Golden Snitch Brownie Bites!! {Happy Birthday Harry!}


I made brownies from a box. But you could make your own; delicious brownie recipes can be found here. When the brownies were cooled, but still warm, I removed them from the pan, cut off the crusts and rolled them into 1-1 1/2 in balls.  Then I dipped them in the gold candy melts. I inserted the wings on either side and sprinkled them with the gold and iridescent sprinkles. (See how to below). Let them cool and enjoy!!
 Happy birthday Harry! Love, Janet


I tinted white candy melts with yellow, a dab of orange, a tiny drop of red and brown. I asked the kids for advice on when the color came out gold.  :) I drew wings on notebook paper then traced the wings on wax paper with the gold candy melt. 
The candy melt was in an icing piping bag with a number 1 Wilton's tip. I added a 'stem' so I could insert the wings in the snitch. Before they dried I sprinkled them with yellow and iridescent sprinkles!


Golden Snitch Bomb Cake {Happy Birthday Harry!}

Today is the big day! It's Harry's Birthday! It's also JK Rowling's birthday!
Happy Birthday Jo!!!


For Harry's big day I made him a snitch cake, like Mrs Weasley does in book 7. I played around with different ideas. But finally decided I wanted to use sugar paste as I concluded it would give me the look I wanted. Then I used a gold spray to make it golden! Candy melts for the wings and an edible black marker to outline. For the inside I choose a bomb cake recipe from Peggy's Boutique Baking. Make any full or half circle cake you want and decorate! 


I'm not sharing the recipe for this bomb cake is because I followed every ingredient and step to a T and it comes from  Peggy’s Boutique Baking. It’s very in-depth and has step-by-step photos on how to assemble this cake. However, this isn't how she suggested to decorate it.... 

I used pre-made aka store bought marzipan and yellow fondant to cover it. I first rolled out the marzipan (I didn't take photos of that) before covering with the fondant as seen below. I made sure I had enough of the fondant to create the lines of the Snitch. To finish off I sprayed it with edible gold spay paint to give it the shimmer and gold feel. I also used a black edible pen to line some of the lines to try and give it some depth.

The wings were the hardest part to make. I first traced the size and shape of the wings on a piece of baking paper. I melted down yellow candy melts and using a butter knife filled in my drawings... I used a bit of the melted candy melts to attach the wings on.

assembling 




The actual cake is a light sponge cake baked in a shallow cake pan and then shoved or layered inside a bowl then filled with butter-cream patisserie cream and alternated with fresh raspberries. It was delicious!! Anything for Harry! ;0) It's one of my first ever attempts at using fondant and making a bomb cake. It's probably not up to professional standards, but I am happy with the outcome. The first time I tried doing the wings it hadn't worked out so well. They were the toughest part of the whole cake. My daughter ate them off shortly afterwards. It was whole lot of fuss and worry, on my part, for nothing!

I hope you have enjoyed this weekend of yummy treats based on the world of Harry Potter! I know I had a lot of fun making and eating them!


If you have made Harry inspired anything (food, crafts, and so on) I’d love to see it!
Leave a comment with a link.
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unitedcakedom(@)gmail(dot)com 

Rock Cakes!! {Happy Birthday Harry}



Unlike Hagrid’s rock cakes, which were quite literally as hard as a rock, these are very light and delicious! Perfect accompaniment for a cup of tea!

There are lots of recipes for rock cakes out there, but after reading Marian Keyes intro to these cakes in her book Saved by Cake, I knew I had to use her recipe!

Rock Cakes: 
225g self-rising flour
1 tsp bakig powder
115g butter (about 1 stick)
115g sultanas
50g mixed peel
75g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp demerara sugar (for decorating)

Line a baking tray with baking paper and preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas6.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then rub in the butter (like when making pastry) until it resembles bread crumbs. Mix in the sultanas, mixed peel, caster sugar, and the egg. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Add the milk by the tablespoon if the dough is too stiff. Marian reminds us that you can always add more, but can’t take it out if you’ve added too much!
Using two spoons or a spoon and a spatula – one for scooping, the other for scooping off – place golf ball-sized mounds of the mixture on to the prepared baking tray, leaving space for spreading. Marian also reminds us to leave these looking rough, the whole point of calling them rock cakes is so they look like rocks!
Sprinkle the top of each mound with demerara sugar, and then bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes have gone golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat them up!! 

Tomorrow Harry will be 32!! Crazy. He's older then me! ;0) 
Have a look tomorrow to see what I've created for his special day! 




Sweet Pumpkin Pasties!! {Happy Birthday Harry!}



These Harry Potter treats are something I’ve wanted to make for a while. I call them Sweet Pumpkin Pasties because I used American pumpkin pie filling. Here in the UK Pasty are generally (not all the time) savory. So, I would conclude that “Pumpkin Pasty” would have been a savory pie filled with pumpkin, potatoes, swede, and maybe some other sort of root vegetables. Makes sense as they were on the lunch trolley and would have served as a respective meal.


The amount of pies the dough makes doesn’t equal the amount of filling. I was making them just for myself so didn’t need all the dough. You can do one of three things double the pie filling or cut the dough recipe in half. Or last but not least choose a different pie filling of your choice: Apple/blueberry/sweet potato (the possibilities are endless) to use up the rest of your dough.
I found this recipe for fried pies in the book All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray, I baked my pies instead, but the ingredients used in her recipe for the dough is the same. The pumpkin pie filling I improvised through my knowledge of pumpkin pie filling! Also noted the recipe is in America measurements... I know I used cups! Gasp horror! 
The smell of these wafting through the house while baking made my mouth water! My oldest mini-baker wasn’t too impressed with them, but the younger one loved them! I love pumpkin pie and so of course I really liked these. I liked how the crust to pie filling ratio was in favor of the dough! Enjoy!



Sweet Pumpkin Pasties: 

Make the filling. You will need - 

½ cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp butter
½ ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
pinch of cloves
1 tsp brown sugar and caster sugar

Mix all together and leave in the fridge until ready to use. 

For the Pie Dough:

One 8-ounce package cold cream cheese, cut into a pieces
2 sticks (1 cup) cold butter, cut into a pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour (alternative: use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Let the cream cheese and butter rest at room temperature before placing in a food processor, combine the flour and salt, then drop cut-up pieces of cream cheese and butter over the top. Pulse/mix until the dough is mixed, but not combined fully. Take the dough out to combine with your hands before dividing into 4 discs. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. 

On a floured work surface roll out the cold dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Don’t forget to flour your rolling pin.
With a biscuit cutter cut out as many circles as you can. Flour them lightly so they don't stick together, and place them on a plate. Gather up the scraps of dough and set aside.
Reflour the work surface and repeat with the remaining 3 discs. Gather up the scraps of dough and combine them with the other scraps; gently knead the dough together into one disc, wrap, and pop into the refrigerator. Leave for a little while in the fridge before rolling out the dough scraps and cutting out circles.

Clear the work surface of any sticky dough and reflour. Roll out the biscuit shapes to 1/8 inch thickness. Lightly flour and collect them on a plate until all the pastry rounds are now thin minipancakes.

Now you will need: 

1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for baking
Coarse or confectioners' sugar for dusting
- also a pastry brush and fork! 

Whisk together the egg and water. Clear the work surface and lay out as many pastry circles as you can. Place one heaping tablespoon of filling, but no more, on one half of each circle. Don’t spread. 

Take the pastry brush and brush the egg mixture around the edges of the half circle where the filling is. Then fold over the empty half, forming a half-moon or pod. Using a fork, gently press down on the edge. Set the pie aside. Repeat until all the pastry circles are filled, painted with egg wash, folded, and forked.

Heat the oven to 350F /175C. Spray a shallow baking pan with baking spray or rub a thin layer of butter along the pan to keep them from sticking. 
Use a pastry brush; coat both sides of each pie with some of the melted butter.
Arrange the pies evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, flip the pies over, then bake for 10 minutes more, until golden brown.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar once the pies are cooled. 






Butterbeer Float!! {Happy Birthday Harry!}


Everyone this weekend is all about the start of the Olympics; for me it’s about celebrating the greatest literary character ever! Harry Potter! 

His 31st birthday is this Tuesday (31st of July) and here at United Cakedom we’re going to celebrate with a weekend full of treats from Harry’s world!

Starting with Butterbeer!! I decided to do something a little different, as there are lots of Butterbeer recipes out there. I made mine a float!



Butterbeer Float

Serves 2
2-4 scoops of vanilla ice cream (or butterscotch if you can find it!)
2-4 tbsp of butterscotch sauce
1 can of cream soda

add a scoop (or two) to each cup

pour on butterscotch sauce (eyeball it) 

pour on top cream soda


It's a nice creamy rich taste of vanilla in cream soda with a hint of the butterscotch! Stating the obvious is something I am good at! :0)  Enjoy!! 

Keep a watch on this site for more Harry Potter treats!! Follow me on twitter (@unitedcakedom) or Facebook or Instagram for instant updates! 

The Baked Brownie!! {brownie quest}


This is the start of my {brownie quest} and what a great place to start! What am I talking about you may ask? Well, I would pass up any other sort of ‘bake’ for a perfect brownie. I have tried a lot of brownie recipes already that just are good or okay. So, I am going to give myself a monthly challenge! It’s a going to be a hard challenge, but someone must do it!

This is how it’ll work: I am going to bake a different brownie recipe every month and rate it on a scale of 1-5: one being awesome and 5 being terrible. (I hope to never encounter a 5!) I will also judge the brownie on texture as well as taste!

The plan is to learn how to allow everyone to link a brownie recipe to the post! I don’t think I will ever run out of brownie recipes, but I would love for people to share their ultimate brownie recipes!

I have a handful of brownie recipes already posted and I don’t plan to go back and give them a rating, but I may re-make some of them in the name of research!

I just had to have Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito after finding out  that it claimed to a recipe for the “Best Brownie as rated by American’s Test Kitchen.” That’s a pretty big claim!!

So, being the nice person that I am (along with a lot of other bloggers) I tested it out for you! 

the baked brownie:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces (325g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks/228g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. I used my brownie pan, which is just shy of this size, and it worked just fine.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, and then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into squares and serve.
Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
A few tips from Matt and Renato: use a dark unsweetened cocoa powder, make sure your eggs are at room temperature and do not over beat them in the batter, and check your brownies often as they bake. No one likes over baked brownies!

the verdict

I might not need to go on this brownie quest I just prattled on about above! These are very rich, very moist, and very good! I give it a 1 over-all, on texture, and on taste! 

Oh and just a side note for my UK bakers, it's an American book, based on an American bakery so you will need cups! Easy to buy anywhere now! 

Peanut Butter and Blueberry Snack Squares!!

We were going to a friends for a play date and felt I couldn't go empty handed. 

I pulled this recipe out of my box of recipes I've ripped out of a magazine. It was one of the small free ones from Sainsbury's. They were super easy to make and were super yummy! All the kids enjoyed them! Perfect for a snack as the title implies! 

If you don't have a baking tin to hand, use a similar size plastic container; or spoon into mini cupcake cases, put on a tray and set in the fridge! I used pink and white marshmallows so mine turned out a weird pinky color. 

50g smooth peanut butter
50g unsalted butter
200g marshmallows
60g porridge oats (I used rolled oats)
75g bag dried blueberries
30g dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
75g cornflakes

Line a 20cm square cake tin with clingfilm. Put the peanut butter, butter, and marshmallows in a large saucepan. Warm over a low heat, stirring until melted. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the oats, dried blueberries, peanuts, and cornflakes to the melted butter mix in the pan, and mix well until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the lined tin, and press down to flatten. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour until set. Cut into squares and wrap in foil to transport. 


Welsh Cakes!!


Someone in my husband’s office requested these; who of course is Welsh! So, I accepted the challenge! His verdict was that they were good, but (there is always a but) they needed to be a bit thicker. I also forgot the sugar dusting (sorry!) they were sugar dusted once they arrived at the office! The flavor was there so need to work on thickness might need to get myself some rolling pin guides!!

The recipe is from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. It is my go-to baking book, can't recommend it enough! It has a little bit of everything!



Welsh Cakes: 
125g cold unsalted butter, cubed/diced
250g self-rising flour
75g caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon (optional; I added this in)
100g sultanas
1 large egg, beaten
7 ½ cm crinkled round cutter

Rub the butter into the flour as if you were making pastry, then stir in the sugar spice(s) and dried fruit. Add the egg to make soft but not sticky dough. Form a disc, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of about ¾ cm (no idea what my width was…) Use the cutter and cut out cakes; you will need to re-roll etc… but should be a problem. Preheat your unoiled griddle or cast-iron frying pan and cook the cakes for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to a cold plate and sprinkle with caster sugar. (I missed this part and the receivers commented on it! Oops! I was in a hurry!) 



note: the Welsh Dragon picture comes from a site that sells Welsh Air. WTF?!? I should bottle the air in Berkshire..... 

Banana Cupcakes!!


I was never much of a crier, until I had babies… my hormones have been in chaos ever since! So, today I told myself I wouldn’t cry.

I haven’t yet. Maybe I won’t and I will hold all the tears until September when Mini-Baker is off to her “big girl school.”

Today is her last day of pre-school and for their party I signed up for fairy cakes! I made banana cupcakes in fairy cake cases. There is a difference. This recipe would normally make 12 cupcakes I managed 30 fairy cakes!

Now that it is officially summer time, as school is finally done, we need the weather gods to give us some sunshine! I won’t hold my breath! So, if you’re in England and holed up in your house you can make these!!

cupcakes:  
100g unsalted butter, room temp.
175g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp banana extract (optional)
2 (m) eggs, room temp
300g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
½ salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
140ml buttermilk
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas4 and line your muffin tin.
  2. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and banana extract (if using, I didn’t) for 7 minutes, or until light and fluffy!
  3. Add the eggs one by one, mix for about 2 minutes
  4. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients: flour, b.powder, bicarb, salt, and g.cinnamon.
  5. Mix into the butter mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Add the buttermilk and bananas and mix for a further minute
  7. Divide into your paper cases in your lined tin and if you are making cupcakes bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. If you are making fairy cakes, like I did, only bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. NOTE: be aware that the bananas in the cupcake could cause a toothpick to come out a bit wet so check a few cupcakes!
  8.  Out of the oven transfer to a rack and leave to cool before icing!
frosting:
125g unsalted butter, room temp
300g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp clear honey

  1. Cream the butter in the mixer until light and fluffy I found this hard, as it wasn’t enough butter for my mixer to mix properly. You may want to use a hand mixer for this icing!
  2. Add the icing sugar, milk, and honey and mix for 2 minutes until well blended.
decorating:
chocolate covered banana chips
or
3 small bananas and 12 tsp honey

  1. I piped my frosting on, but you could also use a palette knife!
  2. I then added a chocolate covered banana chip! The recipe suggests a couple of sliced bananas covered in a tsp of honey (1 tsp for each cupcake) remember if you make fairy cakes you could use less.

I took this recipe from Love Bakery: Cupcakes from the Heart by Samantha Blears

I shared these on Homemade Hooiser's Cupcake Tuesday!!
Button on the side bar! 

Janet made Martha's Roasted Banana Cupcakes if you're looking for an alternative!! 

WorkHouse Coffee Company, Reading Berkshire {bakery tour}

The WorkHouse Coffee Company (10-12 King St. Reading RG1 2HF) has been on my radar for a while and today I finally made a visit! 


The nice young woman behind the counter was American, I am terrible as I don't hear accents. I had no idea until she said something about "us Americans" and I was like "oh you're American??" She replied "no I just speak with this accent" and then I sheepishly apologized for not really hearing accents any more. 


Once when I worked at a bank I had an American family closing an account because they were moving back to the states. They were asking me the usual questions: where are you from? what are you doing here? and so on. They said they were moving back and again I hadn't even noticed their accents. At that time I covered it up smoothly, but I'm not always so lucky. I just don't hear the difference if people are speaking English to me. Maybe there is something wrong with my brain. Anyhow my thoughts on the place.... 


I love the feel and look of this coffee house it's comfortable and rustic. Here check it out: 




I had a blondie; it was very tasty but a bit big for my mid morning coffee! :0) Accompanied by an iced latte! It was actually warm today so it was suitable! I could find myself visiting this coffee place on a regular basis!! 

Found this video on YouTube check it out! 
Happy Birthday

Today is my beautiful sister, Janet's, birthday! 
She loves to bake just as much as I do!! 
Instead of starting her own blog we decided it would be easier to share her bakes with everyone on here! 
Everything that is posted on a weekend (Weekend Baking: started a few weeks back now) is made by her! 
So, why don't you pop on over to the United Cakedom Facebook page and say happy birthday! 

This is the quote she sent me on my birthday so I only see it fitting to post it for her today!
Happy Birthday I love you and hope you have a great day! xoxo Lisa  

Blackberry Crumb Bars!!

I made these bars after my husband came home with a bunch of fresh berries. He loves blackberries because they are a little sweet and yet very tart. This bar recipe is perfect because the crust is sweet and buttery and holds up the blackberries very nicely. Because of the short baking time, the blackberries hold their shape and you bite into tangy berries in each bite. The tart juices mix with the buttery crust and caramel-y crumb topping for a truly fabulous summer treat! I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website. ~ Janet

Blackberry Crumb Bars:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, and 1/2 cup (1 stick), room temperature, plus more for pan
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
½ cup packed light-brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 containers (5 ounces each) blackberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter and flour paper, tapping out excess.
  2. Make topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; add 1 cup flour, and mix with a fork until large moist crumbs form. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly in pan; sprinkle with blackberries, then chilled topping.
  4. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares




Martha said, "Sprinkle blackberries on top." The OCD in me lined them up! :) 



note:
While you prepare the cake, refrigerate the crumb topping. This will help give it a nubbly texture once baked. To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

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