MJ’s 60th Gatsby Party

You may not know who MJ is so let me start by introducing you to the most fabulous woman in the word… my mum Jenny… otherwise known as MJ. Slightly off topic but if you like meringue check out her chocolate and balsamic meringue recipe here!
Anyway, 28th of December my step father organised the most beautifully bonkers surprise Gatsby party for my mum. Imagine lazer sky lights, singing waiters, Canapes, 5 course menu, Pornstar Martinis, flappers, Tommy guns and an endless amount of champagne.
So why am I telling you about this? Well I was in charge of the cake!!! With only 3 days after Christmas to prepare 80 cupcakes, 3 different flavours, 40 sugarpaste topper’s and a whole load of decoration; I was definitely feeling the pressure. However, it all came together in the end and I was so pleased with the result that I had to share it with you.

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The cakes – Red Velvet, Vanilla, Milk & White chocolate, Dark Chocolate & Popping Candy.

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New York Skyline

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The entrance

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Me, my mum and my gorgeous sisters

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And the man himself!

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If you are having a cocktail party, then you need Thomas Colombo. He’s very Italian, very funny and makes VERY good cocktails!
Check out his website  http://thomascolmbo.com/

If you are in need of an amazing chef for dinner party/event then I highly recommend Thomas The Caterer. At the party we had a new type of catering called bowl food, mini portions of lots of different dishes served in bowls – I am still dreaming about his Butternut Squash Risotto and NYC sliders.
You can find him here http://www.thomasthecaterer.co.uk/

Brownieos

Oreos + Brownies = Brownieos! I just can’t stop experimenting with brownies, it’s become a bit of an obsession of mine which is not helping my health kick! However, who can resist a soft baked Oreo cookie sandwiched between rich fudgey brownie? This recipe makes 12 large brownies each one stuffed with a Oreo adding a layer of crunch to contrast the soft gooey brownie texture. So, fellow brownie & Oreo lovers meet my newest invention… Brownieos!

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Ingredients (makes 12 brownies)
150g unsalted butter (soft)
150g self-raising flour
170g 70% dark chocolate
225g caster sugar
2 medium eggs (at room temp)
1 pack of Oreo cookies
Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 23cm square baking tin with a little butter.
  1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of water on a low heat. Once melted, leave on the side to cool.
  2.  In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs. Then pour in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Add the flour and fold all ingredients together with a large spoon/spatula until you have a thick brownie mixture.
  3.  Pour half of the mixture into your baking tin and smooth over with a palette knife. Place 12 Oreo cookies evenly spread apart onto the mixture. Finally, spoon over the remaining brownie mix and use a palette knife to carefully spread it over the Oreos to completely cover them and fill the edges of the tin.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes. (The top of the brownies should be starting to crack & a skewer in the middle will be slightly covered in brownie mixture). Cool completely then cut into 12 squares.

White Chocolate Chunk Brownies

I LOVE brownies, they may actually be my all time favourite bake! What I love about them is that once you have a basic brownie recipe that you adore, you can throw in practically any other ingredient. Why not try adding your favorite chocolate bar cut into chunks? Or check out my Malteser Brownies for an interesting malt crunch throughout.
However, more to the point… This recipe will give you a bloody good brownie. Gooey in the center, fudgey on the outside and jam packed with soft, slightly melted white chocolate chunks.
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Ingredients (makes 12 brownies)
170g 70% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
150g unsalted butter (soft)
150g self-raising flour
225g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
150g white chocolate, broken into chunks

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 23cm square tin with a little butter.
  1. First, melt your dark chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water on a low heat. When completely melted and smooth leave on the side to cool.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs. Add in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture to the sugar and eggs and also add in the flour. Fold the mixture together with a large spoon/spatula until combined and thick.
  3. Finally add in the white chocolate chunks and fold into the mixture. Transfer to your greased baking tin and bake in the oven for 18 minutes. The top should be starting the crack and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out slightly covered in brownie mixture.
  4. Leave to COMPLETELY cool and cut into 12 brownies. These brownies warmed up for 20 seconds with vanilla ice-cream…. to die for!!

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ever heard of Meri Meri? Well, it’s a company set up in Los Angeles by a woman called Meredithe who now sell their products world-wide, I’m telling you this because they sell the most adorable cupcake decorations (and many other gorgeous products)! Like seriously, how could anyone resist these fairy themed cupcakes. I’ve had this fairy cupcake set since last October and can’t believe I’ve only just got round to using it. I will be visiting their UK online shop very soon indeed, for anyone who is interested here is the website… http://www.shopmerimeri.co.uk/

Any who, enough about that, here is a recipe for vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream. For anyone who is a beginner at baking, vanilla cupcakes are a good place to start and even now I only feel like I’ve actually cracked it! Soft, moist buttery sponge and a ‘not too sweet I’m going to make your teeth crumble’ creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream.

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Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:

150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
150g stork tub for baking
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

Buttercream:

160g unsalted butter (soft, at room temp.)
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases.

  1. Make the sponge mixture by first creaming together with a wooden spoon the stork and sugar until smooth, creamy and fluffy. Then slowly mix in the beaten eggs along with a little flour each time to stop the mixture curdling. Once eggs are all added, add the vanilla extract and mix.
  2. Finally, fold in the remaining flour and milk until mixture is combined, smooth and drops of the spoon easily. Bake in the oven for 17 mins until cakes are a golden brown colour and a skewer in the centre of one comes out clean. Transfer cakes to a cooling rack and leave to completely cool.
  3. Now make the buttercream by creaming the butter until pale in colour and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar in and mix until creamy and combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat together for approx. 5 mins until buttercream is soft, smooth and fluffy.
  4. Using a star tip nozzle and a piping bag. Pipe your buttercream starting from the outside spiraling inwards. Decorate as you wish- that’s the fun part! I sprinkled edible pink glitter on mine and used my Meri Meri fairy decorations.

Mini Medeira Loaf Cakes

Madiera cake is a classic in traditional English cookery dating back to the 18th century. This recipe makes a beautifully light and moist sponge cake flavoured with lemon and ground almonds, finished off with fluffy sweet vanilla buttercream.
Madeira cake is normally either a round cake or baked in a loaf tin, however I decided to make mini loaf cakes for a change and was very pleased with the outcome, super cute!
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Ingredients (makes 8 mini loafs or a 20cm/8inch round cake)
For the sponge:
175g golden caster sugar
175g stork (perfect for cakes) – use Stork margarine straight from the fridge
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
3 eggs (beaten into a jug)
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
For the buttercream:
150g unsalted butter (at room temp)
280g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your baking tin.
  1. Make the sponge mixture by first creaming the stork and sugar together. Beat in the eggs slowly along with a little flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling. Add the lemon zest, ground almonds and vanilla extract and beat into the mixture.
  2. Finally add the remaining flour and milk and mix together until all ingredients are combined and your mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer mixture to your baking tin and bake in the oven for 15 mins for mini loaf cakes, or 30-40 mins for a 20cm round cake.
  3. Remove from the oven and check they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the cake/s. If it comes out clean then leave on the side to completely cool.
  4. Make the buttercream by creaming the butter until  fluffy and pale in colour. Add half the icing sugar and beat together until combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat together for a good 5 minutes until very soft and creamy.
  5. Using a piping bag and star nozzle pipe dots of buttercream onto the cooled cake/s starting from the outside and working inwards until covered.

 

Mojito Cupcakes

When I think of Mojito’s I think…. summer, sunglasses, parties and sun. Mojito cocktails, in my opinion, are refreshing, smooth and jam packed with intense flavours. I have wondered for a while what a Mojito cupcake may taste like, and after a lot of baking, testing and tasting I can confirm that these boozy cupcakes are not to be missed.
Gorgeous in taste & appearance, Mojito cupcakes are the perfect addition to any summer party!
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Love my new cake tester…
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Mmmmmmm fluffy buttercream..
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Fresh mint from the garden…
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Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
For the sponge:
125g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter (soft, at room temperature)
2  eggs (at room temperature) – beaten into a jug
2-3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the mojito flavouring:
60ml white rum, poured into a bowl
2 tsp light brown sugar
2 limes, squeezed into a bowl
For the buttercream:
250g unsalted butter (soft, at room temperature)
500g icing sugar
White rum left over from flavouring
Lime juice left over from flavouring
Decoration:
Mini straws (can use normal sized straws and cut them short)
Mint leaves

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12 holed muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  1. Start with the sponge ingredients. Cream the butter & sugar together until light, fluffy and pale in colour. Beat in the eggs slowly along with a little flour and stir in the vanilla extract.
  2. Add the remaining flour and fold into the mixture until all ingredients are combined. Now add the milk and mix until smooth and creamy. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until a skewer in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean. When cooked remove cakes from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. When cakes are cooled, brush a coating of white rum onto each cake. Repeat with the lime juice. Now sprinkle each cake with a little light brown sugar. The liquids and sugar will soak into the cupcakes and the flavours will infuse into the sponge, giving you that amazing fresh Mojito taste!
  4. Next, make the buttercream by beating the butter in a large bowl until soft and pale in colour. Add 200g icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add a further 200g icing sugar and continue to beat until mixture is fluffy and combined.
  5. Add the remaining lime juice & rum to the buttercream and mix until incorporated. Add the last of the icing sugar (100g) and beat together until smooth,light and fluffy.
  6. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes using a piping bag and star nozzle. Finally, push a mini straw and mint leaf into each cupcake and enjoy!

    There are many ways to decorate these delicious cakes so get creative! How would you decorate your Mojito cupcakes?

Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Having not posted in a while I knew that this one had to extra damn special. So what better than a chewy, soft baked cookie that isn’t lacking on the chocolate hit.
For years I have been trying to achieve the flavour and texture of the incredible ‘Millies Cookies’ and I think, nope I’m pretty certain, I must of just cracked it with this recipe!!!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large cookies)

125g unsalted butter (at room temp)
75g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium egg (cold from the fridge)
200g chocolate chopped into small chunks (milk, dark or white – or a combination of all of them!)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease/line a baking tray (may have to use two depending on the size of your trays)

In a bowl cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and crack in the egg and mix.

Add the flour and chocolate chunks and fold until the mixture is combined and has formed a dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour (you can leave it over night if you wish).

Once your cookie dough has chilled, take approx. a tablespoon of the cookie dough, roll into a ball and place it onto the baking tray, do not flatten it out as it will expand in the oven. Repeat this for all 12 cookies leaving roughly 2 inches between each one.

Bake in the oven for between 12-14 minutes until the edges are a pale brown but the middle still looks slightly uncooked. Remove from the oven and leave to completely cool (the cookies will continue to cook and harden a little as they cool).

Malteser Cupcakes

As of late I’ve become a bit obsessed with Maltesers, their crunchy malt middle smothered in milky smooth chocolate. Ohhhh yes they are so moorish! After the success of my Malteser Brownies I thought why not put Malteser’s in a cupcake mixture and bake them? Well they definitely didn’t disappoint. Soft, moist sponge with a sudden malty crunch topped with sweet vanilla buttercream and finished with a whole Malteser.

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Love these cupcake cases, so cute!
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Ingredients ( 18 small fairycakes/12 large cupcakes)
For the cupcakes
125g self-raising flour
125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten in a jug/bowl
2 tablespoon’s milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g Malteser’s
For the Buttercream
145g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
280g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
18 extra Malteser’s for decorating
Method
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with 18/12 cupcake cases.
  1. Make up the cupcake mixture by first creaming the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs along with a little flour (15g) at a time then stir in the vanilla extract. (If your mixture curdles see here for help)
    Fold in the rest of the flour with a spatula or large spoon, mix in the milk until mixture drops off the spoon easily. Finally stir in the Malteser’s. 

  2. Divide the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until a knife in the middle comes out clear. Remove and leave to cool completely.
  3. Now make the buttercream by beating the butter until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until mixture is light, fluffy and pale in colour. (This will take a while so remember to be patient and keep working the buttercream, trust me it will be worth it!)
  4. To decorate your cupcakes either spread over the cakes with the back of a spoon. Or for a more professional look use a piping bag and star nozzle and pipe the buttercream on the cupcake starting from the outside spiraling inwards. Pop a Malteser on top for that eye catching final touch.