Sunday, 4 August 2013

Bee-utiful Honey Cake



I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you because it is absolutely delicious and really easy to make, I barely had time to take these pictures before the whole cake was gone! This cake is made up of two layers of moist, honey-flavoured sponge, sandwiched together and topped with a sweet honey and cinnamon frosting. I even added some fondant bumblebees which not only make the cake look super-cute, but they also taste delightful!






Bee-utiful Honey Cake

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter
250g clear honey
100g light muscovado sugar
3 medium eggs, beaten
300g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder

Frosting and Toppings

100g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
1tsp honey
1tsp cinnamon
150g fondant icing
Black and yellow food colouring

Method

In a large saucepan add the butter, honey and sugar and place on a low heat, stirring gently until the butter has melted and the liquid is dark brown in colour. Bring to the boil for one minute then leave to one side for 20 minutes to cool.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2 and line two shallow cake tins with greaseproof paper. When the mixture has cooled beat in the eggs with a wooden spoon. In a large bowl add the flour and baking powder and mix.

Pour the honey mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and beat until smooth and even coloured. Pour the mixture evenly between the tins and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown in colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To make the frosting place the butter in a bowl, add the icing sugar, honey and cinnamon and beat gently until smooth and creamy. Place in the fridge until needed.

To make the bumblebees; colour half of the fondant yellow and one quarter black, leave the other quarter white. Divide the yellow icing into 5 small-ish balls and 1 larger one. Roll the balls into a short, sausage shape and place evenly spread on some greaseproof paper. Dust a clean surface and rolling pin with icing sugar and roll out the black icing until it is quite thin. Use a sharp knife to cut very thin strips of the icing. Use a thin tipped brush and moisten with a little water. Gently moisten a yellow icing ball and place 2 or 3 black strips evenly spaced over the top. Cut off the over-hanging/excess black icing. Next, use the white icing to make the wings by cutting off a small-ish piece, stick to the back of the bee with a tiny drop of water and squeeze gently in the middle to give it a wing shape. Use a cocktail stick to make eyes and a smile on the bee and repeat for all the bumblebees, place in the fridge to set.

To assemble the cake; place one sponge on the plate you wish to serve on and top with a generous amount of the buttercream. Place the 2nd sponge on the top, and cover with the remaining frosting. Position the small bumblebees around the cake and the larger one in the middle - that's all there is to it!

Belle's Top Tip
This cake tastes just as good without the bumblebees, for a quick alternative try sprinkling crushed honeycomb all over the top, or some crushed Cadbury Crunchie bars for a chocolately bonus!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Spiced Chocolate & Orange Cookies


Amongst us cookie lovers out there I've noticed something which I've dubbed "The Great Cookie Divide."  There's those who love a full-on, chocolate fest of cocoa and chocolate chunks and those who prefer a fruity, oaty bite of yumminess. To keep both teams happy I came up with my Spiced Chocolate & Orange Cookies. With just enough chocolate to keep them sweet and indulgent, but also packed with a fruity, citrus tang and wholesome oats. They are moist and chewy and as you can see I've made them super-sized...funnily enough there was no divide over that!





Spiced Chocolate & Orange Cookies

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter
400g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of half an orange
250g plain flour
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
250g porridge oats
150g dark chocolate, chopped

Method

In a large bowl add the butter and sugar and beat together until smooth and even coloured. Add the eggs, vanilla and orange juice to the mixture and mix well.

In a separate bowl add the flour (no need to sift), orange rind, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt and mix well to combine. Finally add the porridge oats and chocolate and stir into the dry ingredients.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, stirring as you go along, until well combined. Place the dough in the fridge for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5 and line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper. Take the dough from the fridge and roll into golf-ball size pieces, placing evenly spaced on the baking trays as they will spread in the oven. You should get about 15 balls of dough depending on the size you roll.

Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes then remove and allow to cool on the trays for about 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Belle's Top Tip
Another great combination for these cookies is White Chocolate and Lemon. Just replace the dark chocolate with white, the orange for lemon and leave out the cinnamon.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Good News! I'm Back!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to say a huge thank you for still visiting the Bakehouse and following via Bloglovin' despite the fact that I haven't posted in so long. I really appreciate your support and so I would like to announce that Belle's Bakehouse is coming back!

Keep an eye on the blog or follow on Bloglovin' to get updated when the new post is ready...it won't be too long I promise!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Lemon and Poppyseed Cupcakes


Hello everyone!  Sorry for the long wait between posts, I've been super busy, but it's so good to be back! Since I last posted we had been celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the UK.  Yep, Lizzie's been reigning for 60 years and to mark the momentous occasion I did what I do best...bake!

I hosted a Jubilee Tea Party, there was lots of delicious treats, but everyone's favourites had to be these Lemon and Poppyseed Cupcakes.  Soft, sweet, sponges covered in a zesty, melt-in-the-mouth, frosting, they really were as good as they look.  I even dressed them up in Jubilee cake cases and cake toppers which I found online on a brilliant website called Wee Birdy, you can find them here!




Lemon and Poppyseed Cupcakes

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour, sifted
175g golden caster sugar
zest 2 lemons
1tbsp poppyseeds
2 large eggs
100g natural yogurt
175g unsalted butter, melted

For the frosting

225g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar
juice 1 lemon
few drops of yellow food colouring
sprinkles and toppings of your choice

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, zest and poppyseeds, mix together and make a well in the centre.  In a small bowl beat the eggs with the yogurt until smooth and pour this into the dry ingredients along with the butter, mix well until combined.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and place in the oven for 20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting; place the softened butter in a large bowl and gradually add the icing sugar, beating as you go, followed by the lemon juice.  When the frosting is smooth and thick add enough food colouring to give it a vibrant, yellow colour.  Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a large star nozzle.

When the cupcakes are completely cold pipe over the frosting in a circular motion, starting outwards and working your way to the centre, sprinkle over toppings of your choice and repeat for all the cupcakes.

Belle's Top Tip
Try creating your own cake toppers to make your cupcakes extra special.  Simply select a design, picture or photo (you'll need 2 of each to stick them back to back), some glue and cocktail sticks.  They really add that personal touch and are super easy too!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Bakehouse Birthday Cake


I can't believe how quickly time flies, but my Bakehouse blog is 1yrs old!  I really want to say a huge thank you to all of you, you really make it a pleasure to keep baking and I hope I've given you lots of inspiration for your own baking too!

To celebrate this momentous occasion I've created this delightful Birthday Cake.  Three colourful layers of soft vanilla sponge sandwiched between layers of sweet buttercream, wrapped in even more indulgent buttercream icing and decorated with an array of edible treats. 

It's easy, tasty, extremely pretty and a perfect way to celebrate....Happy 1st Birthday Bakehouse!





The Bakehouse Birthday Cake

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla essence
250g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp milk
35ml pink food colouring
35ml lilac food colouring

For the frosting

400g icing sugar, sifted
200g unsalted butter, softened
1tsp vanilla essence
1tsp pink food colouring
Edible decorations of your choice

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and line 3 sandwich tins with baking paper, grease lightly.

In a large bowl add the butter and sugar, beat well with a wooden spoon until light and creamy.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and use a whisk to combine. 

Sift over the flour and baking powder, then add the milk, and beat with the wooden spoon until smooth and even coloured.  Divide the mixture evenly between 3 bowls.  In one bowl add the pink food colouring and mix well until even.  In the next bowl add the lilac food colouring, again mixing until even in colour, leave the mixture in the third bowl as it is.

Pour each of the sponge mixes into each of the prepared sandwich tins, using a spatula to smooth the tops of each cake.  Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream frosting; place the icing sugar, butter and vanilla essence into a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy.  Place the lilac sponge on your serving plate, top with 1tbsp of the buttercream, spread evenly and place the plain sponge on top.  Place another tablespoon of buttercream on top, spreading evenly once again and top with the pink sponge.

In the remaining buttercream add the pink food colouring and beat well.  Using a spatula spread the buttercream all over the cake, ensuring it is completely covered.  Sprinkle your choice of decorations all over the cake and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to allow the icing to set, then you're ready to serve!

Belle's Top Tip
You can be as adventurous and you like with the colours of the cake by changing the food colouring and decorations; how about blue, white and red sponge for a Jubilee celebration cake with a white buttercream finish covered in decorations in the royal colours!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Rainy Day Chocolate & Vanilla Cake


Despite some beautiful weather in London recently the typical April showers have arrived.  One minute it's sunny and mild, the next it's freezing cold and pouring with rain; you certainly learn the meaning of "changable weather" when you live in England!

I call this my Rainy Day cake because it uses basic ingredients which I always have at home, great for a rainy day as there's no need to struggle with an upturned umbrella and arms full of shopping in the torrential downpours.  Layers of indulgent chocolate and sweet vanilla sponge covered in chocolate icing, It also tastes so moist and delicious that when it's cold and wet outside this is guaranteed to cheer me up! 





Rainy Day Chocolate & Vanilla Cake

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
175g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp milk
1tbsp cocoa powder

For the topping

250g icing sugar, sifted
1tbsp cocoa powder
50ml water

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a square baking tin with baking paper and grease lightly.

In a large bowl add the butter and sugar and beat well until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Sift over the flour, baking powder and milk and beat until smooth and even coloured.  Pour half of the mixture into a separate bowl and sift over the cocoa powder, beat until combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared tin and use a spatula to push it into the corners and smooth the top.  Pour over the vanilla mixture and once again use the spatula to spread evenly.

Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing; in a large bowl add the icing sugar and sift over the cocoa powder.  Pour in the water and use a whisk to mix until smooth and even coloured.

Pour the icing over the cold cake and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.  When ready remove from fridge and serve.

Belle's Top Tip
A top tip for covering with icing is to place some newspaper on a surface and place a wire rack on top.  Place the sponge on the wire rack and then pour over the icing.  Lift the wire rack, keeping the newspaper underneath and place in the fridge to set.  When ready you can throw away the newspaper, the cake is perfectly covered and no mess!

Friday, 6 April 2012

White Chocolate & Cardamom Hot Cross Buns


Today is Good Friday, also known in my house as Hot Cross Bun Day! Hot cross buns are sweet, spiced, sticky buns made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top and traditionally eaten on Good Friday.  There are many variations of the buns nowadays, including orange & cranberry and apple & cinnamon, all delicious, but I wanted to try something a little bit different.

That's when I came up with these White Chocolate & Cardamom Hot Cross Buns.  The buns are soft and fluffy with an intensely aromatic, delicately spiced fragrance and filled with delectable nuggets of creamy, smooth white chocolate...delicious!




White Chocolate & Cardamom Hot Cross Buns 

Ingredients

300ml milk
50g unsalted butter
500g strong white flour
1tsp salt
75g golden caster sugar
7g sachet fast action yeast
1 egg
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
2tsp ground cardamom

For the topping

75g plain flour
5-6tbsp water
2tbsp granulated sugar
2tbsp water

Pour the milk into a saucepan and place on a medium heat.  Bring the milk to the boil then remove from heat, add the butter and leave to one side to cool slightly.

In a large bowl add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix until well combined.  When the milk mixture is warm, but not too hot, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in along with the egg.

Use a wooden spoon to bring the mixture together, then use your hands to mix it into a sticky dough.  Place the dough on a slightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough inside.  Oil a piece of clingfilm and place on top of the bowl.  Leave in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.

When the dough has risen, whilst it is still in the bowl, add the chocolate and cardamom.  Use your hands to knead the ingredients into the dough until evenly distributed.  Cover again with the oiled clingfilm and put back in the warm place for another hour.

Divide th dough into 12-15 even sized balls and place on a lightly floured surface.  Take 2 baking sheets and line with baking paper.  Place the balls on the trays, evenly spaced with room for spreading.  Cover the baking sheets loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for another hour.

Meanwhile, place the 75g of plain flour in a bowl and add the water, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a thick paste.  Spoon into a piping bag and attach a medium sized round nozzle.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7 and pipe your flour paste onto the top of each bun in a cross shape.  Place the buns in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Place the 2tbsp of sugar and water into a saucepan and heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.  When the buns are ready and still warm, brush the sugar/water mixture over each of them with a pastry brush to glaze and leave to cool.

Belle's Top Tip
The buns taste delicious served warm with lashings of butter and jam and keep well in the freezer in an airtight container, just remember to defrost them thoroughly before tucking in!