Tag Archives: bake

Eye Candy Cake! Licorice Milk & Blackberry Jam Cupcakes

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These were a very tentative project. They happened because I spent three days leading up to Mother’s Day attempting to figure out what on earth to do for my meticulously picky and intrinsically-difficult-to-please mum (I’m sorry, you’re amazing, but it’s true! haha…) I mostly did this figuring out by suggesting ideas that were turned down on by one, until out of exasperation I got a half-answer:

Herself: ‘Maybe try those licorice cupcakes you showed me.’

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Deep South Cake Bread – AKA Greek Yogurt CornBread (AKA Glory in a Cake Tin)

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This started out as a Dan Lepard recipe, then evolved into something more my own. I’d like to say that this is because I’m a skilled, brilliant and original baker, but in truth it was because I quickly realized I was missing the two major ingredients and had to scrape substitues in as draft work.

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Cinnamon Sugar Dipped Nutella Filled Muffins

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Nutella addicts! Ever want to put a slightly different spin on your chocolate hazelnut habit? Here’s a recipe from Sally and her wonderful Baking Addiction. I must note that her cakes are much prettier than mine! I baked my batch in some new, large-fit muffin tins, which gave my cakes a much broader base & less rise, consequently. If you do yours in cupcake tins you should achieve the puffy top look. (However they look though, they’re absolutely gorgeous!) Recipe makes about 8 to 10 muffins, depending on your trays.

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Mango Muffin Apocalypse – The Mango Challenge.

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…Did I mention…Mango…? Because seriously. These are all Mango, all of the time. There’s mango in the cake batter, mango in the curd filling and mango in the butter meringue icing. You may, at this point, have realised that I have a serious problem with mango. I just think it’s the best thing in the world.

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Boston Chocolate Custard Muffins

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Dan Lepard is a man who I believe should be president. Of cakes. At least. This concoction of mine is a direct take from his recipe – all I did was add chunks of Toblerone to the batter. And that only happened because we had too much Toblerone in the house. Innovative, huh?

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Thai Peanut Turkey Stir-fry with Roasted Sweet Potato & Veggies

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Evening, lovely people! Just in case everyone is starting to get the idea that I do very little else besides mainline sugar and alcohol (and I wouldn’t blame them) – here’s an example of what I’d make and live on, a little more typically. If enough people are interested, I can do more stuff like this, and/or give y’all a breakdown of how I actually eat, exercise and stay healthy. (Despite the sugar and the cake. Up to interest, really :))

This is a meal that gets the balance exactly right. There’s no processed or refined carbodhydrate (though I’ll give you that there’s sugar in the peanut sauce). Overall there’s a pretty good balance of protein, good fats, complex carbohydrate, fibre, vitamins and general health-building goodness.

I should note that although I give everyone precise measurements for baking (because, em, you have to, sorta), I won’t give precise measurements for cooking. This is because the following:

1. It depends entirely on how many people you’re planning to cook for

2. I’ve cooked for myself and others, a whole lot, since I was 14, and I’ve almost always done it with ideas in my head as opposed to recipe-following. This sounds like a horrible brag, but it isn’t – the real reason is I was too lazy to recipe-check when I started cooking, and it’s become a habit in my adulthood).

3. It’s much harder to go wrong with quantities when you’re cooking than when you’re baking. Honestly. Rely on your eye, and things will work out. If not, call me and I’ll come over and do it for you – I’m nice like that.

Ingredients (very roughly):

Sweet Potatoes

Onions

Broccoli Heads

Turkey Breast Strips

Spinach Leaves

Oil or fat of your choice (sunflower, rapeseed, butter – go wild. Spray for the extra-healthy).

Peanut Butter

Coconut Milk

Chilli Powder

Canned Tomatoes

Herbs (to your taste and preference)

Brown Sugar

Powdered Cinnamon

Directions: 

1. The first thing you want to do is cut up your various vegetables. Sweet Potatoes can be diced up or cut into chip-shapes, depending on your patience. Onions should be half ring-cut (for veggies) and dice-cut (for turkey). Make your broccoli into florets. My family love huge florets, you might like them little. Chopping board and a decent knife – get this done first and the hard work is out of the way. Set your oven to about 160 celsius if it’s a fan, 180 if it’s non-fan.

2. Set out a big ol’ saucepan (I use these lovelies), and a frying pan on your stove top. Pour or pat your oil or fat of choice into each (I used peanut oil for the frying pan and butter for the sauce pan). Leave them be for now. Pull out a baking tray and line it with baking paper.

3. Scatter your sweet potato chunks onto the lined baking tray. Grab your oil (I took olive oil for this) and sort of just lace-pour it across the chunks. Yay! Next, scatter over some brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. This turns out like heaven, seriously. Using clean hands, mix around the sweet potato in all the goodness so everything gets a good cover. Ensure all the chunks are relatively flat and even in the tray, and stick it in the oven. They can stay in there for the next twenty to twenty five minutes (after twenty minutes, check ’em – they’re ready when they smell amazing and a poke through them with a fork shows they’re soft).

4. Turn on the rings underneath the frying pan and the sauce pan. Let them warm up, then add diced onion to the frying pan and ringed onion to the sauce pan. Wait for noise and smells to happen. When that’s started up, take your diced turkey breast and throw it in the frying pan, ensuring even distribution. While that starts to brown and sizzle on one side, combine peanut butter and coconut milk in a bowl – a good mix with a spoon should even them up.

5. When your peanut-coconut mixture is all done, go back to your turkey and flip the strips. If they’re looking very happy and brown, turn down the heat. Turn down the heat on the onion rings in the sauce pan, too. Go get your broccoli florets, and tip them into the saucepan, put the lid on. This lets them sizzle AND steam, locking in goodness and flavour simultaneously.

6. Leave things a further five minutes or so before you do anything else (dance it out – I recommend this song).

7. Five minutes up! Go and flip/mix your turkey strips again, and this time pour in the coconut-peanut sauce you made. Sprinkle that with powdered chilli to taste. Monitor the heat – if you’re worried about burning, turn it down. It’s that simple! Place a pan-lid over the frying pan now – if you don’t have one, even a dinner plate will do. The aim is to permit some extra heat and steam to really permeate and soften the turkey and let the flavours sink in.

8. Tip your tinned tomatoes over your onions and broccoli. Lid on and let it do its thing. Leave it until the broccoli is as soft as you (and others) like – you’ll be able to tell by poking it with a fork. I like my broccoli fall-apart soft, but my fam & friends like it al dente – gotta compromise in this house!

9. When you think your turkey and veggies are ready, turn off the heat underneath them and let them sit a further couple of minutes. When your sweet potatoes are ready, pull ’em out the oven, allow a few minutes to cool and then plate the whole lot up

10. Absorb compliments and act like you totally know everything about cookery and food.

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(That’s the outfit I wore makin’ em, cause you totally all wanted to know that). If you want to see more like this, or more health/nutrition stuff, personal or otherwise, let me know!

As a final note:

The healthy amazingness of sweet potatoes

– Why turkey deserves more attention 

– Why peanut butter is actually amazing

– The magic of combining broccoli and tomato 

– I get all my groceries from Lidl and Tesco like any Irish Student. Eating well doesn’t need to be expensive!

Enjoy y’all 🙂

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Vegan Apricot Banana Cashew Sunshine Bars

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Alright – these were another creation inspired by Sally. As you can see, I tweaked this recipe a little bit! I was a little nervous about ’em, being as they represented my first foray into the world of explicitly healthy/specialist bakes. Then I handed them out to people. And was met with a tidal wave of positivity, which made me very happy about telling everyone all about ’em.

Tried and tested on coeliacs, diet watchers, full time vegans, part time vegans and devoted carnivores. Everyone took to these. They’re filling, strangely healthy and that special kind of gorgeous. Did I mention they’re also very easy to do, and they keep a good four to five days after creation…?

Make sure you have a 20 by 20 or so cm baking tray for these babies. Apparently you can get sixteen bars out of these, but, uh, I cut big…I got about nine. Depends on your size preference 🙂

Ingredients: 

225g Rolled Oats

60g Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky to taste)

1 Large Banana, mashed up

125g Cashews (or more, to taste)

75g Soft Dried Apricots, chopped

75g Golden Raisins

230g Golden Syrup

1 Tsp Cinnamon

Directions: 

1. You want to preheat your oven – about 150 fan, or 170 non-fan. When it’s hit temperature, grab your nuts, quit giggling and throw them onto a baking tray. Shove ’em in the oven. You’re gonna toast them that way, which brings out their flavour much more. Give them ten minutes.

2. While all that’s going on, combine your banana mash, peanut butter, maple syrup and cinnamon. Attack it until it’s an even mixture. Please don’t literally attack it. You’ll make a mess.

3. Add in the oats to the mix and really mix them in thoroughly to get a complete combination – you’ll find that oats are evil and tend to hide in dry pockets in a mix. Be very diligent and get them all moistened and combined. If you’re finding your mix is a little too dry you can always add in some more maple syrup or peanut butter. The drier you do your mix, the crunchier you get your bars. Very moist mixes make gorgeous but rather impractical bars. Up to you really. I try and find the happy medium.

4. Remove nuts from oven. Assure them that everything will be okay. Now stir them into the oats. Add the chopped apricots and golden raisins. Please note that at this juncture you could add practically anything else that you want in here, along the healthy theme – dates? dried mango? vegan chocolate? There’s very little that could go wrong.

5. Press the mix into your baking tray. You may want to line it, you may not. Depends on how new your tray is 🙂 Make it even and bake for twenty five minutes. Dance while it bakes. Why not? Cool for at least an hour before cutting into squares – I left them for two, they turned out angelic.

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Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam Meringue Batter Cupcakes

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These were as difficult as hell to make. I’m not kidding. But -goddamn. Everyone needs to try one of these, at least once in their lives.

I sourced the recipe from My Baking Addiction – it’s a lovely little site and all credits go to the original creator, Jamie.

Here’s how I interpreted their genius!

Ingredients:

Meringue Batter Cake:

250g plain flour

Tablespoon Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

4 Large Egg Whites (I was terrible and got the egg whites in a carton)

300g White Sugar

120g Butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

360g Butter (yes, really)

125g Smooth Peanut Butter (more could be added, to taste)

Couple Dashes Vanilla Extract

900g Confectioners’ Sugar

125ml Double Cream

Filling:

Strawberry Jam of your choice

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Directions:

1. Preheat your oven! If it’s a fan oven, like ours, I’d try about 160 degrees celsius. Go for 180 if it isn’t fan-endowed. Look apprehensively around your kitchen, wonder if you have enough bowls.

2. Line cupcake trays. You’ll be expecting to make about twenty four of these things so please ensure that you have enough people around to eat them. Use cute cupcake liners.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

4. In another large bowl, blitz the milk and egg whites together with an electric mixer, ’til they’re about halfway towards doing that magical meringue mix thing. Then leave them be. This will work out, honest.

5. MAKE SURE YOUR BUTTER IS SOFT. Otherwise you will end up finding this bit very hard – blitz the sugar, vanilla and butter together in yet another large bowl, electric mixer again. Blitz the crap out of them, seriously – three minutes so that the mix is all super light. Now, do this: add half the flour, and keep blitzing. Half the eggs, keep blitzing. Rest of the flour, keep blitzing, rest of the eggs. Now blitz that stuff til it’s perfect enough to make angels cry. Movie cupcake batter, that’s what you want to see. Take two or three minutes after all the ingredients have been combined.

6. Spoon the mixture into your cleverly pre-prepared cupcake liners in the cupcake trays (you totally already had that done and didn’t have to go do it all of a sudden, huh?) Aim for each cupcake liner to be a little over half full.

7. Stick those lovely things in the oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes (mine took twenty). Keep an eye on them. They’re done if when you stick a knife in them, the knife slides out clean.

8. While the cakes are baking, it’s icing time yo. Room temperature (i.e. soft) butter and peanut butter go in a big bowl together, and you get that electric mixer out again – you know what to do at this stage. Blitz that shit til even, then at a low speed dose it up with icing sugar gradually til the whole lot is in there. As you get to the end, you’ll find the sugar is starting to roughen up the icing texture because there is so damn much of the stuff. That’s what your cream is for – add it into the blitzing mixture til you have some pretty, lightly peanut coloured buttercream that looks smooth and ready to go.

9. When your cakes are out of the oven, let them stand for at least twenty minutes, then go at them with – if you have it – an apple corer! (If not just use a knife and your genius, you’ll be alright.) You need to ‘core’ a centre into each little cupcake. Then fill that core with jam to your taste. Spread a little on the top of the cake, too.

10. When the cakes are completely cool, you can pipe, spoon, spread or fling your icing onto the top of them. As you can see from my pictures, I had no piping so I spooned it on unashamedly.

…and Enjoy!

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