Chocolate Cherry Hot Cross Buns!

I thought it would be fun to try a new hot cross bun recipe this year! Seeing that chocolate and cherry are one of my favorite ‘chocolate &’ combinations ever, it didn't take long for me to decide to make these! I pick up magazines randomly never buying the same one every month, but one that I tend to buy most often is the Jamie magazine: I like the recipes, stories, and layout. I have always been a fan of Jamie Oliver, well I can't say always I should say since I moved to the UK. 

Anyhow… I am still a novice when it comes to bread/roll/bun baking. Think these took a while to rise for either or both of 2 reasons: 1. Cold kitchen it is always cold so moved next to pre-heating oven to get a better rise. 2. I didn't let the milk/butter mixture cool long enough before adding it to the dry ingredients which can kill the yeast. My bun rolling also needs serious work. I think I am worried about over kneading (also need to know if I’m kneading the “right” way) that I under knead. Oh and I probably could probably work on my piping skills too!

Overall these tasted delicious!! At the end of the day that is all that really matters!! Fresh out of the oven or put in the microwave for a several seconds with a light coat of butter! Like I already said I love the combination of chocolate & cherry so unless I messed them up completely or the recipe was off I was probably going to like them.

Apparently Sainsbury’s doesn't carry kirsch? I didn't feel like running around after one ingredient and Mr Knightley is allergic to orange juice so I used what was in kitchen: cherry juice (from cherry cola bundt cake) and Bacardi (love the stuff) to soak the cherries in. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Cherry Hot Cross Buns
from Jaime Magazine issue 37 March 2013

100g dried sour cherries
3 tbsp kirsch/orange juice or 2 tbsp cherry juice + 1 tbsp Barcardi
250ml milk
50g unsalted butter + extra for greasing
1 egg
2 tbsp cherry compote or jam
500g strong bread flour + extra for dusting
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
2 x 7g sachets dry yeast
75g milk chocolate chips
75g caster sugar + extra for glaze
1 tsp fine sea salt
50g plain flour
3 tbsp runny honey

  1. Soak cherries in your chosen “juice” over night. The following day, place the milk and butter into a sauce pan and heat until the butter is just melted. Cool slightly before whisking in the egg and compote. Set aside.
  2. Drain the cherries and mix well in a bowl with flour, cinnamon, cocoa powder, yeast, chocolate chips, caster sugar, and salt. Make a well in the mixture and pour in the milk mixture, use a fork to stir it all together until it forms soft dough! Turn out on to a lightly dusted work surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl and cover with cling film, keep it in a warm place for about an hour to rise or until it doubles in size. 
  3. Once it's raised, grease and line a baking tray or two, depends on your baking tray sizes. Knock back the dough, on a lightly dusted work surface, by kneading for about 2 minutes. Cut the dough in half and roll each half into sausages then cut each “sausage” into 6 pieces. Roll them into balls and place on baking sheets cover with cling film and let rise in a warm place for further 45 minutes. Mine took longer then that. Its really cold in the kitchen like I said above. 
  4. Once they have doubled in size preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Mix the plain flour and about 5tbsp of water until it makes a thick paste. Then pipe unto buns. Use a sandwich bag if you don’t have any piping bags and nozzles. I have them and I still used a sandwich bag. Pipe a cross on each one and then pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden. When the timer goes off check to see if they are golden-ish -hard to tell on a chocolate roll. Once they are out of the oven cool on a rack and make the glaze by gently heating the honey and 1tbsp sugar over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Generously cover each bun/roll with the sugar glaze. Cool before eating… or not!

notes: Jamie Magazine, last years buns

introducing My Mixtape! Usually when I'm baking I have music on so I thought I would start sharing my playlist. Since I grew up in the 80-90's and I used to record songs off the radio (music pirating at it's finest) to make mix tapes I thought that's what I would call this addition to my posts! Even though now I just download music off iTunes and I pay for it.....

Joss Stone: While You're Out Looking for Sugar
Bush: Glycerine
Bruno Mars: The Lazy Song
Foo Fighters: All My Life
Savage Garden: I Want You

Penguin Birthday Cake!!! {weekend baking with Janet}

My littlest one turned 5 this past week and she loves, I mean really loves penguins! So, I made her a penguin cake and cupcakes! This took ages and I'll be telling the truth when I say I don't want to see frosting and cakes for a while! Thank goodness the next birthday is mine in July!

I used a box mix for the cake/cupcakes and a jarred whipped cream frosting. Some of which I dyed black/orange/pink to frost 1 large cake for the family on the day and to frost 18 cupcakes for her classmates! She loved them! ~ Janet

My week: Froot Loop Cereal Bars & Brownie Fail

My Mini Baker has had a bit of a rough time of it lately. Less then a week ago she had an ear infection. As soon as she stopped the antibiotics she broke out in a spotty rash commonly known as chicken pox. Here in England they don’t vaccinate for chicken pox, believing that the body sets up a better immunity to it after having the actual disease. However as a mother who wants nothing more then to keep her child from any sort of suffering, no matter how impossible that is in reality, I think I would have much preferred her to have the vaccination.

As I have been busy giving out lots of cuddles and every 4 hours topping up on ibuprofen/paracetamol and taking care of a demanding 3 year old its no wonder I have not found time to visit my blog. I am putting essential 2 posts in one because I am short of sleep and lazy. 

Anyway I made these Froot Loop Cereal Bars for Mini-Baker’s lunch box, but they never made it. I found these Froot Loops at a local family discount store and I was a little to ecstatic for a cereal that isn’t all that. It was just because they are ‘American’ and I’m feeling a little homesick lately.

When I opened the box I was a little surprised to see such subdued colors! These are made with natural colors and flavors apparently. Maybe why they were for sale outside of an American grocery store? Who knows and really who cares?

Since there was no way I was going to eat them for breakfast I made them into bars. I can see now why most online recipes add a cup or so of Rice Krispies as well because the marshmallow just goes straight through all the holes and settles at the bottom! Nothing major, they still tasted delicious! There is a link in the notes at the bottom if you would like to make these for yourself! 

Then I was trying to make ‘Easter Brownies’ and I don’t even think I need words to describe this:

I used the wrong sized tin. I have never used self-rising flour in brownies so was not expecting it to overflow the way it did. If I had actually thought of it ahead of time, it makes sense, but I didn't think of it. Over confident baking that is. ;0] Here’s how to make them just use a different size tin! They were still tasty!

225g caster sugar
100g margarine
2 m eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g cocoa powder
50g self-rising flour
50g chocolate chips or smashed Cadbury Mini Eggs (which you can’t see in any of the pictures as they sunk to the bottom)

Pre-heat oven to 180C; Beat sugar and margarine together until light and fluffy, beat eggs and vanilla together before slowly adding to butter/sugar mixture; sift flour and cocoa powder together into the bowl and gently fold in until just combined. Then fold in chocolate chips or chosen add in, be creative, but be aware that different add ins will change the consistency and will alter the end result. Pour into prepared pan Make sure you use an 8in square pan! Not a 7 in circle….oops! Bake for 25-30 minutes and let cool for 1hr!

Better luck next time right? We all have days like this…. mamma said.

So, that is my week so far. As it’s Good Friday tomorrow I have all my ingredients ready for hot-cross buns… If they are made on Good Friday they will never mold, apparently. It will all depend on how my little ones are feeling. 

notes: chicken pox info; Froot Loops & Froot Loop cereal bar recipes here, here, and here; Mamma Said by The Shirelles; Easter Nests; last year’s hot-cross buns 

Apploffi Pie!! & book review {Food Glorious Food}

Food Glorious Food…what an aptly named book and series that shows us the food of Great Britain! After catching the program on TV I was very excited when asked to review the book. I read it cover to cover the day it arrived and I loved seeing the recipes from the episodes I've watched. I am equally happy that some of the recipes that didn't make it did you see those sausages in milk, belch!

The book is nicely organized by area: southwest, southeast, northeast, northwest, London, and the Midlands. I love the mix of what I've come to know as traditional British classics and recipes from other parts of Europe. Here is a very shortened list of what I want to make from the book.

Somerset Chicken
Devon Apple Cider Cake (picture)
Spiced Lentil Vegetable Cakes
Apploffi Pie (picture & recipe below)
Mummy Pie
Chinese Style Yorkshire Puddings
Baked Trifle (picture)
Brussel Sprout, Chestnut, & Coconut Soup
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Lemon Crunch Cake (picture)
Baked Greek Macaroni
Double Chocolate Ganache Brownies (picture)
Ellie’s Rhubarb & Ginger Crumble Cheesecake
Wobbly Worcester Rarebit
Terry’s Staffordshire Oatcakes (picture)
Star Pimm's Fruit Jelly

Growing up I always enjoyed having dinner at friend’s houses because they all cooked different family favorites. So, thank you to everyone involved with Food Glorious Food for inviting me for dinner in kitchens across Great Britain!

Apploffi Pie (slightly adapted) was the one recipe that I kept thinking of after the book closed. Apploffi Pie is a twist on Banoffi Pie that was handed down to Kate McCully from her father. I love apples in baked goods!! Oh and I love the cinnamon in the whipped topping!! Gorgeous! I love cinnamon too! I love apples and cinnamon together! It makes sense!

There was a subtle change made and that was the orange juice. I have said before that my husband is allergic to all citrus so to make sure he could enjoy this dessert too I used apple juice instead. I also just used a 395g can of caramel instead of using 400-600g of condensed milk heated to caramel. You will need the caramel to make the pie, but just note it's not listed below.

for the pastry:
250g (8oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
25g (1oz) icing sugar
125g (4oz) cold butter, cubed
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

To make the pastry: Mix flour and sugar together and then rub the butter in the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Work in the egg and yolk to form a dough, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to about the size of a 1 pound coin and line a 23cm (9in) loose-bottomed flan tin. I put my lined tin in the fridge for 15 minutes to help avoid shrinkage. Prick the base with a fork, and then line the pastry with crumbled grease-proof paper. Fill with baking beans or dried pulses/rice and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the grease-proof paper and whatever you used to blind bake with. Then return to the oven for another 5 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool. Then while the pie crust is chilling and baking and cooling get on with...

...the apple filling and whipped cream topping
1 large Bramley apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 Cox’s apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
50ml (2fl oz) orange juice or apple juice
50g (2oz) light muscovado sugar
300-425ml (14 ½ fl oz) double (heavy) cream
25g (1oz) caster (superfine) sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg to top

Place the apples, juice, and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until fruit is pulpy and quiet dry. Set aside until completely cold. Whip the cream with the caster sugar and cinnamon until it forms soft peaks. Now it’s time to assemble! Open the can(s) of condensed milk, which is now caramel, or open your cans of caramel and spread evenly over the cooled pastry case. Next spread the apples evenly on top and then spread over the whipped cream. Sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream and serve!

note: Food Glorious Food ITV and twitter; buy Amazon UK, for a free kindle sample check it out here & The Book People; check out this video if you want to make your own caramel.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake!! {weekend baking with Janet}

When I saw everyone on Facebook making cakes I didn't want to be left out so I made The Chocolate Chip Cake from The United Cakes of America by Warren Brown. The cake is listed under the state Massachusetts; where the Nestlé Toll House Cookie was created!

Ruth Wakefield is the creator of the Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie. The recipe is still printed on the back of the Toll House Morsels package today!Her and her husband owned The Toll House Inn, which was once located in Whitman, Massachusetts. It has sadly since burnt down, but there is a landmark. The land is now unfortunately home to a Wendy’s and a Walgreens.

The story goes that Ruth was trying to make chocolate cookies and thought the chips would melt in the batter and make the cookies chocolate. The story has been disputed saying that Ruth was an accomplished cook/chef and would have known that the chocolate wouldn't have melted. Either way she has become infamous with the discovery of America’s most iconic cookie: The Chocolate Chip!

The cake is surprisingly decadent and so amazing!! It tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. The Chocolate frosting in the middle is rich and so incredibly yummy!! I would highly recommend it!

So far, the two cakes I have made from this book has not disappointed! ~ Janet

Check out my Coca Cola Cake!
Information is a mix from the book and wikipedia. 
Recipe can be found in: The United Cakes of America by Warren Brown

I want you Cherry Cola Bundt Cake [Clandestine Cake Club recap]

Since the Clandestine Cake Club book has been published in February I have heard lots and lots about this secret cake club on all the social media sites and other blogs. So, finally I got around to finding one in my area! Just as I joined up a new event was posted and I emailed my host right away! This month’s theme, for the Reading CCC, was Bake Me a … Song.

This was a very good theme and I had a hard time deciding on a song/rhyme. I thought of a cookies and cream cake for the rhyme/song “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” Or a coconut and lime cake for that song that goes “…put the lime in the coconut and mix it all together…”

 I settled on “I Want You” by Savage Garden and made a Cherry Cola Bundt Cake. I maybe should have used "Lola" by the Kinks. Doesn't matter I'd have made the same cake! 

I had a really good night eating cake and meeting some lovely new ladies who also made some wonderful cakes! I was stuffed! Every cake was absolutely gorgeous! I know because I tried each one! Don't judge! 

Here is a list of the cakes that were made:

Louise - 'Milkshake' by Kelis. Cake: Strawberry Milkshake Cake
Rebecca G - Sweet & Salty' by Covenant. Cake: Sweet & Salty Cake
Lisa - I want you 'Cherry Cola' by Savage Garden. Cake: Cherry Cola Cake
Jen P - Peaches by Presidents of the United States Cake: Peach Cake
Fiona & Rebecca - Running up that Hill by Kate Bush. Cake: Chocolate Sponge
Jenny - Enter Sandman by Metallica Cake: Honey Cake with Honey icing & honeycomb topping
Marilena - Lemon Tree by Oasis. Cake: Lemon Cake
Katy - Lady Marmalade by Labelle. Cake: Chocolate Orange Cake
Bethan - Oranges and Lemons Nursery Rhyme. Cake: Orange and Lemon Cake

All the lovely cakes!!
And if you’d like to have a go at my bundt cake that will make you want to sing “oh I want you I don’t know if I need you, but ooo I’m dying to find out…” (sorry it had too...)! Enjoy!!

I Want You Cherry Cola Bundt Cake
adapted from Rootbeer Bundt Cake in Baked New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

2 cups cherry coke
1 cup cocoa powder
114g butter, (I used salted as it was in my fridge if you use unsalted add a full tsp of salt)
1 ¼ granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 ¼ baking powder (soda)
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs

Pre-heat oven 170C/325F grease your bundt tin in you’re preferred way. I always spray with a non-stick spray and then lightly dust with flour then tap out all the loose flour. I have never had a problem getting my cakes out.
Melt the butter over a medium heat with the cherry cola and cocoa powder. Once melted add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Take off the heat and while cooling dry whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Lightly beat the eggs together before whisking them into the cooled butter mixture. Lastly gently fold the flour into the mixture - it will be slightly lumpy. Don’t over mix otherwise it could be tough. Pour batter into your prepared bundt tin, if you don’t prepare it will stick no if’s and’s or but’s. Bake for 35-40 minutes, mine needed the full 40! Rotate half way through. Use a skewer or toothpick or sharp knife and insert in the cake to test that it is done. Once it’s done let it cool completely before attempting to loosen it from the tin. I left mine for at least an hour before turning it out.

Cherry Cola Icing
2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp Cherry Cola
1-3 tbsp cherry juice
1-4 drops pink coloring (optional)

Whisk the icing sugar and the 3 tbsp until it’s a paste then add a tbsp at a time of the cherry juice until you get a pouring constancy. If you want it pinker add a couple drops of pink food coloring at a time until it’s the shade of pink you want!

notes: Clandestine Cake Club official site find a group near you!; CCC book Amazon UK & USA (kindle) and The Book People; Baked official site; Baked New Frontiers in Baking Amazon UK & USA; I want you by Savage Garden: Sweet like a chica cherry cola...

Peach Melba Cupcakes!!

These cupcakes were my entry to the Emerald Street Cupcake Challenge. I thought I had a pretty good chance of winning … that is until the amount of entries passed 1,000+! There were so many amazing cupcakes entered!

There were also so many entries that completely missed the point. I mean someone actually entered a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting dyed blue. Sometimes I worry about people. It was stated right in the rules that they were looking for new flavors. 

The five that were chosen as finalists were in my opinion just okay. As there was more then one person who entered similar flavors. I saw at least 2 or more Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcakes and the same for the American breakfast ones… I sort of feel bad for those who made a similar flavor cupcake to the cupcakes that won and they didn't win. Makes me wonder how they chose them.

Anyhow I do offer my congratulations to the winners, as there was some tough competition! I had a hard time deciding what to enter and in the end I decided on these Peach Melba Cupcakes… they were delicious.

How I Made Them: I used Hummingbird Bakery recipes from their first book. I adjusted the vanilla sponge recipe to hold canned peaches and used a little of the syrup in the batter. Then I filled it with the raspberry cream that usually tops their raspberry cream cheese brownies. Then I used the vanilla butter cream frosting and decorated it with a fresh peach and raspberry. Then from my Betty Crocker cookbook I made my own raspberry drizzle! Yum Yum!! I had a lot of fun with this competition and would enter again even knowing I didn't really stand a chance.

notes: to check out the winners visit The Emerald Street website no longer available (updated 2017); to buy the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook(s)

Red Nose Day Sugar Cookies!!

Today is Red Nose Day!!

Should I be ashamed to admit I have not seen any of the Red Nose Day programs on TV?? I did watch the Great British Bake Off Red Nose Day competition, which I thought, was fun. I have also bought the accompanying book as I have bought Jamie Oliver’s books in the past to support Red Nose Day. I have also bought the girls Red Noses as I do every year…but this year I was given an opportunity to actually bake for it, without having to organize my own event.

My father-in-law’s office was holding an in office bake sale with all proceeds going to Red Nose Day. A lot of the people in his office know I bake and so he asked if I could make some cookies.

I choose the Sugar Saucer recipe from Outsider Tart’s Baked in America as they are big American sized cookies and they are delicious. I rolled the cookies in red hundreds and thousands before baking and when I ran out of those I used some left over heart sprinkles. I saved the few cookies with hearts for my daughters lunch box. Shhhhh don’t tell. ;0)

Red Nose Day is a worthy cause that helps countless people across the UK and people in Africa better their lives. Sometimes giving can be hard when one is trying to make ends meet, but little things like baking cookies for a bake sale or buying a red nose for kids helps too!

to find out how you can get involved Red Nose Day Official site

Gypsy Tart!!

I love my girl’s nights in with my girls! Every time we get together I usually always volunteer for the dessert as it gives me an excuse to experiment with things my husband usually wouldn't like. My friends are basically open to anything! But, if it doesn't have chocolate my husband usually has a polite piece and that’s it.

My friend, Kim, had expressed to me once in passing how much she loved Gypsy Tart. I had never heard of it before. It was a real light bulb moment when I saw a recipe for it nestled in the pages of Eric Lanlard’s Tart it Up!. I had it booked marked for our next night in.

We finally managed to arrange a night in last week, where I finally got to make and try Gypsy Tart! It was lovely!! A very simple dessert with lots of depth! All the gypsy tart recipes I found online were very similar to this one. All it is is 1 can of evaporated milk whisked together with 300g dark muscovado sugar then poured into a sweet shortcrust pastry case.If you aren't making the pastry case yourself it’s a matter of minutes to get the pie sorted then a couple hours to chill. Channel 4 website has a recipe for a similar Gypsy Tarts recipe by Eric Lanlard (currently unavailable).

I'm showing this to you as it was the first time my crust has
turned out so well. Pastry hasn't been my friend really. 
Gypsy Tart was created in Kent: the story being a lady wanted to feed gypsy children that played in the fields near her home and all she had was a pie crust, evaporated milk and sugar. Who really knows? I do love the quote from Brave: “Legends are lessons; they rhyme with truth.” ~ Queen Elinor. I think it’s true for the stories of how certain food recipes have come about. Since I didn't grow up here, in England, I missed Gypsy Tart being on my school lunch menu. I read it was a regular on school dinner menus!!

What do you think of Gypsy Tart? Have you had it before? Made it your self? What’s the difference? I can’t compare, as the first time I've had it was when I made it! 

notes: you still don’t own a copy of Tart it Up! The BookPeople still have it at an amazing price. Or check it out on Amazon UK & USA; my review of Tart it Up! Wikipedia 

Everything is Not as it Seems Red Velvet Cupcakes!!

The title of this post is due to a book I recently read: Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown was chosen as this month’s Cupcake Book Club book. Kelly at American Cupcake in London runs the Cupcake Book Club, this is the 3rd time I've joined in.

Cupcakes at Carrington’s is Alexandra Brown’s first novel and the first of at least 3 “at Carrington” titles. There is a very clever story line with lots of twists, everything was not as it seemed. It’s the reason I named these cupcakes ‘Everything is Not as it Seems Red Velvet Cupcakes.’ Well, that and the main character, Georgie chooses red velvet cupcakes as her go to comfort food. There are a few ups and downs throughout the story that warrant Georgie visiting her best friend and owner of the café for a much needed sugar fix.

How could I make anything else, but red velvet cupcakes? I didn't just want to make a plain red velvet cupcake. So, to make them not as they seemed I filled them with Belgian Salted Caramels, there were 4, milk, dark, and white chocolates all filled with salted caramel.

I usually reach for my Hummingbird Bakery book when a basic/classic recipe is needed, as they have never failed me. But when I reached up I grabbed Lily Vanilli's Sweet Tooth. There was definitely a subtle difference between the recipes, but a good one. I was pleasantly surprised in the lightness of the cake. They were spongy and moreish. Is that word still being used?

Anyhow…I frosted them with a vanilla buttercream instead of the usual cream cheese frosting, as that is how they are sold at Carrington’s Café. Then to emphasis the salted caramel, I made my own salted caramel sauce to use as a drizzle.

notes: Kelly @ American Cupcake in London; CupcakeBook Club; follow those links to join in as there is still time or to see what everyone else has made! to buy Cupcakes at Carrington’s: Amazon UK & USA (Kindle); Alexandra Brown; Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth: Amazon UK & USA (Kindle); for Salted Caramel Sauce from Mary at Bare feet in the Kitchen 

Coffee Morning!! with aromo espresso & Jaffa Cake Cupcakes!!

Every week or so my mom/mum friends and get to together to catch up over a coffee and cake or biscuits. As I was hosting and one of my friends expressed interest in the Jaffa Cake Cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home that is what I made! I served it with aromo Espresso Made Easy.

I was contacted by aromo and asked if I’d like to try some of their Coffee Pods for my coffee mornings. I unfortunately don’t own a coffee maker that uses pods… maybe one day! So, I was sent their Premium Espresso Ground Coffee. It is their most popular coffee BOUNCE. Aromo specialize in ESE Coffee Pods. 

I like my coffee, but some of my friends prefer tea and were concerned about coffee tasting bitter. There were five of us this morning and all of us agreed that the coffee was far from bitter, but smooth and tasty. Everyone was very pleased and asked if I would make it for our next coffee morning!

The cupcakes went down a real treat too. If you want to give them a try here you are! Enjoy!!

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes:
70g (2½oz) unsalted butter, softened
210g (7½oz) plain flour
250g (9oz) caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp Salt
210ml (7½oz) whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (3½oz) smooth orange marmalade

 450g (1lb) icing sugar, sifted
6Og (2oz) cocoa powder, sifted
150g (5½oz) unsalted butter, softened
60ml (2fl oz) whole milk

to top:
Mini Jaffa Cakes, to decorate or big ones cut in half

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), Gas mark 3, and line the muffin tins with paper muffin cases to make the number you require. I made exactly 12, you will make more if you aren’t using the right tin. You will need a muffin not fairy cake tin.
2. Mix the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together until they form a crumb-like consistency. Using a stand mixer or hand held either will work.
3. In a jug, mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla extract by hand.
4. On a slow speed, gradually pour half the liquid into the flour and butter and mix thoroughly until combined. Turn up the speed and beat until the batter is smooth and thick with no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along. Once any lumps are gone, turn the speed back down and gradually pour in the rest of the liquid, continuing to mix until smooth and combined.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cases, filling them two-thirds full. Using a 50ml (1¾fl oz) ice-cream scoop can make this process easier and will result in even cupcakes. If you don’t know how much your ice cream scoop holds, measure it out and pour into scoop!
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and the sponge bounces back when lightly touched. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
7. Slowly mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter together on a low speed until combined and there are no large lumps of butter. Gradually add the milk while mixing on a slow speed. Once incorporated, increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Mine took a long time to get light and fluffy enough to spread nicely. It also gets visibly lighter in colour or it seemed too for me.
8. Once the cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife to make a hollow in the centre of each cupcake, approximately 2cm (¾in) in diameter and about 3cm (1¼in) deep. I used a nifty tool that takes the centers out for me. Keep the cut-out piece of sponge. Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of orange marmalade into the hollow. I felt one was plenty. Replace the cutout piece of sponge, trimming to fit and pressing down gently to ensure that the top is level with the rest of the cake.
9. Spoon the frosting onto each cupcake, then gently smooth over with a palette knife. I don't like a huge amount of frosting so I had a good amount left over, but if you want a proper "American" cupcake lump that frosting on!!

top each cupcake with a mini Jaffa Cake.

notes: I was sent aromo Premium Espresso Ground Coffee Bounce to taste and review. We were not instructed to give a favorable review. All opinions are of my friends and mine. Want to try it for yourself? Visit here for the ESE Coffee Pods, they are compatible with many coffee makers! See if yours is here! If you, like me, just have a regular old coffee maker check out their ground coffee here!

Home Sweet Home Amazon UK & USA (Kindle); Waterstones (I reprinted this recipe from the “free” recipe card offered by Waterstones) 

Cherry Tea Cakes!!

Recently I've started looking in alternative places to baking books for fun easy yummy recipes. My iPad is great for free or relatively cheap food apps. A while back I downloaded a Betty Crocker app (same as the website) for free and found a recipe for these Cherry Tea Cakes!!

I couldn't resist making them. Mine did not turn out as pink even using 3-4 drops of food color. In fact since they were hardly pink at all I’d probably just leave it out in the future. These were very easy and very sweet! If you don’t like maraschino or cocktail cherries then you won’t like these.

I personally love cocktail cherries so I might be a bit biased when I say I love these teacakes. There are no eggs in these cookies so I would make sure your butter is very soft otherwise you get a sand like texture (learnt this from experience) or add more cherry liquid very little by very little until you get a dough you can roll easily into balls.

There are a handful of other good-looking recipes on this app so you’ll probably see a few more in the upcoming weeks! These are perfect for a lunch box, after school, or teatime treat!! Enjoy!!

Cherry Tea Cakes:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (228g) butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry liquid
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 or 4 drops red food color
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup drained maraschino cherries, chopped (cocktail cherries)
½ cup (100g) white vanilla baking chips

  1. Heat oven to 350°F/180C. In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, cherry liquid, almond extract and food color with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. On low speed, beat in flour and salt. Stir in cherries.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased (I lined mine) cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. I melted my 100g white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl by stirring after every 10-20 seconds. Then drizzled over with a spoon. You could put melted chocolate in a piping bag or plastic baggy to get a more controlled drizzle.

notes: Betty Crocker website – one thing I love about the site is that it has all the nutritional information for most of the recipes! This link also shows you a picture of the very pink cherry tea cakes...