Friday, 10 October 2014

Molly's Hedgehog cake

Molly turned 2 last week and I have been trawling through Pinterest for months ( probably since her last birhday to be honest!!) looking for inspiration for an easy but spectacular looking birthday cake. I finally decided on a Hedgehog cake as this seemed to tick all the boxes - easy - chocolate - no need for a special tin - yes this was the one. I decided not to have a party for Molly as I am so pregnant ( 37 weeks!) that I didn't want a lot of 2 year olds to clear up after so as we have had such lovely weather decided to invite some friends to a local park and took along some snacks and drinks and of course cake. Well , the park was fun except there was a torrential downpour and we were all huddled under umbrelllas! It is a birthday I won't forget! Molly wasn't impressed and sat crying in her pushchair whilst the rain came lashing down....

Look at that sad face...

Back to the cake - I used my favourite throw everything in the mixer cake from the lovely Nigella Lawson that can be found here  or it can be found in her cookbook Feast. I didn't use the recipe for the icing but cheated as I hadn't left enough time to make icing as well and used Dr Oetker chocolate frosting which is delicious and comes out a lovely dark hedgehog colour! I made the cake the day before and then got up at a ridiculous hour to cut it all up and assemble it before getting to the park for 10am!  You cook the cake in 2 round sandwich tins and ice them together with buttercream ( or cheat like me with ready made!) and then cut them like this

The 2 sides are put together to form the rounded bit of the body and then stacked on top of the main part of the cake and the triangles at the front are discarded ( or eaten at 8am ..) I didn't take another photo as I was running late as usual and also forget so have only got the final version. The whole cake is covered in butter cream and then chocolate buttons are inserted for spikes ( again if I had more time I would have used a lot more) and the eyes and nose are from a bag of Liquorice Allsorts.

I am really pleased with how he turned out - my mum did say that he looked a bit scary - maybe it was the eyes! Anyway the children and adults all appreciated eating it in the rain!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Blueberry and Lemon Traybake

I love the combination of Blueberry and Lemon together and had a need to make some sort of cake with them and as luck would have it I came across this recipe from the very clever Holly Bell ( Great British Bake off finalist) I love her blog all the recipes are so simple and easy and she is super woman having just had her 3rd child and is still able to do lots of recipes - my idol! I am hoping that when I have had this baby  ( only 2 more weeks to go - Yay!) I too will still have the time to be making lots of cakes!!! 
I have started to 'nest' I have made fish pie, lasagne and this afternoon I'm making a vat of shepherds pie all to go in the freezer so that I can just heat something up without all the stress of what to make for dinner! I have a few apple crumbles squirreled away to...

Back to cake here is the recipe - she made this as a loaf cake however I decided to do it a s a traybake.

They were delicious and moist but my blueberries sank to the bottom - next time I will dust them in some flour before I put them in the mixture. Just reading her blog about this recipe and her blueberries sank too so makes me feel that I am in good company!!

They didn't hang around for long ... mmmmmmm

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Floating Malteser chocolate cake.

I love unusual and excessive cakes and this is one that I saw on Pinterest and once I looked into it realised that it was an easy but impressive cake that I could do for a friends 40th Birthday.

The cake itself was a 3 tiered chocolate cake from my favourite and easiest cake by good old Nigella which you can get here . There were going to be about 20 people so needed a bit of a big cake. Then I smoothered the outside of the cake with chocolate icing and stuck chocolate fingers to it - try not to eat them as you do this!! It took exactly 2 boxes ( maybe a couple escaped for quality control purposes of course) and then the top of cake is smothered in more chocolate icing and I used 2 boxes of Maltesers for the decoration. To start you need to afix the floating Malteser bag ,to achieve thisyou need a bendy straw - the main part goes into the cake and the top short bendy bit holds the bag, dip the top straw part in melted chocolate and put in the corner of the empty packet and hold until dried - you could put this in the fridge to speed up the process. To achieve the floating stream of maltesers  - place the straw in the middle of the cake and with a bowl of melted chocolate dip in maltesers and stick them to the straw. This is time consuming and messy - you have to wait until each one has dried otherwise they start to slide down the straw. I did this on a really hot day as well which was a little difficult. Then leave to dry and set.
The effect is amazing! it was well received and extremely chcolatey - all 20 of us had some with plenty left over.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A mini Minion

So much for my comeback ! I dont feel sick anymore which is lovely but have moved house which isn't easy when you are 6 months pregnant and looking after a very boisterous nearly 2 year old toddler who bless her wants to help unpack, I've lost count of how many things I've misplaced! So we have moved to a house from a second floor flat and I can't tell you how fantastic it is not to have to walk up 2 flights of stairs carrying Molly and whatever bag I had let alone being pregnant. Just open the car door and in we go! We've only moved about 8 miles away but its a new village and I am always wanting to make new friends and was very excited to see on the local noticeboard a baking club with a meeting the following week! So I had to go. The people were really friendly all like minded bakers who loved to bake , there were 3 other women who were new that week too which made me feel more at ease. Its a monthly meeting with people taking turns to showcase what they are good at but its not obligatory which is good as I wouldn't have a clue what to do! This  month was a cake decorating session to make a Minion, I know what one is but I haven't seen the films. I haven't really done a lot of work with sugar paste so was very keen to have a go - this is my finished Minion.

We were all given a 'body' and 'head' - these were vanilla sponge cakes that the one of the fellow bakers had made - we covered them with apricot jam as a glue for the yellow paste and then cut out the belt , eyes, trousers etc in the blue and black sugar paste. We did it all in stages so it took a while to do and some bits were a bit fiddly but it was great fun and they all looked very individual when we had finished! It was a fab night and I am so pleased that I made the effort to brave it and go.These are the finished Minions!

 Next month it is bread making which is something I haven't done since school!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

I'm still here!!

I haven't vanished for ever just for a little while. The reason that I have been so terrible with my blog is that I am 20 weeks pregnant! As I was with Molly I have been really sick with morning sickness - god its horrid - didn't want to do anything and the last thing on my mind was my blog! It is all I can do to get through the day... But I have turned a corner and feel a bit more like my self again - Hurray! So will get busy in the kitchen and make some cakes! Watch this space......

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentines crumpet!

Happy Valentines day to you all ! Instead of chocolates I have a crumpet to share with you !

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Stephen is the king of mashed potatoes! He makes them so fluffy and smooth , his secret is lots of milk and butter and once mashed with a masher to use the hand mixer - they always come out divine! The only downside is that he manages to decorate the kitchen with potato!

I decided to have a go at making some fishcakes over the weekend and made more mashed potato than even Stephen could eat in preparation for the fishcake making. In the past when I have made them they have fallen apart and I think this is due to them not being wet enough, this time they turned out perfectly. I had bought some Salmon that needed eating up so grilled this and added them to the mashed potato along with spring onions, leftover green beans, sweetcorn, chives and feta cheese. once it was all mixed together I left it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Once they were chilled I neeed to coat them and couldn't remember which order to dip them in - was it egg first ? or flour? I turned to the trusty BBC food website (don't know what I would do without this!) It's Flour,egg then bread crumbs! I then shaped them into large patties ( making some teeny tiny ones for Molly) set up my 3 dishes of flour , egg and breadcrumbs.( In the breadcrumb mixture I also added some fresh grated pecorino cheese and a teaspoon of paprika for a bit of ooompf.) I used my hands to get really stuck in and ended up with mixture all over me - I looked like I had swollen fingers - bleughhh.
 These are them ready to be chilled again.
 A close up with a speck of chive poking through!
 another close up - you can never have too many!!
For Molly's little fishcakes I experimented and did a couple in the frying pan and a couple in the oven to see which came out better and the oven baked ones were the best - also they didn't smoke out the house which frying always does!
So the adult versions were drizzled in a little olive oil and put in the oven to brown and sizzle....
 They held  shape beautifully
 Another close up - this one bursting its seams with yumminess

Overall they were a definite success, they didn't collapse and weren't too dry - the paprika added a lovely smokiness to them , the feta cheese was a lovely surprise to bite into,  I made too many to eat in one go so have frozen some for another day ... Molly didn't like hers though and preferred a banana! Oh well you can't please everyone! Will make these again and play around with the fillings - sundried tomatoes, smoked fish, sweet potato are possibilities as well as adding some cheesy filling.
I am going to enter some blogging challenges this month so shall be entering this into Lavendar and Loveage February challenge which is to cook with herbs and this months theme of Chinese and romantic inspired recipes with herbs - although this isn't Chinese it was for a romantic dinner with Stephen! To see the other entries click here.
Cooking with Herbs