Monday, 27 June 2016

The hybrid bake is just a maclair away...


It doesn't seem that long since we were reeling from the great duffin gate, and the creation of the cronut, but since my last look at hybrid bakes, the world of baking has become even more inventive, with almost every baked treat imaginable being fused together in the name of deliciousness..

Trust the Stateside bakers to come up with even more zany, hybrid bakes, as this summer saw the birth of the Wonut. Self explanatory really, a waffle donut fusion launched at Waffles Cafe in Chicago, that's been described as "crispy and waffle-shaped on the outside, cakey and fluffy on the inside." (1), I think it's safe to say that we'll be all be pouring donut batter into our waffle irons soon..

A little closer to home, viewers of Channel 4's Sunday Brunch may remember being treated to a sneak peek at the delicious creation of the Maclair; an eclair, macron fusion created by Liverpool's The little macaron shop, that left a lot of us wondering why we hadn't thought of doing this before. It looks as sweet as it sounds, with an abundance of delicious flavours being created by the bakery.

Another inventive British bakery, Lola's cupcakes has recently launched the Cupcake crossaint, no need for fancy hybrid names here, it gets to straight to the point with it's delicious breakfast bake (2). A hand made, all butter crossaint, shaped into a sweet cupcake shape with several tasty flavours to choose, from a yummy chocolate, to a savoury cheese and mushroom, rolling out across their London bakeries.


It would seem that everyone's looking to create the next delicious hybrid bake on the market, even Pound bakery jumped on board earlier this year with their attempt at the Tronut (3); a donut with a trifle filling, I'm guessing they haven't heard of the custard donut then.. to Waitrose's Yumdough, which combines the traditional doughnut with a tasty yum yum (4).

There's certainly no end in sight yet on the hybrid baking band wagon, which just leads me to think what's next?! A cup-waffle? Or an eclair-dough.. only time will tell what tasty bakes are concocted next.

Images: Waffles Artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Cupcake Crossaint viaBakery Info.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Rocky road cake.


A scrumptious cake inspired by the tasty chocolatey treat, this rocky road cake takes the staple flavours of rocky road, and turns them into a rather yummy cake. Incredibly easy to bake, and incredibly tasty too!

Ingredients
  200g butter
  200g caster sugar
  3 large eggs
  160g self raising flour
  40g cocoa powder

For the buttercream
  80g butter
  130g icing sugar
  30g cocoa powder
  mini marshmallows to top

Pre heat oven to 190c/170c fan/gas mark 5, grease and line two round 6" sandwich tins.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing as you go.

Sift in the flour, followed by the cocoa powder, and blend to combine.


I used Whittard's Rocky road cocoa powder for this bake to recreate the flavours of this tasty treat, but a good quality cocoa powder should do the job just as well, adding the chocolatey flavour to the bake.

Once blended, divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes till risen.

Leave in the tins to cool for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool down.

Once cooled, prepare the tasty buttercream, to start blend together the butter with half of the icing sugar till combined. Sift in the remaining icing sugar, then add the cocoa powder to blend, again I used Whittard's Rocky road cocoa powder, mixed in with a plain cocoa powder (I used a 50/50 mix of both to ensure a more chocolatey buttercream), then mix to combine, the result with this was a lovely smooth buttercream that had the taste of the tasty chocolatey treat mixed in.

Place the base of the cake on a plate, then spoon half of the buttercream on top and spread over the cake with a palette knife to evenly cover the cake. Place the second half of the cake on top, then spoon the remaining buttercream on top and spread it evenly over the cake top with the knife. Finish off by sprinkling some mini marshmallows on top, much like with your usual rocky road bake, and you'll have a tasty treat that's inspired by a Rocky road!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Cake shop exploration : Cafe de Pierre.


73 Piccadilly, London, W1J 8HS. Open Mon - Sun 7:30am - 11pm |www.caffeconcerto.co.uk

When in Rome, sorry London, you shall eat decadent cake.. Cafe de Pierre is one of those places that you just have to visit, a decadent patisserie where you can sip upon your tea under grand chandeliers as you eat a tasty fruit tart.

Cafe de Pierre is part of the Caffe Concerto chain of patisserie shops across London, Piccadilly is graced with not one, but three of these deliciously grand cake shops, a mere stones throw away from Green Park tube station and Buckingham Palace, it's location couldn't be any grander. It's lavish furnishings and chandeliers catch your eye as you wander past, that's if the rows of pretty patisserie don't grab your attention first.

Certainly stylish and decadent inside, it's settings make for the perfect stop off on any trip to the city and add to the decadent experience, this is cake eating done in grand style. Whilst it may be a little pricier than it's other high street counterparts, it's one of those treats that are worth indulging in, besides if your going to over indulge on cake you may as well make it an extra special treat.

Rows of pretty patisserie sit in the window counter, from mille feuille to strawberry gateau's, delicious mounds of chocolate tart, fruit tarts and cupcakes, each as tasty as the next. You can grab their patisserie to take out if you prefer to save a little on the cost of eating in, and believe me you will be tempted to take a massive box of cake home with you.. it's just THAT good.

On my visit there was so much to choose from it was hard to know where to start, in fact, it took walking past all three shops on Piccadilly and having a cake perve to make our minds up.. eventually I settled for a tasty Mixed berry tart alongside a slice of their Lemon cheesecake. 

The tart is deliciously fruity, served on a very sweet tart base with a lavish serving of cream, certainly a very sweet treat. The cheesecake is quite unlike any I've had before, a rich cream cheese base with a sweet biscuit base and a surprise layer of sponge, finished off with a zesty lemon topping, a very rich, delicious cheesecake. The portion sizing is just right too, we left comfortably full after finishing both cakes off rather, ahem, quickly..

To accompany the cakes you'll find a full menu of teas, coffees, wines and cold drinks, however you decide to wash that patisserie down. I went for a refreshing cranberry juice that went wonderfully alongside the fruity cakes.

A decadent cake eating experience, one that's worth saving up for as a treat on your trip, and with so many branches across the city you'll easily stumble upon one, or two to visit.

Cake rating:
4/5

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

What makes a cake, a cake : delicious treats masquerading as cakes.


Those spongey treats laid out on the cake counter beaconing you in certainly hit the spot, but what about the other baked goods on offer? Be it shop bought, or freshly baked, what makes for an actual cake, and how can you tell the difference between these tasty goods masquerading as cakes?

Firstly, you have to look at what makes a cake, a cake. When you take apart the basic elements; flour, sugar, butter and eggs, your not really left with much to go on, but these keys ingredients are used in so many baked goods, not just cakes, that it can at times be difficult to tell the difference.

Some baked goods have been in questioning for years, the poor humble Jaffa Cake has been the subject of debate for decades, but it was legally declared a cake after much debate as to whether it's content made it a biscuit, or a cake, so as the name suggests it is legally a cake. (1)

Then there's the delicious sugary coconut covered treat, the snowball, a mound of delicious fluff covered in chocolate and coconut, to most of us it's not really a cake. This, much like the Jaffa Cake, was also declared a cake, a subject that's been back and forth in many a ruling (2), but aside from the obvious lack of sponge, what exactly makes it a cake, aside from the much argued case that you need a cup of tea to wash it down with?

If we're going to start debating actual cakes, then the cheesecake deserves a mention, technically not actually a cake, but the cake tag has stuck to this tasty desert for many years.

It may not be a real cake, with it being comprised of cream cheese, biscuit base, and tasty extras, but we're still happy to keep associating it with cake, besides, it's always a tasty treat..

Then there's the Eccles cake, whilst it does contain similar elements of a cake; butter, and sugar, it's actually comprised of a flaky pastry, rather than a spongey base. More shaped patties, than actual cakes, but we traditionally retain the cake name with this baked treat.

We could debate baked treats masquerading as cakes for years, but for some the cake name simply brings about images of delicious baked treats, rather than cakes that have met a certain criteria to become an actual cake. Besides when faced with cupcakes and brownies, the debate could go on for years, so let's just agree to eat the delicious cake regardless of it's form, or ingredients, it's all delicious at the end of the day!


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Cake shop exploration : Amy's cake design

Vintage cupcake trailer in front of Marine Lake, New Brighton CH45 2PB. Open weekends during the summer, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm | www.facebook.com/pages/Amys-Cake-Design/121809061220373

What could be more delightful during the summer season than a spot of cake along the picturesque sea front?! Amy's Cake Design has been brightening up the New Brighton beach with their delightful vintage cupcake trailer every weekend during the summer season, and I couldn't think of anything more delightful to tuck in to.

A sweet vintage trailer sits along Marine Lake as you wander along the seafront, instead of Mr whippy's this lovely trailer is full of freshly baked cupcakes, cake pops, tiffin's and more delicious treats, making for a rather tasty find.

The sweet pastel blue and cream trailer beckons you across to come and browse the day's offerings, stacked up in a sweet display you'll find the day's choice of cupcakes and other baked goods to choose from, whether it's a cherry bakewell, rolo, vanilla or caramel cupcake that takes your fancy.

You certainly can't miss the trailer no matter where you are along the sea front, just a stones throw away from Fort Perch rock, there's no excuse not to swing by as you visit the beach.

On my visit there was a tasty selection to choose from with cake pops, tiffin, and oreo to fudge caramel cupcakes , I eventually went for a peanut butter and jelly cupcake. A lovely moist chocolate base topped with a rich peanut butter buttercream, delightfully sweet and a delicious combination, finished off with the jelly filling, a fruity strawberry jam that went rather nicely with the buttercream, certainly very delicious.

You'll find a lovely selection to pick from in the van, you can also order cake to collect if you'd prefer to grab a tasty selection to take home. Be sure to check the page beforehand to see what flavours are available and when you'll be able to find the van along the sea front. Certainly worth grabbing a tasty cupcake on the go if your in the area!

Cake ratiing:
4/5

Monday, 20 June 2016

Cake porn's cheeky christmas baking tips..


Who says that christmas baking needs to be hard work, we're firm believers in having your cake and eating it too (besides where's the fun in not eating it..) and that christmas needn't be the busiest time of the year, here at Cake porn we've got some handy and somewhat cheeky baking tips to see you through the festive period!

Do you really need to make everything from scratch?
Our answer is a resounding no.. who has time to work on layers and layers of pastry to achieve mince pie perfection, certainly not us! Why break those freshly manicured nails rolling up a chocolate log when you can cheat a little, here's some of our favourite baking cheats to help make those festive bakes a little more efficient and who needs to know that you haven't done everything from scratch, your dirty secret is safe with us (provided that you share some of the evidence of course..).

Ready to roll puff pastry - everyone's dirty little baking secret, save yourself an awful lot of time by using pre-made pastry fresh out of the packet, sure it cuts some corners but it gives you more time to work on the tasty pastry fillings and eating them...

Buy a pre-made swiss roll - shhh! Nobodies looking, save some time on that buche du noel by opening a freshly purchased chocolate swiss roll, then simply make your ganache and pipe on top, et viola! A super speedy chocolatey treat all made up.

A bit of icing sugar covers all sins - cover up any baking mishaps by adding some festive icing to your bake, they'll be non the wiser. Either sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar or mix up some icing to cover a frosting glaze over your bake.


Cheat the whole way by feeding a shop bought christmas cake brandy a week beforehand to give it that booze soaked made at home feel, don't worry we won't make you feel guilty for this cheat..

Spice things up.
Turn things up a notch in the kitchen with your festive bakes for a twist on tradition or simply just to bring a little more fun into the kitchen.

Add a pinch of cinnamon and make even the most unseasonal bake seem festive, we certainly recommend lacing some cream with a pinch of the stuff for a tasty festive pudding topping.

Take the approach of 'one for you, one for me' when adding boozy content to any festive bake, after all you deserve a little treat for all that hard work and the extra addition of tipsy baking can make it more amusing.

Add a touch of baileys to any chocolate festive recipes for that grown up touch, alternatively you could always just drizzle the contents of a bottle over your dessert, that also works wonders..

These cheeky baking tips should help to make for a stress free christmas, just don't blame us if you get caught out..

Images: Apolonia | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, 17 June 2016

What makes a cake a velvet cake?

For some the red velvet cake just wasn't enough, these days you can find almost any kind of cake labelled with the coveted 'velvet' tag, but what exactly makes a cake a velvet cake, and where has this new cake obsession come from?

It all started with the humble red velvet, the rich, moist, vibrant red bake that we all know and love, but how did we go from that to a blue, or even green velvet cake? If it was simply down to the bold colouring of the cake that quick jump to 'velvet' for the description would be easy enough, but when you can find recipes for white velvet cakes it's hardly down to the vibrant colouring of the bake.

For some it's that rich, texture of the cake that gives it a 'velvet' tag, thanks to the creamy addition of buttermilk to the velvet cake recipe, but do all velvet cake recipes use lashings of buttercream to achieve velvety perfection? Some opt for alternatives to achieve that rich texture, like this white velvet cake which uses sour cream, or this blue velvet cake which uses milk.


Most of the velvet recipes you'll find stick surprisingly close to the classic red velvet recipe though, replacing the red food colouring with vibrant purple, or blue instead, which would make the most sense if your going to opt for a velvet cake.

Where this new found joy of using velvet cakes at every opportunity came from though I don't know, when you can trace recipes back by a fair few years it's hardly a new trend, but it is inspiring bakers and cake fanciers to try something different with their bakes, and when you can find delicious recipes like this green velvet cheesecake cake by Recipe Girl, or these black velvet cupcakes by Sweetapolita you'll certainly be tempted to give them a try.

Velvet cake is even infiltrating our shops, with the likes of Tesco adding purple and pink velvet cakes to their Finest range. Yes, the velvet cake it would seem is becoming a firm favourite for us brits, besides when you add the word velvet to anything it instantly sounds luxurious, and who wouldn't want a luxurious sounding cake!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Chocolate donut muffins


We already adore the delicious donut muffin hybrid, and this version of the recipe adds a scrumptious chocolatey twist. Not just a yummy chocolate bake, these tasty chocolate donut muffins are filled with a yummy Malteaser chocolate spread inside, making for one delicious bake.

Ingredients (makes 9-12 donut muffins, dependant on the size of your muffin tin)
  160g Plain flour
  40g cocoa powder
  140g caster sugar
  140g butter
  150ml milk
  1 tsp Baking powder
  1 egg
  1/2 jar of Malteaser chocolate spread

Pre heat your oven to 190c/170c fan oven/gas 5 and get a muffin tray out ready for your bakes. I used some silicone muffin trays for my bakes, making for a swift and easy release of the muffins once they'd cooled.

Sieve together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder with the sugar and add the butter, blending together.

Whisk together the egg with the milk, then pour into the mixture and blend together to a thick, smooth consistency.

Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into each muffin case, then place 1 tsp of the Malteaser spread on top, I found this wonderful stuff on my usual supermarket shop and just had to try it; imagine Nutella with crushed up Malteasers inside, it's delicious!

Finish off by placing another spoon of the mixture on top of each case, covering the Malteaser spread. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until risen, with my donut muffins the Malteaser spread just started to bubble up through each muffin resulting in a deliciously gooey topping in the centre of each donut muffin, yum!

Leave to cool in the trays then remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Not just for easter : Tasty creme egg cupcakes

The recipe may have changed on our humble favourite easter sweet, but it's still perfect for baking up a tasty treat. These creme egg cupcakes are inspired by the flavours of the classic creme egg, with a scrumptious chocolatey base and a sweet swirled buttercream on top, not just for easter, but a tasty seasonal treat to bake up any time!

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
  100g self raising flour
  40g cocoa powder
  140g caster sugar
  40g butter
  1 egg
  120ml milk
  1-2 bags of mini creme eggs

For the buttercream
  120g butter
  250g icing sugar
  drop of yellow food colouring

Pre heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tray with muffin cases.

Mix together the flour, sugar and cocoa powder to a sandy consistency, add in the butter and blend it down to a powdery mix.


In a jug whisk the egg and add in the milk, gradually pour this into the dry mixture, beating it together as you go, resulting in a rich, smooth, mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cases, then place a creme egg on top, pushing it down gently into the mixture. I found that a bag of mini creme eggs wasn't quite enough for a dozen so you may want to grab an extra bag, besides you can always eat the left overs! You'll also notice that I've said to use muffin cases for these, due to the extra volume in the bakes from the creme eggs you'll need a larger case to allow for the rise and size of the cupcakes, muffin cases are just perfect to hold these tasty cupcakes in place.


Bake for 15-20 minutes till risen, the cupcakes should rise around the creme eggs with a small dint in the middle where you can see the creme egg nestled inside all snug and secure, till it's eaten... Then place on a wire rack to cool down.

Next, make the buttercream, mix together the butter with half of the icing sugar until combined, sift in the remaining icing sugar and blend, whisking to a pale, creamy mixture. In a smaller separate bowl add 2-3 spoonfuls of the buttercream, you'll be adding the food colouring to this to recreate the classic yellow & white creme egg filling with your buttercream.

Add a drop of yellow food colouring until a bright yellow shade starts to appear. Then take your piping bag and start to add alternate spoons of each buttercream mix into the bag, don't worry about them mixing too much, as you'll want to create a pretty yellow & white swirl on top of each cupcake.

Pipe swirls on top of each cupcake, you should start to notice varying swirls of the yellow and white buttercream on each cupcake.

A delicious treat to bake any time of the year, but extra tasty of course around easter!

Monday, 13 June 2016

In search of sweet treats at the BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes show.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of good cake, must be in want of a cup of tea", or at least that's how I remember it.. This October saw the debut of the BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes show at the rather cushy surroundings of Islington's Business Design Centre.

A location more familiar with international design, and industry, but over the next three days it was to become home to the finest in cake design.. With debuts it's always a little apprehensive as to what's expected, but with an abundance of baking master classes across the three days, with the creme de la creme of the baking world setting up at their interview stage, and the baking theatre from their more familiar Good Food shows making an appearance, it look set to be rather promising.

For newcomers to the venue it may have come as a bit of a shock to the size when compared to the Good Food shows previous shows at the likes of the NEC, and Earls Court, but this venue was rather fitting for a more niche, specialised food show, concentrating on the sweeter side of food. Upon entering the show the first thing that greeted you was the generously sized Lakeland stand, for those essential supplies, with the rather cosy interview stand opposite, making for a more intimate setting to get up close and personal with your favourite bakers, as they took on the audiences questions, from baking tips, to hilarious banter.


A trip up the staircase then revealed the shopping area, where bakers could find plenty of supplies to shop from, alongside an abundance of freshly baked treats to shop, from moist, squishey cakes, to gigantic sized pastries, and meringues. But one thing I did happen to notice, was the distinct lack of tea at the show, with the sole tea flag being flown by The Tea Shed, alongside the venue's catering, as a keen tea drinker and cake eater, these two go instantly hand in hand, so it would have been nice to see more tea options, but that's just me, a horrendous tea addict!

But tea musings aside, there was plenty to see and do across the show, with a dedicated area on the upstairs balcony for the cake competitions where the public could view not just the professional entries in the cake parade, but also the home bakers entries, with a perfectly themed Halloween section at the show.

Further along the balcony you could find the dedicated master classes, now when they said limited seating they weren't kidding, these were more intimate affairs when compared to other shows, with enough space for a bakers dozen at most of the classes, whilst it did give those lucky few able to get a space an up close and personal chance to learn from the best in the industry, some slightly larger more dedicated spaces would have been better. With classes on offer ranging from chocolate making, to sugar craft, pastry making, and cupcake decorating.

It was certainly a pleasant way to spend a few hours though, mulling along the cake stands, watching a few interviews, and cooing over plenty of cakes, even getting to see bakes from bakers who you may not normally get a chance to visit, with bakers from across the country attending the show, so for me, it was great to see some bakes up close and personal from bakers that I've been admiring online for some time.


A couple of small issues aside, my only problem was with the entry fee, for some like myself, had I not been offered a press pass I probably would been have reluctant to attend due to the high entrance fees, hopefully with future shows, the entrance fee will come more in line with their other shows to suit tighter budgets, but for a specialist show it was a pleasant atmosphere, that made for a relaxed visit, and with plenty of delicious treats in abundance to both see, and sample. But with all first times it's always a case of ironing out the creases, and perfecting for the second time, so here's hoping that the next time, it's even better.


There's always a Good Food show lined up whatever time of the year, visit their site for future dates www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Devil's food cake with chocolate orange buttercream.


A deliciously decadent cake, this recipe pairs the scrumptious taste of a chocolately devil's food cake with the zesty sweetness of a chocolate orange buttercream, a deliciously tasty combination. Satisfyingly rich, sweet and somewhat messy, but a delicious cake to bake.

Ingredients
  50g cocoa powder
  100g dark brown muscovado sugar
  250ml boiling water
  125g butter
  150g caster sugar
  225g plain flour
  1/2 tsp baking powder
  1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  2 tsp vanilla extract
  2 large eggs

For the buttercream
  180g Sugar and crumbs jaffa twist icing sugar
  100g butter
  1 tsp milk

Line two round 8" sandwich tins and set aside for later. Then in a small bowl add the cocoa powder and brown sugar, pour in the boiling water and whisk well, then set aside for later - I found it was best to do this half an hour prior to baking to allow it to cool slightly.

Pre heat the oven to 180c/160c fan oven/gas mark 4.

Cream together the butter and caster sugar till pale and fluffy, add in the vanilla extract and mix, then add in the eggs one at a time and whisk.


Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and mix. Then pour in the cocoa powder mixture and mix well to combine, ensuring that all of the flour is mixed in.

Divide the mixture between the two tins then bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Then leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes and place on a wire rack to cool.

After the bases have cooled down mix the buttercream, Sugar and crumbs Jaffa twist icing sugar is a delicious chocolate orange flavoured mixture - perfect for making chocolately buttercreams! This pairs beautifully with the Devil's food cake for a really decadent bake!

Mix the butter with half of the icing sugar and blend until combined, sift in the remaining icing sugar and mix, adding a tsp of milk to loosen the mixture a little.

Place the base of the cake onto a cake stand or plate, then spoon half of the buttercream on top, spreading it evenly across with a palette knife. Place the second half of the cake on top, then spoon the remaining buttercream on top and spread across with a palette knife to finish.

Best eaten: Why straight away of course! This delicious bake will last well kept in a cake tin for several days, but why wait, have another slice for tea, or brunch, or breakfast..

Recipe adapted from: Nigella.

NB: For this scrumptious recipe I purchased the icing sugar myself, having previously tried their icing sugars out to great results with my bakes.


Friday, 10 June 2016

Tea room exploration : The Sugar Plum tea room

The Old Station, Rhewl, LL15 1TN. Open Mon-Sat 9:30am-4:30pm, Sun 10am-4pm | www.sugarplumtearoom.co.uk

Tucked away in a Welsh village surrounded by picturesque hills is a delightful little find. The Sugar Plum tearoom is part of Homeward Bound Collections, a vintage inspired shop that's choc full of prettiness, what better way to unwind and indulge in a spot of cake!

The Sugar Plum tearoom first opened it's doors in 2012, part of a home-grown business, the tea room is the perfect addition to it's adjoining interiors shop, Homeward Bound Collections. Stocked to the brim with delicious home-made cakes and treats alongside an abundance of tasty local produce.

It's become somewhat of a favourite amongst the locals, even receiving a certificate of excellence for their rave reviews on Trip advisor, so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about!

Their menu is constantly changing with plenty of freshly baked treats on the go, so you'll always be pleasantly surprised with what's available each day. With such tempting bakes as Malteaser cakes, Victoria sponges, Mint choc cake and Tutti Fruitti cake with gluten free options too, so you really will be spoilt for choice. They certainly enjoy their cake as much as their vintage home wares, which you'll find dotted throughout the lovely tea room, you can even sit back and relax with a cuppa watching the view over the Clwydian range.

On my visit I'd prepared to get there at the crack of dawn, well mid morning.. to beat the queues, this tea room is so popular that you may need to reserve a spot during busy times, the treats are just that good! There was plenty to choose from with delicious Victoria sponges, Malteaser cake, yummy brownies and home-made cookies but I decided to go for the rather pretty looking Raspberry ripple cake. A deliciously moist bake with a home-made raspberry jam filling and plenty of raspberry buttercream on top, a buttercream which can only be described as heavenly, it was utterly delicious!

To accompany the cake I decided to have a pot of Lady grey which went beautifully with the raspberry bake and was served in a lovely vintage tea cup and pot. You'll find a full of menu of teas, coffees, soft drinks and delicious shakes to accompany your cake.

Certainly worth the journey to sample their bakes and when you've eaten your cake you can have a browse around their vintage interiors shop too for plenty of pretty kitchenwares. A delightfully tranquil tearoom in rather beautiful settings, just be sure to book yourself a table if your travelling up on a busy weekend so you don't miss out!

Cake rating:
5/5 | Free from options available.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Festive mint cupcakes

It's officially December, the time to overeat on festive treats has begun, these delightful mint cupcakes make for a tasty, sweet treat, that's a sweet Christmas-y shade of green. Perfect to get yourself in the mood for Christmas, or just a little something to indulge on this month. However you decide to eat them, they'll certainly look the part.

Ingredients
  140g self raising flour
  140g caster sugar
  40g butter
  1 egg
  1 tsp vanilla essence
  120ml milk

For the buttercream
  90g butter
  200g icing sugar
  2 tsp peppermint extract
  1 drop of green food colouring
  Red and green ready to roll icing for the decorations

Pre heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tray with cases (makes 12 cupcakes).

Beat together the sugar, flour and butter to a sandy consistency, if your beating by hand, try to break down the butter with the back of the spoon to a fine mixture.

Whisk the egg, vanilla essence and milk in a jug and gradually pour into the dry mixture, blending it as you go, to a smooth mixture.

Spoon the mixture into each case, filling each one to two thirds full. Before placing the tray in the oven turn it down a notch, i.e 150c for a fan oven, to create the perfect flat top, bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and risen. Leave aside to cool on a wire rack, then prepare your buttercream.

Whisk together the butter with half of the icing sugar until blended, sift the remaining icing sugar in, and whisk to a pale mixture. Add the peppermint extract and whisk to blend, it should be subtle enough that the sweetness of the icing sugar still comes through, I found 2 tsp's was just enough to get a strong minty taste that's still sweet.

Next add in the colouring, I used Sugarflair's 'Mint green' paste, take a knife and gently dip it into the paste, you only need a small amount to achieve a pale minty shade, I used two small 5mm sized dabs of the paste, so a little really does go a long way.

Whisk well to blend, the end result should be a slightly thick, but smooth buttercream, with a sweet minty taste, you can always add a drop of two more of the extract if you want a stronger tasting buttercream.

Set aside and cut out some festive leaves using the icing, I made mine freehand using some icing tools, but if you've got a small leaf cutter this will save some time to cut them out. I used a blade tool to cut out the leaves, simply cut to a holly leaf shape, then use a veining tool to add the leaf pattern on top. Then the easy part, take some red icing and roll it into small balls using the palm of your hand, set these aside to decorate later.

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe swirls to cover the top of each cupcake, for any cakes that your placing the icing decorations on top, pipe enough to cover the cake so it's still flat to place the decorations on. Then place your icing decorations on top to finish.

Best eaten: The mint buttercream gives these cupcakes a lovely taste, although, if your feeling really decadent, try making chocolate cupcakes to top with the mint buttercream.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A tropical treat : Coconut and pineapple cake.


Inspired by fruity tropical flavours, this isn't any ordinary coconut cake, it's smothered in a delicious helping of pineapple buttercream thanks toSugar and Crumbs tasty flavoured icing sugar. A delicious combination of flavours with a scrumptious taste that you'll just adore.

Ingredients
  200ml coconut milk or 50g coconut milk block
  240g caster sugar
  200g butter
  2 eggs
  220g plain flour
  2 tsp baking powder

For the buttercream
  200g Sugar and Crumbs Pineapple icing sugar
  100g butter

Pre heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4 and line 2 round 7" sandwich tins.

If you don't have coconut milk, take your coconut block and finely slice it into thin slivers. Place the coconut block pieces into a jug of 170ml boiling water and mix, a lovely rich coconut milk will start to form, set it aside for later.

Whisk together the butter and sugar and until pale and fluffy, add the eggs in one at a time and mix until combined.

Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add alternate spoonfuls of the flour mixture and the coconut milk, one at a time, and mix until combined.


Divide the mixture between the two tins then place the tins in the middle of the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool.

Once the cakes are cooled, start to mix your delicious buttercream, the zingy pineapple taste of Sugar and Crumbs pineapple icing sugar is a perfect combination with this cake, giving it a fresh, fruity taste.

Mix together the butter with half of the icing sugar until combined, sift in the remaining icing sugar and whisk to a lovely pale, creamy mixture.

Place the cake base on a stand or plate and spoon 1/3 of the buttercream on top, spreading it evenly across the top. Place the second half of the cake on top then spoon another 1/3 of the buttercream on top and spread evenly across. Spoon the remaining buttercream into a piping bag and pipe buttercream blobs around the edge of the cake and in the centre, this just gives the cake a bit of a pretty finishing touch.

Et' viola! A scrumptious fruity bake that's a delicious treat! If you like the sound of this tasty recipe you can find the delicious pineapple icing sugar amongst Sugar and Crumbs full range of icing sugars at www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk.

Recipe inspired by: Red Online.

NB: For this scrumptious recipe I purchased the icing sugar myself, having previously tried their icing sugars out to great results with my bakes.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Pounces, ounces or grams : how to easily convert any recipe for a tasty bake.

We've all had that mad panic, when you notice that the delicious recipe you've found is in a crazy measurement that's completely uncharted territory for you. Who uses cup measures in the UK, or grams in the U.S, only a mad person that's who! But fret not, you can still use that recipe to achieve baking perfection, simply follow a few cheats to easily convert that recipe, and you'll be baking in no time!

Whilst it certainly would be easier if we all used the same baking measurements, but where's the fun in that, there is a certain joy in correctly converting a recipe to delicious results, and it needn't be as stressful as you'd imagine.

Handy conversion guides are what makes for an easy, stress free bake, you just need to know how to use them to your advantage, and confidently tweak those recipes in the kitchen.

One guide that I swear by in the kitchen, which has helped to convert many a U.S recipe into a tasty bakes is Delia's conversion table, more of a handy guide for readers to convert her own recipes into Imperial & American measurements, but you can easily use these guides to achieve baking success from other recipes.

Changing cup measurements into grams can be one of the most stressful in the kitchen, but her conversions have made for an easier bake, simply follow the table to easily swap cup measurements for flour, sugar and butter into grams, if it's a little less complex than a simple 1 cup measurement simply do a bit of baking maths, for example, for 1 & 1/2 cups for flour use 225g instead of 150g. Tricker ingredients such as oil may require using the actual cup measurement instead, but your basic recipe elements are easily convertible thanks to this table of measurements.


For more complex ingredients though like ground almonds, dried fruit, and oils, you may want to use Convert me, a handy tool that shows not just one simple conversion, but several. Whether you prefer to cook in cups, ounces, or pounds, you'll find a full list of conversions for each ingredient you choose, making changing those recipes a doddle!

Whichever tool you choose to use, simply go through the recipe ingredient by ingredient and make those conversions, it's easier than you'd imagine to convert a simple recipe to your preferred measurement, resulting in delicious bakes every time.

And it's not just measurements that you can easily convert, as this handy chart at The guardian shows, you can easily change those U.S temperatures to UK with a handy guide for Fahrenheit to Celsius temperatures, no more guess work!

So whether you want to adjust a delicious bundt recipe, a tasty sponge cake, or some yummy cupcakes, you can easily adjust that recipe with confidence knowing that you'll have a scrumptious bake every time.