Easter Dippy Eggs & Soldiers

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The arrival of bright yellow Daffodils, warmer air and adorable newborn lambs means Spring has definitely sprung. I just love this time of the year, even more so because of Easter weekend!

Easter for me is about bringing together the whole family to celebrate the beginning of a new season and it’s exciting future. Oh and did I forget to mention the food? It’s also about eating lots & lots (& lots) of good food and chocolate!

For this blog post I wanted to create a dessert that the whole family could enjoy after Sunday lunch. These little vanilla cheesecake-filled milk chocolate eggs have a punchy lemon curd yolk and a side of lemon shortbread soldiers. Now if these fail to impress the family then I don’t know what will.

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The recipe is very easy so please try not to be put off by the length of it. You start by making your shortbread soldiers by combining flour, butter and sugar, cutting it into fingers and baking it in the oven. Then you move onto the fun part… the eggs!
Remove the tops of the eggs with a knife, fill each one with cheesecake (dead easy recipe), add a blob of lemon curd, chill in the fridge and voilà you have your show stopping Easter dessert. Click here to find the recipe of HomeStyle’s food blog – Enjoy 🙂

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Cupid Love Pies

Ah Valentines Day…Single or Taken?

Who cares! Everyone knows that February 14th is just an excuse to eat loads, so Ive created these adorable mini love pies for you to indulge in. Heart shaped homemade flaky pastry (fear not – its easy peasy!) filled with sweet sticky Cherry jam and sprinkled with sparkling sugar. Now doesnt that sound delicious?

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For my top five tips to achieving flaky, buttery pastry perfection head over to my post on Home Style Online by clicking here or to skip straight to the recipe by clicking here.

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Lemon & Almond Pura Panela Cake

Who’s on a health-kick after Christmas?

Me!

I’d be lying if I said I was all chocolate’d out (that could never happen) but what is true is that the festivities of Christmas have definitely caught up with me. You know that feeling when you put your jeans on and think…’Oh dear :/’.
It was fun whilst it lasted but now it’s back to the same old New Year New Me saga. So to make this change bearable I have developed a healthy refreshing lightened-up lemon cake, the perfect sweet treat alternative to a box of mince pies!

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This cake uses what I call ‘Miracle Sugar’, otherwise known as Pura Panela. Pura Panela is a 100% natural alternative to refined-sugar. It’s made in Columbia from natural dehydrated juice from the sugar cane and has no added chemicals or additives, therefore preserving all of the vitamins and minerals present. Not only does it taste deliciously sweet it also has many health benefits, such as:

  • Protecting teeth & preventing against teeth decay (who would of thought!).
  • Natural Antioxidant
  • Helping to prevent diabetes
  • Strengthening bones

If you want to know more about Pura Panela or where to buy it, click here.

As well as miracle sugar, this recipe  uses wholemeal spelt flour and ground almonds for a soft texture and nutty flavour, natural yoghurt and vegetable oil for moisture and of course lemon zest and juice for an uplifting zing. So let’s get baking 🙂

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Ingredients (makes a 1lb loaf cake)

For the cake:
122g natural yogurt
Juice of 4 medium lemons
Zest of two lemons
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

172g spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
50g almond flour
200g Pura Panela sugar (buy yours here)

For the glaze:
4 tsp Panela sugar
1 tsp boiling hot water
1 tsp lemon juice

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C/350 F. Grease an 1lb loaf tin with a little oil or use a silicone tin.

Start by making the cake. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and whisk together until fully incorportated.

In a separate bowl, stir together all of the remaining cake ingredients.

Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatular to fold the mixture together until everything is evenly mixed.

Pour into the loaf tin and smooth into an even layer, this cake will not rise very much so don’t panic if the mixture has nearly reached the top of the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes* or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. *Cover with foil after 30 minutes to stop the top of the cake from burning, but be careful not to open the oven door too much as heat will be lost and can cause the cake to sink in the middle.

Once baked, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake and spoon over the glaze. This will sink into the cake and make it super sticky and moist.

Leave on the side to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. Cut into 12 and serve, I have mine with a little greek-yoghurt. Keep in an air-tight container for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake

With just over a week to go, its safe to say Christmas is just round the corner! Twinkly lights line the streets, Christmas trees are popping up all over and the shops are full of wrapping paper, mince pies and tinsel.

Christmas for me is all about festive baking. I have to admit I am a sucker for anything sweet with cinnamon and so I decided on this delicious Cinnamon Swirl Loaf Cake for my first recipe this month. This cake is a no nonsense bake, its quick and easy, tastes bloomin delicious and your house will smell insane! The recipe uses the addition of natural yoghurt to make the cake super moist and is decorated with a simple glaze for a sticky sweet top.

So if you too share my love for cinnamon and want to bake something the whole family will love, then this is the bake for you and you can find the recipe here on the Home Style Online Magazine… enjoy!

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Spooky Spiderweb Chocolate Cake

With 2 sleeps until Halloween there is still plenty of time to bake something spooktacular – see what I did there? 😉

 

This cake is definitely one of my best bakes to date… three layers of rich, moist chocolate cake, sandwiched together and smothered in sweet buttercream, drizzled with creamy milk chocolate ganache and decorated with a white chocolate spiderweb – delicious! You can find this recipe here on the HomeStyle website.

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Pumpkin & Cinnamon Spice Cookie

This recipe uses pumpkin puree and cinnamon spice to give these cookies a real taste of autumn. Chocolate chips are added for sweetness and to complement the pumpkin flavour without overpowering it. These cookies are thick and puffy, the edges slightly crisp and the centre soft and chewy – just how a cookie should be! Check out the recipe here ,on the HomeStyle Magazine Blog, for a step by step guide on how to make these cookies and my top tips on achieving the perfect texture every time.

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Sinful Smore’s Oreo Brownies

This week I’m jetting off to a place where sleep doesn’t exist and cocktails are acceptable at any time of the day… can you guess?

That’s right., Las Vegas!!! Otherwise know as “Sin-City”.  But before I go, I want to share with you my latest bake… Sinful Smore’s Oreo Brownies. Layer upon layer of delicious naughtiness, let me break it down for you…

Buttery biscuit base. Gooey brownie. Oreo’s. More gooey brownie. Melted marshmallow.

Oh my goodness these brownies should come with a health warning, but for all the right reasons!

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Ingredients (makes 16 brownies)

For the base:
90g unsalted butter
200g plain digestive biscuits

For the brownie layer:
150g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
170g 70% good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
225g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
150g self-raising flour

For the Oreo layer:
1 pack of Oreos (plain/double stuff/peanut butter/double chocolate)

For the marshmallow layer:
1 bag of large marshmallows

Method

Line a 23cm x 23cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

  1. The biscuit base:
    Put the biscuits in a bowl/sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin until completely crushed and free from any lumps. Now melt the butter in a separate bowl set over a pan of simmering water until completely smooth. Pour the biscuits into the melted butter and mix together. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press with the back of a spoon to form an even layer. Refrigerate.SONY DSC

2.  The brownie layer:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once melted leave on the side to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and eggs in a separate bowl until frothy. Now add in the cooled chocolate mixture and the flour and stir until you have a thick chocolate mixture. Take the base out of the fridge and pour 1/2 of the brownie mixture over the top of the biscuit base, spreading it out into an even layer.

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3. The Oreo layer:
Place the Oreo’s on top of the layer pressing them into the mixture.

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Now dollop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie mixture on top, spread it out into an even layer so that all of the Oreo’s are concealed.

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4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top has formed a crust and the edges have started to crack. (My testing method for perfectly cooked brownies: insert a toothpick into the one of the edges, it should come out clean. Now insert a toothpick into the middle, it should come out slightly covered in mixture). 

5. The marshmallow layer:
Turn of the oven and pre-heat the grill. Layer marshmallow’s across the top. Put the brownies under the grill for a few minutes until the marshmallows have melted and are golden. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn very easily!

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Leave  to cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting into 16 brownies.

 

 

Frosted Walnut, Apple & Honey Cake

Deliciously moist sponge, jewelled with walnuts and apple and finished with a thick layer of creamy frosting and a scatter of chopped walnuts. Mmm this cake is awesome!

September is a great month for apples with 14 varieties ripening between early September and late October. So why not steal this apple opportunity to bake something? For this recipe I’ve used Granny Smith apples, as they are particularly sweet and juicy in September and lend themselves to baked goods. Cinnamon, vanilla and honey are added to complement the apple flavour and the chopped walnuts add a crunch throughout. Every bite tastes like Autumn!

I’ve coated the cake in sweet, tangy Cream Cheese Frosting; the ideal companion to any fruit or vegetable cake. Just be sure to remember that all the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing, there is nothing worse than split and grainy frosting – more about this in the recipe below. To finish I covered the top of the cake with chopped walnuts, however feel free to decorate however you wish.

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Ingredients (makes a 10inch cake)

For the cake:

190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g self-raising flour
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp
1 tsp baking powder
50g plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp runny honey
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g full-fat cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia, at room temperature

It is important to use full-fat cream cheese as the low fat options are too loose in texture and will result in a runny frosting.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 10inch round cake tin with a little butter.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time*, mixing well before adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.

Now add the yoghurt, vanilla essence and honey and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally fold in 80g of the chopped walnuts and the chopped apple.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes and until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to completely cool before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.

To make your frosting, first beat the butter for a good 5 minutes until smooth and free from any lumps**.

Now drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter until just combined, be careful not to over beat. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If the frosting appears too runny then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up***. Take the cake out of the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake and finish by dotting the remaining 20g walnuts on top.

*Don’t worry if your mixture begins to curdle, it won’t affect the cake and once the dry ingredients are added the mixture will come together again.

**This step is crucial as it will soften and warm the butter sufficiently so it combines smoothly with the remaining ingredients.

***This is called a “crumb-coat” and will stop any crumbs from being pulled up when frosted again.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

If you love raspberries, brownies and cheesecake as much as I do, this is the bake for you! This recipe combines the three to create the ultimate indulgence. Rich, fudgy brownie swirled with creamy tangy white chocolate cheesecake and dotted with fresh juicy raspberries.

I decided to make these as my second bake for HomeStyle magazine. So click here for the recipe and have a read of my tip tops on achieving the gooiest most delicious brownies ever!

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Lemon Glazed Blueberry Muffins

My sister has just had a beautiful baby boy and prior to my visit to meet my new nephew, she demanded one thing…. baked goods!  So what better than freshly baked blue (for a boy 🙂 )berry muffins.

Bursting with juicy blueberries with a fluffy tender crumb and topped with a sharp sticky lemon glaze… these really are the best ‘bakery style’ blueberry muffins!

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For this recipe I’ve used the favourited ‘two-bowl method’ which will give you a perfectly moist and light muffin. This method involves mixing the wet and dry ingredients separate from one another. This allows each type to be thoroughly mixed without fear of overmixing; which would result in a tough dense texture – let’s face it no one wants that!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins)

For the muffins:
85g butter, melted
300g self-raising flour
115g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 medium eggs, at room temp
250ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g blueberries, fresh/frozen

For the glaze:
300g icing sugar
4tsp lemon juice
1tsp water, optional

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a 12 hole baking tin with muffin cases.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and baking powder until well mixed. Now in a jug whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla essence.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients, mixing the whole time until everything is incorporated. Now pour in the melted butter and mix again. Finally, fold in the blueberries until completely covered in mixture.

Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cases, filling each one 2/3 full. Sprinkle a little caster sugar over each muffin and tap the baking tin on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Once the muffins have completely cooled, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together. If the mixture is too thick then add ¼ tsp of water at a time until the required consistency is reached. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins covering the top completely. Leave to set before serving.