Vegan Mini Key Lime Pies

I heard of vegan key lime pies a while ago and I have wanted to try them out for ages. I finally got around to it last week and I was so pleased with the results! I used pecans in the base because they make me think of American desserts, which the traditional key lime pie is. I added spinach and avocado to the filling to give it a green hue. And I wanted a creamy topping to compliment the zesty filling, so I used some whipped coconut milk. These mini key lime pies are 100% vegan and therefore dairy free, and they are also refined sugar free and gluten free.

To make the base I used my nutribullet to whizz up 150g almonds, 150g pecans and 160g dates.

I melted 90g coconut oil and mixed it into the nuts, then pressed the mixture into mini tart tins lined with cling film. I then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

 

To make the filling I again used my nutribullet to whizz up 200g cashews (that had been soaked overnight), 1 avocado, 6 tbsp maple syrup, the juice of 7 limes, 70g melted coconut oil and a handful of spinach. I was perfectly smooth and creamy.

I poured the filling into the tart cases, then put it back in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

I again used my nutribullet to whizz up two tins of coconut milk (it had been in the fridge and I only used the solid white milk at the top of the tin) along with 2 tsp vanilla extract and 4 tbsp maple syrup. I piped it onto the mini pies in rosettes and sprinkled some lime zest in the middle.

These pies taste so good! The flavour is the perfect balance between zesty lime flavour and creamy sweetness. They would make a great dessert at a dinner party. I love eating vegan desserts as they always taste so sinful, but really they are full of goodness!

I’m linking these mini pies up with Treat Petite hosted by myself this month.

Also linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Recipes Made Easy, and Free From Fridays hosted by Free From Farmhouse.

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Vegan Mini Key Lime Pies (Makes 8)
Ingredients
  • 150g Almonds
  • 150g Pecans
  • 160g Dates
  • 160g Coconut Oil, melted
  • 200g Cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 Avocado
  • 10 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 7 Limes, zested and juiced
  • A handful of Fresh spinach
  • 2 tins of Coconut milk, stored in the fridge overnight
Instructions

To make the base use a nutribullet or a food processor to whizz up the almonds, pecans and dates.Mix in 90g of the melted coconut oil, then press the mixture into mini tart tins lined with cling film. Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to setTo make the filling use a nutribullet or a food processor to whizz up the cashews, avocado, 6 tbsp of the maple syrup, the juice of the limes, 70g of the melted coconut oil and the spinach until it was perfectly smooth and creamyPour the filling into the tart cases, then put them back in the fridge for at least 1 hour to setUse a nutribullet or a food processor to whizz up the solid white coconut milk from the top of the tins along with the vanilla extract and 4 tbsp of the maple syrup. Pipe or spread it onto the mini pies, then sprinkle some lime zest in the middleStore in the fridge until serving

Win A Year’s Premium Membership to Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School!

I consider myself a competent baker and making your average cake is not too much trouble for me, but when it comes to cake decorating, this is the area I struggle in! I can pipe buttercream on a cupcake and drizzle chocolate on some brownies in my sleep, but when faced a with a block of fondant I freeze. Thankfully, there are lots of amazing and talented people out there to lead the way through the wonderful world of sugarcraft, and one of them is the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School.

So, if you’re looking to hone your sugarcraft skills, learn new tricks and designs,
or start from scratch, it’s a great place to go to for detailed
tutorials and expert advice.

Paul has had a long career in the food industry. From working in a bakery, to starting his own cake business and then eventually setting up his cake decorating school. He’s made cakes for celebrities like the Bee Gees and even royalty too!

The Sugarcraft School is based in Edinburgh, but for those of us that can’t make it up to Scotland he also runs online decorating courses which you can take from the comfort of your own kitchen.

The Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School have kindly offered me a year’s premium membership to their online cake decorating school (worth over £95) to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter for your chance to win.

Premium Membership includes:

  • Over 150 Free Lessons
  • Step by Step video tutorials for all levels
  • Tuition from Paul Bradford
  • 306 Cake Decorating Courses
  • New detailed course every week
  • No contract, cancel anytime
  • Access to private PBSS Members Facebook Group
  • 15% discount on your first Cake-Stuff.com order

For more information on the membership and FAQs, check out their website by clicking here.

NB. I have not received any products or compensation for this post, all opinions are my own

Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

I reviewed a recipe book recently called Lola’s A Cake Journey Around The World and as part of my review I made an Amarula Cake from the book. I really enjoyed the cake as it contained some of my favourite cake flavours – chocolate, caramel and whipped cream. I also have a new love for Amarula! It’s similar to Baileys in that it’s a cream liquor, but it’s made with a fruit from South Africa called the marula fruit. I really wanted to make the cake again but I wanted to amp it up and really make it indulgent and special, so this cake was created!

I started by mixing 120g cocoa powder with 250ml boiling water, then left it to cool. I whisked up 6 eggs, 440g caster sugar and 120ml vegetable oil with an electric hand whisk until it was frothy. I added the cocoa powder mixture and whisked it in.

Then I added 500g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp Amarula and folded it in. I separated the mixture into three 22cm cake tins and baked on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

I made a buttercream by mixing together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar. I stacked up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some buttercream.

I covered the cake in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

I took it out and covered it again with the rest of the buttercream and I smoothed it out as best I could.

To decorate the cake I carefully piped blobs of the caramel on the edge of the cake, then covered the whole top of the cake with a
thin layer of the caramel. I whipped up 200ml double cream, 3 tbsp Amarula and 2 tbsp icing sugar and piped it around the edges. I added bronze sprinkles and white chocolate stars in the centre, then cut some chocolate squares I got from The Chocolate Trading Co into triangles and stuck them into the cream. Finally a spritz of gold glitter finished it off!

This cake was everything I had dreamed of! Rich chocolate sponge, sticky caramel drizzle and sweet buttercream with Amarula flavour. It would make a fabulous cake for a celebration, or the ultimate way to treat yourself!

I’m linking these cake up with some blogger link ups this month. Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins, and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

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Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake
Ingredients
  • 120g Cocoa powder
  • 250ml Boiling water
  • 6 Eggs
  • 440g Caster sugar
  • 120ml Vegetable Oil
  • 500g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 12 tbsp Amarula
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 900g + 2 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 450g Baking spread
  • 200ml Double cream
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • 10 Chocolate Duo Panels
  • Gold Edible Glitter
Instructions
Mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and leave to coolIn a large mixing bowl, use an electric or hand whisk to mix the eggs, caster sugar and vegetable oil until frothy. Then, add the cocoa powder mixture and whisk it inGently fold in the self raising flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tbsp of the AmarulaSeparate the mixture into three greased and lined 22cm cake tins and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes (check they are done by inserting a skewer or thin knife into the centre, it should come out clean). Leave them on cooling racks to cool completelyTo make the buttercream mix together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar until smoothStack up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some of the buttercreamCover the cake in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to setCover the cake with the rest of the buttercream and smooth it out as best you can using a palette knife or scraperPut the Carnation Caramel into a piping bag and carefully pipe blobs on the edge of the cake so it drips down. Then cover the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramelWhip up the double cream along with 3 tbsp of the Amarula and the 2 tbsp of icing sugar, pipe it around the edges of the cakeAdd sprinkles in the centre of the cake, then cut the chocolate duo panels into triangles and stick them into the cream. Finally spritz with gold edible glitter

Treat Petite May 2017

Welcome to Treat Petite May 2017!

I’ve got a bit of an announcement to make this month – Cakeyboi is taking a long term break from blogging to focus on his lovely new home and husband, so I’m going to be looking after Treat Petite solo for now. If you would like to guest host this link up for one month please get in touch! I’m working on a new logo for the link up so look out for it (hopefully) next month!

April’s Treat Petite Round Up is now live so check it out for delicious treats and lots of yummy Easter recipes to save for next year!

Enter
anything you like, just remember the
Treat
Petite rules below…

Treat Petite is for all of those delicious bites, which can
be individually portioned. Tray bakes are fine, cookies, cupcakes, brownies,
macarons and so on. No cakes, puddings,
whole loaves
– you get the idea… here are those all-important rules:

1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current
month’s post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest

2. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to The Baking Explorer

3. Follow The Baking Explorer on Google+ (see sidebar links), if you haven’t already.

4. If you tweet use #TreatPetite and mention @BakingExplorer and @MrCakeyboi (Cakeyboi will still retweet any #TreatPetite tweets he’s mentioned in!)

5. Add the challenge logo to the post and ‘Treat Petite’ as a label to the post

6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted

7. If you like, add your photo to the ‘Treat Petite’ Pinterest board (The Baking Explorer will add all entries to the board)

8. Only 2 entries per blogger per month

9. Feel free to enter old
posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!

Treat Petite April – Round Up

I’m so sad Easter is over! I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the Easter treats and bakes all over social media. Thankfully there are some yummy looking ones in this month’s round up to keep the Easter fun going just that little bit longer. Thank you to all of the bloggers who linked up this month – if you like or make one of the recipes below please do let them know. Going forward, I’ll be hosting Treat Petite while Cakeyboi takes a break from blogging. If anyone is interested in guest hosting please do let me know!

Dragon Egg Nests from Mint Custard – because dragons lay their eggs in the spring too!

Coconut Macarons from Searching For Spice – a versatile recipe that can be made any time of year, but are perfect and pretty for Easter with mini eggs on top.

Potato Rosti & Quail Egg Easter Nests by Foodie Quine – a savoury treat for Easter which would make a delicious break from all the Easter chocolate.

Rhubarb Streusel Manuka Honey Muffins by Foodie Quine – full of goodness from both the rhubarb and the manuka honey which has been used medicinally for many years.

Raspberry & Lemon Muffins by Proper Foodie – full of zesty lemon flavour these muffins are perfect for spring.

Vegan Easter Biscuits by Tin & Thyme – made with Purple Corn Flower and Yacon Powder. Yacon has prebiotic benefits and has a flavour similar to apple.

Shredded Wheat Chocolate Nests with Mini Eggs by Talking Mums – a fun recipe perfect for baking with kids, and a yummy alternative to cornflakes and rice krispies.

Mini Egg Marshmallows by Country Cottage Bakes – light and fluffy marshmallows with a tasty crunch of mini eggs, sounds heavenly!

Apple, Date & Chia Sees Muffins (Vegan) by Green Gourmet Giraffe – packed with soft and juicy apples and crunchy chia seeds for texture.

Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes by me – a decadent and indulgent treat for Easter!

Beetroot Chocolate Brownies by Allotment 2 Kitchen – which she kindly made for a work colleague.

Almond, Cherry, Apricot & Marzipan Hot Cros Buns (Gluten Free) by The Gluten Free Alchemist – they look absolutely stunning and have a hidden marzipan centre.

Hot Cross Bunnies by Mummy Mishaps – they are cherry bakewell flavoured and super cute!

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes by United Cakedom – I can’t stop drooling over these!

Chocolate Biscuit Base Mini Egg Brownies by Feasting Is Fun – full of bright colours and Easter treats!

Beetroot Fudge by Allotment 2 Kitchen – the beetroot makes this fudge a vibrant colour and they were kindly made for a loved one.

Gin & Lemon Scones by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – each scone has around one shot of gin in them!

Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies with a Chilli Kick by Tin & Thyme – a delicious combination and a heartfelt tribute to a food blogger who recently passed.

Things To Do With… Leftover Jam

I really love baking with jam, but most of the time it happens because I have half a jar sitting in the fridge for a few weeks and I realise I better use it up. Thankfully it’s lead me to create lots of amazing recipes! Some of them feature jam with other elements, whilst others make jam the star of the bake. There is a huge range of variety here, from easy flapjacks to more extravagant celebration cakes. You can of course use a different flavour jam to the ones I’ve used, and I’ve also included a couple of recipes that use marmalade. I hope you find a suitable recipe to turn that jar in the fridge into a delicious bake!

Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake – Uses 1 Jar of Cherry Jam
The perfect cake for a celebration and to impress your guests.

Cherry & Almond  Viennese Swirl Biscuits – Uses 1 Jar of Cherry Jam
Cute little biscuits filled with almond buttercream and cherry jam.

Bakewell Tart – Uses 1/3 Jar of Raspberry Jam
A classic British bake, perfect for testing your baking skills!

Queen of Puddings Cupcakes – Uses 8 tbsp Raspberry Jam
Filled with jam and custard, and topped with fluffy Italian meringue, these cupcakes are divine!

Swedish Princess Cake – Uses 1/2 a Jar of Raspberry Jam
A fairly complex bake, but certainly worth the effort!

Swedish Princess Cupcakes – Uses 65g Seedless Raspberry Jam
An easier version of the above recipe, simplified into cupcakes.

Blackcurrant & Mascarpone Viennese Whirls – Uses 1/2 Jar of Blackcurrant Jam
Inspired by the Great British Bake Off, these buttery melt in the mouth biscuits would be perfect at afternoon tea.

Lemon, Blueberry & Blackcurrant Swirl Loaf – Uses 1 Jar of Blackcurrant & Blueberry Jam
A tasty loaf cake filled with swirls of jam. 

Nectarine & Bilberry Custard Tart – Uses 5 tbsp Apricot Jam
If you can’t find bilberries, you can use blueberries or any other small berries for this fruity tart.

Battenberg – Uses 6 tbsp Apricot Jam
Another classic British bake! It can be slightly fiddly, but marzipan lovers will relish the challenge.

Apricot Swirl Cheesecake Squares – Uses 3/4 Jar of Apricot Jam
Yummy cheesecake bites mixed with swirls of jam, you could use any other jam flavour for this recipe.

Apricot Bakewell Slices – Uses 1 Jar of Apricot Jam
Bakewell tarts usually use raspberry jam, but you can change it up with other flavours. This traybake is great for bake sales.

Strawberry & Vanilla Cake – Uses 1 Jar of Strawberry Jam 
This cake is great for summertime or birthday celebrations.

British Seaside Cake – Uses 1 Jar of Strawberry Jam
Another fabulous bake for summer, topped with ‘ice cream’ cupcakes.

Spiced Jammy Flapjacks – Uses 1 Jar of Strawberry Jam
This is an easy recipe to make and great for picnics and long journeys.

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam Cake – Uses 1 Jar of Rhubarb & Ginger Jam
A tasty cake full of flavour and the brown sugar drizzle is to die for!

Chocolate & Marmalade Cheesecake Brownies – Uses 1 Jar of Marmalade
Gooey and squidgy brownies with a chocolate orange flavour.

Carrot & Orange Cake – Uses 1/2 Jar of Marmalade
Marmalade fans will love this cake and it can be decorated with sprinkles of your choice.

Mini Layered Easter Cakes & A Mary Berry Homeware Competition!

As you will know if you’ve been to my blog before, or if you follow me on social media, I am a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off and the Queen of Baking that is Mary Berry. Every year I ‘bake along’ to GBBO and it’s really expanded my baking skills and repertoire. I was beyond excited when I was offered the chance to host a competition that Mary Berry herself would be judging the winner of! In this post you can find out how to enter the competition to be in for a chance to win a set of Mary Berry Homeware and a signed book from Mary!

I first saw Mary Berry’s homeware range at The BBC Good Food Show Winter 2016 and I immediately fell in love with it’s pretty patterns and pastel hues. The range is beautifully packaged and presented and I wanted to make something that really complimented it. So I decided to use the colours in the range – pastel pink and teal to make these gorgeous layered mini cakes. And seen as it’s Easter, they just had to be topped with mini eggs!

I started by making the sponges. I had three mixing bowls and into each one I put 120g butter and 120g caster sugar. I then put drops of blue, pink and yellow food colourings into the mixtures, I made the colour slightly stronger than I wanted the final result to be as the eggs and flour would lighten it. I like to add food colouring at this stage as later on it can remove air from the mixture as you over mix to get the colour right.

I added 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to each bowl and whisked in. Finally I folded 120g self raising flour into each bowl.

I baked each sponge in a lined traybake tin on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for between 10-15 minutes. I inserted a skewer into them to make sure they were done. I don’t have three traybake tins, I only have two, so I baked two first and then the third. I made sure not to add the flour to the mixture of the one that was waiting to be baked as this would affect the texture of the final cake.

When the cakes were fully cooled I used a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut 6 circles out of each sponge. I didn’t throw away the leftovers, I whizzed them up in my food processor then put them in a freezer bag and froze them. I’ll use them to make cake truffles in the future (check my recipe finder page for all my cake truffle recipes if you’d like to do the same).

I made a vanilla buttercream by mixing 200g butter, 400g icing sugar and 2 tsp vanilla extract. I used my Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip to pipe blobs of it on the blue bottom layer.

I did the same with the middle yellow layer, then topped with the final pink layer.

I then used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe rosettes on top of each cake and I placed three different coloured mini eggs carefully into the middle.

I was so pleased with these little cakes, they look so pretty and I though they really complimented Mary’s beautiful homeware range. They tasted pretty scrumptious too! The sponge was lovely and light and the delicate vanilla buttercream was the perfect finishing touch. I felt like I could almost have been at afternoon tea with Mary Berry herself – a girl can dream!

The Competition

Ok so onto the competition! What you need to do to enter is head over to my Facebook page by clicking here and commenting onto my post with a photo of your Easter bake.

Full details:
– Bloggers and non-bloggers can enter
– The winner’s prize is a Mary Berry Homeware set which includes: a cake stand, mug set, cake plates, cake forks and a cake slice
– The overall winner from all five blogs will win a signed book from Mary
– You use any recipe you like to make your Easter bake
– The entries will be shortlisted to two finalists and Mary Berry will be choosing the winning entry to receive the homeware set and then the overall winner for the signed book
– The competition closes on 2nd May, and Mary will begin judging in the week commencing 8th May

– If you have any questions please comment on this post and I will answer you

I can’t wait to see all of your Easter bakes!

I’m linking this recipe up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation and I’m also linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Easy Peasy Foodie.

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Mini Layered Easter Cakes (Makes 6)
Ingredients
  • 560g Baking spread
  • 360g Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 360g Self raising flour
  • 5 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of Mini eggs
  • Pink, blue & yellow Food colouring
  • 400g Icing sugar
Instructions
Grease and line three traybake tins, or if you have one or two tins, grease and line them and then wash between batchesTo make the sponges you need three mixing bowls. Into each one put 120g of the butter and 120g of the caster sugar. Cream them all together, then in the first bowl put a drop of blue food colouring, in the second bowl a drop of pink food colouring and in the third bowl a drop of yellow food colouring. Mix in well and add more if needed. Make the colour slightly stronger than you want as the final result will be lightened by the addition of the eggs and flourAdd 2 of the eggs and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract to each bowl and whisk inFold 120g of the self raising flour into each bowl. Tip: If you have three traybake tins then add the flour to all of the batters, if not, wait to add the flour until you’re ready to bakePour and smooth out the batter into the traybake tin(s) and bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out cleanCool the sponges fully on cooling racks. When they are cool use 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut 6 circles out of each spongeMake a vanilla buttercream by mixing together 200g of the butter, the icing sugar and 2 tsp of the vanilla extract. Put half of it into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip and pipe blobs of it on the blue bottom layer of spongeCover with the yellow sponge layer and again pipe blobs of buttercream onto it, then top with the final pink layerPut the other half of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip and pipe rosettes onto the top of each mini cake, then place 3 different coloured Mini Eggs into the middle

Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes

Easter is one of my favourite celebrations as it’s such a lovely time of year. Seeing spring flowers popping up all over the place brings a smile to my face every time. And it’s nice not to feel that cold bite in the air anymore. Plus there’s a ton of chocolate and an extra two days off work which never hurts! I’m especially looking forward to Easter weekend this year as we’ve been so busy decorating our new house and we’ll finally have some time to relax and see friends and family over the Easter weekend. I hope you all have lovely and relaxing Easter weekends planned!

To make the chocolate sponge I first creamed together 170g baking spread and 170g caster sugar.

I added 3 eggs and mixed them in.

Then I mixed in 140g self raising flour, 30g cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

I divided the cupcakes into cases (I used some brown ones and some gold foil ones as I wasn’t sure which would look best!)

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

When they were cool I used a cupcake corer to remove a section from the middle.

I filled each hole with some Carnation caramel.

I made a buttercream by mixing together 150g baking spread, 300g icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I then added 75g melted Galaxy chocolate and mixed until smooth.

I piped the buttercream onto each cupcake to resemble a nest, then placed 3 Golden Galaxy Eggs into the middle.

These cupcakes are so decadent and indulgent! The sponge is light, the caramel is rich and the buttercream has that hint of chocolate flavour that is fully satisfied by the shimmering golden eggs. And if you don’t tell your friends and family about the caramel inside, they will get a yummy surprise when they dig in!

I’m linking these cupcakes up with a few blogger link ups this month. Treat Petite hosted by myself this month (and Cakeyboi on alternate months), and Desert Island Dish hosted by Good Egg Foodie.

Also linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins, and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

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Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes (Makes 12)
Ingredients
  • 320g Baking spread
  • 170g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 140g Self raising flour
  • 30g Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 300g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 packs of Golden Galaxy Eggs
  • 75g Galaxy chocolate, melted
Instructions
To make the chocolate sponge cream together 170g of the butter and the caster sugarAdd the eggs and mix them inMix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and baking powderDivide the cupcakes into 12 muffin cases and bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutesWhen they are cool use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove a section from the middle of each cupcakeFill each hole with some of the Carnation caramelMade a buttercream by mixing together 150g of the baking spread, the icing sugar and the vanilla extract. Then add the melted Galaxy chocolate and mix until smoothPipe the buttercream onto each cupcake to resemble a nest, then place 3 Golden Galaxy Eggs into the middle

Book review and giveaway!

I recently received three exciting new recipe books from Ryland Peter & Small, who publish books about the greatest pleasures in life such as art, food and crafts – as mine is all things baking I was happy to receive three books all about cakes and desserts! I’ve reviewed the books and tried recipes from each one, and at the end of this post I am running a giveaway so one lucky reader can win a copy of each book!

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta is all about that moment late at night when you just need cake! The recipes are easy to whip up in minutes, satisfy a variety of cravings from chocolate to cookies, and many of them don’t even need a set of scales. You might know the author, Suzy Pelta as she was the winner of ITV1’s Lorraine’s Cake Club Competition in 2012. She’s a regular at The Cake & Bake Show and BBC Good Food Shows.

I made this Peanut Butter & Nutella Cake (apologies for the bad lighting but I was having one of those late night cake craving moments I mentioned earlier, so there was no time to wait for natural light!) and it took a few minutes to throw together and less than two minutes to bake in the microwave. I had all the ingredients already in my cupboard so I could get that cake craving I needed with minimum effort involved. The sponge was soft and tasty, and there was a pool of warm Nutella and peanut butter at the bottom, it was also massive and very filling.

My favourite of the three books and the one most suited to my style of baking is Lola’s A Cake Journey Around The World. The book is separated by continent and then there are recipes for each country. There’s such a huge variety of cakes in here, some I had heard of and some I hadn’t. This would be a great book to read before a Great British Bake Off technical challenge!

I was immediately drawn to this Sticky Orange & Almond Cake from Spain, it involved boiling whole oranges and the pureeing them – which smelt amazing! The cake was gluten free too as ground almonds were used instead of flour. The recipe was so easy to follow with a yummy result.

I also made this Amarula Cake from South Africa. Amarula is a spirit made from the fruit of the African marula tree, then it’s mixed with cream and sugar. If you like Baileys you will most likely enjoy this drink! The cake was a fabulous chocolate sponge, soaked in Amarula and decorated with caramel and whipped cream. I was in cake heaven!

The third book is called Japanese Patisserie and the author is James Campbell who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and now works for Marks & Spencer product development. The creations in this book are very high end and absolutely stunning to look at. It’s definitely one for those people that are interested in experimenting with their baking and challenging themselves. Although there are lots of more complex and impressive recipes, there are also simpler yet still impressive options to start you off such as madelines and scones.

If you enjoy Asian cuisine you will have heard of most of the ingredients in the book, such as yuzu, miso and matcha, but they have been fused with western recipes to create elegant and stunning desserts. I always wanted to try yuzu so I tracked some down at the Chinese supermarket, you can also get it in Waitrose and online. I made a yuzu and lemon meringue tart recipe from the book which was absolutely delicious.

If you would like to be in with the chance to win a copy of each of the books I’ve reviewed in this post, enter by using the Rafflecopter below – good luck!

NB. I received the books to review free of charge, all opinions are my own. Competition is open to UK residents only. The winner of the competition will receive one copy of each recipe book featured in this blog post.