The Crazy Kitchen: March 2011

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Monday, 28 March 2011

Cake Pops

Cake Pops are the new 'in cake' sweeping the cake shops & cafe's.

They are made from cake mixed with buttercream, formed into a ball, popped on a stick and covered with chocolate & decorated....simple!

I was going to make Rocky Road Cake Pops that I had seen on Vanessa Kimbells great blog, as I didn't want to make a cake for the sole purpose of mushing it up again, and these Pops use biscuits instead of cake as the base. However when I made Jacks birthday cake I had some scraps of chocolate cake that I had cut off the top to level it up, so I used those, along with some leftover chocolate buttercream.

In a food mixer I mixed the broken up cake scraps with enough buttercream to form a dough.

Roll small balls (approx ping pong sized) of dough and set aside.

Melt a small amount of chocolate to act as a glue to stick the balls to the sticks.

Dip the lollipop sticks in the melted chocolate and then into the balls, and allow to set.

Store in an airtight container until ready to decorate.

It's best to put the cake pops into the freezer for a couple of hours before coating with the chocolate as it helps the chocolate to set more quickly, making it easier to decorate.

Melt some more chocolate (dark, milk or white can be used) and dip each cake pop into the melted chocolate and swirl around.

Decorate with whatever you fancy - I chose coloured sprinkles, mini marshmallows, M&M's and chopped salted peanuts.

Insert into a halved orange or a piece of polystyrene or floral oasis until set.

Baileys Coffee Cupcakes

For these delicious cupcakes I slightly adapted a recipe for Tiramisu Cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book. It's a lovely book, with great photos for each recipe and step by step directions.

Basically its a vanilla sponge, with a piece cut out and a coffee & Kahlua syrup (I replaced the Kahlua with Baileys - that was the slightly adapted part!) poured into the hole. On top of that a marscarpone/double cream/icing sugar & Kahlua mix (I used Baileys again here!) is spooned on, and then the piece of cake is replaced, after it has been soaked in the coffee liquor syrup. The cake is then frosted with the remaining mascarpone mixture.

They were absolutely delicious, but the general consensus was that you couldn't eat more than one!!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

For part of this weeks cake making frenzy I made Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes for pre-school and as they turned out so well & were very easy to make I decided to use the recipe as a base for my chocolate chip mini cupcakes for Jack's party, just adding a pack of milk chocolate chips to the dry ingredients.

I decorated these simple cakes with just a blob of ready made icing and an M&M.

I had some batter leftover so I made some larger cupcakes and decorated these with Vanilla Buttercream, from the 'Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery' book and '21''s cut out of black icing, these were for my step-daughter who celebrated her 21st the day before Jack's birthday.

Vanilla Buttercream

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar, sifted
Few drops of pink food colouring

This quantity makes enough to ice 15-20 regular or approx 60 mini cupcakes. I made half a batch and used a small amount of pink colouring paste.

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk and half of the icing sugar until smooth.

2. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

3. Beat in the colouring, adding a very small amount initially, building up the colour gradually.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Chocolate Fudge Cake

This cake has got to be the best and one of the easiest chocolate cakes I have ever made. The sponge is moist and chocolatey and the frosting is rich & gooey, perfect with a cuppa or warmed up with ice cream.

The recipe is a slightly adapted version of the one in The Children's Baking Book by Dorling Kindersley.


For the cake:

175g butter
175g dark muscovado sugar
150g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs
100ml greek yoghurt

For the icing:

175g dark chocolate (approx 70% cocoa solids)
125g butter
4tbsp milk
200g icing sugar

To decorate :

Maltesers & M&M's (or any sweets/chocolate/sprinkles of your choice)

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C / 325 F / gas mark 3. Grease and line the bases of 2 8" sandwich tins with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter & sugar until they are light & creamy

3. Sift over the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

4. Add the eggs & the yoghurt and beat well.

5. Divide the mixture between the 2 tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

6. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, or on short bursts in the microwave. Add the milk & stir to combine.

7. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and pour over the melted chocolate. Beat together until smooth and formimg into soft peaks.

8. Use some of the icing to sandwich the 2 cakes together & spread the rest over the top & sides. Decorate with your chosen toppings.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

Tomorrow will be Jack's 2nd birthday and as a special treat, because I'm such a kind and generous Mummy, he will be starting Preschool. He was supposed to be starting next week but then I got offered Thursday mornings as an additional session so rather than start him with a full day I thought it best to break him in gently with a half day session and it just happened to fall on his birthday - that's my excuse anyway, in truth I fancied having 3 hours to myself - I've been paid back for being so mean as my eldest has been sick today & won't be going to school so I don't get my 3 hours just yet!

I thought it would be a nice treat for all his new friends (ok I'm trying to buy him some new friends) if I made them all some cakes to share.

There is one little boy at Preschool who has a dairy, egg and soya allergy, which often proves difficult for his Mum when it comes to baking cakes. After speaking to her she was happy for me to take in some chocolate cakes and she would make some 'free' ones to take in as well. When I was looking through one of my many cookery books earlier I came across a recipe for eggless vanilla cupcakes in 'Best Ever Recipes - CUPCAKES by Phoebe Gibb' (received as a Christmas Present from Brother & Sister In Law) and I noticed that they also didn't include any kind of butter which meant they would be suitable for all of the little ones and the allergy sufferer didn't need to have something different.

I used my mini cupcake maker to bake a batch off & my 10 year old sampled one. They passed the test so I went on to bake the rest.

The recipe made around 36 mini cupcakes so there are plenty to go around and a few left over for my hungry lot, and I was pleasantly surprised how good they tasted.


225g Self Raising Flour
2 tsp baking powder
180g caster sugar
6 tbsp Rapeseed Oil (the recipe calls for Vegetable Oil but I had some Rapeseed so decided to use that)
240ml water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

I added a couple of handfuls of sultanas to the dry ingredients to make them a bit more interesting.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F / Gas 4, then line mini muffin pans with cases 

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the caster sugar. Make a well and add the oil, water and vanilla essence and mix well.

3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared paper cases.

4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until firm to the touch.

5. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Cooking With Your Toddler.....Quick & Easy Smiley Face Pizzas

This week I chose something very quick and easy to make as I'm going to be doing a lot of baking soon with Jack's 2nd birthday coming up.

There's not really a recipe for these, they're just a 'suped up' version of cheese on toast! We make pizza toast quite a bit in our house, my older children love it. We often make it with crumpets but have also used English Muffins, Pitta Bread or Naan Breads. These pizza faces have been made from cutting out a circle from a lightly toasted piece of bread - I used the top off my tea bag canister as it was the perfect size with minimum wastage - you could use a large cookie cutter or pint glass too.

You will need :

Sliced Bread  (or crumpets or English Muffins) - lightly toasted
Tomato Ketchup
Grated cheese
Toppings - we used cooked mini sausages, olives & tomato slices
Mixed Herbs or Oregano

Cut a circle out of your toast and arrange onto baking sheet.

Spread the ketchup onto the base.

Cover with grated cheese.

Arrange your toppings into a smiley face.

Sprinkle a few mixed herbs or Oregano over.

Place under a hot grill, or in the oven, until the cheese has melted.


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