Something a little different today! Instead of the usual food related posts I wanted to recommend this book to you. It’s called Quiet by Susan Cain.
We all know someone who is quiet and this book really helps understand introverts and their nature better. The author provides scientific information as well case case studies to support her claims so you don’t just feel like the author is making unfounded assumptions or generalisations.
I received this book as a gift from my good, extroverted, friend Ayah and I am so glad I did as it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever recieved. Even though we are such opposites in our nature we are such good friends and complement each other wonderfully. If you ever read this Ayah – Thank you!
I found chapters 4,9 and 11 particularly interesting to read and would recommend these three chapters if pressed for time!
This recipe is perfect for decorating cakes. It allows you to go for a lighter frosting as many people find the traditional American buttercream too sweet. Stabilising the icing means that the frosting holds up well and will not just melt or collapse straight away.
- Plain Powdered Gelatin 1 teaspoon
- Cold Water 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Boiling Water 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Bloom the gelatin in the cold water.
- Let stand about 5 minutes.
- Add the boiled water to the gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve.
- Use immediately in the recipe below
Stabilized Whipped Cream Recipe
If your stabilizer starts to get gelatinized while you prepare the whipped cream, you simply rewarm in a microwave or on the stove top gently to melt.
- 2 cups Heavy/double Cream
- ¼ cup Confectioners/icing Sugar (may need to add more , depends on the sweetness of the cake you will be using)
- The entire stabilizer recipe from above
- First prepare the gelatin stabilizer from above. reserve.
- Using a cold bowl, whip and heavy cream whip the cream and gradually add the sugar.
- Whip to soft – medium peaks and then add the melted stabilizer all at once
- Continue to whip for a few seconds longer until desired consistency.
- Use immediately on your cakes and desserts
Always refrigerate any cake or dessert that is made with whipped cream as it is highly perishable.
You can always add flavourings and colours as desired
Can be used to ice around 24 cupcakes
Recipe taken from Gretchens Bakery.
There’s also a video tutorial of this recipe on her website!
These biscuits are wonderfully short and crumbly and are filled with a lovely jam and buttercream filling.
For the filling
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C (fan)/Gas 5. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Put the butter, icing sugar, plain flour, cornflour and vanilla extract in a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape the mixture down a couple of times with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe 16-18 x 6cm/2½in rosettes of the dough, spacing well apart.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 13-15 minutes or until pale golden-brown and firm. Cool on the baking tray for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 32-36 biscuits.
For the filling, put the butter in a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Add the vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until very light and smooth. Spoon into a clean piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Put the jam in a bowl and stir until smooth.
Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of 16 of the biscuits and place jam-side up on the cooling rack. Pipe the buttercream icing onto the remaining biscuits and sandwich with the jam. Put on a serving plate and dust with sifted icing sugar. Serve.
Recipe taken from the Hairy Bikers
I’ve tried out a fair few cookie recipes with the hopes of finding the perfect cookie. I wanted it to crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and not too sweet.This recipe ticks all of those boxes they are thick and chewy without being doughy or greasy. Result!
Makes 12 small/6 Large cookies
You will need…
- 1/2 (115g)cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2(100g) cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 (62g) cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- (192g) 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup [175g] semisweet/ milk chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°c. In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined, about 1 minute.
2. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Fold in (stir in) the chocolate chips by hand until just combined.
3. Use a large cookie scoop (equivalent to 3 tablespoons) or a spoon to shape the dough into balls, and place them on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10-20 minutes, or until the dough is chilled through. (This will help prevent the cookies from spreading out too flat when they bake.)
4.Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are just set. The centers may look slightly undercooked. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to 1 week. You can also freeze the cookies for up to 3-4 months.
Recipe Taken from Gimme some Oven
This is a simple cake for everyday, it’s so easy to make and the coffee flavour is subtle so even the non coffee drinkers will like this one.
From the Big Book of Baking
- For the cake
- 225g Self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 225g butter
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs beaten
- 3 tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water cooled
For the White Chocolate Frosting
- 115g White Chocolate
- 55g butter
- 3 tbsp milk
- 175g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180degrees celsius and line 28x18cm shallow cake tin with baking paper
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl and add the butter, caster sugar, eggs and coffee. Beat well, by hand or with an electric whisk, until smooth, then spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 mins, or until risen and firm. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the lining paper to cool completely.
To make the frosting, place the chocolate, butter and milk in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and sift in the icing sugar. Beat until smooth, then spread over the cake. Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder, then cut into squares.
These do take a while and can be quite fiddly but they are so fun and different. Have them at your next event to impress your guests.
Recipe taken from Bakerella
130g cake (Make this the day before to save time. You can also use a box mix to make it even more convenient)
85g tub ready-made frosting
350g chocolate or cake covering
12 lollipop sticks
Stryofoam block, or some sort of construction that will hold the cake pops upright as they dry
MAKES 12 CAKE POPS
- Take your preprepared cake and crumble it into a large bowl. You should not see any large pieces of cake. Mix in the frosting with a large metal spoon until thoroughly combined.
- The mixture should not be too dry or too moist. If it’s too dry add some more frosting. The mixture should be moist enough to roll into 1 1/2-in (4-cm) balls and still hold a round shape. After rolling the cake balls by hand, place them on the prepared baking sheets and let them rest for about 20 minutes before chilling.
- Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and chill for several hours in the refrigerator, or place them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, do this is 30 second intervals as you do not want the chcolate to burn. The melted chocolate will be used for dipping.
- Now you’re ready to dip. Take a few cake balls out of the refrigerator or freezer to work with, keeping the rest chilled. If they’re in the freezer, transfer the rest of the balls to the refrigerator at this point so they stay firm but do not freeze.
- One at a time, dip about 1/2 in (12 mm) of the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted candy coating, and then insert the lollipop stick straight into a cake ball, pushing it no more than halfway through.
- Holding the lollipop stick with cake ball attached, dip the entire cake ball into the melted candy coating until it is completely covered, and remove it in one motion. Make sure the coating meets at the base of the lollipop stick. This helps secure the cake ball to the stick when the coating sets. The object is to completely cover the cake ball and remove it without submerging it in the coating more than once. If you do resubmerge the cake pop, the weight of the candy coating can pull on the cake ball and cause it to get stuck in the coating.
- The thinner the consistency of your coating, the easier it will be to coat the cake pops. (If you find that your coating is too thick, add some vegetable oil or paramount crystals to help thin it and make the coating more fluid.)
- When you remove the cake pop from the candy coating, some excess coating may start to drip. Hold the cake pop in one hand and use the other to gently tap the first wrist. Rotate the lollipop stick if necessary to allow the excess coating to fall off evenly, so one side doesn’t get heavier than the other. If you didn’t completely dunk the cake pop, this method of tapping and rotating generally takes care of that. The coating will slowly slide down the surface of the cake ball until it reaches the lollipop stick.
- If too much coating surrounds the base of the lollipop stick, you can wipe the excess off with your finger. Simply place your finger on the stick right under the cake ball and rotate the pop, allowing any excess coating to fall off and back into the bowl. When most of the excess coating has fallen off and it is no longer dripping, stick the cake pop into the Styrofoam block.
- Repeat with the remaining cake balls and let the pops dry completely in the Styrofoam block.
- Bake the cake the day before, and let it cool overnight. Then just dip and decorate the following day.
- Use a toothpick to encourage the coating to cover any small exposed areas or to make sure it surrounds the lollipop stick.
- Make sure the cake balls are chilled and firm when you dip them. If they are room temperature, they are likely to fall off the lollipop sticks into the melted candy coating. You can always place them back in the freezer for a few minutes to quickly firm them up again.
- Poke holes in the Styrofoam block before you start dipping. Just use one of the lollipop sticks to make holes about 2 inches apart.
- For fun, experiment with different colors of candy coating and drizzle pops with a second color to decorate
- You can also make cake pops in different shapes. Just roll them into balls, place in the freezer or refrigerator to firm, and then mold into your desired shape.
I love this combination of flavours, I think it’s such a classic combination and it works so well.
Recipe taken from Ali imdad bakes
For the cake:
- 250g Margarine
- 250g Caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 200g self-raising flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100g dark chocolate
- 1 large orange
For the Icing:
- 300g dark chocolate
- 300 ml double cream
- 60g butter
- 1 large orange
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c or 160°c for a fan oven
Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the orange zest of the entire orange and the juice of half an orange. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder, then fold in melted dark chocolate until everything is combined.
Put the mixture into the tins and bake for 25-35 mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean and when the cake springs back when lightly pushed .
To make the icing
Melt all the ingredients in a bowl in the microwave including the zest and juice of one orange (Do it in 1 min bursts to avoid the chocolate burning). Once they have all melted, taste to see if the icing needs more orange zest. Once you are happy with the flavour put the icing in the fridge to set for an hour until it has firmed up and is of a spreadable consistency.
Ice the cake and decorate with terry’s chocolate orange like I did or decorate as desired.
Isa has an Eid party at nursery tomorrow so I thought we’d make some biscuits for him to take in. They were great fun to make and he loved getting involved in the whole process.
- 175g butter
- 125g sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 250g plain flour
Makes around 18 biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 160°c and line 2 trays with bakig paper
- Mix the butter and the caster sugar with an electric whisk until blended. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. Stor in the plain flour until the mixture comes together
- Wrap the dough in some cling film and place in the fridge to chill for around 30 mins. This will make the dough easier to work with
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to around 4mm thick. Use a cutter to cut out your shapes or use a knife to cut finger shapes.
- Transfer to the baking trays and cook for around 14 mins or until light golden brown.
- Leave to cool before decorating as desired.
These cupcakes look so bright and summery and taste lovely too.
Makes around 12 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1.5 cups/175g Plain Flour (sifted)
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 50g/113g soft butter
- half a 3/4 cup/175g sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup/120ml milk at room temp
For the buttercream:
- 100g/3½oz soft butter
- 200g/7oz icing sugar, plus ½ tsp for dusting
- ½ tsp pure vanilla
- 1 packet of dark chocolate chips
For the cupcakes
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with rack in center of oven.
2. In a bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition then add the vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk beginning and ending with the flour. So flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. Mix until just combined.
4. Line your cupcake pan with your cupcake cases and evely divide the batter between the cases. Bake for 15-20 mins or until a toothpick insertedinto the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed.
5. Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, once they are completely cooled you can begin to frost them .
For the buttercream
Put the butter in a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Add the vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until very light and smooth. Add some yellow gel food colouring and whisk until the colour is all incoroporated. Spoon into a clean piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle and pipe petal shapes. Finally add some chocolate chips in the middle to create your finished sunflower.
Variations: You can make these with chocolate cupcakes too.
Notes: Cupcake recipe taken from joy of baking.com http://www.joyofbaking.com/VanillaCake.html
Buttercream recipe taken from the Hairy Bikers
Chocolatey, crunchy and marshamallowy these rocky road bars are great fun and the kids will love them.
Notes: You can make these with popcorn instead of biscuits. This would add variety and it’s also healthier too.
- 125 grams soft butter
- 300 grams best-quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) broken into pieces ( Even though it doesn’t match the description, I use Cadbury’s Bourneville chocolate as it’s more affordable and I like the taste)
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup
- 200 grams rich tea biscuits or any other biscuit you prefer
- 100 grams mini marshmallows
- 2 teaspoons icing sugar (for dusting)
- Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan. Scoop out about 125ml / ½ cup of this melted mixture and put to one side.
- Put the biscuits into a freezer bag and then bash them with a rolling pin. You are aiming for both crumbs and pieces of biscuits.
- Fold the biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan, and then add the marshmallows.
- Tip into a foil tray (24cm / 9 inch square); flatten as best you can with a spatula. Pour the reserved 125ml / ½ cup of melted chocolate mixture over the marshmallow mixture and smooth the top.
- Refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.
- Cut into 24 fingers and dust with icing sugar by pushing it gently through a tea strainer or small sieve.
Recipe taken from Nigella Lawson