Friday, 31 October 2014

Treat Petite October - Round Up

Happy Halloween! The theme for this month's Treat Petite was 'Trick or Treat', luckily all we got were plenty of treats! Read on for some fantasic baking ideas if you are in the kitchen this weekend...

Katie from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter started us off with two recipes. Toffee Apple Cupcakes and Pumpkin, Ginger & Orange Traybake. They are both delicious seasonal bakes that I am sure her family enjoyed!

Caroline Makes... entered these Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies. She made these with goodies brought back from America by her boyfriend's mum.

These spooky spiderweb cookies are Spiced Pumpkin Cookies from Corina at Searching For Spice. She made these using a home grown pumpkin!

Next up we have Gruesome Green Popcorn from my Treat Petite co-host Stuart at Cakeyboi. A fantastic simple idea which creates such a great effect!

Linzi from Lancashire Food made a Gingerbread Loaf. A classic comforting recipe perfect for this time of year. It's definitely one of my favourites, although I have not seen it with sultanas in before. I'm going to have to try that next time!

You would never guess these pretty Roasted Beetroot & Raw Cacao Nib Cupcakes from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary were so healthy! It's a great way to get kids eating vegetables, and Elizabeth's son loved these!

Wow aren't these Halloween Chocolate Apples impressive?! Camilla from Fab Food 4 All sent these in. I love the spiderweb pattern it's so cool!

These little beauties are Ginger & White Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes from Helen at Casa Costello. I've never heard of Hi Hats before, but buttercream frosting encased in chocolate sounds pretty good to me!

Kevin from The Crafty Larder sent in these gorgeously bright Spiced Pumpkin In A Jar. I love the presentation, they look so great in the jars so you can see the layers of the cake!

My Halloween bake this month were these Halloween Cupcakes. I did three designs; a brain, broken 'glass', and scratched cupcakes. I thought they looked pretty gruesome!

Dominic from Belleau Kitchen made these creepy looking Halloween Witches Eyeballs. They are actually sponge covered in chocolate ganache, not as scary as they look!

There are so many macarons around nowadays it's nice to see some Macaroons for a change! These green macaroons from Keep Calm & Fanny On would make a perfect Halloween treat.

Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... sent in these Mini Double Chocolate Pecan Pear Crumbles. She made them as a delicious surprise for her parents.

The sauce running over these Toffee Apple Cheesecakes from Something Sweet, Something Savoury makes them look so appetising!

Caroline Makes... was back for a second time with these Pumpkin Spice M&M Halloween Cookies. I've never heard of this flavour of M&M's before, I must hunt some down!

I love these Halloween Two Tone Rose Red Velvet Cupcakes from Domestic Gothess. The icing is absolutely beautiful. Pretty, with a dark twist!

Eeek! I am not a fan of spiders but Kate at The Gluten Free Alchemist has managed to make these Halloween Cake Pop Spiders look a little less frightening. Don't think my arachnophobia is quite cured just yet, but Kate is doing better than me!


The letters on these Spiced Honey Shortbread by Family Friends Food were stamped on using a letterpress cookie set. You can change the letters in the set to say anything you like, very clever! I love the cute pumpkin in the background too.

Ruth from Makey Cakey entered her Franken-Biscuits. These would be great for making with kids as they can get creative and make a scary Frankenstein face!

Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker sent in two spooky bakes. Pumpkin Pecan Roll with Maple Cinnamon Glaze, she doesn't make bread often but when she does, she does it well! And
Spooky Ghost Cake Pops, I find cake pops difficult to make so I'm impressed with her efforts!

Another American style treat from Caroline Makes... with this Halloween Candy Corn Rocky Road. I love candy corn! It's really yummy and I would love to try a piece of this.

The final bake for this month are these spooky Halloween Cake Pops from Helen at Casa Costello. They look brilliant and are really well decorated!

Wow such an amazing array of bakes this month. Thank you to everyone who got their spook on this month! Please check out the blogs above if a recipe takes your fancy. Look out for November's theme announcement soon over on Cakeyboi.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

The night's are drawing in and getter darker, which makes me feel excited for Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, but damn does it make it difficult to get any natural light for my cake photos! Oh well, this cake is all about darkness anyway. Made with treacle, dark brown sugar and even some Guinness for good measure. It was described as 'Bonfire Night in a cake' by my lovely colleagues which is why I titled it appropriately. It really is the perfect cake for this time of year. Here's how I made it...

I started with the salted caramel sauce as it needs time to cool and thicken up. In a pan I melted 57g Stork. Once melted I added 165g dark brown sugar and 175ml double cream. I kept stirring and let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes. I then added 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 salt. I poured it into a bowl and cooled it in the fridge. It took a good few hours to thicken up.

I baked the cake in a ring bundt tin, you can easily pick one up if you don't have one. I greased it with butter and dusted with flour to ensure the cake didn't stick.

In a bowl I whisked together 250ml Guinness (you could also use another dark stout), 340g black treacle, 165g dark brown sugar, 170ml vegetable oil and 3 large beaten eggs.

I sifted together 255g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp salt. I added this to the wet ingredients and mixed in.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until it was a deep rich brown and a skewer came out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes then tip it out of the tin. If it doesn't come out straight away, run a knife along the edges and around the middle ring. Leave to cool before smearing on the sauce and garnishing with some chopped crystallised ginger.

I ended up making this cake twice, one for the Macmillan Coffee Morning bake sale at work, and again for my colleagues as I got caught up in organising the bake sale and forget to take any photos the first time round! It was enjoyed both times and I even came second in the Bake Off competition we ran in conjuction with the bake sale. I was pretty pleased! It's a really moist cake, full of warming smokey flavours and the rich caramel sauce is to die for!

Recipe slightly adapted from Chow.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Halloween Cupcakes

Happy Halloween! I love celebrating Halloween and have decorated both my home and office already. It's such a fun time of year and a great opportunity to get creative with baking. I love the look of these cupcakes, although I did struggle with the recipes I followed. I got a book called 'A Zombie Ate My Cupcake' for my birthday and used a few recipes out of it to make the different elements of the cupcakes. My sugar glass went a bit wrong, I found the cherry 'blood' sauce to be to jelly like, and the sponge was quite dense. I'll go through what I did anyway as they did taste good!

I started with the sugar glass. First I covered a baking tray in foil and brushed it all over with oil.

In a large pan I heated up 500ml water, 785g granulated sugar, 250ml liquid glucose and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. I let the mixture boil until it reached 300F.

I think my thermometer is slightly off as the sugar slightly caramelised and went golden. It is meant to stay clear! I also think you need two baking trays for this as the sugar was very thick. Pour it in and leave to cool for a couple of hours. When I bashed it up into shards it was much too thick for one single shard in the cupcake, so I used several smaller ones instead.

To make the sponge I first mixed 60g butter, I used Stork, and 140g caster sugar together. I added 1 large egg and mixed in. Then I added 30g cocoa powder, 1/2 vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and some Sugarflair Extra Red food colouring. After that I added 120ml buttermilk and 225g plain flour. Finally 1/2 tsp cider vinegar and 1/2 bicarbonate of soda.

It was a very thick mixture and not the kind of cake batter I'm used to seeing. I spooned it into 12 muffin cases.

 I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.

To make the cherry sauce I gently heated 125g mashed up tinned black cherries, 50g caster sugar, 120ml juice from the cherries, 1/2 tsp lime juice and 1 tbsp cornflour.

 I brought it to the boil and let it bubble for about 5 minutes until thick. I then sieved it.

As the cherry sauce was so jelly like, I decided to core the cupcakes and use it as a filling!

To decorate the clawed cupcakes (an idea I saw on Pinterest!) I rolled out some white icing and cut out cupcake sized circles. I used a little bit of buttercream to help it stick and placed it over the cupcake sponge. I used a knife to make rough scratches in the icing. Then I dipped a cocktail stick in red food colouring and dragged it along the scratches.

For the broken glass cupcakes I made some buttercream with 80g butter, 160g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I piped it on with a star nozzle, stabbed the cake with some of the sugar glass shards and drizzle over some shop bought strawberry sauce I had in the cupboard.

To decorate the brain cupcakes I made some buttercream with 80g butter, 160g icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and some pink food colouring. I smoothed it over the cupcake then using a plain circular nozzle I pipe a line down the middle and squiggly bits down each side.

Despite me having a bit of trouble, or 'tricks' with the recipes I used, I think the final result looks really spooky and fun! They also tasted good. Everyone at work loved them and they all disappeared pretty quickly! I am entering them into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly challenge Treat Petite where this month's theme is 'Trick or Treat'.

I am also linking up to Simply Food's 'Let's Cook For Halloween'.

And to Choclette's We Should Cocoa challenge, this month hosted by Honey & Dough, where the theme is Halloween.