Mini Layered Easter Cakes & A Mary Berry Homeware Competition!

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 *NOW CLOSED*
 

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!

 

Pin for later! 

 

     

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

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 560 g Baking spread
  • 360 g Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 360 g Self raising flour
  • 5 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of Mini eggs
  • Pink, blue & yellow Food colouring
  • 400 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Grease and line three traybake tins, or if you have one or two tins, grease and line them and then wash between batches

  2. To 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 flour
  3. Add 2 of the eggs and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract to each bowl and whisk in
  4. Fold 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 bake
  5. Pour 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 clean
  6. Cool the sponges fully on cooling racks. When they are cool use 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut 6 circles out of each sponge
  7. Make 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 sponge
  8. Cover with the yellow sponge layer and again pipe blobs of buttercream onto it, then top with the final pink layer
  9. Put 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
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Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes

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

Servings 12
Author thebakingexplorer

Ingredients

  • 320 g Baking spread
  • 170 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 140 g Self raising flour
  • 30 g Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 packs of Golden Galaxy Eggs
  • 75 g Galaxy chocolate melted

Instructions

  1. To make the chocolate sponge cream together 170g of the butter and the caster sugar

  2. Add the eggs and mix them in
  3. Mix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and baking powder
  4. Divide the cupcakes into 12 muffin cases and bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes
  5. When they are cool use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove a section from the middle of each cupcake
  6. Fill each hole with some of the Carnation caramel
  7. Made 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 smooth
  8. Pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake to resemble a nest, then place 3 Golden Galaxy Eggs into the middle
 
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Simnel Spiced Easter Cheesecake

Simnel Spiced Easter Cheesecake

Simnel cake is a traditional option over the Easter season, it’s packed with fruit, spices and covered in marzipan. This delicious Easter cheesecake is a modern way of enjoying those flavours. The base is made from fruity shortcake biscuits, the cheesecake filling has added spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and the whipped cream is flavoured with almond. It’s also decorated with Galaxy Golden Eggs which are so pretty and yummy! I also used them to decorate my Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes. It is also so easy to make, which is just what I needed as I’ve had a really rough couple of weeks. I apologise in advance if you’re squeamish, but I won’t go into too much detail when I explain what happened. I had a wisdom tooth removed; the procedure itself went fine and I came home with a very numb mouth and giggling from the after effects of the drugs they used to sedate me. I took painkillers consistently for the next few days to keep the pain at bay. A few days later it all started to go downhill and the pain intensified to a point when I mentally and physically could not cope with it anymore, the painkillers stopped working and I became desperate for it to stop. After a visit to the dentists I was told the area was infected and I was given antibiotics. They did their magic, but made me very sick for several days. It’s now nearly two weeks later and I’m finally back to myself, and most importantly I can eat and chew again!

I started by whizzing up 250g fruit shortcake biscuits (I got mine from Tesco and they were the own brand in a purple packet) in my food processor until they were fine crumbs. I added 80g melted butter, mixed them all together, then pressed into the bottom of a 23″ springform tin. I put it in the fridge for 30 mins to set.

For the cheesecake filling I used my electric hand whisk to mix together 750g full fat cream cheese, 180g icing sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Once it was combined I added 300ml double cream and continued too mix until it was thick.

I put the filling over the base and smoothed it down as best I could. I left it in the fridge overnight to set.

To decorate the Easter cheesecake I whipped up 200ml double cream along with 2 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp almond extract. I piped two rows of cream using my Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip (slightly obsessed with this tip at the moment!)

Simnel Spiced Easter Cheesecake

I then added Golden Galaxy Eggs all around in between the rows of cream, and in the middle I sprinkled a mixture of toasted flaked almonds and some gold confetti sprinkles I found in Tesco. I then added some gold glitter all over the cheesecake as the final touch!

The Easter cheesecake was so creamy and the spices and almond in the cream all combined to create that Easter flavour that reminds you of simnel cake and hot cross buns. The Galaxy golden eggs and gold glitter made it look decadent and added extra indulgence. This would be an amazing dessert to enjoy after Sunday lunch, or any time over the Easter season.

       

I’m linking this Easter cheesecake recipe up with Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Easy Peasy Foodie, with Recipe Of The Week hosted by A Mummy Too, and with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

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Simnel Spiced Easter Cheesecake

Servings 12

Ingredients

Base

  • 80 g Butter melted
  • 250 g Fruit shortcake biscuits

Filling

  • 750 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 180 g Icing sugar
  • 300 ml Double cream
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg

Decoration

  • 2 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond extract
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • 1 pack of Golden Galaxy Eggs
  • A handful of Toasted flaked almonds
  • Golden confetti sprinkles
  • Edible golden glitter spray

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to whizz up the fruit shortcake biscuits until they are fine crumbs

  2. Add the melted butter and mix together, then press the mixture into the bottom of a 23" springform tin. Put it in the fridge for 30 mins to set

  3. For the cheesecake filling use an electric hand whisk to mix together the full fat cream cheese, the 180g of icing sugar, the cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg. Once it is combined add 300ml of the double cream and continue to mix until it thickens

  4. Pour the filling over the biscuit base and smooth it down. Leave it in the fridge overnight to set

  5. To decorate the cheesecake whip up the 200ml of double cream along with the 2 tbsp icing sugar and the almond extract. Pipe two rows of cream using a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip, or any other rosette tip you have

  6. Add the Golden Galaxy Eggs all around the cheesecake in between the rows of cream, in the middle sprinkle a mixture of the toasted flaked almonds and the gold confetti sprinkles. Then add gold edible glitter all over the cheesecake as the final touch

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Treat Petite March 2016 – Round Up

Treat Petite March 2016 – Round Up
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. This month’s Treat Petite theme was Easter & Spring and there were some beautiful and tasty looking bakes that all perfectly represented the season. Do check out the blogs below if you like the look of their recipes! Look out over on Cakeyboi for April’s theme to be announced soon…

Belleau Kitchen entered these Mini Chocolate & Orange Marble Bundt Cakes, which he made for his mum.

The Gluten Free Alchemist sent over her Choc-Cross Buns (Gluten Free), which are crammed with chocolate chips!

Tales from the Kitchen Shed made Healthy Hot Cross Buns which are sweetened with agave syrup and have no added fat.

These Lapsang Souchong Red Wine & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Covered Prunes were made by De Tout Coeur Limousin and they are inspried by a Polish sweet.

Farmersgirl Kitchen made these Fiesta Rice Krunchie Bars which are a fab treat for children and grown ups alike.

These Rice Krispie Easter Egg Nests are from United Cakedom and they make a delicious bowl to hold mini eggs or any other tasty treats.

Simnel cake in bitesize form from Only Crumbs Remain with these Simnel Cupcakes.

Family Friends Food made these Boozy ‘mince pie’ Hamantaschen which are a traditional Jewish treat for Purim.

Add a little spirit to your Easter baking with these Spiced Rum Easter Chocolate Cakes from Tin & Thyme.

The Gluten Free Alchemist also sent over these Peanut Magic Bars which were made by her daughter.

My entry was Chocolate Meringue Easter Nests which were filled with whipped cream and decorated with mini eggs and a drizzle of dark chocolate.

Caroline Makes… entered these pastel green spring flavoured Kiwi & Lime Cupcakes.

United Cakedom experimented with mini eggs again and made these tasty looking Mini Egg Chocolate Cookies.

My Treat Petite co-host made these super cute Easy Snowball Bunnies, which look like so much fun!

These adorable Easter Nest Cupcakes are from Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen and her post includes a video to help you re-create the decoration.

A Slighty More Healthy Cupcake Recipe from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary uses wholegrain flour and raw cacao nibs.

Caroline Makes… also sent over these Chocolate Easter Cupcakes which she made for some very lucky colleagues of hers.

These gorgeous Easter Caramel Meringue Nests were made by How To Cook Good Food.

I love these cute Easter Chick Cupcakes from Caroline Makes… which are sat in some special cupcake cases from Lakeland.

These bitesize Hot Cross Balls from Veggie Desserts are vegan and gluten free. They would make a great snack any time of year.

In case you have any Easter egg chocolate left you can upgrade it into these gooey Easter Egg Brownies from Belleau Kitchen.

Ending in style with these gorgeously shiny Hot Magen David Buns from Family Friends Food, decorated very neatly with the Star of David.

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Chocolate Meringue Easter Nests

Chocolate Meringue Easter Nests
Easter being so early this year is really throwing me off. I like to do a lot of baking around this time of year as there are so many fantastic foods to enjoy. I think I’ll be carrying on with Easter baking in April so I can have enough time to enjoy it all! I made a giant version of these chocolate meringue nests last year for a family dinner, I never ended up blogging about it but I knew that when Easter came around again I wanted to re-create the recipe as individual nests, and I’m so glad I did!

I started by finely grating 100g dark chocolate and then stirred 4 tbsp cocoa powder into it.

I whisked up 6 egg whites and 1 tsp cream of tartar in a food mixer until soft peaks formed.

Keeping the mixer going, I added 1 tsp vanilla extract and poured in 434g caster sugar. Always measure your egg whites and then double the amount of sugar to get the perfect meringue. Once stiff peaks formed – turn the bowl upside for the true test of this! – I turned the mixer off.

I folded the chocolate and cocoa powder mix into the meringue.

I put the meringue into a piping bag with a star nozzle and piped out nest shapes onto a lined baking tray. I got 12 in total.

I baked the meringue nests on 140C (120C Fan)/275F/Gas Mark 1 for 40 minutes.

I whipped up a 300ml pot of double cream and also grabbed a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.

I spooned some of the cream into the middle of each nest, added 3 Mini Eggs, and then drizzled over some melted dark chocolate to finish.

The meringues were so chocolatey and melt in the mouth, and I think we all know how well freshly whipped cream goes with crisp meringue! I thought they looked really cute. You could also top them with mini creme eggs, caramel eggs, oreo eggs… whichever you prefer!

I’m entering these into myself and Cakeyboi‘s monthly challenge Treat Petite, where the theme is Easter & Spring.

Into Tin & Thyme‘s challenge (this month hosted by Lancashire Food) We Should Cocoa, the theme is eggs.

Into Belleau Kitchen‘s challenge Simply Eggcellent, where the theme is a Celebration of Eggs and into The No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary as I used leftover egg whites that I had frozen for the meringue.

Into Fab Food 4 All & Fuss Free Flavour‘s challenge Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Travels for Taste this month, for the same reason as above. And finally into The More Than Occassional Baker and Caroline Makes… challenge Alphabakes. The letter this month is ‘C’ for chocolate in this recipe.

 

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Chocolate Meringue Easter Nests

Ingredients

  • 100 g Dark chocolate
  • 4 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 6 Egg whites
  • 1 tsp Cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Double the weight of the egg whites Caster sugar
  • 300 ml Double cream
  • Mini Eggs
  • 6 squares Dark chocolate melted

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the dark chocolate and stir the cocoa powder into it
  2. Whisk up the egg whites and cream of tartar in a food mixer until soft peaks form
  3. Keeping the mixer going, add the vanilla extract and slowly pour in the caster sugar. Once stiff peaks form turn the mixer off
  4. Fold the chocolate and cocoa powder mix into the meringue
  5. Put the meringue into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe out nest shapes onto a lined baking tray
  6. Bake the meringue nests on 140C/120C Fan/275F/Gas Mark 1 for 40 minutes
  7. Whip up the double cream, spoon it into the middle of each nest, add 3 Mini Eggs, and then drizzle over the melted dark chocolate to finish
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20 Best Creme Egg Recipes

20 Best Creme Egg Recipes
It’s arguably the most famous Easter Egg in the world and has been on our confectionary shelves for over 50 years. The Creme Egg is constantly evolving, and in recent years has been making more and more appearances in baked goods, much to our delight! I’ve watched with hungry eyes as creative bakers think of new ways to incorporate Creme Eggs into other delicious desserts. I thought I’d collect together this list of the most drool worthy Creme Egg treats I’ve seen, get ready to feast your eyes on these…

Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecake by Taming Twins
This cheesecake is epically deep and I love the decorative drizzle!

Cadbury Creme Egg Chocolate Caramel Shortbread by Kerry Cooks
I have made this recipe and I can atest to the fact that it is incredible!

Cadbury Creme Egg Shake by Fuss Free Flavours
I can almost taste how deliciously creamy this milkshake must be.

Creme Egg Brownies by Casa Costello
Probably the most popular Creme Egg bake, gooey brownies littered with eggs in every bite!

Creme Egg Bakewell Tart by Emily’s Recipes & Reviews
I am loving the idea of adding Creme Eggs to Bakewell Tart – fantastic.

Easter Creme Egg Mousse Cake (Gluten Free) by The Gluten Free Alchemist
I can’t get over how stunning this cake looks, just gorgeous!

Cadbury Creme Egg Pancakes by Foodie Quine
Hello Easter breakfast!

Creme Egg Chocolate Ganache Tart by BakingQueen74
So much chocolatey goodness all wrapped up in this tart.

Cadbury Creme Egg Fudge by Kerry Cooks
This would be a great Easter gift for lucky friends and family.

Creme Egg Cupcakes by The Baking Explorer
Well, I had to include one of my own recipes! A whole creme egg inside a cupcake, plus half a mini one on top.

Deep Fried Cadbury Eggs by Something Swanky
For that full calorie hit!

Hot Cross Creme Egg Pudding by Good To Know
Yes yes yes! I need this in my life.

Creme Egg Rocky Road by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen
An easy recipe to get the kids involved in the kitchen.

Creme Egg Meringue Nests by Emily’s Recipes & Reviews
Meringue is one of my favourite things to have around this time of year.

Mini Creme Egg Easter Bundt Cakes by Belleau Kitchen
These adorable mini bundt cakes look delicious enough, but there’s the bonus of a Creme Egg on top!

Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Save some Creme Eggs for summer and when it gets hot enough to enjoy this ice cream! Or just put the heating on and pretend…

Creme Egg Cookies by She Who Bakes
I wish I could reach into this photo and grab one of these amazing cookies!

Cadbury Creme Mini Egg Chocolate Flapjack by Recipes From A Normal Mum
Flapjacks are brilliantly versatile so why not stick a creme egg on top!

Creme Egg Chocolate Mug Cake by My Fussy Eater
Need your Creme Egg fix fast? This microwave mug cake is for you.

Cadbury Creme Egg Martini by Barbells & Bellinis
Well after eating all that you’re gonna need a drink…!

Creme Egg image source Cadbury.co.uk

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Treat Petite April 2015

Treat Petite April 2015
Welcome to Treat Petite April 2015!
 

It was lovely to see all the entries to last month’s ‘Mum‘ theme over on Cakeyboi, there are certainly lots of lucky mums out there!

This month’s theme is… ‘Hello Spring!’. That means anything made with fresh spring produce, made for Easter or made to celebrate the arrival of Springtime.

Image Source

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 Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting this month

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

4. If you tweet use #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer – we will retweet

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 (request access from Cakeyboi)

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

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Golden Layered Simnel Cake

Golden Layered Simnel Cake
Simnel Cakes go way back, all the way to medival times in fact. I’ve never actually eaten a traditional one before, which just have one layer of fruit cake, but I see them in the shops every Easter. The marzipan balls on top represent the twele apostles, minus Judas. Although I’m not religious myself, I love Easter and baking around this time of year. I wanted to make the Simnel cake a bit more modern and also more to my own tastes, so this Golden Layered Simnel Cake is filled with delicious almond buttercream and the sponge is much lighter with less fruit.

I started by creaming together 350g butter and 350g golden caster sugar.

I whisked in 6 eggs, adding two at a time and mixing well.

I folded in 2 tsp mixed spice, a pinch of salt and 350g self raising flour. Then I gently mixed in the zest of 1 lemon and 250g dried fruit mixture.

I divided the mixture between 3 lined cake tins.

I baked on 160C for 25 minutes until golden brown. I tipped the sponges out of the tins and left to cool.

When the sponges were fully cool I made some buttercream by mixing 400g icing sugar, 200g butter and 1 tsp almond extract together. I piped it around the edge of the first layer and smeared it in the middle.

I placed the second layer on top and did the same with the remaining buttercream.

I added the final sponge layer and brushed some apricot jam over the top to help the marzipan stick.

I used 320g natural marzipan for the decoration. Each ball was 15g each and the rest I rolled out into a disc.

I placed it on top of the cake and trimmed the edges. I then brushed it all over with egg white, placed the balls around the cake and brushed them with egg white too.

I then used my handy cook’s blowtorch to scorch the marzipan in the centre and on top of each ball. If you don’t have a blowtorch you can put the cake under the grill to achieve this effect, however I would recommend decorating the top sponge on it’s own and grilling it before placing it over the buttercream, which would probably melt under a grill!

I loved the final effect of the cake, a gorgeous golden delight! My boyfriend’s eyes lit up with excitement when he saw it as he loves marzipan. He quickly ate up the first slice and was full of compliments for the flavour.

The sponge was lovely and light with just enough fruit for me and the sweet almond buttercream was the perfect accompaniment. It was a large cake and was cut into about 18 slices – plenty for a hungry group of family and friends at Easter!

 
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Golden Layered Simnel Cake

Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 550 g Butter
  • 350 g Golden caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 350 g Self raising flour
  • 250 g Dried fruit
  • 2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 Lemon
  • 400 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond extract
  • 320 g Natural marzipan
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 2 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1 Egg white

Instructions

  1. Cream together 350g of the butter and the golden caster sugar
  2. Whisk in the eggs, add two at a time and mix well
  3. Fold in the mixed spice, salt and self raising flour. Then gently mix in the zest of the lemon and the dried fruit
  4. Divide the mixture between 3 lined cake tins
  5. Bake on 160C for 25 minutes until golden brown. Tip the sponges out of the tins and leave to cool
  6. To make the buttercream by mix the icing sugar with 200g of the butter and the almond extract. Pipe it around the edge of the first layer and smear it in the middle Place the second layer of cake on top and do the same with the remaining buttercream
  7. Add the final sponge layer and brush the apricot jam over the top to help the marzipan stick
  8. Roll up 11 marzipan balls weighing 15g each and roll the rest out into a disc
  9. Place it on top of the cake and trim the edges. Then brush it all over with egg white, place the balls around the cake and brush them with egg white too
  10. Use a cook's blowtorch to scorch the marzipan in the centre and on top of each ball
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Lemon ‘Easter Nest’ Baked Donuts

Lemon ‘Easter Nest’ Baked Donuts
I had the idea for these Lemon ‘Easter Nest’ Baked Donuts a couple of months ago, and I’ve patiently waited (something I’m not very good at!) until an appropriate time to make them. Easter eggs are in the shops, Mother’s Day and St Patrick’s Day are behind us, so it’s definitely ok to start baking for Easter in my eyes! These fresh lemon baked donuts are the perfect way to welcome spring with their light pastel colours and even lighter baked texture. Baked donuts are much different to the deep fried kind, their texture is similar to a light cake or I find them quite similar to Madelines too. I’ve topped them with toasted coconut which gives a satisfying crunch against the soft donut base when you bite into it. And you can’t beat some cheeky chocolate eggs in the middle too!

I’ve made a few differeny flavours of Baked Donuts before (Pumpkin, Chocolate & Vanilla) so I used the same basic recipe. I started with 225g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 175g caster sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl I mixed together 175ml milk, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract and the zest of 2 lemons.

I poured the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisked until combined and smooth.

I greased my Wilton donut pan with butter.

I filled each hole with about 3 tbsp of batter and I baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. I pressed the donuts
quickly with my finger and if they sprang back I knew they were done.

I gently prised the donuts out of the pan using a spoon and let them cool.

I made an icing using 200g icing sugar and the juice of 1 and a half lemons. I wanted the icing to be fairly thick so I added the juice slowly. I spread the icing on top of the donut with a palette knife, then sprinkled the toasted coconut on top and left them to set. I got the toasted coconut from Holland & Barrett. Once they were set I placed three mini eggs in the middle.

Everyone commented on how cute they looked and how the citrus flavour was delicious! They are best eaten straight away as the coconut can lose it’s crunch, but they still taste good the next day. The lemon flavour is so fresh and zingy, especially the icing, it goes perfectly with the coconut. The perfect way to welcome in Easter!

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Lemon 'Easter Nest' Baked Donuts

Ingredients

  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 175 ml Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Icing sugar
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Butter for greasing
  • 2 packs of Mini eggs

Instructions

  1. Place the plain flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a bowl and stir together
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs, olive oil, vanilla extract and the zest of the 2 lemons
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined and smooth
  4. Grease the donut pan with butter
  5. Fill each hole with about 3 tbsp of batter and bake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes Gently prise the donuts out of the pan using a spoon and let them cool
  6. Make an icing by mixing the icing sugar with the juice of 1 and a half of the lemons. Add the juice slowly. Spread the icing on top of the donuts with a palette knife, then sprinkle the toasted coconut on top and leave them to set. Once they are set place three mini eggs in the middle
 
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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have been enjoying the long weekend. I haven’t done much myself as yet, but have plans to go to a farm tomorrow and I’ve got my fingers crossed to see some lambs and rabbits! Today my boyfriend made a delicious roast dinner for us, whilst I made these Hot Cross Buns. They did take a while to make, which makes them perfect for a lazy Sunday bake. The results are definitely worth the effort – warm, sticky, spiced buns, yum yum. I followed a Paul Hollywood recipe to make the buns as it was my first attempt at making them, but I did make a few changes along the way…

I started with 500g strong white bread flour, 1 sachet yeast, 1 tsp salt and 75g caster sugar in a large bowl. I stirred them together.

In a small pan I heated up 300ml plus 2 tbsp milk, I used semi-skimmed. Once it was hot I took it off the heat, added 50g butter and left it to cool until it was warm enough to dip my fingers in without saying ouch!

I made a well in the flour mixture, and poured in the milk and butter as well as 1 beaten egg. I formed it into a dough, tipped it out onto a flour surface and kneaded for 5 minutes. It was extremely sticky! Hence why there are no photos as my hands and fingers were completely covered in dough goo. After 5 minutes of kneading I put the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it with oiled cling film, and left it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

One hour later it had risen beautifully! I added 250g mixed dried fruit, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp all spice. I would have added more spices if I was at my flat, some nutmeg and ginger too for sure. I kneaded all the fruit it until mixed well, the recovered the oiled bowl with oiled cling film and returned it to a warm place for another 1 hour.

I removed the risen dough from the bowl and on a flour surfaced I cut it up until I had 16 pieces. I cut the dough in half, then each piece in half again and again until I had 16. You can weigh the pieces if you like. Paul’s recipe recommends they are 75g each. I rolled them into balls and placed them on lined baking trays. I covered the trays again with oiled cling film, covered with a blanket (or you can use a tea towel) and left for 1 hour.

Just before the hour was up, I made the flour paste for the cross on the buns. I mixed 100g strong white bread flour with 5-6 tbsp water until a thick paste formed. I put it in a piping bag and snipped off the end.

The shaped dough had risen nicely! This is really the best part of making bread for me (well, except eating it).

I used the piping bag to draw the crosses along the shaped dough buns.

I baked the buns on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 – 20 minutes until dark golden brown on top. I almost forgot to take a photo of them as I was so eager to glaze them.

Just before they came out of the oven I warmed up some apricot jam on the hob, you can sieve it too if you want, but I didn’t bother. When the buns came out of the oven, I brushed the jam on top to give them a lovely shiny and sticky sweet glaze.

The Hot Cross Buns turned out great, they were baked all the way through and tasted delicious! I scoffed one right after they came out of the oven and I’m looking forward to enjoying one for breakfast tomorrow. I really enjoyed making these and was really proud of how they turned out. It’s nice to get the time to make a lengthy bake like this and enjoy the results. You could add different kinds of dried fruits, citrus zest, or even chocolate chips if you wanted, to this recipe for a variety of flavours!

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Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients

  • 600 g Strong white bread flour
  • 1 sachet Dried yeast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 300 ml + 2 tbsp Semi skimmed milk
  • 50 g Butter
  • 250 g Mixed dried fruit
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 5-6 tbsp Water
  • 3 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1 Egg

Instructions

  1. Stir together 500g of the strong white bread flour, the sachet of yeast, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl

  2. In a small pan heat up the milk, once it was hot I took it off the heat, added the butter and left it to cool

  3. Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the milk and butter as well as the egg. Form into a dough, tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, then put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it with oiled cling film, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour

  4. Add the mixed dried fruit, cinnamon and allspice to the dough. Knead the dough until all the fruit is mixed well, then place back in the bowl and recover with oiled cling film, return it to a warm place for another 1 hour

  5. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and on a floured surface cut it up into 16 pieces, approx 75g each. Roll them into balls and place them onto lined baking trays. Cover the tray with oiled cling film, then a blanket or tea towel and leave to prove for 1 hour

  6. Make the flour paste for the cross on the buns. Mix 100g of the strong white bread flour with the water until a thick paste forms. Put it in a piping bag and snip off the end

  7. Use the piping bag to draw the crosses along the dough buns

  8. Bake the buns on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 - 20 minutes until dark golden brown on top

  9. Warm the apricot jam on the hob, and brush the jam on top to give them a lovely shiny and sticky sweet glaze

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