Tag Archives: baking

Recipe: Showstopping Turkish Delight Cake

Turkish Delight is one of those things people love or hate. I am firmly in the love camp. For me, it’s always had a hint of the exotic about it, those romantic Laurence of Arabia style adverts from the 80’s mean that this rose (or lemon) scented sweet is wonderfully evocative. What could be a more romantic tea-time treat than this showstopping Turkish Delight Cake?

I love Turkish Delight in all its forms; from the chocolate covered Fry’s version, to the sugar dusted boxes of these jellied fancies you get at Christmas. During my weekly shop I spotted a box of Turkish Delight thins from Morrison’s and I knew exactly what I’d do with them. My Turkish Delight Cake was born!

Recipe: Showstopping Turkish Delight Cake

It’s a stunning looking (and tasting) cake. It looks fancier and harder to bake than it really is. If you can bake a sponge cake and mix up some buttercream, then you’ve got all the skills needed to make this cake.

Showstopping Turkish Delight Cake

Ingredients:
8oz butter or margarine
8oz caster sugar
4 eggs (large)
8oz self raising flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of two lemons

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
3 drops of Holy Llama Rose Extract Spice Drops
Red food colouring

To decorate:
Turkish Delight Thins (or similar)
Traditional Turkish Delight pieces

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180° and grease three 9 inch cake tins.

Cream your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy.

Divide your cake batter equally between the three tins (I weigh my filled tins to make sure they’re roughly equal) and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool.

While your sponge cakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add your drops of rose extract, beating thoroughly and tasting as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away!

Once you’re happy with the flavour, add a few drops of the red food colouring and mix well and add more colouring until you’re happy with the shade of pink you’ve got. Make sure your buttercream is well combined and smooth.

On a cake stand or cake board (or wherever your cake is going to sit) put a heaped teaspoon of butter cream in the middle and position your first sponge cake on top of that. This will anchor your cake in place and stop it sliding about.

Cover the top of that sponge layer with a thin spread of buttercream and put your second sponge on top of that. Repeat the process with the third sponge layer.

Now for the slightly time consuming bit; using a palette knife spread the rose buttercream around the sides of the cake. I found it easier to plaster on more buttercream than I needed and then smooth it off. It doesn’t have to be a perfect finish, but cover it as best you can, this is easier if your buttercream is soft. If if’s too hard, give it another beating.

Once the sides of the cake are covered, spread a thick-ish layer of buttercream on the top. I usually ripple the buttercream with the knife, but you can do a smooth finish if you’d prefer. Cut the Turkish Delight Thins in half into triangles and do the same with the Turkish Delight pieces, although they will look more like pyramids.

Arrange the Turkish Delight thins and pieces on top of the cake in whatever way you think looks good. I did haphazard rows of thins with the pieces dotted about.

Recipe: Showstopping Turkish Delight Cake

My Turkish Delight Cake is a real treat. It’s rich and sweet and absolutely packed with the traditional flavours of Turkish Delight; from the light lemon zested sponge, to the sweet rose scented buttercream – it’s a treat and a half for Turkish Delight fans!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my Romantic Rose Cupcakes.

Recipe: Showstopping Turkish Delight Cake

Recipe: Romantic Rose Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day

After 17 years of marriage, flamboyant romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day are a thing of the past. It’s not that we don’t do romance, it’s just that we’ve got different things to spend our money on. For many years now Valentine’s Day for us has been about homemade cards and smaller, more meaningful gifts. I usually bake something sweet to share with the boys, this year I’ve made some romantic rose cupcakes, and they’re sure to be a hit.

A little while ago, whilst browsing the reduced yellow stickered items in a deli, I found a bottle of Holy Llama Rose Extract Spice Drops. They were a bargain, so they ended up in my shopping basket and then in my baking cupboard at home. If you don’t have Holy Llama Rose Extract Spice Drops, substitute this with whatever rose extract you have.

Recipe: Romantic Rose Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

I’ve been a bit worried about trying out my Rose Extract. Rose is one of those flavours which if you use too much of, whatever you’ve made will end up tasting like Granny’s soap. If you go easy and add a little at a time, everything should turn out rosy.

Romantic Rose Cupcakes

Ingredients:
4oz butter or margarine
4oz caster sugar
2 eggs (large)
4oz self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 drops of Holy Llama Rose Extract Spice Drops

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
3 drops of Holy Llama Rose Extract Spice Drops
Red food colouring

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180° and put paper cases in a bun or a muffin tray.

Cream your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy. When you add your rose extract, taste the batter to check the levels of rose flavour. Remember, a fair amount of the rose flavour will bake out of the cupcakes, so bear this in mind. I opted for a not very rose flavoured sponge because I knew the buttercream would be where most of the flavour was.

Dollop a large dessert spoon of the cake batter in each case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave cool on a rack.

While your cupcakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add your drops of rose extract, beating thoroughly and tasting as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away!

Once you’re happy with the flavour, add a few drops of the red food colouring and mix well and add more colouring until you’re happy with the shade of pink you’ve got. Make sure your buttercream is well combined and smooth.

Once your cupcakes are cool, put your rose flavoured buttercream in a piping bag with a star piping nozzle – I used a Wilton 2D nozzle. Starting in the middle of the cupcake, swirl your buttercream around until you’ve got a buttercream rose shape. If you’re not sure how to do it, watch this short video.

Recipe: Romantic Rose Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Tip: Once you’ve finished decorating your rose cupcakes, you could pop them in the fridge for an hour so the buttercream firms up a little before serving.

These Romantic Rose Cupcakes are really pretty and very easy to bake. The icing is much easier that you’d think and you can also scrape off and re-do any which you’re not happy with. I’m no expert cake decorator, but with a little bit of practice and patience, you’ll be piping buttercream roses like a pro!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my tangy marmalade cupcakes.

Recipe: Romantic Rose Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

Casa Costello

Recipe: Easy, Cheaty Sausage Rolls

When it comes to throwing together a quick lunch or picnic; sandwiches and sausage rolls are always the order of the day. Being able to serve up a still warm, freshly baked batch of homemade sausage rolls will earn you the kind of domestic goddess style brownie points that a trip to Greggs simply cannot match.

I always keep the ingredients to make these sausage rolls in the freezer, so I can whip up a quick batch if I need to. If you can defrost the ingredients overnight before making your sausage rolls, then so much the better. These sausage rolls are really easy to put together. I admit that they are quite cheaty, but they are miles better than any shop bought sausage rolls.

Recipe: Easy, Cheaty Sausage Rolls

Easy, Cheaty Sausage Rolls

Ingredients:
1 packet of ready-made puff pastry
8 of your favourite sausages, or equivalent weight in sausage meat
100mls milk

Method:
Preheat your oven to 220° and grease a large baking sheet.

Unroll the puff pastry. You may need to use a rolling pin to roll it out a little thinner if that’s your preference. Cut the pastry with a knife into 8 equal parts which are long enough and wide enough to wrap around a sausage.

Squeeze the sausage meat out of the skin and place the sausage meat in the middle of each piece of pastry, discard the sausage skin.

With a brush, brush along one edge of the pastry and roll it into a sausage roll shape, using the moistened edge to seal it shut. It doesn’t really matter if the sausage meat is peeking out from the ends of the roll.

Once you have made all of your sausage rolls, score the top of each one. I used 3 or 4 slashes, and then brush them with milk.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly before eating. I think they’re nicer warm, but they can be eaten cold and are perfect for a quick lunch or a picnic in the park.

If you’re catering for a party, you could cut your sausage rolls into smaller, bitesize pieces before baking. Make sure you reduce the cooking time slightly if you do this. You could also swap out the meat sausage for a good veggie sausage if you’re catering for vegetarians.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try these delicious vegetarian black pudding sausage rolls.

Recipe: Easy, Cheaty Sausage Rolls

Sweetpea Pantry – Do their boxed baking mixes work?

Boxed baking mixes are really handy to have in the cupboard for a baking emergency. This week we’ve been putting some of the Sweetpea Pantry range of baking mixes to the test.

In the days before I became I parent I wasn’t known for my baking. I was pretty shoddy at it and used to rely a lot on boxed baking mixes which weren’t that great. Once I became a Mum and it somehow became expected of me to morph into some kind of Nigella creature, I taught myself how to bake. But I still keep a boxed baking mix or two in my cupboard for emergencies.

The Sweetpea Pantry mixes are a little bit different to your standard range of sponge buns with Ninja Turtle decorations. They have a range of sweet and savory mixes which have a healthy twist, more of which later. Many of the mixes are gluten-free and have free-from options; for example their Super-Duper Brownie Mix contains flaxseed and teff, has no added sugar and is gluten-free! They say they are 100% natural, 100% honest and 100% fun!

Sweetpea Pantry - Do their boxed baking mixes work?

Sweetpea Pantry - Do their boxed baking mixes work?

The Sweetpea Pantry range includes mixes for cakes, pizza dough, pancakes, flapjacks and biscuits. They’re made with whole grains and nutritious ingredients for delicious, easy and healthy home baking. We were sent a selection of the mixes to try and I was impressed.

The first box we tried were the Super-Duper Brownies. I’m not usually much of a fan of brownies. I don’t really like chocolate cakes and desserts (yes I know I’m weird) but these were the right balance of not too sweet, not too stodgy but with enough brownie goo to please the crowd.

They were so easy to make and all I needed to add was some butter and honey. There is a list of suggested options so you can tailor your bake to meet your requirements, so if you’re vegan you can swap the butter for coconut oil for example. They took ten minutes to make and 12 minutes to prep and 3 minutes to eat the lot.

Sweetpea Pantry - Do their boxed baking mixes work?

In the interests of having a sweet and savory balance, we also tried the Playful Pizza Dough Mix. This contains chia and flax seeds and is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and contains no added sugar. All I needed to add was a little olive oil and water, plus a bit of flour when I was rolling the dough out.

I followed the instructions on the box, left it to prove and then rolled the dough out to make four different pizzas to feed four fairly fussy people. Here is my pizza, cheese, tomato, chilli and egg. It actually worked really well and I loved the pizza base which was crisp and held the toppings well. We all really enjoyed the flavour of the base, which had a lovely slightly nutty flavour.

Sweetpea Pantry - Do their boxed baking mixes work?

We loved the pizza dough, it was so easy to use. I tend to use a pizza dough mix rather than a bought base these days as they tend to be lighter. I liked the crisp, slightly nutty base and I’ll be buying more to keep in stock for our family pizza and TV nights.

The Sweetpea Pantry baking mixes are available from Ocado, Sainsburys, Booths, Marks & Spencer and a range of other retailers. Each mix costs £2.75 and from what I can tell, they’re delicious, family friendly mixes with a healthy and nutritious twist.

For more information about Sweetpea pantry, visit their website.

Note: I was sent a selection of mixes for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

How to organise a successful charity bake sale

Over the weekend I organised and ran a successful charity bake sale. We raised £275 in a little over an hour for a worthy cause. I really had no idea how to go about organising a charity bake sale, but with some help and organisation, what we did was a success.

Here’s my guide to organising a charity bake sale…

Enlist the help of keen bakers who are sympathetic to your cause.

As soon as I realised I had been put in charge of organising the bake sale I contacted a group of my friends and asked them (begged them, I actually begged them) to help. They all very, very kindly offered to bake crumbles, cakes and gingerbread men for the big day. I also asked for someone to help manage the stall during the sale and my kind friend Sarah offered her services.

How to organise a successful charity bake sale

Sell little bit of everything.

If you can, try to have a good variety of cakes, bakes and biscuits on sale. I baked 50 butterfly cakes which I sold for 50p each, a low-cost item will sell well, especially to children who want a little treat. Individual bakes sold well; flapjacks, brownies, buns, cupcakes and gingerbread men all disappeared quite quickly.

Try and have a range of products of different sizes and at various price points which will appeal to different people. Large crumbles and whole cakes sold well, with many people taking them home as a nice family treat. Also, don’t forget to bake some things suitable for vegans and people who are gluten-free or dairy free.

Be organised.

I’ve never done anything like this before so I knew I had to be organised. I made a list of things I’d need. Such as £20 in change as a “float”, aprons and latex gloves, kitchen towel, knives, paper plates, sandwich bags and larger plastic bags, stickers to write prices on and a couple of pens. I also bought a tablecloth, which I forgot on the day. I’m not as organised as I thought!

Ask for extra help.

Although I had my friends baking away for the sale, we asked the rest of the church to help out if they could. Several people brought along excellent cakes, tarts and crumbles. When I laid everything out it seemed like there was far too much and I’d never sell it all. How wrong I was.

How to organise a successful charity bake sale

Advertise your charity bake sale!

Spread the word. People generally love homemade cakes, especially if they’re being sold in aid of a charity or cause they support. In our case the charity bake sale was mentioned in the church newsletter and we spread the word on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Believe!

Reader, we sold the lot! Well almost everything, the very few items that were left I bought and brought home to feed my hungry hoards.

Together we raised £275 in just over an hour of sales after one church service. We had billed it as a one-off harvest festival style bake sale. I think if we ran one on a regular basis it wouldn’t be quite as popular, but we did well. We did really well. Huge thanks to everyone who baked and everyone who bought.

There’s still a long way to go before we hit the £50k target we need to raise before the end of the year, but we did our bit. We baked some cakes, raised some money and spread a bit of cakey joy throughout South Manchester.

How to organise a successful charity bake sale

Recipe: Microwave Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

A couple of years ago I made a bit of a breakthrough in making quick puddings for my family. I made a jam sponge in the microwave and that’s been our go to speedy pudding at home for a little while. As much as we all love jam sponge (and we really love jam sponge) I thought it was time to ring the changes. This weekend I made Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings in the microwave and they were really rather good. Good enough to give to guests who think you’re more Mary Berry than you actually are. 

Easy Recipe: Microwave Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

These fab little puddings are great to throw together in a hurry and take just 3 minutes to cook in the microwave. We have a Panasonic microwave oven which is just the thing for cooking these speedy puds. Just make sure you cook the Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings one at a time and maybe check how your pudding is doing after two minutes or so. 

I’ve used fresh thyme in these sponge puddings, which I admit is fairly unusual. We have fresh thyme in the garden and it is one of my favourite herbs. Don’t be tempted to used dried thyme in these puds, I don’t think dried would work. If you don’t have fresh then just leave the thyme out altogether.

Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

Ingredients (serves four)
4oz butter or margarine
4oz sugar
2 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, picked from the stalk
1 teaspoon baking powder
4oz self raising flour

To top the puddings –
Lemon curd
Thyme leaves
Custard

Method
With an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and thyme leaves and combine. Tip the flour and baking powder into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and beat together.

Lightly grease four microwave proof ramekins. Fill each one 3/4 of the way full with the sponge mix. Loosely cover with cling film, allowing some extra room for the sponge to steam and rise. Microwave each one individually for three minutes. You might want to check how they’re getting on after 2 minutes or so. Your sponges need to be cooked through but not overdone.

Once cooked, run a knife around the edge and tip them out onto a plate. 

Put two heaped dessert spoons of lemon curd into a microwavable dish and warm through for 30 seconds. Stir until it is the consistency of a sauce and drizzle over the top of your sponge, scatter some fresh thyme leaves over and serve with custard. Delicious!

Easy Recipe: Microwave Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

= This is a collaborative post =

Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

Every year I carve a pumpkin at Halloween and every year without fail I’ve guiltily tipped the insides of the pumpkin into the compost bin. I tell a lie, one year we did try and make something but it was so inedible we tipped that straight in the bin. 

This afternoon as my son and I sat around the kitchen table carving the pumpkin and scooping out the gloopy insides, I felt really bad about tipping the pumpkin innards into the bin, so I decided to try and bake a pumpkin cake of our own. 

I consider myself to be a bit of a safe baker, I can do 100 variations of sponge cake but anything more complicated I’ve always shied away from for fear of failure. I sat at the kitchen table and puzzled over what to do, in the end I came up with a slightly experimental recipe for a pumpkin cake and a hope that it would work, it did and it was delicious.

pumpkin cake

This pumpkin cake recipe does make quite a lot of cake batter and there was enough to make one decent sized cake and 12 yummy cupcakes. We used the flesh, the firm pale bit, not the slimy gloopy bit. We cut our chunks of the flesh and grated them. We found we had 300g or so, though I think if you found yourself with more pumpkin than that, then the recipe is quite forgiving and would accommodate another 100g or so with no problems.

The pumpkin kind of melts into the cake when it’s cooked and you’d never, ever know what the spooky surprise in your cake really is. I suspect if you wanted to make this cake outside of pumpkin carving season a grated butternut squash would work just as well.

pumpkin cake

Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Icing

If you’ve carved your pumpkin and you don’t know what to do with the leftover flesh, here’s a cracking recipe for a cake which you can decorate as Halloweeny as you want.

For the cake…

  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 200g butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp mixed spice, ground
  • 5 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 300g pumpkin flesh, grated
  • splash of orange juice if the latter needs loosening

For the frosting…

  • 80g unsalted butter, soft
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 200g cream cheese
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 190.

  2. Cream the golden caster sugar and butter together.  Once light and fluffy stir in the beaten eggs, mixed spice and cinnamon. Add to bicarb of soda, salt and sifted flour and fold in until the batter is smooth. If the batter seems a little stiff add a splash of fresh orange juice to loosen it. Stir in the grated pumpkin.

  3. Put a dessert spoon of the batter in 12 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

  4. With the remainder of the batter, pour into a lined 8 inch cake tin. For ease I used one of the paper cake tin liners you can buy and my tin was quite deep (4 inches). Bake this cake in the oven for 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside for a further 10 minutes, then remove and cool on the rack.

To make the frosting…

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together until smooth, add the cinnamon and stir thoroughly. Beat in the cream cheese until the mixture is well combined. Put in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes.

  2. Once your cakes are cool they can be iced, you can either pipe on the frosting or smooth it on with a knife, decorate however you want, I sprinkled some spooky sprinkles on top of mine.

The result was a surprisingly light pumpkin cake, full of autumnal spice and not at all pumpkiny. I urge you not to tip your pumpkin innards in the bin, but to try this instead. You won’t regret it. I promise!

pumpkin cake

Casa Costello

Five Delicious Vegetarian Comfort Food Dishes

I turned vegetarian when I was 13 and there’s not a lot I miss, but on a cold winter night I do sometimes hanker after the slow cooked, deep flavoured chilli my Nan used to make. Thankfully after lots of practice I’ve finally nailed the recipe and managed to make it vegetarian too.

Most of the warming comfort food dishes from my childhood were meat based – family roast dinners, my Nan’s amazing beef chilli, corned beef hash, shepherd’s pie and bubbling stews cooked so long the meat almost melted in your mouth.

There’s something about cooking up some comfort food which makes you feel like you’re showing your family some extra love. I enjoy throwing a few things in the slow cooker and knowing that by tea time there will be a delicious meal ready for my family.

Vegetarian comfort food can feel a bit hard to come by, so I’ve created and shared some of our favourite family recipes on my blog, here are five of my favourite vegetarian comfort food recipes – 

Vegetarian Galletes

vegetarian comfort food

These are a recent addition to my comfort food repertoire. They’re really easy to make, utterly delicious and once you get the hang of it you can fill them however you want. I made a Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Quince Galette and a Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette. Both were absolutely bang on and real crowd pleasers.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

vegetarian comfort food

Now autumn is here my soup making pot is starting to see some serious action. Cauliflowers are cheap and plentiful in the shops, so I recreated my favourite soup, but with a cheesy twist. Try my very delicious Norwegian inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

vegetarian comfort food

I’d had it in my head to make a big Spanish style bravas sausage casserole in my slow cooker for a while. This summer hadn’t been up to much and I was desperate to start rustling up comfort food dishes, and this was the first one of the season. I made my sausage casserole with Quorn sausages, but you could very easily make them with your favourite meaty sausages if you’d prefer. I made the sauce in the slow cooker and let it bubble away gently to itself for a few hours. The recipe is really simple and it’s now a firm family favourite.

Authentic Armenian style Imam Bayildi 

vegetarian comfort food

Imam Bayildi is basically stuffed, baked aubergines. They’re simple to make, you can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them when you need them and they are melt in the mouth gorgeous. I like to use good quality ingredients in this recipe as every single mouthful zings flavour. Fresh vegetables and herbs are essential, they’re packed full of flavour and these sunshiny aubergines are a little bit of summer on a cold autumn evening.

Easy Microwave Jam Sponge

vegetarian comfort food

No vegetarian comfort food round-up would be complete without a pudding. This incredibly easy to make and very quick to cook microwave jam sponge is just the ticket to warm your cockles on a cold winter evening. All you need are a few store cupboard ingredients, ten minutes of your time and you’ve got a good pud that’ll make your family smile.

Voucherbox.co.uk have a great blog post about the five healthy foods that can actually save you money, and if you want even more money off your online shop they also have plenty of Sainsbury’s vouchers which you can use.

vegetarian comfort food

Baking: Make Your Own Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

October is one of my favourite months, I love the autumn colours and Halloween is always a good excuse to get the mixing bowls out to create something spooky to celebrate the occasion. We don’t do trick or treating, but we usually have a party for some of the small boy’s friends, or a little Halloween tea party of our own. I tried my hand at making some spooky Halloween cupcakes for the occasion and I was quite pleased with how they turned out.

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

The cupcakes were really easy to make (you can read my fail-safe sponge cake recipe here) and take very little time to knock up with a food mixer, though I sometimes mix my cakes by hand if I can’t be bothered washing the mixer afterwards.

Once my little cupcakes had cooled, I made a buttercream. I made quite a lot of buttercream because I had several batches of cakes to decorate for various occasions. To make my buttercream I put 500g of soft unsalted butter in the food mixer and beat it for a minute or two to soften it up properly. I then added 500g of sifted icing sugar and beat them together until they were thoroughly combined. As you can see it’s just equal amounts of each ingredient, so depending on how much buttercream you need you can make more or less.

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

I then put half of the buttercream in a tub in the fridge to use at a later date, I put a quarter in a piping bag with a piping nozzle (I use a large star) and popped that in the fridge to firm up a little. With the remaining quarter of icing (still in the food mixer) add orange food colouring, just a few drops at a time until you get the Halloweeny orange colour you want. Once you’re happy with the colour, pop it in the fridge to firm up a little – though not so much that you can’t pipe it. I always find freshly made buttercream is too loose to pipe with until it’s had half an hour in the fridge.

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

I had been sent some spooky decorations by Cake Angels. I really like using Cake Angels decorations, they’re simple to use, are often quite fun and look great. The Halloween decorations are no different.

I made three different kinds of spooky Halloween Cupcakes…

With the orange buttercream and using a palette knife, I smoothed the buttercream on top of the cupcake (choose cupcakes which don’t rise above the edge of the paper case for this). I then took a Cake Angels Halloween cake topper and placed it in the middle of the cupcake, then sprinkled some of the Cake Angels Halloween sprinkles on. The small boy enjoyed helping to decorate the cakes like this, almost as much as he enjoyed eating them.

Using my large star piping nozzle I piped icing onto the Halloween cupcakes and topped them with a cake topper, some I added sprinkles too. I used both the plain white buttercream and the orange buttercream for this.

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

These Witches Hat Halloween Cupcakes were a bit of an experiment. I’d spotted some ice cream cones in the reduced section in a local shop. I bought some black get food colouring and spent some time the night before carefully painting my ice cream cones black, leaving them to dry overnight.

When it came to icing my witches hat cupcakes, I piped orange icing (for hair) onto the cupcake, then carefully pressed the hat/cone onto the icing. To decorate, I dabbed some buttercream onto the back of one of the Cake Angels decorations and stuck that to the hat. If I’d thought it through a bit more I would have made a buckle and belt for the hat out of royal icing. I will next time.

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes

These spooky Halloween cupcakes were lots of fun to make and would be a great centrepiece for a Halloween party. They were tasty too – too tasty. They didn’t last long before they were spirited away into our bellies!

Cake Angels decorations are available from a wide range of supermarkets (I’ve seen them in Tesco and Co-op) and from specialist shops.

I was sent some Halloween cake decorating goodies by Cake Angels, all images and opinions are our own.

Kitchen Essentials: Fail-Safe Sponge Cake Recipe

As a parent one of the key skills you need is the ability to quickly knock up a tray of cakes for the school bake sale, or for a party you’ve forgotten about, or maybe just because it’s Thursday and you and your brood fancy some cake.

Before I became a mum I was a competent cook, but a terrible baker. After several years of trial and error and a bin full of failed bakes, I’ve finally found a recipe and method which works every – single – time for me.

sponge cake recipe

Over the years I’ve tried everything; Delia recipes, Nigella recipes, recipes passed down through the generations. I’ve tried a thousand different bakes and finally hit upon this – it’s my “Works Every Time” Sponge Cake Recipe. And it does, it really does.

I use this recipe as the basis for every sponge recipe I ever make now. If I’m baking buns or cupcakes, I just cut the recipe down by a third (so 200g of sugar instead of 300g etc). This is enough to make a three layer show-stopper of a cake, over the weekend I used this sponge recipe to make two lemon drizzle cakes in loaf tins – much to the delight of my family.

If I find myself with too much cake batter and not enough tin, then it’s just an excuse to make a few little buns on the side for a teatime treat for the boys.

Malteser Butterfly Cakes

One of the key things you need to do is to really, really beat your butter (or margarine) and sugar together until they are really light and fluffy. This makes a massive difference to the texture of your cake (trust me, a Dutchman who made incredible cakes give me that tip).

Works-Every-Time Sponge Cake

If you need a sponge cake recipe which works every single time – try this. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients:
300 g caster sugar
300 g softened butter or margarine (I use Stork)
6 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
300 g self-raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder

Method:
Heat your fan oven to 190c. Grease three 20cm sandwich tins. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter.

Divide the mixture equally between the three tins, you can weigh them to make sure they’re fairly equal if you’d like. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 20 mins until golden and they’re cooked. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

I’ve made quite a few things with this sponge cake recipe. Looking back I’ve not really blogged many of those bakes, but here they are some examples of great bakes…

My easy sponge cake recipe which works every time! #Baking #EasyBakes #Cakes