Monday, 23 September 2013

Double Chocolate Chip Cup Cakes

I found this recipe on the Annabel Karmel website and decided to try it to keep little man entertained while we emptied the house ready for our move! Plus little man has been invited to a birthday party and they are not providing egg free cakes. Unfortunately I have lent out the cake pop maker so will be trying this as a cupcake recipe. This makes 12 cupcakes.
They didn't sink! Yeah. 


  • 145g sifted plain flour 
  • 150g caster sugar (or vanilla sugar) 
  • 20g nice quality cocoa powder 
  • 62g vegetable oil 
  • 175ml water 
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
  • small pinch of salt 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 100g of choc chips


  • pre-heat oven to 180C / gas mark 4. 
  • Set out the cupcake cases
  • In a bowl, sift the flour, bicarb of soda, salt and cocoa powder. Mix well. 
  • Add sugar and mix well 
  • Add oil, water, choc chips and vanilla essence and mix well
  •  Pour into cupcakes 
  • Cook for approx 22 mins


Original recipe says it serves about 6, so I'm guessing a 8" tin, and says to grease a tin and pour in to the baking tin/ring and bake for 1 hour in the middle of the oven or until a knife inserted in to the centre comes out clean.
These tasted a little funny to us... The taste of bicarbonate of soda seemed to come through. Will be trying again with self raising flour or adding some orange/lemon juice to balance it out. I think even a bit of vinegar would help. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Leftovers and garden fruit

Well this week the little one didn't get involved in the baking (I really do need to fit some time at the weekend for this so he doesn't miss out) although he did help daddy get the ingredients for the custard ready!

I had half a can of condensed milk left over from making the cakes for the birthdays, and some cooking apples from the garden. I did try and find something that would use my cupboard ingredients and these two items in one recipe, however no luck there so I ended up doing an apple pie and making some fudge.

The Fudge

I found an Ultimate Fudge recipe on the Carnation website which I modified a little bit, as no demerara sugar in the house. I wanted to use up some older sugar I had floating around ready for the house move in the next week or so....

200g condensed milk
75ml milk
200g light brown sugar
25g dark brown sugar
57g butter cut into cubes

  •  Line a tin with baking paper. I used a 20x10 tin for this recipe
  • Stick all the ingredients into a saucepan, I didn't have a non stick pan and it didn't seem to make any difference to the cooking. You need to put it on a low heat (I have induction and I started on 2 and went up to 3 on the heat setting) to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar.  You need to keep stirring. This takes way longer than I expected.
  • Once everything has dissolved/melted put the heat up and bring to the boil
  • Simmer for 15 mins (making sure you continue to stir) (you can test the fudge by dropping it into a bowl of ice cold water - it should solidify into fudge when ready. The recipes talk about a ball of fudge, mine was more a line but still worked!)
  • Remove from heat and then beat with a wooden spoon for around 10 mins, until thick and starting to set. WARNING This is VERY hard work!! Gosh was my arm sore by the end, I definitely earned a taster!
  • Tip into the tin, and spread with the back of a spoon, I used a bit of baking paper on top to stop it sticking to the spoon!
  • Wait to cool and then cut and enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Now for a girl's first birthday cake

Design ideas

After looking on the internet for ideas for my little girls first birthday, I had two criteria, one it had to be simple and two it needed to have some items that could be taken off and kept (like my boys train and cubes from his first cake).

This 1st Birthday Party supplies page has some cakes on it, including a baby pulling down a cake but was much too complicated, but perhaps I could include a baby on my cake somehow? It also showed a lovely cake with a girl on the top, and spots over the cake itself. I really like this cake. This two coloured cake of pink and green was lovely, and the bear very cute. 

With these, and my daughters cot toys, in mind I got out my iPad and using a Paper app I started sketching out ideas. These are not shared here as I am a TERRIBLE drawer and they are awful!! However they helped me pull together a couple of thoughts. 

The Plan

So I had a basic design, and I was going to reuse the recipe from my little boys cake. First it was off to the cake shop in Shrewsbury Market Hall (the ladies are so lovely and helpful) to get my supplies, I even managed to save a little by getting some flower paste icing on sale to make the baby skin (and with a little food colouring the dress too!).

Second it was tripling up the recipe and getting all the ingredients, this is because the recipe is for one 6" cake and I wanted to make two 8" cakes to put on top of each other with some butter icing. I had set aside Friday before the party (Sunday) to get the cake cooked and iced, although the other half was off too I was hoping to send him off on the bike or something!

The Reality

In fact I started the characters on Thursday evening, as I was loosing sleep about how to do them. This turned out to be a good thing as they took much longer than expected to make. I'm sure if I had all the tools and some training they would be dead easy to make but each character took approx 2 hours!! The first one made was the bunny, which used toothpicks to hold head to body and ears to head. 
Friday morning I baked the cakes, these are a bit more dense than normal egg cakes but still taste yummy and the cake was polished off at the party which I took to be a good sign. They did take approx 2 more mins to cook than on the recipe, and the first sank a fair bit in the middle. Otherwise I did not modify this at all. After the cakes had cooled it was time to stick them together with a fair bit of butter icing (the two tops together so they didn't look sunken with icing on). I then stuck the cakes in the fridge to let the icing go hard before adding the jam, marzipan and royal icing to the cake. While they were in the fridge, I made the little baby girl/doll.  This was using flower paste icing as it let me go finer in rolling out for the dress and hair. I used toothpicks to hold arms and head to the body.
Once the cake had the base icing on it was time to stick on the spots and make the monkey (this was a copy of a toy that my daughter was given at birth by her Nana and Granddad). I ended up doing this on Friday night once the kids had gone to bed, so I was pretty tired at this point so it wasn't brilliant. Anyway the final cake....

Daughters first birthday cake