Monday, 31 December 2012

Baking Trends 2013 and a Happy New Year!

(AKA 'What will be the "new cupcake"?')

It'll be a brand new year tomorrow. Which, other than a potentially stonking hangover from a rather marvellous New Years Eve and the need to purchase a new bit of stationary called 'Diary 2013' can mean only one thing. 

It's the annual What Kate Baked guide to Baking Trends for the coming year! The crystal ball has been dusted off, dark arts google consulted and here is the (by no means definitive, accurate or remotely useful) Baking Trends 2013 list. 

  • According to Petra Barren, aka 'The Street Food Mastermind', as featured in January's Olive magazine the biggest trend of 2013 will be breakfast. I don't think she means soggy weetabix eaten while still half asleep at six am each morning on the way to work. Look forward to spiced banana French toast and bacon naan on a brekkie menu near you.

  • Dome cakes and ombre bakes. Ombre? That's dip dye fade to you and me. A bit like when you haven't been to the hairdressers for a colour for a while.

  • Thomas Keller, of award winning French Laundry restaurant fame, is all set to make florentines hip again in 2013

  • Vegetable desserts. Not just carrot cake but Fennel Panna Cotta and Avocado Mousse will all be served on the reverse side of menus. I know we need to eat more of our Five a Day and all, but signatories to my 'Protect Our Puds [from the invasion of the evil veg]' petition would be most welcome 

  • Enjoy the likes of MasterChef and Great British Bake Off? Never mind Scandi detective dramas, competitive cookery shows will be all over our telly screens over the next twelve months. Simon Cowell is launching a UK show, 'Food, Glorious Food' , described as 'the Antiques Roadshow of Food' while Nigella has her sights set on the U S of A. At time of writing, it hasn't been confirmed that Simon's show will be hosted by Ant and Dec, feature dancing dogs cooking and aim for a Christmas Number 1 hit single. Meanwhile, the GBBO Silver Fox himself, Paul Hollywood has a major TV series, entitled simply 'Bread', out in February.

  • And finally, there will be fewer general baking books and more baking books devoted to single topics or themes. Such as this one, 'Marshmallow Madness' sent to me by the kind folk at Quirk Books. Now the festive baking is over for another twelve months (sob!) I'll be delving straight in to these fluffy, puffy treats


  • Here's one of the recipes from Marshmallow Madness, reprinted with permission from Quirk Books:

Crème De Menthe Marshmallows

Makes: About 2 dozen 1 ½-inch mallows

4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
2 tablespoons crème de menthe (30 proof)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/4 cup crème de menthe
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Classic Coating*, plus more for dusting
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (60% to 70% cacao), melted and slightly cooled

* Classic coating: Sift together icing sugar and cornstarch at a ratio of 3:1.

Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

1. Whisk together the gelatin, cold water, and crème de menthe in a small bowl. Let 
it soften for 10 minutes. 

2. Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, crème de menthe, water 
and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. 

3. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the 

temperature reaches 240°F. 

4. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an 

electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. 

5. Microwave the gelatin on high until 

completely melted, about 30 seconds, and pour it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer to 

low and keep it running.

6. When the syrup reaches 
240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the 

speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. 

7. Increase to medium-high and beat for 3 more 

minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more, adding the vanilla. The f

inished marshmallow will be more than doubled in volume. 

8. Use a spatula to quickly fold 

in the chocolate chips; too much stirring can cause the bits to melt and give the candy a 

muddy look. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Sift coating evenly over top.

9. Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

10. Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto 
a coating-dusted work surface. 

11. Cut it into pieces and dust the sticky edges with more 


12. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Dip the 
bottom half of each mallow in the melted chocolate and place on the baking sheet. 

Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 10 minutes.

Classic Vanilla Pic.jpg Concord Grape Marshmallows_Page_2.jpg Margarita Marshmallows_Page_2.jpg Mallow Cones_Page_2.jpg
Images courtesy of Quirk Books

Baker's notes...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

December Tea Time Treats Round Up!

Welcome to the December Tea Time Treats Round-Up: Chocolate! Grab a cuppa, a leftover mince pie and tuck right in...

How fabulously festive do these Christmas Wreath Cookies  from Laura Loves Cakes look? Laura suggests hanging them from your Christmas Tree, but with the Christmassy-tastic combination of chocolate, hazelnut and rose petals these would be far too tempting and my tree would be bare within minutes!

Both the entries below, White Chocolate and Cherry Brownies and Choc Chip Cookies come from Blue Kitchen Bakes. The brownies, a classic chocolate recipe there ever was, are adapted from Nigella's Brownies recipe

Brownies were clearly a popular bake this month but just take a look at these next ones! Brownies with Apple Sauce by a very inventive Vivian Pang Kitchen- the apple adding a lovely moistness to the rich chocolate. Vivian also baked these very pretty Chocolate Snowflake Cake Pops

Mich from A Piece of Cake describes these Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies as 'fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside'. I'd describe them as lush on the inside, lush on the outside! Mich's second entry are these Green Tea Chocolate Eclairs.

Caroline Makes has baked this super Sachertorte and explains that December 5th was National Sachertote, not that you need an excuse to bake such a gloriously chocolately creation! Caroline must love Christmas baking as much as I do- she has also kindly sent in three more entries:  Chocolate Cinnamon RollsChocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding and Christmas Pudding Cake! Thank you ever so much Caroline!

Three words describe Cookbooks Galore's White Chocolate Torte:  indulgent, decadent and festive. And seven more words: 'Please can you post me a slice?!'

A perfect little treat with a cup of Christmas coffee would be these Choc-ful Christmas Muffins from Farmer's Girl Kitchen - the post comes complete with marvellous photo of Janice modelling an appropriately festive apron!

Next is Rana from the brilliantly titled blog, A Cup of Tea Solves Everything with these seriously chocolately, gooey Nutella and Hazelnut Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm writing this post on yet another dark, wet, cold winter evening and several spoonfuls of this next entry would be the perfect warming, cheery companion - Chocolate Ginger Cake with Bourbon Sauce by I-Lost in Austen

What Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog doesn't know about chocolate is not worth knowing! So I was delighted to see this next entry: Choclette has used her delicious chocolate and chilli mincemeat to make these festive mincemeat buns

This next entry, a rather magnificent Red Velvet Cake has been baked by Totally Caked Out for the local Clandestine Cake Club where the theme was 'Black Tie' - I'm sure this bake was a huge hit at the meeting!

Jen from Under the Blue Gum Tree has baked this  Nutella Yule Log, described as  'A rich, cocoa sponge soaked in frangelico syrup filled with a creamy, nutella icing and crunchy hazelnut praline, this isn’t a yule log for the faint hearted'. I for one would be more than delighted to take the challenge on. And I'm sure I'd have plenty of you join me!

Nutella Yule Log via

Joining the 'Christmas frenzy'  is Little Accidents in the Kitchen with these delightful White Chocolate Hazelnut Spice Cookies, a lovely alternative for Father Christmas to the ubiquitous mince pie!

Promising Mr F there will always be a regular supply of these White Chocolate and Cranberry Christmas Cookies is Chez Foti- I've no doubt Mr F is very pleased to hear this!

White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies

Mainly Baking describes these Dan Lepard inspired Chestnut Chocolate Cookies as:  'The crisp exterior giving way to a soft, moist, melt-in-the-mouth centre that is really rich in deep chocolate flavour'. A delicious, classic flavour combination- thank you Suelle!

This next very healthy (perfect for any New Year healthy eating kicks) entry is accompanied by the best ever title to a blog post: Chocolate Mint Mesquite Individual Cakes and All Abroad the Poop Train. With thanks to The Taste Space for making me giggle just like a five year old!

Chocolate Mint Mesquite Individual Cakes (and All Aboard the Poop Train)

If the weather outside is frightful, tuck into this glorious White Chocolate Log from Blue Kitchen Bakes, a terrific twist to the classic Christmas Yule Log. Blue Kitchen Bakes has also baked this Christmas Tree Chocolate Chip Cake and a Bûche de Noël 

Take a look at this very festive photo from Bakericious and the Martha Stewart inspired Chocolate Cupcakes she's baked for the Tea Time Treats table - thank you very much Bakericious!

Using one my all time favourite seasonal ingredients is Kitchen of Kiki who has baked this Marzipan Roll with Nougat, also known as "Julekonfekt". Would it be very greedy to eat a whole one in just one sitting? Well, it is Christmas...

Using another favourite seasonal ingredient, ginger, is Fold in The Flour who has baked these crackin' Chocolate Glazed Gingercakes from a Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, given last year as a Christmas present. I wonder what lovely bakes Susie will be baking in the New Year from this year's presents?

A firm favourite, baked both last year and this Christmas at Belleau Kitchen and full of Christmas cheer are these sophisticated, elegant Chocolate Dipped Cinnamon Balls

Our very first savory chocolate entry comes from Fiona from London Unattached with the perfect New Year nibble: Mexican Chocolate Olives from Spain 

Mexican Olives from Spain 

Rita from Rita Cooks Italian has baked the Tea Time Treats festive table these delightful cinnamon and ginger Chocolate Balls- as Rita describes, the perfect Christmas present for chocolate lovers everywhere! Favoloso!

Cinamon and Ginger Chocolate Balls

Next, Golden Syrup Chocolate Snow Dragon Cake from Ruth at Makey Cakey. Ruth writes: ''Confession: I had (still have) no idea what a snow dragon is. The little girl in question's Mum wasn't sure either, so in the end I just went for a dragon who was having a snowball fight - since that covered both the snow and dragon bases!'' . A super-duper seasonal cake Ruth!

These lovely, tasty Spiced Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Cookies  have been baked by Utterly Scrummy Food for Families - scrumptious!

Chocolate Balls or Scjokoladekuler have been sent from Elizabeth's Kitchen. Elizabeth's amazing Gingerbread House, complete with a boat and seaweed is also well worth a little look- and incredibly  it is Elizabeth's very first attempt at a Gingerbread House

This fabulously festive Chocolate and Cinnamon Bejeweled Bundt Cake  is by Homemade by Fleur who describes all the wonderful aspects of Christmas she's looking forward to. Fleur advises to get stuck right in to all the 'jewels' of ingredients in your baking cupboards to decorate your Christmas bundt cake

Jeweled Bundt Cake

What do you get when you cross a cupcake with a brownie? Nope, this isn't an awful cracker joke. The answer is: Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes. Made by A Working Mum's Cookbook who, through very detailed research, has come up with the perfect recipe 


These next bakes look extremely tempting I'm sure you'll agree-  Chocolate Cakes with Vanilla Buttercream from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking using a chocolate cake recipe from our lovely Karen

'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...'- I defy you not to break into a verse of this lovely song as you read all about these Chestnut Brownies baked by Louise, Irrelevantly Irreverent and adapted from a Dan Lepard recipe


Hungry Hinny's Step- Dad ate ten of these Salted Chocolate and Hazelnut Truffles in one go- now there's a sure-fire sign these truffles must be bloomin' delicious!

Salted chocolate and hazelnut truffles

The only way this next picture could be more festive is if it featured a teeny tiny Aled Jones singing 'Walking In The Air' over and over. These Reindeer Cupcakes by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker are fun, festive and handily come with a lovely pictorial step-by-step to recreate Rudolph's shiny nose...

These really pretty Spiced Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes are baked by our lovely Karen from Lavender and Lovage - as Karen suggests, the perfect bake in which to 'have a good old play' with. This involves emptying out your baking cupboard to ensure the utmost glitzy, festive and glamorous decoration possible!  

Tea Time Treats, Chocolate & Little Spiced Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes Recipe

Our next entry is Maison Cupcake's 'buche-tiful' (a very apt phrase invented by Sarah and a phrase that surely merits inclusion in The Oxford English dictionary 2013!) buche de noel

buche de noel

You can't get much more chocolatey than a Missssippi Mud Cake... Or can you? Of course! Just take a look at these Mississippi Mud Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting from Life Can Be Simple

Thank you as always to everyone who baked a Tea Time Treat this month. I'm very sorry if I have forgotten to add an entry onto the round-up, all entries above are ones that have been emailed to us. But please do let me know and I'll add any forgotten entries on to this post as soon as possible.

Karen will have the very first theme for 2013 in the next couple of days. We look forward very much to all your excellent entries next year!