Treat Petite October 2016 – Round Up

Treat Petite October 2016 – Round Up

Welcome to October’s round up of Treat Petite! There are some amazing Autumnal recipes below, please comment on and share your favourites! Thank you to everyone who took part this month, check out Cakeyboi for November’s link up coming soon.

Blueberry Compote Cupcakes by Caroline Makes, and the compote is homemade.

Packed Lunch Pizza Swirls by Feeding Boys, a great alternative to the traditional sandwich.

Dark Chocolate, Stem Ginger & Peanut Butter Tiffin by De Tour Coeur Limousin, who says they are a rich, crunchy and spicy treat.

Homemade Caramel Apple Ice Cream by Farmersgirl Kitchen, which is served in cookie cups.

Triple Chocolate Buns by Tin & Thyme, which she made for National Chocolate Week.

Pumpkin & Apple Muffins by Searching For Spice, she made her own pumpkin puree to add to the muffins.

Maple Pecan Squares made by me, which I made with some maple syrup and maple sugar my dad brought back from Canada.

Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Maple Syrup Drizzle by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, made without paper cases in a super non stick Jamie Oliver muffin tin.

Chocolate Tahini Maca Bliss Balls by Green Gourmet Giraffe, a healthy Halloween treat!

Pistachio, Orange & Raspberry Fondant Fancies (Gluten Free) by The Gluten Free Alchemist, baking along to The Great British Bake Off.

Peanut Butter Ghosts by Foodie Quine, which are no bake and perfect for Halloween!

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Ghostly Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cake Truffles

Ghostly Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cake Truffles
Happy Halloween everyone! I really love this time of year, my flat is currently decorated with pumpkins, candles, cobwebs and skulls, and I’ve also spread the Halloween ‘fear’ into the office as well. I always get involved in dressing up and carving pumpkins, it’s so much fun! One of the best parts for me is Halloween and autumnal baking. I love to bake with pumpkin and try and make my bakes suitably scary. These Ghostly Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cake Truffles are no exception, filled with autumn flavours and then surrounded by Halloween spookiness! Here’s how to make them…

I started by making the gingerbread biscuit middle of the truffles. I made a few more than I needed as this was an idea I invented, but it’s better to make too many than too little so I’ll give you the amounts I used. I started by whizzing up 200g ginger biscuits in a food processor.

I melted 75g butter and mixed it into the biscuit crumbs.

I grabbed bits of the the mixture and rolled them into small balls, about the size of a blueberry. I placed them onto a lined baking tray. I then put them in the freezer for 3 hours.

To make the cakes I used Two Chicks new product – free range whole egg. You may have seen their liquid egg white before, which is super convenient for making meringues without having to worry about what to do with the leftover egg yolks. Now they’ve also released this one which includes the yolks, so you can bake with it, or make omelettes and quiches for example. I found it very useful for recipes where you want to change the quantities, you can’t halve an actual egg, but with this product you can!

To make the cakes I started by mixing together 115ml vegetable oil, 90ml Two Chicks liquid whole egg, 200g caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I then added 225g plain flour, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, and 1 tsp baking powder and mixed in. Finally I folded in 200g pumpkin puree (I use Libbys).

I put the batter into 12 cupcake cases to bake them. It doesn’t really matter how you bake the mixture, but I find cupcakes quick to cook and to cool.

 

I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. I left them to cool fully.

 

 

When the cake was cool I crumbed it in the food processor.

Depending on how much your cake weighs, you need half the amount of full fat cream cheese. Mine weighed 700g so I used 350g cream cheese. I mixed it all together.

I got the ginger biscuit balls out of the freezer, grabbed some pumpkin cake mixture and made a patty. I placed a ginger biscuit ball in the middle.

 

 I then wrapped the cake mixture around the biscuit and rolled it into a ball.
Once all of the cake was used up, I put them back into the freezer for another 3 hours, or until frozen fully.

 

To cover the cake truffles I used Renshaw Colour Melts in white. I simply dipped the cake truffles in and then set them onto baking paper. The chocolate sets really quickly because they are so cold from the freezer. You can also use white chocolate to cover them, but it creates a more yellowish appearance. To paint on the ghost eyes and mouth I melted a few blocks of dark chocolate and painted them on with a small paintbrush. I also painted ‘Boo!’ on a few of them too.

I was so pleased with the reaction I got for these! There were ‘wows’ all round, and they all disappeared in less than an hour. Even people who weren’t convinced about pumpkin were loving them. It was such a great feeling. The pumpkin and ginger flavours went together perfectly. Let me know if you make these and what you think!

I’m entering these spooky treats into this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by Cakeyboi. The theme is Black and Orange.

I’m also entering them into Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender & Lovage where the theme is Halloween & Bonfire Night Treats.

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Ghostly Gingerbread & Pumpkin Cake Truffles

Ingredients

  • 200 g Ginger biscuits
  • 75 g Butter
  • 115 ml Vegetable oil
  • 90 ml Liquid whole egg (or beaten eggs)
  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 200 g Pumpkin puree
  • 350 g Cream cheese
  • 300 g Renshaw Colour Melts in White
  • 6 squares Dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Start by making the gingerbread biscuit middle of the truffles. Whizz up the ginger biscuits in a food processor
  2. Melt the butter and mix it into the biscuit crumbs
  3. Take bits of the mixture and roll them into small balls, about the size of a blueberry. Place them onto a lined baking tray and put them in the freezer for 3 hours
  4. Then make the cakes. Mix together the vegetable oil, liquid whole egg, caster sugar and vanilla extract
  5. Then add the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and baking powder. Finally fold in the pumpkin puree
  6. Put the batter into 12 cupcake cases and bake them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. Leave them to cool fully. When the cake is cool, crumb it in the food processor
  7. Depending on how much your cake weighs, you need half the amount of full fat cream cheese. Mine weighed 700g so I used 350g cream cheese. Mix the cake crumbs and cream cheese together
  8. Get the ginger biscuit balls out of the freezer, grab some pumpkin cake mixture and make a patty. Place a ginger biscuit ball in the middle then wrap the cake mixture around the biscuit and roll the whole thing into a ball
  9. Once all of the cake is used up, put the cake truffles into the freezer for another 3 hours, or until frozen fully
  10. Melt the white chocolate, dip the cake truffles into it and then set them onto baking paper. Melt the dark chocolate and paint designs on with a small paintbrush

Pumpkin cupcakes recipe adapted from Marie Claire.

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Pumpkin Custard Donuts: GBBO Week #8

Pumpkin Custard Donuts: GBBO Week #8

We’re at the quarter finals now and the challenges are getting more difficult to really test the bakers. This week’s theme was advanced dough and for the first challenge the bakers had to make a sweet fruit loaf with an enriched dough. They could use any filling or flavour they wanted, the only rule was that no tins were allowed. The loaves had to be free form. Paul told us that enriched dough benefits from a slow prove as the butter, eggs and sugar that are added to the dough slows the yeast down.

Nancy hurried up here proving time by microwaving her dough. Paul was concerned about her doing this, but she had practised it at home with success. The dough certainly rose and her loaf was absolutely massive! It turned out ok, but was slightly underbaked. Luis added a cherry brandy soaked sugar cube to the middle of each of his fruit buns, which he used to make a tree shaped loaf.The judges thought it looked spectacular and it was also baked very well.

 

Paul Hollywood was on form and stalked the bakers as they decorated their loaves, provoking many shaky hands no doubt! Martha’s Spiced Plum loaf was a little underbaked, but the judges liked the flavour. Chetna made a Date & Walnut loaf which Paul thought had too much cinnamon in, but looked good and was baked well. Richard did very well and the judges had nothing bad to say!

The technical bake this week was Povitica, a Croatian swirled bread. Exactly what Chetna made in the first challenge, except shaped slightly differently. She was certainly pleased! It is an Eastern European cross between a bread and a pastry. All the other bakers immediately started wracking their brains trying to remember what Chetna did in the morning! Nancy was back to the microwave again to make the filling more pliable for spreading onto the dough, and Richard was right behind her copying the technique! Or as he called it ‘learning by looking’!

 

 

Chetna knew how long to prove and bake the dough for which was key to the recipe. Of course that information was not included in the recipe provided so she certainly had an advantage. I’m surprised they kept the challenge the same to be honest, as they obviously know what the bakers are going to make for the signature in advance. She came first, of course, Luis came second and Nancy third. Martha was fifth and Richard fourth.

 

One of my favourite showstoppers ever was this week – donuts! Who doesn’t like these delicious, deep fried, jam filled treats?! I’ve never wished so hard to be the chief taste tester in the tent. The bakers had to make two different types of donuts. I was so impressed with Luis’ Raspberry Mojito and Mudslide Donuts. Baileys is one of my favourite liquors and I would’ve taken care of most of these! Chetna made a South African inspired braided donut called a Koeksister which has potato in the dough.

Richard went for heart shaped Rhubarb & Custard Donuts and Toffee Apple Donuts, which the judges loved and Paul called ‘professional’. Nancy made half her donuts for adults by flavouring them with Limoncello, and the other half for children by decorating them with a familiar face. They were slightly irregular in terms of colour and a little dry, but had great flavour. Martha accidentally overproved her Passionfruit Curd Donuts which meant the were quite flat instead of puffed up.

Martha left the competition this week after coming last in the technical and overproving her showstopper. The level of baking talent and knowledge she has for a young girl is very impressive, and I think she will do well after the programme. Richard broke a record by becoming star baker for the fourth time!

This week I decided to make these golden deep fried Pumpkin Custard Donuts. I’ve made baked donuts before, but never the fried kind so I had to give it a go. They are a lot more involved and do take more time to make, but belive me the results are worth it!

I started with the pumpkin custard first. In a bowl I weighed out 112g granulated sugar, 35g plain flour, 25g cornflour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 pinches nutmeg and 2 pinches ground all spice.

In a pan I warmed 450ml whole milk and 2 tsp vanilla extract until it steamed.

Whilst it was heating I whisked up 6 egg yolks and 165g pumpkin puree.

I sieved the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and whisked to make sure there were no lumps. I poured in half the warmed milk, whisking as I poured.

I then poured the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk and heated it for about 4 minutes, continuously whisking, until it thickened.

Once thick I put it in a bowl and covered with cling film. I made sure the cling film was pressed right against the custard, so a ‘skin’ didn’t form. I put it in the fridge to cool down completely.

To make the dough I started by melting 150ml milk and 75g butter. I left it to cool until tepid, and added 2 tsp dried yeast and 1 tbsp caster sugar. I left it for 10 minutes, covered with a lid. Then I mixed in 2 beaten eggs.

I weighed out 425g plain flour and mixed in 1/2 tsp salt and 50g caster sugar.

I made a well in the flour and poured the wet mixture in.

I formed a rough dough and kneaded it for 10 minutes. It was pretty sticky so I oiled my hands.

I placed the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it and put it in a warm place for 2 hours.

After the first prove it had doubled in size nicely!

I split the dough up into equal pieces and rolled them into balls. I got 16 pieces. I covered them with loose cling film and tea towels and left them in warm place for the second prove. This took 1 hour 30 minutes.

They rose again nicely, but they did stick to the baking paper so I would dust some flour on it next time.

I set up the oil in a large jam making pan with a food thermometer attached. I used about 1 litre vegetable oil. I heated it slowly until it reached 350F/180C.

I tested a small amount of dough first to check the heat was ready, then I gently placed two of the donuts at time in the oil and fried for about 1 minute per side until dark golden brown.

I fished them out with a slotted spoon and put them on kitchen towel to cool down.

I used a piping bag to fill the donuts with the custard once they were completely cool. I punched a hole in the side and filled until the custard resisted or started to come out. I then iced the top with regular icing sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon and water.

One of my most popular bakes yet, these went down extremely well and my colleagues gobbled them up, I was breaking diets left right and centre! The donuts were very tasty, the cinnamon really came through and the dough was lovely and soft. You could fill them with anything you want, jam of course is the classic choice. It is a lot of effort to make these, so I don’t know if it’s something I’ll do again soon, but they are definitely worth it for a special occassion or an indulgent treat!

I am linking up again to Supergolden Bakes GBBO Bake Along.

Pumpkin pastry cream recipe from About.
 
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Pumpkin Custard Donuts

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 112 g Granulated sugar
  • 460 g Plain flour
  • 25 g Cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 450 ml Whole milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • 165 g Pumpkin puree
  • 75 g Butter
  • 150 ml Semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp Dried yeast
  • 50 g + 1 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 litre Vegetable Oil
  • 100 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Start by making the custard. In a bowl weigh out the granulated sugar, 35g of the plain flour, the cornflour, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice
  2. In a pan warm the whole milk and vanilla extract on a low-medium heat until it steams
  3. Whisk up the egg yolks and pumpkin puree
  4. Sieve the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Pour in half the warmed milk, whisking as you pour
  5. Then pour the mixture back into the pan with the rest of the milk and heat it for about 4 minutes, continuously whisking, until it thickens
  6. Once thick, put it in a bowl and cover with cling film. Make sure the cling film is pressed right against the custard, so a 'skin' doesn't form. Put it in the fridge to cool down completely
  7. To make the dough warm the semi skimmed milk and butter in a pan. Leave it to cool until tepid, and add the dried yeast and the 1 tbsp caster sugar. Leave it for 10 minutes, covered with a lid. Then mix in the eggs
  8. Weigh out 425g of the plain flour and mix in the salt and 50g of the caster sugar
  9. Make a well in the flour and pour the wet mixture in
  10. Form a rough dough and knead it for 10 minutes. It will be sticky so flour your hands and work surface
  11. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it and put it in a warm place for 2 hours, it will double in size
  12. Split the dough up into 16 equal pieces and roll them into balls, put them onto lined and floured baking trays
  13. Cover them with loose cling film and tea towels and leave them in warm place for 1 hour 30 minutes
  14. Pour the vegetable oil into a large pan with a food thermometer attached. Heat it slowly until it reaches 350F/180C
  15. Gently place two of the donuts at time in the oil and fry for about 1 minute per side until dark golden brown
  16. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and put them on kitchen towel to cool down
  17. Use a piping bag fitted with a nozzle to fill the donuts with the custard once they are completely cool. Punched a hole in the side with the nozzle and fill until the custard resists or starts to come out
  18. Mix the icing sugar and a pinch of cinnamon with enough water to make a smooth paste and drizzle over the donuts
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Baked Donuts

For my boyfriend’s Halloween party last weekend I decided to make donuts to feed the hungry guests. I got a Wilton donut pan for my birthday back in July and hadn’t used it yet, I was really curious about baked donuts (as opposed to deep fried donuts). I wanted to know what their texture was like, how they were made and most importantly, how they tasted! So in the spirit of finding this out, I made three different flavours: Vanilla, Pumpkin and Chocolate.

I used this recipe from Lakeland to make both the vanilla and chocolate donuts. 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 and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

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

I poured the batter into my donut pan, almost filling each ring. baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. As I hadn’t made them before I just used my best judgement on this. I pressed the donuts quickly with my finger and if they sprang back I knew they were done. I used a spoon to gently tip them out.

For the icing I mixed 100g icing sugar with water until a thick paste formed. You don’t want it to be too runny as it will slip right off the donuts so add the water slowly. I also added some orange food colouring for that Halloween feel, but you could add some vanilla seeds or any colouring you want depending on the theme you’re going for.

I dipped the donuts into the icing, and also used a spoon to smooth the icing on and neaten it. Before the icing sets, add your sprinkles! Then leave to set before serving, which doesn’t take long.

For the chocolate donuts I replaced 50g of the plain flour with cocoa powder for the donut batter, and replaced 30g of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for the icing. They were very rich and chocolatey, and the most popular donuts at the party!

For my third and final lot of donuts (and my personal favourite!) I used this recipe for Pumpkin Donuts as I adore pumpkin in my baking. I mixed together 3 eggs, 1 can of pumpkin puree (I use Libby’s), 270g caster sugar, 80ml vegetable oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1 tsp mixed spice.

I then added 225g plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt. I mixed well then poured the batter into my greased donut pan and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-18 minutes. The mixture made 15 donuts.

I made cinnamon icing for the donuts. Using the same method as for the other donuts, I added water to 100g icing sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. I made the cinnamon icing slightly more runny as I drizzled it over the pumpkin donuts. Wow these donuts were tasty!

Baked donuts don’t resemble fried donuts at all in terms of texture. Baked donuts are very light and moist, one thing I noticed is that these donuts released a lot of sticky moisture, they stuck to the plates I put them on and even the cooling rack. I’m not sure if this is normal for baked donuts, but it certainly didn’t affect the taste and I think it improved the texture. They were a huge hit with the party guests and I can guarantee I’ll be making baked donuts again!

The theme for this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by myself and Cakeyboi,  is ‘America‘. So I am entering this bake as donuts are a well known American food, and pumpkin is a popular American baking ingredient.

Baked Donuts (Vanilla & Chocolate)
 
 
Ingredients
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 175ml Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • 80g Cocoa powder
  • Sprinkles
 
Instructions
Put the plain flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a bowl (replaced 50g of the plain flour with cocoa powder for the chocolate donuts)
In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined and smooth
Pour the batter into a donut pan, almost filling each ring. Baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. Use a spoon to gently tip them out onto a cooling rack
For the icing mix 100g icing sugar with water until a thick paste forms (replaced 30g of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for the chocolate donuts)
Dip the donuts into the icing, and before the icing sets, add your sprinkles! Then leave to set before serving
 

Baked Donuts (Pumpkin)
 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 can of Pumpkin puree
  • 270g Caster sugar
  • 80ml Vegetable Oil
  • 4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 100g Icing sugar
 
Instructions
Mixed together the eggs, pumpkin puree, caster sugar, vegetable oil, 2 tsp of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and mixed spice
Add the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well
Pour the batter into a greased donut pan and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-18 minutes
Add water to the icing sugar and 2 tsp of the cinnamon. Make it runny enough to drizzle it over the pumpkin donuts
 
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Pumpkin Pie

Welcome to the pièce de résistance of my pumpkin baking, the crowning glory you might say – Pumpkin Pie! This is my third year of making this pie. The past 2 times I used ready made pastry, with varying results. I feel like I have mastered pastry now after making Key Lime Pie and Tarte Tatin successfully, and can say with confidence that I don’t think you’ll find me buying ready made shortcrust ever again! I don’t remember exactly how I made the filling each year, probably different ways each year knowing me! But this year it had a lovely custard flavour and was very yummy. Pumpkin pie is ‘Marmite’ food – you either love it or you hate it!

There are several different ways to make short crust pastry (or you can buy it ready made). I chose this method because I have used it before and it’s worked really well for me. I started with 350g plain flour and 170g butter.

I rubbed the butter into the flour with my hands until it formed fine crumbs, as above. This is quite a relaxing thing to do as it takes a few minutes.

I added in two eggs and used an ordinary cutlery knife to bind the mixture together. Once it started to formed a dough I got my hands in there to form it into a ball.

I kneaded this briefly for a couple of minutes on a floured surface until it looked like the above photo. Smooth and well combined. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile I made the filling by slowly heating 275ml double cream, 75g soft brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. You can also add 1/2 tsp cloves or allspice if you have it.

In a separate bowl I beat together 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. I poured the heated cream mixture into the eggs, whisking as I poured bit by bit. I then added a full can of pumpkin puree (425g) and whisked till combined.

I rolled out the pastry till it was bigger than my loose bottomed pie tin (about 22cm).

I placed it in the tin, pressing around the sides. Make sure the edges hang over a little as the pastry will shrink slightly. I used a fork to pierce all over the bottom to prevent air from getting trapped.

Line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans (or dry rice if you don’t have baking beans).

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges, I then removed the baking beans and poured in the pumpkin filling.

I popped the pie back in the oven for about 35 minutes. Until the filling firms up and goes a nice rich orange colour. I roasted a few pumpkin seeds in oil and used them to decorate the centre of the pie. You can decorate any way you want.

I also made these cute little ‘taster’ pies with leftover mixture and pastry. These are best done in a cupcake baking tray, but there wasn’t one to hand at the time so these silicone cupcake cases were a handy replacement.

And so ends my pumpkin baking fun. I’ve used all the pumpkin puree I bought this year, with some great results, and new discoveries about baking with pumpkin. I’m ready to move onto other Autumn baking now and maybe even start thinking about…dare I say it…Christmas baking!

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Halloween Cupcakes

 

I love celebrating Halloween and I think it’s a great time of year! This year my boyfriend held a party at his flat and I decided to make some cupcakes for the guests. I dressed up as Poison Ivy from Batman, also attending were the Donnie Darko rabbit, Bat Girl, various Zombies and some animals too! We also carved pumpkins which is messy, but very fun. I have a stencil kit and a carving kit which is what we used to get the cat and spider patterns above. My boyfriend also made toffee apples and covered his flat in cobwebs, fake spiders and ‘blood’ spattered sheets – it looked very creepy!

I started by sifting 1 cup plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, into a bowl, and also added 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.

I added 60g butter cut up into cubes and rubbed it into the flour mixture until it formed fine crumbs.

In a separate bowl I mixed 1 heaped cup of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1 egg, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. You can also add 1/2 cup of dried fruit (sultanas, raisins or cranberries) if you wish. I chose not to.

I then folded the pumpkin mixture into the flour until it was just combined.

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes in a muffin tray, but will make more if you use a smaller fairy cake tray. Make sure to only fill the muffin tray half full, otherwise you will run out of mixture. I filled the tray with mixture. In a bowl I mixed 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg and sprinkled it over the top of the batter.

I baked on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes. Until lovely and golden brown.

I made cream cheese icing using 170g butter, 340g icing sugar and 4-5 tsp cream cheese. I mixed together the butter and icing sugar first, then added the cream cheese bit by bit until I got the consistency I wanted. I recently purchase a large open star nozzle from JaneAsher.com, if you would like to create the same effect here is the link for the nozzle I bought.

 

I piped the icing onto each cake and then added an edible Pumpkin head decoration which I bought from Top Tier cake decorating shop in Sale Moor.

 

I also made 12 chocolate cupcakes for those that may be unsure about pumpkin (it turns out there are people that don’t like it!). I made a simple chocolate sponge by weighing 2 eggs, and matching the weight of my flour, sugar and butter. I creamed the sugar and butter together first, then added the eggs and finally folded in the flour. I then added 55g cocoa powder and about 3 tbsp evaporated milk leftover from the pumpkin cupcakes to balance out the consistency.

I also baked these on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes.

To make the chocolate icing I used 170g butter, 255g icing sugar and 85g cocoa powder. I used the same method as before, adding 4-5 tsp cream cheese until I got the consistency I wanted.

I again used my open star nozzle to pipe the chocolate icing on the cupcakes once they were fully cool.

 

 

 

Finally I added some ‘ghost and bat’ decorations that I got from Aldi a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

I safely transported the cupcakes to the party in a cupcake carrier. And then they were all eaten up by a variety of ghosts and goblins! I got some great comments about the cupcakes, I am so pleased with the icing nozzle and love the professional effect it gives!

The pumpkin cupcake recipe is from The Pioneer Woman.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies

Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies

I absolutely love baking with pumpkin, and you may never have thought of mixing it with chocolate, but trust me it tastes so good! These brownies are the ultimate gooey chocolate treat, and swirled through them is creamy spiced cheesecake. This recipe has taken a couple of tries to get right, but I’ve definitely perfected it. The brownies just melt in your mouth, and the cheesecake swirl is full of Autumn flavours like cinnamon and ginger. Make sure you use pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling (which is already pre-spiced and sweetened). You can easily find it in the USA, and in the UK you’ll find it in the American section of the supermarket.

To make the cheesecake batter I whisked together the cream cheese, caster sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg until smooth with no lumps. Then I set it aside to make the brownie batter.

In a pan I melted together the dark chocolate and butter, then took it off the heat.

In a bowl I whisked together the eggs and light brown sugar.

I poured in the melted chocolate, whisking as I poured.

I added the plain flour, baking powder and vanilla extract, and whisked everything together.

Then I poured about two thirds of the brownie batter into a lined traybake tine, I added the cheesecake in blobs on top, then added the rest of the brownie batter in blobs on top.

Using a knife I swirled together the mixture to create a marbled effect.

I baked it on 160C Fan/180C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes.

I love how golden and autumnal the colour of the brownie is! These brownies are deliciously moist and the pumpkin spice flavour really comes out in the cheesecake layer. I never thought of mixing pumpkin with chocolate but it works so well. I gifted some of these to friends and took the rest into work for my lucky colleagues and they disappeared fast! They are amazing warmed up in the microwave and served with ice cream – heavenly!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies

Servings 16

Ingredients

For the pumpkin cheesecake

  • 250 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 85 g Caster sugar
  • 150 g Pumpkin puree
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves

For the brownies

  • 350 g Dark chocolate
  • 250 g Butter
  • 250 g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 130 g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/325F/Gas Mark 4, grease and line a traybake tin

  2. To make the cheesecake batter whisk together the cream cheese, caster sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg until smooth with no lumps. Then set it aside

  3. To make the brownie batter, in a pan on a low heat melt together the dark chocolate and butter, then take it off the heat

  4. In a bowl whisk together the eggs and light brown sugar

  5. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture, whisking as you pour

  6. Add the plain flour, baking powder and vanilla extract, and whisk everything together

  7. Pour about two thirds of the brownie batter into a lined traybake tine, add the cheesecake in blobs on top, then add the rest of the brownie batter in blobs on top on that

  8. Using a knife swirl together the mixture to create a marbled effect

  9. Bake it on 160C Fan/180C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes

  10. Leave to cool, then slice into squares and serve

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Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I absolutely love autumn baking! As soon as September comes I just want to put pumpkin and cinnamon in everything I bake! I make pumpkin pie every year and when I first started this tradition you couldn’t buy tinned pumpkin puree in the UK. Now it’s readily available I’m making lots of other pumpkin recipes too, like these yummy scones.

First I put the self raising flour, caster sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a bowl and mixed together.

Then I added the butter and rubbed together with my hands until it resembled breadcrumbs.

In a separate bowl I whisked together the egg, milk, and pumpkin puree.

I combined the pumpkin mixture with the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I placed it onto a floured service and roughly shaped it into a circle.

Then I used a knife to cut it into triangles. This recipe makes six scones, but you can double it to make more or cut smaller triangles or circles with a cutter.

I placed the shaped dough onto a lined baking tray and baked on 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas mark 7 for about 15 minutes.

They were beautifully golden brown. My kitchen smelt so good!

I put the scones on a cooling rack and meanwhile made the two glazes. For the base glaze I mixed the icing sugar with the milk then spread it over each scone.

For the spiced glaze I mixed the icing sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and milk together. I put the spiced glaze in a piping bad a made a zig zag pattern over each scone.

These scones are yummy and full of the taste of autumn and the festive season. They are so light and fluffy inside too!

The glaze and drizzle are so scrumptious and make the scones into a lovely sweet treat perfect with a hot drink. You don’t have to add the glaze, you could cut the scones in half and spread with butter instead (perhaps a spiced butter?), but it does make the scones look very pretty. You could also try adding dried fruit to the dough. I think cranberries or sultanas would go well.

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Pumpkin Scones

Servings 6

Ingredients

For the scones

  • 320 g Self raising flour
  • 90 g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
  • 85 g Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • 125 g Pumpkin puree

For the plain glaze

  • 90 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk

For the spiced glaze

  • 80 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • A pinch of Ground ginger
  • A pinch of Ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan/220C/425F/Gas mark 7, and line a baking tray with non stick baking paper
  2. Put the self raising flour, caster sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves into a large bowl and mix together
  3. Add the butter and rub together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and pumpkin puree
  5. Combine the pumpkin mixture with the flour until a dough forms, try to not to over mix it, once it's come together that's good enough
  6. Pat the dough out into a circle shape about 1cm thick on a floured surface
  7. Cut the circle into 6 triangles - or use a round cutter if you prefer and re-roll until all of the dough is used
  8. Put the scones on the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes
  9. Cool the scones fully on a cooling rack
  10. Make the base glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth with no lumps, use a spoon to gently spread it over the top of each scone
  11. Make the spiced glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth with no lumps, put it a piping bag and drizzle it over each scone. If you don't want to use a piping bag you can drizzle it over with a spoon
  12. Make yourself a tea or coffee and enjoy a delicious scone!

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

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My Baking Past

I wanted to write a post to introduce myself and talk a bit about my baking experience, share some old photos, and explain my baking habits and why I’m so passionate about baking! So here it is…

Let’s be clear – I am an amateur baker. I am still learning and I know I have a long way to go to reach the heights of even other amateur bakers. But I do this for fun and because I love it. Baking is one of the main things I think about day-in, day-out, I am a little bit obsessed!

Above is the earliest photo I could find (from 2007) of something I baked. It’s safe to say documenting my culinary work is not something I have done until recently. I have always enjoyed making things ever since Home Economics (now called Food Technology) at school. In particular fun and creative baking is what I enjoy the most.

I made these reindeer cupcakes in December 2010 after seeing the idea in a Morrison’s magazine. Something like this is really fun as it gets a great reaction from people. Why do a plain chocolate cupcake when you can put Rudolph’s face on it instead?!
 

I remember trying pumpkin pie from a school friend’s mum who was American. I must have been about 9 years old. I have always remembered how good it tasted. After much searching round supermarkets for canned pumpkin without success, I found the technique for making the pumpkin puree from scratch. In 2010 I created the above pumpkin pie and I was extremely pleased with the results!

Showing off my 2011 Halloween pumpkin pie! I used ready made frozen pastry and had some severe problems with it, ending up with a big hole the bottom of my pie. It didn’t happen the year before so I was confused. My baking is not without trauma, I regularly experience problems and have to improvise! Or the problems happen because of my improvising!

And mini pumpkin pie tarts I made with leftover mixture. I was determined my pumpkin puree would not go to waste! It is hard work and time consuming turning a large pumpkin into soft bake-able puree. But totally worth it for this delicious sweet pie.

Easter 2011 and a variation on the reindeer cakes provided me with these super cute bunny rabbit cupcakes. I had some trouble with my icing on these as you can probably tell!! Icing is a problem for me, I always make it too ‘wet’ – it’s something I am working on correcting.

Not exactly baking…but I couldn’t resist making my own Easter eggs from silicone moulds! Of course I had to add the extra twist of mixing two types of chocolate!

My housemates loved these chocolate orange cakes! I live with 5 people at the moment and they are the continued lucky recipients of my baking experiments. I remember getting a lot of praise for these earlier this year. Definitely a huge success.

Banoffee pie – this is the most simple thing I have ever made but creates the most delicious results! My first time doing a biscuit base. You will notice that the majority of things I make are for the first time! I rarely repeat my recipes, trying new things is just too exciting to resist!

Foccacia bread was my first ever time baking bread! I made it too thick and the middle bottom part of the loaf was still dough. It was a shame, as it looks so perfectly golden on top. But the cooked parts tasted really good, and dough or not, it all got eaten!

‘Burger’ cupcakes. A friend of mine went to Iceland and took a photo of this fabulous idea. I searched the Internet and found several recipes and variations. In the end I came up with the above, a vanilla cupcake for the ‘bun’, chocolate brownie for the ‘burger’, coloured butter cream for the ‘cheese and lettuce’, and finally a sprinkling of sesame seeds creates the burger effect. Some people were rather confused when they took their first bite!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my baking past and seeing what I have unsuccessfully and successfully made before. If you would like recipes for any of the above leave a comment and let me know!

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