Do you have a favorite Blogger?

Asking me to choose my favorite blogger is like asking me to choose a favorite between my daughters or between my sisters! I don’t have a favorite I love them the same just for different reasons! That goes for my children, sisters, and bloggers!

As you may have guessed I have been asked to write about my favorite blogger for a competition hosted by Curry’s.

The problem is I have a lot of "favorite" blogs, they all offer something different and I have really struggled to narrow it down to one. However the one has been decided and it is Cakeyboi written by Stuart Vettese.

Stuart offers not only inventive and tasty treats but clever cartoons featuring Cakeyboi, whom he has named his blog after. 

I don’t remember how I came across Cakeyboi, I just remember loving Stuart’s Cakeyboi cartoons. So, simple but entertaining. Here are a couple of my favorites! 

His cartoons may have what drew me to his blog to start with, but I continue to be a reader because of his sweet treats. I love how he takes simple traditional makes and/or bakes and gives the flavors an interesting twist! 

To learn more about Stuart and Cakeyboi visit his site, I know you won’t be disappointed!

To learn more about this competition visit the Curry’s site.

As I mentioned Cakeyboi is one of many blogs I read and here are some other blogs I love and read regularly!
  1. raspberri cupcakes - Steph is from Sydney and creates some of the most beautiful food I have ever seen!
  2. Sprinklebakes - Heather from America has taught me to think outside of the box!
  3. Brave Tart - Stella from America has been great for any technical baking problems I encounter! 
  4. The Caked Crusader - Her identity is unknown, but with witty writing and classic desserts I am always drawn to her site! 
  5. The Londoner - Rosie is from London, she writes a lifestyle blog that covers everything from food to fashion. I read with good-hearted envy of all her adventures and I wish I could have her wardrobe!
notes: This post was written for the Curry's competition: Tell us about your favorite blogger with a chance to win a desktop PC (link above). All pictures are from Cakeyboi with permission from Stuart Vettese and all opinions are my own for further information visit my contact/policy page!

World Book Night 2014: The Recruit by Robert Muchamore {review & giveaway} *closed

This is my 3rd year as a World Book Night giver.

I have mentioned before that I have a love affair with books. I have this idea in my head that books have answers to questions we would have never thought to ask.

I have found a whole community of people who enjoy reading, but I also encounter those who say they don’t. There are others who would like to read more, but have other priorities.

The whole point of World Book Night is to target those in the later group(s).

This year I was given The Recruit (a CHERUB novel) by Robert Muchamore. It’s the first in a series about a young man who at first gets into a bit of trouble only to be recruited into a top-secret branch of the government.

I hadn't read the book before I collected my box of books from a local library. So, before I gave them out I had a read.

It’s very cleverly written and entertaining for most ages, starting from about 10 years old! It kept me reading late into the night! I really enjoyed the main character and might have to see how he gets on in the following books - there are a total of 12!

On the day of World Book Night (23, April) I took just over a third of my books on the school run. I gave them to parents to read and to parents who I knew had a pre-teen or young adult at home who needed to be encouraged to read.

I also gave a couple of copies to my English teacher friends to share with students they thought might need encouragement to read more.

And I have one copy left to share with my United Cakedom readers!

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter and one reader will be chosen by random! As World Book Night has “world” in it, entries can be from anywhere!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please share this giveaway with someone who doesn't read a lot and encourage them to enter! Or just enter for them! Or if you can't wait that long go find your self a copy! 

Oh, I almost forgot! All the World Book Night books include a recommendation from the author! Plus more resources on other books and World Book Night! Also a bonus when you've just finished a great book and don't know where to look next!

notes: Check out the official UK & Ireland World Book Night page if you are interested in being a giver next year or for more information. These books were provided by The Reading Agency for World Book Night and I was chosen as a giver. Please see my contact/policy page for further information. Check out my past World Book Nights here & here. I place this competition on Prizefinder: Win competitions at

Giving and Receiving

You know when you say you're going to do something, but then you go and do something else?

Sainsbury’s gave me a copy of their latest book titled Cake to give away to one of my readers.

Well, I’m not going to host a giveaway.

However, I did give it away.

I gave it to my friend Sharon, she is a reader of my blog!

She is also my friend who has guest posted a few times here on United Cakedom. She’s shared her Spider-Man Cake that still gets loads of views.

She has also shared the Lion Cake she made from Sainsbury’s book titled Baking. Which is the number one viewed post on my blog this week!

When we were talking one day she asked if I had seen that Sainsbury’s had just come out with a new cake book. Of course I had and it was because of her excitement that I decided I was going to give her my giveaway copy. 

I really think she deserves it.

I mean look at the Loveable Lion Cake it's amazing! 

Plus she promised she’d share any and all her creations from the book with us!

If you have any doubt that she deserved a copy of this book please feel free to leave a comment!

The book has a lot of inspiration for the beginner and the more advanced cake decorator!

It has animals like a pig and a bunny! No lion in this one though, for that you’ll have to check out the Baking book. But there are fun holiday cakes for Halloween and Bonfire Night. Cakes for all occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, mother and father’s day and many more!

 At 5 pounds it’s a real bargain!

Sainsbury’s have a whole range of books so if cakes aren't your thing they have other titles at that price! There is one for Quick Recipes another with Winter Warmers those two stick out in my mind at the moment. If you watch out sometimes they even go down to 3 pounds 50 pence!

notes: in association with Sainsbury’s, for further information please see my contact/policy page. 

How to use up leftover Chocolate {Post Easter Post}

It’s not very often that I have the problem of having so much chocolate I don’t know what to do with it.

Unless of course it’s a popular National Holiday! My whole family received an abundance of chocolate this weekend.  

So, I thought like my “How to use up leftover Candy {Post Halloween Post} I would share a way to use up all those Easter eggs.

I was brainstorming a few ideas of ways to use up the inevitable excessive amount of chocolate we were surely to receive. I wasn't disappointed! We had chocolate in the shape of eggs, bunnies, and lambs! But until I knew what sort of chocolate I’d have leftover I waited to decide on what to make!

Then I received an egg with Caramel Truffles and bought my girls ones with Rainbow Chocolate Buttons and thought cupcakes!

So, I put the truffles inside the cupcakes and used the buttons as decoration. I then used the chocolate eggs in the cake and the frosting!

I could totally survive out in the wild with the skills I have to use up everything in my possession!

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

40g unsalted butter, softened
140g golden caster sugar
120g self-rising flour
1tsp baking powder
100ml double cream
1 medium egg
100g Milk Chocolate Easter Egg, melted

Pre-heat oven to 170C/325F/gas3 and line your cupcake pan with 8-10 liners.
Beat the butter, sugar, flour, and baking powder until it looks like sand. Add half of the cream and mix until just combined. Add the rest along with the egg and melted chocolate and beat until just combined.
Place a heaped dessertspoon full of batter into each case, then place a truffle the middle of each case squishing down a little so the batter touches the sides. The place another heaped dessertspoon on top. I just made sure the top and bottom batter touched around the truffle before placing in the oven and baking for 25 minutes. A skewer test won’t work here if placed in the middle, as you will get the gooey truffle. Around the edges should give you an idea. Place on a rack to cool, but be careful the truffles do sink to the bottom and the caramel could leak out and could burn you. While cooling make the...

Milk Chocolate Frosting:

210g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp double cream
100g Milk Chocolate Easter Egg, melted

Beat the butter until smooth, and then add the icing sugar and double cream. Once it’s smooth you can add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.

to finish:

Milk Chocolate Frosting
Rainbow Chocolate Buttons

Using a spatula frost the cupcakes and decorate with the buttons.


I should have stuck with a recipe I was more comfortable with for the cupcakes. They turned out good and edible, both a bonus. It just wasn't what I wanted; we are always our own worst critics.

The tops sunk, which may have been me, I turned them around to try to achieve a more even bake. Which I left out of the instructions, so you don’t have the same thing happen to you! I made 10, but I think I would have been better to make 9.

The frosting, I’m not going to lie, I just winged it. It was pretty buttery. 

I haven’t done a proper shop since I got back from Scotland and I had very little icing sugar so I have given you how I made the frosting, but please feel free to use your favorite tried and tested chocolate frosting!

notes: The chocolate caramel egg was provided for me by Sainsbury's (c.2104), the other I bought, please see my contact/policy page above for further information. Recipe was adapted from Jo Wheatley’s A Passion for Baking. Which I reviewed here! For another way to use up leftover holiday treats see my Leftover Halloween Candy Rocky Road!  

Pancakes at Midnight

9 years ago today I married my husband.

We had been dating for about 5 month's.

The shock of some of our family and friends cannot be expressed in words.

We were married by an old retired Justice of the Peace, he looked a bit like Yoda, on a very windy day on the side of a lake. 

Afterwards we went to lunch with the few people who were there and then we packed his bags to fly back to England the next day. 

With all excitement and then driving to the airport we didn't have dinner. Right next to our hotel was an IHOP and it was there, at midnight on our wedding day, we shared a stack of Chocolate Chip Pancakes. 

Chocolate Chip Pancakes: 

1 large egg
1 cup plain flour/all-purpose
3/4 cups milk
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil 
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Beat the egg with hand beater until fluffy, then add the remaining ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, until just combined and smooth. Grease with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray before heating up the griddle or skillet over a medium heat (sprinkle a few drops of water, if bubbles jump around, heat is just right). Cook pancakes until bubbly on top, puffed and dry around the edges; turn and sprinkle on a small handful of chocolate chips and cook until the other side is golden brown. 

Top with whatever you like and enjoy! 

notes: recipe slightly adapted from Betty Crocker's Red Cookbook. IHOP: International House of Pancakes. 

And we're back!!

I need to say a big Thank You to Janet, Missie, and Isaiah for being guest posts on my blog while I was away!!

If you missed it Janet shared Chocolate Glazed BakedDoughnuts

Missie provided a recipe for Goulash from The Poision Kitchen and a book review of the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series by Laini Taylor.

 11 year-old Isaiah made a special treat, Chocolate CoveredKey Lime Pie on a stick!

While in Scotland I found Dark Chocolate Tunnock’s Tea Cakes and we went to Lochness and had a good time visiting with family.

We got back a couple days ago and made some fun Easter crafts from Sainsbury’s.

I also have a recipe for leftover Easter chocolate so, don’t eat all those Easter eggs!!

notes: I bought the Tunnock’s Tea Cakes myself but the Easter crafts were provided by Sainsbury’s opinions are my own. 

Baking with Isaiah! Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a Stick

Here in Minnesota there has been too much snow and it has been too cold for too long, so I decided to bring back some memories of warm times.  

When I was 7 I spent the summer with my dad it Key West Florida. With the sandy beaches and calm waters this is the perfect place to remember when it is too cold.

The best dessert I had when I visited Key West was key lime pie. Once I had chocolate dipped key lime pie I loved it.

Adding chocolate makes it 10 times better. The first time I tried chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick is when we stopped along the way to Key West at a gas station that sold it.

Ever since that I have been waiting for an excuse to make chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. ~ Isaiah

Chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick

1 ½ cups graham crackers or crumbs
1/3  cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon

1(14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
½ cup KEY lime juice
 ¾ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp KEY lime juice
3 Tbsp sugar
9-14 Popsicle sticks

The first thing you do is crush your graham crackers. You can also use the pre-crushed graham cracker crumbs. I used my food processor to crush my graham crackers but you don’t have to. You should get the crumbs fairly fine.

Now in a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Next with the back of the measuring cup or you fingers gently press the crust into the pie pan and bake at 375F degrees for 7 min.

Now mix together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and key lime juice. Pour filling in to pie crust and chill in fridge for 10 min.

In a smaller bowl mix together sour cream, key lime juice, and sugar.

Pour and spread the second mixture over the first mixture and bake at 350F for 30 min. Then let cool and freeze until rock hard. (This is very important.)

Cut small slits every 2-3 inches and insert the Popsicle sticks in them. Place back in the freezer.

Cut the pie into slices and spoon melted chocolate on then then flip over and repeat. Make sure the chocolate goes over the sides and covers to whole thing, let chocolate harden.


note from Lisa: First off I want to say a big thank you to Isaiah for sharing these amazing and delicious looking Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a stick on my blog! Isaiah happens to be a friend of my sister's! When I asked her if she knew anyone who would want to guest post on my blog she sent me Isaiah's name. He writes the blog Baking Adventures of a Ten-Year-Old where he shares his adventures learning to bake and cook. He was recently featured in his city's newspaper The St. Cloud Times Newspaper and he has his own YouTube Channel

Poison Kitchen

There are those places in books that you long to go, but sadly they live in the author’s mind and not in the real world. In the series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is such a place. Laini has created Poison Kitchen with such vivid detail that I really thought the restaurant had to be real. 
Here is an excerpt from the book:

Down by the Devil’s Stream, Poison Kitchen was a place rarely stumbled upon by chance; you had to know it was there, and duck under an unmarked stone arch into a walled graveyard, beyond which glowed the lamp-lit windowpanes of the cafe.
Unfortunately, tourists no longer had to rely on chance to discover the place; the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guide had outed it to the world—
The church once attached to this medieval priory burned down some three hundred years ago, but the monks’ quarters remain, and have been converted to the strangest cafe you’ll find anywhere, crowded with classical statues all sporting the owner’s collection of WWI gas masks. Legend has it that back in the Middle Ages, the cook lost his mind and murdered the whole priory with a poisoned vat of goulash, hence the cafe’s ghoulish name and signature dish: goulash, of course. Sit on a velvet sofa and prop your feet up on a coffin. The skulls behind……the bar may or may not belong to the murdered monks…. 
—and for the past half year backpackers had been poking their heads through the arch, looking for some morbid Prague to write postcards about.
This evening, though, the girls found it quiet. In the corner a foreign couple was taking pictures of their children wearing gas masks, and a few men hunched at the bar, but most of the tables—coffins, flanked by low velvet settees—were unoccupied. Roman statues were everywhere, life-size gods and……nymphs with missing arms and wings, and in the middle of the room stood a copy of the huge equestrian Marcus Aurelius from Capitoline Hill.
“Oh, good, Pestilence is free,” said Karou, heading toward the sculpture. Massive emperor and horse both wore gas masks, like every other statue in the place, and it had always put Karou in mind of the first horseman of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, sowing plague with one outstretched arm. The girls’ preferred table was in its shadow, having the benefit of both privacy and a view of the bar—…

Two of the main characters, Karou and Zuzana, frequent Poison Kitchen to eat their world famous goulash! The traditional Czech goulash is a soup or stew of meat, noodles, and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. It originally is from the Hungarian culture.

As a child I grew up eating a goulash made by my step-father that was a bit more modern and could be made with ingredients already in our kitchen. He wasn’t the best cook, but the goulash did taste like home! In honor of my love for Poison Kitchen and the third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series release, Dreams of Gods and Monsters on April 8th, I decided to share my goulash recipe! - Missie

  • 1 lb (500g) ground/mince beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 28 ounces (800g) petite diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces (425g) tomato sauce
  • 1 lb (500g) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded 

  1. Brown ground beef, onion and pepper.
  2. Season with garlic salt, paprika and pepper.
  3. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  4. Simmer 10 minutes while macaroni is cooking.
  5. Boil macaroni al dente, drain, rinse.
  6. Return macaroni to pot, add beef mixture and stir in cheese until melted.
  7. Serve in bowls (makes great leftovers, the ingredients really meld together!)

note from Lisa: Thank you Missie for making this yummy Goulash and sharing it on my site! Missie and I have been friends since university! Even though it's been years since I last saw her, I know that the next time I see her it will be like I saw her yesterday. We always had the same taste in books, TV shows, movies etc... so we would have plenty to talk about! For more posts like this check out Missie's site: A Flurry of Ponderings!

Baking Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts with Janet

Whoever decided that donuts should be served for breakfast is a genius!

In my typical fashion, I wanted to bake something that would "WOW" my family.

After a trip to the local Dunkin Donuts, I realized that these treats were something that I could probably make (healthier) and be a big hit with the crew.

I promptly went shopping for some Wilton's pans (another one of my common practices) and since I couldn't decide on whether to make full size or mini donuts, I bought both pans. :)

I followed the recipe on the pan for the plain cake donuts and the chocolate glaze. One layer of chocolate glaze was not enough so I double dipped them. I sprinkled them and let the kids eat them for an afternoon snack.

They were satisfyingly job here is done. :) ~ Janet

Baked Doughnuts:

2 cups cake flour, sifted
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Non-stick vegetable pan spray

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray Doughnut Pan with vegetable cooking spray.
Doughnuts: In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Add buttermilk, eggs and butter. Beat until just combined. Fill each pan cavity approximately 2/3 full.
Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when touched. Let cool in pan 4-5 minutes before removing. Doughnuts are best served fresh.

Chocolate Glaze:

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1-2 teaspoons hot water

In medium bowl, melt chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup on 50% power for 1 minute, stirring frequently until completely melted. Stir in 1 teaspoon of hot water, stirring until the glaze is thick and smooth. Add another teaspoon if glaze is too thick. Use immediately to glaze doughnuts.

to finish: 

crushed candy bars

Use anything you like to top them with!!

notes: The original recipe can be found here! How to make them with a cinnamon glaze! For more recipes from Janet click on the side bar button! 

Meeting Mary Berry! {a book signing}

In my about me page I mention that I started baking when I made my daughter’s first birthday cake.

I had never baked a cake from scratch before. So, I did what every normal person does, I went on Amazon and ordered a book on cakes. 

The book I happened to choose for both the title and the price was Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes.

Being American I had no idea who Mary Berry was, nor at that time did I even think to care who she was.

All I knew is that I wanted to bake a cake from scratch and I wanted an easy and fast way to do it.

However when my friend asked about my cake making and I said that I had a Mary Berry book, she was not surprised.

It was a few short years later she was in the spot light again for The Great British Bake Off. Now Fast Cakes has been republished with a new cover, as I’m sure a lot of her other titles have been.

I was excited to learn she had published a new book Mary Berry Cooks!

And even more excited when I found out Mary Berry was going to be in my town signing books!

The line was huge! I arrived a good couple of hours early and it was already snaking around the bookshelves.

The line moved quickly. We weren't allowed to take photos with Mary, it was a little disappointing, but I understand why. It would have taken forever!

I never know what to say to people I admire so I usually end up saying something silly like I did when I met the David’s from Outsider Tart. This time I had a 4 year old with me and she took the pressure off, by telling Mary that her hands were sticky.

Considering she’s cuter then me she got the attention and I was just another person in a line.

But hey I got my book signed!

I also got one signed for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day. When I asked her about Mary Berry she told me this:

“Mary Berry was my very first cookery book, given to me as a wedding present from my Aunt Maisie back in 1979. So, Mary got me cooking much more. Some of her cake recipes I still use today as they are my favourites and always work! Love the woman and she inspired me to be adventurous in making family meals! Want a great shortbread recipe – Mary Berry! Want an easy to make cheesecake – Mary Berry! She is my cooking bible! Mary’s recipes are easy straight forward and don’t trash your kitchen.” ~ Kate (my mother-in-law)

Which basically sums up the fact that Mary is classic and her books will be on bookshelves for many years to come!

notes: An image of my first cake is here, it's the pink one with a number one on it! Want to know what I said to the David’s of Outsider Tart? See that post here!