Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Great British Bake Off

Just sent in my application for series four of Great British Bake off. Exciting and terrifying at the same time! 
I probably won't be picked but you never know! X Bo

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Or alternatively...

If you're watching the calories, try these skinny lemon cupcakes with a drizzle of icing. I found this recipe in the Hairy Dieters recipe book. At just 117 calories a cake, they make a marvellous treat for even the strictest dieter!

Skinny lemon cupcakes with drizzly icing

Ingredients for the cupcakes
200g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
150ml low fat natural yoghurt 
2 tbsp semi-skinned milk
50ml sunflower oil
For the lemon icing
100g icing sugar
4 tsp lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180. Line a muffin tray with paper cases. (The recipe claims to make 12 but I managed to make 17.)
2. Place the flour, bicarb, sugar and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre.
3. Beat the eggs with a large whisk. Beat in the yoghurt, milk and oil until well combined. Stir into the flour with a large metal spoon until all mixed together.
4. Divide the batter between the cases. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on them as they will colour very quickly if baked too long.) Transfer to a wire wrack to cool.
5. To make the lemon icing, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cakes. 

Ta da!

This is the first time I've used my charmingly wonky cupcake stand I got from my chum Cat for Christmas. These cakes turned out well, slightly well done but still delicious X Bo

Monday, 7 January 2013

Branching out on books...

One of the wonderful new baking books I got for Christmas was Boutique Baking by Peggy Porschen. It's such a beautiful book and there are so many recipes I want to try so watch this space! 

Today I made the lemon cupcakes. In the original recipe they have raspberries in the them but I didn't include them in mine. 

Lemon Cupcakes
Ingredients for frosting
200g cream cheese
200g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
zest of 2 lemons
For the sponge
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
pinch of salt
zest of 2 lemons
4 medium eggs
200g self raising flour
For the sugar syrup
150ml lemon juice (approx. 4 lemons)
150g caster sugar
1. To make the frosting put the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Place the softened butter, icing sugar and lemon zest in another bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Add the cream cheese a little bit at a time to the butter mixture until combined. Chill.
2. To make the cupcakes place the softened butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly into the butter mixture, while whisking. If the mixture starts to curdle add a small amount of the flour to bind the batter together. Once all the egg has been incorporated into the butter mixture sift the remaining flour and stir until the batter is combined. 
3. Put this mixture into a disposable piping bag and pipe into the cupcake cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 155 until golden brown. Leave to cool a little.
4. While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the sugar syrup. Place the lemon juice and caster sugar in a small pan. Bring to the boil, simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly. 
5. Once the cupcakes are baked, let them rest then using a pastry brush, soak the tops with the sugar syrup while they are still warm. Leave to completely.
6. Fill a piping bag with either a round or star nozzle with the chilled frosting. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. 

Ta da!

My cases are from Lakeland and are technically designed for muffins. Although, the petals are very handy to fold down. Out of this mixture I managed to make 15 cupcakes. I took them to my local pub quiz and they went down very well with my friends and the staff! They are very hard to photograph, but I did the best I could! 

I hope to practise more out of the Boutique Baking book and aim to perfect the fancy techniques in there. Some of the recipes look truly amazing! X Bo

Friday, 4 January 2013

Cheese straws

This week I've been plunged back into my baking mood. Last night was the COD performance of the Panto at the Theatre/Cinema I work at. It was a good night where the crew perform a version of this years panto for the cast & staff. Afterwards there was a party & as always, I took some of my gingerbread stars. I didn't think there were any photographs of them but then I saw this on Daisy Wood-Davis' twitter...

This morning I was inspired by the GBBO repeat on BBC1 to bake again. I decided to make the cheese straws from the old Be-Ro flour cookbook we've had longer than I can remember. 

200g self raising flour
two pinches of salt
1 tsp mustard powder
100g butter
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated 
2 eggs
some extra cheese to melt on top
1. Put the flour, salt & mustard powder in a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumb. Add the grated cheese. 
2. Use the egg to combine the mixture into a rough dough.
3. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into strips. Put on a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper then sprinkle the extra cheese over the top. Bake at 160 for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Ta da!

And there you are. A wonderful brunchy, lunchy, elevenses treat! 

I'd like to wish you a very happy new year & here's to a wonderful 2013 filled with love, joy, magick & LOTS of baking X Bo