Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April Tea Time Treats: The Roundup

This month's Tea Time Treats theme was super-popular! Thank you very much to all those who entered. So plonk yourself in a comfy chair, grab a cuppa and settle back to enjoy a glorious selection of Muffin, Cupcake and Fairy Cake recipes!

To kick off proceedings The Taste Space created these marvellous Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream. Sweet, moist cakes with a twist of spicy cardamom and suitable for vegans

Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream Frosting (Vegan)

Dann Good Cakes baked these Cheerful Wedding Cupcakes- all 200 of them! With the help of a friend's super-sized kitchen and A LOT of buttercream...

Over at the Peachicks Bakery, between feeding a very hungry six week old baby peachick, amazingly there has been time to bake these Mummy's Midnight Muffins. Full of oaty goodness, dried fruit, seeds and sweet honey they sound just the thing for those 3am feeds!

Whether you wish to name them mad-uffins, madeluffins or simply mighty delicious Honey Madeleine Muffins, head over to Tales of Pigling Bland for this lovely, dainty recipe!

Baking in Franglais describes these next tasty sweet bakes, Banana Muffins as perfect for 'an afternoon in early spring, sitting by the wood burning stove and enjoying a cup of tea because it’s wet and chilly outside'. Lovely!

banana muffins3

How cute do these cheeky, chubby fairies look on Blissfully Scrumptious' Fairies on Fairy Cakes? Such an inspired and fun bake!

Cheeky, chubby fairies on fairy cakes

I loved Michelle's description of her ravenous children as 'looking like delicate little flowers but they eating like a front row of prop forwards'- sure to satisfy ANY hungry soul are these Mother Hubbard Savoury Muffins. Pop along to Utterly Scrummy Food for Families for the full recipe

Maple Bacon Muffins? Breakfast in a muffin from Fuss Free Flavours? Don't mind if I do! With crispy bacon and a generous pouring of maple syrup, alongside a cup or two of coffee and the papers these muffins are sure to get you leaping out of bed each Sunday morning!

Meanwhile, Caroline Makes has baked not one, not two, but three Tea Time Treats bakes! Firstly, this lovely little collection of Flower, Ladybird and Bee Cupcakes. Secondly, a pond full of Duck Cupcakes! And also these rather super USA-inspired Popcorn Cupcakes, complete with the fab little Popcorn container cases!

Over in Denmark, the British 'Fairy Cake' caused Kiki some puzzlement - how I do wish Kiki's guess that a Fairy Cake is simply a cake with a fairy in it was true! Kiki has baked the Tea Time Treats table a Picnic Muffin-  a delicious savoury cheese, onion and squash muffin. Now if only we had the good weather to enjoy these outside...

Don't these floral Rhubarb Fairy Cakes just look so pretty and perfect? Baked by Chocolate Log Blog with rhubarb, rose, white chocolate and decorated with edible primroses

Attempting to recreate a favourite muffin from childhood led A Piece of Cake to bake these Corn Muffins.

A Working Mum's Cookbook has baked my favourite muffins- Carrot Cake Muffins. With a delicious hint of orange and sweet, creamy cheese icing- do you do mail order Annie?!


Katherine from Lemons and Limoni wasn't initially tempted to make Ina Garten's German Chocolate Cupcakes. Fate, in the form of half a tub of sourcream and a tub of buttermilk, intervened and these cupcakes were a resounding success: intensely chocolately and an instant favourite!

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Fancy cupcakes bursting with flavour and a trip down memory lane? Then head over to Belleau Kitchen for Dom's Lime Sherbet and Rose Cupcakes!

JibberJabber UK has combined two classic flavours with her Chocolate Orange Muffins, born through a forgetful accident - these cupcakes are eggless - nevertheless the lucky recipients described them as  'dee-lish'

Leeks and Limoni has combined a delicious few flavours- sure to get your taste buds tingling are these Honey, Almond and White Chocolate Cupcakes

Almond, Honey and White Chocolate Cupcakes

I've always wondered how to put together a Bouquet of Cupcakes- and Gary from Exploits of a Food Nut has explained exactly how to do so in his Bouquet of Cupcakes post. Gary made an impressive 150 cupcakes for a wedding- now there's a lot of icing sugar!

These Dairy Free Yogurt Pot Cakes were entered by Makey-Cakey, a recipe from a French parenting book that suggests using yogurt pots as measuring containers for each of the ingredients. Excellently practical and extra sparkly cupcakes!

Celebrating the first day of Spring (at last!) Karen from Lavender and Lovage baked these glorious Strawberry Fair Yogurt Cupcakes- aren't they so, so SO pretty?

Strawberry Fair Yoghurt Cupcakes

Just wait til you hear the name of this next entry, salivating taste buds at the ready folks as SuperGolden Bakes has created these Black Magic Cupcakes with Baileys Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream. Wow!

Susie has baked these her Amazingly Chocolaty Cupcakes, describing them as 'a soft, fluffy sponge, with a hidden chocolate sauce centre, covered in rich chocolate buttercream'. Susie adds that chocolate is universally popular amongst her boys- with these cupcakes I can completely understand just why that might be the case!

More chocolate- themed cupcake greatness from A Kick At The Pantry Door with these sweet fruity Black Forest Gateau Cupcakes

Black Forest Gateaux, Cupcake, Cherry, Cherries, Grenadine

The great thing about this month's Tea Time Treats theme is discovering some really unique and inventive Cupcake flavourings- these Chocolate Cupcakes with Avacado Frosting from Elizabeth's Kitchen are a case in point!

These rather marvellous Rhubarb Streusel Cupcakes have been baked by Suelle from Mainly Baking- light, moist cakes with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg in the crunchy topping. Delicious!

Baked as a big thank you for lots of lovely acts of kindness Cupcake Crazy Gem has entered these Double Chocolate Vanilla Bean and Malted Chocolate Cupcakes. And such a lovely egg-box presentation!

Inspired by the good ol' U S of A, The More Than Occasional Baker created these Peanut Butter, Honey and Chocolate Cupcakes. Using fragrant leatherwood honey from Australia plus honey peanut butter ensured these little delights were super sweet!

Using an entire orange, skin, pith and all, plus a generous handful of raisins and chocolate chips, Life Can Be Simple baked these Chocolate-Orange Muffins- thank you for baking such a tasty treat for the TTT table! Life Can Be Simple also entered these Lemon Almond Streamliner Cakes

Using one of my favourite confectionery items, Under the Blue Gum Tree has baked these marvellous Malteser Cupcakes- I just know if I attempted this recipe I'll have eaten the entire pack of chocolates before getting anywhere near the mixing bowl!

Malteser Cupcakes via http://underthebluegumtree.com

Jazz up your breakfast tomorrow with this next entry. Indeed, sure to beat a couple of slices of cold toast are these delicious fruity Honey and Apricot Breakfast Muffins baked by Janice from FarmersGirl Kitchen

Is it a cake or a biscuit? Its the eternal question... and while we decide exactly what a Jaffa Cake is, I'm sure Laura from Laura Loves Cakes will not mind us feasting on a few of these lush Jaffa Cupcakes, complete with a mini Jaff on top!

Mummy Arvi from I am a Blogger in Apron has baked these Tres Leche Cupcakes, complete with Dulce de Leche buttercream and thoroughly enjoyed by her family

How do you make White Chocolate ...better?! Hungry Hinny shows you how in her fabulous Coffee and Caramelised White Chocolate Cupcakes post. The white chocolate is gently roasted providing a new depth of flavour and a little salt is added at the end ... perfect!

Coffee and caramelised white chocolate cupcakes

And here's my entry, Honey and Orange Blossom Fairy Cakes and why I can't pipe icing for love, money or all the piping bags in the entire world...

Hope you've enjoyed a whistle stop tour of all the lovely entries for April's Tea Time Treats table. And if you haven't yet popped the oven on to start baking one of these recipes, get to it! Meanwhile, head over to Karen's blog, Lavender and Lovage for May's theme. Happy Baking!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Tea Time Treats: Honey and Orange Blossom Fairy Cakes

I've never been one for creating fabulous, fancy cupcake icing. This is not for lack of kit. I have more piping gizmos and gadgets than the average Lakeland store. Heck, I have more cupcake piping paraphernalia than Mary Berry has cookbooks to her name.  

It's just on the occasions I've practiced, unless under close expert supervision (see Eric Lanlard's cupcake decorating class four years ago) I've been, honestly, rubbish. 

It quite frankly looks like someone half my age three years of age has had a good go decorating these cakes. 
Yes I need to practice. But I also have lists of lists of cakes and recipes I really, really want to try first. That don't involve piping bags. Not even those beginner piping bags that offer the most control and the most convenience since Mary Berry first published 'One Step Ahead'.  
Therefore most of the cupcake recipes you'll see on What Kate Baked have a rather more simple, shall we say 'rustique' water based icing. 

(By saying the French 'rustique' rather than 'rustic' I hope to convey far more of a sophisticated, refined icing. Hasn't worked, has it?). 

With this month's Tea Time Treats (hosted by yours truly, master-piper me) being 'Cupcakes, Muffins and Fairy Cakes' I was inspired by the warmth of the Spring to create these Honey and Orange Blossom Fairy Cakes.

For the cakes:

 150g butter, softened
 75g caster sugar
 75g honey 
 2 medium eggs, beaten
 1 tsp orange blossom water
 150g sifted plain flour
 2 tsps baking powder

 For the decoration:

150g sifted icing sugar
1 tsps orange blossom water mixed with 2 tbsps water
Sugar strands to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C (fan)/Gas Mark 5. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases
2. Beat together the butter, sugar and honey for 7-10 minutes until light, soft and fluffy
3. Slowly beat in the eggs and orange water, adding a tbsp of the flour if the mixture begins to curdle
4. Fold in the flour and baking powder. Add a splash of milk if needed to ensure the mixture is of 'dropping consistency' (in that the mixture drops easily off a spoon when raised from the bowl). Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden
5. Set aside to cool. To make the icing: gradually add the water mixture to the icing, mixing to create a smooth thin paste consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cakes and decorate with the sugar strands

Baker's Notes...
  • These are simple but oh-so-sweet little Spring cakes. Orange Blossom Water should be available in most large supermarkets. If you can't find any, you could substitute the Blossom Water for the zest of a couple of oranges, divided between the cakes and the icing
  • The kind folk at the 'Rediscover Italy' Project sent me this artisan honey from the Emilia Romagna region (a part of Italy where you can find UNESCO District) to sample and use in these cakes. Lovely it was.
  • There are still twenty four whole hours to enter this month's Tea Time Treats. Simply add your entry here

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

When in Rome... And Banana Tiramisu

Upon telling our friends and family we were heading to Rome for a long weekend, the universal response was 'You'll love it'.

Bunking off work early on the Friday, with a toothbrush, passport and heightened sense of expectation, we flew to the Italian capital. And boy did it not disappoint.

The weekend centred around the Wales versus Italy Six Nations rugby match, which Wales won (prosecco all round!). At times it felt half of Cardiff had been teleported to Rome. Not least around the bars of Stadio Olympio where strains of 'Delilah' could be heard long into the damp, dark night. Even the Colosseum the following morning had a sense of a Celtic invasion as bleary eyes Welshmen attached to audioguides trooped round.

Of course a trip to Rome isn't complete without fully enjoying the local cuisine.

Most of the restaurants initially appeared to be pizzerias geared towards exhausted tourists stumbling out of a four hour tour of the Musee Vatican. But exploring the streets just a few minutes further afield from the main sites resulted in hearty, honest Roman dishes. 

On a chilly, soggy February weekend the gallaterois of Rome perhaps weren't quite as appealing as they might have been during the height of a Roman heatwave. We braved the hyporthermia to tuck into the extraordinary flavours at Fatamorgana. But don't just take my word for the fabulous flavours: both The Sunday Times and David Lebovtiz have devoured the Smoked Black Tea ice cream, Rose, Orange and Hibiscus Flowers ice cream and Lobster and Vodka ice cream on offer.

But how on earth to do the Eternal City justice in just three days? Truth is, I don't think we did. Focusing on seeing some of the key sites helped. But just strolling through the city streets was my favourite time- stumbling upon hidden piazzas, grand palazzos, ancient monuments, opulent fountains, many of which didn't even warrant a brief mention in the guidebook due the sheer volume of remarkable sights.

I originally wrote this post on the back of my boarding pass on the flight home while simultaneously  daydreaming about a return visit. As I write I am fervently hoping that those few coins I threw with vigour into the Trevi fountain work their magic and a return visit isn't too far into the future.

Inspired by our trip, I made these individual banana tiramisus on our return.

Individual Banana Tiramisu

(Makes Two)

2 tbsp coffee liquor
75ml strong black cold coffee
4 fine ladyfinger biscuits
1 banana, sliced
1 egg separated
2 tbsps caster sugar
125g mascarpone cheese
80ml double cream
1 banana, sliced
20g dark chocolate, finely grated or cocoa powder

1. Mix together the liqour and cold coffee and set aside
2. Divide the biscuits between two glasses, press down and pour over the coffee mixture. Place the sliced bananas over the biscuits and set aside
3. Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and caster sugar until thick . Beat in the mascarpone until it is smooth.
4.  In a separate clean bowl, whisk the cream until thick, and then fold into the mascarpone mixture. 
5. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold into the creamy mascarpone mixture. 
6. Cover the biscuits with the creamy mascarpone and dust with the cocoa powder or scatter over the chocolate. Place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours prior to serving.

Baker's notes...

  • Sorry if you are disappointed this is not a recipe for lobster and vodka ice cream
  • Yep, that IS a chocolate spoon! Bought from a lovely little Roman deli near the Vatican. And somehow surviving the plane journey home when I was ravenous. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

Last weekend, in a I'm-so-late-to-the-party-is-it-worth-turning-up-at-all type of fashion, Spring finally sprung.

A temporary reprieve perhaps, but the entire nation could enjoy the sunshine, relieved we hadn't offended Spring in some unforgivable way that meant a freezing winter would metamorphose into a soggy Summer without so much as a glimpse of a frolicking lamb or a blooming daffodil.

It was even warm enough to manage to be sitting outside for the first time since...2009. Admittedly we were all still wearing our thermals. That's right, the thermals we haven't taken off since October....2009.

In the Cotswolds, where I spent the weekend, mainly outdoors making the most of the warmth, our cheeks glowed with sunshine and fresh air. As opposed to a fancy blusher and running for the number 414 bus.

And look, we even had a brew and a slice of cake outside!

'Course normal service has since resumed: rain, rain, rain, a bit of sun with the rain, rain, rain.

This cake was based on a recipe found on Good Gobble blog who in turn was inspired by a recipe in The Primrose Bakery Cookbook.

Baker's notes...

  • Adding the raspberry jam to the cake provides a lovely sweet moistness to the sponge
  • The fresh, tart raspberries compliment with sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly. And while a little out of season the fresh berries did provide a tantalising promise of what may come this summer