a few things over the past couple of years to tie in with that – Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes and Strawberry and CreamTruffles.

This year, after making raspberry blondies earlier, I decided to make a strawberry variation. These are a very simple bake and just require some strawberries mushed up before being added to your batter. For the 'cream' part, I went for some white chocolate chips – well they do taste creamy!

To finish off these blondies, I added a simple icing glaze on top and sprinkled on some red sprinkles (entirely optional). These taste very cakey and fruity with a real strawberry jam taste going on.

I love them and they do contain a good amount of fruit, so can’t be that bad surely (just ignore the butter and sugar…)!

Blondies infused with strawberries and white chocolate chips

Here’s how I made them…

Strawberry Jammy Blondies

Thumbnail Url Strawberry Infused Blondie
Bars with White Choc Chips
Cuisine: Dessert Category: Bars Yields: 16 bars
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:

  • 200 grams fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 220 grams granulated sugar
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg
  • 100 grams white chocolate chips
  • 50 grams icing sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoon water
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line a 9”x9” tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mush the strawberries in a bowl until juices are released and there are no large parts left.
  4. Melt the butter in a large jug in the microwave, for 30 seconds, or so. Pour into a bowl and add the granulated sugar.
  5. Stir to combine then add the egg and vanilla.
  6. Add the mushed strawberries and stir through.
  7. Sift in the flour and fold in.
  8. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
  9. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 18 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
  10. Allow to cool in the pan.
  11. Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and some water together until you get a thickish consistency.
  12. Pour over the cooled blondies and allow to set.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Pink No-Bake Fridge Cake

pink wafer and strawberry pudding no-bake cake

Back to normal regular blogging! I have been busy with work the past couple of weeks, so my posting has been a bit sporadic, but I hope to be a bit more regular for the next wee while. Strange, but I always feel guilty when I don’t post, as I like to do this regularly. Still, no harm done!!

pink wafer and strawberry pudding no-bake cake

I was stumped to know what to call this recipe. I had the idea for making it after seeing all those ‘icebox cakes’ on American websites. For Icebox read fridge (not freezer as I thought). These are made by sandwiching together cookies and cream for example, then chilling it.

American’s use wafer cookies, which are not wafer biscuits like we know in the UK. These, correct me if I’m wrong, are more soft and spongy than crisp like ours.

Anyhoo, I thought I would try something with actual pink wafers. Hands up who remembers these? ‘Pink Panther’ ones I used to enjoy as a child, I think you used to sometimes get stickers in the pack. I bought some recently for this recipe and noticed that there weren’t quite as lurid pink as I remembered. Probably down to artificial colours back in the day which had us all bouncing off the walls (Kia-ora anyone?).

Instead of cream, I used a pack of sugar-free store own-brand fridge pudding mix (i.e. Angel Delight, but not the real stuff). I went for strawberry flavour to keep with the pink theme and set about making my ‘pink no-bake fridge cake’ (the best I could come up with).

I whipped up my pudding mix in a food mixer to aerate it a little more than normal, then transferred it to a piping bag. This would make it easier to ‘build’ the cake. You could just use a spoon and knife if you don’t have a piping bag.

I made the cake in a loaf tin, lined with clingfilm, and depending on the size of your loaf tin the amount of pink wafers and pudding mix will vary. My loaf tin was 20x10cm and I used just over 200 grams of the wafers and a pack of the pudding.

When all layered up, I gathered up the overhang of the clingfilm and wrapped the contents tightly. I popped it into the fridge and weighed it down with something heavy. This ensured all the ingredeints would be nice and tightly squished together. I left mine for 24 hours, but you could leave it just overnight, or even a good few hours. But the longer, the more it all comes together.

pink wafer and strawberry pudding no-bake cake

To unmould, I pulled back the clingfilm and turned it out onto my serving board. It looked all smooth and pink, and would have been fine au natural. However, I decided to sprinkle on some sprinkles. This made it look perfect for a child’s birthday party. Little girls especially would love this cake.

Sliced strawberries on top would also be a nice, healthier, alternative.

pink wafer and strawberry pudding no-bake cake

An easy recipe, which tastes unsurprisingly like strawberry pudding and pink wafer biscuits, but looks impressive, I’m sure you will agree!

Pink No-Bake Fridge Cake

Thumbnail Url Strawberry pudding and wafer
biscuits layered into a cake
Cuisine: Dessert Category: Cake Yields: 1 loaf cake
Prep Time: Chill Time: Total Time:

Ingredients (for 20x10cm loaf tin)
  • 200 grams + Pink Wafer biscuits
  • 1 pack of Strawberry flavoured pudding mix
  • 300 ml milk (or as per packet)
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  1. Line a loaf tin with clingfilm and leave overhang over each edge.
  2. Whip up the pudding mix as instructed but beat with an electric mixer to get as much volume into it as possible.
  3. Transfer the pudding mix to a piping bag, if you have one.
  4. Pipe a layer of pudding into the bottom of the tin and then cover with a single layer of pink wafers.
  5. On top of that layer, pipe more pudding, add more wafers and repeat until you get to the top of the tin with a final layer of pudding.
  6. Wrap the top with the overhang of clingfilm and place into the fridge with a heavy object on top, for pressure.
  7. Leave for a minimum of 7 hours.
  8. When chilled, turn out onto your serving plate and cover with sprinkles if using.
  9. Slice with a sharp knife and serve up to your guests!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Apricot and Lime Fool

apricot and lime fool dessert

What you talking about – fool? Yes, fool – and Apricot and Lime Fool to be exact.

This is such a simple dessert, that anyone can do this, if they can mush up some fruit and whip some cream. I saw a recipe on The Kitchen, on Food Network, for a strawberry fool and I decided to try making a variation.

apricot and lime fool dessert

There were lovely punnets of apricots in the supermarket and I had a lime lingering in the fridge. I thought the two would be a great flavour combination for my fool.

All you really need to do to make a fruit fool, is blitz the fruit and pass it through a sieve then mix into some whipped cream Easy isn’t it?

The dessert, you would think to be rich, with lots of thick cream, but the fruit really cuts through it and gives the fool a freshness.

apricot and lime fool dessert

This really is a fresh, summery dessert. And of course, you could experiment with other fruits too.

Here’s how I made mine.

Apricot and Lime Fool

Thumbnail Url Fruit puree folded into
whipped cream
Cuisine: Dessert Category: Fruity Yields: 3-4 dishes
Prep Time: Chill Time: Total Time:
  • 320 grams punnet of apricots
  • 1 lime
  • 500 ml double cream
  1. Half and stone the apricots, no need to peel. Reserve one for garnish.
  2. Blitz the rest of the apricots in a blender until pureed. Pass the puree through a sieve into a jug.
  3. Zest the lime and set the zest aside.
  4. Juice the lime and mix the juice into apricot puree.
  5. Whip the double cream until thick, until you get medium stiff peaks.
  6. Pour the apricot/lime mix into the cream and mix through.
  7. Mix thoroughly or ripple through – it’s up to you.
  8. Spoon into serving dishes and garnish with some apricot and lime zest.
  9. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

I am entering these into this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by alternately by myself and this month Kat at The Baking Explorer. The theme this month is ‘Getting Fruity’ and as these fools are individual and fruity – they are perfect!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Totally Tropical (healthier) Truffles

banana, papaya, mango and coconut healthy truffles

Totally Tropical Truffles – sound good don’t they? Except, they probably aren’t what you are thinking…

These contain no added sugar and only good fats. No artificial flavours and no trans fats in these. What makes them tropical you might be asking? Well, they contain dried banana, dried mangos and dried papaya. Plus coated in desiccated coconut, I’m sure you’ll agree they all add up to something fairly tropical. Think of them as the 'Um Bungo' of the truffle world if you will…

To make these I blended them in my Optimum 9400 from Froothie. This is a blender, but no ordinary blender.

The Optimum 9400 is a commercial-grade super blender designed for longevity, versatility and BRAWN. Stronger, faster and more powerful than a Vitamix, the Optimum 9400 will set you up to make amazing soups, the silkiest smoothies, super smooth dips, nut butters, ice cream and more. This is the best blender you'll ever use and the last blender you'll ever need. Once you try it, you'll wish you'd had it all your life. A few features you're going to love:

·         Crushes ice in seconds
·         Easy to use, with a highly responsive dial
·         6 blade assembly creates a vortex that will suck your ingredients down and make blending a breeze
·         Super easy to clean and maintain by simply blending water in the jug at high speed

As you can see, I had no fear of whizzing the ingredients up in the blender. They came together in a ball of tasty stickiness which I transferred to the fridge to set for a few hours.
When they came out of the fridge, I rolled them into balls and then coated them in the coconut and let them chill again until ready to eat.

The predominant flavour in these truffles is banana, with the mango and papaya subtly coming through in the background. Plus you get the coconut flavour on the outside.

banana, papaya, mango and coconut healthy truffles

Check online if you struggle to get local stockists for your dried fruit.

These are healthier than regular chocolaty truffles, but do remember they do contain a lot of sugars, albeit natural sugars. You are going to love these!

Totally Tropical Truffles

Thumbnail Url Tropical dried fruit blended
into a tasty truffle
Cuisine: sweet Category: truffle Yields: 12 truffles
Prep Time: Chill Time: Total Time:  3 Hrs 5 Mins

  • 70 grams dried banana
  • 70 grams dried mango
  • 70 grams dried papaya
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • Desiccated coconut to roll the truffles in
  1. Place all the ingredients except the desiccated coconut into a blender and whizz until all the ingredients come together in a sticky mass.
  2. Transfer the fruit to a plastic container lined with foil or greaseproof paper and flatten out as much as possible. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.
  3. Remove from the container and divide the fruit mass into 12. Roll each twelfth into a ball, using your hands then coat in the desiccated coconut.
  4. Keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Classic Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

chocolate chip cinnamon oatmeal cookies

Sometimes a simple bake is all you need and these chocolate chip cinnamon oatmeal cookies are certainly not fussy. Just a good classic sweet treat.

I was looking out the window at the unseasonably bad weather we have had recently, thinking of the days when we could hopefully soon crack open a tub of ice cream. One of my favourite ever varieties that Ben & Jerry used to make was Oatmeal Cookie Chunk with all of these cookie flavours (plus a little bit of fudge). It’s discontinued now, so making these cookies was the next best thing.

chocolate chip cinnamon oatmeal cookies

I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips in mine, as I had them languishing in the cupboard, plus my usual breakfast porridge oats. I added some cinnamon from a recent haul I got from TK Maxx. It’s from the US – American cinnamon is hotter and spicier than the type you get in the UK. We Brits use Ceylon cinnamon, whereas the Yanks use Saigon cinnamon. They are quite different to each other, I love Saigon needless to say.

The cookies are very simple to mix together, and this recipe makes quite a large batch. I got 12 mahoosive cookies out of these, but I reckon you could stretch to about 30 normal sized cookies if you wanted to go smaller.

chocolate chip cinnamon oatmeal cookies

They are warm and comforting with a glass of milk, or a cup of tea and really are at their best when fresh from the oven. Here’s how I made them…

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Thumbnail Url Classic Cookies
Cuisine: dessert Category: cookies Yields: 12 large
Prep Time: Cook Time: Total Time:

  • 170 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 225 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 grams plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 175 grams chocolate chips
  • 80 grams porridge oats
  1. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat this in followed by the vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and cinnamon. Stir until a dough forms then fold in the chocolate chips and oats.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to portion out mounds of dough onto the baking sheets.
  5. Press down slightly on each mound of cookie dough with a glass the bottom of which is dipped in sugar.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 mins, less time if you make smaller cookies.
  7. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

I am entering these cookies into this month's Alphabakes hosted alternately by Ros The More Than Occasional Baker and this month Caroline at Caroline Makes. The letter this month is O and Oats start with O!

I'm entering these classic cookies into this month's Treat Petite hosted by Kat at The Baking Explorer. The theme is GBBO and they had biscuits recently in the show and cookies are American biscuits after all!!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

All-Day Breakfast Bites

all-day breakfast bites in filo pastry

This recipe links into Eurovision again – last one this year – promise!

As part of our Eurovision soirees’ every year we take along food and drink from a participating country. This year I decided to go for UK bakes. One of my take-alongs was very simple. I took some cheesy oatcakes, spread some Branston pickle on each one, topped with grated cheese and grilled. This was a big hit with Disneyboi especially who gobbled up loads.

I also thought an All-Day Breakfast theme would be very British. But what could I incorporate it into?
I went to the supermarket and picked up some baked beans, eggs, black pudding, bacon and sausage – plus some filo dough. I got home and started creating.

First off, I whisked up some eggs and fried them dry in a pan. I got some scrambled eggs which were very dry – not runny or milky as I thought whatever I made would be in pastry and wet eggs would not work too well there.

I decided to wrap all of the ingredients into a parcel, a bit like a beef wellington. My idea was to slice it up like a Swiss roll and folk could help themselves to a slice. I baked the rolled up breakfast and let it cool before cutting into it. I realised that this would perhaps not hold together too well in individual slices and I put this aside for Sunday dinner the following night. Back to the drawing board.

I then decided to line a cupcake tray with bits of the filo dough and fill these ‘cups’ up with the bacon, beans, egg, sausage meat and black pudding. I used a square cupped tray (I think it’s meant for brownies) but you could use normal round cups too.

all-day breakfast bites in filo pastry

I popped these into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes and they came out all crispy and golden. I sprinkled on some oregano for garnish, boxed them up and away we went.

At the party these went down a storm. Everyone loved the meaty filling more akin with their breakfast. It’s simple and a bit fun and totally adaptable. You could add whatever you normally have for brekkie – mushrooms and baby tomatoes would be great in there too.

all-day breakfast bites in filo pastry

I won’t give you a recipe as I think it’s pretty self-explanatory – just cut sheets of filo (about 3 or 4 thick) to fill the cups and put in whatever you like. Give it a little egg-wash, bake and go – All-Day Breakfast in a handy dandy eat on the go, at a party, whenever you like snack…

I am entering this bake into this month's pastry challenge hosted by alternately by Jen at Jen's Food and this month Lisa at United Cakedom . The theme this month is breakfast and or brunch - it's almost like this one was meant for me!