Monthly Archives: March 2011

sticky-toffee-cupcake

Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

After the success of my Banoffee Cupcakes, I thought it was time to go for a twist on a good old classic British pudding for these Sticky Toffee Cupcakes. Having made the royal wedding cake designer, Fiona Cairns’ recipe before from her fabulous book Bake & Decorate, I have come up with my own version adapted from a Masterchef recipe. The buttercream is made from the same toffee sauce I used for my Banoffee Cupcakes. I recommend making up a batch of this delicious sauce and using the leftovers to drizzle over vanilla ice cream topped with toasted pecans or anything else you fancy really!
Ingredients

50g dates, chopped
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g unsalted butter, softened
50g dark muscovado sugar
50g self raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
for the icing
30g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a muffin tray with 6 large cupcake cases.
  • Place the chopped dates in a small saucepan and pour boiling water over them so that they are just covered.
  • Give the dates a stir and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes until they are plump and softened.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the bicarbonate of soda and vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and beat well to combine.
  • Gently fold in the flour followed by the cooled date mixture.
  • Spoon into the cases so that the mixture fills halfway and place in the oven for 15 minutes until the sponge is well risen ans springy and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile make the toffee buttercream by creaming together the butter, icing sugar and toffee sauce for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Pipe or spread the buttercream onto the cupcakes et voila!
Blueberry-Flapjack

Blueberry Flapjacks

Here’s a little variation on my flapjack recipe. I came up with this version for a “superfoods” theme at work. The blueberries turn sweet and jammy once baked and are delicious teamed with the ginger and sunflower seeds for a bit of a crunch. These flapjacks are best eaten fresh as after a few days they will start to go soft from the moisture in the blueberries.

Ingredients


200g unsalted butter
200g golden syrup
75g dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar
375g porridge oats
25g sunflower seeds
2 tsps ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
100g blueberries

Method

  • Preheat the oven to Fan 140°C and grease and line an 9″ square tin with baking parchment.
  • Put the butter, golden syrup and sugars in a small pan and stir over a gentle heat until all the ingredients are melted together and smooth.
  • Place the oats, sunflower seeds, lemon zest and ground ginger in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Now pour the melted butter syrup mixture over the oats and mix together.
  • Fold the blueberries in and give everything a good final stir.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and press down firmly and evenly.
  • Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the flapjack from the tin using the paper to help lift it.
  • Cut into 16 rectangles whilst still slightly warm. If you leave it to cool completely, it will be more difficult to cut.
carrotcake2

Mum’s birthday cake: Carrot-Pecan Cake with Maple Syrup and Orange Buttercream

Today is my mum’s birthday and as part of her present I offered to bake her the cake of her choice. I handed her my trusty copy of Fiona Cairns Bake & Decorate for inspiration and she chose this delicious carrot-pecan cake with maple syrup and orange buttercream.

It proved to be another winner from possibly my favourite baking book. I only used about half the orange juice in the buttercream as was worried about it becoming too runny. It was a lovely moist, spicy cake with just the right amount of coconut. The only thing missing for me was maybe the addition of a few juicy sultanas.
I also made a batch of my sticky ginger flapjacks as requested by my brother for his pack lunches for the week. Mmmm might have to keep one back for myself!
choc-kite-cake

Chocoholic Kite Cake

This is one for all you chocoholics out there… It consists of two layers of chocolate truffle cake which has a dense texture like brownie due to its low flour content. The cake is then filled and covered in dark chocolate ganache and finished off with homemade truffles and a generous dusting of Green & Blacks cocoa. Devilishly decadent!
lemon-sponge2

Light Lemon Sponge with Lemon Curd Buttercream

I am thrilled to announce that my Royal Wedding Cake came runner up in the Good To Know Royal Wedding Bake Off! Read what they had to say about it and view the winner and other entrants by clicking here.
On that note, I am going to share the recipe for the top tier… a light lemon sponge with lemon curd buttercream.
You can bake this cake either in two tins or in one deep tin. Having tried it both ways, I find that two tins gives a much lighter and airier sponge.
Ingredients

for the sponge
175g unsalted butter, softened and diced into cubes
175g golden caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
 3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lemon, zest and juice

for the lemon sugar syrup
juice of ½ lemon
25g golden caster sugar 
25ml water

for the buttercream
40g unsalted butter, softened
125g sifted icing sugar
50g good quality British lemon curd such as English Provender or Duchy Originals

Method
  • Preheat the oven to fan 170°C and grease and line two 6″ cake tins or one 6″ deep cake tin.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the large bowl of a mixer.
  • Add the diced butter, sugar and lemon zest.
  • Start the mixer slowly and once the ingredients start to combine, slowly pour in the eggs.
  • Once the mixture is evenly blended and smooth, stir through the lemon juice.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the cakes are well risen, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If baking in one tin, the cake will take 55 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Leave the cakes in the tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack, removing the greaseproof paper and leaving to cool completely.
  • Whilst the cake is cooling, make the lemon sugar syrup by putting the lemon juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan and gently bringing to the boil over a low heat. Once the the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. 
  • To make the buttercream simply cream together the butter, sifted icing sugar and lemon curd for 5 minutes until soft, pale and fluffy.
  • Once the cake is cooled, arrange the sponges so that the two sides that are going to be sandwiched together are face up.
  • Brush these sides with the lemon sugar syrup.
  • Now spread the buttercream on the bottom half and sandwich the two halves together.
  • Dust with icing sugar when ready to serve.

DSC_0615

Royal Wedding Cake

This is my “Best of British” themed Royal Wedding Cake! What could be more British than strawberries, blossom, bunting, roses all wrapped up in a Windsor blue ribbon? I continued the theme internally with three tiers of my take on classic British sponge cakes. The top tier is a light lemon sponge with a zingy lemon curd buttercream. The middle consists of my ultimate Victoria sponge with vanilla bean buttercream and rasperry jam. Finally the base tier is a cherry and almond madeira sponge with a twist! Given that the madeira cake obtains its name from the drink which used to accompany it, I have paired my sponge with a madeira buttercream. Having scoured the internet to see if this had been done before, I found nothing! Did this mean that it was a terrible and revolting idea or was it just original? And so I put it to the test and added the madeira drop by drop to my plain buttercream until I achieved the ultimate accompaniment….a sweet buttercream which hits your taste buds with a final punch of Madeira. The fusion of digestif and cake in one mouthful is born…
I shall post the recipe for each individual tier separately so as to not to overwhelm you with endless lists of methods and ingredients! Enough waffle…onto some pictures…

Shoes-cake

Shoes & Handbags Cake

This is a cake that I made recently for a 28th birthday for a young lady mad about shoes and handbags! It is a 7″ Victoria Sponge filled with raspberry jam and vanilla bean buttercream and covered with sugar paste. The decorations are made out of piped and flooded royal icing.

Like what you see? Got a birthday coming up? Get in touch at littlebearcakery@gmail.com to chat cake!
DSC_0823

New York Cheesecake

The original Baked New York Cheesecake…
I’ve never been a massive fan of baked cheesecake. Having had too many dry and bitty textured experiences with the baked variety, I generally always stick to the fridge-set kind. However, I was asked to make a baked vanilla cheesecake for someone’s birthday, and my gut reaction was to reach for my trusted Hummingbird Bakery cookbook to put their recipe to the test. Luckily (for me!) it came up trumps and I didn’t need to look for an alternative. In my opinion, this cheesecake didn’t even taste baked as it was so smooth, creamy, moist and fresh, and has banished all of my previous baked preconceptions. I will be using this recipe over and over again as it is (I can’t fault it), as well as a basis to experiment with different flavours. Thank you Hummingbird Bakery for yet again not letting me down!
Oreo-Cheesecake

Baked Oreo Cheesecake

Ever since trying The Cheesecake Factory‘s Oreo Cheesecake on a trip to San Francisco a year ago, I’ve wanted to recreate it at home. Having recently discovered the ultimate baked New York cheesecake recipe from Hummingbird Bakery, I decided to adapt it into a smaller Oreo version. This is a much more modest version of the one I had in California (where one slice was enough to feed a family of four!) but I think it matches up taste-wise. Cheesecake connoisseurs will have to try it and tell me what they think!

Ingredients


for the base
115g digestives
1 tblsp cocoa powder
85g unsalted butter, melted

for the filling
600g full-fat cream cheese
125g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
abour 3/4 of a pack of Oreo cookies, broken into large pieces

Method

  • Grease the base of a 6″ springform tin and preheat the oven to 150°C.
  • Start by making the biscuit base. Blitz the digestives and the cocoa powder together to a fine crumb.
  • Stir in the melted butter until evenly blended and press into the base of the springform tin.
  • Chill in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.
  • Gently beat together the cream cheese, caster sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Add the eggs one by one and beat until smooth.
  • Stir in the oreo chunks before pouring the mixture into the springform tin on top of the biscuit base.
  • Place the tin in a deep tray and fill the tray with water so that it comes half way up the tin.
  • Place the tray in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the cheesecake has firmed around the edges and it has taken on a very slight colour. It will still seem really really wobbly in the middle but don’t fret! It will set up beautifully after a night in the fridge!
  • Remove the springform tin from the water and leave to cool on a cooling rack before placing in the fridge overnight.
  • When ready to serve, run a palette knife around the edge of the tin before releasing the spring.