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!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Teatime at Tiffany's Cupcakes


One of my favourite films of all time is Breakfast at Tiffany's, but I think Teatime at Tiffany's would most definitely be a more glamourous affair.

As Holly Golightly famously said, she was just crazy about Tiffany's, and you'll be crazy about these cupcakes when you give them a go!  Individual, moist, vanilla sponges topped with sweet, thick, buttercream frosting in that signature blue that Tiffany's is famous for.  All this deliciousness is finished with a sprinkle of luxurious pearls...the edible sugary ones in this instance.

So put on your pearls, slip into that little black dress, make like Audrey Hepburn and enjoy these delightful little cakes...who needs breakfast at Tiffany's when teatime includes these beauties.






Teatime at Tiffany's Cupcakes 

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
175g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2tbsp plain yogurt

For the topping

125g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar
3tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract
blue food colouring
sugar pearl decorations

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a 12 and a 6 hole baking tray (will make about 18 cakes) with paper cases.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined.  Sift over the flour and baking powder and mix well.  Finally, add the yogurt and mix until smooth and even coloured.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the topping; place the butter in a bowl and sift over the icing sugar.  Beat carefully with a wooden spoon, you will find the mixture quite thick.  Add the milk and vanilla and beat until just combined, be careful not to over mix or the butter will become too soft.  Add the food colouring, adding more or less until you get that signature Tiffany's colour, and mix until even coloured.

When the cakes are completely cold, either spoon the buttercream on each cake or pipe on using a star nozzle.  Sprinkle each cake with the pearl decorations and voila!

Belle's Top Tip
These cupcakes look so glamourous and glitzy they make great celebration treats.  How about giving them as Wedding Favours or for baby showers, you can always use pink icing instead!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Chocolate Cola Cake


I would love to take credit for this recipe, but the genius behind it is actually chef extraordinaire James Martin, but like I say...if it ain't broke don't fix it!

This cake is absolutely AMAZING! I can't compliment it enough; chocolatey, moist, sweet and oh so more-ish, you really must give it a go!  It may seem odd adding cola to a cake, but I promise it really does work fantastically.

Great for a dessert, a special occasion, or just as a treat...you really will love this cake as much I do!





Chocolate Cola Cake

Ingredients

250g self-raising flour
300g golden caster sugar
5tbsp cocoa powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g unsalted butter
330ml (1 can) cola
125ml milk
2 eggs, beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and generously grease a square baking tin with butter.

In a large bowl sift in the flour, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Make a well in the centre of the mixture and leave to one side.

Place a saucepan over a low heat and gently melt together the butter and 250ml of the cola.  Stir occasionally until the butter has completely melted.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, add the milk, eggs and vanilla, and mix until well combined and smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin whilst you make the topping.

To make the topping; in a large bowl sift in the icing sugar and the remaining cocoa powder.  In a saucepan heat the remaining cola until it starts to bubble then leave to one side to cool.

Pour the cola into the icing sugar mix and stir well.  Pour the icing over the cooled cake and use a spatula to ensure it is completely covered.  Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set then you're ready to cut and serve!

Belle's Top Tip
If you're making this cake for a special occasion or a treat for the kids why not top with popping candy to make a fizzy cola cake or decorate with fizzy cola bottle sweets for a fun touch!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Chocolate and Banana Cake


I've been meaning to share this recipe with you for a while because I absolutely love it and I know you will too.  This Chocolate and Banana Cake is sweet, unbelievably moist and packed with hunky chunks of delicious and ever-so-slightly-naughty milk chocolate.

Now it's cold and snowy (in London at least!) why not give this cake a go; curl up by the fire with some magazines, a great book and a nice hot mug of cocoa...what could be better!




Chocolate and Banana Cake

Ingredients

1 large banana
3tbsp milk
50g unsalted butter, softened
75g soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
120g self raising flour
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp baking powder
100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3 and grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with a fork until soft, but still a little lumpy.  Pour in 1tbsp of the milk, butter, sugar and the egg and mix until well combined.

Sift over the flour, mixed spice and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Finally add the chopped chocolate and mix briefly, to distribute the chocolate evenly through the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, using the back of the wooden spoon to smooth the top.  Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until well risen and golden-brown.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Belle's Top Tip
One for the grown-ups?  Why not add a teaspoon (or two!) of rum when you add the egg.  In baking rum and banana go together like Posh and Becks so give it a go!  You can also top with a drizzle of caramel for an extra sweet treat; zig zag all over the top for a nice finish.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sugar & Spice Tear and Share Bread


OK, so it's movie night and your friends are over to watch the latest Brad Pitt/Ryan Gosling/Johnny Depp blockbuster and you want a sweet treat to enjoy whilst swooning over your leading man. Something sugary and indulgent is needed and that's where my Sugar & Spice Tear and Share Bread comes in!

It's soft and sweet and everyone can tuck right in, no cutlery or plates required, just tear off and enjoy! If you want to make it even more special why not serve with a yummy dip? Check out my top tip below for some dip-tastic inspiration. So even if Brad is off the menu (lucky Angelina!) you're still in for a treat tonight ladies!






Sugar & Spice Tear and Share Bread

Ingredients
150ml water
150ml milk
400g strong white flour
7g fast action dried yeast
2tsp soft brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon


Topping
30g unsalted butter
75g soft brown sugar
2tsp cinnamon


Pour the water and milk into a saucepan and place over a very low heat. Meanwhile, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the yeast, sugar, salt and cinnamon and mix together.

Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour in the lukewarm water/milk mixture. Bring together with a wooden spoon then use your hands to shape into a dough.


Lightly dust a surface with flour and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, it should be smooth and springy. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with lightly oiled clingfilm. Place in a warm space (next to a warm oven is always good) and leave for about 1 hour until it has doubled in size.

Lightly grease and flour a large baking pan or roasting tin and leave to one side. Take the dough and tip onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly for a minute and break into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place in the prepared tin, repeat for each piece so the tin is filled and the dough balls are touching. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about an hour, again until they have doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 6 and melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon. Use a pastry brush to cover the top of the dough balls with the melted butter and sprinkle over the sugar and spice mixture.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool then tear and share!

Belle's Top Tip
There are lots of different dips you can serve with this bread. Keep it simple with some runny icing, melt some chocolate for a naughty treat or how about some dulche de leche caramel...delicious!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Zingy Lemon and Crunchy Coconut Pudding



I have to admit January is not my favourite month.  My purse is empty after the excesses of Christmas and New Year, the weather is miserable, it's dark by 4pm and the only thing I want to snuggle up to in the evenings is a hot water bottle and a cup of cocoa.

The saving grace is that January is when I want to go back to delicious, warming, comfort foods that don't rely on any fancy or expensive ingredients, don't take hours to make and taste amazing.

This is where my Zingy Lemon and Crunchy Coconut Pudding ticks every box.  Most of the ingredients I have knocking around the kitchen anyway, It's quick and easy to make, you bake it in the same dish you serve it in (less washing up!) and although it's sweet and warming, the lemon gives it a lighter, fresher feel...reminding me that Spring will be here soon!






Zingy Lemon and Crunchy Coconut Pudding

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter, softened
180g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 egg
110g lemon curd

Coconut topping

1 egg white, lightly beaten
140g caster sugar
130g desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and lightly grease a square baking dish with butter and leave to one side.

In a large bowl add the butter and sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.  Beat in the egg until just combined then sift over the flour, beat well until smooth and even coloured

The mixture will be very thick so use a spatula to pour the mixture into the prepared dish.  Use the spatula to ease the mixture evenly into the dish, right into the corners and lightly smooth the top.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes until light golden.

To make the coconut topping; place the egg white, sugar and coconut into a bowl and mix, it should be quite crumbly. 

When the sponge layer is ready remove from the oven and whilst still hot evenly spread over the lemon curd.  Sprinkle over the coconut topping until completely covered and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Serve hot or allow to cool then place in the fridge and enjoy cold whenever you like!

Belle's Top Tip
I used shop-bought lemon curd as it was in the cupboard and makes this recipe super-quick, however if you would love to make your own there's a great recipe by Delia Smith which you can check out here.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bye-Bye Resolutions Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies


Happy New Year!!! I hope you all had a great Christmas and a fantastic New Years.  Now, you've probably been thinking about those New Years Resolutions...getting fitter, losing weight, finding a boyfriend, dumping a boyfriend, but I've decided to take a stand in 2012 and say bye-bye to resolutions. 

Sure, it's great to have some direction and an idea of what you want to achieve, but forcing all this to happen on January 1st is way too much pressure!  Every day is a new day and along with every new day comes a new chance to achieve your hopes and dreams.
 
So in defiance of all those New Years fads I came up with these totally chocolatey, utterly more-ish chocolate and peanut butter cookies.  A sweet, naughty, nutty, peanut butter dough wrapped in a gloriously chewy, chocolate cookie; they may not be completely virtuous, but what's a fab New Year without a naughty little treat (or two?).





Bye-Bye Resolutions Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

225g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g unsalted butter, softened
60g smooth peanut butter
115g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
40ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract

for the peanut butter filling
140g icing sugar
170g smooth peanut butter
2tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and lightly grease a large baking sheet with butter.

In a bowl add the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well with a wooden spoon.

In a large separate bowl add the butter, peanut butter and sugars and beat well until smooth and creamy.  Add the vanilla and milk and mix until well combined.

Carefully sieve over the flour mixture into the bowl and beat until the mixture starts to come together.  Use your hands to start bringing the dough together, it should be soft and a little sticky, leave to one side.

For the peanut butter filling; add the icing sugar and peanut butter to a bowl and mix together, you may need to use your hands to bring the mixture together.  Add the milk and continue to bring together until smooth and even coloured.

Break off some of the chocolate dough and roll between your palms to make a ball then flatten, repeat this again so you have two disc shapes.  Roll a ball of the peanut butter filling and sandwich between the two chocolate discs, ensuring the peanut butter dough is covered.  Carefully roll the whole thing into a ball, flatten between your hands and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat the above process until you have approximately 12 cookies (you may need to use another baking sheet) evenly spaced and place in the oven for 15 minutes.  When ready remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  The cookies can be eaten straight away or left to cool and stored in an airtight container.

Belle's Top Tip
Why not make these cookies into a delicious, fuss-free dessert.  Simply sandwich two warm (not hot) cookies together with a generous scoop of ice-cream, carefully roll in chocolate sprinkles and serve...utterly irresistible!