Happy Birthday Mr Knightley!! {Chocolate & Vanilla Cupcakes}

Birthday's always should be celebrated. It doesn't have to be a huge party or even a party at all, but everyone's birth should be recognized and celebrated.

Today is my husband's 32nd birthday and I writing this post to not only share the amazing cupcakes I made him, but to wish him a very Happy Birthday from my very public corner of the internet!

When it was my birthday growing up I always got to choose what we'd have for dinner. As did my sisters on their birthday's. I have carried that on now with my little family. Mr Knightley asked for lasagna as his birthday dinner. He calls it Lisagna after me because he thinks it's pretty amazing and original. (It's not it's from and Annabel Karmel cookbook originally, but I have adapted it to suit our tastes over the years.

Of course a birthday isn't a birthday with out cake! The flavor/theme is also chosen by the birthday boy/girl. His choice was once again a chocolate sponge with vanilla frosting. It's what he wanted last year too. Although last year I did a layer cake and this year I made cupcakes as they are easier to get rid of share.



The recipe for these cupcakes come from my newly acquired cupcake book by Peggy Porschen. They are her famous Chocolate Heaven cake with a delicious vanilla frosting! 

What is your favorite cake/frosting combination?

notes: Mr Knightley's (see the about me tab above if you'd like to know why I call him Mr. Knightley (Jane Austen's Emma)) 2012 birthday cake & 2013 birthday cake & Birthday's Past; Peggy Porschen's cupcake book review;

Peggy Porschen cupcakes {book review}

Cupcakes never will go out of style. My theory is based on the fact that when I need to take a bake somewhere I always think of cupcakes first. Here are my top 5 reasons for loving cupcakes:

  1. They can be easily or simply decorated and still look cute.
  2. They are individually wrapped.
  3. They are the perfect amount of cake without being too greedy.
  4. The flavor combinations are endless.
  5. They are great for kid’s parties & fancy adult parties.

When I saw that Peggy Porschen was releasing a book titled Cupcakes I knew I was going to get a copy as soon as possible! I loved Boutique Baking and had great success baking from it I knew I couldn't go wrong with this new addition.

It’s only a little book, you can fit it in a handbag easily, but it has 25 great looking cupcake recipes! Each one is paired with a frosting and decorating tips, but feel free to mix and match to your tastes!


Here are the cupcake flavors included: Chocolate Heaven, Sticky Toffee, Red Velvet, Chocolate Raspberry Heart, Strawberry & Champagne, Lemon & Raspberry, Black Forest, Vanilla Chiffon, Strawberries & Cream, Banoffee, Pecan Pie, Carrot & Walnut, Eton Mess, Apple Strudel, Gianduja, Salted Caramel, Tiramisu, Toffee Apple, Mulled Wine, Lemon Meringue, Sugar Plum, Spiced Pumpkin, Cosmo, Pink Marshmallow, and Gingerbread.


Several of these have appeared in Boutique Baking and I have made the Chocolate Heaven and Sticky Toffee cupcakes before and they were both amazing. I can’t wait to try out the other recipes.


I am mostly looking forward to the Apple Strudel, Salted Caramel, Toffee Apple, Mulled Wine, Spiced Pumpkin, and Gingerbread. Can you tell that I am prepped for autumn and winter?? This little book would make a great stocking stuffer or a just because present!

It’s books like this that will insure the cupcakes’ place in the baking world. Thank you Peggy for keeping cupcakes stylish!

Chocolate Heave Cupcakes 
notes: Peggy Porschen cupcakes can be found in Peggy Porschen Parlour in London or in the online store, Amazon UK, and major book retailers. My copy was provided for me by the publishers please see the contact/policy tab above for further information. My review of Boutique Baking & my visit to Peggy’sParlour

I called them "wonderful" so they said Wonderful - if you insist

Fudge is a wonderful thing.

I have nothing to back that up with except that it is. Those who disagree well, go right ahead. I think fudge is loved by many and doesn’t need to defend itself against the non-fudge lovers.

Muffins are also wonderful.

Mostly eaten for breakfast where I come from they don’t get the spotlight very often. They are just so easy to make and so versatile that I am surprised we don’t see more of them.

When I had decided I wanted to make muffins, I had also decided I didn’t want a breakfast muffin. You know the fruity or oaty or disguised as healthy muffins. First I thought toffee or caramel or something like that.

The "something like that" turned out to be fudge. Fudge has a lot of cousins in the confectionery world! Such as toffee, Scottish Tablet, caramel, taffy, butterscotch etc... They are all made in a similar manner with similar ingredients and turn out similar when set. However they are not the same!

I choose Thornton’s Vanilla Fudge because it is one of those treats I buy myself whenever I’m in town. Their fudge and their chocolate covered Brazil nuts so good! I happened to have some sitting in my cupboard, kind of random, but not really in this house! So, into the muffins it went! The fudge not the chocolate covered Brazil nuts there weren't any of those left! 



Vanilla Fudge Muffins:

300g self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g golden caster sugar
100g Thornton’s Vanilla Fudge or other flavor, cut up into little pieces
125ml milk
100ml sour cream
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
60g butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven 200C/gas6. Line a muffin/cupcake pan.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl before adding the sugar. Then add the chopped up fudge. In a jug or medium bowl lightly beat together the milk, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Then gently stir in the melted butter before pouring into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined and spoon or using an ice cream scoop fill the lined pan.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool a while before devouring. Everyone knows muffins are best eaten warm!



I’m glad I settled on fudge for these muffins as they came out wonderfully! They are definitely not breakfast muffins!

notes: I’m sorry I didn't go into how fudge/toffee/caramel etc… are different. If it were something you’d like to find out buy a bunch of all the different confectioneries and have fun comparing and contrasting! Thornton's is a great place to start! I do recommend using good quality fudge like Thornton’s Vanilla Fudge or whatever flavor takes your fancy! Chocolate covered fudge or run raisin would go well in these muffins too! The fudge used for these muffins was provided for me; please see my contact/policy tab above for more information. Recipe was adapted from Baking Magic by Kate Shirazi

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes to Smooth Out the Bumps

The majority of the time life runs pretty smoothly, everyone is happy. Then there are those times that things aren't so smooth.

In fact they are pretty bumpy and sometimes the bumps turn into hills. However if you ride out the bumps hopefully they will eventually smooth back out again.

Baking has taken a back seat to all the bumps and so it’s been a bit quiet on here lately. 

Recently I made Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for a much needed girls’ night in with two of my best girlfriends.

These cupcakes have been on my To Bake list for ages. The list is forever long and there were a few things more pressing, but I wanted something that was comforting and reminded me of home.

Cinnamon is just a warm and comforting spice.

Snickerdoodles are a sort of sugar cookie coated in cinnamon sugar; they are one of my all time favorite cookies! If you search them on my blog you will see I have tried several different recipes and make them over and over again. So, much to the point I considered calling my blog “Snickerdoodle Dandy” at one point. I’m glad I didn’t.

Point is I should have made these cupcakes ages ago! They were exactly what I needed and my friends thought they were wonderful too! I have a feeling they will be made again and again in this house!

Things should pick up on here again this week and next so stay tuned! 



notes: My sister Janet made these back when my blog was in it’s infancy and has been on my case to make them as her family love them!; recipe can be found in Martha Stewarts Cupcakes book and on the website; Snickerdoodles on United Cakedom; I talked about being a Happify Pioneer here - it's a great site to help you see what is right in front of you.

Best of The Great British Bake Off! {Clandestine Cake Club}

This month's theme for Reading's Clandestine Cake Club was the Best of the Great British Bake Off! It was open to cakes from the show, contestants, presenters, and so on. 

I have Edd Kimbar's first book, both of Jo Wheatley's, and John Whaite's new book plus a couple of the GBBO books that accompany the show. 

In this case having too much choice was a bad thing. I couldn't decide on anything! In the end I went with a cake from Edd's The Boy Who Bakes, the Orange and Passion Fruit Cake: 


This is all that was left, but I am not complaining! I love going to cake club! However because we are all trying to eat as much cake as possible we only take very thin and little slices and I always end up with a lot of cake left over. Again not something I would normally complain about, but I tend to make cakes for cake club for me. I mean I tend to pick flavors and cakes I would like and I usually think of my family first. Therefore I want the cake to go because it would end up being me eating the rest of the cake! 

Here are the cakes from last night! I do apologize for the lighting, I really do need to invest in a better camera! 



Orange & Passion Fruit Cake: Edd Kimbar
Me

Toffee Apple Cake: GBBO Showstoppers

Chocolate: Mary Berry
Clara

Raspberry Ripple Cake: Edd Kimbar
Louise

Mocha Cake: Mary Berry

Battenberg: GBBO book
Jen

All the cakes were amazing! We really do have a talented bunch of bakers! I am looking forward to next month meet up! We were talking Halloween themed which is fine by me as it's my favorite holiday! 

notes: Find a Clandestine Cake Club near you! I do apologize for missing one cake from a late comer and I am also sorry that I failed to learn everyone's name! Please let me know and I will correct it! Also check out Jen's awesome blog here

Cake & Bake Show Thoughts

I let fate decide weather or not I was going to go to the second Cake & Bake Show. I couldn't decide on what to do. It's just that I didn't know what I wanted to get out of the show.

Currently I am not after any baking supplies and I am not into the decorating side of cake making. I mean I like simple decorations, sprinkles and glitter etc... but fondant isn't something I get excited about. Therefore, I don't need a lot of decorating tools and what not.

Then they don't have online when things are and who is talking or have demonstrations. If they do I couldn't find it so please correct me if I am wrong. Therefore I wasn't sure when to go and who I'd see.

As I couldn't decide I thought I'd just let it go this year and reconsider next year. Then I was having a lazy morning hanging out on Twitter and Cupcake Heaven Magazine were giving away a ticket to the show if I only retweeted the tweet. So, that's what I did and I won!

Then I went! I just walked around with my biggest mini baker. We saw Paul A. Young make a chocolate and pecan tart and talked to him briefly afterwards. Then we bought a few bakes from here and there, some sugar from Billington's Sugar Shake, and met some fun people!

Paul A. Young demonstrating his tart!

Ms Cupcake & Me!!

John Whaite handing out fudge at the Sugar Shake!


Dessert Tables newest trend for parties! 

Love the colors of this table!


notes: A Big Thank You to: Cupcake Heaven & Bonne Maman for my tickets and the lovely gift box full of Bonne Maman conserves and cookbook!

Strawberry & Coconut Ice Lollies!! {video}




Strawberry & Coconut Ice Lollies recipe

I love summer for various reasons and one of them is strawberries and another is ice lollies. Jubilee Strawberries is hosting a competition to make a video using one of their new recipes using their amazing strawberries!

It was tough to decide on what recipe, Strawberry & Rose Mousse Cheesecake Pots, Strawberry & Lemon Cupcakes, Strawberry Summer Pudding, and the one I picked Strawberry & Coconut Ice Lollies!

These are so easy to make! All you need is strawberries, coconut Greek yogurt, and icing sugar. Plus ice lolly molds and a stick blender or something to puree the strawberries. Then you freeze for a bit and enjoy! They are delicious and refreshing perfect for a hot day! I don't even want to start on how using fresh strawberries is a must! Mine were sent straight from the farm! 



notes: Check out all the amazing recipes on JubileeStrawberries official site; UK to USA Ice Lolly = Popsicle, Jubilee Strawberries sent me the strawberries to make these ice lollies please see my contact/policy page for more information. If you’d like an ice lolly I have plenty as it took me a few take to get it right! Not the ice lolly part! The filming/editing part! I thought this was going to be a bit easier then it was. I have a lot to learn if I want to start doing fun little baking and making videos again. So, please be nice! 

Golden Honey Madeleines (SO Range review & Treat Petite challenge entry)

A while ago I shared with you that Sainsbury’s had listed me in their list of favorite food bloggers. Well, they sent me a lovely hamper to try out some of the SO (Sainsbury’s Organic) Range.


The first thing that caught my eye was the honey. My little ones love a tsp of honey just to lick! That’s why I've been trying to incorporate it into my baking a bit more. This honey is a sweet and fruity one as it says on the front the jar. If you’re wondering why I mention it, it is because there are many different flavors of honey.

With the Great British Bake Off in full swing I've been turning to my baking books from past contestants and the one that I turn to the most is Jo Wheatley’s Home Baking.

These Honey Madeleines have been on my baking to do list for ages and now seemed like the perfect time to try them out. They are amazingly light and spongy with a great honey taste. Thanks to the SO Clear Honey, which we have used on toast and to sweeten our porridge in the morning. 


Golden Honey Madeleines

100g self-raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
pinch of sea salt
2 large eggs
50g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp of honey + 2 tbsp for glazing
90g of unsalted butter, melted
edible gold sprinkle dust (I would say it’s optional, but then they wouldn’t be golden would they?)

Sift together the flour and baking powder add the salt and set aside. Whisk the eggs, sugar, and 2 tbsp of honey until pale and frothy in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture until just combined. Fold in the melted butter, cover and chill for at least an hour.

Before baking preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease the madeleine pan for easy release.

A piping bag works best, but if you like me don’t really want the fuss a dinner table spoon works fine. Using a tablespoon scoop out and fill each indention of the prepared madeleine pan about 2/3 full.

Bake for 5 minutes then reduce the oven temp to 190C and rotate the pan. Bake for a further 5 minutes until the centers rise and the edges are turning brown.

Once they are out of the oven glaze with the remaining 2 tbsp of honey. If they cool you will have to heat the honey slightly to make it glaze. Then sprinkle with gold sprinkle dust. Serve warm! Yum! And if you are like my girls you can have a little extra honey on the side to dip them in.





notes: Sainsbury’s Food Blogger List (no longer exists as of 31/1/2016); Jo WheatleyHome Baking review; #SOoraganic range has so much to offer I can’t wait to share what else I will make from my basket of goodies!; I am also entering these Honey Madeleines in Treat Petite a new blogging challenge hosted by two of my favorite food bloggers CakeyBoi and The Baking Explorer (this month's host). I hope to participate next month too! 


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