Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins!!

Happy Halloween!!

I love Halloween! When I was little my mom always stayed behind and handed out candy while my dad used to take us around the neighborhood Trick or Treating. I have about 3 specific memories of Halloween in my youth.

First one was when we first moved to Indiana. I was 6 years old and I wanted to be a ladybug. So, my mom helped me cut a circle out of one of the moving boxes and we colored it red with black spots! I wore black leggings with a long sleeved turtleneck shirt and then we strapped the ladybug circle on my back with some string! I received so many compliments!

Then the year I told my mom and dad that I could go trick or treating by myself. I was probably about 11 and it was also probably the last year I went until…

I was about 15 and a friend and I decided that we wanted to go trick or treating. I used to baby-sit for this kid across the street so we “borrowed” him to go trick or treating! He was an only child and I think his parents were a little relieved that they didn't have to take him!

Now I get to make Halloween memories with my girls! I started this morning by making them Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins! I took the recipe off the label of Libby’s Pumpkin puree tin. As it’s American it’s in oz, but I will add the grams for all of you! Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

11oz/311g plain flour
14oz/397g granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
8oz/227g Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 peeled, finely chopped apples

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas4. Line a muffin tin and ½ of a second if you have two. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix together the eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Fold in apples. Then using an ice cream scoop fill each paper cup. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter (recipe below) Then bake for 40-45 minutes in the preheated oven.

Streusel topping:

2 tablespoons plain flour
2oz/50g caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp/19g butter

Mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Then between your fingers rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs!

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!!

notes: Day 4 of Apple Week! US to UK LadyBug = LadyBird. Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin can be found at Waitrose and other novelty stores! 

Caramel Apple Crumble

Funny how in my last post I went on a bit on how I don’t like cooked apples. Yet here I am sharing a recipe that I am in love with and it has cooked apples!

I have said before I am completely contradictory. This is just another example of that! In fact I am very contradictory because I love apples in cakes and stuff and they are all cooked.

I might have to rethink this not liking apple pie thing. I have never tried to make my own apple pie nor have I had one made for me. So, maybe I just don’t like shop bought apple pies?

Apples are generally paired with either cinnamon or caramel. Those are both good combinations, this recipe has no cinnamon, but a lot of caramel!

In the states you can buy caramel sauce aka dulce de leche in a tub. It’s marketed as apple dip and they charge a freaking fortune for it. Just buy a can of condensed milk and make your own I say!

This crumble really hits the spot after a big roast dinner or a late breakfast. Don’t look at me like that, it has apples and crumble goodness served with some cream how is it much different from high sugar cereals or a bagel or something?

Caramel Apple Crumble

1kg apples, sweet apples such as Spartan’s or Golden Delicious
2-3 tbsp of apple juice
75g toasted pecans
4 heaped tbsp Bonne Maman Confiture de Caramel

Preheat oven to 180C/gas4. Peel and slice the apples and place them in an oven proof dish. Pour over the apple juice and gently coat the apples. Spread the toasted pecans over the apples before spooning over the caramel sauce. Try to cover as much as the apple and pecans as possible.

Crumble Topping

100g polenta
100g plain flour
75g golden caster sugar
a pinch of salt
75g butter, chilled and diced

Mix together all the dry ingredients. Then rub the butter in until it looks like breadcrumbs. 

to finish:

Spread the crumble topping over the apples and caramel and press down lightly. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve it however you find best! I served mine up with some vanilla ice cream and more caramel sauce!

notes: Part 3 of Apple Week; How to make your own caramel; I used the apples from our tree (Spartans), but you could use any type you have to hand. Whatever you want! I used apple juice as my husband is allergic to citrus, but please feel free to use the juice of 1 large lemon. You can also chop up the pecans, but I left mine whole. I found the Bonne Maman Confiture de Caramel at Waitrose in the ice cream topping area. This recipe is adapted from Bonne Maman, The Seasonal Cookbook which I received as a prize from the Cake & Bake Show! 

Apple Pie Ice Cream

I never really liked apple pie growing up. I loved the crust and the apple cinnamon goo, but actual cooked apples, not so much!

In fact even today I don’t like an apple pie that is so full of apples that I should have just baked an apple and been done with it. 

(They have those on Pinterest the ones where they hollow out the apple and fill it with filling the cover the top with pastry and bake.)

Am I the only one who doesn't like cooked apples? But loves the crust and the goo?

Maybe I don't like cooked apples because generally they are either over cooked and mushy or not cooked enough and hard. 

I remember picking out the apples of a pie once and licking them clean and eating everything else. I don't think my mom was too impressed.

This ice cream is a perfect way to get that apple pie flavor without the fat sometimes not all the way cooked apples.

I also realize we are entering that time of year we are all thinking of warm comforting desserts. Not cold treats we crave in the warmer weather.

However this combination really brings the two seasons together. It's so good. The ice cream is rich and smooth and the filling and pie crust bring extra flavor and texture! It was delicious!

Apple Pie Ice Cream

  • 1 batch of homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream (I used David Lebovitz’s Cinnamon Ice Cream from his book The Perfect Scoop.)
  • 370g Apple Pie Filling (I used Nature’s Finest Pie Perfection Bramley Apple Fruit Filling.)
  • 1 sweet pie crust, pre-made or homemade, crushed (I used pre-made)

Follow the instructions to make the cinnamon ice cream then as it’s churning in the maker add a couple handfuls of the crushed pie crust.
In the tub that will store the ice cream line the bottom with about 1/3 of the crushed pie crust.
Then layer about half of the cinnamon ice cream.
Using about half of the apple pie filling swirl it into the top of the ice cream layer before sprinkling on some more of the crushed pie crust.
Layer the rest of the ice cream on top and repeat with the pie filling, swirling it into the ice cream and cover the top with the remaining crushed pie crust.
Freeze for stated time in your ice cream recipe or possibly a little longer.

notes: Part 2 of apple week on United Cakedom. Yesterday I talked about my visit to The Winchester City Mill for their Apple Baking Day! I am not reprinting the ice cream recipe here, because I think it’s from such an awesome book that if you are even going to start making your own ice cream you should get it! DavidLebovitz has not approved of this post. If you are not prepared to buy his book then just find a recipe online! Recipe was inspired by Ben & Jerry’s “Oh My! Apple Pie!” ice cream. I wonder if it’s still available? 

Winchester City Mill Apple Baking Day!!

I had a lovely day yesterday! I grabbed one of my best friends and her son and we journeyed to Winchester to visit the Winchester City Mill. They were hosting an Apple Baking Day.

I first heard of it from a very nice lady, on twitter, who is a local baker who bakes for the special events when she can. Her specialty is bread, which is perfect for a mill that grounds their own wholemeal flour. I feel fortunate to have seen her tweet!

I was especially drawn into the event when I read that they would help identify any apple that was brought in. We have an apple tree in our garden, my husband planted when he was a kid, and we have no clue to what type it is. That and they were offering baked treats!

We got there early afternoon and it was quiet, but we were told it was a busy morning and before we left it had filled up again. Right as we walked up and there were apples right in the walkway to sample and buy. As all bag was only 50p and a large respectively £1! We didn't get apples, but pears Beurré Bosc pears to be exact. They were absolutely gorgeous!

Then we went into the mill and were greeted by a stand full of a wide variety of apples! It's here I was told that our tree produces Spartan apples. The gentleman there had several books that he checked in just to be sure, but he called it right away.

We also allowed to taste the apples out for display. Most of them I had never heard of before. Bramshott Rectory was the first variety we tried, it was sweet but crisp and comes from Hampshire. Allington Pippin was another variety that we tried it was crisp as well, but with a sharp tang to it. Both were lovely.

Then as you moved along to the back there was a baking demonstration and you were able to sample all that they made! There were cakes, scones, and bread to eat with apples and cheese. I wish I had paid a bit more attention to what everything was, but it was all very delicious. 

The kids loved going underneath to see the water rushing through and turning the mill. I have found that sometimes at National Trust places, especially small ones like the City Mill, they can be a bit funny about kids. However at the City Mill all the staff engaged with the kids and patiently answered their questions. They were all so lovely to talk with.

The bag you see there was being filled up with freshly ground flour!

Over all it was a good afternoon out and I will be watching the site for other events! I didn't leave with out purchasing a bag of the whole meal flour and I can’t wait to share what I bake with it! I am told I should definitely try the Apple and Marmalade Cake from the recipe card I picked up! There were recipe cards for Winchester City Mill Wholemeal Bread, Soda Bread, Spiced Apple Cake, Cheese Scones, and Fruit Scones. All sound amazing! 

notes: Visit The Winchester City Mill website to find out when the next event is! Also check out the National Trust website for other places to visit and other events!
Part 1 of Apple Week: I plan on posting a week worth of apple bakes! On Friday I will include a linky tool so you can all share your apples bakes! I would love to see them! Check back tomorrow to see what else I've been making with apples! 

Halloween Pumpkin & Ginger Cupcakes!!

Usually I don’t pre-make holiday bakes. I know that’s what all the stores and multimedia things do, but I don’t. I like to bake and eat my holiday things on or closely around the holiday in question.

However I will make an exception for the Treat Petite baking challenge hosted by Cakey Boi and The Baking Explorer! When I saw that the theme was Halloween I was all over that! Halloween is my favorite holiday!!  Did you know it's less then a week away?? 

I wanted black and green swirled frosting but the black paste was very liquidy. It was no way a paste, even though it said paste on it. It turned out gray. However I didn't want too add too much more coloring. I was annoyed, but not annoyed enough to not use it. 

I let my girls do some decorating and they had a lot of fun! Plus it kept them busy. They turned out really good! I loved the extra spice the ginger preserve gave them! 

Happy Halloween!! (early) :0) 

Pumpkin & Ginger Cupcakes:

120g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
85g canned pumpkin puree
250g self-rising flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
110ml double cream
12 tsps of Mackays Spiced Ginger Preserve

Pre-heat the oven 180C/gas4 and line your cupcake tin with Halloween themed cases!

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until noticeably lighter. Little by very little add the beaten eggs until fully incorporated. Beat in the pumpkin mixture.
Mix the flour and spices together.
Mix in a third of the flour mixture, then half of the double cream. Repeat until everything is used up and it’s all incorporated.
Spoon in 1 heaped tablespoon (just a regular dessert spoon) into each of the cupcake cases. Then using a teaspoon make a dip in the batter before spooning in 1 level tsp of Mackays Spiced Ginger Preserve. Top with another tablespoon of the batter. You may need to push the batter down on the sides a bit to hold the preserve in.
I had some batter still left over so I made 6 fairy cakes and left out the ginger preserve. I figure most kids wouldn't like the ginger. So yeah.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Cream cheese frosting:

75g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g full-fat cream cheese
240g icing sugar
black & green coloring paste
Halloween Sprinkles

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the icing sugar a little at a time. Then split the icing in half, should be about 200g, add black paste to one and green to the other. Then put them in the same icing bag or Lakeland’s duo icing kit and pipe! Then add sprinkles.

notes: Treat Petite Baking Challenge! Mackays Spiced Ginger Preserve #bakingwithmackays  Lakeland’sDuo Icing Kit is currently on sale! I bought this product myself please see contact/policy for further information. Recipe was adapted from Love Bakery by Samantha Blears.

No Fear Gluten-Free Birthday Cake!!

This cake is for all those who are gluten intolerant and have missed out on birthday cakes. But have no fear, this cake recipe will make sure you never have another birthday with out a delicious cake!

A friend of a friend was celebrating her daughters 21st and was after a gluten-free cake and my name came up! I was happy to do it, as it must be difficult to get a hold of a tasty gluten-free cake.

Not that I would know really. I have never looked for gluten-free cakes in the area. However I came across this recipe and I think it's pretty good. I was told the birthday girl was pleased and that they all agreed the cake was tasty! 

I really enjoyed the challenge of this cake and would happily do it again. The cake layers were very dense, but the scrapes of the chocolate layers I tried were very moist and good. My 2 little ones at up all the scrapes and wanted more so I would say it was an over all success!

Here is how I made it! It looks and sounds a bit lengthy and difficult, but it really isn't. I finished it all in a few hours, no longer then most layer cakes. So, don't be afraid and give it a go!

Gluten-Free Birthday Cake
vanilla layers:

300g Dove’s gluten-free plain flour
1 tbsp of baking powder (check that it is gluten-free)
pinch of salt 
140g unsalted butter, melted
200ml whole milk
150ml sunflower oil
350g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract/paste

chocolate layers (half the recipe above)

150g Dove’s gluten-free plain flour
pinch of salt
½ tbsp baking powder, error on the side of more then less
70g unsalted butter, melted
100ml whole milk
75ml sunflower oil
175g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
*1 tbsp cocoa powder
*1 tbsp hot water

~ Instructions are the same for both sets of layers I will (*) where things are different. ~

Preheat oven at 180C/gas4 Grease and line 2 8in (20cm) round cake tins and one 8 in (20cm) square cake tin for the chocolate cake. Line them properly (I cheat a lot when lining cake tins) as the batter is very liquidy.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix the melted butter, milk and oil together. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. *For the chocolate layer mix the cocoa powder with the hot water to make a smooth paste. Then whisk together the sugar, eggs, and chocolate paste.
Add about 1/3 of the wet mixture to the sugar and egg mixture, then 1/3 of dry mixture and repeat until everything is used up. Pour the cake into the prepared cake tins. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. *I baked the chocolate layer for about 30-40 minutes as I put it in the over after the other two layers were already baking. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins, before turning out. Then place on a cooling rack, with the baking paper still on, until completely cool.

Vanilla Buttercream:

300g butter, at room temperature
525g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp of milk
very little red paste or use pink paste or which ever color you want

Beat the butter until smooth then add the icing sugar little by little until combined and mostly smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the milk, 1 tbsp at a time. You may only need 2 so just watch it. If it’s too smooth add a little more icing sugar. Beat in the color paste until it is evenly distributed.

to finish:

raspberry jam
sprinkles of choice

Once the cake layers are cool remove the baking paper and lay on a cake board or plate. Spread 4 or so tablespoons of raspberry jam across the bottom layer. Place the other vanilla layer on top.
Using a 3 7/8 in or 98mm circle cutter cut out 2 rounds from your square chocolate cake. Spread about 1-2 tbsp of jam on one side of the chocolate circle and center it on top of the vanilla layers. Spread more jam on top of that before placing the last circle on top.
Gently spread a crumb layer on top of the cakes before laying a proper layer on the tops of both cakes.
Then using a piping bag and star nozzle pipe around the base of cake and work up. Repeat on the smaller cake. The last row of piped stars should sit around the top layer of cake.
Decorate however you want! Do double check that the sprinkles and decorations if not homemade are in fact gluten-free.

I bought decorations that weren't all gluten-free and not knowing the extent of the recipients allergies I gave her mom the decorations to use at their discretion. The picture at the top was sent to me after they decorated it and the picture below of the cake sliced open was also sent to me to share with all of you! 

notes: I stated that I used Dove's plain gluten-free flour, because I am not sure if it matters or not. Do gluten-free flours vary? I am unsure so I wanted you to know exactly what I used. You could always add the quantities together, then divide into the 2 round cake pans, with what’s left add the chocolate paste. That would be way easier and save on time, but this is how I did it. I would still do it the way I did it because I’m a bit particular like that. If you wanted to reverse the flavors of the layers, I would use 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and hot water to make it extra chocolate-y. You could also make more buttercream and layer between the layers. Recipe adapted from Fussy Eaters recipe book by AnnabelKarmel; please email me or leave a comment with any questions on how to make this cake if I have not made it clear enough.

X3 Chocolate Muffins for the Indecisive

My mom friends and I regularly meet for coffee at each other’s houses at least once a week. I find it the perfect opportunity to bake something to share. Although sometimes it’s way too early for proper cake it’s never too early for muffins.

Clearly muffins are breakfast food.

Even if you add chocolate to them, they are still acceptable as a breakfast food. The big dilemma is how much chocolate does one add? 

We go through life having to make a million little decisions or choices. Such as what socks to wear and what to have for breakfast, then there are the big decisions like what to do with your life?

I have come to a point where I am not really sure what to do? I have some decisions and choices to make and I'm finding myself being very indecisive about all of it. 

Sometimes I find it easier to think about what I don't want compared to what I do want. And what I don’t want is to have to make any decisions right now. 

When it came to adding the chocolate to these muffins I thought just throw it all in and not worry about it. I wish making the big life decisions were as simple as throwing everything in and knowing that no matter what it was still going to taste good!

These muffins were the perfect amount of chocolate and paired perfectly with my cup of coffee. So, sometimes making a decision to not make a decision turns out okay in the end. 

X3 Chocolate Muffins:

300g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
150g caster sugar
75-80g dark chocolate chips or chunks
75-80g while chocolate chips or chunks
2 medium eggs
125ml soured cream
100ml milk
85g lightly salted butter, melted

Preheat 200C/gas 6 and line a muffin pan with paper cases.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, sugar together before coating the chocolate in the mixture. Save a small handful of the chocolate to sprinkle on the top.

Gently beat the eggs, cream, and milk together until smooth then add the melted butter a little at a time so it doesn't curdle.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry until just combined. I use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter into the muffin pan, but whatever way find it easiest divide the batter as evenly as possible.

Top the muffins with the chocolate chips or chunks and bake for 20 minutes until firm to the touch. Check about 5 minutes before and after depending on your oven.

Leave to cool in the pan until you can touch them and move them to a rack to cool. However muffins are always best when slightly warm so I wouldn't blame you for not waiting until they cooled. But hot melted chocolate can burn so please be careful!

notes: I look forward to my Friday morning coffee with my mom friends, it sometimes is the only proper adult conversation I get all week, so please don’t judge! The recipe for these muffins was adapted from Baking Magic by Kate Shirazi 

Bribe Worthy Brownies

My own two feet have been my mode of transport for the last 8 years, well really my whole life… anyway when I moved to the UK I choose not to convert my drivers license. So, I mainly walk everywhere, grab a bus when needed, or make my husband take me places.

I made that decision for various reasons. First off we couldn't afford to buy or run a second car when I first moved over, then I didn't know I could actually drive with my American license for a year, and lastly I was scared I was going to kill myself by accidentally driving on the wrong side of the road.

Now that I have been taking a few lessons to learn how to drive a manual, because I’m starting to miss the freedom driving would give me, I realize the only thing I should have been scared about was roundabouts!!

I mean you slow down and have to decide do I go? Do I stop? I would think all those rolling stops at stop signs I used to do when I was in the states would have prepared me for roundabouts, but no.

Also after driving around them as a passenger for so many years I should really be used to them by now. Everyone else makes it looks so easy. They probably are, but in the mean time I’m starting to wonder if I should bribe my driving test examiner with these amazing Chocolate Raspberry Brownies!

They are super simple to make, as brownies generally are, and they are one of the best recipes I have ever tried. I would definitely pass me if I gave these brownies to me.

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

200g dark chocolate, broken up
100g milk chocolate, broken up
250g salted butter
400g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
140g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
200g raspberries

Preheat oven to 180C/gas4 and line a brownie tin (8x11) or an 8in square pan with parchment paper.
Very gently melt both chocolates with the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan. Just before the chocolate is completely melted, take off the heat and gently stir until it’s completely melted.
 Then add the eggs one at a time to the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the pan and stir until just combined. Fold in half the raspberries.
Then pour the mixture into the prepared tin/pan. Scatter the rest of the raspberries over the top of the brownies before baking in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. If you want them a little gooier only bake them for 30 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting into squares. They are good for 3 days in an airtight container not that they will last that long!

notes: It is totally illegal to do rolling stops at stop signs, please do not do this if you are currently living in the states or if you ever visit there! I also think it’s illegal to bribe driving test examiners with brownies. You can’t blame a girl for trying right? Learning to drive a manual car with my left hand, driving on the wrong other side of the road, with roundabouts everywhere is a bit scary, but I hope to have it mastered by the end of the year! This recipe was adapted from Bakes & Cakes Magazine Summer 2013 (BBC Good Food Mag)

It’s so hard to say goodbye {Lemon Crumble Cupcakes}

Autumn is here! The days are starting to get shorter and the nights are definitely cooler.

I love this time of year, but I also love the long sunny days of summer! I have a lot of conflicting feelings about different things.

So, before I say goodbye to summer (until next year) I thought I’d make these super summery and light Lemon Crumble Cupcakes!

Not that you can’t make these in the middle of winter to remind you of summer or in the spring when you are anticipating summer or in summer as lemons go well with sunshine.

Although saying that a crumble always reminds me autumn and winter. There I go again with my conflicting feelings and thoughts!

No matter the time of year these cupcakes are gorgeous and should be made to share!

Crumble Topping:

75g plain flour
75g golden caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
100g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into blocks

Make this first by mixing the flour, sugar, and lemon zest together. Then rub the butter into flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs and then set aside in the fridge until needed.

Lemon Crumble Cupcakes:

200g butter, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs
200g self-rising flour
juice of 1 lemon
150g Mackays Lemon Curd

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F and line a cupcake tray with your choice casing. Beat the butter until soft before adding the sugar and then beat until light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs together, and then slowly add little by little to the light and fluffy butter mixture. If you add too much too quickly it will curdle. Gently fold in the flour and lemon juice until just combined.

Place a heaped tablespoon (one from your drawer not a proper measuring spoon) into the bottom of each case. Dollop about a ½ tablespoon of lemon curd in the middle of each cupcake case before topping each cupcake roughly with another tablespoon of batter, then cover each cupcake with the crumble topping. There should be plenty to cover each cupcake.

Bake for 30 minutes they should be a golden color on top and should spring back slightly. A skewer test would probably be useless as it has curd in the middle. Let them cool down in the cupcake try before removing to a wire rack to cool.

notes: Mackays Lemon Curd was provided for me as part of there #bakingwithmackays campaign please see my contact/policy tab above for further information; recipe adapted from Rachel Allen’s Cake (my book review); if you like this post you make like Lemon & Poppy Seed Scones another post where I talk about lemons and sunshine