Thursday, 26 February 2015

Treat Petite February - Round Up

This month's theme for Treat Petite was 'Love Is In The Air' and it certainly was! It's been great to see all the love out there expressed through baking. It's amazing how many food types can be made heart shaped too! Read on to drool over the beautiful treats and look out for March's theme over on Cakeyboi soon!

The first entry were these beautifully presented Chocolate Layer Cakes by The Gluten Free Alchemist - chocolate heaven!

What Claire Baked sent us these Raspberry Ripple Meringue Love Nest, filled with salted caramel cream, they sound like a sweet tooth's dream!

Herbs, Spice and Tradition made these perfectly uniform and very pretty No Bake Strawberry Cheesecakes.

The Green Gourmet Giraffe made these Nutella Rice Bubble Slices in a heart shape. Anything to do with Nutella is great in my opinion!

This delicious looking Nigella's Ice Cream Cake with Butterscotch Sauce was submitted by Caroline Makes... An easy no bake recipe shaped into hearts using a clever cake mould.

My Treat Petite co-host Cakeyboi made these Raspberry Mint Choc Blondies which are pretty in pink and I would imagine taste very refreshing!

A second entry from Caroline Makes... was these Valentine's Chocolate Hearts which are very cleverly made with Hershey's Kisses.

Kerry Cooks entered these awesome Nutella Stuffed Mini Heart Calzones. I think they look awesome, Nutella surely wins my heart!

Another Nutella entry with these beautifully baked Nutella Shortbread Hearts from Family-Friends-Food.

This stunning Raspberry Lemon Drizzle Trifle from The Gluten Free Alchemist is perfectly presented, gluten free and a great use for leftover cake!

A very interesting flavour combination from Farmersgirl Kitchen with these Sweet Potato, Ginger & Lemongrass Muffins. Good for your heart in more ways than one!

These pretty Chocolate Orange Love Heart Biscuits by Fab Food 4 All are dipped in chocolate and look delicious. They would be great with ice cream as recommended by Camilla!

How adorable are these Penguin Oreos from The More Than Occassional Baker?! Almost too cute to eat!

Garden Tea Cakes And Me sent in these Heart Shaped Stained Glass Biscuits, made by melting a boiled sweet in the middle of the dough for a pretty stained glass effect.

Chocolate Log Blog sent in these Jumbles with a White Chocolate Lemony Drizzle. I've not heard of Jumbles before but these figure of eight shaped biscuits flavoured with citrus fruits sound delicious!

Who needs restaurant food when you can make these gorgeous Valentine Mochaccino Mousses by How To Cook Good Food yourself at home, stunning!

These gorgeously marbled Raspberry Madelines were sent in by Cooking For Kishore. I love the streaks of raspberry through the batter.

These fabulous Valentine Candy Cane Chocolate Hearts by The More Than Occasional Baker are an easy no bake recipe and a great way for using up Christmas sweets.

Searching For Spice cut up some mini marshmallows and dipped them in coloured sugar to create the pretty decoration on these Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes.

How amazing are these Red Velvet Brownies with Oreo Cream Cheese Mousses & Chocolate Ganache?! I think I want to marry Domestic Goddess!

I love Welshcakes and they are especially good warm, these Vegan Valentine's Welshcakes from Allotment2Kitchen are super cute and gorgeously golden.

These Individual Tiramisu's by My Little Italian Kitchen would be the perfect ending to a romantic meal! A rich classic dessert that has stood the test of time.

Roses are so synonomous with Valentine's day so what a perfect flavour to use in baking. These Valentine's Rose Heart Biscuits are so pretty and Simply Cooked With Love sent some to her daughter for Valentine's.

For my entry I made these Pink Velvet Cake Truffles using leftover cake and cream cheese. They are an easy no bake recipe and decorated with a single heart sprinkle I think they look quite pretty!

Belleau Kitchen sent over these Two Ingredient Banana Pancakes which are made using only bananas and eggs, I'm pretty impressed by this!

JibberJabberUK made these Cheesecake Brownies that look awesome! I've had cheesecake brownies before and I know what a yummy treat they are.

These pretty little Raspberry Shortbread Hearts from BakingQueen74 are made with freeze dried raspberry pieces which are full of flavour, she baked these with her children.

Now we have three gorgeous entries from Revi's Foodography. First are these Mini Heart Poori, which are a savoury Indian snack that puffs up when fried, it has been coloured red with beetroot and looks so pretty!

Revi Foodography's second and third entries are Chocolate Covered Strawberries and an Eggless Red Velvet Cake. They go beautifully well together and they look amazing and so romantic!

The Dream Baker made some Chinese New Year themed non-dairy treats for her husband. Absolutely adorable sheep shaped Pineapple Cookies and cute mini Peanut Cookies.

Finally, The Crafty Larder sent in these sumptuous looking Black Forest Brownies, such a delicious combination of flavours and a great twist on a classic.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Make Pack: Review & Giveaway

I was recently contacted by a company called The Make Pack to review one of their products. It's so hard to find 'object' gifts to give to people these days and I often turn to 'experience' gifts instead. I think The Make Pack is a great experience gift for the budding or experienced baker in your life as it provides clear instructions and pre-weighed out dry ingredients all packed neatly into a box. Plus you get a yummy treat at the end, that they might even share with you...!

There is a varied range of Make Packs to choose from. There are cakes and cupcakes, marshmallows and even bread. They let you know what fresh ingredients you'll need, such as eggs or butter, and if there's any special equipment you'll need, like cake tins. You can even buy some of the equipment from them when you buy your Make Pack!

I chose the White Chocolate Cupcakes with Chai Spice Buttercream to try out and when I opened up the box I found the instructions, the dry ingredients and chocolate in plastic bags, cupcakes cases and some greaseproof paper. The instructions were very detailed and thorough.

I creamed together the sugar and butter until fluffy.

I added eggs and milk, and whisked in.

Finally I mixed in the melted white chocolate and folded in the self raising flour. Not having to measure out the dry ingredients definitely speeded up the process!

I divided the batter evenly between the cupcakes cases.

 I baked them on for 20 minutes until golden brown.

I melted the chocolate by dipping the bag in some hot water. I've never used this technique before, but it worked very quickly! I cut the corner of the bag and made some chocolate squiggles on the greaseproof paper.

 To make the icing I mixed some of the chai spice with some milk.

I added butter and the icing sugar to make the buttercream. I personally would've halved the amount of milk as I did feel it wasn't thick enough.

To assemble the cupcakes I spread the icing on with a palette knife, sprinkled over the remaining chai spice, and added a chocolate decoration. They were so delicious! The cupcakes were lovely and light, although I can't say I could taste the white chocolate. I think it improved the texture rather than taste. The chai spice was amazing, it tasted SO good! Someone commented that they looked like mini cappucinos with the spice sprinkled on top.

They certainly disappeared fast after a family visit. I enjoyed using the pack and as someone who bakes a lot, I didn't particularly need to follow the instructions that closely. But if you've never baked before, they are extremely clear and concise. I think this would make a great gift for anyone that loves baking and the other recipes available sound so delicious! Check out their website to see the full range.

The Make Pack have also kindly given me two of their packs to giveaway to my readers! You can choose The Make Pack you wish to receive if you win. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, good luck!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Orange 5-Spice Cake

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year and this year it is the year of the Sheep (or Goat in some cases). There's a bit of confusion over which animal it actually is this year because the Chinese symbol that represents it is used to describe a variety of sheep/goat type animals. People born in the year of the Sheep are believed to be gentle and mild mannered, and do not like to be the centre of attention. I'm not sure how much I believe in the personality types, but I love Chinese culture and I find it so interesting. I decided to make this cake using the well known Chinese 5 spice and orange as it's a flavour often used in Chinese cooking.

I started by creaming together 400g caster sugar and 115g butter. I then added 3 eggs and whisked in. Then I added 480ml fresh orange juice and mixed in.

In a seperate bowl I weighed out 560g plain flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp 5 spice mix, 1/2 tsp mixed spice 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp cardamom. I mixed it into the batter and then poured it into a lined baking tray.

I baked it on 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. Then I turned it down to 325F/160C/Gas Mark 3 for a further 20 minutes until a skewer came out clean.

While the cake was still hot I brushed melted butter over the top and sprinkled on a topping made from 25g golden caster sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp mixed spice mixed together.

The cake was lovely and light with a great spicy flavour. I do think the orange flavour could've been stronger, but I was using up some zested oranges. I'd definitely recommend adding the zest of one orange for a stronger punch of orange! It takes great with custard too (not sure how Chinese that is!) I hope you enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations in your city this weekend!

print recipe

Orange 5-Spice Cake
  • 400g Caster sugar
  • 115g Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 480ml Orange juice
  • 560g Plain flour
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp 5 Spice
  • 25g Butter, melted
  • 25g Golden caster sugar
Cream together the caster sugar and butter. Add the eggs and whisk in. Then add the orange juice and mix inIn a separate bowl stir together the plain flour, baking powder, 5 spice, 1/2 tsp of the mixed spice 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon, the ground ginger and cardamom. Mix it into the wet ingredients to make a batter, then pour into a lined baking trayBake on 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes, then on 325F/160C/Gas Mark 3 for a further 20 minutesMix together the golden caster sugar, 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of the mixed spiceWhile the cake is still hot brush the melted butter over the cake and sprinkle the sugar mixture all over the cake too