Mary Berry’s Chocolatines

mary berry chocolatines with gluten free sponge for great bloggers bake off gbbo

This week’s Great Bloggers Bake Off comes thanks to the lovely people at Stork, who sent me a voucher to try out their new Stork with butter. It’s a thank you not just for providing the butter – but also making me get into the kitchen and make something. Had I not had this review to write I would very likely have not contributed… again!

stork with butter new baking product test and review recipe

This week was patisserie week on the Great British Bake Off. I really did feel for Paul and his not knowing how to make a genoise sponge for the technical challenge, I’d have been in exactly the same boat having never made one before. And it’s not one you’d easily work out for yourself – whipped eggs and melted butter are not the normal start for a sponge!

The technical challenge was the one that took my fancy this week – however rather than the mokatines the bakers in the tent had to tackle, I opted for Mary Berry’s other recipe for these little patisserie squares – the chocolate version. The recipe is very similar and the method identical – using melted chocolate instead of coffee extract for the creme buerre (fancy buttercream to you and me) filling, and soft chocolate icing topping.

In a bit of a risky move – having never made a genoise before – I made a bit of a crazy decision to adapt it to gluten free. Low and behold, it worked perfectly! The adaptation was actually quite simple – instead of the recommend 65g of flour, I used 50g of gluten free flour and an extra 5g of cornflour. I won’t recount the full recipe but you can find it in Mary’s Baking Bible, or online in many places.

gluten free genoise sponge for mary berry chocolatines french patiesserie gbbo gluten free genoise sponge recipe gluten free genoise sponge easy recipe

The Stork with Butter was also great for using with this – it melted down to a lovely creamy texture, with a rich buttery taste. Perfect for the richness that is needed in patisserie.

melted stork with butter review and recipe for genoise sponge gluten free sponge

Once the sponge was cooled and cut into squares I actually found the two icings quite easy to make. It was the assembly and piping that was rather more of a faff!

The buttercream was quite difficult to spread on the delicate sponge, so it was more of a splodge and hope for the best. Once the two halves were pressed together it was easier to neaten up round the sides. Then just the not-so-simple task of piping tiny rosettes round the side of each square.

piping rosettes on patiesserie genoise sponge for mary berry chocolatines mary berry chocolatines piped top and filled inside chocolate buttercream

And finally – the smooth chocolate icing. I’d refrigerated the cake squares so the buttercream rosettes had chance to firm up a little – meaning they formed quite a good barrier to hold the top icing on. I also had to use a little paintbrush to ensure it got into all the corners!

chocolate smooth icing on the top of mary berry chocolatines

And with a final blast in the fridge, the chocolatines were finished!

chocolatines mary berry recipe chocolate buttercream icing and genoise sponge

Although not perfectly neat I was still really pleased with how they turned out – and they passed the Mary and Paul test of having a neat layer of filling in the middle!

layered filling in chocolatines made with gluten free genoise sponge

They had a lovely creamy, smooth richness, as any good patisserie should, and the Stork with Butter was a perfect base to use for this. I’d be more than happy to use it in my baking again.

Thanks again to Stork for supplying the ingredients and to Jenny for being as ever a great organiser for the Great Bloggers Bake Off. Click on the image below to find out more and look at what the other bakers have been up to this week.

Mummy Mishaps

Disclaimer: The Stork with Butter was provided to me for the purposes of this post. The reviews, opinions and baking however are all my own.
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Gluten Free Baking Course with Paul the Baker

Yesterday I was delighted to attend a gluten free cakes and tea loaves course at Peterborough City College, hosted by Paul White aka Paul the Baker. This whole GF thing is still very new to me, I was diagnosed as intolerant at the start of the year and am still trying to find my feet a little. Luckily it’s not a complete ‘no’ to gluten, so if I do still fancy a slice of normal cake (or pizza!), I can still have one every now and then, and keep on cooking and baking as I love. The courses at Peterborough are really very reasonable (as they’re subsidised), so when I saw this one advertised at just £20 for 4 hours, it was too good to miss. The course took place at the college’s training kitchen, all industrial ovens and stainless steel, a little intimidating to start with! Peterborough college training kitchen cookery course It was only a small group of us and Paul soon put us all at ease, it was to be a relaxed day and certainly no bake-off style competitions. He had 3 recipes for us, with all ingredients and equipment included in the cost of the course. paul white gluten free recipes baking course First up, a gluten free swiss roll. Now I already love swiss roll as is (my original gluten-filled post is still one of the most popular on the blog); it’s simple, straight-forward and fat-free. But this gluten free version takes things to a new level! Amazingly it uses exactly the same quantities, method and ingredients as a normal swiss roll, just substituting regular flour for a gluten free blend (we used Doves Farm throughout the day). My swiss roll before, and after baking (note the light and fluffiness!)… gluten free swiss roll frothy mixture gluten free swiss roll simple tray cake golden finish … and then rolled and filled with raspberry jam. rolled gluten free swiss roll The result? Soft, fluffy and sweet swiss roll. Amazing! Back home I finished it with a sprinkle of icing sugar and of course had a few more big slices 🙂 gluten free swiss roll raspberry jam icing sugar dusted light fluffy sponge Next on the course, a gluten-free tea bread. Again the recipe is quite similar to a ‘regular’ one – flour, milk, yeast, pre-soaked dried fruit, and a little sugar and butter. Due to the limited time we had in the kitchen, Paul recommended baking these in muffin cases so they’d cook a little easier. The mixture went on for seemingly ever, I ended up with two whole trays full! I added some extra dates to the second batch to fruit them up a little. gluten free tea cake buns fruity and golden raisin and date gluten free bread buns tea loaf The one thing I really did learn from the day is that gluten free baking doesn’t look the same when it’s done. Whilst you’d expect normal bread rolls to go a lovely golden brown on top, when they are gluten free they only just start to colour. It’s a bit of a fine art making sure they are cooked inside but not over-done. Nevertheless I was really pleased with the way they turned out – sweet and fruity and perfectly snack size. These bad boys will keep me going for breakfast for the next few weeks! They are great on their own and even better with a smidge of butter 🙂 gluten free tea breads served with butter breakfast or snack gluten free dried fruit and date tea bread rolls One slight downside however, I really struggled to get the muffin cases off, even when they were cool. Next time I make these I will just grease the tin and cook them straight in there.   Last on our recipe list were gluten free brownies. Even more unusually, these are majority made with sweet potatoes – no butter, no sugar, just a sweet potatoes, GF flour, a little maple syrup, cocoa powder and some chopped dates for added texture. The mix was simple to make and went straight into the oven. Again it was a little tricky to tell when these were done, although the top went crispy they seemed to take forever to cook inside! Finally they came out and had a lovely brownie crust on top.   As we were running short on time I finished mine off with a twist at home, cutting into small squares and drizzling with a little dark chocolate. chocolate drizzle on gf brownie bites At the college I was a little unsold on these, the texture and taste is not what I’d expected from a brownie, but once they’d cooled and had the chocolate topping my mind was definitely made up. For a cake that’s both gluten free and vegetable based they are amazing! Fudgy and sweet, easy to make and great little treat bites. gluten free sweet potato brownies with dark chocolate drizzle So overall my day at the college was a pretty big success! Three yummy bakes, some great new acquaintances, and a new zest to go out and try some more GF recipes. Whilst I’ve decided that Peterborough is perhaps a little far to go (200 mile round trip), I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for some more courses soon. A day in someone else’s kitchen is always great fun!

Mocha Meringue Cake

mocha meringue cake gluten free dessert recipe and method brownie cake

A few weeks ago, the lovely ladies at Sugar and Crumbs got in touch to ask if I’d like to try some of their new flavoured icing sugars in my recipe. I’m pretty sure you can guess my answer!

First up is their mochalicious icing sugar, which does exactly what it does on the tin. A chocolate icing sugar with a hint of coffee, not too overpowering and subtle enough to use in a cake.

sugar and crumbs mochalicious flavoured icing sugar review and recipe

My inspiration for the recipe came from this BBC post, and adapted to be both gluten-free and icing sugar friendly! It’s one of those cakes that looks more complicated to make than it is, so is a great showstopper-dessert to serve to friends.

Ingredients

Brownie cake
175g dark chocolate
150g butter
75g mochalicious icing sugar
75g caster sugar
2 large eggs
85g ground almonds

Meringue layers
3 large egg whites
175g mochalicious icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

To finish
200ml cream, whipped
20g icing sugar
20g cocoa powder
Hot water

Method
– start by greasing and lining 2x 6 inch sandwich tins. They will be baked twice so it’s worth doing this well!
– melt the chocolate and set aside to cool slightly
– beat together the butter, icing and caster and sugars. Add the eggs and almonds and beat again until well combined.
– once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, fold it into the rest of the mixture
– divide between the two tins, smoothing the top for a flat bake.
– bake at 180 degrees C for 12-15 minutes, until the top is turning crisp, and the middle does not wobble when you move the tin
– set aside to cool while you make the meringue (leave the brownie in the tin, as the meringue will be baked on top of it!)
– whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks (I highly recommend using a stand mixed for this)
– add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk after each addition
– continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and glossy, and holds its shape
– spoon on top of the two brownie bases, making one with a smooth top, (so it will hold the top layer), and one with a decorative pattern (to top the cake)
– bake at 150 degrees C for 30 minutes, until the meringue is crispy and starting to brown
– allow to cool completely before carefully removing from the tin
– make the chocolate drizzle for filling and decorating, by mixing the cocoa powder and icing sugar with enough water to make a thick sauce
– layer the cake up when you are nearly ready to serve. Start with the flat-topped brownie/meringue base, then the whipped cream, drizzled with some chocolate sauce, and finally top with the decorative meringue/brownie layer, and finish with a final drizzle of chocolate

brownie layer cake recipe gluten free mocha icing sugar chocolate and coffee mocha coffee and chocolate meringue made with flavoured icing sugar recipe and review swirl meringue topping on brownie cake layer recipe gluten free dessert baked mocha meringue topping for cake using sugar and crumbs mochalicious layering up mocha meringue cake whipped cream and chocolate drizzle

As long as the cream is well-whipped, the cake will hold shape well until you are ready to serve. Don’t leave it too long though – or the cream will start making the meringue soft.

mocha meringue cake layer recipe fresh whipped cream brownie chocolate sauce

I love how the layers came out – wonderfully separate but oh so tasty when combined! layered cake mocha meringue recipe chocolate and coffee brownie layers

The cake is best cut with a large knife and served in thick wedges, too thin and the cream will ooze out from the middle as you slice.

slice of mocha meringue cake chocolate and coffee with cream filling and brownies

Disclaimer: Icing sugar was provided to me by Sugar and Crumbs for the creation of this post. Recipe and reviews are all my own!

Brunch at Bettys

Back in the summer, as part of a hen weekend in the wonderful city of York, 5 lovely ladies and I brunched at Bettys tea rooms and cafe. After spending the previous day at York races, we were very excited to go to one of Yorkshire’s finest and fill up on all the yummy wares we’d heard so much about.

hen party afternoon york races followed by bettys tea

Luckily the great British weather was on our side, and a heavy summer downpour had meant the streets were almost clear, and we only had a short wait for a table. I have it on good authority that the queues often stretch right round the building!

exterior view bettys cafe tea rooms york

Of course this gave us a great excuse to have a peek around the shop and take-away cakes, and my goodness what a selection!

From macarons in all colours and flavours…

brightly coloured macarons at bettys tearooms york pistachio lemon strawberry rose chocolate

… to fresh fruit cakes, tarts and slices…

bettys tea room york window display cakes tarts biscuits strawberry and raspberry summer fresh

… and not to mention these wonderfully cute chocolate bees, ladybirds, and mini pigs.bettys english tea room york cake displays summer bumblebees pigs and ladybirds

And gifts for the baker (or eater!) in your life:

bettys tea room york cake shop gift displays bettys tea room vintage flyer confectioners and caterers

It still being breakfast time, it only seemed right that we start with something a little more savoury though. The summer menu was absolutely full of delights, and so difficult to choose!

bettys cafe tea rooms york summer menu

I eventually settled for a Swiss Breakfast Rosti – and was certainly not disappointed. A giant cheese, cream and potato rosti, topped with bacon, eggs, and mushrooms – it was absolutely delicious.

bettys tea room swiss breakfast rosti brunch and cake review

One of the best things about Bettys for me was the silver service – in every way. From the silver tea pots and fine china, to the immaculately dressed and wonderfully polite hostesses. It was all wonderfully British and very proper!

silver service tea set at bettys tea room york brunch or afternoon

Breakfast washed down with some tea, well, it was now 11am, so… elevenses? We couldn’t come to Bettys and not have cake!

There was so much choice – everything from the shop and more besides. From a fantastic display to the famed cake trolley, we were literally spoilt for choice.

cake and flower display pastries chocolates tarts at bettys tea room cafe york cake trolley at bettys tea room cafe york

And a great selection I think we made:

chocolate bomb engadine torte raspberry white chocolate tart strawberry paris-brest cakes at bettys tea room cafe yrok

I opted for a strawberry Paris-Brest – a wheel-shaped choux pastry filled to the brim with strawberries and cream, and topped with chocolate shavings. Delicious!

strawberry paris-brest pastry cake at bettys tea room york review

Tummies completely full of breakfast and cake – we paid another quick trip to the shop for some souvenirs. What would the boys say if we returned home cake-less!

I went for one of Bettys classics – a Yorkshire Fat Rascal. This little devil is a plump, fruit filled scone, with a cheeky little face made out of almonds and cherries.

yorkshire fat rascal fruit scone at bettys york tea room

And of course I couldn’t resist his younger other – a delicious sounding chocolate and orange rascal.

bettys fat rascal scone packaging review takeaway cake chocolate orange rascal and fat rascal scones from bettys cafe tea room york yorkshire

Stopping for a few more pictures on the way – the queues had already started to build up outside. It’s apparently not unusual for people to queue all the way round the front of the tearoom, for an hour or even more!

bettys cafe tea rooms york outside stained glass window queue at bettys tea rooms in york

When we were there, in mid-July, the Tour de France decorations were still adorning the streets in force. How cute is the bunting made from little yellow, green, and patterned t-shirts?

tour de france jersey bunting in york outside bettys tea room yellow red green striped

And I couldn’t leave without some snaps of the wonderful window displays in Bettys – it truly is a great institution and one I hope to go back to soon!

summer picnic basket cake display gingham at bettys tea room york bakers and confectioners window cake bunting display at bettys tea room york

Chocolate Milkshake Shortbread Biscuits

chocolate milkshake biscuits shortbread recipe using sugar and crumbs flavoured icing

Following on from my Chocolate Orange Fudge a couple of weeks ago, this is my second review of the new chocolate icing sugar range from Sugar and Crumbs.

And this week – Chocolate Milkshake icing sugar! With a smooth, creamy taste, it’s great for all in one recipes to add a perfect milky chocolate flavour.

sugar and crumbs chocolate milkshake natural icing sugar recipe and review

For this I used a simple shortbread recipe – that would work just as well with one of the other flavoured icing sugars.

Chocolate Milkshake Shortbread (makes 12)

120g plain flour
50g cornflour
50g chocolate milkshake icing sugar
120g butter

– mix together the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
– cube the butter and very gently rub into form a breadcrumb-like mixture, you can do this in a food processor if preferred
– add water a few drops at a time, and press together into a smooth dough

chocolate milkshake shortbread dough flavoured sugar and crumbs icing sugar
– refrigerate for at least half an hour, before rolling out and cutting into shapes (I used a cardboard template to cut mine into glass-shaped pieces)

chocolate milkshake flavour glass shaped biscuits shortbread recipe method
– bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes

Once cool, I used a thin glaze made from the chocolate milkshake icing sugar, to brush all over the biscuits and give them a sticky, chocolatey shine:

painting chocolate milkshake shortbread biscuits with flavoured icing sugar glaze

They were simply finished with a piped milkshake ‘froth’ of vanilla buttercream, and of course a piped chocolate straw!

piped vanilla icing small stars with chocolate straw milkshake biscuit cookie

chocolate milkshake taste and look shortbread biscuit

Simple and very tasty – another lovely product from Sugar and Crumbs 🙂

chocolate milkshake shortbread biscuits cookies recipe and method decoration

And they certainly went down well with Rob – he couldn’t eat them fast enough!

enjoying chocolate milkshake biscuits

Easy Orange Chocolate Fudge

chocolate orange fudge easy 5 minute recipe 3 ingredients flavoured sugar and crumbs icing sugar

Oh, those lovely people over at Sugar and Crumbs have done it again. Their delicious ranges of flavoured icing sugars (such as this delicious salted caramel) and flavoured cocoa powders (here is my test of their cherry cocoa powder), are obviously just not enough.
No, now they have added some chocolate flavoured icing sugars to their range. Could they be any more amazing?

They were looking for testers for some of the new range so of course both my hands shot straight up in the air. Then I realised it was an email and put my hands down quickly before anyone in the office noticed 😉

First up is the wonderfully titled Jaffa Twist. It does exactly what it says on the tin (packet), and is a lovely light, tangy orange.

sugar and crumbs jaffa twist natural flavoured orange chocolate icing sugar recipe and review

With so much on at the moment I needed a quick and easy recipe to get this into dessert form as soon as possible. And this fudge really fits the bill. You can make it (and eat it) in less than 5 minutes, it doesn’t need to bake, or really even set. It’d also be perfect to make with kids, as there is no absolutely heat, sharps, or other dangerous kitchen bits involved. It’d also make a great gift!

Chocolate orange fudge
50g butter, softened
45ml (approx 2.5 tablespoons) condensed milk
250g pack Sugar and Crumbs jaffa twist icing sugar

– Beat together the butter and condensed milk until smooth
– Add the icing sugar a little a time, mixing well until you have a smooth, stiff dough
– Roll into balls or cut into shapes (use a little cocoa powder to ice your surface)
– Eat immediately! Or leave in a cool dry place overnight to dry into firmer fudge pieces. If leaving to dry, put the pieces onto a a plate/baking sheet lightly dusted with cocoa powder, so they don’t stick.

chocolate orange fudge mixture easy 3 ingredients method using flavoured icing sugar easy chocolate orange fudge recipe biscuit cutters no-bake suitable for kids and gifts chocolate orange fudge pieces no bake leave to set chocolate orange fudge easy recipe and method

Not content with quite such an easy recipe – I wanted to top mine with some candied orange peel for an extra bit of decoration. Typically, none of our local supermarkets had any in, so I set to making some. Thankfully this post from the Bright-Eyed Baker made it easy! I think as my pieces were thinner it took much less time, only around half an hour in total.

In short it’s a case of topping and tailing the orange, before scoring and removing the peel in strips.

how to make candied orange slices easy 30 minutes method

Remove any thick bits of pith and cut into thin strips. (As my fudge pieces were only small I wanted them to be quite fine).

making candied orange peel candied orange peel slices how to recipe method

Add to a saucepan with 100ml water and 100g caster sugar.

orange peel slices in sugar being candied method

Bring to the boil, and turn down to medium for around 15 – 20 minutes, until the syrup is nearly all gone and the orange is caramelising. Don’t stir the pan or you’ll ruin the caramel. If you need to, swirl the pan around a little to ensure all the orange is covered.

candied orange peel method boiling in sugar syrup caramel

Use a slotted spoon and remove the peel pieces, putting them on a sugar-covered baking sheet. Quickly, using a couple of spoons, toss and separate the pieces, so they are all individually coated in sugar (don’t be tempted to use your fingers, the caramel will be scalding!)

homemade candied orange peel slices easy method and recipe

Et voila! Easy candied peel – who needs to buy it when it’s this easy?

Press pieces into the fudge and enjoy. Any unused peel can be stored in an airtight container.

chocolate fudge star shapes homemade no bake with candied orange peel decoration chocolate orange fudge recipe and method easy no-bake

So what did I make of the icing sugar? In all honesty, it’s fantastic. It’s a rich chocolate with just the right amount of tangy orange. Dare I say it, like a big bite of a jaffa cake. Great job Sugar and Crumbs – I’ll definitely be back for more soon!

The Pudding Pantry, Nottingham

They say word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to get noticed – and who am I to contest. This lovely new little bakery/coffee shop was recommended by a friend, and now here I am doing the same for you!

Situated in Trinity Square, just a minutes’ walk each from the Victoria Centre and Cornerhouse, The Pudding Pantry opened up about 2 months ago, and is an oasis of calm amid all the shops, bustling restaurants and busy streets.

the pudding pantry nottingham review trinty square new tea room coffee shop

Inside the decor is bright and fresh – it reminds me of being at the seaside, with soft blues and greys, and lots of white painted wood.

the puddng pantry nottingham tea room coffee shop bakery review trinity square

There are also plenty of quirky touches – as any good tea room should have!
Vintage tea pots on display under the unique lighting:

tea room decor teapot cups chic lighting

Hand-bound wooden fronted menus:

wooden hand bound menu the pudding pantry nottingham tea room coffee shop

And a hand-written specials board of the days sweet treats:

hand written blackboard menu personal touch tea room nottingham the pudding pantry

And what an array of sweet treats there were – on display in the windows; in and around the main glass-fronted counter, we were absolutely spoilt for choice! From pastries to muffins to sliced cakes to scones… they really do have the whole lot.

viennese whirls food porn glass counter tea room coffee shop fresh pastries raspberry and custard twist banoffee danish the pudding pantry nottingham blackberry and mint cake whole purple and green swirl icing summer tea room nottingham array of cakes and stands cupcakes muffins at the pudding pantry nottingham

My cake camarade opted for a scone with jam and cream – but was asked did she mind that it would be about 10 minutes as they were freshly baked to order? What a treat!

freshly baked scone homemade jam clotted cream nottingham coffee house afternoon tea pudding pantry

And the warm summer weather tempted me into something fresh and fruity – the amazing looking, sounding, and definitely tasting blackberry and mint cake. It was divine!

blackberry and mint cake purple icing swirl vintage tea plate

So consider my word well and truly spread – definitely a tea room to try next time you are in the area!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

pink lemonade cupcakes using sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar easy recipe edible straws and fizzy sprinkles
A beautiful summers day and perfect excuse to use some more of my treats from Sugar and Crumbs.

A quick taste test and I was instantly smitten with their Pink Lemonade Natural Flavoured Icing Sugar. You know those Refresher sweets, with the fizzy lemon centre? It tastes exactly like that fizzy sherbet!
And despite the name, the sugar is white in colour… so you could easily confuse any taste testers… mwah haha 😉

sugar and crumbs pink lemonade icing sugar review and recipe

To keep on the theme I wanted to top these lemonades with a little straw – but no ordinary paper or plastic version. Instead I rolled together thing lengths of red and white fondant, twisting and intertwining to give the effect of a striped paper straw.

red and white drinking straws made from fondant twisting red and white

Once cut into lengths, I left them to air-dry and harden overnight.

red and white fondant icing edible drinking straws swirl striped effect

The cupcakes were a simple vanilla base – with more than enough flavour punch in the icing.To ice 12 cupcakes I used 350g pink lemonade icing sugar, 185g soft butter, a couple of drops of pink food colouring, and a splash of milk to get to piping consistency.

I used a star nozzle to get that perfect swirl, before creating a hole for the ‘straws’ with the back of a paint brush (the fondant would break if you tried to push it straight into the cake).

how to make pink lemonade cupcakes making hole for straw using paintbrush

A final topping of pink shimmer sugar for that little extra ‘fizz’ – et voila!

pink lemonade cupcakes sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar sugar sprinkles and straw

Definitely cuter than the real thing – and surprisingly refreshing to boot. A big things up to Sugar and Crumbs on this one! pink lemonade cupcake swirl icing with red and white edible straw

Banana and Salted Caramel Birthday Cupcakes

salted caramel and banana cupcakes swirl buttercream orange and yellow flower toppers recipe

Happy Birthday to me! Well, yesterday actually, but who’s counting 😉

Continuing the brilliant tradition of taking cakes into the office for my birthday, these bad boys are my offering for 2014. Having just eaten one with compliments from colleagues ringing in my ears, I cannot help but rave about them. They are so good. And, made with real bananas, good for you as well. Wins all round.

They also make use of the final product from my Sugar and Crumbs trial pack. As much as I enjoyed using the Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder and Coffee Icing Sugar, this Salted Caramel Icing Sugar was always going to be my favourite, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

At £2.99 for a 250g bag from Sugar and Crumbs, it is a fair price (if you use the whole pack for one batch like I did), so one to use for special occasions, of which my birthday is definitely one!

sugar and crumbs salted caramel natural flavoured icing sugar review and recipe

Ingredients (Makes 8-10 cupcakes)
90g butter
90g light brown sugar
1 large or 2 small eggs
Approx 180g banana (2 small or 1 large bananas)
1 tablespoon milk
120g self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

To ice
75g butter
1 tablespoon milk
250g Salted Caramel icing sugar

Method
– Beat together the butter and sugar
– Add the mashed banana, and eggs, plus 1 tablespoon of flour, and beat until well combined
– Sieve in the remainder of the flour and baking powder, and fold in
– Spoon into cupcake cases, about 2/3 full, bake at 180 degrees for 15-18 minutes. The tops should be firm to the touch and golden brown. The cake will still feel a bit squishy, due to the banana, if unsure, insert a small skewer or cocktail stick to check it’s completely cooked.
– Once cool, beat together the butter, milk and icing sugar until light and airy but thick in texture. Spoon or pipe onto the top of the cupcakes.

cupcake buttercream perfect swirl star nozzle salted caramel and banana

The cupcakes come out light and beautifully moist, the banana flavour comes through perfectly. And combined with the sweet tang of the salted caramel buttercream – perfection!

banana cupcake recipe deconstructed method inside moist and fluffy

To top my cupcakes I embraced the first throes of spring with some orange and yellow flower toppers. Cut out of coloured flower paste, I finished them with a contrasting centre before sticking onto the buttercream with a little white icing.

homemade icing toppers yellow and orange flower paste spring bakes

salted caramel and banana cupcake recipe review and method easy how to

The cupcakes disappeared in mere seconds at work, with a few more left for a birthday dinner tonight, I can’t imagine they’ll be around for long!

banana and salted caramel birthday cupcakes with spring orange and yellow flowers recipe

banan cupcake with salted caramel buttercream swirl frosting and flower past fondant orange and yello

Coffee Biscuit Bites

coffee biscuit bites butter sable recipe using coffee flavoured icing sugar

Last night I donned my apron to whip up these little biscuit bites, for a number of very good reasons. Firstly, I need to start saving egg whites to make meringues at the weekend. Secondly, I wanted to try out another of the lovely products that Sugar and Crumbs sent me to review, and thirdly, probably most importantly, we need some sugar in the office to get us through the week.

The Coffee Icing Sugar for Sugar and Crumbs was lovely to work with, a silky white powder and perfect for this adapted Sable biscuit recipe. The 125g pack was the ideal size to make both this biscuits and icing.

sugar and crumbs natural flavoured coffee icing sugar recipe and review

Ingredients

75g coffee icing sugar
100g plain flour
100g butter
1 egg yolk

To ice
50g coffee icing sugar
Warm water

Method
– Mix together the icing sugar and flour, and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
– Add the egg yolk, and knead together to form a smooth paste. If the mixture is too sticky don’t be afraid to add some more flour, you want to be able to roll it without sticking
– Roll the mixture into small balls, spread out evenly on baking sheet. They do not need to be space too far apart, as the biscuits won’t spread much during cooking
– Using a fork dipped in boiling water, gently flatten the top of each biscuit
– Bake at 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes until firm to touch and golden brown
– When cool, mix the remaining icing sugar with a little water, to form a thick paste. Cover the top of each biscuit using a pastry brush, and leave to set.- Enjoy with your favourite cup of Joe! Or, as we did in the office – dipped into a cup of tea!

sable biscuit dough balls coffee butter recipe

flattening biscuit dough with fork dipped in hot water method and tips

cup of coffee with bite sized butter sable biscuits recipe and easy method

And how did the coffee flavour come out? Well it was a lovely subtle tone in the icing sugar that really came through in the combination of the biscuit and icing. And aesthetically pleasing to have a coffee flavoured treat without the normally associated rather dark brown colour!

sugar and crumbs coffee icing sugar natural flavourings sable biscuit recipe

Disclaimer – Products were provided by Sugar and Crumbs for review. However the opinions are entirely my own.