Gooey Clusters (Homemade Goo Goo Clusters)

Raise your hand if you like chocolate, caramel, marshmallow fluff, and salted peanuts! If you enjoy all of those ingredients separately be prepared to love them all together! (you can put your hand down now) 

These Gooey Clusters are a simple and easy treat to throw together to impress friends, family, and a load of internet people you don’t know!

I need to say the sentence above in your best announcer’s voice. That’s how I hear it being said out loud!

See, it totally sells them when you’re saying it in an announcer sort of way. An announcer voice can get people to do anything. Including making sweet chocolate treats! 

Or you just write a blog and get people to put their hands up and talk in announcer voices and to make cake! 

Back to the Gooey Clusters! These babies don’t require any fancy gimmicks to get someone to make them. They sell themselves! The only words you need to make these are:  chocolate, caramel, marshmallow fluff, and salted peanuts  … plus you need to know how I did make them! The recipe is as follows….

Gooey Clusters
150g Dark Chocolate
12 tsp salted peanuts
12 tsp caramel sauce
12 tsp marshmallow fluff

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water, make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Once it’s melted place 12 teaspoons of the melted chocolate in the bottom of 12 fairy cake cases lined in a muffin/cupcake tin. Then add a teaspoon of peanuts, caramel sauce, and marshmallow fluff to each case before topping again with a tsp of dark chocolate. Leave to set in the fridge for 2-4 hours. If they aren't all gobbled up right away store in the fridge. Also the caramel sauce and marshmallow might leak out of holes, but that’s okay!

notes: Gooey Clusters are inspired by a popular candy (chocolate) bar called a Goo Goo Cluster, that is very popular in parts of southern America: the base is a marshmallow-y nougat base topped with a layer of caramel and peanuts and completely covered in chocolate. The recipe/idea was inspired by The Chew Food. Life. Fun

Love Your Freezer Part 2: Vegetables & Herbs (General Tso’s Chicken & Frittata)

Yesterday I shared how I use frozen fruit to my advantage. Today I am going to share the way I use frozen vegetables and herbs with a recipe that highlights the best of both and another that is a family favorite!

When I was at University I used to treat myself to a General Tso’s Chicken from the local Chinese restaurant on the occasional weekend night I had to work late. I was shocked and appalled when I couldn't find General Tso’s Chicken on any menu here in the UK. So, I have tried a few different recipes trying to find the one that reminded me most of the one I used to get at home and this one so far has most resembled it!

This recipe really showcases frozen herbs as it uses 3 of the most common when it comes to making Chinese food: garlic, ginger, and chili! I also use frozen broccoli! 

General Tso’s Chicken:
3 tbsp corn flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
vegetable oil
3-4 chicken breast, cubed
400g frozen broccoli, blanched
rice, cooked according to the package

1 tbsp corn flour
120ml/4oz cold water
1 tbsp frozen chopped garlic
1 tbsp frozen chopped ginger
1 ½ tsp frozen chopped chili
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine

Combine the corn flour, salt, and pepper and coat the chicken cubes in the flour and leave to one side.
To make the sauce combine the corn flour and cold water and mix until there are no corn flour lumps. Then add all the chopped herbs, honey, soy sauce, and rice wine and mix until combined. Set aside.
Heat a splash or two of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Shake any excess flour off the chicken cubes and fry in the oil for 4-6 minutes. Add the sauce mixture, leave on a medium to low heat until the sauce has thickened. Make sure the broccoli is well drained before adding to the pan and coat in the sauce.
Serve with rice and enjoy!

I always have frozen spinach in my fridge because spinach is easily hidden in food and it’s super good for you. It works great it in Bolognese, curries, and as a side for almost any chicken dinner. However it is particularly great in this frittata from Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie.

Sweet Potato, Spinach, & Feta Frittata
2 sweet potatoes, roasted
200-300g frozen spinach
½ tsp ground nutmeg
6-8 large eggs
splash of milk
70g feta cheese
40g cheddar cheese or red leister, grated

Roast the sweet potatoes with a little bit of oil and salt in a pre-heated oven at 190C for about 50 minutes or until soft and smushy.
About 10 minutes before the sweet potatoes are done start the rest of the frittata by frying the spinach with a splash of oil, salt, and nutmeg.
While you are waiting for the spinach to wilt and the excess water to evaporate beat the eggs with a splash of milk. Once mixed crumble in half of the feta cheese and half the cheddar cheese, mix until combined.
The sweet potatoes should be out of the oven by now and slightly cooled.
Once all the water has evaporated take the pan off the heat, pour the eggy mixture into the pan. Sprinkle chunks of the soft sweet potato (skin, no skin up to you) all over the mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
Place in the already heated oven for 13-15 minutes. It should be nice and fluffy when it’s ready to come out. We cut it into wedges and serve with hotsauce and a fresh green salad!

What recipes that use frozen vegetables or herbs do you make on a regular basis? Are their any freezer tips or tricks you use? I’d love to hear them, please leave a comment below!

notes: In association with Sainsbury’s for their campaign Love Your Freezer. General Tso’s Chicken recipe is adapted from The Chew: Food. Life. Fun. by the cast of The Chew. Sweet Potato, Spinach, & Feta Frittata is as it says before adapted from Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver.  

Love Your Freezer Part 1: Fruit {smoothies & muffins}

This post is the first in two posts where I will be sharing the love for my freezer. Starting with fruit! As a baker fruit is a pretty obvious thing to keep in my fridge, because frozen fruits make great crumbles, cobblers, and pies! 

Frozen fruit (and vegetables) are almost better then fresh. The fruit is frozen almost immediately after it’s picked and by doing that seals in the freshness. An added bonus with frozen fruit is that 9 times out of 10 there is no need to defrost before using them, so it's as simple as throwing them into whatever it is that is being baked and/or cooked!

The most obvious way to use frozen fruit is in smoothies! Smoothies are the best way to make the most out of any frozen fruit. Since the fruit is frozen ice isn't necessary to add ice, which just ends up watering it down. Sainsbury’s have a strawberry banana smoothie pack that make smoothie making a breeze. My two girls love it when I whip this up for them!

Strawberry Banana Smoothies:
½ pkg (eyeball it) of Sainsbury’s Strawberry Banana Smoothie frozen pack
300ml vanilla yogurt
300ml apple juice

Blend all the ingredients together. Adjust the yogurt or apple juice according to constancy.

Any frozen fruit makes a good smoothie, I found the trick is using juice to add flavor and texture. It helps keep the smoothie from being too thick. Apple juice pairs well with strawberries, but play around to find your favorite combination. Also if you juice your own fruit it is even better for you, no hidden sugars.

The one frozen fruit I constantly have to restock is blueberries. That is because they are the best fruit/berry to use in pancakes, smoothies, and muffins. This is my fail safe recipe for Blueberry Muffins; the only thing I did different this time was sprinkle some vanilla sugar on top. It gave these muffins a darker colored top, but it was worth it. 

Feel free to substitute with frozen raspberries, blackberries, cranberries or even cherries in place of the blueberries!

I am always looking for ways to make the best out of my freezer! What tips and tricks do you use? 
Please leave a comment below! 

For my go to Pancake recipe follow the link here 
(substitute the chocolate chips for blueberries)
For my favorite blueberry smoothie follow the link here
For Gluten & Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins follow the link here

notes: In association with Sainsbury’s for their Love Your Freezer campaign! Check out there Live Well for Less free magazine usually available at the end of the tills for more freezer ideas and tips. Watch out for Part 2: Vegetables and Herbs coming soon!! 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

It is easy to get wrapped up in time; it is as common a topic as the weather is. Perhaps it’s a sign that I am getting old. It seems I find myself talking about how fast time goes these days. I don’t remember talking like that when I was in my 20’s.

Now I say things like “I can’t believe it’s already the middle of January! Gosh o’Golly this year is already zipping by!”

Maybe I don’t say it exactly like that it’s probably more like “What is the date today? Are you fucking kidding me? Shit I was supposed to do this or that yesterday! Gawd where does the time go?”

Time isn't the only thing that makes me feel old at 32, it’s when it’s my friend’s birthday and she’s only turning 28!

It’s okay my younger friends keep me young! I made this cake for my friend Kellie’s birthday today and we had a lovely morning eating cake with tea and coffee!

This is the cake I made:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
3 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder, extra for dusting
4 large eggs
200g self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g caramel sauce, extra for drizzling on top
1 tsp sea salt flakes
300g double cream

Heat the oven to 180C, grease or line 2 7in (18cm) round cake tins. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder before adding in the eggs and beating until just combined. Spoon into the tins and gently level the batter with a spatula inside the tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. While the cake is cooling mix the sea salt flakes in the caramel sauce. Then whip up the cream until soft peaks form. Once the cakes are cool, spread the caramel sauce on top of one layer and pipe the whipped cream on top of that before placing the other layer on top. Dust with cocoa powder and drizzle some caramel sauce on top! Enjoy!

notes: Recipe adapted from Jamie’s Monster Bake Sale pamphlet for Comic Relief 2011. Sometimes people don’t like cake, they do exist (I know I was as shocked as you) and if you know one of these people try thisshortbread I made for my cake-hating friend!

Huffkins {inspired by Paddington by Michael Bond} #storybookbakes

I don’t know how many times I have written about my love of books so I won’t go into too much detail all you need to know is that I love books. Okay? Okay, so I have been trying to figure out a way to combine my love of books and food for a while now on a regular basis and I think I have found a fuss free easy way to do it! 

Basically I am going to be baking and making from whatever novel or children's book or autobiography that inspires me to do so! See that wasn't so hard! Originally I was going to make it a linky post, but I started to find that a bit stressful. The stress of getting people involved etc... however I think I've come up with an easy solution for that too! See the notes below! 

I hope to do this at least once a month, possible 2 as I actually have a list of stuff I have been wanting to make inspired by my favorite books! This month I was inspired by Paddington and here's what I made! 

My girls and I went to see Paddington with some friends before Christmas and they loved it. It is very cute! After that my girls started asking for their Paddington book to be read at bedtime. Then they dug out their Paddington Cookery Book and insisted we make something from it.

They choose Huffkins! I tried to convince them to make something else, because I didn't want them to be disappointed. See bread and I have a love hate relationship. Meaning it either loves me or hates me and I never know which it will be!

However, love or luck or something was on my side the other night when we made these! They turned out just fine! The girls loved filling the indent with marmalade and munching on them before bed!


500g plain flour
50g butter
pinch of salt
2 tsp sugar
7g fast action yeast
120ml milk
120ml water
12 tsp marmalade

Start by sifting the flour and rubbing the cold butter into it, to make it look like breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt and sugar before adding the yeast, leave to the side while you heat the milk and water together until it’s just warm to the touch. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients before pouring in the heated milk and water. Using a wooden spoon start to bring the dough together, once it’s started use your hand to finish making the dough into a big ball. On a clean counter surface knead the dough for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and completely combined. Place in a clean bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.
Heat the oven to 220C and lightly grease a baking tray. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces the best you can, then gently roll them into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Press them down lightly to slightly flatten them, then using your thumb press a hole in the middle of each one (this was the girls favorite part.) Leave them for another 20 minutes to rise, or until they double in size. Once they are ready, bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. They should have a lightly tan/brown color to them, place a teaspoon of marmalade in each indent and enjoy while reading Paddington stories!

What is your favorite Paddington story? Leave a comment below! Mine will always have to be the original and first book about how the Browns came to have him living at their house!

notes: Recipe is adapted from Paddington's Cookery Book by Lesley Young. If you, like me, have been inspired by the books you read then I would love to see what you create whether it be food or a craft or art! Please get in touch in one or more of these ways: on Twitter tag me and use the hash tag and I will like and re-tweet! On Instagram tag me and hash tag and I will like it and leave a comment. If you have Facebook like my page (or not) but add your image to the page and I will share it with the rest of my readers! If you are on Google+ good luck to you! Just kidding I'm just not very good at being active on it. So, if you do share on there please be patient with me. If you prefer Pinterest, I will be starting a group board, if you would like to be added email me at unitedcakedom(@), unless you tell me otherwise I will use the email you emailed me with. 

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few of my old posts that were inspired by books I have read!

Oreo Poke Cake

Oreos are one of the best cookies to bake with. They make the best cheesecake and pie crusts! They also make amazing frosting for cakes and cupcakes. Not to mention they make the best truffles ever!

The other reason I hold a soft spot for Oreo’s is because my dad loves them.

He loves to have a couple with a cold glass of milk to dunk them in. It is hard being away from my family, even if I don’t talk about it much. When I snack on the occasional Oreo by first dunking it in milk and waiting until the count of 10 to let it get soggy (something I've done since I was a child) it always reminds me of my dad!

The last thing I made in the year 2014 had everything to with Oreos, which is why I am going on about them! The last thing I made was this Oreo Poke Cake. Which is little to no effort with a great reward.

Poke Cakes are essentially American because you use a box cake mix and Jell-O Instant Pudding. The latter not being readily available here in the UK. You could make both from scratch, but there is nothing wrong with taking a short cut especially when the outcome is super delicious!

When I was visiting my parents last summer I brought a few things back with me and surprise surprise one of them was a box of Oreo Cookies n’ Creme Jell-O Pudding! It’s been sitting in the cupboard staring at me and taunting me saying “Once you've made me you won’t have me anymore, so whatever you make with me better be good!”

Then one day when I was wasting time on Pinterest, poke cakes kept appearing. It was an obvious sign that told me to make a Poke Cake and to use my Oreo Jell-O pudding.

So, that’s what I did and I am glad I did! It was a big hit at our friends house on New Years Eve, everyone who tried it said it was amazing! 

Oreo Poke Cake

1 chocolate cake box mix (Betty Crocker Devil Food Cake Mix)
1 4.2oz (119g) box of Oreo Cookies n’ Crème Jell-O
1 pkg (157g) of Double Stuffed Oreo’s, crushed

First make the box according the instructions and with the ingredients listed. For the Betty Crocker Devil Food Cake you need 90ml vegetable oil, 250ml of water, and 3 medium eggs. Bake in a 9x12 Pyrex dish or similar, be sure to grease it first. The temperature, 180C/160Cfan/gas mark4, is still the same as is the time for baking 25 minutes.

Once the cake is out of the oven, mix the Jell-O pudding powder with 2 cups (American measuring cups) of cold whole milk. Once it’s mix make holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. I made mine in rows and columns. Then pour the slightly thickened Oreo pudding on top of the cake. The pudding should not be too wet and you don’t want it completely set so work quickly.

Sprinkle the crushed Double Stuffed Oreos over the top and press down gently. Leave for at least 10 minutes to let the pudding completely set. I like putting mine in the fridge because I like my pudding chilled.

notes: Interested in Oreo Truffles – check out my post! Jell-O pudding can be found on good American grocery websites. Yes, food things talk to me. Don’t judge. If you like this post and you are on Pinterest look me up! Follow me here!

Brazil Nut Chocolate Cookies

I like chocolate covered Brazil nuts. It was only natural that I should then make chocolate cookies and put Brazil nuts in said chocolate cookies.

I know I am not the first person to think of putting Brazil nuts in chocolate cookies. However it was the first time I put this combination together and it was delicious!

There seems to be a lot of stresses on being the first to do something. It starts at such a young age. Not that long ago I had my youngest throw a tantrum because her sister went down the stairs first.

This was first thing in the morning and I was standing in the bedroom door half awake trying to reason with her that it doesn't matter who is first because the end result will be the same. They will both be down the stairs.

Whatever logic I was trying to instil in her that morning wasn't working. My patience having reached its limit, I yelled to her sister get up here and walk down with her. The reasoning being that that way they would both be “first.”

It’s kinda like that with these cookies. Someone else may have made chocolate cookies with Brazil nuts before me AKA going down the stairs first. However once the cookies were baked the end result was the same we had cookies! AKA we all ended up at the bottom of the stairs.

So that we are all at the bottom of the stairs here’s how I made these cookies…

Brazil Nut Chocolate Cookies 

200g dark chocolate
100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
150g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
130g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
100g dark chocolate chunks
150g brazil nuts, chopped

Heat the oven to 160C fan/180C/gas mark 4 and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water. Leave to cool.
Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb, and salt together before adding half to the butter mixture. Once it’s incorporated add the rest of the flour mixture. Once it’s all combined mix in the melted chocolate, before folding in the chocolate chunks and brazil nuts.
Using an ice cream scoop scoop out the batter and place them on the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges get a little crispy. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

notes: Today is the first of a new year for all of us! I still like to go on social media at midnight to tell my friends in America that the New Year has arrived. It’s my way of bragging that I am in the New Year first! This recipe is adapted from The Boy Who Bakes by Edd Kimber. AKA or also-known-as.