Monday, 27 August 2012

Rose Cupcakes

So it seems I've been having a bit of a rosewater obsession at the moment. Fear not, it is not ending anytime soon.
I was originally really craving some chocolate cupcakes, so had intended on making some, but I wanted to give them a little twist. I googled (as I seem to do with everything these days. I now know how to mop a floor) possible flavour combinations to go with chocolate, and chocolate and rose came up. Hmmmm, I'm still a bit sceptical.
Then, on my quest for satisfying my craving and learning how to successfully pipe, I found a YouTube video on piping roses! (Don't go straight down to look at the pictures now, you'll see a very different image to the one on the video, lulz).
And then I ditched the chocolate idea. Sorry chocolate, I just didn't think I could handle your rich chocolately goodness...

Oh and once again this is a Hummingbird recipe. Someone needs to lock me away from that book.


80g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1tbsp rosewater
240ml whole milk
2 large eggs

For the frosting:

500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
3tsp rosewater
50ml whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
2. Whisk the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt together on a low speed until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs
3. Mix the rosewater with the milk in a jug, then add the eggs and whisk together by hand. Pour three-quarters of this milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and keep mixing on a medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth once again
4. Divide the batter between the muffin cases, filling each case by two-thirds. Pop in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch, then allow to cool completely while you make the frosting.
5. Slowly beat together the icing sugar and butter until the butter has been completely mixed in. Mix the rosewater with the milk, and, with the machine still running, gradually pour this into the beaten icing sugar and butter. Once added, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.
6. *attempt* to pipe adequately 

So they may not look good enough to win 'Britain's best looking cupcake' but it's a work in progress (does that competition exist?)

Oh, and here's a rose-themed song. I do love Outkast.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Apple Blossom cupcakes

First of all, I'd like to apologise for my absence. Cakes have been a-bakin' in that time, but I'M BACK. with a vengeance, mwahahahaha (evil laugh)

I'm not the biggest fan of summer. I'm not saying I don't like it, I just don't like super hot weather, burning (I'm Scottish so this is a frequent occurrence) and people decided to bare all their flesh just because the sun has peeked out to say hello.
But I can't spend all eight weeks of summer wishing it to go away, so I thought I'd celebrate it (in the best way I knew how). I made summery cupcakes.


Makes 12 - 16 cupcakes

4tbsp apple iced-tea powder (I bought the Turkish Apple Tea in Whittards)
3tbsp just-boiled water
80g unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
200ml whole milk
2 large eggs

For the frosting:

4tbsp apple iced-tea powder
50ml whole milk
500g icing sugar
160g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
2. Place the apple tea powder in a bowl, add the just-boiled water and allow to dissolve completely. Whisk together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until all the ingredients are well incorporated and resemble fine breadcrumbs.
3. Place the milk in a jug with the eggs and apple tea and whisk together by hand. Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until smooth and thick. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and continue to beat on a medium speed until everything is mixed in and the batter is smooth
4. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling them up to two-thirds. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well-risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin, then place on a wire rack to cool down fully before adding the frosting.
5. To make the frosting, dissolve the apple tea powder in a small bowl, with the milk. Slowly whisk the icing sugar with the butter until sandy in texture and no large lumps of butter remain. Gradually pour the tea-infused milk into the icing sugar and butter mixture. Once all the milk has been added, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.

These cupcakes are absolutely delicious, I can't even put it into words. They were so delicate and flavoursome, and even kind of floraly (even though they were apple-y?). And oh my gosh, they have to be some of the moistest cupcakes I have ever tasted.

So, if like me, you kind of can't wait until winter so you can wear sweatpants all the time, and have an excuse for not leaving the house but you still want to celebrate the last few moments of summer, these babies are perfecto!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Macaroon Mission: Rose Macaroons

I know in my last post I said that I was the most British person I knew. But right now, I consider myself to be rather French. One day I will live in Paris, drink coffee by the Eiffel tower, and most probably wear Breton tops and develop a moustache.

Let me confess. I have an obsession with macaroons, but have always been to scared to make them. Let's be honest, I'm no Pierre Herme. But I've been trying to make the perfect macaroon. And failing, for the most part. I tried the BBC recipe, thinking that it would be uncomplicated and useful (because it's the BBC and it's uncomplicated and useful, obviously).

There was a reason I didn't post about it. I think next time I'll stick using the BBC website for homework help and little else.

I found a great Edd Kimber recipe, which I suspect is the Pierre Herme recipe, just simplified. If you are unaware of who Edd is (shame on you), he won the first series of The Great British Bake Off. What a babe.


170g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
120ml egg whites from about 4 medium eggs, separated into 2 equal batches
160g granulated sugar
Pink food colouring

For the filling:

100g granulated sugar
37g water
75g eggs
45g egg yolks
200g butter, very soft
Pink food colouring
Rose Water, to taste

1. Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds in a bowl, discarding any particles that stay in the sieve, and mix until fully combined. Add the first batch of egg whites to the almond mixture, mix to form a thick paste and set aside.
2. Tip the second batch of egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl and have an electric whisk at the ready. Place 50ml of water and the granulated sugar into a small saucepan on medium heat. Bring to the boil and cook until the syrup registers 110C, using a sugar thermometer, at which time start to beat the egg whites on high speed. Once the syrup is at 118C pour it slowly down the side of the mixer bowl, avoiding the moving whisk. Continue to whisk on high until the mixture has cooled slightly and you have a shiny peaked meringue mixture - the bowl should no longer be hot to the touch, but still warm. Add the colouring and whisk to combine.
3. Tip the meringue mixture onto the almond mixture and gently fold together. It is important not to over-mix the batter.
4. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/ gas mark 3-4. Line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe round about 2.5cm diameter (I drew out circles, I'm hopeless) onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave to rest for 30 minutes out of the fridge, or until the macaroons have developed a skin.
5. Bake the macaroons for 14 minutes. Immediately slide the parchment onto the work surface and cool for a few minutes before gently peeling the macaroons off the paper.
6. To make the filling, add the sugar and water to a saucepan and cook over a medium heat to 120C. Whilst the syrup is coming to temperature add the eggs and egg yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk and whisk until they thicken and lighten in colour. With the mixer still on slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl and continue to whisk until cooled. Begin to beat in the butter at medium/high speed one or two pieces at a time. Add the food colouring and rose water.

Yes, the food colouring didn't work. I think it could be a liquid food colouring thing. I'm off to buy gel food colouring tomorrow, so yeah.

I mean, they look orange, but they are far more presentable than the last batch. Lets just say that the BBC said nothing about over-folding the mixture, and my macaroons came out of the oven looking like one giant ocean of lavender flavoured loveliness. Tasty but not pretty.

I'm still searching for the perfect recipe. I didn't like the buttercream method, and it seemed to split when I added the rose water. Does anyone have a recipe they use a lot? Until then, I'm going to sit here and eat macaroons until they fall out of my ears.

Oh. And thank you M&S (you beauties) for releasing affordable Jubilee themed macaroons. A guilty pleasure just became far less guilty.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mini Victoria Sandwich Cakes

Reasons why I consider myself to be the most British person I know:

1) In my imagination, Kate Middleton is my best friend
2) I drink countless cups of tea everyday
3) I watch The Apprentice. Nick and Karen feel like family, ok?
4) I'm pale. I'm the palest person I know and I'm proud
5) Exploring London is my favourite thing ever
6) I have an obsession with the Royal family. I cannot hide my love for them.
7) I have a Union Jack flag proudly displayed on my bedroom wall
8) Julie Andrews is my third grandma

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't try to hide my British-ness. I embrace it, God save the Queen and all that. So, me and all of my British-ness have decided to celebrate this very important year for Britain by baking British. (This is turning into a competition to see how many times I can say British in one post)
There is nothing more traditional than a Victoria Sandwich. But that's boring. I hate boring. 

So I made them mini.

And not only did I make then mini, I made them topped with Mini Eggs. Of course, this recipe is by Mary Berry (another British babe).

2 large eggs
100g self-raising flour
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
6 tbsp good-quality strawberry jam
300ml double cream, whipped
Mini chocolate eggs, for decoration

1) Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin and line the bases of the cups with circles of nonstick baking paper. Measure the eggs, flour, butter, caster sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Whisk with an electric hand mixer for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Using a teaspoon, spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and even out the tops.
2) Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until pale golden and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. Set aside to cool a little, remove from tins, peel off the paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
3) Slice each cold cake in half horizontally across the centre. Spread the cake centres with jam and two thirds of the whipped cream and sit the other half back on top. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top of the cakes and arrange the mini eggs on top to decorate.

These cakes made me happy. They were small, they were scrummy and they were Easter-themed. I break up this Friday for three whole weeks of baking bliss (and revision, but let's forget about that), so these cakes were the perfect excuse to start the celebrations!

But Mary, I must complain. I don't like your all-in-one method. It freaks me out, it makes me nervous.

I'm sorry, it's just the way I feel.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

It was two very important birthdays this week. Oreo celebrated their 100th birthday and my friend Emma also turned 15. Double reason to celebrate!

So why not kill two birds with one stone? I wanted to make cupcakes for Emma's birthday, and I felt like I should somehow commemorate their birthday. LIGHTBULB IDEA, LUCY. Make Oreo cupcakes. God damnit, I'm genius.

Slight problemo. When I went about finding the perfect recipe for Oreo cupcakes, all the recipes were American. (Yes Americans, I may adore your 'candy', but I have no interest in measuring in 'cups' and using 'shortening'). So I've made up my own recipe, in English measurements (yes. It's in grams)

Makes 12

12 Oreos
100g plain flour
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120 ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

250 icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
2 tbsp whole milk
2 drops vanilla extract
5 tbsp Oreo, fine crumbs (or more, to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/ gas mark 3

2. Then put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and beat until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a bowl, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine. Slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth.

4. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases lined with a regular sized Oreo, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave cupcakes to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

5. To make the icing,  beat the sugar and butter until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Combine the milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a little at a time. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Add the Oreo crumbs during the last minute (to make the Oreo crumbs, I put them in a food processor)

I never got a chance to try these cupcakes, but the frosting tasted delicious! They'll have to be made again, or you could ask Emma if she liked them. She said she ate three for breakfast, so they can't have been that bad, right?

Friday, 10 February 2012

Love (Happy Valentine's Day)

Now, I'm not going to be here on Valentines Day, I'm jetting off early tomorrow morning to Obergurgl in Austria for a touch of skiing! So, as I've been packing (or watching my mum pack, sorry mum), I've been a little pathetic on the baking front.

However, fear not. I have some lovely Valentine's themed chocolate cupcakes, using my well-tested Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cupcake Recipe.

BUT THEY'RE LOVE THEMED! I would share them with my millions of suitors just waiting to ask for my hand in marriage, but sadly they don't exist. So I'll watch a Leonardo DiCaprio movie instead.

I don't feel totally unloved, though. I sold these cupcakes for World Challenge fundraising, and one girl who bought one chased me a day later and kindly told me that my cupcakes tasted like 'war had never happened'. I can only take that as a compliment, no?

I hope everyone has an absolutely incredible Valentines Day, whether you're spending it with someone special, or whether you're spending it under the duvet with your dog and a tub of Jaffa cakes.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ella recorded her first original song! As her biggest fan, I feel obliged to tell absolutely everyone about it. So here it is. Please tell us what you think, let me know in the comments. It would be great to hear from you

And she's my Valentine. BIG UP PLATONIC LOVE Y'ALL.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Apple and Oatmeal Cookies

When my Food Tech teacher said I had to make a healthy snack product, a thousand monkeys inside my soul groaned simultaneously. I thought that healthy food meant boring food. (And 90% of the time, it really is)

But then I remembered about this recipe that someone on my Instagram account told me about. They had seen a cookie recipe in the 'The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days' book that they thought I would really enjoy. Thank you by the way, total life saver!

I know cookies aren't really healthy. But another girl in my class, Georgie, made my rocky road recipe as a healthy snack, so it's all in comparison!

135g butter, softened
80g caster sugar
80g soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
190g plain flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 Granny Smith Apples
60g rolled oats

1. Preheat the oven to 170C / gas mark 3 and line two sheets with parchment. Cream together the butter and both sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, then add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two batches and mix thoroughly until a dough forms.

2. Peel and finely grate the apples and squeeze all of the liquid out of them, discarding the liquid. Add the oats and 60g of the grated apple to the cookie dough and stir in by hand.

3. Break off pieces of the dough, about 2 tablespoons in size, roll into balls and place on the baking sheet. Make sure they are spaced apart by about 3 inches because the cookies will spread quite a bit while baking. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until cookies are a light golden brown. Leave on the sheets for about 10 minutes to cool, then remove to a wire rack.

I like my cookies chewy. If there's one thing you should know about me, let it be that. I get my cookies out of the oven just as they turn golden. Scrummalicious.

Make these cookies, I won't ask you again, just make these cookies.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Review: Upsy Daisy Bakery

If you hadn't noticed by now, I like everything British. The monarchy, teapots, rainy weather, old fashioned sweet shops etc. Tea shops are no exception.

So, in 2012, I'm making it my aim to visit lot's of different quaint cafes/cupcake shops/tea rooms. Starting with the Upsy Daisy Bakery in Hammersmith, West London.

According to the website, they sell various flavours of cupcakes, but my friend Bebe and I went for the classic chocolate and vanilla, and we shared them. They were gooooooood.

We didn't go for afternoon tea, just simply stopped by for tea and cupcakes. If you're interested, I chose Earl Grey. If you aren't interested, I told you anyway.

It was so lovely seeing old fashioned sweet jars filled with sweets. They also sold mugs, teapots and homemade jams! It was like being in a quiet corner of the English countryside, only we were on a busy road in London!

BUNTING. I mean, who doesn't love bunting.

And there we are, standing outside the bakery. The whole menu looks scrummy, so I will definitely be there for brunch at one point. Scrambled eggs and salmon on toast, I'm coming for you.

I pass this bakery twice a day, every single day on my way to and from school, so I'm surprised that I'd never popped in. However, I will definitely return again and again, stop buying from Starbucks and support the local, because it would be such a shame to see it disappear.

Friday, 3 February 2012


If you don't think Rocky Roads are the most incredibly thing in the universe, you don't deserve to live on it. Got it?

I mean, what more could one ask for in a snack? There's chocolate, biscuits and marshmellows (and the cheeky addition of Maltesers)! Also, they're really popular and people will pay anything for them, making them a good fundraising choice!

125g soft unsalted butter
300g milk chocolate
3tbsp golden syrup
200g rich tea biscuits
100g mini marshmellows
2 tsp icing sugar, to dust

1. Heat the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Remove from the heat, scoop out about 125ml of the melted mixture and set aside in a bowl.

2. Place the biscuits into a plastic freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin until some have turned to crumbs but there are still pieces of biscuit remaining.

3. Fold the biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan, then add the marshmellows.

4. Tip the mixture into a square baking tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.

5. Pour over the reserved amount of the melted chocolate mixture and smooth again.

6. Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.

7. To serve, cut into fingers and dust with icing sugar.

They. Were. Incredible.

That's all I'm going to say. Incredible. This one is getting made again.

_ _ _ _ _

I use the excuse of 'I bake' to taste every single cupcake in my sight. Seriously, if you have cupcakes, I will charge towards you at a high speed.

Cupcake shops are no exception. I want to try every single cupcake from every single shop (can you imagine how fat I would get?). So today my dad brought home cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery.

The flavours he chose were Violet, Carrot, Early Grey, Orange Blossom and Chocolate with White Chocolate frosting. YUM.

You might have remembered when I made Earl Grey cupcakes? Well, they were a Primrose Bakery recipe, believe it or not. So I did a comparison... 

They didn't quite look the same, however...

My cupcakes were delish though, and they will be baked again. And more tea cupcakes to come!

Sunday, 29 January 2012


 If you know me, you'll know that I'm fundraising for my World Challenge trip to Madagascar like crazy. In fact, if you know me, you'll know that I never stop talking/panicking/pulling my hair out about it. It's all I think about, it consumes me. argh.

So I bake. I do what I love, and I bake for the defenceless younger girls in my year who are too rich for their own good. They want their sugar kick, and I supply them. A bit like a drug dealer, but slightly less illegal, and also cheaper.

We invested in cupcake carriers and so every week I take 36 cupcakes into school to thrust in the faces of hungry children. And momentarily, I am the most popular girl in school. Until they run out and I go back to being the socially awkward pineapple I am 99% of the time.

Up to now, I've made chocolate cupcakes, and the recipe can be found here! But I've tried to mix it up a bit, and do different cake decoration every week. They're so pweeeetty.

 Week 1: One Direction cupcakes. They sold super quickly. If you're interested, Harry sold quickest. Zayn was left until last.

Week 2: Spring Pastel cupcakes. It's just frosting lightly dyed with food colouring (we did yellow, green and pink) and topped with wafer daisies, which can be bought really cheaply.

Week 3: I didn't take a picture! Waaaah, they were so beautiful! They were topped with homemade white chocolate Jazzles. 
I did this simply by melting white chocolate, spreading it over greaseproof paper and sprinkled hundreds and thousands on generously. After they had set in the fridge, I cut out circles. 
These sold the fastest, maybe because they were so colourful. And it was more chocolate...

Week 4: Chocolate Jazzles! They were the same as the hundreds and thousands Jazzles, only with chocolate balls.

 So there you go. £900 down, £2745 to go. Uh oh.

- - - - - - -
In Westfield yesterday, you could write down you resolution for 2012. This was mine:

And this was the egg that I drew today. It's smiling, right? IT COUNTS.

- - - - 

Another thing you should do. Buy a Pindippy t-shirt!! I'm beyond obsessed with mine, thank you so much Bebe and Jessie!

The one I'm wearing is 'Discombobulate', which I have been wearing all day while baking. (And if you Zumba, it's going to be amazing for that too. Bring on Zumba time!)

You're actually going to have to rip it off me. It's not coming off.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Rosemary Shortbread

If you are British and you don't like tea and shortbread, I don't think you deserve to live on this island. I'm sorry, but shortbread is one of the reasons for my existence. So bring on the rosemary shortbread, scrummy.

55g caster sugar
1 tsp rosemary leaves
115g softened butter
1 lemon, zest finely grated
170g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas mark 32 and prepare a non-stick baking sheet.

2. Place the sugar and rosemary leaves in a food processor. Whizz until the rosemary is very finely chopped then add the butter and lemon zest and process until pale and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and beat in the flour until it forms a stiff dough.

3. Place this on a sheet of greaseproof paper and lay another sheet on top. Then gently press down with a rolling pin and roll out to 3-5mm thickness. Lift off the top sheet and stamp out the biscuits with your chosen cutter. Using a palette knife, lift them off the bottom sheet of paper and carefully transfer to the non-stick baking sheet.

4. Prick the biscuits with a fork and bake in the centre of the oven for 12 minutes or until tinged a very pale brown. Remove to a cooling rack and leave to firm. Dust with caster sugar, if desired.

I took this picture just as the biscuits came out of the oven. Because there is nothing better than a freshly baked shortbread biscuit, is there? And if there is, I would like to know about it. It also explains why they don't look nice, they weren't presented nicely and weren't dusted with sugar. But neither am I. So what you see is what you get.

These were super simply to make, took less than 30 minutes to cook and prepare. I tried them with a cup of tea, oh my god, I can't think of a better combination.

I've got some really exciting bakes/fundraising things coming up so keep an eye out!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Coffee and Walnut Battenberg Cake

I finally did it. I made a Mary Berry recipe. And a Mary Berry Battenberg cake at that. She would be so proud to know that I was this obsessed with her... Or creeped out.

I've been dying to make a Battenberg ever since I got a Battenberg cake tin for Christmas, which is a useful tray if you're a keen Battenberger, (yes, i just made that up).

100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
50g ground almonds
few drops vanilla extract
3 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons coffee granules
25g walnuts, chopped

For the coffee butter icing:
100g icing sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon coffee granules
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

To finish:
225g white marzipan
icing sugar, for dusting
walnuts, to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Put the soft butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and ground almonds into a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth, slightly lighter in colour and glossy looking.

2. Spoon sightly more than half the mixture into a separate bowl and add the vanilla and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the milk. Mix well, then set aside. Stir the coffee with the remaining milk until it has dissolved, then add this to the first bowl of mixture together with the chopped walnuts. Spoon the vanilla mixture into a half of the tin and the coffee-walnut mixture into the other half.

3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the sponges are well risen and springy to the touch and have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin. Take out of the oven and cool in the tin for a few minutes, then run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

4. Trim the crisp edges off the cooled sponges using a serrated knife. To make the butter icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl with the butter. Stir the coffee and milk together until the coffee has dissolved, then pour into the bowl. Beat everything together with a wooden spoon until soft and smooth.

5. Lay a vanilla sponge strip and a coffee-walnut strip side by side and use a little of the icing to stick them together. Spread a bit more icing on the top. Stick the remaining two strips on with icing, placing them so they will create a chequerboard effect. Spread a bit more icing over the top of the assembled chequerboard.

6. Roll out the marzipan on a clean worktop to make an oblong that is the length of the cake and sufficiently wide (pieces of string may help you). Lay the iced side of the cake on the marzipan oblong. Spread the rest over the remaining three sides of the cake.

7. Roll the cake over in the marzipan, pressing to cover it neatly. Turn the cake over so the join is underneath. Trim a slice from each end of the cake to neaten and show off the chequerboard effect. Smooth the marzipan over with your hands so their warmth will give it a smooth finish.

8. Decorate as desired. I crimped the edges by pinching the marzipan, then score the top of the cake with long diagonal lines, sifted some icing sugar over the cake and secured walnut halves with butter icing.

My sister liked it, so I think that has to count for something right? My mum just sat there licking the butter icing bowl while I slaved away in the kitchen cleaning up all my mess, that's role reversal for you.

This cake was absolutely delish, definitely one for afternoon tea (now I just need to find friends who are willing to be dragged to my various tea parties that I want to hold).

Sunday, 8 January 2012

FUNDRAISING: One Direction Chocolate Cupcakes

Ok, so I know you're either thinking two things right now:
  1. One Direction?!?! OH MY GOSH, SERIOUSLY? You're so cool Lucy!
  2. One Direction?!?! Why, just why. You're so uncool Lucy...
Personally, I'm in love with One Direction. But then again, I'm a 15 year old girl, so that's practically expected.

I used the Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Because, why bother with any other cupcakes? Hummingbird is superior.


200g plain flour
5 tbsp cocoa powder
280g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
80g unsalted butter
240 ml whole milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
4 tbsp whole milk
4 drops vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3

2. Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and beat until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a bowl, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine. Slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix!

4. Spoon into pre-prepared cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave cupcakes to cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Beat the sugar and butter until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Combine the milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a little at a time. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.

6. Decorate as desired.

I'm hoping they will sell well. Pre-teenage girls love One Direction right? I have 40 chocolate cupcakes, topped with an variety of One Direction themed cupcake toppers (bought online from Simply Topps)

But they were a pain for make! Five hours slaving in the kitchen (that's including an hour lost in Waitrose trying to find some cocoa), so they weren't very quick and easy to make, which is what I am looking for.

Nice try, Luce.

Just in case you were interested (which you're not), Louis Tomlinson is my favourite from One Direction. So there is me and my Louis cupcake. Mwaaah.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

FUNDRAISING: Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Before I begin, let me just explain. Fundraising? What? You're confused. To be honest, I'm confused too. Somehow I ended up in this mess where I need to raise £3645 to go on a trip to Madagascar to trek and do community work, which is set up by World Challenge. But £3645 is a hell of a lot of money, I get frightened even thinking about it.

So, to kickstart my funds, I've taken to baking. Why not incorporate something fun into something not-so-fun? The aim is to bake edible goods twice a week, and then bring them into school. Because, at my school, if you're the girl with food/gum/money, you will momentarily be the most popular girl in school.

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
vanilla essence
1 medium egg
400g plain flour

For the icing:

500g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until very light and creamy. Add the vanilla essence and gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition.

2. Sift the flour into the bowl and work in, using a low speed. Use your hand to bring the mixture together and make a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and form each portion into a thick disk. Wrap in clingfilm and chill until firm - about 30 minutes.

3. During this time, you can line 2-3 baking trays with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

4. Roll out the dough, a portion at a time, on a floured work surface to a thickness of 5mm. Cut out the shapes using cutters. Father up the trimmings, knead gently, then re-roll and cut out more biscuits. Arrange the biscuits slightly apart on the lined baking trays to allow for spreading.

5. Bake the biscuits for 9 to 12 minutes, until just starting to turn golden brown around the edges and firm to touch. Remove from the oven, leave to firm up for a minute, then transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. When ready to decorate, mix the icing sugar with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and about 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a stiff icing that could be piped if desired. Decorate!

Note to self: never try spreading icing this way again. It doesn't work. It gets messy. It takes too long. And your mum will get involved, and complain about absolutely everything...

So there you go. I strolled back into school the first day back, and by 10:45, all of the Year 8's would have called me their best friend. Their hungry eyes screamed for sugar cookies.

I'm going to try out lot's of different baking ideas for the little 'uns, until I get something completely perfect. Then, I'll just bake that until it starts spilling out of my ears. So it's all good.

There's been a lack of defaced eggs for a while. So they're back! I cherished my tiny Harry Potter egg, until my mum brutally destroyed it making me scrambled eggs. I guess the boy who lived came to die!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Iced Orange Loaf

This wouldn't be my choice of my loaf, but then again I had no choice in what I wanted to make... All of this is my mum's fault. But mum, if you're reading this, I still love you.

2 large unwaxed oranges
1 unwaxed lemon
100ml cold walker
175g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for greasing)
175g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
100g icing sugar

1. Peel the oranges with a potato peeler and cut each strip into long, thin shreds. Finely grate the zest of the lemon and set aside. 

2. Cut the oranges and lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Reserve 4 teaspoonfuls and put the rest in a small saucepan with the orange shreds. Add the water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until well softened.

3. Stir 50g of the caster sugar into the pan and boil for another 4 minutes until the liquid is syrupy, stirring occasionally. Lightly drain and reserve a third of the orange shreds. Then pour the orange syrup and remaining shreds into a large bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and butter the inside of the tin well.

5. Put the remaining caster sugar, butter, flour, baking powder, eggs and lemon zest in a food processor and blend until just combined, thick and smooth. Transfer to the large bowl and gently golf in the orange syrup, including the orange shreds.

6. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until well risen and pale golden brown. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until cool.

7. To make the icing, blend the reserved 4 teaspoons of citrus juice with the icing sugar until smooth. Drizzle the icing over and leave to set for 10 minutes. Scatter the reserved orange shreds on top of the icing.

Did it all go to plan? No. 
I didn't really have my brain switched on, so I didn't leave the syrup to cool. Meaning that when I folded it into the mixture, the egg started to cook. Complete disaster.

Ok, while I've got you all here, do you mind checking out my friend's YouTube channel? She's really good at singing, the ukulele AND the guitar (and don't even get me started on her mum's baking. One word: HEAVEN)