Saturday, 31 May 2014

Peanut butter truffle cookies

Well, I wasn't going to post this recipe because in my eyes it failed. But four people telling me they're delicious has made me reconsider. 

It may come as a surprise, but I often don't eat any of my baking. When I'm dieting (which is most of the time and a long story), I'm not even able to sample a bite so I have to rely on other people to tell me honestly what they think. But I struggle to believe sometimes being the pessimist that I am.

But hubby doesn't do sweet stuff, yet he tried these and claimed they were delicious, so here's my post!

4oz caster sugar
4oz margarine
4oz peanut butter
4tbsp golden syrup 
8oz plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the filling:
4oz dark chocolate
1/4pt double cream
(Or left over Betty Crocker chocolate cake fudge filling, which is what I used).

The filling is a ganache. Heat the cream until just boiling then pour over the chocolate and stir until melted. Pop into the fridge to cool and set.

Preheat the oven to 170/150 fan. Mix the sugar and butter together until fluffy then add the peanut butter and golden syrup. Mix then add the flour and bicarbonate.

Take about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten out and add a small dollop of ganache/choc fudge filling into the middle then mould the dough round and flatten out. 

Bake for 10 minutes until just turning golden. They're very soft when they come out so leave to harden on the baking trays.

Basically, me being me, I don't think they worked as they were supposed to because I didn't stick to the recipe. I didn't weigh out the peanut butter, I guessed but I obviously guessed wrong as this is what happened to mine. The chocolate split out of them as they spread on cooking! Look!!!!!

Or did I guess wrong? You make these and see if they work for you. And let me know!

Seeing as they tasted great, I'm going to use this recipe again but instead of filling, I'm going to simply add chocolate chips to the dough. So I'd make the recipe omitting the chocolate and cream/chocolate fudge mix and add chocolate chips instead, roll into balls then flatten on the baking sheets slightly before baking.

Embarrassingly these are what they were supposed to look like! Did I fail on looks? Of course! But looks aren't everything 

Recipe courtesy of

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Tractor cake - Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield

It's my turn again to bake a cake for Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield. Well, we don't take it in turns, we volunteer for cakes we can do so volunteers don't have to volunteer for every cake. Unless they want to and can of course! More information about Free Cakes for Kids can be found in my xbox cake tutorial ( and at

I was asked to bake a chocolate cake for a little boy who's turning 2 who likes tractors and In The Night Garden. I plumped for tractors as I could then make a really chocolatey cake. 

Now I have to state here, that time was short and with my husband away this weekend I had my hands full with my two small children so I did cheat. Me, cheat? Oh my! Yes yes, I hate to admit it but Betty Crocker do an amazing fudge frosting so I plumped for that rather than making my own. Me bad! But it is lovely tasting. However, if I'd had more time I'd have used my devils cake topping.

I made a basic 8" chocolate sponge as follows (I always make my basic sponge in ounces):

8oz caster sugar
8oz margarine
6.5oz self raising flour
1.5oz cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
Splash of milk

Cream the butter and sugar together then add two eggs and half the dry ingredients and mix. Add the last two eggs and the rest of the dry ingredients with a splash of milk until you have a mixed batter. Spoon into 2 x 8" round cake tims and bake at 170 fan for 20 minutes. I cool mine in the tins 

I cut out the name and age in fondant and used the same colours to make a tractor. I didn't take any photos as I made it I'm afraid but I used a small rectangle of green fondant for a base then added a large block of fondant to make the body of the tractor and a smaller block to make the cab. Using small round cutters, I cut out 4 black tyres and 4 smaller circles for the wheels and using a rounding tool I attached them with water and made a small round inside each one. I used a small rectangle of grey fondant to make the grill and used an icing tool to make indents in the grill. 3 squares of white fondant made the windows. To make the funnel exhaust I used a small piece of spaghetti and stuck it into the tractor hood then moulded black fondant round it and used a balling tool to create and indent in the top.

Mine was rather rushed I'm afraid as it was tea time and both my children were simultaneously being fed, watching me and wanting to eat the fondant.

To assemble the cake:
One pot of Betty Crocker Fudge Frosting
(If you do want to make your own try this one

Small quantity of green buttercream
19 double fingered kit kats

Place one cake on the cake board and fill with some of the fudge frosting. Place the second cake on top and cover the sides with more frosting. 

Cover half the top of the cake with more fudge frosting then cover the other half with green buttercream and drag a knife through it to make it look more "fieldy". 

Break the kit kat fingers in two and add round the outside of the cake. The frosting will keep them attached. 

Then add your name, age and tractor. 

You could always forget the green buttercream and make a digger cake in a muddy field instead. Or you could cover all the top in green buttercream.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Rhubarb continued

It's not much more than a month ago that I made a rhubarb and custard cake (it's a month and a day), but as I was perusing twitter this morning, I stumbled across a rhubarb and ginger loaf cake. I'm a big fan of the loaf cake and I'll tell you why:

1. It's just cake. No messing, no covering, no decorating, no filling, no piping. Just mix and bake. Simple

2. You can easily get hold of loaf tin liners so once baked they have that professional look

3. Scrub that, it's a lie, I don't care if it makes them look more professional, they're just so much cleaner. You pop one in the tin, fill and bake then once cooled it pops out of the tin and you're left with a practically clean tin. No scrubbing dried cake mixture again!

4. There's so many different flavours you can make and many you can then drown with syrups which soak through making some of the moistest cakes ever.

So tempted by the photo of the cake (which by the way was on Good to Know Recipes @GTKrecipes *) I checked I had all the ingredients then phoned my mum as she grows her own rhubarb and was due at mine in half an hour. Good timing, she hot footed it to the rhubarb patch and brought some fresher than fresh rhubarb.

This recipe doesn't even require you to cream the butter and sugar first. It's literally an all in one with the rhubarb added once everything else is mixed. Ok so technically it's an all in two but hey, it's eeeeeeeeeasy peeeeeeeeeasy

Let's go!

Preheat the oven to 180/160c fan

250g self raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger
150g butter (I used margarine)
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
300g rhubarb (chopped into 2-3cm pieces)

1 loaf tin - 2lb / 1kg lined with a loaf tin liner if you have one or greased and lined with greaseproof paper.

Whisk together the flour, ginger, butter, sugar and eggs until combined then stir in the chopped rhubarb. 

Look at the colour! (That's my mum's chicken's free range eggs for you!)

Spoon into the lined loaf tin and level out. Don't worry it's a very thick batter filled with rhubarb chunks so it needs a lot of help to level it out. 

Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Serve warm or cold on it's own or go crazy with cream or custard 

And as always.......enjoy!

* recipe courtesy of Good to Know Recipes. I love this site and have baked many delicious things from them. They're a really friendly bunch who reply to tweets and I even won a Jamie Oliver recipe book from them not long after I joined Twitter. If you're looking for recipes and inspiration, head on over!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Early grey biscuits

On my recent trip to Paris I returned to a tea shop I'd come across on my previous trip. It's called Kusmi tea and they have some delicious blends which you can buy there, sample and slurp. Amongst the selection I bought, I bought a large box of their tea called Troika. Troika is very much like Earl Grey only it's made with orange and mandarin as well as the standard bergamot. 

I'd been meaning to make some chai style biscuits for a while but seeing as I have a lot of loose Troika, I decided to make an Earl Grey biscuit. The recipes are more often than not American recipes but I came across one I liked the look of so did a bit of converting and came up with the recipe below.

I've never made biscuits with icing sugar before so thought it would be interesting to try. 

Makes about 30
320g plain flour
2 tbsp earl grey / loose tea of your choice
1/2 tsp salt
225g butter / margarine 
90g icing sugar

Grind the tea so it's more of a finer consistency. I used my pestle and mortar. If you're using teabags then it won't need grinding 

Beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the flour, tea and salt and mix to form a dough. Chill in the oven for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180/160 fan

Roll out the dough and I used a 6cm cutter to cut out the biscuits and line on baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are turning golden brown and leave to cool on a wire rack.

They're a light and crispy biscuit a little like shortbread but lighter which would go lovely with a cup of tea. Early grey maybe?!

I love the speckles of tea in the biscuit. I think I'll be definitely trying these with other flavours of tea.

My kids love them!!!!!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Cupcake bouquet

I've seen a few of these recently so decided to have a go at one. I had first intended on making some Cath Kidston cupcakes for my sister in law's 30th and it started off well but my paint brush packed in so I swapped over to the cupcake bouquet instead 

The cupcakes are just my standard Victoria sponge cupcakes but I used my very funky cupcake hollower to add some jam into the middle. I made extra buttercream for the baby shower cake  for these cupcakes, but they're made with at least 50% butter. I whisked the buttercream for about 7 minutes in my Kitchen Aid to make a lovely lighter tasting buttercream and coloured pink. I thought I had various shaped large piping nozzles but it turned out I didn't (that's organisation for you!)

The base of the bouquet was an old flower pot of mine which I stuffed with oasis that was tucked inside some tissue paper 

Decorate the cupcakes how you want then you need some cocktail sticks. Pop two into the base of each cupcake and squeeze gently into the oasis. Keep adding the cupcakes until you've filled the gaps. You can take them out again if you need to move them around a bit. 

A little bit of ribbon round the pot then done!

I added a 3 and a 0 sparkler too :)

Sorry for the rubbish photos, I didn't get one straight on