Toffee Bakewell Cucpakes!! {cupcake book club}

It’s that time of month again, time to talk about the book chosen for the Cupcake Book Club hosted by Kelly on her site An American Cupcake in London.

This month’s chosen book was Hot Cakes! by Kim Newman-Wood, it’s the first independent e-book that Kelly has picked for the club. In a nutshell it’s about a family torn and it all comes to head over a, strangely acquired, cupcake recipe.

If I’m going to be honest I didn't like this book as much as I wanted too. The characters behaviors were a bit bewildering to me. I found it hard to warm to Bex, the leading lady. She spent most of the story trying to be something she wasn't. One of my favorite sayings is "Always be yourself. Unless you are a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn." Bex's back-story helped me understand where she was coming from and the ending made me less cool towards her, but it wasn't enough to make me love the book. Her mother was even more confusing to me. I guess just because it's not how I would have reacted as a mother, but everyone reacts differently when they are hurt. 

Even though they weren't my favorite characters, they were unique, they weren't made out to be perfect like a lot of other main characters are. They had flaws and did seem more real. It was written well and with style. I enjoyed how the author fit the back-stories in with the present and how she brought the two story lines together in the end.

I don’t like being harsh when it comes to novels. They are are a work of love by the author and not everyone can write a book. I am not a writer, but I am a reader and have read many novels in my time. As a reader my tastes aren't the same of someone else so this is my opinion on the story, but if Hot Cakes! sounds like something you’d like give it a go and make your own opinion! Plus the amounts of delicious sounding cupcake recipes are well worth the cost of the book!

I choose to make the Toffee Bakewell Cupcakes at my husband’s request. He got to choose as they went to work with him. Besides the caramel sinking to the bottom, as I suspected it would as everything I have ever baked in a cupcake has sunk, they turned out perfect. I think next time I would just bake the cakes and add the toffee in afterwards.

I would be interested to see what Kim Newman-Wood writes next! I also can’t wait to see what Kelly has picked for the next Cupcake Book Club!!

if you’d like to join in visit Kelly’s site here! You still have a week if you want to join in! Plenty of time to read and bake right? - Hot Cakes! by Kim Newman-Wood Amazon UK & USA - My favorite quote can be adjusted to fit your needs just fill in the blanks: "Always be yourself. Unless you are (insert super hero or other fantastical non-existing creature) then always be (said hero or creature). 

Honey & milk chocolate bars!! & Chocolat by Eric Lanlard {book review}

When one enters the world of baking, chocolate is King. So, when Master Patisserie (King of Patisserie) Eric Lanlard wrote a book on this royal ingredient I knew I was not going to be disappointed!

The book is broken down into 7 chapters. The first few get the reader familiar working with chocolate, and then it goes into From the Bakery; Desserts & Puddings; Truffles & Treats; Drinks, Spreads, & Sauces.

Unless you happen to be a chocolate hater, surprisingly they do exist, there is something for everyone in this book.

The wide variety of recipes available in the book, all including chocolate, are within any level of bakers reach. Some are super easy and some just take a bit more time and concentration.

Here is my list of stuff I would like to try:

Chocolate & Cinnamon Buns
Chocolate Kouign Amann
Chocolate Gateau Basque
Salted Butter Caramel Cake (picture)
Breton Shortbread with Chocolate
Chocolate, pumpkin, & pecan cake
Chocolate petits pots (picture)
Chocolate & tonka bean Crème Brulee
Raspberry & Chocolate Tart
Gateau Opera
Double baked Chocolate Meringue Brownie
Chocolate Coffee baked cheesecake
Proper Black Forest gateau
Iced Berries with white chocolate sauce
Chocolate ‘cassis’ royale (cake on cover of book)
Chocolate covered Cherries
Honey & milk chocolate bars (recipe below)
Chocolate Guimauve aka marshmallow
Soft Chocolate Butter Toffee
Double Chocolate Milkshake
Chocolate Cola Float

With over a 100 mouth-watering chocolate treats I didn't know where to start! So, circumstances helped me choose. As the weather has been brightening up a couple of friends and I decided to take our little ones to the park for a play and picnic. I wanted an easy sweet treat and Eric’s Honey & milk chocolate bars were exactly what we needed.

They were super easy to make and they were a hit with the kids and us moms! I would be careful if you don’t have a cool pac in your lunch box, the chocolate would melt on hot days! If not for a picnic these are perfect for an after school treat too! Enjoy!

Honey & milk chocolate bars

200g/7oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped, plus an extra 25g/1oz for the topping
40g/1 ½ oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp condensed milk
75g/3oz crispy rice cereal
25g/1oz desiccated coconut
150g/5oz white chocolate, roughly chopped
18cm/7in square shallow baking tin greased and lined with baking paper

~Melt 200g milk chocolate, butter, honey, and condensed milk in a saucepan on a low heat until smooth, and then stir in the crispy rice cereal and coconut.

~Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level with the spoon. Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

~Melt the white chocolate in your preferred way; in a bowl over a barely simmering pot of water or in small bursts in the microwave, but be very careful as white chocolate burns easier then dark chocolate. Leave to cool for a few minutes before spreading over the top of the rice cake. Then return to the fridge to set completely.

~Melt the remaining 25g of milk chocolate as you did above and spoon into a piping bag or a small plastic bag and cut a small hole in the tip and drizzle over the top. Leave to set at room temperature. I skipped this step, because I wanted to save my chocolate for another baking project with out having to run to the store again. Sorry! From the picture in the book it really does make it look extra special!! 

~Remove from the tin and cut into bars using a large sharp knife and store in an airtight container or wrap in a cellophane bag for gifts.

Eric notes that kids can help, but would need supervision!

As I mentioned in my review of Tart it Up! I will be visiting Eric’s café Cake Boy in a few short weeks to participate in his Spring Baking Mad course!! It falls on my 30th birthday and I am super excited!! I am trying not to think about it too much because I wish I were going right now. I am the most impatient person I know!

notes: Chocolate may be King, but Vanilla is Queen. I attribute genders to inanimate objects including food. For instance I think of salt as female and pepper as male and it’s why Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper in Blue’s Clues always freaked me out. Chocolat by Eric Lanlard Amazon UK & USA (out September 2013); Eric Lanlard’s Cake Boy & baking course schedule, Octopus Publishing, my review of Tart it Up!

Slo-Mo Cupcakes!! Judge Dredd {World Book Night}

World Book Night has finally arrived!! 

World Book Night is a celebration of books and reading that sees 20,000 volunteers (that's me!) give specially chosen and printed books to spread a passion for reading in their communities. 

This year I am giving Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges by John Wagner! It's the first time a graphic novel has been chosen as a title to giveaway! I'm very excited that I was chosen to give it out this year! Here's a synopsis: 

They came from Deadworld – twisted, ungodly versions of Judges with enough power to destroy the world! 

Led by the cadaverous super-fiend Judge Death, Judges Fear, Fire & Mortis share a chilling ethos – as only the living can break the law, all life is a crime! 

The fearsome foursome are intent on bringing their brand of justice to Mega-City One. Only Judge Dredd and Psi-Division’s finest telepath Cassandra Anderson can stop them from committing a Mega-City massacre!

So, to celebrate I made Judge Dredd inspired cupcakes! If you have seen the movie, released last year, you will know that Slo-Mo is the name of the narcotic featured in the film. The only high you'll get from these cupcakes is a sugar high! Or well a caffeine high as well! At least these aren't going to get you in trouble with the Judges.

the inside of the cupcakes

The cupcakes are made of espresso, chocolate, and caramel cake and caramel and espresso buttercream frosting. For all three I used recipes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, I just halved each of the recipes. Then I layered them in the cupcake cases and swirled the frosting! 

What is better then reading and eating cupcakes?? That is a trick question, there is nothing better then a book and a cupcake! Happy World Book Night!! 

notes: World Book Night - Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges; Judge Dredd 2012; adapted from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Celebrations Brownies!!

I love brownies and I love cheesecake! It’s not the first time I've ever made cheesecake brownies, but it’s the first time I've written a post for them. These came to me at the perfect time. The May 2013 issue of Sainsbury’s magazine is celebrating it’s 20th birthday! Coincidence that it is also my birthday is in May? Probably. It didn't stop me from seeing it as a sign that I needed to make the Raspberry & White Chocolate celebration brownies on the cover!!

Even though I have been in the UK for less then half of the 20 years that the Sainsbury’s magazine has been operating, it was from their June 2010 issue that I baked my first ever whoopie pie. It’s already been 2 years, but whoopie pies never over took cupcakes… that’s a whole other topic for another time… Anyway if you happen to be in Sainsbury’s pick yourself up a copy it’s only a pound! Plus there is a coupon for money off Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste!

These brownies were gorgeous. You only need a small square to satisfy a chocolate or dessert craving! I don’t really do small squares so where it says it will serve or make 16 I  got 9 out of mine. Six of them were transported to my friends for dinner. I mean for dessert, we didn't eat the brownies for dinner. Although now that I’m eating cookies for breakfast, why shouldn't I eat brownies for dinner? 

Raspberry & White Chocolate Celebration Brownies
adapted from Sainsbury’s magazine May 2013

100g dark chocolate, broken up
100g soft butter
200g light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference White Chocolate with raspberry for extra raspberry!
125-150g fresh raspberries

1 large egg
200g cream cheese
50g granulated sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
½ tsp vanilla bean paste

  1. Preheat oven 180C/160fan/gas4. Grease an 18cm or 20cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
  2. Place the broken pieces of dark chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and blast for 30 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir and then 10 seconds spurts until completely melted stirring after each 10 second interval. Or melt in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whichever is your preferred way of melting chocolate? Set aside to cool while you get on with the rest…
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until combined and smooth, slowly add the beaten eggs a little at a time. Keep mixing and add the flour, melted dark chocolate, and a pinch of salt and mix until completely combined.
  4. Fold in the chopped white chocolate and 125g of raspberries. Set aside. (I think I left it a bit too long as it seemed to seize up a bit and it was a tough to spread out in the tin)
  5. Beat all the cheesecake ingredients together. Mine was a little runny because I used a handheld beater, but I think it might have been thicker if it had been beaten by hand, but in the end product it didn’t matter.
  6. Spread half of the brownie mixer into you’re prepared tin, then in blobs or just pour (mine was runny as I said) half of the cheesecake mixture on top, using a skewer to swirl together. Then repeat carefully spread the remaining brownie mixture on top and then swirl in the rest of the cheesecake mixture.
  7. Bake the brownies for 50 minutes, I used a 20cm square tin instead of the 18cm tin recommended, I didn’t change the baking time, but that would be up to you.
  8. Leave in the tin until completely cool and cutting into squares. Decorate or serve with the remaining raspberries, if you haven’t snacked on them while baking or if you don’t have little people who stole them while you were baking…

notes: Sainsbury’s Magazine (I promise Sainsbury’s has not sponsored this post I just happen to live close to one. Although Sainsbury’s if you’re reading this you get a lot of business from me so if you ever want to give me a discount or something email me!) A Tale of Two Whoopies, a link to my cousin’s blog post where I got my inspiration to start my own blog; Brownie Quest

The Big Breakfast Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies!!

Seeing as these are OATMEAL chocolate covered raisin cookies I assume they are prefect for breakfast. I mean I eat oatmeal with raisins for breakfast sometimes? Generally without all the butter and sugar… well usually with sugar. Plus it’s not like I would eat cookies every day for breakfast, there are way too many other breakfast foods I would miss.

Anyway as you recently are aware of my twitter addiction/problem it’s no surprise I saw the idea for these cookies from @SallysBakeBlog on Twitter. Sally tweeted a link to her Thick Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies and I told her what an ingenious idea I thought it was. I also said I was going to have to make them as soon as possible! And I did.

I didn’t use the same recipe from Sally’s blog, instead I used the Oatmeal Cookie recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang and just swapped regular old raisins for chocolate covered ones! Also over here in the UK we don’t get Raisinets so just a bag of regular no brand name chocolate covered raisins were used.

They were probably some of the best Oatmeal Raisin cookies I have ever had. The thing is they are so simple. Cookies are pretty versatile and the only way to make a cookie recipe really special is just by changing what you put into them. I won’t be posting Joanne’s cookie recipe, but David Lebovitz has, the link is in the notes below!

notes: {sally’s baking addiction}; David Lebovitz - Joanne Chang’s Oatmeal Cookies; If you have lived in the UK in 1992-2002 you may recognize the plate and cup (we have the bowl too) from the Channel 4 show The Big Breakfast! Please don’t worry I didn't eat 3 cookies for breakfast… I did share!

Hi my name is Lisa and I'm a Twitter-holic.

When I started my blog I used to blog about anything and everything I did that revolved around baking! I even have a blog post on crème brulee lip gloss… However since I started my twitter account I just tweet most of those things now. I mean why bother going to all the trouble and work a blog post takes when I can just tweet it?!?!

So as I was going through the pictures on my phone I thought I’d do a big round up of products and sweet stuff I've done over the 8 months or so. As a warning this is probably one of the longest posts I have ever done. Also a lot of these things will have been seen on Twitter already. I am a bit of a Twitter junkie! Find me @unitedcakedom! So let's get started with the more recent: 

Join the Realm! I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan! I have read the book and have yet to start the series I will wait and get a box set and watch it all at once. I made this on a facebook app Join the Realm

Browns Restaurant in Reading! Girls night out for a friends birthday! I had to try the Browns Brownie and a couple of the other ladies had Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was a good night out, service was good until they switched shifts and we had a new server, but overall a fun time! I do apologize for the pictures not being of the best quality!

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny ColganI love her series of "sweet" books. Starting with Meet Me in the Cupcake Cafe up to this one!! Looking forward to Christmas as the sequel to Rosie's Sweet Shop of Dreams is out! 

Warings Bakery: As most of the locations are local to me it's amazing I haven't been in before! I tried this apple fritter and a Viennese finger sandwich thing. They were both very lovely! Didn't take a picture of the latter. Will definitely be visiting again! 

Pancake Day at Giraffe! Giraffe offered a half off pancakes on pancake day, so a friend and I took full advantage! I think it was only advertised to those who are signed up for the news letter as that's how I was informed. So sign up for some great offers! 

White Chocolate Millionaire Shortbread! This was made by a very nice lady at the toddler group I take baby baker to every week. She is always bringing in treats for all of us. These were cut so big, I could hardly eat it as the white chocolate took it to another level of sweetness! But so good! 

My first attempt at crepes... Not sure why I didn't post this as a regular blog post? So, here they are using the left over raspberries and raspberry cream from the peach melba cupcakes I had made. I think I just used a Nigella recipe? Don't quote me on that as I am slowly losing my memory! 

Haribo Rhubarb & Custard Splats! We found these at our local newsagents and they were good. I love pic n' mix candy/sweets so these didn't last long in a house full of sugar junkies! 

Bake! from Dunelm Mill : What can I say? I am a sucker for cute knick knacks! Hey it was only 1.99! 

Care Packages!! There is nothing in the world like getting a care package from friends who miss you!! 

Thank you Dena!! (October)
Thank you Scott & Katie!! (January)

Lotus Biscuit Spread! I finally got around to hunting this stuff down after seeing it appear on tons of other food blogs. I never got around to baking with it as originally planned. I had thought I would substitute it in some of my favorite peanut butter recipes, but the girls and I just ate it. Sometimes just with a spoon. Shhhhh don't tell Daddy!

The Oracle Christmas Spectacular! I was sent VIP wrist bands because I have done a few reviews for The Oracle in the past. I would link to them, but they are not currently up on the Oracle website. Here were my blog posts for those visits: Jamie's ItalianPatisserie Valerie. It was a fun night out and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit! Afterwards we went for a drink in Giraffe! 

Amarettini: amaretto disaronno, strawberry&pomegranate w/layer of cream  & biscuits on top
Christmas Lumpy Bumpy Cake! from Pausa Cafe in Dunelm Mill. I first discovered Lumpy Bumpy Cake from Boswell's Cafe in Newbury when I meet my friend there for lunch one day. Then a while back I discovered a strawberry version in Pausa and so when I was visiting close to Christmas this version was staring at me. It's more of a coffee like flavor, so good! I love coffee flavored stuff! 

Mochi from Yo! Sushi! My friend and I try to have sushi dates every other month or so as we love the stuff! I hadn't really looked at the desserts because the little Victoria sandwich cake things they serve aren't anything to shout about! Mochi is interesting. I think it's the texture that had me second guessing it. I probably won't order it again and spend my money on the delicious rolls and curries instead! 

And that is the end of that if you like this sort of general information about my baking life, please follow me on twitter. As the title suggests I am a Twitter-holic! 

Introducing Pinkie P

Pretty soon you will be hearing a lot about my birthday and birthday’s in general. I don’t generally get excited about my birthday because it usually turns out to be just another day. However this year is a big one. It’s the big 3-0! Part of me doesn't feel like it’s possible to associate those numbers with me. Then I think about all the things I've done and it makes sense that I’d be turning 30.

I have been hinting to my husband for a while now here and there about how much I’d love a shiny new KitchenAid. And surprise surprise one showed up at the door for me! YAY!!!! It’s in the color I have been coveting too! Raspberry Ice. I think he loves me.

From all the people (bakers) I follow on twitter I realized it’s common practice to name your KitchenAid. I don’t generally name stuff. If you had known me as a child and asked me what my stuffed bears name was I would answer “Bear”. If I had more then one bear they would then be further named by color, size, and/or fluffiness. You should have heard the conversations my husband and I had when it came to naming our kids!

The end to this story is that I asked my eldest Mini-Baker what she thought I should name it and her answer was Pinkie Pie! As I actually adore the new My Little Pony Friendship is Magic I agreed that it fit, as Pinkie Pie loves parties and cake. I've shortened it to Pinkie P because I like the way it sounds.

Whenever I say to my friends that I am considering making my birthday party a My Little Pony theme I get very strange looks. Nobody seems to see the fun in it? I might get new friends.... I’m not sure if I will have time to arrange a themed party anyway, because on my actual birthday (May 16th) I will be in London baking with Eric Lanlard on his Baking Mad Spring Course!! Yay!! I can’t wait!! Turning 30 is going to be fun!

notes: Harts of Stur for bargains on kitchen appliances; Eric Lanlard Cookery School; image link can not be found so has been removed (

Hawaiian Coconut Cake!! {weekend baking}

All you need for the cake is: 
1 box mix of Angel Food 
1 16oz can of crushed pineapple

Cool Whip
Coconut milk (to taste) 
Pineapple Tidbits & Toasted Coconut & Cherry to top (optional)

To make just mix the cake mix with the 16oz can of pineapple
follow the instructions on the back of the box for baking times.
I used 2 9in round pans instead of the traditional fluted pan and lightly greased my pans. 
I had to adjust the timings because I changed my pan size. 

Whip up the Cool Whip with a little coconut milk if using or vanilla as another option. 
Spread over the cake and top with chosen toppings! 

A very light cake perfect for summer! My family enjoyed it and it was super easy to make! I left the coconut off because my husband doesn't really like it. ~ Janet 

Rhubarb & Custard Swiss Roll!!

This is my first attempt at a Swiss Roll and it was going smoothly until I transferred it to a plate and the guts spilled out the side…

No worries it’s completely edible! My rhubarb wasn't overly pink so I didn't have a nice swirly color of pink (rhubarb), custard, white (whipped cream) in the middle. It just doesn't make for a very attractive picture or dessert. I sometimes wonder if I am sometimes too laid back. I mean I don’t think I’d ever make it baking anywhere but in the comforts of my own home.

Not that I want to make it. A lot of my close family and friends say I should sell cakes etc… and as long as people were after non-perfect cakes that sometimes look like a five-year-old constructed it I’d be in business! It’s why I am so impressed by patisserie it always looks so perfect.

Yet, I don’t bake to be perfect. I do it for fun and if I were to start stressing about everything being perfect I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I do. Therefore I think I’ll keep it as a hobby for now. Maybe I’ll change my mind in a year or so when I start looking for work again!

Back to the Rhubarb and Custard Swiss Roll, the recipe comes from Rachel Allen’s Cake! and can be found on the Good Food Channel website here! Don't compare the pictures! ;0) Since it’s already available online I don’t feel the need to reproduce it here.

It’s a pretty easy recipe. Make the sponge that takes about 25 minutes including baking time. Then it’s just reducing the rhubarb and making the custard. Assembling, like I said, was going well with the rolling and all that until I transferred it to the serving plate.

Overall everyone enjoyed it! Highly recommend giving it a go!!

notes: Rachel Allen’s Cake! Amazon UK & my review; SwissRoll pan Lakeland’s; Good Food Channel & Rachel Allen's Cake Diaries recipes