Thursday, 28 June 2012

Melting moments

After visiting the Primrose Bakery I felt inspired to make something from their book, which I had got for Christmas but not got around to testing yet. We were feeling a bit cupcake-d out and so I went for the melting moments since I was feeling in a biscuity mood, which is really quite rare for me!

I also need to work on my icing sugar dusting technique - bit clumpy!
The recipe seemed straightforward but I hit trouble when it came to shaping the biscuits. The mixture was too crumbly and dry and kept falling apart when I tried to shape it into balls. I knew it wasn't right but the recipe wasn't very helpful - there was no hint as to what the texture should be or what to do if it wasn't right. I'm sure to experienced bakers it's obvious but to me it isn't always!

After careful shaping, the balls were on the tray and I knew I'd definitely done something wrong when I saw I was meant to press lightly with a fork on the them.... a quick press on a couple led them to fall apart completely into rubble on the tray! By this point I really couldn't be bothered faffing so I just bunged them in the oven as they were and hoped for the best.

They were clearly too big and they took way over the cooking time. Really they were quite beastly and not the delicate little biscuits they are meant to be. Anyhow, I soldiered on and sandwiched them together with the custardy creamy filling and they actually passed the taste test - they did still have the melt in your mouth effect hooray! They were definitely too big though, I think they need to be bite size because they are so rich and buttery.

I will have to try making these again - I saw someone make them on Australian Masterchef this week and so I think I am going to pause the telly and write down her recipe as I'm sure I remember there being a perfect shot of it all written down neatly! If you know of a good melting moment recipe please let me know....!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Cakes Not From Kim: Primrose Bakery

As part of my 30th birthday celebrations, Mike and I went away for a few days to London. Unfortunately, we must have picked the week with the most rubbish weather, as it pretty much rained the entire time we were there! It didn't deter us though and we had a fab time, visiting some of my old haunts (I lived down there while I was 19 until 21) such as Elephant and Castle, the Comedy Store, and Camden Market, strolling along the river (or more like hurrying along inbetween downpours...), wandering around Harrods and MnM's world (luckily we have photographic evidence otherwise we might have thought we'd accidentally done some drugs), and the part I was most excited about: visiting bakeries!

We visited the Primrose Bakery near Covent Garden - 42 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PB. I immediately loved it; a happy corner of yellow which was very welcoming amongst the grey drizzle!

I was glad it was fairly quiet so I could peruse all of the lovely things on display.

Eventually I decided on the orange blossom cupcake...

... and Mike went for the lemon.

The cupcakes were delicious, retaining that home-baked feel aswell as being lovely and fluffy and light. I think this was Mike's favourite of the 3 bakeries we visited while we were down there (more to come!). What surprised me the most about them all was how they weren't geared up for people to sit in and eat/drink - they were mostly tiny and all had about 3 tables max. I suppose it should have been obvious given they are bakeries rather than tea rooms/cafes really! The Primrose Bakery was definitely the one most welcoming to sit in.

I felt inspired to bake something from the book when I got back home, but I will leave that for another post!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cakes Not From Kim: Birthday Cake!

It was my 30th birthday (argh the horror) back in April and I took the risk of not baking a birthday cake for myself and hoping that someone else would have done it for me....

Luckily Mike had sorted out a cake for me - he informed us that the only ingredients he used were "a woman and some money" and so we all breathed a sigh of relief!

I am a bit of a Tiffany girl!
I loved the colour, it was spot on! Didn't really want to cut it...
Vanilla sponge, my favourite
We went for afternoon tea at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire which was beautiful, I had the champagne afternoon tea and had my glass topped up for free! I had never been before and will definitely be going back again, highly recommended to anybody who lives locally or is visiting the area.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Easter baking 2012

So you know how behind on blogging you are when you're posting your Easter bakes in June... I'm determined to catch up though, and really want to have everything go on the blog in order, so it will just have to be extremely late!

I was determined to do something different this year after making the same Easter cakes 2 years running, and ended up doing 3 different kinds of cupcakes.

Firstly, Easter nest cupcakes inspired by the WI Celebration Cupcakes book. This is such a lovely little book, although I have to say I've never tried any of the recipes themselves, it's great for ideas for toppings and decorations. These are just my basic chocolate cupcake recipe, topped with the traditional Easter nest shredded wheat/chocolate/butter/cream/icing sugar etc combo, plus mini eggs and Easter chicks of course.

Secondly, I had bought these wafer bunny decorations in Lakeland and so added them to some white chocolate cupcakes.

And finally - these were a last minute addition to the planned baking!

I saw something similar (and infinitely better) on the gorgeous Butter Hearts Sugar blog and decided on Easter Saturday that they must be made! Mike was dispatched to Asda but the only suitable eggs left were Kinder eggs... cue half an hour of painstakingly trying to cut them in half and slice the tops off, with the occasional distraction of constructing plastic toys! They were a little on the big side so the chicks are sitting on mounds of mini eggs inside. I will definitely be doing these again properly next year and will make sure I get in early with buying suitable eggs.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Reese's Cups birthday cake - take 2!

The Reese's cups inspired cake got another outing not long after the first attempt - this time for Nic's Notebook's birthday in March.

We went out to Tom at 101 for a meal and I was very excited/nervous to be asked to provide a cake! Luckily I knew straightaway that I would make the Reese's cake again, since Nic had liked the sound of it when I had mentioned it in February.

It was exactly the same cake as the first, the only difference being a daisy and a few butterflies... and a mahoosive sparkler provided by the restaurant when they brought it out!

Without doubt the hardest part of cake making to me is the decoration, and this time I had the bright idea of tracing out the name in the buttercream before piping it in. Can't believe I've never thought of this before, definitely going to be doing it like that from now on!

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