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.

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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.

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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)